Monday, June 18, 2007

Shoe Garden with tattered old soles from friends and family!

Hilltop garden with rusty old chair and chipmunk abode!

My childhood playhouse before restoration, rotting into the ground at the front side...

My father built this over 40 years ago.

Hilltop garden with one of hubby's many birdhouses...

Cartoonized garden house photo, love this!

Wild section of the yard with bedframe trellis, funky signs, and treasure pole...

Garden House in summer of '06

The kiddo's treehouse, way up there...

Partial contents of shed during renovation, yikes what a mess!

Arbor and fence at the entrance to backyard...

One of my lovies!

Hubby returning from a lumber trip...

Veggie garden beds in springtime.

Coldframe and small butterfly garden

My garden shed with new paint

a rusty old chair with washboard back and pot of annuals

Messy old perennial bed with lots of weeds. Another day...

Pretty old bromo jar, cartoonized.

Springtime "weeds" in the veggie garden, how pretty!

My gram's old irises, love how they bring back a rush of memories...

More early spring flowers

Another cartoonized look at my refurbished "lil house"

Well, that's all for now...

Monday, June 11, 2007

One of these days...

I will have more time to sit down and write in my blog... when we get caught up a bit more!

We've been extremely busy outside in the gardens, as we are every spring. They are dreadfully in need of TLC after being neglected the last few years! Poor hubby Matthew spent much of his vacation grubbing in the dirt, jacking up the childhood playhouse turned garden shed that my father built when I was 5 or 6. He knew how much it meant to me and reclaimed it from the earth! I am lucky he doesn't complain more about things!

What a mess outside once we cleared it out for new sill and flooring.... I didn't have any idea how many clay pots I had stored in there! This is only a few of them.

I spent much of that week painting it an eye popping shade other than that which I had intended. Our large building supply store never seems to mix the right color, but I think the color is growing on us after all. Next is a plank door to replace the rotted door. I long for a metal roof to hear the rain pinging down, perhaps later in the year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Morning Breakfast

Mr Peanuts, perched on my porch railing every morning and every evening, begging for a treat! The cats let me know he's here...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Random thoughts on Sweet Annie-

(Sweet Annie, Annual Wormwood, Artemisia Annua)

I’ve grown Sweet Annie for a dozen years or so, and find it to be one of my personal favorites.

It’s grown not only for the feathery foliage but also for the fragrance. (Varieties with no fragrance have also emerged.) Although an annual, it reseeds itself abundantly, generally not where one expects to find it. In many parts of the country it grows in the wild, along roadsides, and such.
Sweet Annie can quickly become a nuisance and perhaps it’s best to purchase it harvested and ready to use rather than grow it yourself. I myself use a huge amount and celebrate each and every stray seedling I find, but gardeners who like neat tidy little gardens and some farm folk friends find it to be a curse.
Sometimes it comes up painfully slow in spring time, then suddenly bursts into growth when the weather gets better. Some years it grows better than others, as do most other things. It likes well drained soil and not too much rain!
When it does emerge in the spring, it will appear as teeny little ferny things.... From the beginning they have a fragrant smell when squeezed between your fingers, which will help you to distinguish them from weeds. I let mine grow a few inches before disturbing them and then move them where I’d prefer them to grow. If they come up in a walkway, I pot them up for the time being, then transplant to the garden once they’ve grown big enough.
I grow Sweet Annie in my herb garden, and as a filler / background plant in my perennial gardens, and in every other nook or cranny I can tuck a plant into. It needs ample space (2 ft), and full to partial sun to grow to its full potential (4 ft and more). It blooms late summer or early autumn and should be harvested once the yellow blooms appear, but before blooms open fully. Allow some plants to remain in your gardens and drop seed if you’d like it to reseed.
After harvesting, tie a few stalks together and hang upside down to dry in a cool dark airy place. I spread newspaper underneath to gather any stray seed and, once dried, store the dried stalks in a large kraft paper bag to collect further seed. I also scoop up all fallen seed and stray plant materials while crafting with it and throw them outside in my gardens, in late fall, in winter (throw it right on top of the snow), or early spring.
A word of caution… For some folks, handling the plant materials or breathing the pollen may cause an allergic reaction, sometimes severe.
Sweet Annie is perhaps not the most attractive plant during the growing season, because of it’s height, and because it’s generally pretty thin at ground level, however I fill in the space around it with “garden art” if needed… a rusty watering can, a few stacked clay pots, a vintage child’s tricycle, etc.
Sweet Annie is a must-have for primitive crafters, and for floral designers. It’s perfect for dried wreaths and swags, to tuck into Christmas stockings or primitive seedbags, to tie onto primitive soaps or candles, or simply to wrap your doll’s arms around.
Other favorite I like to dry and use with Sweet Annie include, but are not limited to, Queen Ann’s Lace, Sage, Tansy, and wild Rosehips.

Sunflower Summer

A few of my favorite things!

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