Urban Jungle Bloggers #18
This month's Urban Jungle Bloggers topic is a special one. It hits right to the core of what UJB is all about: sharing, caring, giving, joy and... plants! Offer a plant to a friend!
If you know me offline you've probably at least once received one of my succulents babies. There's an entire family growing (or dying... they don't always survive!) around the world by now. They're a small practical gift too as they fit in my purse/suitcase and require minimal care. And yeah, I think they're pretty cute too ;) Because I was selected to participate in The Plant Swap by Studio Meez, I thought this would be a nice opportunity to share a few tips of how to send baby plants and cuttings to fellow plant lovers.
Sending small plants by snailmail is really easy. Depending on their size you can send them in an envelope which keeps the shipping costs low. I always wrap my babies in some wet tissue paper, which will let them survive for a few weeks on the road. I never put them in plastic because I don't want them to choke. Just a little ribbon and they are good to go:
Also in the package: a tiny palm tree! This is a spontaneous one that popped up in a planter with another plant. I think a palm tree seed was mixed in the soil. If you want to know how to grow your own palm tree, it's easy if you follow my infographic. It's such a nice thing to do when you're on holiday somewhere sunny with palm trees. Just bring home some seeds and grow your own palm tree!
In The Plant Swap you can send anything plant-related. These are some of the previous packages sent by other participants. I also included two packages of flower seeds, some IKEA radishes, a pack of delicious Nasturtium from HEMA, an aloë vera baby and a small green succulent, ready to be potted. And as usual when I send plants: I include a little letter with some simple plant instructions.
And voilà! This package is off to Belgium, I hope Karolien will enjoy it! Do you ever send plants via snailmail? Do you have any doubts? Unfortunately you can't send plants all around the world. For example Australia has very strict import restrictions. You can always try (but risk your package being destroyed at the border). And would you join a Plant Swap? What would you send? Or wish to receive?
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Find out how on our website and use #urbanjunglebloggers on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more "Offer a Plant to a Friend" ideas, check out the gallery!
And pstttt... this month is really all about giving: Igor and I will be giving away a secret plant-related gift to 2 of our readers, so leave a comment below :)
île de Ré
This was probably the happiest day of our trip to the West Coast. The sun was out and we visited the island of Ré. I've heard so many friends raving about this place ever since we moved to France so I was really curious to discover what it was all about. And l'Île de Ré did not disappoint! At this time of the year (mid april) the island is still rather calm and the tourist traps easy to avoid.
We rented some comfy French bikes at Cyclo Surf, one of the manys bike rental places on the island, and off we went! Most cycle paths on the island are car-free which makes it really safe to bike around, unlike the rest of France. But beware of French cyclists... they seem to forget the obvious traffic code like keep right, never stop in the middle of the road and always keep your kids to your right (closest to the side of the road) ;)
Like the entire West Coast there are salt marches everywhere. Their slightly lilac hue (because of microorganisms) of the salt pans looked gorgeous against the beautiful sky an yellow flowers:
To my surprise, all houses on Île de Ré are white with green shutters. All kinds of green: mint, teal, shamrock, olive, pistachio, forest green. It's truly stunning:
Proof that this all made me really happy:
Biking along the ocean is so nice: wind blowing through your hair, a mix of spring flowers perfume and the sea smell, the view to the horizon... bliss!
We also went to the Phare des Baleines on the North East of the island. It's turned into a tourist trap with many souvenir shops and crêperies at the enty of the site, but the view on the ocean is pretty nice. There are two sea currents meeting in the middle which creates a mesmerizing wave movement.
The Island of Ré als houses a long sentence prison. I can imagine lesser places to be emprisoned, even though you're no supposed to venture around the island. Actually every year at least one prisoner is tempted by the beautiful island and tries to escape. Someone told us that last year a prisoner disappeared and they found him on his way to the continent on a stolen surf board. Haha!
The well preserved windmills near Ars en Ré, Les Moulins de la Boire, used to crush the salt cristals that were collected from the salt marches. Nowadays it's a bed & breakfast called Le Senechal.
By the way, from this beach near Sainte-Marie-de-Ré you can see Fort Boyard on the horizon, known from the famous television show :)
Ile de Ré is connected to La Rochelle by a 3km-long toll bridge constructed in 1988. You pay 8€ (in the high season it's 16€) to get onto the island and can leave for free. Hope you enjoyed joining me on this little virtual trip to the island!
A week in the West
We didn't know this part of France: we spent a week in Western France, just above La Rochelle, in the armpit of the country called La Vendée. A week of exploring, sleeping and relaxing near the ocean: bliss! We rented a little house in the dunes and headed out to small cities like Olonne-sur-Mer, Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and Jard-sur-Mer... But we preferred the seaside in between where we looked for buoys, but only found these beautiful stones.
It wasn't as sunny as in Paris, but we found some interesting color combinations in Les Sables d'Olonne:
The Atlantic Ocean was never far, with its strong waves and relaxing sounds and of course I took way too many sea pictures ;)
And with the Oean comes fish and sea food. This man was fishing for sardines:
We hopped over to the island of Noirmoutier where we walked along several salt marches. I just loved the small cabans where they sell salt. The marketing is brilliant, just SALT:
The advantage of traveling in the off season is that it was very quiet everywhere, we walked along emtpy beaches with only a few Sanderlings. The tides of the Ocean are strong near the island and when we wanted to leave, this is what the road to the continent looked like:
But we were lucky: l'ile de Noirmoutier also has a bridge! And this Wednesday I'll take you to the next island of our trip: the beautiful Ile de Ré! I loved it and hope you'll join me!
A mini oasis with Tina Frey Designs
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may already know Tina Frey Designs. I first discovered the brand at Maison & Objet in Paris and completely fell for the sensual designs in resin and their handmade feel. This Spring they are launching a beautiful new Urban Garden Collection with planters and swings (!) in the same incredible resin they’re known for.
As an Urban Jungle Blogger with more than 150 plants, I'm always on the lookout for new planters for my every growing jungle. I particularly love the feel of this large bowl: it is handsculpted and I just cannot stop touching it. The size is perfect for several smaller plants that don't need a lot of depth, like succulents or cacti, my favorites! And the good thing is, you can "feel" this bowl too, as I am giving away the same large bowl to one lucky winner!
For this special project, I got myself a new little plant: a Lithops: a "living stone" succulent that, I think, looks a lot like Waldof (one of the old men) from The Muppet Show ;) Together with some homegrown succulents and cacti that I collected, I decided to turn the bowl into a little succulent garden.
This is how I created a mini oasis in this Tina Frey Designs bowl: a plastic liner (to avoid scratches from the pebbles), a layer of small pebbles for drainage, soil and plants. Easy peasy:
I've noticed that if you plant different succulents together in a bowl or plant pot, they tend to grow bigger. And it also looks so much cuter than just one lonely plant:
To win one Tina Frey Designs large bowl in white:
► Leave a comment below with your favorite item from the Tina Frey Designs shop.
► Not mandatory, but it would be nice if you'd follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin
► Visit Happy Interior Blog for an extra chance to win: Igor is giving away a beautiful hanging planter by Tina Frey Designs!
On April 27th I'll announce the winner. This giveaway is open worldwide. (Green) fingers crossed!
This giveaway is now closed. The winner of the large Tina Frey Designs bowl is Maria. She has been contacted by email. Thank you all for playing!
Of course you can also use the bowl for other stuff ;)
And if you can't wait to find out if you won in our giveaway, you can find this bowl and other resin beauties in the Tina Frey Designs shop.
A floral carpet in the Oise
It's one of these natural phenomenons of early springtime here in France: the ground in the forests around our home get covered in wild narcissus and anemone nemorosa. In almost thirteen years I never actually went to see it up close. So yesterday was the day for a little lunch break on the floral carpet ;) Enfin!
And when you're there anyway, you make a little movie. Mais bien sûr !
Have a great weekend everyone!
Filming in the greenhouse
A few weeks ago a film crew came to visit me in the Oise. It was one of the coldest days of March and after a sunny week, it was unfortunately overcast for most of the time. But we had a fun day: I showed the team around our greenhouse, talked about my plants (even hugged one!), over-watered them for some cool slow motion shots and ran through the forest near our home.
The video is part of the IKEA Go Green campaign that we launched with IKEA Germany and Urban Jungle Bloggers. The idea was to show how we live with plants. Our home is currently a bit of a mess because of our ongoing bathroom renovation (I know... it's been 11 months...), so we filmed exclusively in the greenhouse, surrounded by my approximately 150 plants:
The film crew also traveled to Munich and followed Igor on a little trip to find yet another plant for his 32m² apartment. You'll see in the video below that he's such a natural speaker, very much at ease on (and off!) camera. It's been such an honor to work on his side for our Urban Jungle Bloggers project over the past 18 months. He truly is Mr. Happy, always clever and bright, we laugh a lot behind the scenes ;) Check out his happy Munich abode with 1 plant/m²:
Merci beaucoup Christina, Eva, Carl-Heinz and Andreas! I promise, next time you'll come visit, it will be warmer ;)
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