A Mini Succulent Garden

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This weekend brought news that we were in for more snow Monday. I have seriously had my fill of winter!!! I could wait no longer for spring…if the real blooms aren’t happening, I was going in search of some faux ones. Normally, I’m not a fan of silk flowers and fake plants, but Michael’s has some beauties. And I needed a visual reminder that, YES, it IS Spring even if the weather says otherwise.

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I took a nice little haul home from Michael’s where their Garden Collection line from Ashland  was on sale. I picked up these little pieces…succulents attached to cute mossy rocks. The mossy ‘rock’ base was made from styrofoam and I found they wouldn’t stay where I put them as the plants made them top heavy.  I fixed it with sticking in a tooth pick into the bases and driving them down into the crushed gravel. I already had the metal planter and pebbles so this project just cost me $1.69 (a great sale!) for each succulent grouping and $3 for the crushed gravel…$8 all in, and I love it!

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Aren’t they as pretty as the real deal ?! I was so enamoured by these that I was inspired to make a miniature version.

I will share a couple of tips I found useful for anyone attempting a polymer clay garden…

As with real succulent gardens…less is not more. You may want to leave some empty spaces for a place to rest your eye, but keep them minimal. People who design succulent planters always go all out, filling all the nooks and crannies. And at first I wasn’t happy with my planter until I added the large rocks. You can do the same with your miniature garden…if you don’t have any pebbles, you could make them from your clay.

I found a lovely combination of clay colours to make the translucent-green base for the succulents. Pictured below is the combination I used left to right : translucent sculpey, wasabi, treasure (to make it glisten a bit), and olive. You can gauge how much is needed by my cutting mat. This was enough to make all the plants (with the exception of the dark green one).

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…and this is the colour you end up with after mixing them:

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Also, I found toothpicks a great help for building my plants around. I could also use them in a bowl of rice to stand them up while baking. Then I just snipped them off before assembling my garden.

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As a focal interest, I chose to make a little pagoda. I love how it turned out; primitive and cute! I formed the roof first, and pre-baked that before continuing with the rest of the building. This, I also did on a toothpick.

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I chose Fimo Effect “stardust” to mimic slabs of black granite. They are bonded together with liquid sculpey. I plan on sanding it and buffing it out to a nice shine later.

I used chalk pastels to add subtle red blushing to the leaves. I used a mix of glaze and purple acrylic paint to colour the top of the center plant, but it didn’t show as purple. I will try to carefully add another thin layer later.

Both planters were fun to do. I am, of course, most pleased with the miniature one. I didn’t go to a botanical reference book…this was all about fun and freely sculpting. I think, in the process, I took the liberty to create some new species of succulents!

Now…if only the snow would go away so I can grow a real succulent garden outside!

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7 thoughts on “A Mini Succulent Garden

  1. I didn’t mention this in the post..but cold porcelain clay would be an awesome medium for making these plants. It’s very easy to blend chalk pastel into the clay and it has a translucent quality when it dries. It would be perfect for succulents for those who don’t have, or don’t wish to use polymer clay.

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