Thursday, June 7, 2012

Snail Shell Mini-Gardens

All photos courtesy: Megan Anderson except one.

We've seen plenty of mini-gardens before, whether suspended as part of a lamp, hung in knitted "plantbomb" pockets all over the city, or even strapped to a bike, but these glorious little gardens growing out of snail or sea shells take the cake. Not only are they something that anyone can create, but their tiny stature reminds us how fragile life can be.

These diminutive delights were spotted over at Recyclart, grown by Los Angeles-based crafter and photographer Megan Andersen (a.k.a. "Radmegan"), who told us the inspiration behind these beautiful creations:
I love gardening. My husband and I live in a house now, but I've spent many years in apartments where the (lack of) space was just not conducive to gardening. I started looking at small and slow-growing succulents as well as various natural vessels that would make interesting mini gardens so that anyone could enjoy a little nature in their home.
All right, so how to make one of your own?

Make your own snail/sea shell garden

Here's what you'll need:

•Small-growing succulents that have taken root or some air plants

•A variety of large, clean snail shells or sea shells

•Potting soil or decorative moss, etc. for air plants

It's pretty simple from here: put a thumbful of potting soil into the shell, transplant your chosen succulent(s), and voila! an almost-instant itsy-bitsy wonder.

Air plants are from the family tillandsia; and, are sculptural plants that grow without soil. There are many varieties, all of which gather nutrients exclusively from air, water, and sunlight, with roots that serve the sole purpose of attaching them to any amenable surface. They will thrive on wood, metalwork, stone, seashells…all that is required for care is a weekly misting.

Air plant. Photo courtesy:

Maintenance tips

Perfect for small spaces, these succulents are also pretty light on daily care, says Megan, who also has a tutorial on her blog for making these snail shell gardens:
I knew that whatever I planted inside of a snail shell (where there's not a lot of room for potting soil) would have to be somewhat drought tolerant. All of my snail shell gardens are still alive and well since I first posted that tutorial. My growing secret? I keep them on the window sill in my kitchen so that I see them every day. I only water them every week or so, but I SEE them every day so that I can keep an eye on their general health, and catch those special moments when the succulents bloom
or the air plants pup!

Air plants can be bought at any large, reputable florist or garden centre. They come attached to a small plug of hot glue that must be heated before affixing air plant in place. Not only are they beautiful; but, they come in a wide varies of types.

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