I am a succulent fan! Applying my artistic skills and succulents to an upcycling project!
How An Upcycled Candle Holder Makes Artistic Succulent Garden Decor
Take One Candle Holder
Many years ago my lovely Aunt gave me this beautiful candle holder with multi-colored glass dishes to hold tealight candles. Unfortunately, the glass dishes got smashed. Over the years the candle holder sat waiting to be rediscovered. It even found its way to the pile of things for recycling. But then I had a better idea!
Changing The Garden Because Of Drought
Losing My Lovely Garden Owing to Lack of Water
In Central Italy last year, we had a drought that lasted from February to November and extreme temperatures. We had many wildfires, often deliberately started (doesn’t that make your head hurt? I know it does mine!). We had an emergency plan and an emergency kit all set out ready for evacuating the house if necessary. It was scary stuff.
As I said in a blog from August last year, as we were not allowed to use water for the garden:
I have kissed good bye to my garden and had to choose which plants I was going to try and keep going by using waste water.
Researching what I could do differently that could cope with such extreme heat, I turned my thoughts to cacti and succulents.
With all my animals I had to be careful with ‘prickly plants’ so that cancelled out a lot of cacti. You know what it is like when you touch one of those soft prickly ones. If you get one of their tiny hairs in your finger the irritation lasts for days. And my animals will sniff with their noses first…
Did you know that a cactus is a succulent (because it stores water in the leaves) but not all succulents are cactus? Succulents can be found in over 40 botanical plant families and most come from hot countries so ideal for the sort of drought we endured last year.
I had a few succulents that I have had for years and used many offshoots to create new plants. They cascade over the edge of the pots and soften the look of them.
They appear in the background of some of my animal portraits like this one of Emmy. I gradually added a few more succulents to my garden, creating artistic displays of them in groups. Some of them produce ‘babies’ readily and so I have been able to grow my collection without additional expense.
Overwintering My New Succulents
I have a plastic greenhouse that I brought up under the shelter of our front covered balcony for the winter. I filled it with the succulents and it was all closed up for the winter. The little plants survived well. I lost a couple but that was a learning point for me. That particular type needed to be kept indoors over winter. I guess as with a lot of things it is learning as you go along.
Little Colored Buckets
The final piece in the jigsaw were little colored buckets (or pails). I was in a shop and saw these tiny buckets that I fell in love with. Lots of different colors and the perfect size for my succulents. I bought several and added them to my succulent display. They added some welcome color.
The Light Bulb Moment
Then I had a ‘light bulb moment’. The first thing to check was whether the buckets would fit the candle holder which they did. Then back to the shop to buy enough for what I had in mind.
I bought three white and three pink buckets – mainly because there was only one purple and one blue left. While they would have been my colors of choice, I wanted the eye to go to the candle holder not multiple colors.
Preparing The Candle Holder
The candle holder was in good condition but need some paint here and there. I kept the original color as I had decided where I wanted to hang the finished decor. On a lovely dark green shutter that is never opened at the gate entrance to my house. I knew it would look good hanging there.
I selected six mixed succulents and put them in the little buckets. Then I hung the candle holder on the shutter using a large metal s-shaped hook. I wanted it to be easily removable.
Then it was a big decision (or not) how to display the buckets. Did I go for one white then one pink for example? I literally went for the three the same at the bottom and three at the top. I juggled them around until I was happy with the way it looked.
The finished item looks great. It was a good use of a gift from my Aunt, combining it with my new love of succulents. I enjoy reusing an item (upcycling) and this was a good project for this time of year.
Perhaps you have something similar languishing in the house that could be reused for a garden display?
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!