Succulent Birdbath!

I have a nice metal bird bath that I repaint every year because it rusts so badly. I thought it would look good with succulents in it…but what to do about the rust? Flex Seal to the rescue! This stuff is great! I cleaned the birdbath and sprayed on a coat of the clear Flex Seal.  It goes on smoothly and drys clear and ready to paint.IMG_3490

I was most concerned that I use something that would not show and could be painted and would not allow rust to creep back through to the surface. Oh, and now that I wanted to plant succulents in the bird bath, instead of filling it with bird seed, it had to hold up to repeated watering….(even though succulents don’t take as much as other plants it’d be enough to rust!)

Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Coat is my paint of choice and Heirloom White is my go-to white. It’s a white that’s not too stark. I use satin because that’s the only finish available in Heirloom White. After the paint dried thoroughly I added some gravel:IMG_3521

and a good Cactus and Succulent potting soil:IMG_3525

Next it’s a good idea to plant around with your plant material to see what you want to use for your arrangement. Though I’ve taken many design classes and even worked as a florist for a while, I never remember the formal names for the different parts of an, for succulent plantings I made up my own saying: “Something short, something tall, a filler and a spiller!”  When I’m out visiting nurseries, looking for something new and different, I always ask myself: Do I need something tall, something short , something to fill in my design or something spill over the edge? It helps me not buy 10 of the same thing and go home without what I need for an arrangement! First try out a few you think you like:IMG_3523 IMG_3524

Then, when your decision about what to use is made, begin planting from the inside to the edges. At a recent workshop led by Debra Lee Baldwin I learned that a chopstick is the ideal tool for planting succulents and now I have a collection for that purpose! Once your plants are settled into the barely damp soil you can use a light spray to wash off the leaves, being really careful not to get them too wet. (Depending on the time of year and type of plant you’ll have to be more or less careful about water)IMG_3526 IMG_3527

I have a tendency to over plant, so with this bird bath planting I left spaces for the plants to spread hoping it will last longer that way!IMG_3530

Part of the fun of succulent design is that you can replace plants, take cuttings when they get too big or start all over again with a new design and pot up what you take out to use in another arrangement! What container do you have that might work if you could seal it? Try a little Flex Seal and your choices are endless!

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