touring in the time of COVID, part 2.

Welcome back to the rest of the garden tour from last week.  Today I’m sharing my garden with you.  You might want to grab a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

I always think the garden looks best right about now in mid-June.  We haven’t had any hail storms yet, so the hostas are looking fabulous.  Well … except for the ones that have been munched on by deer.  The other evening I looked out the window to see a momma deer strolling up to my garden with her little fawn trailing behind her.  That fawn was adorable, but I shooed them away nonetheless.  Now I’ve started calling this part of the garden the ‘salad bar’.

They seem to especially love the Sun Power hosta, which is the bright chartreuse one on the left.  If you look closely you can see that the ends have been munched off quite a few of the leaves.

My fairy garden is in the cracked birdbath that is poking out of the hostas in the photo above.  I found the bird bath at a garage sale, and since it no longer held water due to the crack, it was super cheap.  That made it perfect for my fairy garden because it provides for drainage.

I lost a few of the plants in there over last winter (we bury it for the winter next to the house in a pile of leaves to protect it), but some came back.  The big clump of bright chartreuse on the left is a miniature hosta called Feather Boa.  I divided it last year and it has come back stronger than ever.  The much smaller blue-ish colored clump on the opposite side of the path is another miniature hosta called Blue Mouse Ears.  Just behind the buddha is Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’, I gave it a little pruning and it’s looking good.  The rest of the plants are new and they are annuals, so they won’t come back next year.

I had some trouble finding fairy garden plants this year.  Usually Bachman’s has a great selection, and so does Rose Floral in Stillwater but this year it was slim pickins.  I have to assume that somehow the whole COVID thing made them hard to come by.

Much like my friend Sue, a good chunk of my garden is in the shade.  But I’ve learned to love shade gardening.  For one thing, working in the garden is much more pleasant when you aren’t roasting under the hot sun.  Also, a shady garden doesn’t need to be watered nearly as much as a sunny one.

Of course hostas are perfect for a shade garden …

But other shade loving perennials that do well for me include ferns of all kinds, bleeding heart, lily of the valley, wild ginger and foam flower.

If you’ll remember, last summer we lost two trees in front of the house so now there is a bit more sun in that garden.  Luckily all of the plants I have in that bed seem to be enjoying the extra sunshine.

In addition to the hostas, I have some Purple Palace heuchera, some white and some purple astilbe, and a variegated sedum that is really happy to finally get some sun.

I try to change up the front window box every year.  This year I went with a chartreuse and white theme using coleus, sedum, white New Guinea impatiens, white trailing verbena and Diamond Frost euphorbia.

Since it’s getting a little more sun this year, I think this bright lime green sedum will do really well here.

I added one of the Classic Vintage Label transfers to my watering can, doesn’t it look fab?  And it’s holding up perfectly well outside.

I’m a big fan of adding pops of lime green foliage to the garden, especially either in the shade or planted next to darker green plants.  This ‘Lemon Frost’ lamium is a perfect example of that.

Most of the ‘decor’ in my garden has come from garage sales including this sweet concrete bunny.

The gal who was selling it had several concrete garden items and said that her son had been experimenting with making them using molds.  I only paid $8 for it, and it has held up quite well.

This fountain was from a garage sale …

It sits just below the galvanized boiler window box which is also from a garage sale.

Well, or at least the boiler was from a garage sale.  It had a rusted out bottom, so I only paid a couple of dollars for it.  Handyman Ken added some wood slats to the bottom so that it would hold soil, but still allow for drainage and then he devised a way to hang it on the wall.

And all of the pretty china I use to decorate my garden is from garage sales too.

While the ladies were touring my garden, they asked if I don’t have problems with breakage having china in the garden.  But really, I don’t.  I think I’ve had one or two plates break over the years, but since I get them dirt cheap at garage sales it’s not really a big deal.

Both of these planters were garage sale finds …

Although I have doctored them up with Dixie Belle’s patina paint to make them look like rusty iron planters (see how to do that here).  In reality one is black plastic and the other is made out of that foam faux concrete looking stuff.

Even Cossetta, my large statue, is from a garage sale.

She manages to make her way into the background of quite a few of my furniture photos …

Many of my plants are also from garage sales including that variegated sedum that I shared earlier.  Another of my favorite garage sale plant finds is Sweet Woodruff, it’s the ground cover that is under this concrete planter …

It’s nearly done blooming now, but a couple of weeks ago it was a carpet of delicate white flowers.

A quick q tip about garage sale plants, there is a good chance that plants you buy at a garage sale are considered invasive.  There is a reason the seller has enough extra to sell some.  For me, invasive isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It just means that you need to control it by planting it in spots with natural borders.  In this case there is a tree at the back, large hostas on either side and a stone border in the front.  When the plant starts expanding beyond those borders, I just yank it out.  You have to be a little brutal about it.

I have many ‘invasive’ plants in my gardens including a rather large bed of ferns that has taken over the space to one side of our driveway.

This area is in deep shade though, and prior to adding the ferns I really had trouble getting anything to grow well in that spot.

Another favorite plant of mine is the clematis.  I added three new ones this year, bringing my total to 7.  They don’t all bloom simultaneously.  I wish I could say that I planned it that way, but it really just happened.

This one goes first …

Then a week later, the blooms on this one start to open …

The rest haven’t yet started to bloom.  One of the new ones I planted is Sweet Autumn, which blooms in late summer to early fall.  So now I should have clematis blooming for most of the season.

I have one last thing to share with you guys, my cutting garden.  It’s tucked away behind the carriage house.  The sole purpose of these plants is to cut the flowers and bring them in the house, so the plants don’t have to look pretty in place.

In case you haven’t noticed, I really love peonies so most of the space back here is taken up by them.

You might remember that about a month ago I shared the idea of using an old chair to support your peonies …

.  As you can see, the peony has grown quite a bit since then …

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my gardens even though it got a bit long.

And I also hope you’re a fan of these sort of ‘tour’ posts, because on Friday I’ll be sharing another tour of a really lovely home in Stillwater.  Here’s a little sneak peek …

So be sure to stay tuned!

touring in the time of COVID, part 1.

Two years ago I shared Jackie’s garden here on the blog (part 1 and part 2).  At the time I promised to return the favor and let Jackie and her friend Netti tour mine.

It took me two years to get around to it, but I finally reached out to Jackie a week or so ago and asked if she was still interested.  She jumped at the chance, I believe her exact words were ‘finally … something to look forward to’ and ‘we’ll mask up and be over.’

My sister stopped by to join in the fun as well, and we all donned masks so that we could get within 6′ of each other.

To make up for my two year delay in reciprocating a garden tour, I threw in a tour of my friend Sue’s garden too.  Sue is my picker/garage sale mentor/co-worker/Carriage House sale partner and friend, and she only lives a few blocks away from me.

That huge lush thing growing on her arbor is a Hardy Kiwi vine (Actinidia).  The leaves have white tips on them.

Sue focuses on white and green in her garden, so this vine is perfect for her.

I love the feeling of serenity that is created in her garden with its white color scheme and her use of vintage pieces scattered here and there.

Everywhere you look you can find some unique touch that has been tucked into the garden.

Sue’s garden is mostly shaded.  Although the sun peeks through to certain spots as it moves across the sky, it is fleeting.  So she uses a lot of shade loving plants like ferns, hostas and bleeding hearts.

No garden is quite complete without a water feature, and I remember when Sue found her fountain at a garage sale.

Sue’s garden isn’t completely green and white, she does have some lovely peonies scattered about as well.

Over the years Sue has divided and shared quite a few of her plants with me, including some anemone that look fantastic interplanted with my hostas.

And although that glimpse of my garden makes it look like I also stick with green and white (and I do in some spots), I also have a bit more color in my garden.

But you’ll have to come back on Monday to see that.  I hope you’ll stay tuned!

a trio of milk cans.

A few weeks back my neighbor, nnK, spotted some old milk cans that were being given away, so she grabbed them for me.

I feel like milk cans often come dangerously close to looking like bad 80’s decorating.  Like if they are painted in a black and white cow hide pattern, or maybe with a goose or something on them.

But I think I was able to give these a bit of an update, and now they’d be perfect in the garden.

To start out, I scrubbed them up with some dishwashing soap and then left them to dry.  Once dry, I sprayed all three of them with some clear, matte finish spray sealer to seal any remaining flaking paint and rust.

Next, I started with the black can and simply stenciled it with a stencil from Maison de Stencils and some Dixie Belle paint in Sawmill Gravy.

I moved on to the smaller, really rusty can.  This time I used a white transfer from re.design with prima.  This is just a section from their Beautiful Home transfer.

I recently discovered that quite a few of their transfers are being ‘retired’ and this is one of them.  You may still be able to get it from a retailer who has it in stock, but once they are gone there will be no more.

The white really popped on that rusty can.

The final can had some great chippy remnants of green and blue paint.  To dress it up a just a little, I added a section from one of my all time favorite transfers, Everyday Farmhouse.

Sadly, this transfer is being retired as well.  Boo hoo.  I’m definitely going to miss it.  It added just the right touch to the final milk can.

For all three of the milk cans, I added another coat or two of the matte spray sealer after stenciling/adding a transfer.  I wanted to give them just a little extra durability for use outside.

So, what do you think of my upgrades?

As always, thank you to re.design with prima, Dixie Belle Paint Co and Maison de Stencils for providing some of the products used on today’s projects.

simple details.

Last summer I snagged this trio of galvanized buckets at a garage sale.

Admittedly, they aren’t really anything special.  They aren’t vintage, but they are heavy, good quality galvanized metal rather than the flimsy, cheap stuff.

Plus, I thought I could dress them up simply and quickly using some re.design with prima transfers.

And bam!

Just by adding that simple detail they have a lot more personality.

I used two different sets of transfers.  The Sky Valley Farm transfer is from the Everyday Farmhouse set.

While the other two buckets have sections from the Paris Valley transfer.

You can just pop a hanging basket into these and have an instant fabulous flower box.

Or you could punch holes in the bottom for drainage and then plant directly in them.  Wouldn’t they be fab with just some simple geraniums?

I’m often asked if I add a sealer over transfers, or whether or not they will hold up outside without being sealed.  In my opinion, you only need a sealer if the surface you put your transfer onto needs a sealer.  For example, if it’s painted wood or metal.  I’ve never sealed a transfer that has been applied to glass, mirror or unpainted metal.

Last year I experimented with a transfer on an old metal picnic basket.

I left it out all summer and the transfer never budged.  That being said, the metal container itself rusted quite a bit, but the transfer held up great without any kind of sealer.

I took these buckets, along with a huge pile of other stuff, in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week.  They are open today and tomorrow, so if you’re local and you feel the need for some retail therapy be sure to stop in.  They will be implementing the following safety measures:

* No more than 10 people in the store at a time
* Hand Sanitizer will be available
* Card transactions will be done by customers with no
signature required (we will clean between each use)
* Curbside pick up is still an option

Also please note that they have new hours! They will be open every Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, but will no longer be open on Sundays.

As always, thanks to re.design with prima for providing the transfers used on today’s project.

planter chairs.

I know I’ve shared planter chairs before, but I whipped up a couple of them last weekend and I couldn’t resist sharing these with you as well.

If you aren’t familiar, a planter chair is basically a chair turned into a plant holder.  I particularly like them for holding big baskets of flowering annuals, as you’ll see in a minute.

But first, I start with chairs that have seen better days.

Typically they are chairs that have ruined cane seats and I can usually pick them up super cheap at garage sales.

Let’s face it, repairing cane is probably best left to the professionals.  Or at least to people with far more patience than I have.

It takes all of my patience just to remove the bad cane, I can’t imagine sticking with it long enough to also replace it with new cane.  So instead, I turn them into planter chairs.

Once I’d removed the cane from both of these chairs (using a utility knife and a pair of needle nose pliers), I painted one in Dixie Belle’s Bunker Hill Blue and one in Kudzu.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded the chairs to distress and then added a topcoat of Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide.

Gator Hide is their most durable topcoat option, so it’s a great choice for outdoor pieces.  I will point out that the Gator Hide has a bit more sheen than I normally like for furniture, which is why I tend to stick with either clear wax, hemp oil or the flat clear coat.  But in this case, I thought I’d go for durability.

Here’s a  q tip for you on finishes.  The more shine to your finish, the harder it is to achieve perfection.  Drips, brush marks, streaks and imperfect coverage will all show up more readily in a satin or semi-gloss finish.  Shhhh … don’t tell anyone, but this might be the real reason why I usually go for a flat finish.

For these planter chairs though, I wasn’t concerned about perfection.  The gorgeous flowers will draw attention, not any possible flaws in the finish.

These chairs would be perfect as is for peony cages, much like the non-painted chair in my own garden that I shared last week.

But they also make great plant holders.  Just buy a big hanging pot of your favorite flowering annuals and pop it in the hole where the seat once was.

If your pot is smaller than the hole, you can staple a strap in place to hold it.

I added a big pot of Wave petunias and one of my wordy plates, and ta da …

I add words to pretty plates using adhesive vinyl and my Cricut machine (for more details on this process, check out this post).

It works great on old enamelware pot lids too.

And if you don’t happen to have a Cricut machine, the Classic Vintage Labels transfers from re.design with prima work beautifully for this purpose as well …

This pair of planter chairs, and some more wordy plates and enamelware lids are going into the growing pile of stuff that I’ll be taking in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week.  I’m so glad they’ll be able to open back up again on Thursday!

With some warmer weather finally here, and lots of plants coming up in the garden, it’s finally starting to feel like summer is coming this year after all.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used on my planter chairs.  If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

old shovels.

There’s just something about worn, old garden tools that really appeals to me.

I have quite a few of them around my yard.  I’ve even used one as the handle for the door on my photo cottage …

I often use them as props in my photos too.

So when I see old gardening tools at garage sales, I generally snap them up.  Last summer I accumulated a few old shovels …

They don’t look like much there, do they?  I’m sure I didn’t pay more than a dollar or two for each one, but I thought they had potential.  After giving them all a good scrub with some soapy water, I experimented a bit to see what I could do with them.

Let’s start with the one in the back that looks more like a snow shovel, rather than a garden shovel.  It’s my least favorite, so it goes first.  The wooden shaft and handle were quite dried out and any finish they once had was completely worn off.  I decided to paint them black using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Once dry, I distressed them heavily with sand paper and then added a nourishing coat of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta, which is sort of like a mix between hemp oil and wax.  Finally, I added a re.design with prima transfer to the blade.

In hindsight, the blade was a bit dark for using a black transfer.

So let’s just quickly move on to the next one.  This one had a bit of red paint left on the blade, but again a very dried out wooden shaft and handle.  I darkened up the shaft with some Dixie Belle No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut, then I painted the handle with their Honky Tonk Red.

Once again I distressed it heavily and coated it with Big Mama’s Butta.

Then I added one of the sections of re.design with prima’s Vintage Seed transfers to the blade.

Wouldn’t that be fun hanging on the side of your potting shed?

This last one is my favorite, mainly because the wood had such a beautiful patina already.  I just brightened it up a bit with some of Dixie Belle’s Howdy Do hemp oil.

Then I added a transfer from the Classic Vintage Labels set to the blade.

It doesn’t show up quite as much as I would like, but it adds a little subtle detail.

Does anyone else use old seat-less chairs as peony cages?  They work great to keep your peonies from flopping over when the flower heads get heavy.  I have a couple of them that I found at garage sales for a few dollars.  They only hold up for a few years in the harsh Minnesota weather, but I pay so little that I don’t mind if they get ruined.

I’ll be adding these shovels to the pile of goodies that I’m bringing in to the shop where I sell on consignment, Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN.  Now that our governor has switched us from a ‘Stay at Home’ order to a ‘Stay Safe’ order, retail shops can re-open next week.  So those of you who are local, if you’re ready for some much needed shopping therapy, be sure to stop by and shop safely by wearing masks, physical distancing and not congregating in groups.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and to re.design with prima for providing the products used for today’s projects.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

getting ready for gardening season.

This past weekend was your typical spring weather in Minnesota.  On Saturday it was 60 degrees and sunny.  Mr. Q and I took a long walk, started clearing the winter debris out of the gardens, and then sat on the deck and enjoyed the feel of sunshine on our faces.

On Sunday, those same chairs looked like this.

And my Scilla siberica looked like this …

This always happens here in April.  We get teased with a glimpse of spring, and then shot back down with the realization that this is Minnesota and we can’t actually count on good gardening weather until May.

Well, we can still dream of gardening weather.  And that brings me to my quick and easy project for today.

I started with one of the aprons from re.design with prima.

I couldn’t find a single online photo of this product that didn’t have the re.design logo blocking the front pocket.  In some of the photos it even looked like the logo was actually part of the apron.  It isn’t.  This is a 100% cotton apron that is essentially a ‘blank canvas’ that you can paint, dye, or otherwise embellish to suit your tastes.

It has that front pocket that I mentioned, plus a sweet ruffle along the bottom hemline.

Since it’s made out of 100% cotton, I recommend washing it before you get started.  I did wash and dry mine first.

Since I tend to like simple, uncluttered designs, I decided to add a quick and easy stencil to my apron to dress it up.  I used Dixie Belle Paint Co paint in Gravel Road (which is a warm, dark grey) and a couple of stencils from Maison de Stencils.

I placed different sections of each stencil wherever they fit best on my apron.

You can set the paint with heat by either throwing your apron in the dryer on high heat, or pressing the apron on the reverse side with a high heat iron.

It’s probably far more likely that I’ll use this apron to protect my clothes while painting, but it would work great for keeping the dirt off while re-potting plants.  And I also suppose one could wear it while cooking … but we all know I don’t do much of that.

How about you?  Are you much of an apron wearer?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co, re.design with prima and Maison de Stencils for providing the products used for this makeover.

frugal fall decorating.

The bill for the credit card that I used while in Disney World is going to be rolling in any day now and it’s not going to be pretty.  Disney World is not exactly a budget friendly place, and I’m not terribly good at being frugal while on vacation.

So I’ll have to make up for that now that I’m home, starting with some frugal fall decorating.

This is where my hydrangeas come in, and this is just one of the reasons why I love having several hydrangeas in the garden.  Hydrangeas, in particular the paniculata varieties, grow incredibly well for me here in my zone 4b garden.  They provide tons of dried flowers for fall and winter decorating with next to zero effort required on my part.

I filled the galvanized boiler that hangs beneath the window on the carriage house with the Vanilla Strawberry variety.

These dry to a darker, reddish-pink which works perfectly with the barn red of the carriage house.

The Limelight hydrangeas start turning pinkish in the fall as well, but mostly only on the side of the flower that faces the sun.  The undersides stay a pretty pale green.

So you can turn whichever side you prefer to face front in your arrangements.

I filled the planters on either side of my door with them.

By the way, as you can see, the pair of rusty planters that I painted using Dixie Belle’s patina products are holding up beautifully.

I used Limelights in the galvanized wash tub in front of the carriage house too, but I also included a few hosta leaves for added interest.

The sign that is hanging above the wash tub is an old table leaf that I painted up with Dixie Belle paint and then stenciled.  I coated it with some of their Gator Hide and then hung it outside as an experiment to see how it would hold up.  I like to do little experiments like these so that when I sell similar pieces I can let people know how durable they really are.

I used a combination of Vanilla Strawberry, Limelight, hosta leaves and a few last remaining salvia flowers in this galvanized container that hangs on the photo cottage door.

I applied the Prima Marketing transfer from their Everyday Farmhouse collection to the container a while back and it too has held up beautifully outdoors.

The transfers adhere really well to glass and smooth metal and I’ve found that they can absolutely be used outdoors on these surfaces.

Somehow I always get a lot more satisfaction out of decorating without spending much money, how about you?

These days it sometimes feels like the main goal of social media posts is to get you to buy something.  Instead, I hope that I’ve given you some ideas for fall decorating that you can do without spending any money at all.

Do you do any fall decorating on the cheap?  If so, I’d love to see some of your ideas in the comments!

a pair of motel chairs.

I showed you guys a terribly blurry photo of my haul from the Prospect Park sales last week.

I’m afraid this will have to do for a ‘before’ photo of the pair of motel chairs that I found there because I never took a better one.  It’s a bit hard to tell, but they were painted brown.  What’s with the brown anyway?  The planters I shared on Monday were originally brown too, but from an entirely different garage sale.

Anyway, I mainly snatched these up because they were super cheap and thus too good to pass up.  Once I got them home I realized I didn’t have a spot for them and would most likely sell them.

I knew I wanted to paint them, and I thought spray paint would be the easiest option.  Since I happened to have a bunch of black spray paint on hand, I decided to go black.  I also felt black would be a neutral choice that would sell well.

This is RustOleum Canyon Black in a satin finish.  And even with the satin finish I feel like they are just a bit too shiny for my taste.  Plus the sheen isn’t perfectly even, which bothers me.

But I went ahead and moved on anyway, adding one of my favorite stencils to the backs of the chairs.

I used my normal trick of stenciling in a color called Deep Taupe, which is actually a dark greige color but reads much lighter when used over black.  This worked beautifully on my baby grand …

But I think the sheen of the spray paint is messing with that combination.  At certain angles it’s hard to even tell that these chairs have a stencil on them.

I don’t know, maybe that subtlety works for them?

Or should I spray over them and try again with a lighter color?  or maybe a different stencil entirely?

It would be simple enough to do.

Or am I just being too critical of my own work (which has been known to happen)?

Go ahead and share your thoughts on that with me in a comment.

Fair warning though, I’m on the road today with my mom and sister.  My cell connection might be a bit spotty so I may not be responding to comments right away.  We are heading to South Dakota to visit my mom’s cousins for the 4th of July holiday.

Speaking of which, my simple staging of these photos was supposed to represent the holiday in question.

I’ve got the red, white and blue colors right, plus the Country Living American Style book.  But I have to laugh because I’ve paired it with French lemonade and a German stencil on the chairs.  What can I say?  I fully embrace all nationalities.

That being said, Happy 4th of July to my U.S. readers!

a pair of rusty planters.

Have you ever priced those fabulous rusty old cast iron planters?  Like this pair …

These are available online at The Garden Vault for $850.

So gorgeous, and so totally out of my price range.  That’s why I’m really excited about the Patina Paint products from Dixie Belle.  I got nearly that same look for a fraction of the price.

Of course, in my case it helped that I first found a pair of planters at a garage sale for $30.  But you can find similar planters at Wayfair for about $35 each.

These are made out of that molded composite stuff.  Here’s a close up so you can get a better look.

It looks like concrete, but it’s not.

Their existing blah brown paint job was definitely not doing them any favors, but the moment I saw them I knew they were the perfect candidates for a rusty finish using the Patina Paint.

For this project I used the Iron paint and the Green spray.

Since my planters were already painted, I didn’t need to give them a base coat.  However, if you are starting from bare plastic, wood, plaster or glass you’ll want to start with a base coat of any color of Dixie Belle paint.  If you’re using the Patina Paint over metal you’ll want to be sure to use the Prime Start instead of paint.  The Prime Start prevents the rusty finish from actually deteriorating your metal.

But I was able to skip those steps with my composite planters.  All I had to do was clean them and then paint the Iron paint right over the existing brown paint.Be sure to mix the paint well before applying it.  This paint contains actual flakes of metal that create the rusty finish.  They will settle to the bottom of the jar over time, so be sure to get them mixed up before you begin.

I painted one coat, let it dry and then added a 2nd coat.  While the 2nd coat was still wet, I sprayed the planter with the Green spray.  This can be messy and a little smelly, so I prefer working with these products outside.  If that’s not an option, keep in mind that this spray will drip so protect the surface you are working on and also protect yourself with any recommended safety equipment.

The next part is easy, (unless you’re the impatient, instant gratification sort, not pointing any fingers here, except possibly at myself) just wait.  It took about two days for my planters to look like this …

Kinda hard to tell these aren’t genuinely rusty iron planters, don’t you think?

I was able to snag a pair of matching flower baskets for my planters from my local nursery (Country Sun in Stillwater in case any of you locals are wondering) at their close out sale.

This late in the season it was a bonus to find a matching pair.

The planters are perfect for either side of the steps up to our deck.

If you look closely, you can see my favorite photo bomber (my cat, Lucy) peeking out the screen door.

You can also see the Adirondack chairs that my handyman/neighbor Ken makes.  Quite a few years ago nnK had the most comfortable Adirondack chair and she wanted another one like it but a little wider and with wider arms that could easily hold a beverage, so Ken simply took her chair apart and made a pattern from it with a few adjustments.  Now he cranks these chairs out all the time.  He hates to paint though, so he sells them unfinished.  I originally painted mine with a brush, but that ended up being far too putzy with all of those slats so now I spray paint them.

This is Rust-Oleum spray paint in a color called Eden.

This color works just beautifully with my house color, and also with my nearby plantings.

Especially the bright chartreuse of the Sun Power hosta (to the left of the fairy garden bird bath in this next photo) and the Guacamole hosta (lower right corner).

Since we’re out in the garden now, let’s take a look around.

Here’s how my fairy garden is looking this year …

For protection over the winter, I bury the entire top of the birdbath in the garden near the house.  Last winter was a rough one though.  So a few things in the fairy garden didn’t make it, including a couple of miniature hostas and miniature evergreen.

My gardening style can best be described as ‘jam packed’.  I figure if I don’t leave any space for them, the weeds won’t grow.  It really does work fairly well.  Not all plants are happy this way, so when one starts looking a bit peaky I’ll dig it up and move it somewhere else.  Or just dig it up and give it away.

Over the years I’ve gotten rid of plants that are just too persnickety for me too.  If they don’t grow well with little human intervention, then they have to hit the road.

I’ve written about the window box along the front of my house before.  Every year I try different combinations in it (here and here are a couple from past years).  This year I have a medley of coleus, some white impatiens, purple oxalis, and a fun new variegated sweet potato vine.

I stuck with some old favorites in my copper boiler planter though, lemon slice petunias and daisies.

Here’s a quick update for you on my picnic basket planter.

If you’ll remember, I added a Prima Marketing transfer to it and I’m testing out how well it holds up outdoors for the season.  So far, so good.  It was getting rained on as I took that photo, and it has also spent some time baking in the sun and the transfer still looks as good as new.  The basket itself is rusting quite a bit though.

And, P.S., as you can see I found a spot for one of the plates I purchased at the Prospect Park sales 😉

So, back to my pair of rusty planters.

How about some math?  Sorry, some of you probably hate math but the accountant in me can’t resist.  I could have spent $850 for the pair of antique planters from The Garden Vault, but instead I spent $30 on my pair of garage sale planters.  Dixie Belle provided me with the Iron Patina Paint and the Green spray for free, but had I purchased them they would have cost me $16.95 each.  So for around $64 I have a pair of rusty planters that look pretty spectacular.  Plus I used less than half of the Iron paint and probably not even 1/3 of the Green spray, so I have plenty left to create more rusty garden treasures!

If you’re looking to purchase some Patina Paint, you can shop online with them here.

Normally this is the time when I say ‘if you are a local and need a pair of rusty planters …’, but I’m definitely keeping these.  So I would encourage you to try the Patina Paint on some planters yourself!