Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What I Did With the Air Plants I Bought

I mentioned in my post about the Tacoma Home and Garden Show that I bought some Tillandsias aka air plants at the show. I bought four of them at the Bark and Garden booth, ranging in price from $6.99 to $7.99. They were tagged with exactly which type, but I've since removed the tags, and I know too little about them to readily ID them on sight. If I ever need to be absolutely sure, I figure I can Google each name and get it right. If I can ever find the tags again...

Here's me at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show, waiting to buy air plants. Peter The Outlaw Gardener took this, and posted about the show here.

Anyway, once I got them home I began researching exactly what conditions they like and how to display them. I even started a new Pinterest board called Tillandsia Display Inspiration. I really like the little round glass terrariums that you hang from fishing line, but I didn't have any of those. Maybe I'll find some at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I've also heard that Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens Northwest has started making large glass terrariums with a magnifying lens built in, so maybe I'll get one of hers.

Anyway, my first bit of inspiration for what to do with the air plants came when I was wandering the garden assessing damage from recent windstorms which still hasn't been cleaned up, and I spied a lovely large piece of bark that had fallen from a tree. And right on the fence behind it I saw the remains of hanging glass vases that I'd made a couple of years ago, which had broken after filling with water and freezing. (I showed them in a post from a few years ago called Garden Art and Garden Junk, you can read it here.) So I rescued all those supplies and set to work.

Supplies: air plant, bag of cute little mosses, cute little blue lichen gathered from the garden, piece of bark, and cedar plaque with broken vase removed

Score! The piece of bark was just the right size for the plaque.

Cordless drill -- You all know how to use one of these, right?

I drilled a hole in the piece of bark, being careful not to drill into my kitchen counter, and then attached the piece of bark to the plaque with a screw
I used some E6000 glue to attach the little mosses in place over the screw to hide it. They also made a sweet spot to nestle the Tillandsia.

I then set it upstairs on one of our bookcases. In front of Nigel's trove of Terry Pratchett books seemed appropriate.

Nigel is also an H. P. Lovecraft fan, so of course he remarked on the very Cthulhoid shape of the Tillandsia.

My second bit of display inspiration came from this online article from Southern Living about using a terrarium. While they used a terrarium, I knew I had an unused cheapo birdcage that had the same shape. I evicted its previous succulent occupant, now dead from neglect, and used some of the little mosses from the same craft packet, along with an actual nest that I rescued a couple of years ago from where it had fallen during a windstorm.


The  birdcage now sits in my kitchen window over the sink.

A closeup of the Tillandsia sitting on its nest. I wonder if it will hatch any other display ideas for me?

The other two are awaiting more inspiration. I'm still in favor of doing something with a terrarium. In the meantime, I've got them simply sitting in pots, at the base of a couple of Cordyline 'Cha Cha' which are overwintering in my kitchen.

This one is going to bloom, if I don't kill it first.