Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is it spring yet???

ROSEMARY HARRIS: In the past I've described it as cabin fever. I've even suggested that my first book would never have been written if I hadn't been eager to get back in the garden - even if it was only on paper.

I've reorganized my garden books and rearranged most of the snow-covered garden furniture
(News flash - this year it will be dark green at the pool and light green under the deck! Alert the media.)
I've started to pot up some of the cuttings I took last September. 

Here's the deal - if it doesn't start feeling like spring out there soon I won't be responsible for the consequences.

Years ago I used to start seeds in the kitchen. Inevitably I'd start them too early. They'd rot or get leggy. I'd compost most of them and buy flats instead. And this after turning my kitchen into Luther Burbank's laboratory for a good three months. I'm trying to be patient but...I am itching to put on those garden gloves.

What's new for me in 2013? A new garden shed for one thing. Either it will help me get organized or simply allow me to stash more tag sale purchases (mix-matched garden chairs, wrought iron anything, etc.) Too soon to tell.

Also I've decided to turn my Secret/Meditation Garden into a Whimsical Garden. My two discreet garden goddesses will soon be joined by ornaments, planters and installations which are now crowding the falling down shed (which will remain) and the garage.
I used to be of the opinion that three garden ornaments was one or two too many but in this spot, anything goes.  It will be a mix of tag sale, Home Goods, rusted tools, Goodwill and whatever else strikes my fancy. Either it will be fun or embarrassingly deranged. I'll keep you posted.

Here are two ideas from the Philly Flower Show.
In the meantime, who's going to help me out with some ideas while I wait for it to get warm? Spoon and fork chandelier? Bedsprings trellis? Broken chair planter...?
Best garden tip from a commenter will receive a vintage copy of The Women's Home Companion  Garden Book. (Sigh..I actually own two.)


  1. Your garden plans sound wonderful . . . both of the ideas from the Philadelphia Flower Show really creep me out . . . but I’m voting for the broken chair planter, which actually sounds rather intriguing . . . .

    Unfortunately, I’m probably not the one to be giving anyone garden tips as I am not a true gardener at all . . . I don’t plan out the garden, so my flower gardens are pretty much of a mish-mash . . . the only requirement for being included in the garden is to be something I like. So there are lots and lots of daffodils, lilacs, lily-of-the-valley . . . pinwheels and a garden flag . . . . There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason for any of the gardens except for the pink garden for my mom, where all the flowers are some shade of pink . . . . I have, however, managed to get the two large urns that sit on the front porch ready . . . they are always filled with white petunias as soon warm spring days are here . . . .

  2. Since Hurricane Sandy turned my front lawn into a muddy river bank dotted with spots of grass, I suspect most of my spring will be spent pushing Scott's two-wheeled, green dispenser back and forth across the dirt. Grub killer, lime, and fertilizer in copious amounts. Not sure this is a tip, but I've also had success transferring those little tufts of good grass that pop up in my garden out to the lawn. I've regained ground lost to the lawnmower and previous floods.

  3. I know the feeling, Rosemary! Our new 8 inches of snow isn't helping much around here.

    My favorite among my ecumenical statuary collection (the Buddha, St. Francis, a gargoyle, several cats, a huge metal bobbing stork) is Gnome Chomsky -- Google him. Remember I have a background in linguistics...

    Most apt for a writer might be a metal bookcase turned planter! Or a little desk in the garden.

  4. I love being in London, I really do. But while the forecast here is for continuing rain and some snow until Easter, it's SPRING in north Texas! There are a few fruit trees blooming in London, and a handful of brave daffs. At home, the trees were budding and my antique roses starting to bloom....

    I have loads of garden plans this year, including lots of clean up, but the big thing is replacing our eighteen-year-old fence.

    Ro, I love whimsey, and color. Love the stacked wheelbarrows from the Philly show. And I like ALL your ideas.

    Here's a link to my favorite local garden shop. I want some of these metal-animal garden ornaments!

  5. The shop I posted the link to is our old Greyhound bus station. Nice re-purposing!

  6. I've just visited the Diggin it stuff...wish i was closer!

  7. How about laying a painted plank across two or three old chairs to make a garden seat? Dee

  8. That's a cute idea Dee!

    We don't do much with flowers, but we looooovvvve our vegetable garden. And I know too well the sad sight of leggy plants grown from seed! But we did get the most amazing heirloom tomatoes that way--two years in a row.

  9. I love the idea of repurposing old tools or furniture as planters or ornaments. So far I'm considering an old window, pitchfork, piece of an old bench, ax, etc.
    Loving the idea of two chairs and plank as a bench...

    Jack, I've been eliminating lawn but I do as you suggested with moss.

  10. Oh, I agree with you on garden ornaments. One is too many.

    Then I found a cute gray stone rabbit, and I thought..what can that hurt? The I found two antique cast iron doves. Had to have those. There there was a little green metal frog with googly obwsidian eyes, and so I tucked that under a bush, only the head sticking out. I'm stopping now. NO more. I promise.

    We excavated the steps of an original but no-longer-used front walk of our house. We took one of the huge hunks of hundred-year-old concrete (cement?) and made it into a little low garden bench among the ferns. Our next door neighbor girls call it the magic bench, and they come there to sketch. (Yes, they are THAT CUTE.)

  11. Nice Shed !

    I would put a flower border all around shed and use landscape stones to border the border and keep the mulch in.

    If you don't care for landscape stones to border, you can get metal or plastic border thingy's you pound in ground with mallet.

    toward the back corners in the border, some mandevilla, morning glory vines, you can pot them in decorative "pots" and set in the border instead of planting in ground -

    old metal tubs/buckets are great for that, can make your own trellis with 1"x1" or 2"x2" cedar and using string for the vine, gives the image of the vine floating in the frame, or if you like traditional - you can use lattice

    That will give illusion of shed being wider by having the vines come out width of border at back corner

    if back of shed gets good light, you can plant a small veg garden, a tomato plant, zuchinni, yellow squash, beans will all grow on a trellis if trained that way and bring that border out and xtra foot or two (if space allows) and plant marigolds - they help keep bugs off the veg plants

    front of shed needs something - doors could use some colorful metal art, a decorative thermometer.

    Sun catchers would look nice in windows, add some color

    in front on right corner in border, if space allows, bring a curve out in border and you could place a sundial to break up the symmetry of the two plants and two windows

    a round stepping stone path to door would look nice, curved to left side toward your pond, only need to do 5 or 6 stones out, just as a "welcome" to the shed, if you cut them into ground you can mow over them

    Since you have a pond, water for birds available, which would allow you to place a few bird feeders hanging on plant posts in the flower beds, goldfinches are everywhere and beautiful to watch, easy feeders to fill.

    with veg garden in back you can put lace netting over the plants as veg start to produce to keep birds off

    Wish I could draw in the comment box, would be easier to draw it than explain it

    Shed doesn't look too large so keep your plants on a smaller scale and use the vines for "wow factor" , you can do annuals and/or perennial

    some lirope or monkey grass mixed in with flowers is a nice look

    on sides, no windows so plant closest to building could be taller like hollyhocks, gladiolas as they would have support.

    depends if you are wanting a "cottagey" type border or a very neat border as to what plants you put in.

    If you enjoy wind chimes, you could hang them from eve or get the ones that are on a metal stake you put in ground (they stand about 30" or so tall

    Good luck and I look forward to pics when you get it done


  12. Just saw Ro's post "whimsical" all whimsical gardens need a gnome, fairy, stone froggy etc added in



    all sorts of solar garden lighting and art also|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_avg_rating%7C1&facetInfo=

    something like this would look adorable just barely to side/in front of one of the evergreens

  13. doesn't look like my links worked, might have to copy and paste them :(


  14. There are clearly some serious gardeners here!

    My best "gardening tip" is to take time to actually enjoy the garden without worrying about mulching or deadheading or weeding. Take your caffeine in the morning or your adult beverage in the evening, and sit on your deck or patio to appreciate all your hard work.

  15. Love old gardening books. Love new gardening books. If only their pages would magically transform the ground. We have to move our vegetable garden this year -- recurrent flooding from changes in the groundwater -- an exciting and terrifying project. But since it's snowing at the moment, I don't feel too behind.

    My favorite garden "repurposing" (I hate the word, but it fits) was to turn an old bamboo rake into a trellis for my favorite jackmani clematis, Etoile Violette. In the woodland garden on the east side of the house, I have more clematis and honeysuckle trained up prunings from the old apple tree we reclaimed.

    I hope I find my weed popper fork thingy when the snow's off the woodland garden -- I really did not mean to turn it into yard art.

  16. One thing I've had success with in the past, Ro, is getting a couple of straw bales and cutting holes in the middle. Fill with potting soil and plant veggies and/or flowers, especially some that will vine out over the bale. Cheap, quick, and easy raised beds with a nice country look--and totally biodegradable at the end. You can use the "planter when finished for mulch. Also keeps the earth warmer and allows for earlier planting in late springs like this one.

  17. I found an old iron twin bed, complete with the frame/springs. Made a cushion, covered with outdoor fabric, then added lots of outdoor pillows. It has made the best place to read, nap, or just sit and relax outdoors.

  18. I LOVE my garden but my gardening skills and attention span are limited. I hire someone to come and clean up in the spring. Then I put some lovely flowering pots (early pansies; later petunias) in the patio, take out my coffee and the newspaper, and pull up a chair in the sun. SUN??? Has anyone seen it lately??

  19. Ro, I think your ideas are wonderful. Maybe you could attach a bunch of hair dryers to the deck wall, so you could warm up the garden right now?

    My favorite secret garden thing is an ancient crumbling clay chicken that I totally, totally love.