Jun 012015
 

Open space in a garden

 

You have seen all the magazine article about how to have the perfect garden, how to grow the biggest flowers, how to feed your family in a garden the size of a shoe box.  Well, what if you have read all of those article and still can not seem to get a garden in place.  Perhaps you have doing one of these 5 things that ensure that perfect garden with the biggest flowers in the smallest space never happens.

1. Fall into the vortex of garden catalogs and never find your way out.  The flowers are always in bloom, the vegetable plants produce blemish free produce, and the compost piles are even in orderly fashion.  Just when you think you have seen every picture of every variety available, a new magazine arrives in the mail from yet another vendor who carries even more options.  For fear of missing “the exact thing you are looking for” you work your way through that catalog, taking note of even more options.

While it is not a bad thing to look through these catalogs, they give you some great ideas after all, you have to close them at some point and just make a decision.  Real life happens, and not with a photo team around.  You will have weeds, not every flower is going to bloom evenly and all at the same time, and your compost pile will look like the work in progress that it is. Choose a variety you think sounds good, not perfect, and close the magazines.  Once your garden is started, or there is 3 feet of snow on the ground outside, you can open them back up and drool over the basket full of the newest variety of flower or rarest heirloom carrot that just became available.

2. Analyze every detail till you give yourself a headache and have to go back to bed.  Is your yearly aspirin expense more than what you spend on seeds?  Do you know to the minute how much sun your garden gets? Every bed? Have you set rain/temperature/wind gauages all over the yard to find the exact spot to match what you are wanting to plant, yet there is nothing planted?  Do you know 10 different varieties of tomatoes and to the day when they should start producing?  How about the history of 10 various heirloom potatoes and their prefered growing soils?  While these things are not bad, if you have spent all your time figuring this out yet nothing is in the ground, then you are missing the forest for the trees.  Take a breath, close your eyes, and throw a ball.  Where it lands is where you are going to plant.  Sometimes, that is all you need to do to get started.  🙂

3. Live in front of the weather report, waiting for the ‘perfect’ temperature/dew point/phase of the moon/etc.  I am going to save you a lot of aggravation here, it is never going to be exactly right and it is called a “forecast” for a reason.  It is not called a “thus saith the Lord” report, for a reason.  It may tell you that is is going to rain in 5 minutes, then 1 minute later change to say it will start raining in 8 hours.  Yes, you need to know if there is going to be a frost, what phase of the moon it will be tonight, what the average temperature is, if the soil is warm enough, etc.  What you do not need to do is wait till they all align exactly, because it will never happen.

4. Compare your plant selections to those of I-have-been-gardening-since-the-Great-Depression neighbor, coming to the conclusion you could never be so great, so you go back to bed. Been there, done that.  There is a beautiful home down the street from us – white house with black shutters, garden shed to match, not a week in the flower beds, mulch always in place … you get the idea.  I would walk by on the way to the library with the kids, always making sure they never walked off the sidewalk or even gave the landscaping a second glance.  If they did, they might mess it up.  It was obvious someone put a lot of time into this yard.  I also would ask myself why it was that my flowers did not look that great, or why I had weeds but they didn’t.

One day I found the answer to my question.  The landscaping company was out doing maintenance on the yard.  🙂  A team of 3 guys, a trailer, and a pick-up truck where there to work on the yard.  That is a far cry from myself, the kids’ wagon and my sedan.  After that, I enjoyed the yard but stopped trying to berate myself.  I would still love to get there one day, and am working on making my yard require less maintenance but still look good.  For now, though, I’ll enjoy their yard and let the kids enjoy ours.

5. Plant your garden, then sit and begin the yearly Front Porch Rabbit Count.  You would not want to mess up the numbers so you never do anything to scare them away. It took me a few years, and one changed glance out the window, to realize that the fencing I had up around my vegetable beds was useless.  The young rabbit that was running from something jumped right through the holes in the fencing.  If that does not make you feel like you just wasted your time and money, then I am not sure what else would.  Right then and there I decided to replace the fencing with smaller poultry fencing and add in metal stakes instead of the cheap woods ones I had been using.  The stakes were breaking anyway, and well obviously the fencing was doing no good for the rabbits.

The battle between man and nature is not a new one, nor is it one that we will win in the future.  This does not mean that we just throw up our hands, it means we strive to find a new solution.  Rabbit stew anyone?

Whether it is gardening or something else in your life, there comes a point at which all your plans need to hit the pavement and happen.  I have great plans for my mornings.  Every night I go to bed thinking:

  • I will get up early and do X, Y,Z before everyone gets up.
  • This would be the perfect time to learn more about ____.
  • This will be the week/month/year that I finally finish reading through the Bible. (I began the 1 year plan 3 years ago.)

Often I have to remind myself to finish what I have started, that I need to be able to handle what I already have or am trying to do, before beginning something new.  At times it becomes apparent that I have to say “No” to something.  Often though, it is a scheduling/motivation issue.  My morning used to be great, and not just because I am a morning person.  It was because I had direction, I knew what I was going to do each day when I woke up.

Crystal Paine has a great 14-day online course talking about just that – making your mornings great, beginning your day with a purpose.  Tomorrow is the first day Make Over Your Mornings is offered.  The prices start off very low and increase as the day goes on.  (Note the times are Eastern Standard.)

The Crazy-Can’t-Miss-Low-Low-Low Launch Sale Prices:

  • 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET on June 2, 2015 – just $5!!! 
    {This is worth getting up early for!}
  • 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. – just $7!
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – only $10!
  • 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. – only $13!

Our mornings have been … rough recently, to put it lightly.  If I am honest about it, a lot of it is because Mama is not up and ready so the kids do not feel the need to follow their routines from the get-go.  In an effort to curtail these behaviors, I am going to participate in the 14-day Make Over Your Mornings course.

Is this the perfect time?  Nope.  We have a short camping trip planned during this time, swim team practice is starting, a few trees are being taken down in our yard, and I need to schedule an electrician to install electricity.  Just like gardening, though, if I were to wait for the ‘perfect’ time/schedule/day, it would never happen. So tomorrow it is.

Will you join me in making our mornings better?

 

May 192015
 

produce auction collage

This post in part of a series about produce auctions across the USA.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

Kentucky is oriented such that it is wider East to West than North to South.  This means that most of the state is similar in growing zones, 6a – 7a.  Not only does this affect their winter temperatures, but also their summer ones.  While the state gets both hot and cold, it is normally not really an extreme either way.  The result is a nice growing season, with a bit of a break in between growing seasons.

Produce auctions across Kentucky are pretty evenly distributed from East to West, with 5 different auctions being found while searching online.

1. Fairview Produce Auction is located at 10292 US 68 East, Pembroke, KY 42266. Along 68-80; 1/2 mile west of Jeff Davis monument park. 10 miles east of Hopkinsville, 70 miles North of Nashville, 60 miles west of Bowling Green” according to this Kentucky Department of Agriculture website.

Here is another short YouTube video from 2007 of the Fairview Produce Auction.

2. Lincoln County Produce Auction, located outside Crab Orchard, KY at 2896 Ky Highway 39 N  Crab OrchardKentucky 40419.  Their phone number is (606) 355-0030.  They are currently on their summer auction schedule – Mondays at 1 pm, and Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 am.

Here is an article from the 2004 opening

3. Casey County Produce Auction – The Casey County Produce Auction is located between Bowling Green and Lexington, KY, in the south central part of the state.

From their website, “Auctions occur every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from April to October at 525 South Fork Creek Road. A market information line is available at (606)787-0570.”  They also have a schedule available for download that will list all the auctions.

4. Hart County Produce Auction – located at 6880 Cub Run Hwy, Munfordville, KY 42765.

While not exclusively about the produce auction,  here is a 2010 blog post from Amish America that gives you a good feel for the Hart County Produce Auction.

5. Bath County Produce Auction – is located between Mount Sterling and Morehead, near I-64, at 2914 East Highway 60, Owingsville, KY 40360.  To find when the next auction is, take a look at the auction schedule.  There is also an attached map.  It seems that all auctions are in the evenings, at 6 pm.

May 062015
 

nature center tree bird pond

What a week this has been!  The gardening bug finally hit me full force and I know that this summer will look different than last, which seems to happen every year. 🙂

The extra time taken to get going with the garden has not been a waste, though.  I have used to time to think through a few various parts of the garden that have not been working for us.

  • Our front yard where grass will not grow.
  • The bed under the kitchen window that has full southern exposure to the sun (it gets hot!).
  • The bed off the deck that contains a stumps from old lilac bushes and living ever green bushes, but where I want the dwarf peach tree to go.
  • How exactly I am going to fence in the vegetables beds.
  • Filling in holes or low spits in the yard.
  • Getting grass to grow where I killed it last year.  🙁
  • What are we doing with the part if the yard near the remodel where the ground was dug up or had dirt piled on it?

These were just a few of the items I have mentally been working through.

nature center bird identification display

As time went on, I was feeling like no answers were coming. It was frustrating and I was feeling like a failure as a gardener.  “How can I have a website about gardening, when I seem to fail at everything?!”

Finally, I took a deep breath and decided to start with ONE thing.  Just one thing, not everything all at once like I had been trying to do.

In the hour it took me to mow the grass earlier this week I came up with several solutions.  Now there is a plan. The garden and yard did not look so hopeless.

  • While I do not have the time and mental energy to spread a truck load of wood chips over weed barrier right now, to start the shade garden in the front yard, I do have straw.  Lots of it actually that has no home and was becoming a problem.  Like with the shade garden idea (if grass won’t grow, plant something that will), I had to step back and look at the problem differently.  The purpose of wood chips is to have sonething that will break down, thereby fertilizing the plants and trees.  For now, though I just needed something to hold the weed barrier in place.  “Straw will do that,” I thought as I mowed that part if the yard. Two problems solved as I hope to get the garden in by the later part if next week.
  • I have low spots in the yard. Our contractor has extra dirt left over. Problem solved.
  • Grass seed can be spread one spit at a time.  There is no rule saying you gave to do it all at once.
  • One night this past weekend, I did some yard work after the kids were in bed.  I decided to remove the ever green bushes and plant the peach tree.  A job that I though would take hours, took 30 minutes.  I also found out that the stump is not sprouting as much as it did last year. I think I’ll plant some vegetables in the extra spaces this year.
  • As for fencing the raised beds, I found a new roll of fencing at a garage sale and picked up some new stakes this morning.  This evening or tomorrow I plan to start on the largest bed so I can get some seeds in place.
  • While considering the fencing of the strawberry beds, I realized a temporary solution to keep rabbits out would be to place old fencing directly on top of the plants.  Not a perfect or beautiful solution, but it does the job.  That is also something I did this past weekend (and one of the sources of the extra straw).

Sometimes, a hour spent mowing the yard can be more productive than two or three hours in front of the computer.

nature center relax collage

Here is another example, though not quit gardening related.  I have been feeling like there is so much to do at home, and I am exhausted at night, that I did not have time to type up this post.  Today I brought Jack to a local nature center for a program geared towards home school kids.  I was not sure the set up, so did not plan to leave him Aline. Turns out he was just fine and I would have been in the way. With no book and no errands to run near here, what could I do?  “Silly Girl, write the post!” 🙂

Here I sit, watching the bird feeders, the man-made waterfall, listening to birds sing and kids have fun, while getting to write.  No dishes to do or floors to sweep or hammers and saws to listen to.  We almost didn’t come, due to attitude issues. So glad I persevered. I think this is something both he and I needed. Jack, time away from the house and Mom’s ever presence. Me, time around nature and away from the house to think and just be.

Apr 292015
 

Working in a small space can either be viewed as a challenge, requiring creativity to make the most of what you do have.  Or it can be viewed as a reason to whine about what you do not have.  This is true whether you are talking about your house or your garden.  I choose to view it as a challenge.

Since we live in town and our lot is not a huge one, having a large garden is not something that is possible if I still want to have room for the kids to play.  I have tried to make use of spaces tucked here and there, as well as use raised beds.  The raised bed garden has done okay the past few years, but I knew that it could be doing better.  I was missing something.

With planting season very close at hand, I was looking for some help in taking my garden to the next level.  Enter The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden, grow tons of organic vegetables in tiny spaces and containers.  I have read books on having small gardens, checked out blogs about small spaces, and looked up tips and tricks.  Most have told me things I already knew – go vertical, plant what you like, tuck plants in among your flower beds, etc. Or maybe they mentioned something new, but never in enough detail for me to implement it and work around problems.  The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden takes the concept and layout of gardening in a small space further, giving me details that would help a small garden succeed in growing more in that space.

Growing plants pesticide free was not an intentional decision; it came out of not wanting to spend a lot of money on chemicals and learning just how bad they could be for you.  For a short time, I even worked for a tree care company, applying chemicals to people’s yards.  (I will not being doing that again; it really is not in line with who I am.)  One of the things I learned was that a chemical was not always needed, but of course they would not sell you the service of applying soapy water to get rid of your bugs.

Not applying pesticides to my garden has not always meant there were problems.  I lost parsley one year to caterpillars before I figured out what was going on.  Another time I have had some trouble with squash bugs and lost two of my three zucchini plants.  All together though, it has not been a difficult growing without pesticides.

Along with the decrease and final exclusion of pesticides, came the thought about fertilizers and other things added to the garden.  “Are they really good for the soil?  Should I use them or is there a more natural way to get the same results?”  I began looking into other ways to add nutrients back into the soil, ways to garden that did not require chemicals to be added in large amounts.

I have some favorite websites to look up issues on, but often I am left trying to find someone to ask or searching pictures online to see if I can figure it out myself.  While reading The Postage Stamp Garden I came across a very useful table – The Soil Nutrient Deficiency table.  This will become my quick reference for those times when I am not sure what is going on with the soil.  Rather than applying a general fertilizer or adding more compost in hope the issue will disappear on its own, I will be able to focus on what is lacking.

Another surprise was when I came across multiple garden layout ideas.  Side notes about how you can use the space once certain plants are gone or as they are growing were even included.   What a great way to help those of us who are better visual learners than auditory learners.

The Postage Stamp Garden has several other additions that I really enjoyed:

  • The comparison between various animal manures is something that will be helpful, as I am looking for some right now to add to my garden beds.  It is not all created equal and if I am going to go to the trouble of finding, hauling and applying it, I would like to know that my effort is resulting in what I am actually looking for.
  • When talking about planting, they go beyond cool and warm weather plants and talk about planting with the phases of the moon.  They do not do this to encourage you to use this method, but so that you will have the information if you do choose to use this method.
  • They also talk about planting zones being on a larger scale, not able to represent all the microclimates that exist in that every garden area.  To help compensate, there is a table that gives you clues in nature which you can look for to help pin point even closer when might be a good time to plant.  This will help take some of the guess work out of the date ranges often found in planting dates.
  • A full 93 pages of information on plants to grow!  With each plant there is information included on planting, crop stretching, recommended varieties, typical problems gardeners have with these types of plants, harvesting, storage, and growing tips.  I particularly found the crop stretching and typical problem section useful.  This is information that I feel I have been missing these past few years to make my small garden work even better than it has been.
  • Chapter 8 is titled “Controlling Pests, Diseases, and Critters”.  They even cover the soap-and-water treatment I mentioned earlier.  I have successfully used this to get rid of scale and was glad to see it included in this book.  6.5 pages were used to create a table helping you find the answer to, “What kind of control do you use for what pests?”  No more having to search online in hopes of finding the answer among all the search results.
  • The book ends with a listing of 33 various seed companies ranging from small companies to larger ones.

Karen Newcomb has made the most of the 200+ pages in this book.  Within those pages she has create a great guide to gardening when you do not have a lot of room for trial and error, but want to make the most of what you do have.

I am very glad that I took the time to read through The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden and will be keeping it within easy reach during my gardening this year.  In the next few weeks I hope to get the garden planted.  Keeping this guide on hand will help allow me to make better use of all my spaces and to think outside of what has become ‘normal’ for me.

 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

This post contains affiliate links.

Apr 182015
 

produce auction collage

This post in part of a series about produce auctions across the USA.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

South Carolina seems to have only one produce auction, and newer one at that.  If you ever get out to that part of the country, stop by for a visit and help support this new venture.

The Jasper County Farmers’ Market in Ridgeland has a wholesale auction market on Thursday mornings, in addition to their retain sales on Fridays.  The address is: 9935 South Jacob Smart Boulevard, Ridgeland, SC.

You can find more information on Jasper County’s website.  From their website:

“For more information about this wholesale produce auction, contact either of the two auction co-managers below.”
Randy James, Ph.D. Joe McDomick
Auction Co-Manager Auction Co-Manager
(843) 671-6710 (843) 986-6157
randallejames@gmail.com jmcdomickjr@yahoo.com

(picture is from Jasper County’s Chamber of Commerce website.)

Apr 142015
 

produce auction collage

This post in part of a series about produce auctions across the USA.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

Tennessee is not a state you might normally think of for produce.  Hills, yes.  Music, yes,  Produce, not so much.  However, you would be wrong.  At least, if you are about an hour south of Nashville.

In Ethridge, Tennessee there is an Amish community which holds the Plowboy Produce Auction. (The owners is not Amish, though most of the growers are Amish.)  According to this article by Amish America, this particular auction has been around since 2006 and recently changed owners.  Actions are held three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:00 in the afternoon.    April 13th was their first auction of the 2015 season.

You can check out more on their Facebook page and website.

Their address and phone number are:  469 S Brace Rd, Ethridge, TN 38456    (931) 829-1114

 

Apr 092015
 

produce auction collage

This post in part of a series about produce auctions across the USA.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

We begin our tour of Produce Auctions in the state of Missouri.  Due to their growing zones most of the auctions have already started, or are slated to start this week!  Missouri is contains Zones mainly 5-7, though there are a few small spots that are categorized as Zone 4.  With the range of growing zones, the various auctions will begin at different times accordingly.

Several of the auctions are held three times a week, while others are held twice a week. Check the schedule for each before heading out to make sure you are on time, and on the right day.

There are 4 auction locations across the state, according to this slide show from the University of Missori’s AGEBB:  the Central Missouri Produce Auction, the Clark Produce Auction, the Windsor Produce Auction, and the North Missouri Produce Auction. The slide show provided a great history and overview of produce auctions in Missouri.  If you have time to stop by, I highly recommend it.

Amish buggy wheels

The Central Missouri Produce Auction in Fortuna, MO began auctioning produce in 1994.  Auctions are held Wednesdays through March and 1st  of April.  For the 2015 year this means March 4, 11, 18, 25  and April 1, 6, 8, and 10.  After this time they will be going to 3 days a week.  Monday auctions start at Noon, while the Wednesday and Friday auctions start at 10.  For more information call (660)337-6227.  Their address is 37808 Highway E, Fortuna, MO 65034.  This is just a few miles from Versailles.

Here is a first hand account with photos, from a visit Janet, from Ozarks Livin’ made in 2012. (I can not seem to find a direct link to her website, so if any of you know what it is, please let me know.)

Here is an article form Rural Missouri, written back in 2010, about the Central Missouri Produce Auction.

The Clark Produce Auction begins their 2015 auction on April 10th, according to the Amish Community in Clark, MO Facebook page, and continues twice weekly beginning in May.  The auction is located at 1966 Highway Y, MO 65243.  This is between Columbia and Moberly.  You can also find a calendar of dates, as well as further information in the Notes section on the FB page.

The Windsor Produce Auction, also called the Four County Produce Auction, is not just a produce auction.  You will be able to find everything from plants, to produce, to baked good, to trees, depending on the time of year and items brought.  For 2015, the auctions begin in April 7th at 10 a.m., continuing on once a week for the month.  In May – June it increases to twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.  As the summer continues a Thursday auction is added and some Friday auctions are moved to the evenings.  Check out their calendar for specific dates and times.  The auction is located 1 mile north of Windsor on WW Highway.

The North Missouri Produce Auction is located at 32633 State Highway F, Jamesport, MO 64648.  Their 2015 season at the end of March.  For specific dates and times, check out their schedule and more information here. You can also see copies of sales reports, which will give you an idea of prices and items being offered.  Auctions start at 10 a.m. for Wednesdays and Fridays.  Auction on Mondays start at Noon.  If you are looking for some photos showing scenes from the auction house, check out the Jamesport Photo Gallery’s collection of produce auction pictures.

DSCN8319

Mar 122015
 

Craftsy
Craftsy is celebrating National Craft Month with a big course sale 3/12/15 @12pm MT through 3/16/15 @11:59pm MT! 

With 50% off their online course, you will be able to do more of what you love.  It is also a great opportunity to pick up a new hobby, maybe one you have been wanting to learn for a while.

With 24/7 online access, you will be able to take classes at whatever time fits your schedule. Sign into your class on Craftsy’s website, pick back up right where you left off with you HD video lesson, or move directly ahead to the next class if you feel ready.  This has been a great feature lately, as my only ‘free’ time seems to be after 8 p.m. and then I can not leave the house.  I can watch a lesson while the kids sleep, even if my husband is not at home.

Not only will you save BIG with this sale, but their 100% money-back Craftsy Guarantee applies to all the course.  If you are not satisfied, let them know within 30 days of  your purchase.

Here is a sampling of the 25 Home & Gardening classes available:

Vegetable Gardening: Smart Techniques for Plentiful Results

 

Gorgeous Garden Design

Vegetable Gardening: Innovative Small-Space Solutions

 

The Extended Harvest

 

Here are some easy links to search all the classes.  Remember they are 50% off till Monday, so do not wait too long to sign up or you will miss the savings.

Home & Garden Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Art & Photography Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Cake Decorating & Cooking Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Paper Crafts & Jewelry Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Sewing, Quilting & Embroidery Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Fiber Arts Classes on Sale at Craftsy

Quilting is something I found that I love to do.  It has been put to the side since kids have been added to our home, but is something I definitely have not given up on doing (just check out my fabric stash that I refuse to get rid of).  Knowing that I will not be investing in any fancy machines in the near future, this particular class really appeals to my creative side:

Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot

Free Motion Quilting a Sampler

I have tried various patterns and methods on my own, as those I knew who quilted lived hours away from me when I was doing my first several quilts.  Actually having someone with more experience than me be able to give tips and ideas and just all around knowledge on how to do what I have been trying to do, sometimes failing more than succeeding, would have made a huge difference.

Or maybe you are looking for something to prepare for the upcoming season of grilling. Craftsy offers more than just crafts:

Cooking the Perfect Steak

Which class would you choose to take?

Jan 312015
 

bird scared away from feeders waiting to return

The weather is still … well, it is down right cold outside still some days. We are not out of the snow season yet, so months of cold are still in my future.

With all that is happening around here, the desire to start seeds and plan the garden is pretty great. It is my Happy Place. I love having my hands in dirt, watching seeds sprout, and imagining all the potential of the upcoming garden.

As planting a garden is months off, I do not have a feeling of urgency.  However, without some pre-planning I have often found myself doing things weeks after they are supposed to have happened.  The joy of gardening is harder to find when things feel rushed.

In an effort to tackle a few larger projects this summer, I have begun to look for aides or suggestions to begin the planning process.  Without a plan I find that I waste time thinking about what needs done instead of doing it.  Not such a great thing when the weather is perfect for the job and you have kids wanting to ‘help’.  After tackling the front flower bed a few seasons ago, I feel more confident in my abilities.

That project was one I spent too many nights in bed thinking through.  I spent so much time, that I had almost talked myself out of doing something for fear of not doing it ‘right’.  In the end, I decided one day to take the plunge and just start.  Once I got moving the first day, it was easier to tell myself this was possible and  create a plan for the following days.  Not exactly the best order in which to do things, but it worked with that project.  I always find that when I begin to psych myself out about something, sometimes just doing something on the project will get me out of the fear of doing anything.

One of the larger projects I hope to accomplish this Spring/Summer is to transform part of our front yard into a shade garden.  The grass does not grow well there due to the shade and it receiving only morning sun, and only for a few hours at that.  After walking through a beautiful shade garden at a local park, I was encouraged to try something similar in our yard.

While searching Crafty’s website one day, I came across a free mini-class – Transform Your Garden Design with Rebecca Sweet.  Looking into it a bit more, I realized this would be a great help in tackling this large project.  It would not only help me go step by step through what needs to be done, but also help me visualize what should go where.

The format of this class is such that I can pause the videos and come back to them later if needed.  I can also rewind a section to listen a second time to something that was said.  It doesn’t matter if my ‘gardening time’ is at 10 p.m. or 10 a.m. the lessons area available any time.

With the weather forecast now calling for snow, mud abounding in the yard from the house work begin done, and Spring still a few months away, this is a great time to take 15 – 20 minutes at a time to do something to make my outside gardening time more productive later.

Not only am I being proactive and productive for the upcoming gardening season, but I am also finding myself being motivated to finish several indoor project now, so that I can go outside later and work on those projects without feeling guilty about the inside.  A win-win situation for me.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

Jun 242014
 

lion flower planter collageThe planter above is one I came across while on a walk one afternoon.  The planter is actually so tall, I had to told my arms all the way up to get the picture on the right.  I did not even know which flowers were in it till I lowered my camera to look.

“Why would they put these up so high?!  No one can even see the flowers to appreciate them.”

After giving this some though I realized that I was not the audience the gardeners were going for.  Surrounding this spot are tall buildings.  From their vantage point, the planters are spots of bright colors on the green canvas.

The same thought can, and should, go into plantings you do at home or office.

  • Who is going to be seeing the plants?
  • From where will they be looking?
  • Will they be moving or standing relatively still?
  • Where is the light coming from?

The planter above is surrounded by bushes.  If the gardeners had put it at ground level, it would have been hard to see.  Placed above the bushes it is hard to miss.

  • Are there other planting nearby to interfere with the line of sight needed?  Or which could visually drowned out the planting?

Even though I could not see the flowers, the planter itself caught my attention.  Such a bold piece screams to be looked at.

  • How will your planter play into your design?  Will it blend in or be a focal point of its own?

After taking time to think about this design in the landscape, I appreciate it even more than I did before.  Sometimes you need to think outside (or above in this case) the box when looking to add to your garden.

Have you done something particular, such as placing a planter in a non-traditional spot, in your garden?  Why did you make the final decision?  How have other’s perceived it?