Gardens

Turning the Functional Into the Whimsical

There are many times in the garden when we go for functional, practical and expedient but wish that what we’ve done could be more visually pleasing. We all want the picture-perfect garden that’s worthy of being shown in Country Gardens Magazine or Fine Gardening, but we may not have the time or budget to create that look. To my mind, the answer is to turn toward whimsy. It might not get you published, but it will transform the practical into something fanciful that will make you smile.

Here’s an example. My husband, who is my partner in gardening as well as so much more, likes to put a stake at the end of our vegetable rows. These poles keep any hoses from dragging over the veggies, and reminds us that we’ve already put seeds in that particular row. Since he’s an avid recycler, Dan uses scrap lumber for these markers.

I acknowledge that these stakes are free and functional, but I long for something more visually appealing and photogenic. Neither of us has the time to devote to making these markers look like they belong in P. Allen Smith’s garden, but I realized that there is a way to improve the look by going whimsical. In my shed I had a box of tiny clay flowerpots. These were left from various sales or craft projects, and as any gardener knows this size put is pretty useless for growing plants. Turned upside down on the stakes, however, they transformed the old, recycled lumber into something more charming.

So the weekend project is to look at what you have, and consider how two very ordinary things might be combined to make something that is happily pleasing to the eye.

Old wooden stakes + small flower pots = country style.

Old wooden stakes + small flower pots = country style.

Food

Sugar Snap Peas

Be sure to grow sugar snap peas on a support that is at least 5 feet high.

If you’re a foodie and you aren’t growing them, put this on your calendar for next year. “Plant sugar snap peas in the spring.”  Don’t look for plants at your garden center…grow these from seed. You can do it!

Forget the advise about planting peas on Saint Patrick’s day – the reality is that in most

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Gardens

Displaying Container Plants

This display separates the colored pots and the varieties of foliage so that contrasting containers and plants are next to each other.

I have a bench in one of my gardens that we never sit on. This year it occured to me that this space would be better used for displaying container plants than for unused seating, so I grouped some succulents there. A far better use of this flat surface!

There are many such areas that

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Love This!

I Love Lavender Phenomenal

The backlight was just right to add a magical quality to my photo of a bee on my Phenomenal lavender.

Name:  Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ aka lavender Phenomenal

Type of Plant: A large growing, cold tolerant perennial lavender hardy in zones 3-8.

Why I Love This: This past winter was hard on lots of plants including many of the heat-loving varieties. While my Hidcote and Munstead lavenders suffered or died, my Phenomenal came through the cold and

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Gardens

Open Gardens Cape Cod

It’s just a few days away. Go past the Fourth of July, round the corner and you’ll be at the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival! Ten days of private gardens that are open to the public for the benefit of local non-profits. Entry into each garden is only $5. and you’ll know you’re supporting a non-profit

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Food

How To Use Garlic Scapes

We tossed the scapes with a little olive oil and put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. They were roasted at 350 degrees until they were soft and slightly turning brown.

The garlic is scaping! If you planted garlic in the fall, sometime in mid-summer it starts to bloom. The curvy flower buds are called scapes, and most gardeners cut these off as soon as they form so that the plant will put its energy into the head of garlic underground instead of the flowers and

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