Tag Archives: garden

Forecast: chilly, rainy, & windy with a chance of…sunflowers

Here it is Nov 1 in this 4-season climate. Summer is OVER. And yet… I’ve got birdseed sunflowers blooming! Here’s the thing. I have no recollection of planting them. The pot had held a tomato plant & bean plants both of which failed mid-summer.πŸ˜₯ I yanked the plants & pushed the pot aside. I have, in the past, planted black oil sunflower seeds that were sold as birdseed but I don’t think I planted these.

I noticed them coming up in the summer & eventually recognized them for what they were so I let them grow. As the days grew shorter and cooler I got nervous that they wouldn’t have time to bloom. The last two nights I put a cover over to protect them. After all, they’ve come this far!

Another reason I don’t think I’m responsible is the half-assed planting job. Granted, I’m not too fussy about planting things perfectly but let me show you how these were planted, two bunches of seeds jammed together. I wonder if Mr Squirrel had a paw in it? Stranger, there’s been no birdseed out since May, not here.

Just one of those unexplained, nice surprises.

Let’s paint a “Barn Quilt” on the shed!

I promise this is going to be a post about painting a barn quilt but first I have to say that while I’ve been having a bit of fun, I cannot look away from what is going on as the coronavirus cases increase across the country and the election LOOMS. I’ve been feeling emotional and a little sick at heart. The air feels charged and not in a good way. That’s why I’m really glad I both have time for my projects and feel creatively energized while all this is happening.

So what, you (probably) ask, is a Barn Quilt? That’s what I would have asked too a few days ago before someone mentioned the idea to me. Barn quilts are apparently a “thing” in the country, and by that I mean, rural locations. I don’t live in the country, never have, and have no particular affinity for country style decorating; it’s just not my thing. All that said, when I saw a picture of what a barn quilt is – a huge painting resembling a fabric quilt displayed on the side of a barn – I was charmed.

From what I viewed online a barn quilt is typically painted on an 8’x8′ square board which is then attached to a barn. I realized somewhere along the way that it makes total sense for the painting not to be applied directly on the barn itself since that would be a lot trickier: getting up there, standing on scaffolding or what have you, braving the elements, and so on. A 3’x3′ square was suggested for a shed. I don’t have a board like that or any thought of buying one, so I figured I’d do the painting directly. I am just tall enough to do this project without a ladder.

Barn quilt designs can be very intricate but I wasn’t interested in getting too crazy, not for a shed painting and not for my first attempt. Getting intimidated would be counter-productive to my purpose! I googled painting a barn quilt on a shed which led me to a very basic pattern. I took this simple pattern, looked over what house paints I have here and adapted it to them. I made little mock-ups on paper to see how the designs would look.

The shed is a dark chocolate brown (from the last time I painted it) so I looked at each of my samples against the back of this pillow which fortuitously was dark brown.😊

I easily ruled out the first one butΒ  was torn between the 2nd and 3rd. I thought the middle one with the light green was prettiest (the one I’d choose for my bed) and decided to go with it, thinking that should I change my mind & want the one with the dark green, it’d be easier to later paint over a lighter color than the reverse.

The first step was using painter’s tape and a yard stick to create a 3’x3′ square on the shed.

NextΒ  I filled the square in with white paint; I figured a white base would be better than dark brown for adding lighter colors. (This proved true; I only needed to do one coat of color.)

I didn’t take a picture but next I used a pencil and the yard stick to draw the pattern on the white square. Part of why I went with the 3′ square was so that dividing it would be a fairly simple matter and I wouldn’t have weird measurements like 14.75″ for instance, which I’d be more likely to screw up. I did this pen & paper design just to show you what I drew on the shed lightly in pencil.

I had the little color mock-up with me so I could consult it while I painted (which I did so I wouldn’t accidentally fill in the wrong color somewhere 😯).

My completed shed “Barn Quilt” – I am delighted!

Grass plant in bloom

When so many plants are winding down or spent, it’s awfully nice to have one peaking. While I’ve blogged about my grass plant before, I don’t think I’ve shared it in bloom. As the years have passed the plant has grown & become unwieldy, so much so that it routinely fell over from its own weight, meaning that, by the time bloom season arrived, most of said grass along with blooms were flopped over, parallel to the ground.😯 Not a photo-op. I struck upon the idea of containing it within a large tomato cage as it grows & that’s helped a lot. It doesn’t show in these photos nor does the wood dowel I have recently propped behind the cage to keep the whole business upright!

Summer’s last notes

A chill has come on early. Our Septembers are usually hot. Not now. I wanna share a few last summer things before nobody cares anymore, me included.😊

If you read this blog awhile, you’ll know I’m a frequent salvager of roadside finds. Things seemed scarcer this year but I snagged a few items. Last month I came upon a big pile of stuff. I only picked around the edges but there I found a crazy lamp. I had no need for a turquoise Chinese Dragon lamp but I could imagine the ceramic statue as a free-standing decoration. I took it home, dismantled the lamp portion and made a spot for my find outside. About 15″ high, he certainly has a presence!

Originally, the metal lamp post went up behind his back and the shade was over his head. Um, no.

i don’t understand videos of dozens of happy hummingbirds cheerfully sharing a single feeder because all my hummingbirds – 2 or 3 max – do every year is fight over the feeder. Nonethless, I replaced the hummingbird feeder with a fresh one not long ago. The plastic on the old one got cruddy fast so I was cleaning it & making fresh sugar water frequently. Too frequently. After I put out the new one, I could see it looked clean and still had plenty of sweetened water in it, so I let it be. After a number of days I noticed that when a hummingbird would come along, it wouldn’t stay. I thought maybe they just didn’t like the new feeder.

When I brought the feeder in & dumped the old sugar water I about gagged. Although it and the feeder looked clean, the water REEKED, like when you’ve left flowers in a vase too long.😦 Now I knew what those hummingbirds had been thinking when they popped by and hastily left. Imagine the following in a high, squeaky, indignant voice:

This slop is disgusting! What, are you trying to KILL us?! I wouldn’t feed this swill to my worst enemy! Who was just here by the way! PETA is going to hear about this!

Hummingbird assessing fresh sugar water in new feeder

I grew a “Spanish flag” vine in a big pot from seed. I think flowering vines are great, especially when they grow fast, so fast you see daily changes. I thought it’d be a nice diversion this summer.

Just starting to grow Jul 12

It’s supposed to get great blooms in “late summer, early fall.” So far I’ve succeeded in growing a green vine on a 10′ bamboo stick, not a flower to be had.😐 I’ve faithfully kept it watered and everything.

Aug 20

Aug 29

Sep 14

Ah well. I can’t imagine my silly vine-on-a-stick will get any flowers at this point – the leaves are turning fall colors – but if it does, I’ll snap a picture. This vine is sort of like this summer, it went along but didn’t really get anywhere when all was done.

Today in the garden

It’s hard to fully tell you the pleasure the garden gives me. It is a living picture, a piece of art to gaze upon. Seriously! That’s how it feels. The years I’ve put into it pay dividends. Small but not miniscule, it draws me like any space indoors: What can I do here? How can I make it better? Would that look better moved over there? I rearrange just like inside, always tweaking details. It makes me happy. I spent nothing this year on plants or extras, things being what they are. I figured I’d work with what I have and then was fortunate that people gave me living things: tomato seedlings, seeds (basil, bean, okra), and just this week a hanging petunia with the palest shade of creamy yellow flowers. I gave away things too – about a dozen large hostas. I broke out my lovely chimes and my Dollar Tree decor 😁 (I thought to attach/tape my little spinners to a shepherd’s hook and bamboo stick so that they sit up off the ground and catch more wind – for such simple items they sure don’t lose my interest!).


The garden in the early morning through the window


The garden in the late afternoon through the window