DFW

Vertical Succulent Garden

How to create a sturdy base for a vertical succulent gardenThis weekend I attended a class on vertical succulent gardening at the Dallas Arboretum. I don’t think I would have figured out how to create a structure strong enough to support sideways plants and soil, so I was pretty excited to have an expert walk me through step-by-step. And I haven’t yet installed my garden along a wall, but when I turn it sideways, it seems to stay in place pretty well.

We started with the following materials:

  • Wooden Frame (our instructor made his own out of fence wood)
  • Flat piece of wood cut to the size of your frame
  • Plastic fence netting (I’ve also seen chicken wire used)
  • Black mesh fabric
  • Screws
  • Staple gun
  • Light soil suitable for succulents (our instructed recommended this soil mixed with crushed shells)
  • Succulent plants

 Here are the steps we followed:

Vertical Succulent Garden

Step 1: To create a strong framework, we cut the plastic netting and black mesh into rectangles that were slightly larger than the size of our frames. We pressed the plastic netting into the frame and stapled it along the inside of the frame; we repeated this step with the mesh fabric and trimmed both so that there wasn’t any extra coming out of the frame.

Step 2: Fill the frame with soil. We used a mix of lightweight soil and crushed shells. While sand is often mixed into soil for succulents, our instructor cautioned against this because it adds extra weight to the structure.

Step 3: Secure the flat piece of wood to the frame using screws.

Step 4: Once the framework was complete, we selected our succulents and arranged our design by setting the plants on top of the grid before we started planting.

Step 5: To plant each succulent, we cut a small square out of the netting and mesh – cutting an almost 2-inch square per 3 inch plant. Inserting each plant into the grid was the hardest part. We had to push all of the soil in the frame out of the way and then push the plant in, using a pencil to help push the base of the plant further into the soil.

This is my final garden:

How to create a sturdy base for a vertical succulent garden

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children’s Garden

A Visit to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden at the Dallas ArboretumSince moving to the DFW area several years ago, the Dallas Arboretum has been one of my favorite local places to visit. Last fall, they opened the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and now it’s one of Jason and Jenna’s favorites too. The garden is science-focused, with each of the indoor and outdoor stations featuring interactive activities around common themes, like energy, space and geology. We visited this weekend and arrived just after opening. We had the entire park nearly to ourselves!

Here are (more than just) a few of my favorite pictures – the gardens are so beautiful it’s hard to narrow down all of the photos I took.

A Visit to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

A Visit to the Rory Meyers Children's Garden at the Dallas Arboretum

 

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children's Garden

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children's Garden

 

Favorite Places: Rory Meyers Children's Garden

Gardening in Texas

Gardening in Texas: Top Hardy and Drought-Tolerant Plant Recommendations for Texas Landscapes

This is our first spring in our new home, and we’re in the process of evaluating our yard to determine what’s working and what needs work. This weekend I attended a class on ‘Texas Tough Plants’ at the Dallas Arboretum with a hope of learning more about low-maintenance plants that are well-suited to our area. The instructor described the class as an “intro to plants that are hard to kill,” which was perfect for me since it matched my strategy earlier this year for buying and maintaining houseplants.

After the two-hour session, I left with a better understanding of the plants we already have and a list of new ones to add to the mix. Our initial plan for this season was to identify what is doing really well in our yard and plant more of it, but the class gave me a bit of confidence to introduce a few new plants too.

With that in mind, here is a list of native plants that are in our yard or likely to be added soon:

Gardening in Texas: Top Hardy and Drought-Tolerant Plant Recommendations for Texas Landscapes

 

The Plants:

Snow Day

We had an ice storm last night in the DFW area. The kids were thrilled to wake up to a blanket of white over their entire yard, and they ventured out almost immediately to play in the snow. Unfortunately, the temperatures were still very low and they came inside almost just as immediately. For now, we’re bundled up by the fire, enjoying these views from the warmth of our home.

snow day in dfw

Weekend Snapshot

We had an amazing couple of days and I couldn’t seem to sum it up in a single ‘snapshot,’ so I’m posting two: the first covers our stay at the Gaylord Texan, where we spent the Fourth of July holiday, and the second covers some highlights from our downtown Dallas adventures. Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend too!

Fourth of July

weekend snapshot - fourth of july

Downtown Dallasweekend snapshot - downtown dallas

DFW Staycation: A Wish List

With Independence Day just a few days away, we decided to plan a little staycation to keep our family entertained across the four-day stretch.  Once I started researching things to do, I realized just how how many amazing places we’ve never been in the metroplex we call home.

Here’s a list of activities on our wish list, and while we certainly won’t visit them all over the upcoming holiday weekend, we’re going to try our best!

family friendly things to do in the DFW metroplex

Sources:

Favorite Places: Dallas Children’s Aquarium

children's aquarium

Last weekend we attended a birthday party at the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park in Dallas. We’ve been to some of the museums at Fair Park, but the aquarium was new to us. Though not as modern as other DFW-area aquariums, the center wins major points for being child-friendly and very interactive.  In one afternoon I think my children touched more sea creatures than I have touched in a lifetime – though I am pretty squeamish in this department.

Here are some of our favorites:

Dallas Children's Museum

Dallas Children's Aquarium

Dallas Children's Aquarium

Dallas Children's Aquarium

Dallas Children's Aquarium

Dallas Children's Museum

Dallas Children's Aquarium

Favorite Places: Perot Museum

perot museum dallas

This weekend we attended the grand opening of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Dallas. The building is amazing. It’s located right off the highway, so I’ve been watching the building develop over the past year or so. I only recently found out what it was, and once I did, I immediately wanted to join. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is one of Jason and Jenna’s favorite places to visit in the DFW area, so I had no doubt that this would hold a similar appeal.

The museum includes several exhibit halls, including sections dedicated to dinosaurs and space discovery. I hope we’ll explore these areas more as J+J get older, but for now, our main destination will likely be the Moody Family Children’s Museum. Jason and Jenna would have stayed all day if they could.

Here are a few scenes from our new favorite spot in Dallas:

perot museum dallas

The Escalator

model of perot museum

Building Model

view from perot museum dallas

View of downtown Dallas from the escalator

in the escalators, perot museum dallas

View from the top of the escalator

perot museum dallas

The dinosaur exhibit

perot museum children's museum

The children’s museum

perot museum

Jenna with model of the children’s museum

perot museum children's museum

Jason in the Dallas skyline play area

perot museum children's museum

Jenna’s favorite section of the children’s museum

perot museum dallas

The museum at dusk

Paleontology for Kids

We visit the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History quite a bit, but rarely head outside to the giant sandbox – either because we don’t want to get messy, the weather is bad or it’s simply closed. Yesterday, Jenna asked specifically to go to the museum to “play in the sand.” The weather was gorgeous, so off we went … with Jenna wearing white pants. Oh well, we didn’t let that stop us. The great thing about this sandbox is that it’s set up as a pseudo archeological site where kids can recover dinosaur bones and other fossils. Jenna was pretty excited with she realized that she had “discovered” the giant dinosaur (shown in station 1 below). Pretty cool stuff.

Here are a few scenes from our visit to Dino Dig: