air plant

Tillandsias – Get creative with color and texture

I spent some time out in the dreaded cedar pollen yesterday cleaning out and redesigning another tillandsia globe.

All the previous black sand, rocks and lichen came out and I washed the globe.  Then I went to my tumbled glass pile and collected some beautiful green, clear, blue and gold pieces of glass to form the floor for my arrangement.

Then I wandered around the garden looking for some more interesting elements to add into the mix.  I saw some lichen up high in the cedar elm tree.  With the help of some high jumps and the broom, I was able to knock a few little bits of branch off onto the ground.  Then I stole a piece from the fairy garden and took it all to the greenhouse to clean and assemble.

One piece of advice if you get yourself a big load of tumbled glass — don’t pile it up in the woods where it can get little bits of leaves and twigs in it — it’s a bear to get out of that glass.  After a long spell with the colander and the hose, I finally called it good enough and made sure what was left was buried.

Another tip – have your tweezers and a paint brush on hand for manipulating things.  Once I put the beautiful red tillandsia into the globe, it was difficult to position the lichens exactly as I had envisioned them. 

I convinced myself that it looked natural this way!

Now to find the fishing line!  I’m going to screw a hook to the back side of my desk hutch and hang it in my office. 

Now I’m on the lookout for a container to make one for my daughter.  And this, on a smaller scale, would make a great teacher/school office staff end-of-year gift, too, wouldn’t it?  Or a hostess gift.  Or…

Beautiful and easy tillandsias bridge gardeners’ winter boredom…

It’s winter and I’m bored.  I don’t really want to do outside garden chores, even on a 70+ degree day like today.  But I’m longing for something green and growing to tend.  So I’ve turned my attention to one of the easiest plants you can grow — tillandsias.

If you struggle with houseplants, these are the plants for you.  They require almost no care.

One of the latest gardening trends, you can find tillandsias in nurseries, boutiques and home stores adorning hanging glass globes, ceramic bowls and pieces of driftwood.

Tillandsia is an air plant — an epiphyte.  It doesn’t need soil to grow, but rather gets its water and nutrients from the air.  You can mount it or simply set it in a container.  It needs bright, indirect light.  You can mist your tillandsia with a spray bottle once a week, or submerge the plant in water and then remove it and turn it upside down so it doesn’t hold water in the crown, then put it back in your container.

These are my latest tillandsias, bought last week on a nursery outing.  I have two beautiful glass globes for my tillandsias.  I sometimes put lichen, rocks or sticks into the globe with the plants.  In this globe, I have placed a tiny metal bird cage from our fairy garden to accent the two tillandsias.

I chose these because I like the contrast between the bold, bright green plant on the right and the feathery, gray-green plant on the left.  And if you look closely, you’ll see that there is a bloom forming on the feathery one, arching just over the other plant.

I love their ephemeral look.  I love that they are low-maintenance.  And most of all, I love that these only cost me $1.49 each since I’ve killed several plants that came before them. 

Yes, I know what you’re thinking – how hard is it to remember to mist once a week?  Apparently, pretty hard!  But, it also gives me an excuse to go plant shopping.

So, if you’re missing your garden in the middle of winter – find a fun container and adopt a tillandsia today.

Check back for another post about the other tillandsia container.