Archive | January 2022

January 23-29, 2022: Week 4 Garden in Review

Stunted Hyacinths

2022 January Week 4 was frustrating outside. The recent heat wave sent confusion through the plant kingdom! My hyacinths opened without stems. My broccoli went to seed before it even really grew. A rotten critter ate an entire fist sized 4 year old trumpet lily bulb and a handful of my hybrid lily bulbs. Now we are in a deep chill with some lows that will surely stress my zone 8 perennials. But enough of the complaining-I want to focus on some good things each week.

Best garden happenings of the week:

1) My amazing friend and crazy plant lady Doc Green, a talented local cut flower grower, gifted me plants this week. So many plants! Succulent and cacti babies, amaryllis for the garden, amercrinum, lycoris radiata, rose lily, orlaya grandiflora, agave pup and some seed for black wheat. I’m sure I’m forgetting something! I’ll be busy planting once the darn cold snap is over.

2) My coral metal sculpture is in place.

3) Sams club has massive pots (the shrub/tree sized ones) on sale for $19 and 16 inch resin whiskey barrels for $14. I went to get one of each as I have two spots that I needed them for last year but couldn’t find a fair price anywhere. The big one is currently holding frost blankets in place over Rudbeckia Sahara from last summer that hasn’t yet died.

Don’t Judge Me- I was Desperate.

4) Most of the seeds started last week are up! Schizanthus and Genovese Basil germinated first!

5) My solar pond pump pooped out 2 weeks ago. The fish are doing well with the solar turtle spitter, but a new pump has shipped. I’ll do a post on solar pumping soon.

Turtle Spitter

6) I split the pond iris. This thing is massive. I’m giving away 8 rhizomes the size bananas.

Spring Pond
Blue Flag Pond Iris-Spring 2021

7) I did some dreaded, but much needed weeding. The reason for this annual weeding will be in a post of it’s own as it’s one of my biggest regrets in this space and a constant fight.

Primrose in my Stones
Weeded Stones with Special Guest Star-Curry the Dog ™

It was a rare, busy week in the winter garden. If I have outdoor seedlings left after the cold snap is through with us, I’ll do a post next week on winter sown annuals. It’s a joy to follow these little seedlings as they grow through the winter.


Winter Crafting for the Summer Garden: Up-Cycling Cans and Jars into Vases

Winter Up-cycled Cans & Jars to Support the Summer Garden

At any given time, my family has at least 6 jars of pickles and olives in the fridge. In addition, I have a habit of eating soup for breakfast/lunch combo around 11 am. I like Progresso with the pop off tops. These cans do not have a sharp edge so work well for my crafts. I wash and remove labels on cans and jars and decide what to keep. The rest are recycled.

It was a Pickle and Olive Extravaganza

I recycle most of the soup cans as there are too many of those to keep- but keep some. Under my garden bench I have a large tote full of cleaned big jars and soup cans. I generally used the jars for rooting prior to this.

Propagation via Rooting

My main garden is a cutting garden. If you are a plant that grows there I will cut you! Prior to Covid19 we had quite a few social engagements. I would bring flowers as hostess gifts and also gifted them to friends on May Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays etc. About a year in to this I got very tired of giving away my vases or arriving with wilted flowers in need of a vase. It became obvious that I needed “gift-able” vases.

Not gifting my favorite crystal vases!

So, with a lack of winter gardening to keep me busy, a bunch of cans and jars in storage and a need for containers to gift flowers, I began making craft vases to get me through the coming flower cutting season. I continue to do this each January.

I paint the interior of the jars with glass paints. They become water safe if you bake them or simply let them cure under room temperatures for a month. Since I have no flowers to cut until April, I can make these and let them sit. I drop a dollop of paint, a tablespoon of water and roll the jar until the interior is covered. I use a brush for the very top. I leave them by my sink and whenever I am in the kitchen I roll again as the puddle of paint stays wet for 24 hours.

Glass Paints

I hot glue decorative papers and cricut butterflies and ribbons to the outside of the glass jars. To cover the lid bands, I wrap the top in white twine or washi tape.

The cans are also covered in paper, cricut butterflies and ribbon. Both the jars and cans usually get a paper gift tag added. These are perfect for small bouquets! A selection of some of my vases is below.

As luck would have it, these fit nicely in a compartment in my van hatch without tipping! So, here’s hoping the pandemic ends soon because I have a lot of vases piling up and would like to resume gifting flowers and seeing my people again soon!!

Craft Vases
Craft Jar Vase in Use