Potting Plants on the Patio

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Apr 292012

Today was a garden work day – I had a number of pots that needed annuals added and some clean-up to do from last summer. As I was checking things out and deciding what to plant where, I noticed that a few of the ‘annuals’ from last year managed to survive the winter and were regrowing. I guess it wasn’t a very harsh winter – I’ve never had these types of annuals overwinter before.

I planted three types of osteopernum in my favorite planter which is sadly on its last legs. Its a wooden tool box painted blue – I started planting in it about 10 years ago so I guess its had a long run.

This planter is stuck in its spot now – if I lift it up the bottom will fall out!

Viv helped me by planting this viola plant all by herself.

I guess I was in the mood for old fashioned plants – I bought carnations and marigolds.

These marigolds are sharing space with one of the overwintered plants – a hot pink gerbera daisy. I’m so curious to see if it blooms!

The white carnation went into a pot with the two geraniums that overwintered. I’m not sure what color these are since there was another geranium that didn’t survive, but they could be red, white or fuchsia.

I also planted two blue lake bush beans in the vegetable bed, a verbena in a pot with some perennials that I expected to survive the winter, strawberries in a hanging basket, and a little sedum in a tiny pot.

Knotted and Braided Bookmark with Seashells

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Apr 282012

The other day I was cleaning out a junk drawer and found a bookmark I made a few years ago using thin ribbon and seashells. I figured I could improve on it a bit, and since I also found a couple of shells in that junk drawer I decided to give it a try. I used embroidery floss and knotted it in the fashion of a friendship bracelet (like I did here, here and here), and then added the two seashells to one end of the bookmark and a little charm I got free from Anthropologie (showing ‘me’ time) to the other end.

I attached the shells using super glue which I somehow managed to get all over my fingers. I’m lucky they’re not sticking to the keyboard right now. Upside is I could go out and rob some place and leave no fingerprints with all this glue over my fingertips!

Apr 252012

I was at a complete loss as to what to do tonight when I spotted this extra canvas cotton tote bag (left over from a long-ago project) and some fabric markers laying among my crafting supplies. An hour of doodling while watching the Daily Show and Colbert and this is what I came up with:

Planting in the Vegetable Garden

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Apr 242012

Today we got started on our vegetable garden. We pulled up the weeds from the winter, added three bags of compost and turned the soil. I didn’t think to take a ‘before’ picture of the raised bed, but it was looking pretty shabby. I had a few vegetable starts to plant, and I picked up some seeds at the hardware store as well.

First up Vivi helped me plant the snap pea starts – her favorite vegetable. Next Dom did a great job helping me plant the broccoli starts – his favorite veggie! Then we moved on to the seeds: rainbow carrots, bush beans, snap peas, cucumbers and radishes. We were just getting started on the itsy bitsy rainbow carrot seeds when somehow baby brother took a header face first into the garden! He’s such a boy that he couldn’t care less that he had a face full of dirt. Then, while I was getting him cleaned off Vivi planted the entire pack of carrot seeds in about a third of the garden and they’re much too small to be able to pick out. That was the end of our planting session – we’ll have to do more in the next week or so. I think I’ll wait for the carrots to sprout and then plant the radishes among them, and keep the other area for the peas and beans and cucumbers.

Mindless Physical Labor Equals Mental Creativity

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Apr 232012

I had a lot of physical work to do today (steam cleaning the carpets) and it was the perfect kind of work for letting the mind wander, since it doesn’t take a whole lot of brains to push a steam-cleaner back and forth across a room. It was a beautiful day today so we were able to move our family room / playroom furniture outside in order to clean that room, and doing that got me thinking about how to enliven our patio for summer. Here are some of the ideas for beautifying that space:

1. We have an Ikea Klippan love seat that is currently living in our family room but is mainly used as a junk catcher and laundry staging area (i.e. its just taking up space). It was so nice to have it on the patio today, but clearly it can’t be out there as is since it would be soaked through and then rotted in a matter of maybe a week. I’m thinking maybe I can sew a cover for it out of oilcloth, and if I seal the seams and change out the legs from wood to metal it might last the summer outside. I have an old slipcover for the sofa that I can rip the seams out and use as a pattern.

2. paint our faded wood patio table and chairs a bright color – maybe orange?

3. transform a wall mounted candelabra into a mini garden. It’s got seven little votive candle holders which might be able to be planted into, or else removed and replaced with itty-bitty terra cotta pots.

4. plant a succulent bowl – I’ve got an old stainless steel bowl (actually a wok lid) that I’ll use for that.

That’s enough work for now, but if I managed to get all this done by July (the real start of summer around here) our patio would look amazing.

Taming the Black Bamboo

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Apr 222012

We have a small grove of black bamboo planted in our back yard, and while its not completely taking over everything it does need a bit of maintenance to keep it in line. We planted it about five years ago to try and block the neighbor’s tree house that looms over the fence above the yard.

black bamboo grove

This afternoon I started thinning it out – the picture above is an ‘after’ picture, although I’m not done yet – I still need to thin out the middle where its most dense. You can’t tell easily from this picture, but the canes are at least 15 feet high. I’ve got a few ideas about what to do with the ones I’m thinning out, but first I’ll need to strip the shoots off the sides and chop them down to a smaller size.

Pile of bamboo that I cut from the grove

In the past I’ve used the canes for garden stakes and plant trellises, and last year we made neat marshmallow roasting sticks for the kids by sharpening one end of the cane and painting the other end a fun color with each kid’s name on it. I’ll probably do that again, but there are so many canes that I’ll be able to do some more with them as well.

black bamboo detail