Thursday, June 16, 2011

Detour through the garden

Now that I look back, I did accomplish a few things the last few weeks while I was suffering from quilter’s block.  Well, last week was literally a washout due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, but the week before I puttered in the garden quite a bit.
First up was a repurposing of the old swing set.  Here’s what it looked like brand new and in use in the summer of 2004.
swing set  July 2004 You can’t tell from this picture, but the kids were very enthusiastic in their swinging and that frame rocked back and forth precariously so we decided to set the legs in concrete.
Fast forward 7 years.  You can see below that the frame is rather faded, and you can guess that the kids have grown somewhat and no longer fit on this set.  We could dispose of this now, or pass it on, but those legs are set in concrete.  Removing it seems like an awful lot of work.
swing set 2011-05-18
We lost a small maple tree last year.  A lot of birdfeeders hung on that tree, and we missed the birds once the tree was gone.
How about using the swing set as a bird feeding station?  It looked a little junky, all faded with the feeders hanging off it.
Think a little harder…
IMG_4830 Red spray paint (messy stuff if a breeze blows up while you’re spraying!) perked up the frame. The plantings look a little pitiful in the picture, but much better in person. In my mind’s eye I can see the plants filling in.  The little tuft of ornamental grass will grow up past the crossbar, with lovely plumes in the fall, and the plants in the planter birdbath will spill over the sides.  The ornamental sweet potato plants will mound and spread 2 feet or more.  The black eyed susan vine will twine up the strings and up the frame on the far end… I’ll have to post update pictures if and when it grows into what my mind’s eye sees!
Up next was a flowerbed beside the driveway.  This was an unexpected task.  We had a huge, gorgeous viburnum of some sort there.  This spring after the snow melted but before the bush leafed in to hide the trunk we noticed holes at the base of the trunk.  It turns out they were caused by carpenter ants, and we just don’t want those anywhere close to the house if we can help it.  The pest control guy agreed that if they had found that tree to be a good shelter once, they might like it again, so it is gone.  Now what? It left a big empty space. 
I divided a few perennials from elsewhere in the yard and transplanted some here. We also bought a hibiscus shrub that should fit the space comfortably as it grows. I tossed in a couple of annual sweet potato vines to fill in the space until the perennials get bigger next year, though the vines are still tiny and not filling anything in yet!  I hope that improves in a few weeks. Of course as soon as I planted all this we had a bout of unseasonably hot weather,  reaching about 35C (95F)  3 days in a row.  The newly transplanted vegetation was highly stressed!  I think the past week of cooler, wet weather has perked everything up a bit now.  Hopefully this sorry little patch will look less sorry as the summer goes on.
If you’ve read this far about my garden ramblings,  I’ll leave you with a picture of the last two summers’ efforts, finally filling in nicely.
IMG_4838 IMG_4839 IMG_4836 IMG_4833_r1
Well, the planter in the top of the castle tower is new. I’m hoping the German ivy will spill down the sides… I’m done now, really! Done rambling on and planting though I have to admit that earlier today I stumbled upon a blog with a really fun “tipsy pots” planter…


  1. I love how you have repurposed the old swing set frame! Your plantings all look really nice -- just give them a month or so. I saw the tipsy pots planter, too, and wondered if it would really work.


  2. Your gardens are so pretty and inviting! Enjoy them!

  3. Well done! A very pretty garden with lots of room for the plants to spread.


  4. Oh so pretty and so creative! Thanks for sharing - maybe this will motivate me to get out there and work on weeding my flower beds...

  5. Your gardens looks beautiful - isn't it a wonderful time of year! Great idea for the old swing set.♥

  6. Lovely gardens. I bought my flowers 2 weeks ago and they are still sitting on my deck! Funny you and Sandy mentioned the tipsy pots planter - I saw it yesterday too!

  7. Beautiful settings, and great use of the refurbished swing set frame. My birds miss the one the boys recently took down; it was their landing place near the birdbath. Your hostas are doing great! Wish mine were. ---"Love"


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