Back in June, for about twenty minutes, I thought my garden looked almost perfect. We’d cleaned the flower beds and mulched, and everything looked so fresh and orderly. But now, with the dog days of summer upon us, the garden is once again an out-of-control monster.
But that’s okay. There are birds and bees everywhere, and they are happier when I leave things alone.
Amid the chaos that is our garden, there were a few things that went right – things that I enjoyed this season. So I thought I would share them with you.
We’ll start with my most recent addition to the garden.
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On a walk in the neighborhood, Chris and I came across this footed ceramic pot that someone had kicked to the curb.
It had a few chips, and I didn’t like the color or the heavy glaze. It was also top heavy and not very stable. Still it had possibilities.
Ignoring the advice of several family members to leave it be, I sanded the pot with 400-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper didn’t have much of an impact on the heavy glaze, but it did leave tiny striations.
Then, hoping to etch the glaze even more, I sprayed it with the home made rust accelerator (basically a DIY acid) that I used to make my DIY soup can planters. I’m not sure if this step actually did anything. (Note: When working with any acid, be sure to follow all recommended safety precautions.)
Then I sprayed it with Rust-Oleum Universal Advanced Formula in Oil Rubbed Bronze. This spray paint is said to work on wood, metal, plastic, masonry, and more. I can only hope that “and more” includes glazed ceramic.
The paint adhered well to the pot – with no runs. Only time will tell if the paint actually holds up on glazed ceramic, but I will be bringing this pot indoors in winter to protect it.
I turned it upside down, placed a potted plant on it, and used it as a plant stand – which is what I had in mind for it all along.
(As an aside: Since this Rust-Oleum spray paint is made to use on plastics, I also tried it on a small resin pot. The result was not the same – too dark and shiny for my liking.)
The Front Porch
Earlier in summer, poppies and Spanish lavender were blooming near the front porch steps.
In the flowerbed on the opposite side of the steps, birds enjoy the new birdbath that I found at a statuary for only $30.
The birdbath was damaged: It originally had two clunky butterflies attached to it. But one was broken off. So once I got the birdbath home, Chris removed the remaining butterfly. No big loss since the butterfly looked more like a moth – or even a bat.
A couple of new decor items – a pillowcase that I’d purchased at a farmer’s market in Hawaii and an outdoor rug – give our front porch a bit of a tropical vibe.
This is my favorite place to sip coffee and feel guilty about not doing more yard work.
The Back Patio
My favorite place for sipping wine is our back patio. It’s cool and quiet here on summer evenings.
Sometimes it’s the little things that add personality to a garden.
For months, these sweet, tiny flowers have been blooming in our front walkway.
The little cuties have spilled into the lawn, where they are short enough to escape the lawnmower blade.
Not as long blooming but almost as cute, these little bellflowers like to surround this potted quince.
My garden chair has a new cushion this year: baby tears.
Meanwhile, lavender and lysimachia are working together to swallow this urn.
Lots of plants withered in the heat this summer, but my mandevilla, which I overwintered in our greenhouse, has been blooming like crazy for months.
Near the back door, plume poppies lean toward the sun. They must love their location, because they’ve been such a reliable perennial.
I grew zinnias from seeds and planted them in front of the plume poppies and the Bishop of Llandaff dahlias.
I got the zinnia seed packet last fall at a country vegetable stand, and the packet contained a fun variety of seeds.
A Little Progress
Since I began writing this post, I’ve trimmed a few hedges and dusted off some walkways. The garden is still chaos, but I’m feeling much better about it.
And it really didn’t take me that long. It was a good reminder to me that having the right tools makes all the difference.
I used my Ryobi 18v cordless hedge trimmer and my Ryobi 18v cordless blower. These tools are probably not for heavy-duty jobs, but for my needs they work because they are lightweight. A rechargeable battery means no annoying cords or smelly fuels. I use the same battery for both tools, and it’s easy to move from one tool to the other.
But that’s more than enough about yard work. Warm summer breezes are meant for downtime, dreams, and daydreams. Here is what has me dreaming today.
The attainable dream:
Although I love the tropical pillowcase I found in Hawaii, I can’t help admiring these four watercolor/bohemian pillowcases. And what a great deal for a set of four.
The “I can dream, can’t I?” dream:
If our porch was just a bit bigger, and I was just a bit lazier (yet also somehow richer), I would want a daybed swing similar to this one. Mint julep anyone?
Thanks for coming along today on this little tour of our garden.
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