How wonderful that gardening supplies have entered the hip world of West Elm Market, Willams-Sonoma and Anthropologie (via their sister garden & home shop, Terrain). The range of tools and accessories surely inspires new gardeners to set up a little green in their outdoor spaces and gives more seasoned green-thumbs some new ideas.
Have you seen Garden Therapy on Pinterest? 65 boards of crafty gardeny goodness. This is a place where I find and save so many new ideas and sparks fly for the projects I want to try throughout the year.
I just love this fence garden from Camille Styles and can see this dressing up my old, weathered fences.
Looking for a garden friendly favour for a spring wedding or a bridal or baby shower? These colourful seed packets a fun way for guests to take away a lasting memory.
These seed packets are even cuter when displayed on wire curlicues like butterflies fluttering around. Perfect considering they are filled with a blend of seeds for attracting butterflies! For the complete instructions on making these delightful favours, check out the full post at the My Own Ideas Blog.
This DIY project would make a great gift, complete with a handwritten sentiment. Will the handy uses for chalkboard paint ever come to an end? I hope not. Read on for instructions on how to make the pot, as well as some advice from Martha Stewart that took the fear out of repotting orchids for me!
There is often two sides to a story. In the case of what goes on in the Garden Therapy homestead, the unsung hero is my husband, Michael, who has been working behind the scenes on almost every project and post written here. Today we are lucky enough to see “Schneider” come forward to share a tutorial on how to build a Doggy John, or a flushable dog run for our Weekend Project.
If you want to protect your lawn from doggie business so it stays pretty and usable, it is incredibly easy to teach the mutts to use a dog run. With some training consistency, lots of liver treats, and your dog’s desire to keep you happy, you can say goodbye to dog poop for ever (on you lawn at least).
Now over to my other half to share his brilliant idea for a Doggy John…
This month we take a look at a garden book from a few different perspectives. Three of our reviewers from Garden Therapy Book Club join us to share their thoughts on The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live.
Cleaning and organizing the garden tools may not be the most glamorous job, but it certainly gets the gardening year off on the right flip flop. Plus, I discovered a handy new way to organize my small garden tools and that’s pretty darn exciting (if you disagree with me now, just wait until mid summer when you have a hundred things to prune and you can easily find clean, sharp snips in no time at all – yeah, that’s exciting).
I’ve read in a few places that a great way to store your tools is in a bin filled with sand and a little oil. Last summer I decided to give this a try. They ‘recipe’ recommend adding coarse sand to some sort of bucket and adding motor oil. I didn’t want to use motor oil as I was worried about the adverse affects on my organic garden, and I thought vegetable oil would go rancid, so I left out the oil and just oiled my tools regularly.
The benefit of this method is that your tools are easy to grab and easily kept organized. The drawback is that the sand really mucks up your tools, particularly the pruners. It gets into all the crevices and it just doesn’t work for me. I do not recommend storing your tools in sand but if you have a way that it works for you, please let me know.
Since I liked the organization I got with my small tools, I decided to replace the sand with river stones. This works beautifully! Fill up 1/3 of a shallow but wide bin with round river stones and insert tools. It holds them in place so you can find them easily, it takes up very little room, and it’s simple to maintain.
It’s also a good idea to wash and sharpen your tools regularly. Many gardeners will wash, oil, and sharpen pruners before each gardening day. Others may do it more often (i.e.: between plants which is always a good idea if there are disease issues that can be spread), and some do it less often (one a week, a month, never.) Keeping tools clean and sharp will ensure they perform as you wish, last a long time, and don’t spread disease.
I try to keep my tools clean and sharp but it’s not a perfect system. I work best with scheduled activities so in both the spring and fall I like to follow this hand tool maintenance program:
Purple and green Oxalis planted in painted mason jars make a modern arrangement for this St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day typically reminds folks of leprechauns, green beer, Ireland, and shamrocks: the symbol seen on green-felt fedoras. But I’m a plant nerd so I think about the shamrock from a botanical point (and I try not to remember those nights drinking green beer). The symbol of Ireland is the three-leaf old white clover, Trifolium repens, which is common in North America and Europe in grassy areas as well as a pasture crop. I fondly remember summer days as a child searching for a lucky four-leaf clover lying in park grass. While many launch a year long fight to get clover out of their lawns, I’m happy to leave it blooming for the bees and give the lawn a rich green colour.
There are a few other three-leaf herbaceous plants that share the Shamrock moniker my favourite being Oxalis. Native to South America and Africa, this genus of over 500 species are often grown as ornamental plants in home gardens or as houseplants.
Oxalis in my garden in tucked in shady woodland areas where it generally hides from the camera. To get a few better shots and really enjoy the beauty of the plant, I picked up a few from the garden centre to use in my spring arrangements.
Oxalis regnellii is typically grown in this zone (7-8) as a houseplant due to its vulnerability to frost. Pale lavender to white flowers bloom regularly on healthy plants given plenty of light but away from direct sunlight.
With Oxalis regnellii ‘Atropurpurea’, the blooms are hardly worth considering when compared to the dark eggplant foliage, often with brighter purple centre leaf margins.
Inspired by the colour palette provided by the two false shamrocks, I created a St. Patty’s day floral arrangement using painted mason jars as planters and as a case for some deep purple tulips.
Painted Mason Jar Tutorial
- Mason jar(s)
- Latex house paint
- Craft paint
- Foam paint brush
- Flowers / plants
This is a simple project that I have seen done with spray paint. I chose to tint some leftover latex trim paint as : a) I had some, b) I wasn’t keen on the fumes from the spray, and c) I wanted more control over the colour.
Simply mix up the colour that you want by added craft paint into the latex pain in a yogurt container. Mix really well then pour a little into your mason jar. Use the brush to paint the inside evenly and leave to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary. One coat is shown here.
To make into a planter, fit a plastic nursery container containing your plant onto the top. Ensure there is a little lip holding it on the edge so you can remove it when necessary.
To make a vase, insert a thin glass vase into the painted jar.
Choosing interesting shapes and patterned jars will add even more interest to the project. I like the simplicity of them on my fireplace mantle where they contrast with the painting.
It has also been quite fun to watch the Oxalis “go to sleep” at night, or rather the leaves droop down as a result of nyctinasty, a plant’s chemical response to the onset of darkness that causes the leaves to tuck in for the night. It gives these guys a bit of personality which may leave you unconsciously whispering at night as to not disturb them.
Thanks for visiting this weekend’s project.
Sprouting is a quick and easy way to grow some nutritious, crunchy veg to add to your diet in the winter months. I’ve previously shared how much I love using my automatic sprouter but it’s just as easy with a mason jar and a windowsill. While I like my automatic sprouter for masses of alfalfa, fenugreek, clover, radish, and broccoli sprouts that grow tall and last for weeks in the tray, mason jar sprouting is a good choice for crunchy beans and peas. If you start today you will be adding them to the salad bowl or wok in about 4 days.
Many places sell a bean mix that contain a variety of different lentils, peas and beans. I used mung beans (these are the beans that sprout the long white bean sprouts you typically find in Asian food) and green peas as I like the combination of starchy and sweet favour. Plus they both sprout in 3-4 days so they are compatible for timing.
Fill a 1L mason jar 1/4 of the way with dried organic beans/peas. Cover them with water and leave on your counter to soak overnight, 8-12 hours. Cut a square of cheesecloth and secure it tightly with a canning jar ring. Strain off water and set back down on your counter. Rinse the jar contents now 4 x per day, straining off all the liquid.
After 4 days or so, the contents of the jar sprout and jar will start to fill up – it’s time to eat them! Add raw to salads and sandwiches or toss into stir-fries and soups. I have also heard of people adding them to smoothies although I’m not tripping over myself to try that one. Any other ideas on how to use these sprouts in recipes?