Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Little Green Plants

A few months ago, I talked about the problem I had with my idea for favors.  Well, after thinking about the different options that I now had, I decided to go with these little green plants as our favors and escort cards.

Lucky Bamboo Plants via Eastern Leaf

Eastern Leaf allows you to set a "Need By" date for items that you purchase from them. I set the date for the day before the wedding, just to make sure that I would have time to assemble the plants.  They emailed me after I placed the order, letting me know that they would ship the plants on September 24, and that I should receive them within five business days.

September 24th came, and I received an email letting me know that my plants shipped from California. In the email, they included a tracking number, and that page sat open on my computer that entire week, with me periodically checking in every day to see their location.  And when they arrived a day earlier than expected, I was thrilled!  

We got to work this past weekend (actually on my birthday!) to put them together.  

These boxes were heavy! 26 and 36 pounds! / Personal Picture

I have to tell you, readers, I was really surprised by the packaging that these came in.  The boxes were packed full of packing peanuts, the vases were in boxes of 24 with each separated by a piece of cardboard to avoid clinging, and the extra vases were wrapped in foam sheets.  The plants were set in a water soluble gel to keep them watered, and grouped together using rubber bands and plastic baggies.  The colored gravel were also packaged well, and each bag was labeled with how much gravel this was for.

Hey! Have some packing peanuts! / Personal Picture

Perfectly packed vases / Personal Picture

Bamboo stalks wrapped in the water gel / Personal Picture

Orange gravel (I swear, it's more orange in person) / Personal Picture

The first thing I did after unpacking everything from the boxes was ask FI to wipe out the interior of the vases. I wanted to make sure that they were free of oils and cardboard lint before placing the plants inside.  

Next, I filled up a bowl with the gravel so that I could spoon it into the vases easier.  I found that using measuring spoons, 1 tsp and 1Tbs were the perfect amounts for the gravel in each vase.  I'll elaborate more on that later.  

The bamboo was packaged in groups of 10 stalks, which is actually how they are grown.  The difficult part about this is that all of the roots were tangled, and we needed to separate each group into sets of 2 stalks, as that's how many I chose for each vase.  I got a medium sized mixing bowl, filled it half way with water, and set the stalks in there.  Because the gel that they were in for shipping was water soluble, as soon as the stalks hit the water, the gel disappeared, which was great.  To get the stalks apart, I let them fall out of their round shape, and pulled very very gently on each pair of stalks to help it separate from the others.  I left them in the mixing bowl until I was ready to place each pair in a vase.  

Separated bamboo stalks / Personal Picture

The plants came with a little directions sheet on how to assemble everything, so I took that out and had a look.

Assembly directions / Personal Picture

I played around a bit with the amount of gravel, and decided to be frugal with the amount I used in each vase, because I was afraid of running out.  I scooped 1 tsp of gravel into the bottom of every vase, and then placed the bamboo stalks on top.  For some of the stalks that had really long roots, I simply wrapped them around the base of the stalks and then placed them in the vase.  

Stalks over the bottom layer of gravel / Personal Picture

Using the 1 Tbs measuring spoon, I then added two tablespoons of gravel into the vase to hold the stalks upright.  

I added enough water to cover the gravel and then some, and then placed all of the plants back in the boxes that the vases shipped in.  I currently have the plants sitting in the living room, away from all pesky animals, and out of direct sunlight.  I'm checking their water every day, and am hoping that they transport well on the day of.  

Bamboo Stalks with Gravel / Personal Picture

The plants will eventually have ribbon ties on them, similar to the stock picture, but we will also be hanging the escort cards from the ribbons, giving them double duty.  I'm afraid of the cards getting wet though, so we are going to wait until the last minute to put the tags on.  Plus, tying 80 knots shouldn't be too time consuming...I hope!

What are you doing for your favors and escort cards?  Are you incorporating any live plants into your wedding, other than normal flowers?

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