Thursday, April 29, 2010
At one sale, we are told that everything on the picnic bench can be ours for $15 OR we can pay $1 a piece. I pick up three items and say, "How about $2 for all these?" The elderly gentleman running the sale barks back, "FOUR DOLLARS for that!"
What kind of crazy math is that?
At the next sale, my friend picks up a brand new Pottery Barn vase (price tag still on, $20 value!) and the grandmother running this sale chimes, "You can have that! It's free." I pick up the blue chicken seen in the photo and offer fifty cents (generous, IMO) and the lady grimaces and shakes her head. She explains that a few dollars is more like what she had in mind.
--Back up and read that sentence about Pottery Barn again.--
I pick up the orange tchotchky in the picture (I don't even know what it is, but it looks chickeny enough for me) and offer a dollar for both of them. She begrudgingly takes the money and then makes it pretty clear I better leave.
At the next yard sale, my friend gets free curtains and a matching switch plate thrown in as a bonus.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Picture this: the kids are playing nicely, too nicely almost, when your suspicions that this is 'too good to be true' are confirmed and -- crash! -- your lovely potted parsley lands on the floor from its perch on the kitchen counter.
I hate to throw out pottery. Chips of a broken pot can be used in the bottom of another pot for drainage. I usually smash up broken pots and store them in the shed. But the gap left in this pot looked so much like a doorway, that we turned the pot into a toad home. I don't know if any toads or frogs will find their way to it, but since it kept my boys quiet for a few minutes while they painted it, I don't really care. : )
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
One of the first things we noticed about our home when we moved here is that the yard has an oddly placed circle of pine trees in the corner. I have no idea what the original garden-planner was intending for these trees, but I was immediately drawn to the room created by the branches. We started calling it the fairy garden, based partly on the 'fairy circle' lore, but also based on a delightful memory I have from my babysitting years (long, long ago) when I had the honor of working for a family who had tiny houses placed throughout their home...for the fairies.
Now we keep our eyes peeled for tiny things that the fairies can use as homes. Birdhouses work well, like the yard sale finds above and in the branches below, and each year the kids try to make houses from sticks and other natural materials.
The home-made houses usually don't last more than a few months, but the act of building them is the best part.
We also add things to the garden for our own amusement, such as the old elf statue, stepping stones and toadstool seats.
Friday, April 23, 2010
We visited Ladew Topiary Gardens today. The historic property is a great place for children because it has lawns that beg to be run across, whimsical topiaries, and secret rooms hidden among the gardens.
Walking along the pathways, I formulated my Garden Wish List. I'll likely never own a property like Ladew (*likely* never) but I would still like to try to encorporate some of the elements I saw there today.
1. Windowboxes - I don't know how I'll get these, but these top my list. Those tulips are great, too, but I feed the wildlife in my neighborhood enough as it is.
2. More places to sit - This little nook is the perfect place for tea or a game of cards. The odds of me or anyone in my family ever playing cards or taking tea outside are really low, but I'd like to have the option. We found this stone set hidden in a sweet 'room' at the beginning of our tour, which leads me to my next wish list item...
3. Hidden places - What fun it is to walk down a garden path and find an unexpected place to play or sit!
In this picture, notice that the wall has an alcove with a bench, through the arched walkway.
4. A walled garden - Just like in The Secret Garden, a mysterious walled garden could have anything hiding within. I would need a lot of bricks, but this is a project I'd love to try.
5. A greenhouse - I'd call mine the Orangerie, and I'd pronounce it with the most annoying nasal twang I could muster. It would be fantastic. My cat would love it.
6. Nooks - Lots and lots of places for the cat to hide and the children to go find it. What would be better than that? (Oh, and the statues and brick pathways just add to the charm, so I wish for them to accompany the nooks.)
7. A potager - The one at the end of this path is actually a cutting garden. Cutting gardens are cool, but I'd rather have an English potager, a kitchen garden. Every year I imagine that have one, but in reality it just looks like a bunch of plants in a huge cage. I have got to work on that!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I spent a lot of time searching my sheds and garage for materials, but finally found my inspiration elsewhere. In my kids' office (if you can call a room full of crayons and legos an 'office') we have a thousand or so fuse beads. What could be better for making weather-proof, colorful markers in the garden?
To make a plant marker like ours, you'll need fuse beads, an iron, the ironing paper that comes with the fuse beads (to protect your iron), a small drill, bamboo stakes, and nylon cord.
Make a fuse bead design and heat it with the iron it to make it permanent. Leave two holes near the top of the design for the cord. String the cord through the fuse bead design once the design has cooled.
Drill a small hole in each side of the bamboo stake. Run the cord through each hole and tie. Now your plant marker is ready for the garden!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Everything around here is blooming early this year, due to some very nice temperatures in March and early April. One of our favorite flowering plants is this Korean Spice Viburnum. This shrub gets large white flowers that smell great. Even before blooming, the pink buds fill the yard with a delightful scent. We have them near our patio so we can enjoy them when we are outside, but the bonus is that they are along the driveway; we are greeted with their frangrance each time we get out of our car. What a pleasant welcome!