Ask anyone: Accents are sexy. And as it turns out, mastering a DIY accent for the kitchen shelf, bathroom counter or coffee table is as entertaining as it easy and affordable – especially when done in groups. This accent (or stylish gift): a teacup cactus garden adorable enough to make Martha Stewart blush. 1: Pursue Personality The vessel comes first – so the first stop is the thrift store. We scored at St. Vincent De Paul’s and Goodwill, finding nice glass orbs, funky glasses and squatty bowls for no more than a few bucks. (Clear glass ranks highest on the hit list because it reveals the layers that come later.) Then we hit Home Depot for little succulents as cheap as $2, aiming for diverse shapes that would contrast attractively. More marauding horticulturalists can snap pieces from the neighborhood cacti and plant them in the dirt. 2: Layer for Life From the bottom: Start with small rocks, pebbles or marbles (scavenge or buy bags at garden supply outlets for as little as $2.50) that allow for drainage. On top goes a layer of organic plant charcoal that also allows water to pass and discourages bacteria. Then comes soil and the dainty-but-tough cacti cousins – often two or more arrive in one container, so delicately breaking them up diversifies arrangements and stretches succulent supplies – and the strategic fun of orchestrating the layout. 3: Boss the Moss and Rock On Scottish moss or other types of ground cover help fill in gaps. Gardening and specialty stores that peddle orchids often stock it, and Orchard Supply Hardware carries it in nice small plots for $3. Stones and rocks help fill in the tiny topography, as does the occasional dinosaur figurine. The little habitat needs minimal water – a splash every three weeks or so will do.
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