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Skagit Valley Tulip Festival + How to Grow Tulips

A few years back I visited Skagit Valley in Washington state where each year they delight visitors with a little taste of what Holland’s tulip farms might be like during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The area is home to many producers of spring flowers including tulips, daffodils, and irises.

Tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Miranda Tulips

Ile de France Tulips

The festival runs April 1-30 of any given year and a quick look at the bloom map will tell you which of the fields are in full glory. Bloom times are always subject to Mother Nature’s schedule, but you can usually find a couple fields of tulips in bloom in the middle of the month. However, you’d best be quick because the blooms don’t last more than 2 weeks before they are cut, bulbs removed, and soil turned for another year.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State

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Green Roof Birdhouse Tutorial

Green roofs are all the rage right now but why should we humans have all the fun? In this Weekend Project you will learn how to make a removable, plantable roof addition to a standard cedar birdhouse. Adorable.

My husband is a hobbyist woodworker. Lucky me, right? And since we were talking about setting up some nesting boxes for our chickadees, he found some plans online, bought some wood, and then a few hours later we had this beautiful little birdhouse.

Gorgeous and perfectly made, with vent holes for the bird family’s air circulation, and the rough wood facing in so the fledglings can crawl up to the perfectly-sized hole for their first venture out into the world. Oh, and it has a hinged roof so that you can peek in on them clean the birdhouse at the end of the season.

Me: “Great birdhouse, Honey. Let’s make a green roof for the birdies.”

Husband:  “Um, ok, well….but if we put a green roof on it we won’t be able to lift it up to look clean inside.”

Me: “There has to be a way. We can figure it out, right?”

Husband: “Um, yeah…”

If you speak husband like I do then you know that basically means, “I don’t know what you’re up to, Crazy Woman, but I’m not touching that birdhouse”. So I waited for him to go to work and I got busy building this fabulous removable plant tray that acts as a green roof. Want to make one too? Here’s how:  (If you don’t see the tutorial, please click ‘continue reading’.)

 

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The Magic of the Grinch Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree that graces the Garden Therapy house this year is not a huge, lush, extravagantly-adorned spectacle as it has been in the past. Nope, this year we almost didn’t put up a tree. I was feeling a bit grinchy and will admit that the holidays have been difficult in the past, the last few years in particular. So this year the plan was to just skip Christmas all together, keep busy through the winter and pop out on the right side of Spring, ready to get diggin’ again.

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch / You’re the king of sinful sots / Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots / Mr. Gri-inch! / You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce! 

 

But then and idea hit me. Like a vision appearing before me it was suddenly clear as day: a Grinch Tree. A tree design that celebrates not just the joy and wonder of the season, but celebrates the difficulties and challenges as well.

If those little Who’s could sing their hearts out in tough times, then so can I. I bought a potted cedar and rigged it up by pruning and re-attaching some branches so that the ball on the top would hang over just right. The perfect green ball and ribbon were easy to find.

The decorations are a combination of simple white lights, wooden ornaments, felted acorns, and kitchy silver disco balls. And the base is wrapped simply in burlap with a big green bow.

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