Plants on the Patio

I never knew it until living in our rental house in Kansas, but it’s actually really easy to grow plants, if you do so outdoors. Turns out, nature knows what to do to make the magic happen.

Take this jade plant, for example…

jade

About six months ago, it was literally a stem broken off of our neighbor’s larger jade plant. We stuck it in some water and waited… and waited… until it sprouted a root. Then we put it in this pot I stole from my mom’s backyard, with some soil we stole from a planter bed in the complex common area. The rest is history. It’s literally four times larger than it started.

Then there is the succulent garden I planted right before our mac’s hard drive crashed in… February, I believe? Here’s how it started out:

succulent garden

And now, this:

succulents_growing

The baby-plant vibrant green is gone (sad face) but the plant is going bananas. I took one of the succulents out since it was getting so crowded. The hen and chick plant now lives in its own vessel, a pretty pitcher I picked up at West Elm on clearance for about $5.

hen_chicks

I’m going to see if it survives OK on the coffee table, but the apartment is a bit dark so if it starts looking sickly, the move will be made back to the patio.

I also bought a couple more plants at Lowe’s a few months when my mom came down for the day. My favorite plant at our Kansas house was a Wandering Jew, but I left it behind since I was skeptical it would make the move OK. Now, I have Jew, Part Two! I love that it came in a hanging basket.

wanderingjew

Finally, the most beautiful plant in the world, a Croton. The name itself generates visions of prehistoric rainforests and I love picturing this very plant growing tall and shielding a nest of baby dinosaurs, or something. Crazy imagination? Maybe, but check it out:

croton

My patio is shaping up to be a very fun and plant-ful space indeed. Now if only I’d come across the perfect outdoor chairs to replace our beach chairs (which threaten to fold up when one sits in them)…

What’s in Your Beach Bag?

Beach Bag

  • Before you pull all your gear together, you have to start out with the bag. This one is amazing. Of course, you could use a backpack or one of those reusable grocery bags too, if you wanted to save a few bucks.
  • For some people, getting a new swimsuit and towel every spring is like a ritual. “Now I’m ready for summer,” the act says. I haven’t gotten a new beach towel since 2005 (I loooove the one I have) but I did get a new swimsuit this year, after the elastic finally went out on my old one. Yikes. Long story short–if I was getting a towel this year, I would get this one!
  • Sunscreen. I hate, hate, hate it! I dislike sunburns more, though. This stuff should get the job done without causing massive break-outs. I really do prefer the kind you rub in to the kind you spray on–it’s more effective and you’re able to make sure you didn’t miss a spot. Plus, you can ask someone cute to help you apply it ;)
  • Some people can really pull off the big floppy hat. I certainly can’t. If you know how to rock it without looking like a fool, I would like some tips. Anyway, it’s a super way to keep the sun off your face and shoulders. (Photo found here.)
  • Magazines–my current favorites are Bon Appetit and Sunset. Another fave that I used to read more while living in Kansas was Southern Living. The mix of food, travel, and interiors in those regional mags just does it for me!
  • Water. Yes! Make sure to stay hydrated. All that sun and salt water will leave you pretty crispy unless you drink tons of water. I like this kind of water bottle, with a straw.
  • Games. You could bring something as simple as a football or soccer ball. Group games like horseshoes are also really popular!
  • Snacks. My current guilty pleasures are these Terra vegetable chips. I can’t buy them because it’s too risky–I just might eat the whole bag in one sitting; and they aren’t exactly cheap!

“HOLD UP,” I hear you saying, “I don’t live near the beach.” Relax! Use this list as a jumping-off point for any outdoor activity, like a picnic at the park, non-strenuous hike, or something like that. Sub a lightweight blanket or tablecloth for the towel and you’re in business!!

2-Second Tip: Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are made of plastic for a reason: And that reason is MOLD.

Do not use a natural fiber rug outdoors.

This is what three days’ worth of rain quickly made of this natural fiber rug (World Market, 2006).

Do yourself a favor and if you’re going to decorate a patio, either paint a design straight on the concrete or purchase an outdoor rug. If you do so, you may spare yourself the loss of an old rug friend.