After fellow writer Julie and I attended a how-to workshop at Flora Grubb Gardens, set of our most recent stylebook, we came up with a dashing way to craft intriguing, suspended succulents with already-at-home accessories. A couple petite plants, a quick rummage through your father’s wacky neckties, and some simple materials, and you’ll be guaranteed the title of favorite child this Father’s Day.
Necktie Vertical Garden
Inspired by Flora Grubb Gardens‘ Event Series
During the workshop, nursery Merchandising Manager, Jim Kumiega, emphasized that when it comes to urban living, utilizing space efficiently is a must. These vertical gardens are ideal for small spaces, where wall space provides prime, planting real estate. Jim suggests using vertical-loving plants like succulents, vines, or epiphytes, including bromeliads, ferns, and rhipsalis. You can also substitute other fabrics you have lying around for the felt, as long as it’s a breathable material. However, felt’s thick texture is ideal for roots to grasp onto.
Pieces of flair (buttons, pins, brooches, cuff links, etc.)
Plants (preferably succulents, since they need little water)
1. Lay out the ties you’d like to pair together along metal hanger, and vary their lengths to give your hanging garden a undone look. You can either knot the ties around the wire hanger, or simply fold them over hanger’s bottom bar.
2. Fold end of tie downward a few inches from its tip, and use scissors to pinch and cut slit. You only want to cut the outermost layer, so you have a pouch for your plant. Repeat with all ties.
3. Fold felt square in half and line it up with the pointed tip of the tie. Cut triangular piece to fit. Use your best judgment with sizing, as you want to make sure you have enough room to fill the pocket with both loose soil and the plant.
4. Once felt is cut, use needle and thread to sew bottom and sides of pocket together, allowing its top to remain open for filling. Repeat as needed so you have one pocket per tie.
5. Insert pointed bottom of felt pocket into corner of plastic bag. Cut bag to size around pocket.
6. Secure the plastic and felt pocket in place with several stitches. Then, fill pocket with soil, and add the small plant, pushing it firmly into place within the pocket. Pack in additional soil if needed, but try not to reach the top rim of the pocket.
7. Slip planter pocket into end of tie, and secure plant upright by pinning or buttoning together tie’s fabric on either side of the slit. This will hold your plant in place.
Seven steps to succulent success! On Father’s Day, hang your vertical garden in a sunny spot to surprise the pops (acceptable hanging places include anywhere but his closet).