Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mulch is my new BFF.. and a yard sale makeover!

Hi all!!

Well I finally discovered why all those gardeners out there love mulch!  It’s like paint… hides a multitude of sins (and ugly)!!  I went to our local recyclers and loaded up on mulch, had to make 2 trips because I only have a car (oh how I envy you truck owners!).  I brought some Rubbermaid bins and some nylon-type bags with me and filled them up.. they weigh your car when you come in and when you are finished (as opposed to buying by the yard and having it delivered.. the cost is the same, just do-it-yourself  in whatever quantity you can carry… who knew???? HA!).  In total, I spent $12.50 and got 190 kg of mulch.. yeah it’s a lot but doesn’t go far, not when you have a lot to cover and this is quite rustic (large pieces), can’t imagine how much the fancy stuff would have cost!  Oh well.. fits with the prim theme doesn’t it?  I’ll probably go on Sat. for more, there’s still a small section I missed because I ran out and I was too exhausted to go back.

Here are 2 pics of the same side of the yard, different views.  As you can see, this is where I put a bunch of white cedar trees a few weeks back.  I added some bricks as a border and dumped a pile of mulch in.  In the back corner, I brought the border out by adding clumps of dug-up grass upside-down onto the existing grass, then putting thick layers of newspaper on top and a bunch of mulch on top of that.  In the fall I may add layers of dead leaves and more mulch.  I don’t know what I’m doing.. lol..  just trying something that was suggested to me to help eliminate some of the back-breaking work of digging up the grass.. the dug-up grass and newspaper are supposed to compost over time.. we’ll see.  I may add plants next year but in the meantime I’ve added a little yard sale tricycle I got last year, a log and a bird feeder.. should be hanging but the chain broke..  I think it looks fine for now :D


While I was adding mulch I was also thinning out some of the overgrown plants that I put in over the last two summers.  I had started out by digging little sections of garden several feet apart and putting in plants.  That wasn’t really a good thing to do as it turned out, but what it left me were sections of empty garden and overgrown sections.  So I thinned out what I could before adding mulch.. this is along the back fence.  The first pic is a dogwood I believe.. it’s getting huge!  Anyone know if I’m supposed to prune, when and how??   See, told you I’m not a gardener!!  Anyway, this looks so much better than before I added mulch.. now to find some more free bricks or rocks…


This is some kind of birch I think.. it’s really pretty and filling in the view of the shed in the yard behind my house nicely.. now why didn’t I plant it a few feet to the left and block the view of their back door?  LOL


I found this weird contraption at a yard sale last summer.. I swear I went nuts last year!  I was told that it had held glass bowls but they all broke.  I had a vision of  fitting the circles with enamel bowls then planting them up with cascading plants!  Well I have enamel bowls but only found one that actually fit!  So I plunked it down along the back fence over the clematis I got for $5 last weekend (yahooo.. excellent price up here!) and I’m confident that it will wind its way around and around this weird thing.. and once filled in you probably won’t even see it.   Let’s hope..


Close-up of the clematis (can’t believe it bloomed in just one week!)  So much for planting in the shade.. this is a north-facing backyard but gets lots of sun since the shade is still growing :)  .. looking good!


Now, on to my makeover.  I hit a few yard sales yesterday morning, wasn’t really into it but I did find a few things.  One was this duck/goose/swan, not into fowl so I don’t know what it’s supposed to be.  I do know that the ones that are all primmed up can be pricey so I bit the bullet and paid $7 for it.. she was asking $10, I offered $5.. yeah, I know.. I’m cheap!  :D  haha...  Seems to be a lightweight wood but still solid.  I wasn’t into all the carving so sanded off what I could.

Ta-da!!!  What do you think?? 

I decided to make it into a swan, not sure if I got the black paint on in the proper pattern for a swan but I like it anyway.  So happy I didn’t let my cheapness get the better of me :)  I got a few other deals so it made up for it.  Will be working on those makeovers and the ones from last year so I think I’ll have lots more to post. 

Thanks for looking and have a Happy Monday for my fellow Canadians and Happy Memorial Day for my American friends!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Still a work in progress!

Hey all…

The cold and rainy weather is gone finally.. and how!  It was blistering hot yesterday here in Ontario, nicer today but still humid.  I spent yesterday, our Victoria Day holiday, in the backyard continuing to work on my garden and getting sunburned.. still in pain today!  Crazy to think that I broke down last week and put the heat back on, then had to put the central air on last night.. lol. 

If you saw my previous post, these pictures might be familiar:

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This is what it looks like now after working on it bit by bit over the past couple of weeks:


I touched up the paint on the old wicker rocker (well, it’s just a chair now, didn’t really need the rockers so off they came), added some bright pink geraniums and lime green sweet potato vine in the old canning pot.. I just love the contrast of colours!  I also bought a purple wave petunia that I planted beside the chair.. never had one of those so I thought I’d try it in hopes that it fills in the space.   Behind the petunia is a metal child’s wagon I picked up at a yard sale last summer, I think I paid $2 or $3 for it; it’s planted up with pansies and impatiens.  I dug out as much of the grass from this area as I could but it’s just such exhausting work that last weekend I put down a few layers of newspaper and plopped a bunch of mulch on top, and added a brick border.  I’m just going to leave it as is for at least the next year, my yard is quite large and there is still a ton of work to do so I’ll move on from here.  I just need to get a LOT more mulch to add around the cedar trees and to the section to the right.  I added some plants to that area as well but didn’t get a pic.  Oh, actually I wanted to add a climbing plant to the clothesline pole..  so I guess I’m not done!  lol..

Closeups of the wave petunia and the wagon:



I just love that purple!  There is also a regular petunia that I added beside the back wheel of this wagon after I took the pic. 

I also worked on another section of my garden yesterday, this is actually the first section I worked on 2 years ago when I started with an empty yard.  I had some help from my ex-MIL who loves to garden, but I don’t know what she planted and it got quite overgrown over the past two years.  I didn’t get a pic of the overall area, but here’s a closeup of the annoying plant that took over:


I did try to give it away but had no takers so it all came out yesterday.  It seems to be very invasive, even popping up in the grass, so I suspect I haven’t seen the last of this, even though I pulled out roots by the mile!

These 2 pics show the whole area as it looks now:


This pic was taken in the sunshine so it’s not very clear.  As you can see, there isn’t much here!  I picked up a bleeding heart plant last weekend but it rained so much that I didn’t get a chance to plant it till  yesterday.  I also added some annuals to the whole section so I have a chance to see how it fills in over the next year.  I turned an old shovel head on it’s side and tucked it up against the white cedar tree in the corner, and plunked an old fork head tines-up in front of the bleeding heart.


I also planted a hosta, a male fern and some annuals and thinned out most of the soloman’s seal.  I still have some over-crowding to the right of this section that I have to deal with and I’ll be adding some mulch but overall I like how this has turned out.  This is one of only a couple of areas of the yard with shade so it’s been a challenge with the rest of the yard.

Don’t forget to stop on over to my selling blog, I’ve sold a few things so have updated those.. recently had 2 orders that are on their way to Japan!

Here’s to a nicer summer than we had last year!  I’m probably going to give up on the garden soon, you can only do so much in such a short season!  I have lots of primming to do on some yard sale finds from last year, stay tuned, hopefully I’ll have something to show you soon.  :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The bees knees!!

Hi all..

I made these cute little Americana bumble bee bowl fillers this past weekend (ok.. there are no knees on these bees! :D ).  I'm making some traditional yellow and black ones as well, will post a pic when I'm done.  Go on over to my selling blog for details (you’ll need to scroll down a little bit!)

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So the picture is sideways, can’t seem to correct it!  I think it was the angle I took the pic from.. weird!
What did you all work on this weekend??

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Where did spring go so quickly???

It really turned cold since Wednesday's little heat wave up here in Canada!!  I had big plans for today, wanting to go pick up some mulch at our local Try Recycling.. it's such a good price @ 22.13/yard and I found out you don't have to buy it by the yard, just fill up some containers and they weigh your car going in and coming out and you pay that way ... which is good, not lucky enough to have a truck!  However, they don't tarp the mulch and it rained overnight so I'm thinking that will make the mulch heavy = more money!  Ha.. think I'll wait.

I actually went to a perennial sale this morning.. braving the cold wet wind! .. as it turns out the woman selling her hand-grown plants is a past participant of Garden Gates Open.. (mentioned in my last post!!) and I think she's entered this year as well... and her friend who was visiting has also been in it and actually works at the same hospital site that I do.. and is a FB friend!.  I got 2 of one kind of plant and 1 of another.. I forget what they are.. lol, I left them in the car out of the wind.  Geesh, it's really ugly out there!

Well... no pics to share right now so hope you all have a great day.  :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A work in progress… barely!!!

Hi all!!

I hope everyone’s enjoying spring but I can’t believe it’s May already!!!  As I mentioned in my last post, a couple of my friends came over to help me dig up a section of my yard that runs alongside a chain-link fence on one side of my backyard.  We also had a great dinner of bbq chicken, baked potatoes and salad.. yumm!!  Best of all, I didn’t cook!  lol.. I’m sure my friends were relieved as well :D 


Results of our hard work!  As you can see, the neighbours don’t like to garden either!!  This section was full of grass as well as the dug-out grass and weeds from other sections of the yard - it became a bit of a dumping ground!


All of this is from that one little section!

My 20 white cedar trees were delivered this past Saturday.. at 8 am!!  I then spent most of the day continuing to dig grass out from both the back and the front (for the maple tree that I also got).  My back was killing me by 3 pm when I finally had to quit; I could barely walk by then.  I had only gotten about 13 of the trees planted but I just couldn’t go any further.  Whoever said gardening is relaxing is nuts!!! 


I think it looks 100% better, don’t you?  Obviously I’m nowhere near being done but as I said, it’s a work in progress.  I dug out a couple of feet past the trees so I can add some flowers, not sure when I’ll do that!  As you can see I added a couple of trees along the back fence.  Since I had planted a lilac bush in the corner 2 years ago (it hasn’t bloomed yet.. what’s the deal with that??) and didn’t want to dig it back up, I opted to put trees behind it as well.  At least in the winter there will be some colour in that corner.  Not sure if it looks okay or not, but I certainly can’t say it looks planned!  I also planted 2 other trees along the section of chain-link that you can’t see.. in a section that has been already been planted (but needs to be cleaned up..ugh!!).  Last night I got back out there (after taking Sunday off.. I just couldn’t face that yard again!) and continued digging in another corner of the yard… the other side of the privacy fence shown above.


This section has also caused me some issues.  When I got the house, there was an old clothesline on that pole (leaving the pole for future owners but planning on doing something with it) and a composter in the corner, which was full of un-composted junk.  I had no idea how to make it work so I finally gave it away.  Last year I attempted to dig out this corner but only got so far before I gave up.. (the pile on the right was another little dumping ground for dug-up grass and weeds :).  I got an old wicker rocker from a friend, spray-painted it a bright blue and added some hot-pink geraniums in the old canning pot.. I think I’ll do the same thing this year, it looked so cool!  Along the back fence is a section of lily-of-the-valley which was already there when I got the house.  So last night when I got out there I dug out a section big enough to plant the rest of the trees, left some of the lily-of-the-valley and dug out in front of it.. I know it will spread and I think it will look pretty tucked under the cedar trees. 


What do you think??  Still lots to do!  I think I’ll keep digging out the grass and make a nice big flower bed in front of the trees.  Not sure if I’ll get the whole yard done this year but I’m certainly going to try!  I’m in the process of looking for prim things that I can add to the yard so stayed tuned!

Now, I just wanted to add a couple of links to Garden Gates Open ~ Communities in Bloom, being held this year during the last weekend in July.  This is similar to the garden tours that many cities have.. the ones where only the most perfect gardens are showcased.  The difference is that the GGO organizers don’t care if the participants have perfect gardens or if, like me, they are still working on it.  The main goal is to leave the red tape behind, showcase everyday gardens by everyday people and concentrate on having fun.  Check out the CIB website: and for pics of the London, Ontario event from 2009.

Well I think this post is long enough!  I will keep you updated as my garden starts to come together.. anyone want to help??  :D