Our Welcoming Home!
by Jolene Hanig-Jones
"The earth laughs in flowers." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Title: Violas and Azalea Blossoms, by Mother Nature. This lovely creation is brought to you by Mother Nature. I plant violas every spring, but the birds carry the seeds and plant them in various places around our home. These beautiful violas took root beneath the azalea plants and looked lovely among the fallen azalea blossoms. I love this display!
I think Mother Earth should be respected and celebrated every day. My mom has always been a recycler and master re-user. Glass, plastics, pop cans, newspapers are all returned or recycled, unless you can reuse them. She volunteers to help with church funeral dinners. Chinese take-out containers are perfect for packaging left-overs for families. Plastic bags are saved and given to the Farmers Market vendors. Wicker baskets have been given to me to up cycle as gift baskets and crafts. Thus, Mom has inspired me to use what I have when I am creating and recycle all things that are possible.
I had lots of fun this Earth Day planting this basket and chair that I up cycled. I was thrilled to find this chair at our local Goodwill Store for the "special price" of $3.49. I'm not sure why it was reduced. It has all four legs intact and didn't even wobble when I wiggled it. Granted the black was a little harsh, but that was an easy fix with a can of spray paint.
I purchased the basket at Michael's on sale for $5.00. (Recently, while trolling the aisles of Goodwill, I found the exact basket for $2.00! I snapped it up and plan to use it when "I need" it for another project. I painted the basket and chair key lime green using my favorite Rustoleum Paint and Primer spray paint. Because the chair was so dark and the basket reeds were porous, I gave them a coat of white paint prior to spraying them with the Key Lime Green.
Earth Day was a cool, but sunny day in our neck of the woods. It was the perfect day to plant this beauty. I began with two pieces of squared burlap that I had left over from a few shower events. (I think I had used them for at least 3 events and had even printed on the edge of some of them.) Then, I took a heavier, medium sized shopping bag and cut it open. I layered it on top of the burlap and "squished" the edges in.
Finally, I filled the basket with good potting soil and was ready to plant one of my favorite spring flowers: viola pansies! I chose a deep, vibrant purple to contrast and compliment the bright, green, cheery paint of the basket and chair.
Completed "Chair in Bloom". All that is left to do is to let Mother Nature shine her light and sprinkle the basket with rain. The fun begins as the plants grow, fill out, and bring laughter to my deck. (P.S. This vignette may not be done--I might add a "thriller plant", fun garden sign, or willowy branches that fall into our yard. I can also see a galvanized bucket planted with more flowers next to it. The possibilities are endless--and so much fun!)
The accepted formula for planting containers is: thriller + filler+ spiller = beautiful container planting. The violas are the filler. Two vinca vine plants are the spillers. As of yet, I don't have a thriller, although, I do think the bright green basket and chair are quite exciting and really make me happy.
It's still a little early in our area to be planting any plants that are not frost resistant. Pansies are one of the plants that flourish in cooler weather and can withstand a frost and even a snowfall, if it doesn't last for too many days. My planter is missing a thriller for height. I have used branches from the yard to create the element of height. I've also used garden signs. In some of my front planters, I have used a hosta to pair with the pansies. Right now, I haven't added the "thriller" element. If I find something that strikes my fancy, I may add it--or, I may decide to let the violas grow and bush out, and let the vinca vines trail and not worry about the container plant formula.
I planted a few more violas on Earth Day. Enjoy!
My very special colleagues and friends gave me this school desk planter when I retired the summer of 2016. It is an actual school desk. My husband drilled some extra holes in the bottom this spring to improve the drainage. I love it and was so excited to plant it with spring flowers. The hostas were ones that I dug up from the back garden that needed separating. I want to add some vinca vines for the "spillers" for over the edge. The pencil sign was one given to me by a very memorable student and his family. I thought it added just the right pop of color and I think of the dear boy and smile every time I see it.
Rosemary is an herb that can withstand cooler temperatures. I planted three rosemary plants with some violas in this galvanized planter. I "accessorized it" with a green and red metal chicken that I purchased last year. The chicken is a little faded and rusty around the edges, but it still makes me smile. I think it fits right in with this little vignette. I've been collecting blue graniteware roasters, canners, and the like from thrift stores over the winter. I have plans to plant more herbs in them. They will be located right outside my kitchen door for easy access. I love the smell of fresh herbs and they really are pretty easy to grow in containers. You will see more on herbs in a future post.
I have more to share from the garden and more garden clean up to do. It does my heart good to dig in the dirt. My Grandma Marshall was a wonderful gardener of vegetables, flowers, and fruits. Often times when we would arrive at the farm, we would find her in the garden. In the evenings she was often found in the garden. I like to think of it as "her time"--a possible meditation. I remember her while I am in the garden and my heart is lighter. I planted hollyhocks last year on the side of our house in memory of my Grandma Hanig. They grew against the side of her house and my cousins and I admired them (and picked them, too! After all, with a toothpick and blossoms you could make a beautiful lady in a beautiful dress.)
Wishing everyone lots of joy in the garden. Even if gardening isn't your passion--I encourage you to take the time to soak up the beauty of flowers and greenery.
After all, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said it so perfectly:
"The earth laughs in flowers!"
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