25 January, 2018

4 more DIY succulent valentine ideas!



Skip the chocolates this year, and those expensive flower arrangements that only last a week - Give your Valentine a special gift that will last! We have found 4 really simple, yet incredibly adorable Valentine's gift tutorials that your special someone will love!



Punnerific Pot
Found on Pinterest

Jazz up a terracotta pot with some paint, wind some jute around the lip of the pot and don't forget to include your favorite succulent pun. This one says "You had me at aloe", but some of my other favorite succulent themed puns include:
" I ALOE you VERA much"
"My life would SUCC without you" 
and "I'm so glad I pricked you" 

Plant a succulent of your choosing and you have one punnerific valentine's gift.



Succulent Book Planter
Found on Pinterest

I love this idea - so simple, yet really dramatic. I think the hardest part would be picking a book you are willing to drill a hole into (I suggest heading towards the tax law section of your local second hand book store). 

What's great about these is that they are more than just a temporary display. If you can drill the hole in your book stack the same size as your potted succulent, you can simply place your plant (pot and all) in there and remove when it needs watering. Wait until the water drains out the pot, and back into the book he goes. Brilliant! It could last for years to come! A perfect gift for succulent lovers of all types.



Succulent Dinosaur Planter

A quirky gift for that someone special in your life on Valentine's day. These guys are easier to make than you think, all you need is some sharp scissors or tin snips to cut a hole in a plastic dinosaur. Poke a hole or two in the bottom for drainage and plant away! I personally would love to see these with a cactus or two in them. You can leave the dinosaurs Au Naturel, or paint in funky colours - flouros, metallics, any colour that takes your fancy!



Succulent Miniature Garden
Found on Pinterest

Miniature gardens or fairy gardens don't have to be a grand affair. A simple pot with 2 or 3 succulents and 1 or 2 miniature accessories make a gorgeous display, and a great gift for Valentines Day.

Pick accessories that match in size and theme and you can't go wrong. I do recommend planting into a container with a drainage hole, so the garden can live on well into the future. See our range of Miniature Garden Accessories on our website.

So there you have it, 4 more ideas to DIY your way into any succulent lovers heart this Valentines Day. Be sure to check out our Valentine's article form last year - 4 Delightful DIY Succulent Valentine ideas - for more gift ideas and tutorials.

08 January, 2018

Succulents in Summer - Tips on how to get your succulents through scorching temperatures

Succulents in Summer - Tips and tricks

As we delve deeper into the Summer months, scorching temperatures are yet again rearing their ugly heads. Perth is renowned for its intensely hot sun, and our recent maximums of  high 30's are only a sign of things to come.

Succulents are, in a way, incredibly drought and heat tolerant. However, they aren't completely immune to burning and stress if they are exposed to extended periods of direct sunlight. This is particularly true of freshly planted succulents whose roots are yet to establish.

However, there is hope! There are a few tricks and techniques that can help get succulents through summer's scorching temperatures.

Protection from the sun: 

If your succulents are receiving direct sunlight for more than even a few hours each day during summer, their foliage may burn. Older, more established plants may be able to hack the pace, but younger plants will need a little protection during this time.

Option 1: Relocation. If your succulents are in pots that are small enough to move, than I would highly recommend temporarily relocating them to a part shade position, such as under a verandah or patio. This is just for the time being, and they can be happily moved back out into a full sun position after the sun starts to calm down later in the season. Be sure that they can still receive plenty of indirect sunlight during this time.

Option 2: Shade Cloth. If your plants are too big to move, or planted into the garden, you can create a little sun shade for them, using a small piece of shade cloth and a few bamboo stakes. It doesn't have to look grand, it just has to temporarily provide protection from the sun. This trick is especially helpful to newly planted succulents, as they may not have had the time to acclimatise to their new environment. Be sure to use 50% shade cloth and not 80%, so the plant can receive enough light.


Watering:

1. Water Thoroughly. Even though succulents are incredibly water wise, it is always a good idea to water them thoroughly until the water drains through the bottom of the pot. If in the garden, water deeply into the soil, so that the entire root system is sufficiently wet. The reason we do this is because a root system will only develop within reach of its water supply. If only the top soil is wet (which is what happens with a sprinkling of water) then the root system will remain small and shallow. This will greatly diminish the plant's defence against the heat, and before long you will start to notice a sickly looking plant.

2. Water during cooler times of the day. If at all possible, water your succulents in the early morning or the late afternoon. Avoid watering during the peak of the day, as the combination of heat and water can cause some succulents to rot. Rosette type succulents in particular will thank you for an early or late drink, as the water can pool in the middle of the rosette and act as a magnifying glass for the sunlight, burning the centre foliage of the rosette.



Soil Condition:

Check to see that when you water your succulents, the water is getting to the roots of your plant and not just sitting on top of the soil. Check not only succulents in the garden but also those in pots, as sometimes the water can run down the inside of the pot and not get into the actual root ball.

If you find this is the case, simply apply a soil wetting agent as directed and you will see the results immediately. Some dire cases may need re-potting, or topping up with fresh potting mix. You can apply a soil wetting agent to your containers and gardens a couple of times over the hot summer. The difference will amaze you. The plants will cope a lot better if they are getting sufficient water.



Mulch:

Mulching your succulents will help keep the evaporation rate of your soil to a minimum. Soil will dry out a lot quicker if it is exposed to sunlight. This principle applies to both succulents in the garden, as well as to those in pots. Wood chips, gravel and pebbles all make excellent mulches, and they can also liven up the look of your plants too, with many different coloured mulches now available on the market.


By following these simple tips and tricks, your succulents will be a little happier over these drearily hot months and continue to grow and thrive long into the New Year.

04 December, 2017

5 Succulent Christmas Ideas!


Stuck for inspiration on what Christmas decorations to include around your house this year? What about including succulents?! Here are some wonderful ideas on how to incorporate succulents onto your Christmas table:


Create a Living Succulent Christmas Tree Tutorial
by Maya Marin (eHow)

I've thought about making a succulent tree before using a cone shaped florist block, but this is so much better! By using chicken wire and sphagnum moss, this tree will not only look pretty just for the holidays, but with some occasional maintenance can last for months and months afterwards!

A little tip I have picked up that could be useful here is that I have never once used pre-made floristry pins. I find bending a bit of wire in half works just as well, and a roll of wire purchased from your local hardware store can make hundreds of pins, saving you a little bit money.

I really like the idea of incorporating the odd bunch of plastic red berries here and there. You know the ones, you can get them from pretty much any store selling Christmas decorations. Not expensive at all, and it will give your tree just that touch of red among the green shades of the succulents.

From Pinterest

I just love succulents mixed with candles. This is a great idea for a large Christmas table. A centre piece like this could be made from an inexpensive wooden box found at a discount store. Jazz it up with watered down white or light blue paint for that antique look.

This could be a temporary display, made up with sphagnum moss and succulent cuttings, or for a more permanent display, you could drill holes in the bottom and plant established succulents with a cacti and succulent potting mix. I would recommend lining the wood with plastic and poking holes into that as well. This just protects the wood from rotting, whilst still letting the water drain away.


From Pinterest
Speaking of Christmas table centre pieces, This succulent wreath with a candle in the middle would look very festive for Christmas lunch or dinner. What a brilliant idea, incorporating a string of battery operated led fairy lights for that touch of drama. Learn How to make a succulent wreath.


From Pinterest
Individual gifts that also serve as placeholders for the Christmas table? Yes, please! Who could resist a little keep sake they can take home after eating all that Christmas pudding. You can buy all sorts of pretty card at any craft shop these days, and with a nice pen you can write names onto them (or if you're like me and possess absolutely no calligraphy skills, you can cheat and use your printer :P ). Glue onto a bamboo skewer and spike into the succulent pot, or simply attach the placeholder card with a ribbon tied around the pot.


DIY | glitter succulent planters by Lolly Jane
A great way to pimp up a humble terracotta pot. Some paint, decoupage glue and glitter is all you need to make these fabulous succulent Christmas gifts. Full instructions can be found on Lolly Jane's Website.

I hope that provides you with a little inspiration on how to incorporate succulents into your Christmas decorating this holiday season. For more inspiration and ideas on Christmas succulent projects, check out our Pinterest board - Succulent Christmas Ideas. If you have any succulent Christmas ideas or projects you would like to share, please comment below!

15 November, 2017

My first Living Succulent wreath - How to make your own (DIY)



Here is a little video I created of my fist attempt at a living succulent wreath.

Now Kaye is the one who puts her artistic skills to work here at Fickle Prickles to create all the wonderful living wreaths that we sell online and at the festivals we attend. So the other day when I was sitting in front of the computer, writing up instructions for our succulent wreath kits, I thought to myself  'I need to get a true idea of how this is done... I should make my own!'

I was a little bit hesitant filming the process, as I was so sure it was going to turn out a big gobbelty-goopy mess. However, with Kaye pointing me in the direction of what plants and cuttings to use, I'm quite happy with how it turned out!





I hope this shows just how easy it is to put one together. The wonderful thing about using fishing line is that it's invisible - so you can use quite a lot of it without ruining the aesthetics of the whole thing.

The wreath in the video was created with a small frame - about 20cm in diameter - But we do sell larger frames in our store. Larger ones will need more succulents to fill it out (obviously). This small one took 6 succulents in 50mm pots (3 rosette types and 3 fillers), and then we used a handful of cuttings to fill the wreath out. 

The succulent species I used in the wreath are:

Echeveria 'Domingo'
Sempervivum 'Weirdo'
Echeveria 'Dondo'
Sedum acre aureum
Crassula marginalis var. minuta variegata
Sedum 'Gold Mound'
Crassula species
Crassula ovata var. undulata
Aeonium haworthii
Sedeveria 'Starburst'  and
Something purple (possibly a sedeveria)




Two weeks on and the cuttings haven't quite established enough for me to hang it up vertically yet. A couple more weeks should do it. 

As it has been quite warm lately, I have been watering it once a day, thoroughly with a hose. I would advise against simply misting it, as the moss dries out rather quickly. Dry moss doesn't look as appealing in my opinion, and the added moisture retained in the moss from watering it with a hose will help the succulents grow and thrive for several months to come. No need to worry about the succulents rotting, as the moss doesn't stay sopping wet for very long.



Creating a wreath in this way means that it wont just be a temporary display, but something that can live and thrive for several months to come. Other maintenance tips I can suggest would include not leaving the wreath out in the full sun, applying a seaweed solution to give the plants a kick start, and pruning often to keep nice and compact.

I think instead of hanging this wreath vertically, I am going to buy a red plate to rest it on, and put a large white or gold candle in the middle and place it on our family's Christmas table.

02 October, 2017

Fickle Prickles 10th Birthday!


It is very hard to believe that it was this month 10 years ago when Kaye and I stood in line at the Business Registrar Office to officially register Fickle Prickles as a business. Wow, does time fly when you are having fun.

From humble beginnings we grew. To start with in 2007, we attended the Kalamunda Markets each month -  Packing up the back of the ute with a gazebo, a single table, plants and the living gifts we potted up during the course of the month:



Just over a year later, in early 2009, we officially launched our online store:


Ahh, the green background! :P

With both of us still working and studying full time, we kept plodding along - Each month attending the markets and each week delivering & posting online orders. We worked after hours and on the weekend; sometimes well into the night. We propagated and potted and sourced new plants, expanding our range as best we could, when we had spare time.

In 2015 we attended the Perth Garden Festival for the first time, having an absolute blast designing and creating our succulent display:




We have kept this tradition going each following year, designing a display based on a theme - 2016 was 'Under the Sea' and 2017 was 'Miniature Gardens'.





Also in 2015 both Kaye and I gave our notice at our respective jobs, and surged on with the business full time. In 2016 we redesigned our branding to what it is today, and developed a new online store and website.

Both Kaye and I are incredibly humbled to be able to work each day, on our own venture, doing what we both love to do. A big, huge thank you to all our regular customers who have supported us over the last 10 years.

What an adventure! Highs and Lows, we wouldn't change a thing.  What will the future bring? Only time will tell. Bring it on!


To Celebrate the double digits, we will be giving away some prizes and having a special birthday sale sometime in October. To find out more, and to be in the running for these delectable goodies, check out our Facebook page.

04 September, 2017

Tools for Handling and Potting Prickly Cacti

We just have to share Gardening Australia's video as we use Millie's 'high tech' tools for handling cacti as well. To watch the video, head to Gardening Australia's website:

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4708916.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4708916.htm


Some other tools that we find incredibly useful when re-potting cacti are...

Chopsticks! Great for smaller, petite cacti that have sharpies. Who knew that that collection of chopsticks in the kitchen drawer from all that takeout would come in handy in the garden.

Cant use chopsticks? Tongs are just as great. Especially the ones covered in rubber. The rubber softens your grip on the cactus and mimimises damage. Mini tongs are useful for smaller cacti the larger ones for medium sized cacti.

Use carpet for the big fellas. Same concept as the newspaper, just on a larger scale. Wrap the carpet around the trunk, and you can gently hug and lift them into position.

Thank you Millie and the team at Gardening Australia for the great video!


30 August, 2017

Perth Garden Festival 2017

Fickle Prickles at the Perth Garden Festival 2017

Well, that wraps up another year at the Perth Garden Festival. Wow, how much fun we had this year. There was reported to be over 30,000 people through the gates over the 4 days and the whole festival was humming. Great stalls, good food, interesting plants on offer. Who doesn't love that?! We really loved talking to everyone who came through our site. It was lovely to chat about what projects and plants everyone was interested in, and helping to choose what succulents suited their needs.

OUR DISPLAY...

This year, our display had the theme of miniature gardens. We created several mini gardens throughout the display, tucked in to various props and furniture.


Succulent miniature farm garden in wheelbarrow


 We created a miniature farm in an old, rusted wheelbarrow. We used String of Pearls to make mini pea obelisk, and tiny sempervivum rosettes for cabbages in the veggie patch.

Succulent miniature garden beach scene in large chest

Succulent miniature garden beach scene in large chest


Our beach display, complete with jetti and handmade fishing rod (made by yours truly...) was planted out in an old blue chest you may recognise from our under the sea display form last year. We decked out the ocean with Senecio Chalk Sticks and the back corner with an Orbea and Euphorbia milii.

Succulent fountain miniature garden


Succulent fountain miniature garden

Succulent turtle full of sempervivum

Our succulent fountain took some time to assemble and plant out, I can tell you! The top tier we planted up quite a few months back so it had time to establish. We included a grey miniature mansion to complement the concrete grey fountain. Stanley, the turtle decked out in sempervivums made his third grand appearance at the festival. Each year, the sempervivums get more lush and compact.

Perennial miniature garden
Perennial miniature garden

Perennials rule! Succulents keep out! A little house on the hill, surrounded by perennial species. Here we have used Sagina for that luscious hill of lawn.

Succulent pot spill - Echeveria glauca
Succulent Terracotta pot man - crassula muscosa
Succulent miniature garden terracotta hobbit house

A succulent pot spill using Echeveria glauca. Bruce, the terracotta pot man with Crassula muscosa var. muscosa for hair, and a terracotta hobbit house.

PERTH GARDEN FESTIVAL 2018...

We have been busy bees planning our display for next year. What will be the theme? You will just have to wait and see! Hopefully it will provide ideas and inspiration on how to incorporate succulents, perennials and miniature gardens into your home and backyard.

To find out more about the Perth Garden Festival 2018, head on over to their website: perthgardenfestival.com