Friday, April 30, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Blog Party

Use What You Have! 
My "lesson" today is how to create some lovely potted containers
using what you may already have on hand.  You can
plant in almost anything that will hold dirt!
You may already have the plants in your backyard!
These are some containers I have had around for awhile.
The tin bucket was a hideous shade of green;
I just rubbed some white acrylic paint all over,
and I think it helps the raised design to stand out.
It looks a bit like galvanized tin in the photo, but actually looks
more white in real life. I may go back and "whiten" it up a little more.
The ceramic soup tureen is something I never use,
and it was el cheapo in the first place,
so I don't mind filling it with dirt!

I had an idea for the soup tureen
and it involved some plants I didn't have to buy at the nursery!
At the back of the yard there are some lilies of the valley
that rarely get seen because they are so out-of-the-way.
They are also rather invasive and keep spreading year after year.
So I didn't mind digging some up.
If you have plants around like that,
they can be very happy residing in a pot!

These are so sweet looking with their tiny white bells,
it's a shame not to have them front and center while they are blooming.
The blooms won't last long, so I'll replace them
with something else after they fade.
Ooh, time to clean up around here!

Try to get as much of the roots as you can.

All parts of lily of the valley are poisonous, 
so if you use them wash your hands well!
Better yet, wear gloves AND wash your hands! 

There's no drainage hole in the bottom of this container,
so I added some broken crockery to keep
the roots from getting soggy.

Add some potting soil (I like Miracle Gro, even though it's a little pricey;
my plants love it best) and tuck the little plants in snugly.

 To finish it off, I added a little moss on top.
It covers the soil, and helps keep the plants from drying out.

It comes all dried out in a bag.
Just soak it in water to get it nice and soggy,
then it's ready to use.

The only thing I had to buy for this was the moss.
I had some potting soil left over from last year
and the plants and container were free!

I used the rest of the bag of moss to line a wire basket .
This was taken from above, so it looks like the basket is filled,
but the moss is just lining the edges.
Just snug it up against the bottom and sides,
and the soil and plants will eventually hold it in place.

I put two of these 4" Calibrachoa
(sometimes called Million Bells) in the basket.
They look like tiny petunias, but are much less fussy.

These have the enticing name, "Caribbean Cocktail"! Yum!
They will grow like crazy and will eventually fill the space
and trail over the sides when they get going.

These are not root-bound at all, but if you have plants that have
roots just winding round and round inside the pot
and coming out the bottom, just gently pull the roots apart
to separate them somewhat so they will grow outward
and not stay cramped in a tight ball. If you have to,
it's better to just make some vertical cuts with a sharp knife
or pruners than to leave the roots  tangled up like that.

I added some ivy from the yard around the edges.
I wish I could have planted these 2 or 3 weeks ago
so you could see how they will fill out,
but  it was too early to buy them at the nursery.
I'll post another pic in a few weeks!

Other than what I've shown here,  you might try  baskets
or wooden boxes (line both with plastic first).
Decorate empty coffee cans or plant violets in teacups!
Tiny succulent plants look adorable in teacups also.

I have wood planter boxes on my front porch
which need to be lined with plastic.
I found some biodegradable plastic (sold in the paint
department at Lowes for dropcloths) and used it last year.
Didn't feel so bad throwing it away at the end of the summer
since (I assume) it won't hang around in the landfill til the end of time.

Well, this is getting longer than War and Peace,
but here are some pictures of the other containers I used.

This has 3 red Verbenas, some white Alyssum,
and some English Thyme.
(The thyme smells so good, I wanted to
snip some off and go cook something)
Again, this will be so pretty once it starts to grow.

This one is the only real "flower pot".
It's one of the lightweight fake terra cotta ones .
Really doesn't look bad; I left it outside all winter
(and oh what a winter it was). No sign of falling apart ,
and so easy to move even when it's full of soil.
It's at least 3 years old; don't even remember when I got it.

I used just one dwarf pink Dianthus
with white Alyssum all around.
When you place annuals in a container,
it doesn't hurt to crowd them a bit.
The directions may say place 12" apart
but I put them much closer to make the container nice and full.
If you use good soil, and feed them every few weeks
(which I forget to do mostly)
they don't mind being a bit crowded.

I think more important than anything is to make sure
not to let potted plants dry out in hot weather.
Containers (especially terra cotta) dry out quite quickly.
During a hot spell, you may have to water every day.
During a super super hot spell, twice a day!

Wow, I can run on when it comes to plants!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading,
and do visit Inspiration Avenue this weekend to
check the list of all the party participants
who have some wonderful tutorials on their blogs!

Go create a work of art with plants!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Challenge "Bloom"
Girl in a Flower Shop
Ooh I'm in a gigantic rush to get this posted in time 
for the weekly challenge at Inspiration Avenue, 
so I won't waste too many words.

I really wanted to do this challenge 
because I love the word "bloom",
just makes me bloomin' happy!

Check out all the flowery entries here!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coffee or Tea?
My aunt gave me this little pouch many years ago.
I do like the sentiment on it, except lately I've been substituting 
a good strong cup of coffee for the tea.

Today I decided to take time and have a little cuppa tea.
Don't the English say it is just the thing for any situation that comes up?

I've been enjoying the way the garden is springing to life.
The bleeding heart comes and goes so quickly.
By early summer there will be nothing left of it.

The viburnum is ready to burst into bloom...
It's right beside the patio and starting to give some shade.

 Well, that was relaxing, but  I'm still craving my coffee.
I'm goin' out and just might stop at Starbucks! 

What about you? Coffee or tea?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blog Party May 1-2!

Hey everyone! 
It's been a little while since I posted about the 
upcoming Blog Party at Inspiration Avenue. 
Just so no one forgets, and to give you time to come up 
with your most awesome tip, tutorial, or lesson, 
I'm posting about it again! 

This is a sharing party! 
We are hoping to assemble, with your help, 
the most fantabulous collection of tutorials 
the blogosphere has ever seen! 
A tutorial could be 
an art-related tip, 
a craft project, 
a recipe, 
something your mom taught you, 
just anything you know how to do that you'd like to share! 
I'm thinking very seriously about a  gardening-related project
since the great outdoors is taking up so much of my time lately.
But there's still a little time to decide... 

Read about the details here at Inspiration Avenue!

Oh, in my enthusiasm for the upcoming tutorials,
I almost forgot to mention the reason
we are throwing this gala celebration!

It's to recognize the wonderful people who contributed
to making last month's Auction for Angel Faces such a success,
(both the bidders and the eventual winners)
of the works that were up for auction.
(I want to give a special thanks here to The Lavender Daisy
the winner of my fairy paintings! :))
Thanks to everyone who bid!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

on the 
Apple Tree

You know, some things in the garden are the result of hours of hard backbreaking labor, and you can look at them and marvel at what a good thing you've accomplished.

And other things are just there for the taking, through no effort of your own, just showing up year after year, not asking you to do anything at all.
This apple tree is like that ~ it's an old-timer, been there I-don't-know-how-long. Before my time of tending to this garden anyway.

It's extra-beautiful this year. Maybe it's the weather, maybe the beauty comes in cycles and this is its year.

For the past 2 years I had a compost bin near the tree to which I religiously added all the kitchen waste, grass clippings, leaves, all the stuff you put in a compost bin. I moved it this spring, but in my usual fashion, I rarely used the compost and it's been sitting there melting into the soil. Too lazy to dig it out of the bin and spread it around! It always seemed like there wasn't enough to bother with. Could it have been nourishing the apple tree all this time? If so, I'm glad I've done something for this old tree, however inadvertently!

As I was walking to the shed the other day, the sight of it made me drop my keys and gloves and go back in the house to grab my camera. I'm glad I did because we've had some windy days and rain, and the blossoms are already disappearing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Magical Transformations
This week the challenge at Inspiration Avenue is
"Magical Transformations".
This has been such a beautiful Spring and I can't stop gazing 
at all the fabulous blooms everywhere. 
My apple tree is covered in blossoms. 
The bottom photo is the same tree 
during the snowstorm we had in February.

It's hard to believe in a little over 2 months there could be such
a transformation in one tree! Nature is amazing!
And it's all there for everyone to enjoy, if we only take the time!

Head over to Inspiration Avenue to see the entries 
for this week! I can't wait to see them all. 
If you have time to enter, (just post your entry 
by 12:00 noon on Sunday the 18th) 
and you will be in the drawing for April's giveaway, 
a beautiful bookmark created 


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

So Many Fish in the Trees
When I saw the fish in Lisa's post on Inspiration Avenue for this week's challenge, I got inspired to do something  really colorful. Maybe it is because of all the springtime color that is popping up all around or maybe I just loved those fish.

At any rate, I then thought about who else would love some colorful fish, and naturally a cat came to mind. Can cats see color? I'm not sure but I know they can't resist anything hanging just out of reach, colorful or not. They're kind of like people that way. 

Head over to Inspiration Avenue to see everyone's fish creations!
This promises to be a very exciting challenge!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I've Been Tagged!
(A Long Time Ago!)
I'm so late with this ~ but I've had every intention of posting, things have just gotten very hectic. I haven't been able to keep up with the challenges, I haven't been visiting  blogs, or posting. 

But I'm back, since I can now take time to stop and smell the,
erm, daffodils, since the roses are still a couple months away.

I've been tagged by 2 lovely friends,
They are both extraordinarily talented and creative artists
so you must visit their blogs and shops if you don't already!
At first I was apprehensive about what my10th photo would be.
Luckily I take most of the photos, so the chances of the 10th one
being of me were slim. And also lucky because there is no such thing
as a good photo of me. I'm  truly un-photogenic!
Ugh. But you never know.

But happily, I had scanned some old family photos
not long ago, and here was one of my grandparents!
I don't know how old they were here, I'm guessing in their 30s?
I think my grandmother's dress looks rather 30ish. 
She was born in 1907, my grandfather in 1901.  

My grandmother died when I was only 10,
but my grandfather lived into his 90s and got to know his
great-grandson. So as not to get all the grandfathers confused,
my son called him "Big Grandpa", even though he was never "big",
just tall, but even less so as he entered his 90s. 
I think Jesse takes after him somewhat ~ 
a tall drink of water who never gains weight! Wish I was that lucky!

The rules of the game are:

Open your first photo file

Scroll to the 10th photo

Post the photo and the story behind it

Tag 5 more people

So, since it is extremely hard to choose 5 lucky people to tag,
I'll just say, play the game if you'd like! It's actually quite fun.
You might find a picture that you ordinarily would not post,
and that can be quite rewarding!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's Party Time!

 You Are Invited to a Blog Party!
It's such a pleasure to be able to thank all of you who participated in Inspiration Avenue's Auction for Angel Faces! In fact, Inspiration Avenue is hosting a   Blog Party with a fun theme in honor of all who helped raise over $500 for the girls at Angel Faces.  And, to be honest, we always think  'the more the merrier'  so absolutely everyone is invited!
What can you bring to the party?  Well, thank you for asking!  We would love it if you would contribute a tip, a tutorial, a lesson of some kind showing something that you know how to do, and that you'd like to share with us all.

Post it on your blog! Leave a comment at Inspiration Avenue so everyonecan pop over to your blog and learn something new! The party takes place May 1 and 2, 2010 so save those dates!

In the mean time, to learn more about the party, please click the  badge in the right sidebar. This will take you to the code that you can use to place the button on your own blog, as well as the post that will give you all of the party info! We'd be thrilled if you'd spread the word by putting the button on your blog!

So, thinking caps on, and see you at the party!