Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

I had a garden that I just couldn’t maintain after my Mom’s passing… so it fell into disrepair (overtaken by weeds).  I had several pieces of statuary in the garden that were just hidden from view.   With all of the work done in the pool yard this season I decided, on the hottest day of the year, to liberate the statues and put them in the pool yard.

Although I have never been a fan of garden ornaments… I have found that there is a subtle balance needed when placing them and what style you decide on.  I tend to like subtle objects that are a surprise when discovered but don’t distract from my flowers.  After all, the flowers are the show and the statuary should be the backdrop or anchors.

Here are the existing pieces in the pool yard:

This meditating monk and turtle are right next to my seating area by the pool. Just so relaxing.

Now for one of the repurposed pieces:

I’ve always been a fan of obelisks!

And the other piece:

My meditation statue!

I now have 3 items in the yard in three distinct areas all separate from each other.  You will see that they are all monochromatic and very soothing; just my style.  I have seen very active and very abundant ornaments in gardens that work, too… and some that overwhelm because there is no theme, level of consistency or one focal point.  It all depends on the energy you want to bring out in yourself and your visitors.  The active gardens have lots of energy.  My gardens are my sanctuary and I want to relax and unwind.  Make sense?


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This was a quick afternoon project that took a little thought and the ability to tie a square knot.  Other than that, it was quick and easy!  This was a wind chime that was my Mom’s.  After a severe windstorm early this spring one of the cylinders broke off as well as the clapper and wind catcher.  A trip to the local hardware store for some nylon string the problem was nearly solved.

The original broken cylinder no longer had the string so I removed the next cylinder and kept it in order from the original broken cylinder.  Using the salvaged string I now had a rough measure to cut a new replacement strings so they would all hang about the same distance from the ring.  I needed six so I cut them all at the same time.  I then strung the original missing cylinder and hid the knot in the tube.  Continuing around in order I replaced the remaining cord so it would all be new and fresh.  This would guarantee that it would hold up another 10 years.  The final piece was the center cord which holds the clapper (that makes the cylinders make noise) and the wind catcher.  This required a larger knot so the clapper wouldn’t slip down the string.

The final product was a happy sounding chime that reminds me of my Mother’s smile.  I had it all fixed and hung in time for her birthday this year making it extra special.

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After the raised beds were up and planted… I moved on to the next project.  I needed to replace the planter at the end of the pool.  The planter was one that my Mom had purchased for my birthday several years ago and it had served its purpose and was on its last legs.  So, with an online sale, I found a replacement that might last a bit longer near water.  I chose a replacement made of PVC materials.  It was a bit smaller so I had to work out the differences but overall I am pleased with the result.

Here is the original planter:

As you can see, it really was in poor shape:

This is what I call the “big ugly” that I have to hide to protect little feet that run around the pool.  It was the original diving board mount:

Here is the planter.  I used some weed fabric so that it would hold the soil in place.  The planter had some substantial gaps that soil would have fallen through easily.  The duct tape was used to simply hold up the sides to make the filling easier.  It eventually pulls away or is hidden by the soil.  Be sure to use container soil for your planters!

Once filled and planted and my Pembroke Welsh Corgi garden art back in the place of honor:

I did add a couple of small trellises behind my Top Hat blueberry bushes and planted some morning glories.  This will add height to the planter and a pop of color.  They are a bit hard to see but once the vines climb I will add a picture.

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This spring marks the 3rd anniversary of my Mom’s passing and sadly I knew I had to part with one of her prized possessions… her glider swing.  It has been with us for well over 20 years and it really was no longer safe to use.  Once I came to terms with my decision a plan started to form.  I have always wanted more gardening space and this was prime real estate!   A couple of phone calls and text messages later… a friend came to my rescue with a chain saw and the games began!

Here is the before with Mom’s old glider swing:

Fozzie helping with the demolition:

Now the blank space:

Once the pavers were up (Fozzie supervising):

The stack of pavers – my back is killing me:

Leveling out the area:

The raised beds built and some pavers down for spacing.  These are 3×3′ beds from Gardeners.com.  The black PVC material will warm up the beds on cold mornings faster than wood wich will assist with early planting.  I felt that the 3×3 would give me better planting/ maintaining/ harvesting capability than the other size options available.

Considering my yard is overrun with bunnies… and I own a terrier now, I had to make a plan to keep them both out of the beds.   The bed sides are 10″ deep and a trip to Home Depot found these border fences of 18″ which so be good to deter both bunnies AND puppies. Plus, I like that they match the beds.  The black will fade to the background and the plants will be nicely featured.

Final product of beds filled with 8 cubic feed of garden soil each.  They are ready and waiting for a run to my favorite herb farm:

I think Mom would be happy with the results.  Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mom… I miss you!

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The Fisher Stone marks the cemetery plot where my great grandparents, grandparents and parents now rest.  This family plot was overgrown by an evergreen on one side and the other evergreen had been lost years ago leaving the stone uneven and unkept looking.  I asked the cemetery crew to pull the remaining evergreen just before my mother’s funeral.  Due to the extensive neglect of the remaining azalea  I knew a makeover was in order!  In researching planting options, a nursery advised me to wait until fall to put in new plantings to avoid numerous visits for watering which gave me some time to find plants that would have meaning to my parents.


I found two small dwarf cypress to anchor each side of the stone.  While these bushes are small now they will slowly grow, approximately 1 inch per year, into a lovely conical shape.  The lighter green hue will bring a bit of color to the area.  I also wanted to plant mom’s favorite flower… the Black Eyed Susan.  This flower will bloom mid to late summer providing a pop of color during August and September.  The original bush in the center, an azalea, was trimmed back and shaped.  This pink blossomed bush blooms early to late spring and was planted by my mother when her mother passed away.  This is why I am working so hard to save it.  I hope the cutting back does not shock it too much.

Now, all this work was done by my good friend Squeeks and myself.  I asked her along for emotional support but she ended up doing the majority of the work especially to move the large rock she unearthed.  But it proved too large for even the two of us to move… so we opted to keep it as an accent stone.  She also helped round out the plantings with two plants she took from her own garden.  These plants have the perfect name; Keys to Heaven.  The purple-blue flowers appear mid summer.  This plant will most likely die back after the transplant but the roots are healthy and should appear next spring better than ever.  The final effect was achieved with some mulch and the multitude of little stones dug up while putting in the plantings.  (Dad would comment that we harvested a “bumper crop of rocks!”)  I also cleaned out and around the markers for my Mom and Dad… you can see them to the top right and behind the Fisher stone.  The stone engraver has been called to finish Mom’s marker this fall. 

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While I have been busy planting my purchases of “fun stuff” has been down quite a bit.  Learning to budget has put a bit of a crimp in my style but I have found that I choose things that call to me and that make me smile.  This is one of those special purchases… and it now resides by my back door to greet me every morning on my way to work… one needs all the encouragement one can get to go to work!  What is also nice is that it glows in the dark which will be interesting when letting Edgar out last thing at night.

This was a gift from a good friend and it spent a year on my screen porch but is slowly making its way out to the gardens.  If you don’t believe in garden fairies… well, you don’t know what you are missing… and whether you believe or don’t believe, just a friendly reminder, don’t piss ’em off!

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To continue my Seven Arrows planting… I added my new clematis to the Bird Bath Garden.  It is an ideal location for two reasons… full sun and shade for the roots.  A common saying in the care and maintenance of clematis is that they love to have their feet cool and their faces in the sun.  The existing day lilies will provide the shade for the root system and the garden is mostly sun until mid afternoon.  Perfect for the little bugger!

Here are the before and after pictures.  There are two things to note: 1) Edgar is still my supervisor… and 2) a little weeding and a little mulch make the biggest impact here.

Happy Gardening!

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