Dish Gardens for Indoor Beauty

February 12th, 2013 posted by Brenda Hyde

by Brenda Hyde

Dish gardens are a great project for kids and adults, plus they make wonderful gifts! I did a little checking and a purchased dish garden from a florist will run you $40-$50 for a medium sized display. Not only is this expensive, but the ones I saw really lacked a personal touch. Dish gardens are not permanent-they will become overcrowded in a year or less BUT at this point the plants can be repotted and a new dish garden can be created. Why not write up a nice instruction sheet and include it with your gift, so the person you give it to can make their own next time? You will need a container that will hold at least three inches of soil, and have room enough for the plants you want to include without crowding them. You’ll need to start with about an inch of pebbles or gravel in the bottom of the container-aquarium gravel will work nicely. (Mix in a little charcoal for freshness if you wish.) The soil should be a mixture of potting soil and either sand, peat moss or vermiculite-a half and half mix. // Check your garden centers for terra cotta containers because many of them are marking down this time of year and you will find some good deals. A shallow pot or tray will work well that is anywhere from 8-12 inches round (other shapes are fine too) Also, small garden ornaments can be used along with the plants. Some are on fairly tall wires or stakes, but you can use a saw or wire cutters to trim the length down. I also found some small 3 inch high resin gnomes that worked well! Lastly, you will need your plants and some type of cover to place over the soil such as coarse sand gravel or sphagnum moss. You now need to choose your plants. Put together a fun cactus garden with a Southwestern theme. Perhaps add some Native American accents, a small ceramic steer skull or cutouts made from tin or copper. This would be a neat gift for a college student! Use tongs or gloves when handling the cactus. Small ones are less expensive and you can use terra cotta trays for the pot. Add a little more sand than with other dish gardens and use a light layer of gravel on top of the soil, rather than the moss. The cacti also grow much slower. When choosing your plants take the container with you if you aren’t buying it in the same store, and place the pots in the container to see how they look. Play around a little bit and be creative. You don’t want them all the same height, and try to mix different types of foliage. Do match light levels though. Plants such as Irish moss, philodendron, ferns, peperomia, spider plant, aluminum plant or baby tears are all good choices and require some light, but not direct sun. Buy as small as you can find so they can remain in the dish garden as long as possible. When you are ready to plant, be sure to remove plants carefully from their pots and place in a hole dug in the soil-pack gently around the plants one at a time and water gently when finished. Add your layer of gravel or moss, and insert your ornamental accents. You have a special gift for the holidays, a housewarming present, a surprise for a homebound friend of family member or a wonderful dish garden for yourself!

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Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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