Irish Independent Weekend Magazine | 14 Feb 2015
Everybody loves getting flowers as a gift. From bursting-with-colour bouquets to small gift-wrapped trees, nothing shows love and appreciation as much as giving a floral or growing gift. Flowers brighten the home and put a smile on our faces and with this in mind I decided to create a display for your Valentine’s table which uses both cut flowers as well as a mix of my theme plants for February: succulents.
I used a small timber jewellery box as a planter because I love the idea of re-purposing items and giving them a new lease of life. I love the lock detail at the front of the box but you can use anything from a glass bowl to old copper teapots. The fact that this box is antique adds to the appeal and it will look great as a centre piece. The Roses are arranged using florists oasis which is hidden at the base of the box and will keep them looking well for ages. I made sure the oasis is well watered before placing it in as the succulents won’t like as much water as the roses. After placing these, and my conveniently heart shaped cactus into the box, I added in a selection of succulents. I wanted to use ones in floral shapes which echo the rose shapes beside them, becoming almost like a succulent bouquet. To finish it off I added in some moss around the plants wherever the soil was exposed and finally, my feature plant this week-the South African native- Ceropegia woodii.
Succulents are a great plant for people who appreciate a bit of green in their home but can’t be bothered by constant maintenance. I love the idea of the Ceropegia, or string of hearts plant, picking up on the love theme of Valentines day. The shapes of the leaves and the cactus beside it are a subtle way of referencing the day without being too obvious. You almost don’t notice the fact that the small, waxy leaves are heart shaped it until you look closely.
It is an evergreen trailing plant and grows easily and quickly in almost all conditions indoors, particularly hanging baskets. Interestingly, the leaves develop a pretty purple tint to the underside when exposed to slightly cooler locations such as a cooler window cill.
Care: This plant takes next to no maintenance. It likes dry soil and will grow well in cactus soil. They like full to partial sunshine so don’t place them in a too dark corner of the house. The plant will produce small pea shaped tubers which, when in contact with soil, will grow new plants out of them again-all you need to do is place it onto some soil and you have a new plant, so seriously easy to propogate. The rule ‘If in doubt don’t water’ applies to this plant too and will definitely appeal to anyone who has little time on their hands for garden care. For a really great selection of succulents have a look at Johnstown Garden centre. You can even order them online through their mail order catalogue on their site at johnstowngardencentre.ie
If you don’t fancy the idea of taking a saw and drill to logs then you can buy some lovely ready to go timber planters at the creative Appassionata Florists in Dublin. Owner Ruth Monahan’s shop on Drury street is a fantastic address to get unusual floral design pieces as well as stunning displays and designer bouquets. Perfect for next week’s Valentine’s day! 29 Drury Street, Dublin appassionata.ie