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Gardening for the Novice

This post should probably be called ‘Gardening for the Plant Killer’, but I thought that might come up in some weird searches..

I’ll be frank, guys, I’m a plant murderer. Orchids– toast. Rosemary (yes, the ridiculously hearty herb)–donezo. The one plant I’ve managed to keep alive for a few years is a cyclamen, but it even tried dying for a few months. Miraculously, it came back to life after I started ignoring it.

It’s bad.

Well, Chef and I were feeling very adult-like and craftsy one weekend, so we went to Home Depot. On a Sunday. Ugh, we’re getting old. Chef’s mission was to create an herb garden for our use in the kitchen. (And he’s totally responsible for it, since I don’t have the best history of keeping things alive.) My mission, however, was to create a succulent garden for our home! I know, I know, Refinery29 just wrote an article about how out of trend they are. But I knew I needed something that was hearty, low-maintenance, and made our house look as adult-like as we were feeling that Sunday.

I had a square vase I’d saved from a floral arrangement years ago. I always knew I’d find something to do with it! Chef and I picked out three itty-bitty succulents in the garden section, grabbed a bag of soil and headed home feeling proud.


And then I read how succulents need soil with lots of drainage. Luckily, good ol’ Pinterest had plenty of options for creating the type of soil succulents like! (psst! Be sure to follow me on Pinterest here!) I poured some small pebbles on the very bottom of my vase to keep the soil from staying too wet. Then I mixed some sand with the soil we’d purchased and layered that on top of the pebbles. I’ve read that fish tank gravel or activated filter carbon mixed into soil works well, too! 

Let me introduce you to all three of the delightful succulents Chef and I chose to be responsible for: the one with the long spears (top left) is called blue chalk sticks; the spiky one (top right) is aloe ‘park avenue’, an aloe hybrid; the one with rosettes (bottom right) is ‘alpenglow’ aka ‘Vera Higgins‘. The delightful thing about all of these plants is that they require very little care!


Starting out, I was watering them only once every Saturday in an effort to keep it easy to remember. But then, I was informed by a lady who worked at a botanical preserve (read: knows her stuff!) told me that might even be too much. What can I say? I like to tend to things. So, I’m starting to water once every two weeks by giving the succulents a nice flood, like they’d receive in the desert. I also keep them in our front window because it receives the most light and I’m absolutely guessing that succulents like that.  Side note: we seriously have the worst lighting in our place. And guess what, it’s been almost two. whole. months. and they’re still alive! Or just really good at fooling.


Seven weeks strong! Sorry for the bad lighting…

I’m quite pleased with myself for making my own succulent garden! I may even make this as a gift for a friend because it was SO easy and makes me smile every time I see it in our windowsill. I’m thinking about moving on to other plants, but am not sure what will suit me quite yet. Do you have any easy-to-care for plants you’d recommend? Or are you a plant expert (read: not a plant killer)?

About In Natalie's Shoes

I’m a twenty-something food fanatic. By day, I’m working for a non-profit, by night I’m dreaming of becoming a domestic goddess, creating adorable crafts to gift and engineering delicious home cooked meals for the fabulous dinner parties I’ll one day throw. I love to travel, locally, regionally… heck, even internationally, I don’t discriminate too much when it comes to a new destination. I am a little obsessed with taking photos of the food I eat, whether I make it or pay to eat it. It is my firm belief that a girl can never have enough purses or too many shoes. I plan to fill this lovely little blog with my adventures in food, travel, and craftiness. I hope you enjoy!

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