So happy to announce my guest post at Flea Market Gardening once again.
You can follow this link right too my article.
So happy to announce my guest post at Flea Market Gardening once again.
You can follow this link right too my article.
Check out my new post at The Detroit News, The Good Life blog… follow this link and please like it!
As you stroll through my garden’s you’ll notice many unusual things sprinkled here and there… peaking out of a cluster of tulips or bowing over a rash planting of zinnias… Friends say that I have a flair for mixing my passion for plants and garden junque, marrying them together into welcoming and intriguing garden rooms. As I place these abandoned and unappreciated objects throughout my gardens it allows me to express my passions using my innate creativity.
Recycling things that no one else wants is something I enjoy doing… I can see the ‘practical’ and artistic use of an old fashioned metal canner… a rusty old wagon wheel… wooden crates or drawers… a wash tub or even more exciting, a derelict water trough… tin buckets, old wheel barrows… garden bikes, chairs… oh the list could go on and on! In my last post I talked about that discovered element… stumbling upon some tiny treasure you’ve been unknowingly looking for. My eye has become quite keen to spotting usable junque at estate sales, thrift shops and even along the curbside. My minds eye is in tune with what I love in my gardens. I’ve been to sales and there and behold an old wooden crate and tin bucket cast off in a corner… yes that will sit beautifully on my porch topped by that tin bucket over flowing with double petunia’s in it!
As my friends and I walk and talk meandering here and there I watch their faces… I delight in seeing the shocked look at how cute 'they think' my antique metal canner's look planted up with purple pansies… how whimsical that old banister appears in the garden surrounded by a cascade of nasturtiums… and the 'wow' when they see hot pink geraniums in a white enamelware bucket that now sits on a rickety old chair… I love inspiring people, especially in the home and garden.
I name all of my gardens. When we bought our home the upstairs railing was kicked in and totally destroyed by the previous owners… but a beautiful, old white banister still stood. As the men were removing what was left of it and getting ready to toss everything in a ‘junk’ pile, I was quick to say, “Hold on to that! That’s not junk… that is going in a garden!”… and so was born my Banister Garden.
Legend for The Banister Garden
Here is my rendition of my Banister Garden. This garden is just under 200 square feet.
1. Knock Out Rose Bushes- 2 pink
2. Daylily- 2 orange
3. Creeping Phlox- 3 lavender
4. Burning Bush shrub
5. Lavender- Hidcotte
6. Peony- 2 pink
7. Bee’s Balm planted behind Antique Two Burner Antique Canner filled with geraniums. The Banister stands behind the Bee’s Balm
8. Hydrangea- old fashioned white- just planted last summer
9. Iris- purple
10. Purple Bell Flower
11. Varrigated Sedum
12. Purple Ruffles Basil
13. Spirea- pink
~I have a garden chair that sets in the garden and I usually have a tin bucket planted up on it.
This garden like the Side and Bistro was dug up and replanted as well. I didn’t do all of these gardens in one year, it has been a process going on since 2009. This garden has had many faces as you will see in the photo’s at the end of this post under the recipes.
I’m a bargain shopper when it comes to plants as well as for garden junque. If I can’t grow it myself, swap or get from a family member or friend then I wait for stuff to go on clearance. In 2011 I ‘stumbled’ upon a great deal at a big box store on a couple Knock Out rose bushes. They were discounted 75%… now I never would have paid the full price for these even with all the hype about them… I can’t say that anymore! They are worth every penny… honestly, they don’t stop blooming except for about two weeks in mid summer. I would like to get several more and make a hedge with them in another garden… I always have a garden plan in mind!
Here are some idea’s for things to combine in your gardens!
*Tin or Enamelware buckets with either geraniums or double petunias.
*Wash tubs- I purchase nice big hanging baskets and plant them right into them… instant wow! I have also planted them with cascading nasturtiums. (see photo).
*Wooden crates and drawers- I like to incorporate right into my gardens. I will take the bottoms out bury part way, fill with dirt and then plant herbs or again hanging baskets. I also like to use crates on my front porch as both planters and as objects to place other pots on.
*Tea Kettles, coffee pots, old oil cans, any other type of metal container plant worthy. I have planted succulents like Hen’s & Chicks in these, pansies and petunias.
*Mailboxes- I have not done this, (yet) but I have seen some really cool ones done up. You need to use a ‘top’ door type- one where the top opens and the mail drops in (see photo at my blog 😉 )
…here are a few other ideas of some things I have seen, but haven’t done and don’t really fit into my garden scheme, but may be of interest to others…
*Old fashioned claw foot bath tubs- I would plant something tall down the entire center- zinnia’s, cosmos, cleome or all and then have something that trails out all around the edges- Wave Petunias, trailing nasturtiums.
*Row boat or other nautical piece- I would bury it and then do as with the bath tub- height and cascade
*Antique Metal Bed frame- Plant the bed’s legs or just set the frame down on the ground and then using appropriate flowers, plant a design of a quilt block- obviously not too detailed- maybe a Bow Tie, Diamond, Nine Patch or something along those lines.
… there are many other ‘found’ objects that you can use… be creative, you know what you like!
~The key to using any type of container is proper drainage!
We are still in the grips of winter and here is Michigan we just got another six inches of the white stuff… so today I thinking comfort food! Enjoy friends!
Butternut Squash and Bacon Quiche
All purpose flour for rolling
1 recipe Flaky Pie dough (below)
8 slices bacon (Off course Garden Gates!)
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Salt & pepper
3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, halved and very thinly sliced
8 large eggs
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c heavy cream
6 fresh sage leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350 digress. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to an 11×15 inch rectangle. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking pan. Fold edges of dough so sides are about 1 inch high. Prick dough all over with a fork and freeze until firm, 15 minutes. Press on dough, draping over rim of pan. Bake until crust is firm and edges are lightly browned, about 35– 45 minutes or until bottom is dry and light golden.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until almost crisp, 10 minutes, flipping once. Drain bacon on paper towels. Add onion to skillet, season with salt & pepper, and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 10 minutes. Spread mixture evenly in crust. Top with squash, overlapping slices and adding a piece of bacon every few rows.
3. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cream; season with salt 7 pepper. Pour enough egg mixture over filling to just reach top of crust. Top with sage. Bake until set in center and puffed at edges, 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.
FLAKY PIE DOUGH:
In a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 c all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp slat to combine. Add 1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tbsp more water, 1 tbsp at a time). Form dough in a 1 inch thick rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerated until firm, 1 hour or up to 3 days).
“So… what are you going to do with a rickety old wooden chair with chipped paint Jean?” my husband asks me…”It’s serendipity Neil….”
Please check out, Like and Share my Facebook page for my Dragonfly friends for daily extra recipes, photo’s and more at
This photo was taken in Spring of 2009. This was the first ‘face’ she had… the tulips were beautiful and the creeping phlox looked stunning. Notice the lattice on the side of the front porch… The wisteria that now covers that side of the porch was just a baby in this photo.
Here is a photo of the same garden, same spot but taken in 2012. You can see it is deeper and quite a bit different. The burning bush in the far left corner is larger and now there is the spirea bush in the front right corner.
This photo was taken in Summer 2011. You can see the black ground cover still laying around the edges from the ‘re-do’ that this garden received early in the spring.
|The Birstro Garden, Summer 2010|
I had a vision when we moved to this abandoned old farmhouse. I dreamed of flower beds abounding, greeting my family and friends as they drove up our lane. I imagined a cozy front porch surrounded by lush colors overflowing like wide open arms ready to whisk you into their beauty… I wanted a place where peace was felt in simple things that was a reflection of me.
I’m often inspired while paging through home decor and gardening magazine’s and suddenly stumbling upon that perfect element… looking with a wistful eye for anything that will shout out, ‘Here I am! I’m what you’ve been looking for!’ …yet with an unspoken realization that when I find it, I fall in love and I’ve got to have it… but as I read on I discover the lucky owners found it at a flea market or antique shoppe- no resource shopper there! Yes, I think we’ve all been down that path a few times too many… at least I know I have. Which brings me to the story of my Bistro Garden and how it acquired it’s name. You see I’d been dreaming of a little bistro table and chairs to set in one of my gardens and patiently looking for a couple years… yes years. I can be patient with some things… I’m not saying a lot, but ‘garden junque’ is one of those things. In this case I knew what I wanted and I was willing to wait until I came across just the right thing. Then one day while out boutique shopping, A.K.A garage saleing I found it- a petite black wrought iron table with two matching chairs! “Perfect! Just perfect!” I thought… and the price was right- twelve bucks! Oh yeah, that baby was coming home with me and I knew right where she would be going… The Bistro Garden! The set sits on a small patio that I laid using old silo staves that were discarded behind the barn foundation at our first farm. I’d taken several of them when we moved thinking I would eventually use them as stepping stones in a future garden… gotta have a vision! Anyway, I laid the staves and then used concrete as a ‘grout’ between them. I loved it… it said, “This looks like Jean!”
|The sidewalk that leads to our backdoor which divides The Side Garden
and The Bistro Garden.
The Bistro is actually the ending point of the garden off the front porch that wraps around the side of the house along a cobble stone walk we created. It is west of The Side Garden with a sidewalk dividing the two. This bed has an eight foot narrow strip that extends upward beside the house to the wall where the back door is (See photo with birdcage and Bleeding Heart). The Bistro Garden had to undergo an overhaul like The Side Garden. We dug up and replanted this bed along with a couple others and laid the black plastic ground cover. Same story… quack grass! The labor was worth it though, this bed is stunning when the lilies are blooming. As you can see in the picture of Taylor standing next to them while in bloom- she is 5’3″ tall and the blooms are over her head! Fall of 2010 I planted the Spirea and last year I planted the Hydrangea, so they are not too their full potential yet. The Spirea will give me the height I need up against the wall with it’s solid mass of green and beautiful pink summer blooms. Once the Hydrangea meets up with the Spirea my back drop will be quite spectacular. Gardening requires a vision that will take several years to create and a lifetime to enjoy!
Here is my rendition of The Bistro Garden as it appears today.
Legend For “The Side Garden”
This bed is just over 150 square feet including the narrow strip.
Check out, Like and Share my Facebook page for Dragonflies for extra Tea Blend
Recipes at http://www.facebook.com/pages/For-Dragonflies-And-Me/550000798362651
1. Day Lilies- 10 bushes. Mix of yellow and orange which bloom at different times.
2. Iris – 1 large clump – approx a 30″ diameter
3. Hydrangea- white old fashioned
4. Spirea- 1 bush- pink
5. Peony 2 pink bushes
6. Delphinium- mini blue
7. Hosta- 2 variegated, 1 Blue and 1 green
9. Bleeding Heart
10. Large Pot- I typically purchase a large petunia basket and plant in this pot- instant WOW!
11. Birdcage- Again a garage sale find – only five bucks!…matched perfect with the bistro table set. I typically do one of two things in the birdcage: a) plant morning glories or sweet pea around the bottom and let it climb or b) put potted sweet potato vine inside and let cascade down.
10. There are typically White Allysum cascading over the rocks along the edge.
~There are tulips planted in between the lilies. While the lilies are growing the tulips are blooming; by the time the tulips have faded the lilies hide them. There are also Crocus and Grape Hyacinths mingled here and there.
~To the left of the Iris’s is a five year old red Climbing Rose (stay tuned, that’s for next blog post!).
Join me next time for The Banister Garden… see you there!
|You can see to the right the elevated Mint Tea bed. It measures about
15’W x 12D. I would say I harvest about 8 -10 bushel of tea off this bed.
***see below recipes for several shots of The Birstro Garden during different stages over the last few years.***
There are more Mint Varieties than you can shake a stick at. My personal favorites are not listed in the Richter’s catalog, but they are Lemon Balm and Balsam. As I mentioned a few post’s ago, Richters has one of the best mint varieties I have ever found.
Here are all the mints listed in their catalog. www.Richters.com
Spearmint Group: English, Moroccan, Spearmint, Improved Spearmint, Scotch, Vietnamese
Peppermint Group: Chocolate, Peppermint, Variegated, Swiss
Other Mints: Applemint, Banana, Corsican, Ginger, Grapefruit, Mojito, Orange, Pineapple, Menthol, Pennyroyal
The Westerfield Mints: Hilary’s Sweet Lemon, Berries & Cream, Candied Fruit, Candy Lime, Pink Candypops, Citrus Kitchen, Cotton Candy, Jim’s Fruit, Fruit Sensations, Fruitasia, Italian Spice, Julia’s Sweet Citrus, Margarita, Marilyn’s Salad, Marshmallow, Oregano, Thyme Mint, Sweet Pear, Wintergreen, Korean Mint, Mountain Mint
Garden Tea Concentrate
Use any flavor Mint Tea Leaves
1 1/2 c sugar
5 c water
2 c packed tea leaves, stemmed and washed
1-2 tbsp lemon juice- optional
Boil water and sugar together for 5 minutes. Add washed & stemmed leaves-turn heat off.
Put lid on and let steep—leave the leaves in the syrup for 5 hours.
Remove leaves and wring them out. Add lemon juice if desired
TO MAKE TEA–
COLD: Add 1 cup tea concentrate to 3 cups water. Chill and serve. Very refreshing on a hot summer day.
HOT: Add hot water and a bit of honey
Go to my Blog Spot at www.fordragonfliesandme.blogspot.com to get a Raspberry Lemon Tea Recipe- my favorite!
Prepare rice according to package directions.
Add peas and cook 2 more minutes.
Meanwhile, mix broth, lime juice & olive oil together. Add mint, salt & pepper to taste.
Add dressing to rice and peas.
Watermelon, Feta & Mint Salad
4 c 1-2 inch chunks melon
1/4 c (4oz) crumbles feta cheese,
1/4 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn & washed
2 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
120 macadamia nuts, chipped (optional)
in a large bowl combine watermelon, feta cheese, mint & olive oil. Season with pepper & sprinkle with nuts. Cover & chill for up to 4 hours.
Minty Hot Fudge
1 c water
1 c sugar
1/2 c thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
1. In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together water and sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolves; bring syrup to boil. Remove from heart. Stir in mint leaves.
Let stand 1 hour.
using a slotted spoon, remove mint leaves from syrup. Whisk cocoa into syrup. Bring to a boil. Add butter and whisk until smooth,’
Refrigerate sauce, uncovered, until cold.
Serve over mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Cover and refrigerated to store.
|This is a photo of one of my garden journal pages. It shows a section of my
front porch and gives details on several things purchased!
“If ever I loved thee, my garden ’tis now…” Yes, I am longing for the beauty and relaxation of my gardens in these cold Michigan winter months. The garden is my place of rest… it’s where I go when I feel weary, when I need to wind down, when I long to escape the stresses of life… It is my Eden here on earth. Many people have strolled through my gardens in awe wondering when and how I manage to care for them all with my busy farm and market life. I always say, “This is not work! This is where I come to get away from the work!” But alas, that is not true for all. If you are a die hard gardener or someone looking to create your own little Eden, it doesn’t have to be difficult and it surely won’t happen all in one season. My gardens have been born over a period of seven years and they will continue to grow, change and flourish in my tender loving care for many more. Now is the time to start planning and designing your new dream gardens. You may feel like how do I begin? What plants should I choose? Where am I going to put this bed? The next couple months will give you ample time to decide on what, where, how and when and whether to order plants or wait for the nurseries. These are all important questions that need to be addressed before the big day of breaking ground. That day is right around the corner…don’t let your dreams sit stagnant and lifeless, start planning now.
|Here is The Side Garden in early spring. You can see there are several Archi-
tectural elaments- picket fence, antique feed cart, step stones. Notice the thick
mulch cover early in the season. I will not have to worry about the weeds get-
ting a hold on me. 2012
In the next few posts here I am planning on giving my own ‘renditions’ of my garden’s. I will show all the photo’s of them at my blog spot. Hope you are inspired, enjoy friends!
There are several factors to take into consideration when you start the process of designing your garden plots.
1. Decide on Location: This is the first step. It will determine what type of plants you will purchase, whether irrigation will be necessary and if so, what type. Will it be up against a building? In the middle of the yard? An extension of an existing garden?
2. Type of Garden: Do you want a perennial bed/border with a few annuals as fillers? Is this a small bed that you would like to plant up with annuals each year to have it different and versatile? Is it to be a split of both annuals and perennials?
Will it be a formal garden, herb garden, rose garden or kitchen garden? These are all important factors that need to be made early on.
3. Plant Selection: Once location and type are determined you can start choosing the plants. Take into consideration if this is a shady, part shade/ part sun or direct sun all day location. This will play a huge factor on plants. Decide whether you will order some and/or purchase at nurseries. What about getting started with plants from family and friends when they split their plants this spring?
For an extensive list of perennials follow this link: http://www.gardenguides.com/perennial-plants-flowers/
4. Architectural Elements: This is very important, but type of garden will determine what those elements will be. My gardens are Cottage Style, so I get to use all kinds of what I feel are cool Garden Junque items! Stone statuary, bird baths, arbors/trellis’, iron work, picket fences, wheel barrow, crates/drawers, buckets and boots… and the list can go on! Determining what you like can help in choosing the type of garden. Will you have walk ways? If so, what will be the stepping stones?
5. Irrigation: will you use sprinklers/hoses, underground sprinkler systems, above ground drip lines, soaker hoses?
6. Mulching: is so important! Mulch will help maintain moisture and hold back weeds. Again what you choose should fit with your garden style. Mulch- what color, lava rock, white marble stones, bark, etc.
Documentation is a key element in helping you along the garden design path. I highly recommend that you Keep a Garden Journal for specific notes on what was planted where, where the plant was purchased, and any other important details.
1. Draw your Garden Plan layouts (see mine attached). This will give you something to work off. It may change from the original design, but having a place to start is so helpful.
2. Keep all tags and receipts from plants that have a warranty in your journal. This is especially important for large, expensive items such as trees, shrub’s/bushes and fruit bearing plants. It is very frustrating when you loose a year of growth when a plant doesn’t make it through the winter. But if you have that receipt, at least you won’t have to ‘buy’ another one!
|This was one of my first plot plans. At our first farm I had decided to tear up the entire front yard and design a 9 part garden with a pond in the center. I then drew up each of the nine sub gardens as well with details. This helped in all my planning.|
3.Photograph your gardens. I suggest doing this in the early and late parts of each season (spring-fall). Each year you will have a wonderful and accurate account of how things grew. If you really liked a particular planting or arrangement you created with annuals, be sure to include the tags with a photo of the bed, along with where you purchased the plants. It is very difficult to remember the varieties and where you got them. Not all nurseries/catalog’s carry the same items.
4. Keep Ideas: I often see planting designs and architectural items in other gardens that I would like to replicate in my own. I take photo’s to put in my journal otherwise I would never remember everything. I also photocopy ideas out of gardening mag.’s and store them there as well- I don’t like to rip pages out!
|My garden journals have been such a help to me over
the years. They are not just helpful, but a lot of fun to
go back and look through.
When we purchased our farm seven years ago, it was an empty, foreclosed mess with not a flower bed to be found. Just one bare patch of dirt stared me in the face every time we walked into the back door. This was the first bed I planted and I foolishly did so without a long term goal. I wanted color and I wanted it now. After the first year and the war against me from the quack grass, I was forced to dig up all the plants and do it again. This time I did it right! We laid black ground cover over the dirt, set rocks around the perimeter and then filled in with rich soil. I was able to replant most of what I had there while adding several new plants.
Here is my rendition of The Side Garden as it appears now. No longer a bare patch of dirt, but a work of art. Legend For “The Side Garden” please see attached drawing. This bed is just under 200 square feet.
The Side Garden is lined on both sides and the front with boiling ball size rocks. The back side is sloped down with pieces of slate about the size of a sheet of paper.
1. Peony- 3 plants, 2 Varieties- 1 early bloom and 1 mid bloom
2. Hollyhocks- Because these reseed prolifically I only allow about 7 plants. They are single flower pale pink and pale yellow.
3. Iris- Root beer
4. Hosta- 1 ‘Blue’
5. Aster- 3 in back center and 1 behind the antique metal feed cart – all purple
6. Lavender- Hidcotte, 2 plants on each corner
7. Creeping Phlox- 2 plants, both pink
8. Hardy Geranium- 3 plants, all pink
9. Lily- Tiger 1 plant
10. Sweet William- 3 to 5 plants, multi colors
11. Sea Lavender 1 plant
12. Calendula- multiple plants that flow over the side of the rocks along with Sweet Allysum
13. Double Pink Petunia’s are planted each year in this Antique Feed Cart that I pulled out of a junque pile behind a barn several years ago. It has moved three times with me.
14. Jack Mani Clematis growing up an Antique Iron Gate purchased at an Antique shoppe!
15. Several Terra Cotta clay tiles and a Chimney flu are planted each year with different annuals.
16. An old wooden chair has a tin bucket with geraniums planted in it.
Here are several shots of the side garden during different parts of the season.
Early spring in The Side Garden here. In the above photo you can see the tops of the Peony plant and spring tulips. The photo to the left has a good shot of the Sweet Williams, Hosta, Sedum, Lily, Iris’s and the Terra Cotta clay tiles. 2012 and 2011
Once the Peonies start to bloom this garden gets quickly filled up. The Hardy Geranium makes a wonderful ground cover across the front. 2012
Side and corner views show the growth of the gardens.
These two shots were from 2011. Photo to the right shows Lavender starting to bloom and Sweet William in bloom.
Above below left photo shows the bed nicely. Along the front corner under the Lavender you can see Alysum growing. I planted it the first year and have never had to again. It is a prolific reseeder. I have it through all my walkways and cascading over just about all the gardens.
Here we go in the fall! This is one of the Asters that is planted behind the Antique Feed Cart. Last year I planted Zinnias in it… but never again! I love Zinnias, but they have near the impact that I usually have with the double Petunias. The orange in the background are both Calendula (up front) and Nasturtiums in the back.
Here’s a sneak peak of the next garden I will show you all… The Bistro Garden!
Innovative Concepts, Creative Design, Flawless Execution. That's what we do...
Where wholesome goodness and pure food come to you
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:8
a unique shopping experience
I garden. I cook. I eat. I blog.
For the Gourmand, Tippler and Traveler
Create Your Magnificent Life
A journey towards excellence for Christ