When I was walking through the vendor booths last month at the Chicago Garden Show, something a bit . . . unusual. . . caught my eye.
Water Marbles. $4 a package. I decided to try one.
You add some of the tiny marbles to a vase
filled with distilled water
and then you wait.
Over the course of a day, those little marbles absorb every drop of the water in the vase
and you end up with a vase full of water marbles!
Supposedly, you can place cut flowers or a bamboo plant in the vase filled with water marbles . . . and never have to water it. The water from the marbles is apparently enough to keep the the flowers or plants adequately hydrated. Evenutally, the water desorbs (it's a real term; I checked with the resident chemist) and the marbles return to their original tiny size.
And you can use them again and again.
Haven't actually tried putting flowers in the marbles yet, but I will.
For now, I just think they're kind of fun. They look pretty, just sitting there in the vase. And they're really fun to hold -- surprisinly hydrated and slightly slimy in a Ooooooo-Coooooool! kind of way.
You can order some for yourself . . .at this really cheesy website. (This is the company that was selling them at the Chicago Garden Show; I found the website in the instruction materials packed with my Water Marbles.) They are also available in larger quantities (with a more scientific explanation of what happens) here.