A Garden of Rusty Things

So many of my creative gardening friends have rusty things as yard art. Maybe it’s a Kansas thing to do, although I’ve seen found-object art in a lot of magazines lately. While I admire these gardens, I never thought of this as my aesthetic. At least until I acquired some major rusty things.

What you see below is an old car (or is it a truck?) frame. I had it laid out on the ground, thinking I could use it to plant onions and garlic, along with some horseradish. Problem is, I have enough gardens to take care of, so this one more plot defeated me. Weeds grew up under the frame, inside the frame, around the frame … it was a weedy mess.

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Jim and I spent part of Sunday lifting the frame out of the ground, weed-eating the weeds, tilling, and planting – heavens – grass seed. Jim went off to find the tools to take the frame apart when I started thinking: door number one, door number two, door number three … Okay, so it has four doors. But what a cool entrance to a garden of rusty things.

The amazing Jim went along with the plan, dug the trench, and using the front loader, set it upright. And here it is. As you can see, it’s perfect for us shorter people!

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I already have a rusty 500 gallon gas tank as a start to my garden of rusty things. Enter through the car frame. Do I need more treasures? Just some vines to dress things up? What about a gravel circle and gravel paths – making it harder to mow, yes, but defining the space. What about a couple of rusty metal chairs? And maybe one of those stunted pecan trees will grow up to shade the gravel patio. Lots of possibilities.

Thoughts? Send them my way!!

Containers

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This summer for the first time, I invested in containers for flowers, both front and back yard.  My thinking?  I wanted more freedom from weeding.

But uh oh.  Freedom from weeding meant becoming a slave to watering!

In the backyard, I planted two half whiskey barrels with petunias, verbena, and geraniums.  Pretty at first.  One day without water in this heat and my whiskey barrel of flowers turned into a crispy critter.

Guess there’s no easy road to a beautiful garden.

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Meet n Greet

zipcoffelt:

Gardening friends – if you haven’t seen Dream Big, Dream Often, check out the Meet and Greet. Great way to meet new Bloggers, read some terrific Blogs, and maybe get a boost for your Blog readership!

Originally posted on Dream Big, Dream Often:

Ok so here are the rules:IMG_7051

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!  So don’t be selfish, hit the reblog button.
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags (i.e. reblogging, reblog, meet n greet, link party, etc.), it helps, trust me on this one.
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  5. And if you leave a link and don’t follow me, how about ya show ole Danny some love?
  6. Call the mayor of your hometown and have him pronounce this weekend as the official weekend of the “Dream Big Meet n Greet!”  This might take some persistence, but don’t you dare give…

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The Weeds are Winning!

At the beginning of the summer I made a pact with myself to weed a tree a day. Those of you who have followed my Blog for a while know that one of my most hated childhood chores was tree weeding. Nevertheless, I am now old enough or wise enough to understand the reason to keep trees – especially my baby trees – weeded.

So much for good intentions. Whether due to excess rain, excess heat, or just plain laziness, I haven’t managed a tree a day. Or even a tree most days. I count my efforts as a moderate success. My grade? I’d give myself a C+ because, on average, from April till now, I weeded a tree a week.

What I don’t understand is how a tree can go from this:

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To this:

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To this, in less than a week.

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It’s true. The weeds are winning.

Even worse, vegetable beds that I left for later have been overrun with weeds. Here’s my car frame bed, which I half-planted last fall with garlic and horseradish. I’ve harvested the garlic, good for me, but I’ve done nothing with the rest. The garden soil I planned to add still sits in the middle of the bed surrounded by weeds.

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And worse yet, the horse nettle in my sedum garden has proliferated to such an extent that my only option is to dig everything up this fall and see if a judicious application of glysophate will work.

Hate to do it, but sometimes draconian measures are needful.

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I won’t hide the fact that I like my Blogs with plenty of ‘message.’ So here’s the message for today.

The late summer garden tends to be the ‘dirty middle’ of the process, and like any dirty middle, it looks like the weeds – the ‘bad’ stuff – is winning.

I know in my heart that it won’t win. I’ll get those great autumn days when it’s dry enough and cool enough to attack the weeds. Everything will get cleaned up for winter, for next spring, for another season. And so the process goes.

The weeds are winning for now. Let them. It’s temporary.

Useless Things

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We have a great many apparently useless things lying around. Case in point: the table in the photo, which we found at a garage sale. Metal, with half the red paint peeling off, I thought it would look nice on the deck once we repainted it. But I have ten thumbs and must depend on Jim for things like painting. My cute metal table was a low priority project, and so it sat in the barn awaiting a good sanding and painting for several years. In point of fact – and as you can clearly see – it still awaits.

The cup and saucer – thankfully, you cannot make it out in the photo – came to us as a family Christmas gift. I wanted to toss it out the minute I brought it home. Instead, it sat in the garage gathering dust and golf balls for several years.

The metal whatsit was my error. Saw it at a flea market, immediately fell in love, and brought it home only to find it worked nowhere. Not the fireplace mantel, not the hearth, not the hall table. And so, it resided in the basement for several years.

This spring, out with a gardening friend, I saw this red vine. I thought it was a Mandevilla and an especially lovely one at that. In general, I like Mandevilla in other people’s yards. But no, my friend corrected me. It is a Dipladenia, related to a Mandevilla, bushier although no less tropical. It will last one season unless I bring it inside when the weather turns cool.

“Plant it in that cup and saucer,” Jim suggested. I did, and the poor thing flopped around, the ends of the vine burning in the sun, until I remembered the metal whatsit, which fit perfectly on the metal table.

You see the result. Three useless things and one ephemeral vine. Gorgeousness for a Friday morning in the middle of a heatwave.

Harvesting Herbs

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Do you remember the above photo? I posted it after laying out the herb garden in March. Well, it has turned into this:

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Time to harvest herbs!

Given the price of herbs in the supermarkets today, I’m gifting herbs to friends without gardens. Here’s one care package!

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Herbs for cooking – basil, thyme, mint, sorrel, rosemary, parsley, cilantro – and herbs for bathing – lavender and patchouli.

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Can’t you just smell the bouquet??

Next on the agenda – drying herbs for use this winter!

Still Blue

I planned to write about harvesting garlic this week. Then I saw that a number of my Blogger friends had the same idea. In fact, if you want a how-to, head on out to Old World Garden Farms for information including a video. What you’ll find here is probably more like ‘how-not-to.’

I did talk to my master gardener friend, Linda Hoffman, who gave me a cheat-sheet on garlic harvesting. I read it once, then put it away – meaning I lost it. I did remember to cut off the flowers, which look like little bulbous growths on the top of the stem. Here they are in the burn pile. Linda did say I could use them for cooking but I ran out of time before I could do the research on how-to.

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I remembered reading that the tops had to die back 50 percent before getting the garlic up. And Linda reminded me to lift the garlic instead of trying to pull it out. As you can see, I planted a life-time supply of garlic.

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So today was the day. I got out my trusty fork and found that to lift the garlic, I had to lift half the soil in the garden, still muddy from all the rain. A lot of work – and thanks to husband Jim for his help!

But then my memory failed me. I knew I was supposed to hang the garlic someplace dark, dry, and not too hot. But did I clean it first? Cut the roots off? What? The garlic in the produce department at the store is always clean and dry, no roots. So I opted to cut the roots off. Once again, Jim to the rescue. I hosed while he cut, leaving me with a wheelbarrow full of roots and mud. Where to put it?

Perspective is everything! I considered it compost for next year’s garlic crop and dumped the whole wheelbarrow on the bed. What’s still growing there is horseradish, which I also am unsure of how to harvest – another story for another day!

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But where to hang the garlic? Had to be out of the sun, cool, relatively dry. The basement? Too smelly. The kitchen? Really too smelly!! Ah yes, Jim’s workshop.

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So there it hangs with a fan on to keep it dry, out of the sun. Hoping that it won’t get too hot in the next few days.

Now. How to store it?