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Drawing of the week: Hydrangea flower

Hydrangea Illustration Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

My drawing of the week is of a bright pink hydrangea. This watercolour and ink illustration is taken from our garden as they are in full bloom at the moment for the summer.

A hydrangea is my favourite flower and this one in our garden made the journey from our little balcony in London all the way to Wiv, so I’m particularly fond of our growing, flourishing little plant.

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Plant of the fortnight: Hibiscus

Hibiscus Flower watercolour Ella Johnston An opulent bloom, the Hibiscus is a very hardy, versatile plant and thrives in tropical conditions. It is a member of the Malvaceae family and the name is Latin for marshmallow.

The flower is very showy and gregarious and as such it attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

This is actually the last plant of the fortnight post. After a year working on the blog I’ve given it a review and have decided on a few changes. Instead of bird/plant of the fortnight, I’ll be doing one ‘Drawing of the week’ post every Tuesday. So you’ll still get your illustration fix.

In keeping with my tropical mood next week I will be showcasing several drawings of the Green-headed Tanager – a beautiful bird native to Brazil.

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Beginner’s guide to the succulents plant trend

They’ve featured everywhere in style magazines recently, but what exactly is a succulent, and how can make them work for you? Here’s my quick guide.Ella Johnston #drawings of #succulent #plants at http://www.ellasplace.me

What is a succulent?
They are plants adapted for arid conditions where they might need to store water to survive. To do this, succulents have thick, fleshy leaves. They come from all round the world – cacti from desert regions and Alpine plants that are more commonly seen in garden rockeries. It’s something of a catch-all, umbrella term, however, and sometimes cacti with needles are though of separately. My drawing, above, illustrates some of the common species of succulent – there are many, many variations within each species.

#Succulent plants pictured at http://www.ellasplace.me
Succulents at Ella’s Place.

Are succulents easy to care for?
Yes. This perhaps explains some of their popularity. They’re easy to pick up from the local garden centre or florist (the ones above came from my local florist and B&Q!). Unlike some plants, they’ll cope with a little neglect. Generally, they like moisture but not being overwatered. Let them dry out completely between waterings and never let the the soil get soggy. If you’re planting outdoors, make sure the soil has good drainage. If they’re in a pot, make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom.

So are they really outdoor or indoor plants?
Some succulents are hardy and fit to survive northern European climates all year round. Some are from tropical regions that need to be looked after indoors over winter. Check the plant label to see which type of succulent you’ve got. Hardy plants can also be grown indoors, of course, and it’s really this that inspires the current trend. They’re great for small spaces and will be happy brightening a windowsill in any room of the house, as well as being a natural point of interest on a vintage sideboard or bookshelf.

How do I style them to look their best?
The fleshy leaves and range of shapes and colours of succulents means they’re already impressive-looking plants. Try grouping them together against a clean background to show off their various forms and textures.

#Succulent plants via theselfsufficientliving.com http://www.ellasplace.me
Via theselfsufficientliving.com

Succulents look great in vintage glassware and ceramics – the silver glassware below reflects the foliage to fantastic effect.

#Succulent plants #vintage at http://www.ellasplace.me via http://www.bhg.com
Via bhg.com

The mini terrariums, below, would look great hanging in a quiet kitchen space.

#Succulents #terrariums at http://www.ellasplace.me via  http://www.homelife.com.au
Via homelife.com.au

And here’s my own test for any flower, foliage and plant trend: does it work for a wedding? The answer, as seen below in a table setting, is yes. Stunning!

#Succulent #wedding table setting at http://www.ellasplace.me via romanceweddings.co.uk
Via romanceweddings.co.uk