Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Muscari vignette along path

Most of the daffodils have come and gone in my yard. Due to the mild winter here in zone 7a, there are plenty of other things starting to bloom to take their place. Muscari are a tiny version of a hyacinth. Planted in drifts and groups they can make an attractive impact.

I have seen them "naturalize", multiply and relocate, in other yards in the neighborhood. This makes them attractive for a cottage or woodland garden....gardens that are less formal.

Muscari grouping in a rock garden

White Muscari

Muscari Contrasts with Daffodils

Muscari is planted as a bulb, so you can plan your early Spring garden in the fall when you plant   your bulbs. I also can leave all my bulbs in the ground year round without digging them up for the winter months. Otherwise, bulb planting would be very inconvenient for me.

Jonquilla- One to Five Flowers per Stem

Some daffodils are still in bloom. I use white in the spring garden to contrast the foilage from evergreens and plants that are growing but have not yet produced color from blooming.

There are an amazing amount of daffodils to choose from. Go to to see an amazing selection. This is a family owned garden in Virginia. Their catalog is full of beautiful pictures and examples of planting arrangments.

Tulips in Spring

At first, I was hesitant about tulips...squirrels and deer love them. They also have a shorter bloom period. But the color is absolutely fabulous! I will plant more each year in the middle flower bed of the front yard. Later blooming perennials will grow up around them and hide bare stems after their petals have dropped.


To me, Hyacinth is the belle of the ball. Nice color and a compliment to many other plants like ferns and hostas. I like them along the path because of their fragrance. Plant them around a bench also to enjoy them fully.

Hyacinth and Hosta along Path

Besides bulbs there are perennials that are great for color and impact during Spring.

Moss Phlox

Moss Phlox has a creeping habit that looks good covering curbs, dripping over retaining walls, or sliding between boulders and rocks. It divides and transplants easily. It stays evergreen and is readily available in  nice colors.

Evergreen perennial: Candytuft

Candytuft is great in mounds next to spring blooming bulbs. It is also easy to divide and transplant.

Candytuft, Mountain Mint, and Japanese Maple

Ususally a Hellebore can cost up to $20 or more per plant at a nursery. I bought some seedlings on Craigslist for $1 a piece. It took three years to bloom but it was worth it to me. I have $200 worth now for $10.


Hellebores are evergreen and sprout seedlings that can be translpanted in your shade garden.


Other plants in my shade garden providing color already are:

Variagated Vinca Groundcover

Money Plant

Foam Flower

Evergreen Pieris Shrub

Other plants in the early Spring shade garden provide color via foilage.

Japanese Painted Fern and Astible


So that is a good start for Spring for sure. Things are really taking off in the beds that have been fed with compost and covered with mulch. Next garden post will probably include some azaleas and iris and some thrifty garden accessories. Stay tuned!

Project Pinterest at The DIY Club

Monday, March 19, 2012


Part inspiration. Part anticipation. Lots and lots of imagination and vision. Experience, as well as an ability to learn quickly. Patience, diligence, and determination.

My motivation has changed in the past couple of years. I began because I liked the reduce, reuse, recycle aspect. Look around. Everyone has alot of stuff everywhere. Buying second-hand presented so many great deals and bargains for a great cause.

Then I started collecting and researching which is an interesting way to get great history lessons from some very colorful experts! 

Lastly, I started buying to rehab and resell items as a creative outlet.

I went to my favorite estate sale company, Windsor Estate Sales, to find this eclectic mix of styles and items. Love them!

The sale ad had certain key words that caught my interest....mid century, antiques.....

So that's where I start. Picking includes picking where to go. I like estate sales. They're fun to me. Lot's of new and interesting people to meet as well as running into friends. The deals are good too!

 Often, something catches my eye. It can be color, texture, or a certain style. Basically, I buy it if I think it is pretty. Pretty simple, huh? 

 With that in mind, I also check out the quality and craftmanship of the item as well as the age and origin. It is always more interesting when it is more unique because of these qualities.

Many items these days are reproduced for mass production to be sold by the big retailers. Unfortunately, they lack the charm and patina that makes the real thing so attractive.  The cobbler kit appealed to me because of its wear and tear.

I can picture this in a little decorative vignette on top of a dresser, console table, or atop of kitchen cabinets.

I loved the military footlocker and the planers. Authentic and rustic. I can see them adding visual interest as well as being conversational pieces.

I loved this white glass globe that used to be a part of a lamp or some kind of light perhaps. It's out of its original element, but that makes it fun and unusual. Why not put on a shelf mixed with other accessories from Pottery Barn or elsewhere.

The bamboo leg table was $2 so that was a no-brainer. With a little creative color and clean-up, it will surely shine.

This shaving stand has potential as well. It will remain true to form and color. That was an easy decision because it is clear to see its hidden true beauty.

It also had nice lines and details giving it great style.

So what inspires you? A beautiful, quality piece for refinishing or something that has potential for upcycling into a new purpose?

Pack up your creativity and open mind and get out there and go picking!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I've got it and I've got it bad! Spring Fever! The garden is beckoning so I have to get out there.

I live in zone 7a in Virginia, where it is sometimes 70 degrees, so I have started amending and mulching the flower beds in the front yard.

Knowing your planting zone is important. It tells you what plants to plant. It tells you first and last frost dates.

To get this and more great gardening know-how, contact your local extension office. Get your money's worth...these are your tax dollars at work! You pay for this resource so use it!

This flower bed only got amended with compost and leaves last year-no mulch. There are a few weeds to pull this year because of that, but nothing too terrible.

I am using store bought compost on the flower beds in the front yard.

Leaving about a 6 in. space on the edges keeps the compost from washing away. A few leaves left here and there doesn't hurt. Don't leave too many to get compacted and smother and kill plants.

If the flower bed is really full, I only mulch the edges about a foot in to control weeds. The plants will grow together in the middle and prevent most weeds from being able to grow.

Preen in the mulch prevents germination of seeds. You can plant mature plants and they will grow. Just don't use it if you plan to plant seeds.

Having a mild winter allowed some of the plants to get a head start. If their leaves started showing above ground I did not cover them up with mulch.

This is how the flower bed was when we bought the house. Not much space to plant and the crooked mailbox was the focal point!? Hmmm.

Vinca grew well in the full sun but I didn't want it to be the main focus and I wanted to add more seasonal interest-plants that were perennial and evergreen.

Again, all annuals (flowers that die after one season). And boring.

This euonymous grew from a cutting I took 3 years ago. It is very hardy in my yard. It provides year-round interest because it is evergreen and has red berries as well as small white flowers.

It is an insect haven which provides diversity in my little yard habitat. It will also attract birds for food and shelter when it is full grown.

There are two of these (free!) in the front bed. Both were grown from cuttings I took.

Later in the spring the more colorful perennials will start blooming.
Clematis and Red Hot Poker

The Clematis vine will climb the mailbox and add some vertical interest.


Red Hot Poker

Unusual and stunning, the Red Hot Poker adds eye-catching interest right by the road.
Red Hot Poker

It is a tough native plant that is easily divided. Give it full sun and you can't go wrong.

So, one bed down. Fifteen more to go!

Here is a preview!

Hosta and Astibes surround cat bird bath

Bee Balm

Black Eyed Susan

Day Lillies and Black Eyed Susans

Side yard dry creek and pine chip path

So ya got a peek! Are you as excited as I am and ready to get your hands dirty? I'll see ya out there!

Project Pinterest at The DIY Club

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special