Kitchen Gardens

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This is a photo of my Potager or Kitchen Garden... follow the link for an easy how-to!

This is a photo of my Potager or Kitchen Garden… follow the link for an easy how-to!

Happy day,

Potting Sheds… more inspiration

As promised… more inspiration for all my Dragonfly friends
This is simply a photo essay of pictures I have collected. These shots are not mine unless otherwise stated…
enjoy friends,

Wonderful use of old windows

Wonderful use of old windows

This is a wonderful little shed… the character that she affords with the cathedral style windows brings a sense of excellence yet a flare of the junque style I love. The small garden and other elements are meant only to lead you in… the building remains the focus here. Primitive cottage style is quite charming.

Nice example of cottage style

Nice example of cottage style

This is such a sweet little shed! The windows will give it a greenhouse effect and I am sure you could start some seeds in it. A small heater would work well in it. The white on white look affords a very neat, clean cottage look.

Very busy and ecclectic...

Very busy and ecclectic…

This is not quite my taste… a little to busy, but you can still glean some ideas from it I think… and some may say this is all them! To each their own I always say. I love all the wash tubs… I have several of my own that are planted up through my gardens.

This is the front of my potting shed

This is the front of my potting shed

Over the last couple years my potting shed has begun to ‘sink’ a bit in the front making it more difficult to open the door. Well last spring I couldn’t open it. We had broken up some concrete on our farm the year prior and we had several chunks of it left over from our patio. Neil used a skid loader to bring this beautiful piece over and placed it at the front door… I just love it!

This is the back of my potting shed

This is the back of my potting shed

This is the back of my potting shed. It is lined with antique agricultural tools. This summer I am planning on repainting the shed the aqua blue that I painted the house shutters and a few other ‘detail’ spots last summer. Not sure if I’m going to leave the trim the hunter green to match our steel roof on the house or paint them white to match our house… decisions, decisions. I am also planning on planting a pink climbing rose bush on both the corners here… dreams, dreams…

Cut flower garden in the works

Cut flower garden in the works

Here is the other side of my potting shed. I usually have geraniums or pansies planted in the window box. These raised beds will be our farms cut flower garden. We started it last year and actually got those two beds planted up with sunflowers. This year we will put the last five beds on the plastic… I am planning on zinnias and sunflowers.

Well, I hope this got the gears turning and inspired you to create and get out in the dirt…
Happy Day,
Be sure to check out Dragonflies Facebook, LIKE & SHARE with all your gardening friends!

Raised Bed: How to build and grow in a raised bed


Hello all my Dragonfly friends! Check out my new ‘exclusive’ post at The Detroit News, The Good Life blog! Be sure to leave a comment, LIKE & SHARE! Hope to see you there!

Happy day,

My Potting Shed

All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” ~Helen Hayes

This photo was taken of me with my potting shed shortly after we had it all done... I was so happy- I finally had the perfect spot to put my garden bike!

This photo was taken of me with my potting shed shortly after we had it all done… I was so happy- I finally had the perfect spot to put my garden bike!

If ever a quote expressed my hearts deepest yearning, this would be as close to perfect as I can imagine. The days are promising to grow warmer, so my heart languishes and pines more earnestly for them… Yes, all to soon…. all too soon there will be that earthy smell I love… the trees will begin to bud and then finally burst forth into heavenly blooms and wispy leaves. Spring… come and fill this dead winter world with awe and inspire me.

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I’ve got big plans this year that include repainting my potting shed along with a new bed to wrap around it. A lovely, cheerful aqua blue with white trim will give her an all new look… a more cottage look. Currently the back has several antique garden tools, a shelf and a french door on it (see photo). I am planning on making a bed around one side wrapping around the back. My cut flower raised bed garden is on the other side… so excited to finish that up this year. I’m going to plant two different pink climbing roses at each corner around back. The beds will be planted up primarily with perennials from what I split off my other plants this spring. I’m dreaming of my antique white hydrangea, purple cone flowers, Shasta daisies and pink peonies with several purple bell flowers dancing around them. Of course there will be lavenders, creeping phlox and thyme cascading over the rock border. Dreams… oh waiting for them to come to fruition is such a lesson in patience for me. I will share lots of ‘in progress’ photo’s with all of you, along with all the other projects that are on my list this year! Next post: making your spring garden ‘to-do’ list!

Today’s post is going to be a little bit different… I’m going to tell you the story of how my potting shed came to be.

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The story of my potting shed is quite interesting… at least to me. About six years ago a lady I knew was getting rid of there mini-barn because they were planning on purchasing a larger new one. She went on to explain that they were going to tear it down and burn it. I couldn’t believe it… I thought, “What’s wrong with it?”… so then I asked. Well, they wanted something bigger, there wasn’t really anything wrong with it. “Why?”, she asked, “You want it?” DO I WANT IT! Of course I wanted it! Soooo, as I was driving home elated as a purring cat, I started thinking about how we’d get this 8’x10′ mini-barn home…. hmm, well surely Neil would figure it out, after all, it was free! Dreaming all the way home, I just couldn’t believe it… I was finally going to have a potting shed!

When Neil got home that evening I told him the exciting news and of course, he wasn’t quite as excited and he was thinking more along the lines of a ‘mini-barn’ to store the yard tools, mower and tillers…. and hey, it was free. Neil figured out what we needed to get it home and made arrangements with a friend to help and borrow their skid steer and trailer. Overjoyed is an understatement as to how I felt.

Once the ‘building’ arrived, they put it over on a concrete slab that’s located beside our vegetable garden… perfect ‘temporary’ spot I told him… he didn’t get what I meant, but shrugged it off. I’m sure he was thinking, “Temporary nothing, I’m never moving that beast again.”


Two years later with tow straps and chains wrapped around it, my potting shed was being dragged across and down the driveway to her ‘permanent’ location… so I thought. Neil stopped for a moment to check something and the strap fell off. He told our daughter, then just thirteen, to get in the truck and when he said to go, lightly give it a bit of gas to tighten it up and move forward s-l-o-w-l-y. There wasn’t much further to go, and it ‘should’ have been fine. Well, Taylor being a bit nervous accidentally put the truck into reverse… In the meantime, Neil was standing between the truck and shed… he later told me he thought for some reason it would be smarter to move out from between and then suddenly… Rrrummmmm! SMASH!!!! right into the front corner of the potting shed. She knocked the frame right off its skid! I was inside… not watching, but I heard the smash and went to the window and looked… oh to my dismay! Neil was ready to burn it in the driveway (remember, we live in the country). Of course I wasn’t about to allow that to happen! Being the optimist I am, I said it would be fine, lets finish taking it to the spot and access the damages and what repairs would need to be made. So, Neil calmed down and took care of it….

After some tucks and band-aids, we resided the outside, put a new floor and walls on the inside- all with boards that Neil milled on our sawmill- it was a whole new building… my Potting Shed! Now it was time to paint the inside and out and then decorate it…

And today, I have a beautiful potting shed that adorns my yard. The sad part to this story is I didn’t take any photos of it before we fixed it up! I had recently been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and had been quite sick before they found out what was wrong with me… shortly after I had a baby… so no photos. This is a perfect example of why I always encourage my readers to take photos and document your projects. I am so disappointed that I don’t have before and after photos.

In my next post I will show photos of other potting sheds to give you more inspiration!
Please be sure to visit Dragonflies Facebook page for additional daily photos, links and insprirations that can only be seen there…

Also, check out my weekly post at The Detroit News, The Good Life blog… I post the links on my Facebook page… here is a link to view… these are exclusive post! Be sure to LIKE it!

Happy Day,

Inspiring Photos of Trellis’, Arbors and Pergolas

I mentioned in the last entry that I would post some extra photos of other pergolas, arbors and trellis’…. so as promised here is more inspiration for all my Dragonfly friends. Please share with all your gardening friends! And if you haven’t been over to Dragonflies Facebook, please take a moment to go visit, LIKE and SHARE with your friends for additional daily inspirations, poems, quotes and lots more photos…

This photo is a page we ripped out of a magazine! For several years I have been trying to imagine what I can do with the front part of our farmhouse. It is two stories of white brick with several windows, but the white brick is what ‘hurts’ me… not that I don’t like the white brick… I just don’t do ‘bare’ space well. Even when I scrapbook, I gotta get beyond the bare spots! So anyway, Taylor found this and it was exactly what I’d been dreaming of unknowingly… inspiration, that’s what this is all about!


I love this look (above phote)… it is a beautiful example of cottage style in your garden as well as living art on a wall as I mentioned in my previous post.


The above photo is a nice example of a freestanding trellis. These are extremely easy to make and are beautiful with sweet pea or morning glories climbing over them.


In my last post I talked about creating an ‘invisible’ effect using green baler twine… the photo above is something along those lines, but with white. Very cute in a garden!


This is a good example of something that would fit into a more formal garden… note the boxwood hedges. Quite lovely!


This wooden arbor is simple yet elegant (Above photo). This next arbor is quite neat!


I have never in all my life seen anything as amazing as this pergola… I think we’ll stop here because I’m starting to covet… LOL!


***These last 3 photos were taken off Gardening Tips And Tricks Facebook page… great site… check em’ out at

Hope you enjoyed this photo show as much as I enjoyed putting it together… lots of inspiration for all of us… keep posted for my next post on Potting Sheds!

Happy Day,

Creating Garden Rooms with Pergolas, Arbors and Trellis’


There is something evocative about walking through a rose covered arbor or dreamily strolling through the length of a blossom covered pergola… the air fresh with the scents of sweet mingling with musk… the gentle chirps of tiny birds safely nestled within the confines of the leaf covered shelter. My arbors and pergola are grand statements, and when friends and strangers alike come into my yard, they are what say, “Welcome to my garden’s, won’t you stay an visit awhile…”

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There are a multitude of structures to choose from in every shape and size to fit in with any garden style you choose. What is the difference between the three and how do you incorporate them correctly to create the illusion of having many seperate garden rooms? All three have one thing in common: they are structures incorporated into gardens to provide a growing place for vining plants. Here are some tips and idea’s to get you started.

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This photo is of the lattice trellis that my Chinese Wister covers early in spring… see next photo as it is covered!

*Trellis’ are typically attached to a wall on a building. The goal in using a trellis is to create a semblance of living art on a wall, giving a feeling of comfortable enclosure. Varieties range between elegant wrought iron works to charming wooden arches to rustic old ladders situated in whatever shape you desire. I recently noticed a trellis on a neighboring home that was constructed of three old wooded rung type ladders. They were attached to the side of the house like this- TT – with a climbing rose growing up it. I fell in love as soon as I saw it and am now looking for either one very long or 3 shorter ladders that I can create this on the back of our garage in the Pottage over the tea bed. We just painted it an aqua blue last summer and I can already imagine a pink, old fashioned climbing rose scaling up it… always dreaming!

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I have several trellis’ in my gardens. Along the side of the front porch we have two 4×8 sections of lattice attached to one pillar and the side of the house that my Chinese Wistera grows on. I currently have an old split rail type fence on the back of the garage (what I am going to replace with the rung ladders) that again have lattice attached to give the plants something to grow on. Along my pergola are trellis’ that the roses and clematis grow up and over the top.
Trellis’ can be created by using anything… here are a few ideas to get you dreaming…
~As mentioned above, old ladders hung in any shape or form you desire.
~An antique metal head or foot board… imagine that in a lovely English Cottage garden.
~Purchased lattice from a lumber store are an easy, inexpensive and attractive trellis.
~Pre-formed trellis’ can be purchased in many lovely designs.
~Create an intricate design using old metal or wooden wagon wheels.
~If you want an invisible trellis, use green baler twine. This can be purchased at most lawn and garden stores. Any type of string will work, but remember you’ll have to replace each year. Don’t use natural fibers like jute because they will break down before the season is over.
~Picket or privacy fences also work as a trellis, whether affixed to a building or an arbor.
Like I always say, the only limitation is your own imagination!


*Arbors can range from two or four post structures and are typically constructed of wood or metal. You want an arbor to create a feeling of entering into someplace very special and magical. They work wonderfully in connecting two seperate garden rooms, similar to a door in a house. Gates added to your arbor provide mystery for the guest as they travel through.

Both of my arbors are four wooden posts with lattice attached on the sides and across the top. There is a wide range of variety for you to choose from here as well. Once again, your garden style will determine what kind of structure you will choose.

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*Pergolas are best described as several attached lengths of arbors. Imagine your pergola as a hallway through your home, possibly with door’s, or in this case, arbors leading in different directions to different rooms. Enshrouded by vines and blossoms, it will give your guests a feeling of warmth and comfort.

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There are a few other things to consider when designing your pergola: The length, determine if it will be straight or curving, the structure material, your ‘floor’, if you’ll have step stones on the floor and what you will use on the sides and across the top for your plants to grow up and over. My pergola is about 40′ long and about six feet wide with 4×4 wooden posts set every eight feet. We put 2×4’s across the top and bottom and then used pre-made wooden trellis’ that I purchased at a lumber yard for the sides. These are attached to the 2×4’s every four feet. I have a hodge podge of wooden ladders across the top.

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The side facing the south is one length but the side to the north has an eight foot opening (above photo), or arbor, that allows you to go off to the right toward the green houses. If you keep going straight you enter into the back yard leading you to the patio. My pergola runs between the Potager and the rose garden. I primarily have Sweet Autumn clematis’, a few early blooming clematis’ and several varieties of climbing roses growing on it. I planted a Chinese wisteria on one of the posts in the back yard (photo below). I will have one more post set to the right of it in the corner of the small herb bed that will then be a privacy wall for the back yard.

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The key to adding these hard scape elements successfully into your gardens where they become free forms is to plant species that will create walls and barriers eluding to garden rooms.

Be sure to watch tomorrow for several photos of more trellis’, arbors and pergolas belonging to others!

Life is good, then you enter a garden,
Happy Day,
Please take a trip over to my blog to see all the beautiful photos that go along with this post…enjoy friends.

My Front Porch Garden and Yummy Tuscan Soup

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When you drive into my lane my garden’s begin to envelope you….although it wasn’t so when we moved here. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there weren’t any gardens when we purchased our old farmhouse. We gardeners often have lofty aspirations… we dreamily peruse our favorite gardening magazines, take notes on things we want to incorporate and longingly wait till we can create that new bed, stumble upon a new rose bush and make the season’s first bouquet of sweetly scented jonquils. Spring is only a few days away and although there is snow covering the ground on my farm, I know my tulips and daffodils will soon be peaking up and sending me warm greetings of love….

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My front porch garden started out like most projects… lay some stones, fill with dirt and plant some flowers- presto, new bed. Well, to say the least she was the beginning of my ‘lofty aspirations’… she has been the inspiration for the mulitude of gardens now surrounding our home. Here is the story, and a story it is on the conception of my front porch garden… and beyond.

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This garden has been a challenge with several ‘make-overs’ for her to boast. It was the first bed I attempted to create… it started as a simple four foot deep, straight lined bed off the porch, wrapping around the side of the house and leading to the back door. If you remember in my previous post on the bistro garden, this bed went right up and around to the back door where the bird cage is.

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I laid rocks around as a border and then filled in with soil, planted several perennials and lots of annuals the first year. That year we also laid a cobble stone walk around this bed and around the side of the house as well. The banister garden came along shortly after. We’ve made gobs of changes since then… as you’ll see.

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The next year we discovered a sidewalk completely grown over with sod. It was only by accident that Neil ever thought to check what that ‘stone’ was (and was probably wishing he’d left well enough alone)… lo and behold he kept finding more and more ‘stones’. He spent an entire Memorial day unearthing, by hand with a shovel I might add, over thirty 2×2 concrete step stones! What a find- at least I thought so ;-). So began another project- we needed to choose the new walks location.

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This is when we decided to build the front arbor… so after some figuring was done on its location, we had a plan for the walk. It would be laid on a slight and natural angle widening off to about six feet from the original bed. Now there was going to be this triangle shaped section of sod between the walk and the flower bed… 'extend the bed' I said! So we did.

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Now for more work. We removed all the rocks,the cobble stones in the front, dug all the plants that we could, raked out the soil, and then dug the sod by hand. We then laid black plastic where the bed and the walk would be, replaced the edging rocks and brought dirt in building it up about a foot deep. We put sand down where the step stones would be laid so we could get them fairly level, not perfect by any means, but very cute none-the-less. We took the cobble stones from the front and placed them beside the other in between the banister garden and first cobble walk, thereby doubling it in width. Extending that four foot deep bed out to reach the new walk led into the creation of the breakfast patio and front arbor with picket fences. As you can see from the photo’s, the porch itself has had several face lifts and continues to change each year!

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Well, after all that I thought this bed was set… I planted several perennials that fall and had some big dreams of how things would look next year… the next year we had a drain issue! Neil and a friend had to bust a hole in our porch, replace a main drain pipe and dig right through the garden (killing a newly established clematis and my lupines), through the sidewalk and across the lawn (killing two of my precious Miss. Kim lilacs in a new hedge planted by the road!)

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I was devastated, but I had to keep a positive perspective… a new climbing rose would replace the clematis and I would try lupines again. This bed is yet to my perfectionist ‘cottage garden’ standards- yes I realize that is a complete oxymoron, but you know what I mean if you’re a gardener.

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Dreaming of new gardens and spring on the horizon keeps me pining away until at last I’ll be sitting on my porch waiting for a friend to come up the lane.

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Can’t say good bye without sending you off with something yummy to make… enjoy friends!
Here’s a yummy soup for the last of these cold, winter days…
Tuscan Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 medium potatoes
1 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups chopped kale

Brown Sausage; cool.
Combine the broth and cream in a sauce pan; slice the unpeeled potato into 1/4 inch slices; add the browned sausage; add the kale.
Add the spices and let soup simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Happy Day,

The Breakfast Patio, Photographing Your Garden and Rosemary-Cornmeal Foot Exfoliate

The scent can only be described as Heavenly… as you pass by when it’s in full bloom the scene is simply breath taking. A gentle breeze carries it’s perfume wafting pass your face, you close your eyes… your olfactory senses take over…such a pleasant and peaceful experience. Her name is Sweet Autumn Clematis and she is one of my favorite vines. I have a weakness not only for climbing roses but also for this beauty. I’ve planted several though the garden’s and each year I fall in love a little bit more. My oldest vine climbs on the front arbor beside my breakfast patio. She has two David Austin ‘Fairy’ shrub roses planted at her base. Their delicate frames hold the tiny blossoms that grow in clusters covering the greenery in an airy coat of pastel pink. I love to sit at the table taking in the sensory overload that surrounds me while having my quiet time early in the morning… listening to the birds flutter about in the depths of her vines until they relax and realize it’s only me… keeper of the gardens.


The Breakfast Patio has lent me many hours of relaxation and was one of the easier projects that we’ve tackled. We laid the black ground cover and then had five yards of pea gravel brought in for our floor. It is nicely sheltered from wind and passing cars by the front arbor, a picket fence, the house and the Banister Garden. The area affords much relaxation and is a pleasant place to visit with family and friends or to be all alone.

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This shot was taken in 2010. We spent many evenings under a starlit sky roasting marshmellows and telling stories around this firepit.

Photographing your gardens….
I’ve been asked if the photos in my blogs were my own and I can happily say that the majority of them are. I’ve photographed everything from barns and mailboxes to horses, sheep and my favorite subject… yes you guessed it, flora! When I started photographing flowers my eye was always captivated by the intricacies of the petals, the lines and indentations of the foliage… I love my macro lens for intensely close shots. My favorite photo is of a Gerbera Daisy I took several years ago… you can see the pollen on the stamens and every crinkle in the petals… it simply whispers perfection. I’ve tried to encourage all of my readers to take before and after shots of the garden spaces that they are creating. You will be very thankful later when you go back and see the progress that you’ve made. It is also great fun to share with other garden loving friends over a cup of tea… think garden journal!

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Today I thought I would give a few tips on capturing that perfect shot.
*Walk the area you want to capture and look around for the perfect angle. I’ve already knelt or laid down to get it.
*Experiment with different angels, I’ve got some great shots from a second story window looking into the branches of a tree as well as down a tree trunk. Likewise stand directly under a tree almost touching the trunk and shoot upward.
*If taking a shot to get a distance shot, stand on the one side of the road and shoot with the angle aiming on the other side of the road; or stand dead center and watch the road turn into a point… great effect!
*Be sure to look behind the subject you want to capture- make sure there are no distractions in the background or on either side.


*Don’t center the subject- divide your screen into 3 imaginary column’s |_|_|_| . Put your subject in the right or left column. Try it both ways to see what will be added within the scope of the landscape. If you are doing a close up, look to see which looks more balanced. See my Gerbera Daisy photo for an example of this. The nice thing with this is you can use the mirror option in a graphic’s program to change it is you may need to.
*Take multiple photo’s to be sure you have options.
Like I always say… have fun and be creative, that’s how you’ll get the best results!

feet on grass

After a long day on your feet what could feel better than a foot rub… here is a great and super easy home made foot scrub recipe! Enjoy friends!
Rosemary-Cornmeal Foot Exfoliate

1/4 cup rosemary infusion (tea)
2 Tbsp. ground organic rolled oats
1/3 cup organic cornmeal
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 nonmetal bowl

1. Brew a strong tea by pouring 1/4 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of fresh rosemary; cover and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
2. Using a food processor or blender, grind the oats until very fine and powdery.
3. combine cornmeal, powdered oats and the oil in a nonmetal bowl; add rosemary tea, 1 tbsp. at a time, until a smooth paste forms.

Massage each foot with the paste, scrubbing rough areas. Rinse using the remainder of the rosemary tea in the rinse water, if you like) and pat dry.
Finish by applying a moisturizing cream mixed with a few drops of rosemary essential oil.

Happy Day,

Here are more photo’s of the front arbor and the breakfast patio… enjoy friends!

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These shots were taken in 2011.

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This photo was taken 2009 shortly after the clematis was planted.

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