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Monday, August 8, 2016

The Project that got away from me

     Have you ever decided to do something you thought would only take a little bit of time and it turned into something bigger? Well that happened to me this summer. I decided I needed to redo our fairy garden. I did a post in October 2014 about it, see: A Dance With Fairies. The problem with the location was the fact it was under a tree. The squirrels kept running through and knocking things over. I thought it would be better if we got it up off the ground. And so the project began. It started with my husband building a frame for a platform to place the fairy houses, etc on. In the notched out areas he placed wood slats.

    So now how do we get it up off the ground? We still had some concrete blocks from when we did the mound (see previous post). But who wants dull ole grey. I know let's paint them.


During (enlisting the help of the grandson)


     Here's the finished platform. Over the wood slats we placed wire and then some indoor/outdoor grass carpet. Now I had a larger area then before so of course you need to make more houses to fill up the space.

I bought this little gazebo at Ben Franklin store. I painted it green and glued on the pine cone seed scales, then sprayed with clear coat. The little hanging baskets are made from tooth picks. The table and chairs I made from popsicle sticks and colored floral wire I found at the dollar store. I also made the weather vane on top from the same wire. Below you'll also see some bicycles I made from wire and buttons.

What better use for an old leather boot then to make a house for the Old Lady with so many children she didn't know what to do.

My grandson wanted a castle. I found this one at Michael's. I sprayed it with off white textured paint, then hand painted the rest. I made the draw bridge from popscile sticks and some chain from my jewelry making stash.

After we got everything set up I realized the area was getting too hot from the sun. So of course we made a sun shade. We also have a tarp nearby in case of rain. A fairy land wouldn't be complete without fairy lights. I found some solar string lights on line. We stapled them around the outside edge. Now it looks just as lovely at night as it does during the day.

Our local nursery sells fun things for fairy gardens. When our granddaughter was here for a visit we had to go and pick out a few more things. She and the grandson had fun arranging things. Everything got moved numerous times. Since Rex got his name on the castle she got to pick a house. This was her choice.

     This project started around the first part of April. I think we might finally be done. Or at least until I think of something else.

A thought to ponder: "Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds."                          William Wordsworth

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Garden Therapy: Evolution

     A garden is a living thing, therefore it will change and evolve over time. In this post I thought I would share another area of our garden that has changed over the twenty plus years we have lived in our home. Because our yard is so large and has many different areas we have given these spaces names. This helps us when we are talking about doing something to a certain spot. The area I'm sharing today we call "the mound".


     This started out as a pile of dirt that was left over from the building of our house when they dug the foundation. We decided to leave it and plant flowers and shrubs on it, also a couple trees behind.



     This was fine for several years, but over time we were having problems with grass growing in among the plants. It was becoming difficult to maintain. So we thought about what we could do to make maintenance easier. The following photos show the changes we made in 2008.

     As you can see we decided to build a block wall. We were able to buy the concrete blocks cheaply, they came from a building that had been torn down.

The wall is starting to take shape. My husband used rebar and concrete inside the blocks to help hold them in place.

Here is the wall the following year in 2009. We faced the block with lattice and topped it with rustic tiles. The back part of the mound just slopes down to meet the ground behind.

     The following photos show what the area looks like today. As you can see the plants have filled in nicely. We put down weed barrier cloth and then covered that with rocks. It is now pretty low maintenance. 

And a few little embellishments for fun.
I have three different ones that glow at night

     It is fun to look back at the old photos and see the transformation that has taken place over the years. Gardening is certainly not for the impatient.

A thought to ponder: " To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."
                                                                                     Audrey Hepburn 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Building a Herb Garden

     We've had a particularly nice spring this year here in Wyoming. No late unexpected snow or frosts. Our garden is blooming up a storm. I thought in this post I would share photos of our herb garden. As I've mentioned before we've been in this house over twenty years, building the garden from nothing. 

 The above photo was taken in 1993 and shows the laying out of the pathways.

    I'm sorry this photo isn't better but it was before the digital age. But you can see the path goes through the structure with two off shoots on either side and a circle area in the center.

     This photo was taken the following year and you can see things are starting to grow. 

     This photo was taken in 1997. As you can see the grape vines are doing nicely. The far end arbor has hops growing.

     This was the following year. We found that hops was not a good idea, also the store bought arbors were not holding up under the weight of them or the grapes. So my husband built sturdier ones that are still doing well.

     Here's a winter shot. We had to wait until the grapes died back for the winter and rebuilt that arbor in the early spring. You can see more photos of the grape arbor in my post from last year, Invasion of the Grape Snatchers.

     Here's a recent look at the pathways. You might note that I have my basil planted in a pot. It is very tender, so this makes it easier to move inside if there is a threat of colder weather.

We replaced the hops with these beautiful 'William Baffin' roses.
In the center is a sun dial surrounded by lavender. 

     I love mint and have several varieties growing. But if your not careful it can take over the garden. We came up with a way to keep it under control.

     Because mint's roots spread close to the surface we were able to bury metal and plastic culvert about six inches in the ground. This contains the plants nicely. The photo below shows the start of the spring growth.

     The next photo shows my pineapple mint now. I also have apple mint, spearmint, chocolate mint and orange mint. All of them add a lovely fragrance to the garden. And can be a wonderful addition to certain drinks and other recipes. 

     Here are a few more pictures of some of my herbs. Starting at upper left; oregano with some chives in front, thyme, sage, parsley. A few others that I have growing are; lemon balm, tarragon, rosemary, lemon thyme, catnip, savory.

     Having an herb garden right out my back door makes for easy access when I'm cooking and want fresh herbs. Some days I just enjoy walking through and touching the herbs to release their aroma. 

A thought to ponder: "Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks."                                                                        Charlemagne