Perhaps you'll be ordering flowers for your valentine, or maybe a so-trendy succulent. But Feb. 14 doesn't have to be limited to a store-bought bouquet. Author and gardener Steve Asbell make it easy to create a hand-made gift with his book, Plant by Numbers: 50 Houseplant Combinations to Decorate Your Space
, due out on Valentine's Day. Our favorite? His idea of planting an easy-to-maintain wall garden - in a shower caddy
. Asbell, who is also behind the popular blog the Rainforest Garden
, has a knack for transforming unexpected containers. He uses wine decanters and butter dishes for terrariums and plants a hanging garden in a birdcage. His book is a sort of indoor plant encyclopedia that includes step-by-step projects and container ideas.
The shower caddy caught our eye. You don't have to be the crafty type to put it together, even if you have a black thumb. The only requirements? A bathroom with bright light and warm temperatures. Then you'll need the caddy (Asbell suggests a metal one with suction cups, a slatted-wood basket or even hanging orchid pots), orchid bark or sphagnum moss, a plastic loofah or burlap, and your choice of plants. Asbell recommends using epiphytes, or plants that cling to tree bark, including air plants, some ferns, bromeliads, and even Christmas and Easter cactus. When it comes to the orchid, he recommends the Oncidium genus for its appealing scent. Once you've selected the plant, follow Asbell's seven-step how-to, and surprise your loved one. Oh, and it's always a good idea to splash some water - not soapy - on the plant once in a while to keep it alive, along with a diluted orchid fertilizer, Asbell says. That's all it takes.
To Make a shower garden:
1. Cut the plastic loofah where it is bundled and unravel the netting.
2. Water the orchid, then remove it from its original container by gently squeezing and twisting the roots loose.
3. Wrap the sides and the base of the orchid with separate pieces of loofah netting.
4. Line the caddy with a layer of netting to keep the bark from falling out (Asbell suggests using twist ties or wire if necessary to hold the netting in place until the project is complete).
5. Place the orchid on the netting in the shower caddy. If necessary, use a twist tie or piece of a loofah to gently and loosely tie the orchidâ's stem to the caddy to hold it into place.
6. Place orchid bark or moss around the orchid's roots, along with any additional plants. Air plants can be placed on the surface of the bark or caddy (roots should remain exposed).
7. Water the plants, moisten the caddy's suction cups and hang it in your shower.
I am in love with the Attmu Shower Caddy
! I love the large Main Pocket in addition to the 8 side pockets to hold all your bathroom accessories. The two pockets on the end are larger than the ones on the side and are the perfect size for larger items. A nice wide strap across the top (webbing with a fabric grip) makes carrying comfortable and also allows the caddy to be hung. I`m a fan of lots of space and pockets. The design of this caddy makes it perfect for toting your personal supplies to and from the shower. It`ll keep everything organized so you won`t get there and realize you left something behind! The plastic mesh allows wet items to dry out so everything stays fresh and dry. And, it`s easily washable if you need to. This caddy also doesn`t have the bulk or weight that molded plastic caddies have. Anything that gives me less weight to carry is a good thing. This would make a great gift for anyone headed off to college, or heading into any kind of shared living situation where shower space is at a premium. It is of sturdy construction and should prove durable.