Monday, February 29, 2016

Thrifty Deck Decor and Rescue It!

 This is our back deck. Almost everything on it was free (from friends or curbs or alleys on trash days... Sometimes I happen upon trash items and sometimes the kids and I just drive around "to see if there's anything cool") ...or from yard sales.
 I love this copper bucket. I was tempted to scrap it at the metal recycling place down the street, since I got it for only $2, but it's just too pretty! My whole gardening and decorating budget is about $25/month, hence the temptation. I don't normally like the color red, but I really like this cute rooster.
 These little shutter thingies were sliding doors in an awesome old headboard left out for the trash in an alley. I hate to see lovely real wood furniture going to the landfill... At least I had room in the car for these little doors. More colored glass knicknacks and a sea biscuit. The stick is from a vacation in Oklahoma.
 I think this plant is an Autumn joy sedum. The dried flowers stayed pink most of the winter.
Our deck is old and looked awful and splintery. Since I'm always barefoot, and the kids often are too, that just wouldn't do. Plus I don't want it falling apart. I cleaned and painted half of it last fall, and plan to do the other half next week. I used Oxyclean to scrub the old dirty wood (I need to find the blog I read about that on!), which worked amazingly and didn't hurt the surrounding plants. Then I painted it with 2 coats of Olympic Rescue It! from Lowe's. It took probably 3 gallons just for this small area, and a lot of work, but so far I'm very happy with it. It feels great under bare feet!

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cool Colors Flower Bed

 This is my cool colors flowerbed in the front yard, by the driveway. Not much is blooming here right now, but the pinata (sorry my phone keyboard can't do the accent) lavender looks fabulous as always! It loves the brutal afternoon summer sun and has bloomed year-round for me. Look for some on clearance at Lowe's when they're clearing out their spring flowers. Pinata lavender doesn't have the classic lavender smell, but I think it's a great plant and the bees do, too.
 The purple trailing lantana has a few flowers. I never did cut it back this year with the mild winter. A friend gave me this agave pup which has grown quickly in the pot.
 An annoying squirrel dug a hole by a Mexican petuna here, in front of my unobnoxious fake squirrel statue hehe. There are tons of squirrels here cuz of all the pecan trees. They eat all the peaches off my tree.
Phlox, or creeping phlox, or something like that. Only the blue is blooming, not my pink ones. I never noticed the yellow in the centers before.

Other plants in this bed include: lamb's ear, purple hyacinth, purple cone flowers, a new purple bodybag rose (Heirloom, I think), pink and purple Autumn sages, spikey blue/purple salvias, and of course purple heart cuz I stick that everywhere cuz it's free! Oh, also some blue-flowered plant whose name I don't know, maybe y'all can help with that this summer.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Society Garlic and Beyond

 I got some society garlic today for the goldfish pond. There weren't many choices this early in the year... It was either this or horsetail reed (not the dwarf variety). I like the flowers and the garlicy smell. I still need a dwarf water lily. I hope to find some divisions for sale on Craig's List soon. Or maybe Lowe's will get some hardy dwarf varieties... They come in a bag you're supposed to just drop in the pond, but I read to definitely repot it first. Plenty of clay soil around here so no prob.

My phone's camera is terrible about shadows and always makes too much contrast. I could probably fix the settings somehow...

Beyond the pond, you can see the tire planters for each kiddo with spring bulbs about to bloom (bought on clearance just a couple months ago, yay I guess they weren't dead!). Then the pallet "bridge" which leads to the ramshackle scrap wood pergola I hastily threw together with some help (it won't matter what it looks like once the newly planted yellow Lady Banks rose engulfs it). Then, to the right, a rebar teepee with young Joseph's Coat climbing rose. And, finally, the blue/purple wall, which is the ever-increasingly-ruined Mexican Ruins area. It featured a slightly broken chiminea, little pots on the turquoise shelf (a bunk bed ladder) with sedums, a neat little tiled pot with a red yucca, etc. The wind has blown the wall down twice and smashed everything, so I just keep rearranging what's left and trying to better secure the wall. I needed some kind of solid wall against the back chain link, to close in the space and be a focal point. It's just simple scrap fence panel pieces from a friend. I'm hoping that spot will explode with color in summer with the Joseph's Coat, another reddish climbing rose on the wall, and various lantanas tucked everywhere.
 This blue and purple fence, to the left, is made of crib pieces. I find cool things like that out at the curb to be trashed all the time. I keep a stash of the found items, spray paint them something colorful and use as needed! I think I'll plant zinnia seeds between the fence and the path... I looove zinnias! I can see all this out the back window from the living room/kitchen, too. As well as the boys jumping on the trampoline. Very handy!
Back behind this cute kid here, on the left, is the grapevine wall. It's made of 4 pieces of a rusty metal pergola that I paid... Gulp... $50 for at an estate sale... And it promptly fell apart at home. Waaahhhhh!! The 4 remaining flimsy panels stand as a reminder that powder coated steel is cheap junk. And to never waste that much money again haha

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Container Pond, Glass Bottle Plants

 A friend gave me this awesome old stock tank, so I decided to make a container pond for the (very under-construction) backyard. Due to rust, it had some tiny leaks, so I bought an actual pond liner (at full price, which is rare for me, but it's worth it), and secured it around the edge with lots of duct tape. We'll see how long it holds up.
 I put it on a little mound of dirt so it wouldn't sit in wet clay. Added a concrete bench and some plants. The foxtail ferns were on the Lowe's clearance rack and I divided them into several plants. All the stones were free on Craig's list. Floating solar fountain was cheap on Amazon. The temporary marginal plant you see is some sedge-looking "weed" I dug from my yard just as a desperate wild guess... Will get something like dwarf horsetail reed and umbrella plant, and of course a water lily, as they become available in the stores here. There are anacharis plants under the water. And 4 pretty goldfish: Cyborg, Flash, The Guy, and Steve.
 Thrifty design tip: colorful glass bottles, found at thrift stores, yard sales, and cheap at Hobby Lobby though the color fades, look great on cheap bamboo sticks. My variation on the bottle tree.
I went rose-crazy and planted 6 rose bushes in this bed with the 3 bottles, mostly cheap bodybag roses but one from Calloway's and one from Antique Rose Emporium, in shades of orange. Will list out all the roses I have sometime... I think there are 13. Can't wait until they bloom!
Blue bottles with white irises. Irises are another thrifty plant because they multiply. I got these while thinning out the ones at the church building, where I help design and tend some of the flower beds.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It's so nice to finally be getting some rain! I love how these little glass gems sparkle in the shade or when it's gloomy out. I got the idea from Lucinda Hutson's garden when it was featured on Central Texas Gardener. She said the kids who visit her garden love them and call them treasure. I thought my boys would like them too, which they do. But I tell them this little "plate" of them are mine! Haha  The Chinese fringe flower is so pretty right now, too. It's just exploding with vivid pink flowers!

Coming up: I plan to post some before and after shots from over the years, and pics of the new container pond I put together with the help of Pam Penick's blog!

Just do it!

I've finally decided I'll never have time to make the perfect First Post, so I'm just starting anyway!

Welcome to my blog and my garden, I'm Laurin from Lewisville, Texas. I've never blogged before, but I've enjoyed reading other gardening blogs for years, and am ready to stop "lurking" and join the community!

Here are a few pics of our front yard. One of our 4 boys is pictured below. They love playing on the paths.
 When we moved in about 8 years ago, it was just a lawn, 2 small pecan trees, and the pittosporum foundation shrubs on the right. I wasn't interesting in gardening. I hired our landscaping friend to tidy up the front flowerbed, telling him I wanted no flowers, only monkey grass and a white crape myrtle. Well, he planted the crape myrtle, but at the insistence of his wife he also planted some yellow lantana and pink autumn sages. I noted how well they did with almost no care, and how they attracted butterflies. So I tried planting a few more things on my own, and the rest is history!
I now find gardening to be a great source of artistic expression (I've always been an artist), peace, good exercise, wonder at all the beautiful things God made & loves and how he makes them grow, and fun times outside in the fresh air with my boys and neighbors and animals. I look forward to sharing my gardening adventures here, hoping I'll consistently find the time.
Thanks for looking!