"I'm not really a career person.I'm a gardener,basically.".....George Harrison

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Sad Day At TheGreatWall

Today,I sooo wish I had all  my old issues of Tiger Beat magazine....

...The ones I begged my mother to buy me....

...The ones that featured The Monkees...

...but only if Davy was on the cover...

...I always just knew he was singing to me,and only me...

...I guess I'll never be Mrs.Davy Jones,now....


RIP Davy

...love ya 4ever!!!....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Baby Steps….

I have to come to realize,this rebuilding of TheGreatWall is gonna take baby steps.After one week of working on this re-building thing,and two vacation days from that other job I have to have…something about paying bills and supporting this garden habit I have acquired…it has come to this…
I, now, have steps…
...to the upper level…
Just a touch more dirt and the upper level will be ready for gravel and pavers.
…and a planter…
To fill the planter,I am leaning towards a Pindo Palm.It’s cold hardy.Native to this area,a slow grower,and will grow in a container.
This planter also provides some extra seating in the garden…I know.I sat on it enough,today…A nice place to stop and sit for a spell.
Next up…
-another,smaller,raised bed will go in front of the upper,large one
-re-do the pathway from the lower steps to the back.Weed,raise(it has always had a tendency to flood in the summer rains) and re-gravel
-more dirt for the upper level
-mulch pathways through the new areas
Isn’t it 5 o’clock somewhere?

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Day and a Half Later….

Yesterday,between the rain drops,quite a bit was accomplished towards reconstructing TheGreatWall.The upper raised bed was finished and planted…
I asked nicely.
I pleaded.
OK…I begged Erich,the Younger,to come over and help me move blocks.
See,the pool guys were really considerate when they tore down the original GreatWall.
They neatly stacked them up.And they did such a nice job of it,too…
On the far side of the house!
…they all have to be moved over to the other side of the house.
Even with the garden cart,they were just too heavy for me to move more than five at a time.He filled that wagon right to the top,and hauled like nobody’s business!
Of course,he dumped them in a pile,but I don’t care.
They’re on the right side of the house.
That’s all I care about.
The new steps were started….
But then the rain started in earnest,and I had to feed the boy.
Michael Chiarello’s Turkey Polpettone Sandwiches.
Get the recipe here.
Dee-lish!Quite easy to make,and I think they’re on the low-fat side…
After work,today,I started removing the Giant Liriope,that are in the way of the new steps.
Let me ask this…
Have you ever tried removing Giant Liriope that have been in the ground over twenty years? Covered with over at least foot deep mixture of sawdust and contractor’s dirt ?

This is as far as I got…

What I couldn’t dig out,I ended up cutting off.It was really starting to p..ss me off!
I think I hate Giant Liriope!
Anybody want some Giant Liriope?
It’s free…
I don’t deliver….

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Been a little busy….

TheGreatWall is returning!!!
Time to move all those landscaping blocks back to where they belong…
IMG_3604…One morning’s worth of work…
I did all that?
…. Day-um…
            I’m good at this landscaping stuff…
…I guess it’s true what they say about planning things out beforehand…
One afternoon’s worth of work….IMG_3605
…I surprise myself,sometimes….

This raised bed will go up another row.The dirt …yucky contractor dirt…will be removed,and new soil and compost brought in.There will be another raised planter above this one,filled with the new sun loving Hostas.The raised bed,just below it,will be filled with Giant Liriope,and some of the self-seeded Guaras that I potted up.

There will be a pathway in front of the lower bed.For access to the new raised beds,and to the lowest level of the garden.To the very right,almost out of view,there is a palm that was relocated to the highest level.


Prepping for the new steps…


The steps will be larger and more sweeping.The Giant Liriope and Cinnamon Ferns still need to be removed and relocated.All of the pathways in the garden are going to be raised,to meet the new,higher level of the yard.


….I think I’m gonna be busy for quite awhile…..

….It just would be nice if certain people weren’t frolicking in the pool when someone else is working so hard….

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Your Own Sea Shell Planter….

I have been asked numerous time,"How do you make those planters?"
Well,fellow crafters and gardeners,I'm gonna tell ya.
So,grab a big(this is gonna be a loooonnng post) glass of iced tea(preferably Sweet Tea-this is the South,ya know),and let's begin,shall we?
For this project you will need:
1. shells-I like to call them "tourist shells" or craft shells-they are by no means perfect(in fact,if they are broken or halved,all the better),and the more texture they have,the better.i.e.jewel box,arks,false Angel Wings,prickly cockles,broken mini-horse conchs.You will need some slipper shells(to transition between shells),and some smooth shells (just to provide a break in the texture).You will need a LOT of these type shells.The size of the flower pot will dictate what size shell you need.You don't want to use tiny shells on a big pot(it would take forever)and you don't want to use large shells on a small pot.You do still need to randomize the sizes tho.Just for appearance sake.
2. flower pot,and saucer-for this project,I used a 10 3/4" pot with a 6" saucer
3. concrete sealer -I used Thompson's Water Sealer for concrete.It does come in a spray can.
4. Kilz -the spray type,I've found nothing else works better(and you'll see why,as we go along)
5. spray metallic paint
6. glazing medium-buy the quart size at Home Depot or Lowe's-you're gonna use most of it for a pot this size
7. spray polyurethane
8. paint brush-the older the better(you're gonna ruin whatever you use-so just use an old,cheap one)
9.rags(preferably towels-they're gonna add more texture)
10. Glue gun (yesss!!!!! I Red heart my glue gun!)
11. Glue sticks-you're going to use plenty,so buy the big package.
12.An old toothbrush-or any small,stiff bristled brush
Start by sealing the flower pot,inside and out,with the concrete sealer.This is going to protect any water from working its way thru to the shells.
After the sealer is dry,get out the trusty glue gun and have at it.......
This is the hardest part,just figuring out what shell looks good where.Sort of like putting a jig-saw puzzle together.
Once you have the pot covered with the shells(and your burns from the glue gun have healed-I only got 3 blisters making this pot.I'm getting better!),it's time to head outside.
Spray the pot,inside and out,with the Kilz,making sure you have very good coverage.It may take 2 0r 3 coats to cover all the shells.You want to make sure the Kilz has covered everything.Even if you have chosen to not cover the entire pot with the shells.
At this point,take the toothbrush and break up any of the fibers left from the hot glue.I've found this is the easiest way to find them.Just run the brush over the fibers.
Now,it's getting good,crafters.This is the fun part.
Time to paint!For this project,I used metallic copper spray paint.
You will need to put the pot on something to raise it up(I used another spray paint can).Spray it from the top and the bottom(very important-this assures you good coverage-you don't want any of the shells showing through the paint).And the inside of the pot,also.It may take 2-3 coats to accomplish this.
Now,we're ready to glaze.I used black acrylic paint(mixed with just a touch of green) in the glazing medium.I've found it's best to lay the pot on it's side and work with the glaze,one side at a time.That way,you can be assured that the glaze will run down into any pockets between the shells.And it won't leave run marks on the shells,either.Make sure you work the glaze deep into the shells-this is why you use an the old paint brush.As the glaze is starting to set up(this takes only minutes,I assure  you),start taking it off with the old towels
It may take 2 0r 3 coats of the glaze to achieve the effect you want.This project only took 2 coats.
Time to finish!!!!
I absolutely cannot stress this part enough.Spray,spray,spray,spray,spray with the polyurethane!!!This is your final coat of protection.It will make or break your project.This pot got 4 coats of the polyurethane.4 coats on the inside.4 coats on the outside,standing right side up.4 coats with it upside down.

Voila!!!! The finished pot,all planted up................
................along with some of the other color-ways I've done.

Some final thoughts....
-These pots aren't meant to be exposed to the elements.I keep mine on the covered front entryway.
-I don't plant a plant directly into the planter-I put the plant in a plastic pot,first,and then into the planter.
-They have gotten wet,and have done just fine.I do set them out in the rain,every once in a while,and let them get a good soaking.None of the shells have popped off.
-You can use the same technique to make picture frames,too.You just wouldn't have to go through quite so many steps with the sealing process.
-Use any color combination you like.The glaze should be the darkest color,tho.It makes the shells pop.
-You will notice,that on the other 2 pots,I randomized the shells more.You don't have to go all the way to the top,if you don't want to.
I,most of all,want to thank SanibelToots for helping with this project.
Does anyone know exactly how many shells it takes to do this.....?
Have fun!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts on the LAST cold front of the season…

…This one is s’posed to be a strong one.Hopefully,it will be the last one.I’m ready to get back into gardening,in earnest.Some serious gardening.
today,I didn’t venture outside until after noon time.When the temperature finally made it into the 50’s!
I managed to get a row of garlic planted…
My first time trying garlic.I thought I would give it a try.
…and two rows of onions…
Yesterday,was spent spreading compost,a good thick layer of mulch,and watering.All the while,wavering back and forth between “Should I cover,or not?”
Then I saw this…
An Agapanthus in bloom?! What the…?
This one has never bloomed,ever!And,now,before the worst cold snap of the season,it decides to bloom!
I’ll cover…
I drove a steak into the ground and covered it with an old pillowcase.To the right is the Banana Shrub,which is covered in buds.To the left is the Queen Emma Crinum,which already has new growth,and another pup started.
Thanks,Gramma,for taking care of my plant.
No problem,Emma.
The Angel’s Trumpet was also covered.
It has been through so much.What with TheTree narrowly missing it,back hoes,pool reconstruction,and January’s cold spell,and it has still hung in there.Now,that it is covered in new growth,I realize what a trooper it is,and I want to save it.So,covered up,it is…Under the striped cover,are baby Angel’s Trumpets.Rooted cuttings from the big-daddy.I took the cuttings when I thought the big-daddy was going to be succumb to the pool reconstruction.
All of the orchids,bromeliads,and tender tropicals are already on the screened lanai.I created a sort of windbreak,and because the pool needs to run,if the temperature is going to drop too low(so the solar pool heater doesn’t freeze up,during the night),I’m hoping that the heat given off by the pool,tonight,will be enough.Got my fingers crossed.And toes…
The bird seed cakes,which I posted about  here.,seem to be a hit.
I’ve had to make a second batch,
and today, the wrens were eating their full.
….I feel a third batch coming up…
They’re soooo quick and easy to make,and,obviously,the birds at TheGreatWall like ‘em.Give the recipe a try.

Now,I think I shall get warm and make myself a cup of hot tea. A half and half mixture of Passion Fruit Tea (from Tazo) and Green Tropical Tea(available here).
It’s all part of my decision to cut out the caffeine.So far,so good…
And listen to some Beach Boys music,on Spotify - my new addiction.Have you tried it? It’s great!
…look at seashells…
… and look ahead to warmer weather….

Come on Spring!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Photo Tour of The New Pool…

Disclaimer:This post is being written while watching the Super Bowl commercials game.In advance I ask forgiveness for any mistakes.Some of ‘em are pretty good.

I thought it was time I shared a photo tour of the new pool.
The deconstruction,and reconstruction, has been going on for quite awhile,and you all have lived thru it with me.
Try not to look beyond the screen,as that area is still a work in progress…that shall be for many,many posts…

Picture this….
I’m standing outside the living room sliding doors…
…facing West…
To the left/Southwest is this view…
I think I need another container,in that far corner.Just to balance things out.Thoughts?
Notice the yard art Horse Conch? I collect tourist shells…for the garden…

Straight ahead,facing due west,is the water wall…
I am soooo in love with the water wall! At night,the sound of the water splish/splashing is so soothing.
And morning coffee and the paper is a treat with that sound as a backdrop.
I am reluctant to put containers in this area (the steps),because of the grandkiddoes running back and forth.
…Not to mention crazy adults…

Looking Northwest,is the new space for the orchids and bromeliads…
So far,all have seemed to adapted quite well to their new home.
Or they could just be glad to be out and away from the back corner of the yard.The two planters on the left,are new.
But all of the plants are originals.I figured that they had been thru enough trauma,what with TheTree crashing down on them,and then being displaced to the back corner of the yard,that the least I could do was buy them new,prettier containers,and some new soil.
For us female gardeners it would be just like visiting the Clinique counter and the Coach store,right? For the guys,just like going to H-D and buying something DeWalt…
Facing North,is the door to the pool equipment.
To the right,is the window to the master bedroom,which,eventually,will be replaced with a slider.And more yard-art Horse Conchs in a planter.
Forgive the pool equipment,and the rolled up baby fence,in the corner,but with you-know-who (Me? Yes,you,Emma) and Florida building codes,it’s a necessity.

Whoops! An interruption,for an Emma alert…
That’s me and my Daddy…
Ummm,Emma,between you and Madonna’s half time show,this post will never get written…
Me and Madonna?Cool…

Let’s move on,shall we ?
The dining room patio/lanai,where more of our living takes place,these days…

And the best part?
We can sit outside,listen to the water-fall …
watch the Super Bowl!

Just a side note,but Madonna did put on the best Super Bowl half-time show…..


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