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Archive for the ‘Outdoor spaces’ Category

Thanksgiving was a lovely day. After eating dinner, McHubby and I took our youngest son and his girlfriend to Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights. Meadowlark is a botanical garden and the light show winds through the trails. Even thought the night was a chilly one, we enjoyed the show. A huge fire pit greeted us at the end.

Here are some of our highlights (photographing lights at night is challenging):

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What are you doing to experience some holiday magic?

Amy

 

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Well, I didn’t think this would be so difficult to write, but for some reason it has been. Fairy gardens and miniature gardens seem to be different names for the same thing for the most part. Perhaps an analogy would be that a square is a type of rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square.  So a fairy garden is a type of miniature garden, however, not every miniature garden is a fairy garden.

Miniature Garden Example

Fairy Garden Example

Miniature gardens are whimsical and can include objects that look like very small people could use them. Bonsai where trees are trimmed to keep them dwarf sized fit in to this category. Terrariums are miniature gardens enclosed in glass containers. Since terrariums are in theory closed ecosystems, they require significantly less effort to maintain.

Bonsai Example

Terrarium Example

Fairy gardens can be indoor or outdoor gardens. They are usually whimsical and are frequently made with the intention of attracting beneficial fairies to your home or at the very least paying homage to them. When found outdoors, they can be either in a container or be a part of a traditional in ground garden. In a garden variation, a tree or tree stump can be the foundation for some very unusual and adorable settings.

A Tree Stump Fairy House

Whether you still have a place in your heart for magic or Tinker Bell has always been one of your favorite characters, fairy gardens are a fun way to be reminded of the magic of the natural world. From time to time most of us need a respite from technology and the challenges of the modern world. We are reminded of childhood when all the most wondrous possibilities existed.

A child in garden. Photo by Paul Jones

Next post…Fairies: Getting to know them to build a garden around them

Amy

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Fairy in Moonlight from Graphics Fairy

A reader recently sent me a picture of her garden, specifically, the fairy statues in her garden. (I thought I might make it sound like she had gotten pictures of actual fairies in her garden, but decided not to.) An acquaintance had recommended to my reader that she should have fairies in her garden. So she rounded up some fairies and put them in her garden.

For some time, I’ve thought about making my own fairy garden. They seem to show up on Pinterest every so often. Although I do have to admit that I have been a bit slow at getting anything done about it. Having a clear mental picture of a fairy garden caused me to feel uncertain about how to put mine together. So, I’ve been researching fairy gardens and am going to share the information with you. I’ll look into what fairies are, why someone would want to have a fairy garden,  what types of fairy gardens there are, what plants work in them and what accessories to use. Hopefully by the end, I’ll have a beautiful completed fairy garden to share with you.

We’ll be looking at fairy gardens in “the Woods near Skyline Drive” way. Over the next several days, we’ll explore, discover, develop and play.

What do fairies mean to you? Fantasy, reality, cute idea…

Amy

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Please check out the Power of Paint. My patio art is being featured. Thank you Maryann!

Amy

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Garden in a bra

via enotablog.com

A container garden doesn’t have to raise the neighbors’ eyebrows in order to be get lots of attention.

Here are my tips for a showy container garden:

1. Consider using a large container if you have the space. As the root system develops, it will need more room. When the roots can grow to their hearts contents; the healthier they will be.

Boat Container Garden

via about.com

2. Think of planting your containers in three tiers.

a. Tall plants, sometimes called Thrillers, include ferns, spikes and dracaena

b. Showy middle range plants, sometimes called Fillers, include impatiens and marigolds

c. Trailing plants, also known as Spillers, include sweet potato vine and creeping Jenny.

filler, spiller, thriller

via earlysnowdrop.blogspot.com

3. Evaluate the amount of sunlight that your location receives throughout the day. Is the area mostly sunny, mostly shady or part sun/part shade? Choose the right plant for that area. Most nurseries include an information tag with the plant.

Pots for shade

via stonecanyonstudios.com

4. How much time do you have to devote to maintaining your container gardens? Do you travel often? If you might not be able to water regularly, pick more drought tolerant varieties and try to plant more sparsely.

plants that take less water

via Sunset.com

5. Make sure your pot will drain well. Does it have at least one hole in the bottom? With the right tools you can add one if it doesn’t. To keep the soil from falling out, put a layer of stones, pot shards, packing peanuts (not the eco-friendly ones that dissolve when wet) or a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot.

Use pebbles for drainage

via dirtmomma.weebly.com

6. To minimize soil dehydration, consider plastic or other non-porous containers. Clay pots will dry out more quickly.

Plastic is less porous

via luxbotaniverse.blogspot.com

7. Container gardens don’t have to be all about bright colored flowers. Playing with leaf textures can make a gratifying composition. For instance, asparagus ferns have masses of small, narrow leaves and contrast with the large soft leaves of the silver Artemisia. A chartreuse sweet potato vine would add another look.

textures for interest

via about.com

8. Fertilizing is important, but needs to be applied reasonably: every two weeks or so with a water soluble fertilizer or once at the beginning of the season with slow release granules. Be careful not to over-fertilize. Read the package directions for measurements.

Plants need nutrients

via about.com

9. If showy flowers are you goal, choose a fertilizer with less nitrogen in the mix. The first of the three numbers in the ratio is the nitrogen content. Higher nitrogen ratio isn’t fatal; however, you will have more foliage with fewer flowers.

10. Dead head regularly. Once a flower starts to die, pluck it off the plant. This will give the plant more energy to devote toward growing new flowers.

Pinch off dead flowers

via ehow.com

What tips do you have for your container plants? I’d love to hear about them. I hope your containers get lots and lots of great attention from your neighbors.

Tomorrow…some pictures of my container gardens.

Amy

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I finished a project. Hip, hip, hooray! I’ve been working on redesigning my blog and moving it to the WordPress.org site. Since I’m a still a neophyte blogger, I seem to be wasting hours in front of the computer with very few tangible results. Oh…my now finished project took a few U turns and nearly found its way into the unfinished project pile in the basement. Once again, however, perseverance paid off with an item checked off my to-do list plus a blog post. (I still have a lot of work to do on the website.)

I will admit that guilt was bit of a trigger. I had a comment to my Patio Color post from a fellow student in the décor8blog class that I am taking. She asked where a picture of my patio was. Unfortunately, the honest truth is that I’m not finished with my patio nor had I been making any progress on making it colorful. Okay…I will give myself credit for the boatload of annual flowers that I have planted, but only a little credit.

Here is a picture of my patio last week:

Boring patio awaiting color

My patio has potential for a cozy summer hangout spot, but it really needs some color.

I wanted to minimize the view under the deck. First, I tried a metal potted plant holder, but it was too small to be effective. Then, it occurred to me that I had another metal art piece just like the one I used to make the basket hanger above the kitchen island. See here. I didn’t want to keep the original color and decided to go with a blue-green patina.

Here is the piece before changing the look of the finish.

Metal grill awaiting a makeover.

Project waiting for makeover to begin.

I used basic acrylic paint. See a sample of the colors below.

Aluminum, Aqua and Dark Green

I used aluminum, aqua and dark green acrylic paints along with stencil brush to change the finish color.

Using a stencil brush, I dipped the bristles into a little bit of each color and pounced the paint randomly until I got the look that I was trying to get. Then, I allowed the paint to dry for several hours.

***Warning, warning, warning. Potential failure alert ***

Next, I sprayed the entire piece with clear enamel sealer. OMG! The aluminum and aqua disappeared. I don’t know why, but the original finish was once again totally visible on about one-third of it. I tried acrylic clear coat since I was concerned the enamel sealer was reacting with the acrylic. But nooooo. Even more disappeared without any drips or any other trace. Vanished. That unfinished project pile started looking pretty good at this point. Well, I needed to let the sealer dry so the whole thing only made it half way to the pile.

Today, I pulled out the acrylics again and repeated my pouncing technique. This time, however, I used Modge Podge to seal the finish. Success!!!!

New finish on grill

The finished (rescued) project hanging under the deck.

To finish the grill, I took three medium sized clear jars with lids. After wrapping wire around the jar neck, I twisted the wire around the grill hanging the jar from the grill. I added colorful glass drops and tea lights. Once I hung the grill from under the deck with cup hooks and chain, I stood back and took a deep breath. Ahhhhh! One piece of color added to the deck. Yes, the guilt has diminished a tiny bit.

The patio with new metal piece.

The underside of the deck is now minimized with a refinished metal piece.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will finish some more projects tomorrow. Wish me luck. ; )

Linking to Domestically Speaking’s Power of Paint Party.

Amy

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Color.

cool color wheel

A color wheel with cool colors

I love color whether it is on clothing, in home décor or in nature. I don’t even bother to have a favorite color, because my favorites change so frequently.

With the onset of warm weather, I want to combine my love of home décor with my adoration of nature. Where best to do this than a patio, deck or porch. I am quite fortunate to have one of each with which to play. This year I am really excited about bringing color to those outside spaces.
How can we bring color to an outside space?
Let’s start with nature. Color can be in the plants.

Plants, color, containers

Colorful plantings

Purple cottage patio garden plantings

Gardens around a patio can add color.

Color can be in the plant’s container.

Patio plants in green containers

This patio is enhanced with over-sized green planters.

Color can be in the background.

Walls:

Fuchsia wall on patio

A beautiful fuchsia wall provides a focus point for this patio

Floors:

Colored patio floor

The floor tiles have color

Color can be in the furniture.

Patio furniture color highlight

Patio furniture can be the highlight through color

Color can be in the furniture cushions and pillows.

Outdoor pillows bring color to the patio

Outdoor pillows can bring color to the patio

Pottery barn red blue monogrammed cushions

Furniture cushions can bring in color

Color can be in shade structures.

blue red Pottery Barn exterior umbrellas

An outdoor umbrella for color

Color can be in the accessories.

jars with tea lights

Colorful jars with tea lights hung outside

Pottery Barn outdoor dishes

Dinner ware for color

Adirondack chair napkin holder

Pottery Barn Adirondack chair napkin holder

Tablecloth and napkins for patio or deck

Colorful linens

Color in the rug

exterior rug with color and pattern

Use a rug to bring in color

Color in outdoor art

Patio deck art

Using colorful art in exterior spaces

Put them all together for a truly stunning and welcoming outdoor space.

From Better Homes and Gardens, a colorful patio

A patio with many colorful elements pulled together for a great look.

For some fun, I went to Olioboard.com and created a mood board for a colorful patio space. Take a look:

Olioboard Mood board for patio

My mood board for a patio

You might want to give Olioboard a try. How do you use color? Amy

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