Gardening is good for the soul. Our yard is small, but packed with perennials and annuals for all seasons.
Gardening with Perennials
Our yard is relatively small, but it has lots of easy care perennials. We are in a zone 4.5 here in Wisconsin. Lots of challenges to keeping the garden growing in a cold climate. I enjoy sharing my trials and triumphs in the yard here with my readers.
We are super thrifty, so we don’t spend a lot of money on the yard. There are some regular things that we do spend money on though that give HUGE results in the garden, you will read more about them here on the blog.
Each year I try a few different annuals in the garden. Some make it and some just aren’t worth the effort. You can have a beautiful yard without a ton of work! Sign up for my newsletter below and get my FREE PRINTABLE DOWNLOAD for making an EASY TERRARIUM.
These wrought iron chairs are in my garden. In the mornings I sit outside in them, drink my coffee and dream of flamingoes. These Wrought Iron Chairs came to me from a friend. I loved their unique shape and character. Classic design like this never goes out of style. The cushions needed a new look and I decided to update the look of the entire chair to match them. The chairs were in good condition overall, I was anxious to give them more color and a more modern look. The first step was to remove the fabric seat cushions, they were held on with just a few screws. Then the chairs were ready for painting. SUPPLIES NEEDED: This post is sponsored by Decor Art. I was compensated in some way for writing this post, any opinions given are completely my own. •Americana Decor® Curb Appeal™Paint — Harbor Blue — ADCA15 •Small roller •Paint Brush •2 yards of indoor/outdoor flamingo fabric (JoAnn Fabrics) •staple gun Directions: 1. I used a small roller to apply the paint. The product I used was American Decor Curb Appeal Paint in Harbor Blue. The roller worked the best to cover the narrow surface area, then I touched up any additional bare spots with a small paint brush. The chairs really only needed one coat, but I gave it two coats for extra durability. 2. I couldn’t find a vintage table that I liked to go with the chairs, so I purchased a new cafe table instead. The table legs and parts were painted black right… Read More »
Spring Planter Arrangements aren’t hard to make with some purchased spring bulbs. Here’s how to make a stunning display for your tabletop. Spring Planter Spring bulbs are here! They have finally arrived in the garden centers and it won’t be long before things are blooming outside! This pretty planter was put together with some purchase bulbs (in ugly pots) and a few items from the craft store. Be sure to buy bulbs that are already growing and almost blooming rather than bulbs that have never been planted. Most spring bulbs require a period of cold weather in order to get them to bloom. Sometimes you can purchase pre-chilled, unplanted bulbs in your local garden center that are ready to plant and bloom. Supplies Needed: •Metal urn or other waterproof container with a wide top (mine came from the thrift store) •aquarium gravel or small stones for drainage •Miracle Grow Potting Soil with slow release fertilizer •Purchased spring bulbs that are close to blooming such as crocus, daffodils, tulips or paper whites •Reindeer moss (from the craft store or garden center) •Faux butterfly (craft store or dollar store) •Fairy garden sized rabbits or other seasonal ornaments Directions: 1. Place a layer of gravel in the bottom of the container, about 1″ thick for drainage. 2. Add a layer of soil to cover the gravel. 3. Remove the bulbs from their original pots being careful not to break the roots. You can separate the bulbs if they are clumped together. The roots will regrow and stabilize after replanting. Place the bulbs in the… Read More »
I have been reminiscing this week. We have had weddings, graduations and parties, which are fun but emotionally draining. I have taken some time off from my regular creative projects to work on things that I have let slide for a long time. One of the projects is a book I am working on. I am not ready to disclose the project just yet, but here’s a clue. It is a real process and a real struggle. The distractions are everywhere. I have kids that come and go in and out, a hubby who works from home, my Mother lives here, even the cat wants attention. I want time to stroll in the park and think about what I am working on. Focus is elusive when you are working from a chaotic home. There doesn’t seem to be enough time to write. There are things weighing me down and I am not sure at all how things will come out. I have given myself a due date, but I might miss it. I fear would rather go to one of the free concerts in the park and hear the classical music for inspiration. I am a romantic at heart you know. I am getting ready to send out my next newsletter, if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do that so you can receive special offers and free items that no one else will get. By the way, our rose bushes are blooming. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of them. They are so captivating! I almost cut them… Read More »
It’s been a crazy week around here. I am behind in everything. We have been working on our front yard garden. Our brick walkway is now complete. Do you see the bricks? That was our first project. Actually, the bricks were our second project. The first project was to dig out all of the old rose bushes that grew in the border along the front walk. They were HUGE and THORNY. I left one along the metal archway, but it may need to be removed at a later time if it gets too big. It felt like the former owners were trying to keep people out of the yard with all of the thorny bushes all over the place. They even had them right along the driveway so that when you stepped out of your car, you stepped into them. Not sure why anyone would do that? Whether they were keeping people out of the yard, or perhaps keep children in the yard? I don’t know, but anyway we got rid of the roses. The neighbors were aghast as to why we would do such a thing. I don’t mind roses, but we still have 4 bushes in the front yard, that is plenty for me. The next project was to repair the front side walk. You can see how broken the concrete is in the above photo. We knew when we bought the house that this repair was required by our mortgage company. They were concerned it was a tripping hazard, so it had to be done. We hired a… Read More »
I have been meaning to visit the local botanical garden for the last several weeks. We usually go there once a year in the middle of the summer. For some reason, I kept putting it off. I was too busy. It would take too much time. It cost too much. I didn’t have time. There would be nothing worthwhile seeing this early in the season. I had seen it all before. I wouldn’t get anything out of it. It would be a waste of time. I needed to stay home and get things done. The blog world needed me. The other day those little voices in my head finally got the better of me. Mom and I dropped everything and made our way to the garden. She had never been there before even though she lived in our area for more than 40 years. We took off and left dishes in the sink. We left wet laundry in the washer. We left no cooked food or directions for making lunch (I know! GASP!). What we saw, shocked me. I was completely amazed at how beautiful the garden was in the spring. Picture perfect. This wooden bridge melted me. Monet’s famous garden in Giverney, France can’t be more beautiful than this. Silly me, why did I think it would not be beautiful?? The pathways were lush and green. The garden was full of birds and wildlife. The trees were still in bloom. Even though they were beginning to loose their petals, they were amazing and beautiful. The fallen petals reminded… Read More »
Buying a home in an established neighborhood is great because of the mature trees. There are a number of them in the yard and we knew right from the start that they hadn’t been properly maintained in many years. The various sucker branches growing every which way was our first clue to their lack of maintainence. We decided to call in an arborist for a professional opinion on what to do with the trees. We are so glad we did, little did we know what was growing in our yard! When we bought the house, we decided to take down a couple of trees in the back yard. Not only were they over grown but they took up the entire space leaving us with a full shade property. Our lone maple tree would be the first to go (in the back corner of the lot), it was on the property line too close to the neighbors garage and killing all the lawn in its shadows. The biggest problem with this tree, is that is was inhibiting the growth of the other tree in the back yard. We hate the idea of chopping down trees, but with a small yard and awkward location of the tree, it just wasn’t practical to keep it. The other tree in the back yard which you can see in the photo was some type of maple, however it surprised us the most. It turned out to be a Pin Oak, a rare find in Wisconsin. In addition, this tree is protected by law. We can… Read More »
I was scoping out Craig’s List recently, looking for a new project. I happen to come across a pile of free pallets, and I was thrilled to pick them up. I have had this Pallet Planter and Privacy Screen idea in mind for quite some time, just needed the right materials to make it all happen! The idea came to me last summer. We were walking through some side streets of Chicago and I notice a number of outdoor cafes that had privacy screen type planters along the street. Not only were they beautiful, but they were made from simple materials. The plantings were simple as well, I love the look of ferns or other leafy green plants for privacy. As lovely as these planters are, I had a simpler solution, to make them out of pallets. I brought home 2 full size pallets for each privacy screen, plus a few half pieces to use for extra wood here and there. I also picked up a 30″ plastic planter box at the local home improvement center, along with an 8 ft. 2″ X 6″ and some 4″ coated screws for assembly. The 2 x 6 was cut into 6 7/8″ pieces, 3 for each side of the planter. The pallet was marked along the edge 4″ from the side for even assembly. We also had a broken board or two on the pallets. These were removed and replaced with boards from one of the half size scrap pallets that I brought home. We assembled the pallets in sandwich style,… Read More »
Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries. Here is an easy DIY project to add some green to your decor – a succulent cross! It’s finally warm enough to spend some time out on the porch. My first priority of course, are plants and accessories. Never mind that there is no where to sit, or that my pile of rummage sale junk still sits in the corner of the porch. A pretty front door is so welcoming, and something green by the door just makes it so much more inviting. Succulents are my one of my all time favorite things, and so are topiaries. I used to work in a green house and we planted dozens of topiaries early in the season. Topiaries were always hot items and they really aren’t difficult to plant. Succulents work well in them because they have shallow roots and don’t need a ton of water. I found this cross topiary online last year and thought it would be perfect for my Easter decor. This would also be a nice project for a grave site planting, as the succulents don’t need a lot of maintenance. The first step is to soak your topiary in a bucket of water for 10-15 minutes until saturated. Then it’s ready to plant. I only used 6 plants for this project, but I broke them down into smaller pieces as I planted them so they wouldn’t be too big for the narrow parts of the cross. I used a screw driver to poke holes into… Read More »
I am dreaming of the garden. I am itching to plant and create anything green. I decided to settle on an easy 5 Step Terrarium. Yesterday I braved the blizzard we were having to run to the garden center and pickup the supplies. I happened to have 3 mini plants on hand for this project, but I could have also bought them at the garden store. Fairy gardens are hot items these days and our garden shop had loads of miniature plants to choose from. I actually don’t know what variety these are, I am sure I could Google it if I wanted to, NOT. While at the garden center I priced out purchasing a fancy smanchy terrarium bowl. They where in the neighborhood of $40.00, which I thought was outrageous for what is essentially a plain glass container. I opted to use the Truffle bowl my husband inherited from his Aunt. Since I have never made a truffle desert in my life, this is probably the best use for it. We love how it turned out. Here’s the Easy 5 Step Terrarium process: Collect supplies: You will need a truffle bowl, 3 small plants in different colors, height and leaf texture. This makes for an interesting display. I chose a purple leaf, a bright green mossy type plant, and a taller darker green plant. You will also need potting soil, activated charcoal and spaghnum moss. A few rocks decorate the top, but are optional. Fill the truffle bowl with 1 1/2″ activated charcoal. This helps with drainage and… Read More »
The week has flown by. Valentine’s Day has come and gone. We were sick all week so we haven’t done anything special this year. I feel like I am missing all the good things in life lately, with the move, being sick and trying to catch up and get organized. I am still not on top of things, including blogging. Valentine’s Day came around and I found these lovely bouquets of flowers on the table along with cards and chocolate. My sweet hubby out did himself this year. The second bouquet was for my mother. She was so pleased, she said she has NEVER gotten flowers or candy for Valentine’s Day. What a shame! There are some tricks to keeping bouquets as long as possible. Perhaps you weren’t aware that your flowers need some special treatment when you bring them home from the store. First step is to pull them out of the vase and trim the stems at a 45 degree angle, at least 2″ or more depending on the size of your container. Both flowers and greenery should get this treatment. Roses do better in water when you smash the ends of the stems with a hammer. This helps them draw the best water and stay fresh longer. Before you put them back into the vase, remove all foliage below the water line. This keeps the water cleaner and gives the flowers more room to spread out and open. Fill your vase with water. Add your floral fresh if you have it. A crushed aspirin makes an excellent… Read More »
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