Luna: My Favorite Plant Store Ever!

If you read my very first blog post, you know that my plant journey truly began on a warm spring day in March 2017, when I stumbled upon a shop called Luna Gifts and Botanicals. Luna is located in the historic Oregon district – an up and coming area of Dayton, Ohio. As soon as I had been bitten by the “plant bug,” my visits to Luna became nearly a weekly occurrence. Not only is the shop beautiful, but some of the nicest, sweetest people you will ever meet work there. (Seriously, they remembered my kids’ names, remembered me from visit and visit, and would even text me suggestions of plants when I needed them! BEST EVER!)

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Seeing this sign is like coming home!

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Since my family and I moved from Dayton nearly two months ago, I have been missing my weekly visits to Luna terribly. I follow their account on Instagram (@luna_gifts), and their gorgeous posts make me even more homesick.

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I love this little chalkboard sign!

Last week, I had the chance to go home to Dayton – specifically to visit my favorite plant store ever! As soon as I stepped into the shop, I could not stop smiling. Lovely plants in every shade of green, goods and gifts sourced from many independent artisans, and beautiful pots and planters surrounded me. To top it all off, I was given the warmest welcome by almost the complete staff of Luna, even including the owners! During my visit, I had a privilege to chat with the girls about many different aspects of their shop.

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Luna’s sister store, Heart Mercantile, opened in October 2015, selling a variety of unique products and gifts. They added plants to their store’s offerings, and couldn’t keep plants on the shelves. However, Heart’s space was limited and when they heard the new retail space had opened up around the corner, the group of best friends decided to open a second store, focused mainly on plants and bohemian-themed gifts; Luna opened in September 2016.

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It was all I could do not to take this guy home…

When describing the scope of both stores, the girls describe Heart as the “funny” or “dark” store (seriously if you ever visit, you’ll understand why…but you might not want to take your kids there if they can read – HA!), while Luna is the more “light” store. They are both seriously amazing!

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One of my favorite things about Luna is that it is not just a plant store, but sells many different types of products – from crystals to candles, books to jewelry, planters to food goods. They features a lot of Etsy vendors for these items, a total of 200 different sellers between Heart and Luna. (Some of their favorite Etsy venders include: Pen + Pillar cards, Wild Botanicals, 39 north jewelry, Heartswell, Capricorn Press, URB Apothecary, Savve Studios, and Goodsmith Studio.) They also source local products as often as they can. Their goal is to find unique gifts and goods – something different that you can’t find elsewhere – and they do a fantastic job of it!

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Um, I think I need one of each…

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When it comes to plants, the Luna staff likes to handpick unique plants for their customers – and they love learning about new varieties along the way. All of this knowledge trickles down to Luna’s patrons. When you begin searching for a plant at Luna, you will find that the plants are grouped together by the type of light they prefer and the amount of care they require. This is just one way that the Luna girls try to help their customers – specifically those who might be new to owning houseplants – have a successful plant experience. They also have care cards up by the register for the different types of plants they sell. These are available for customers to take, giving the purchaser a good foundation of knowledge to take with them.

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However, my favorite way to find out more about plants is – of course – to ask! The girls who work at Luna are so incredibly knowledgeable about the plants they sell. They give great advice as to what type of plant will do well in a certain space – taking into account light of your space, as well as how much time you want to commit to it’s care – and have a great aesthetic eye for offering advice on planters or other gifts and decor. They have seriously never steered me wrong!

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Looking up…

I asked what the most commonly sold plant at Luna is; the girls agreed snake plants, ZZ plants, and air plants are some of their most-sold plants. They also sell a lot of cacti and succulents, which just so happened to be the plant of the week during my visit.

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During our time together, I shared with the girls that my first successful plant experience had been a monstera plant purchased at their shop. They were so tickled that they had been the inspiration for this crazy plant journey on which I find myself! (I think it was then that they understood why I have such a soft place in my heart for them, as well!)

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Beautiful cards – perfect for any occasion

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When the time came for me to leave, I received hugs all around, an adorable little pineapple air plant magnet (which I’m obsessed with and have on my refrigerator), and I made many promises to be back soon to see all of their Christmas displays.

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The gorgeous ladies of Luna (from left to right): Carly Barrett, Brittany Smith, Kammi Kuskowski, Tracy Robillard, and Sarah Smith (not pictured: Kelsey Kussman)

If you are ever in Dayton – or even the greater Dayton area – be sure to stop by Luna Gifts and Botanicals. I promise you won’t be disappointed! (And while you’re there, be sure to swing by Press next door for some of the best coffee you’ll ever have. I recommend the latte!)

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You can visit Luna at 261 Wayne Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, 45402. (Please note: parking is across the street!) Their hours of operation are Tuesday thru Thursday, 11:00 to 6:00; Friday and Saturday, 11:00 to 7:00; and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00. If you go check them out, don’t forget to tell them the {house}plant momma sent you!

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To learn more about Luna…
Website: www.lunadayton.com
Instagram: @luna_gifts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lunadayton/

Also, if you’re interested, to learn more about Luna’s sister store, Heart Mercantile…
Website: www.heartmercantile.com
Instagram: @heart_mercantile
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeartMercantile/

– the {house}plant momma

Pumpkin Succulent Planter DIY

It finally feels like autumn here in Central Ohio! After months of hot, sticky days – even though the entire month of September – the weather finally cooled down with some rain over the weekend.

Something I love about living in the Midwest is the changing of the seasons; I am always so excited for the next season to arrive! In the spring, I’m dying to get out of my sweaters and boots and into cute little dresses and flip-flops. However, this time of year, I’m eager to snuggle up in an oversized hoodie (generally stolen from my oldest son’s closer) with a cup of tea.

Fall is also one of my favorite times of year with my family. From going to the pumpkin patch to making homemade applesauce and apple pie, from taking the kids trick-or-treating to making caramel apples, autumn holds many treasured traditions for our little crew.

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Me and my crew at the pumpkin patch

With the crisp feel of fall in the air, I decided to take on a fun (and easy!) little DIY that I wanted to share with you: turning a pumpkin into a succulent planter. This little project makes a perfect centerpiece for a table or would look adorable on your porch (climate permitting!).

As I said, this project is very simple. First, go to your local greenhouse or favorite plant store and select some succulents. I recommend picking ones that aren’t too short, as you want to add some dimension to your planter; however, picking succulents in a variety of heights is a good idea.

For my planter, I decided to use a white pumpkin, which I found for $6.99 at Trader Joe’s. Truthfully, you can use any color or shape of pumpkin you want; you can even use a plastic or Styrofoam pumpkin, which you should be able to easily find at your local craft store or hobby shop.

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Begin by cutting the top of your pumpkin out, just as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. I should note that the shorter pumpkins – like the one I used – are a little harder to work with. Because they have less area in the middle filled with seeds, you have to work a little harder to separate the top from the rest of the pumpkin.

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Once the top of your pumpkin is removed, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and “goo” from the inside of your pumpkin. As I was working on this step, a little “helper” came along… “Whacha doin’, Momma?” So…my little “helper” assisted me with the scooping process!

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When your pumpkin is empty, fill it about half-way with soil. I used a soil that is specific for cacti and succulents, as I have found the faster-draining soil does really well for those plants.

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Gently remove your succulents from their pots and set them in the pumpkin as desired. Carefully fill in around your succulents with more soil until they are well supported, but do not pack the soil in too tightly.

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I gave my succulents a nice drink after they were planted, which also helped wash off some of the loose soil that had settled on them. And ta-da! Your pumpkin planter is complete!

(I told you that was easy, didn’t I?)

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I am so excited to display my planter on my dining room table, and add a little bit of festive autumn décor into my home.

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If you decide to take on this project, I would absolutely LOVE to see what you come up with! Please e-mail me pictures to the.houseplant.momma@gmail.com or tag me on Instagram @the.houseplant.momma – I can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

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What’d your favorite autumn tradition? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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– the {house}plant momma

Moving With Plants

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been…I promise: I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. My family and I just made a big move, and things have been absolutely insane. As part of sharing my plant journey with you all, I wanted to share my experiences with moving with plants.

We placed our home in Dayton, Ohio on the market on July 15, 2017 as we left for a few days vacation with my parents. I jokingly told our realtor as we left, “Get this thing sold before we get home!”

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Some of my plants lined up by the door before moving

And he did. In four days – yes, before we returned – our house was under contract. Although we had anticipated it would sell quickly, we hadn’t counted on it selling THAT quickly. The next month approaching our closing was an absolute whirlwind of packing and trying to figure out what was next for our family.

We planned to move to Dublin, Ohio, to be closer to where my stepson, Alex, lives with his mom. However, homes were selling like hotcakes in the area (for well above our price range, no less). Finally, a week before we were set to move out of our home in Dayton, we went under contract on a “fixer-upper” less than half a mile from Alex’s mom’s house.

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Cutest little moving helper I ever did see! (Note the tongue out in concentration as he walks down the steep plank!)

And then I began to panic – where was all our stuff going to go? And, more importantly, where were all my plant babies going to go? (You know that was my real concern!) My in-laws graciously allowed to let us keep all our stuff in their pole barn while we waited to close on our new house; they also agreed let me keep all my plants in their basement.

I really fought my husband about taking my plants with us. We secured a short-term apartment (through Airbnb), and I felt like we’d have plenty of space for my plants. My husband told me – no plants. (Insert crying face emoji!) I did manage to keep a few of my cuttings with me, but all of my other plants – large and small – were packed up into the drawers of our dresser and transported to my in-laws in the moving truck.

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R.I.P. rubber tree (and you can see the battered monstera in the foreground)

Some of my plants didn’t do so well in the move. My beautiful monstera took a beating in the moving truck. Also, once moved into my in-laws, my rubber tree that had been struggling at our home completely gave up the goat.

However, most of my plants did pretty well (amazingly!!). My in-laws have a split-level home, and their basement has some fantastic southern-facing windows. Also, the room where the plants were is fairly humid, and they sure liked that!

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Checking in on my plant babes in my in-laws basement

I visited my plants a couple times while they were away from me, being sure they had enough water, pruning them as needed, moving them towards the window or away, depending on their needs.

On September 22, 2017, we closed on our new house and got keys right away. I wanted to pick up my plants the instant we were done at the closing, but my husband (ever the logical one) said we needed to move in “stuff” before plants. (Such a killjoy, right?? HA!)

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YAY! They’re home!

Finally, last week, my in-laws brought all my plant babies to their new home! I can’t tell you how big I was smiling as I carried in each drawer and crate filled with green goodness. After all the plants were in the house, I spent several hours with my hands happily covered in soil as I worked with each one in-depth: pruning, repotting, etc.

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So this is where I am: living out of boxes, plants stacked anywhere that’s flat (including on piles of boxes), painting my fireplace a color my husband hates, and preparing to strip miles of wallpaper from every room in the house.

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I’ll definitely share how my plants adjust to their new environment, especially as we get ready for winter.  Fingers crossed they do well!

– the {house}plant momma