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How-To: Windy Day Hang-Up

January 9, 2012

Palm pocket

Weirdly, Saturday’s balmy weather became gusty to the point of tree-toppling by Sunday morning … Leaving the house at 5:30am for my walk, I was struck by the amount of tree stuff that clogged the streets, especially from the palm trees in the neighborhood. As I walked I wondered why no one was doing anything with all these fronds and other palm parts … especially the attractive scoop-like bit that reminds me of the basket jai alai players use, the cesta. Long and gracefully tapered, I’d used one of these dried palm fragments in a centerpiece project for The Times in 2009 (see post here). More recently, The Times’ Home section had run a short piece on a gardener who’d used hers as a succulent planter/centerpiece to beautiful effect (see that post here). I decided to play off both ideas and do something that would hang vertically from the wall. The result is above, and I think it’s very successful: It combines the appeal of a wall sconce with a pocket vase, and really showcases the plants within. I chose the elements that form the structure — metal mesh painted a textured rust color and coconut fabric liner — because they’d match the frond’s tones and provide a neutral background for a variety of succulents. I think this piece would look great in a garden room or on a front door … Best of all, putting it together didn’t take a huge amount of time or money, and was not difficult. Here’s how I did it …

Basic kit

Four major components go into this project: a palm scoop, metal mesh screening (an idea I cribbed from succulent-container maven, Vickie Perez; thanks, VP!), coconut fiber hanging plant liner and an array of small, colorful succulents. Everything but the scoop came from a big-box hardware store. Additional items used, that I already had on-hand: wire; wire cutting pliers; hammer; rust-colored, large permanent marker, textured, spray paint; staple gun, cactus mix soil, leather cord. Nothing fancy or pricey.

First steps

I began by cutting the metal mesh with wire-cutting pliers to an approximate size and rolling it into a cone-like shape (use gloves while doing this step). Holding it up to the scoop, I adjusted the cone’s size to fit snugly against it. Happy with the fit, I anchored where the cone overlapped at the bottom, and used small lengths of wire threaded through and twisted to secure them. Way too long, I held the cone up to the scoop, and used a marker to roughly mark where the plant pocket’s top should end. Using the pliers again, I cut along the line.

Rust, stapled

The mesh’s silvery finish was too jarring; spray paint in a rust-tone quickly took care of that. I made sure to cover the pocket inside and out with several coats. This particular spray paint features a rough-textured finish that looked perfect once dried. I placed the cone on the scoop and using a staple gun secured each side with several staples. Some of them didn’t go in fully; I used a small hammer to drive them all the way home.

Filling, planting

I took the coconut fabric and cut a length that would fit into the mesh cone; I pushed it firmly down its entire length. I trimmed the excess fabric at top, making sure to leave enough to push onto the raw edge of the metal mesh, securing it. I knew I didn’t want the plants to just stick out of the top of the pocket, so, using the pliers again, I cut an opening down the front vertically and rolled it back. I then filled the bottom of the cone with cactus mix soil and added the first succulent. Firmly planted, I add more soil and then the next plant. Eventually the pocket filled with layers of plants and soil. The succulents I used were chosen for their contrasting shapes and colorful foliage … some black aeonium rosettes from the yard add dark spice to the mix.

Hole, hanger

Once everything was planted, I marked and drilled a hole for a hanger. A small length of leather cord pushed through the hole from behind, then knotted, provided the simple and effective solution.

Natural beauty

The wall pocket-sconce is a picture of loveliness, up-front or in profile. I hope you’ll try this project, or some variation of your own devising … if you do, please email me photographs and I’ll post them here!

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2012 5:14 pm

    Exquisite!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 9, 2012 5:18 pm

      Thanks, Jenn! … and so easy, too.

  2. Pearl permalink
    January 10, 2012 3:09 am

    Creative and just beautiful!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 10, 2012 3:40 am

      Thanks, Lenora … I appreciate it!

  3. January 11, 2012 5:47 am

    I love this, Reuben. I am so stealing it.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 11, 2012 6:00 am

      I’m flattered by your thievery, Annette! Send pix …

  4. Vickie permalink
    January 13, 2012 7:24 am

    I have seen something along this line sometime ago but have forgotten where or when. Glad to help with any ideas!! Have found so many thru you and figure to use them sometime soon. Until then I will continue along my merry way. So do like to come onto your blog.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 13, 2012 1:16 pm

      Hey, Miss V, if you remember where you saw the similar planter I’d love to see it … and thanks again for being an inspiration!

  5. January 14, 2012 12:14 am

    Gorgeous! I’ve never wished we had messy palm trees in the area before.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 14, 2012 12:34 am

      Thanks for commenting … look around, maybe there’s something else you could use … send pics, if you do!

  6. January 25, 2012 2:20 pm

    I meant to ask how this came out when I was at your house last… SO beautiful… I new it would be! I was telling Cosme, from Division 9, about this design and how brilliant you are, and I didn’t even see the finished product yet… I only had your vision. Great job Reuben!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 25, 2012 2:34 pm

      Thanks, Britney… I meant to show it to you and forgot in my soup frenzy … How’re your latest Rancho-additions looking? Maybe you can take one more when your brother picks up his big pot?

  7. February 4, 2012 6:13 pm

    I so wish I lived in Palm Tree Territory! Would really like to make this but alas there are no palms readily available in the midwest. I’ll have to find another creative element to substitute, but love the lines of your finished project!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      February 4, 2012 6:15 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca … I think the project can be adapted easily to some other natural element … if you do create your own please send a pic, I’d love to see it!

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