Cottage Garden How-to: Best plants & a few other tips!

“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” –Helen Keller

My favorite style of gardening is by far the beautiful and free flowing cottage type! Although I do prefer some semblance of organization, I embrace the free flow of the cottage garden… as long as she stays in the lines LOL!

Cottage gardens are calm, relaxing, and functional for any gardener… in my opinion!

Be sure to keep posted for next weeks garden how-to: Shakespeare Garden Design!

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.”

Cottage Flowers

Certain flowers provide balance & fit the scheme of things best.
I love cottage garden flowers with their happy, free spirit. It’s as if they call out to their garden mother or father and lavish love to them through their beautiful blossoms.

Pro Tip: Some cottage type flowers include: Hollyhocks, Delphiniums, Foxglove, Bleeding Heart, Climbing Roses, Peony, Phlox, Lavender, Bee’s Balm, Zinnias, Lilacs, and of course one of my personal favorite, Lupines. 

I used to have a children’s story book called, The Lupine Lady by Barbara Cooney I used to love to read it to my children. It was just a happy book that I would recommend to anyone! 

Just like specific flowers fit best in a cottage garden, so do certain garden elements. For instance a white picket fence is a must have!


Here are few other unique garden junque items I love to use!

  • Stepping stones or slate slabs make a beautiful meandering path in any garden. 
  • Old wooden posts. 
  • Arbors and pergolas.  
  • Cool old mailboxes placed in a flower bed are absolutely adorable. 
  • Old galvanized buckets, wash tubs, and watering cans also make great art pieces in a bed. 
  • Use an old step ladder to be home to cute little terra cotta pots filled with beautiful posies!
  • I have an antique lightning rod in one of my raised beds that always strikes up a conversation with guests!
  • Bird baths.
  • Stone creatures, word signs, or other garden plaques.
  • Glass gazing balls.

The list could go on and on… let me know what you like to include in your gardens in the comments below!

If you would like to see more great ideas on other garden junque you can include in your gardens, check out my blog posts More Garden Junque Ideas: Garden Bikes and Yummy Fresh Chive Topper and more at More Garden Junque: Delightful Doors and Yummy Spinach Pie.

If you enjoyed this blog & bonus recipes, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

Added bonus tip: To find recipes like the ones you’ll find in my posts, you can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,

Jean

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All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Friendship Garden How-to & some fun tips! 

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” –Oscar Wilde

Friendship Gardens are designed with the intent to create memories of those who have shared some of their beloved plants with you over the years. This generally happens as we thin out our own, and then obviously want to share those. This is one of my favorite garden plots, and it is so easy to get started! 

First, create a list of a few of your gardening friends. Consider their garden’s and what plants they have to offer in the line of perennials.  

Pro Tip: If this is a new garden, when deciding where to install it, be sure to consider how much or little sun you will get there. Also consider water source.

Next, once you’ve decided on your garden location, size and have it prepared for planting, you can begin asking your friends for seedlings you’d like to remember them by.  They will be so touched they mean that much to you, they will gladly give you a ‘baby’.  But be careful, you may get a whole group ready to start ‘Plant Swapping’ and garden making~ now wouldn’t that be terrible 😉 !

Within your friendship garden, you can easily create a Sitting Area. This garden is for quiet times.  I’ve always made sure I have a special spot where I can look over the garden & watch the birds, bee’s and just relax.

Pro Tip: Be sure to incorporate bird baths & houses in your garden. It adds interest & helps our feathered friends.

Creating your sitting area, you will need to determine a few things:

First you will want to decide what type of seating you’d like, and what is most fitting for your style of garden.

Pro Tip: Take two tree stumps and a wood slab. Next, lay the board across the two stumps for a very rustic bench.

You can use whatever suits your fancy & taste for your quiet spot.  Take a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa and just enjoy the moment. 

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden!

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Are you looking for something special?

Something to make you smile…

If you enjoy daily information on gardening, cooking, organization, & fun photo’s, then come on over to my Facebook page!

Be sure to Like & Follow me so you don’t miss something special!

Happy Day Dragonfly Friends,
Jean!

Shakespeare Garden Design How-to & few other tips!

“A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.” ― Wendell Berry

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m going to share several types of garden design & themes during the cold days of December! Be sure to keep posted for next week’s garden how-to: Friendship Garden Design!

Gardens are such a joy and can be an inspiration to others.  When one walks through a garden they should be welcomed by a warm, fuzzy feeling that grabs hold of them to the point of not wanting to leave.  Quiet, rest and peacefulness ought to be the theme of every garden, and it can be accomplished simply by making it a small reflection of who you are. 

When your friends are there it should be a time of not just visiting, but sharing secrets of both joy and sadness; a place where memories are in the making.  A garden says so much about its creator~ favorite plants, colors, garden style~ mine is all cottage!  My hope is that these writings will stimulate that new, hopeful gardener to dive into a new project, or inspire the one that has it ‘all’ to do something new.  Gardening is meant to be a joy, so be joyful & garden!

Many people are moved by Shakespeare’s writings and find his work quite fascinating. Some may have even heard of a Shakespeare Garden Theme.  This garden represents plants that have been mentioned in many of his writings. 

As you will notice, many of the plants listed are herbs, and therefore an Herb Garden would be a great way to incorporate this into your yard! 

Remember, as with all gardens, consider your area, drainage, available sunlight or lack of, and the plants growing habits. 

As always, I suggest drawing it out and planning before you start~ this always saves a lot of disappointment.

Here are some specific plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings. Would you consider creating this garden theme? What garden themes do you currently have?

  • *Mustard     
  • *Strawberry
  • *Parsley     
  • *Calendula
  • *Bay           
  • *Carnation
  • *Burnet       
  • *Columbine
  • *Savory      
  • *Flax 
  • *Thyme       
  • *Pink Rose
  • *Marjoram  
  • *Hyssop
  • *Lavender   
  • *Johnny Jump Ups
  • *Lemon Balm  
  • *Myrtle
  • *Chamomile     
  • *Flax
  • *Rosemary     
  • *Mint

If you enjoyed this blog post, please LIKE, Follow & of course Share! Let me know what you think,  I love your feedback! 

If you aren’t following me on Facebook go on over & give it a like & follow me for daily tips & tricks for the home and garden! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Copyright Policy

All text and images on this site are copyright of For Dragonflies And Me. Unless otherwise noted, you may not use this content without written permission.

Kitchen Gardens: How-to tips and ideas on how to create your own

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NEW POST!
Follow this link to read my NEW article on kitchen gardens at Farm to Table, Field to Plate.

Happy Day,
Jean

http://outdoorsexperiencejournal.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/kitchen-gardens-tips-and-ideas-on-how-to-create-your-own/

A Dreamy Garden, Rhubarb Harvest Tips, Rhubarb Pie Recipe

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Gardening stirs up a passion in me like no other. I often find myself thinking about a new project or a dream I have in the middle of doing something not garden related at all.

It seems that we gardener’s tend to do that…

I live in my mind’s garden dreaming of what I imagine will be.

Projects.

Projects seem to line my mind’s eye… and now Facebook page!

I imagine my entire property a sprawling garden…
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I imagine our beautiful old barn a sought after B&B… a retreat for the weary and heavy laden
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I imagine beautiful garden’s abounding…
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I imagine our back field filled with raised beds overflowing with veggies, herbs and flowers…
…that will feed our guests… and my family
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I imagine gardeners and gardener-wanna-be’s coming to take classes where I and other’s teach…
…teaching how to love your gardens… how to let them be for you… how to live in them…

I imagine my life with nothing to do but garden… and of course writing about and sharing it… with all of you.
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I imagine a place where people will want to come for farm to table dinner events…
I imagine harvesting the good food right from the gardens…preparing… and serving to those guests.
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Do you have a dreamy garden? What will it take to get there?

Well, some of my dreams are unreachable… at this point, but I have them… I cherish them and I won’t let them go, no matter what. My gardens are my souls sincerest desire…

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I’ve been able to create some of my dream gardens here at The Garden Gate Farm.
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Most recently we are working on a fish pond that will be connected to the rose garden. Don’t stop dreaming… no matter what you do, don’t stop.

So lets talk about springs first fruit here in Michigan, rhubarb. Yes, I said rhubarb. Yes you can still harvest and enjoy it.

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Here are a few do’s and don’ts for a full season of enjoying springs gardens first love!
*After you’re regular spring harvest, let your plants go to seed. This is when the plant shoots up the flower stalks.

*Once all the flower stalks have fully seeded out, you can harvest lightly again.
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*The most important thing to keep in mind when harvesting rhubarb is to always leave at least 1/3 of the stalks on the plant. NEVER fully strip the plants stalks- at anytime of year.

…and now… drum roll please…
Taylor’s Homemade Rhubarb Pie (of course all my ingredients are Organic 🙂

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

1 9″ unbaked pie crust
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. white flour
1 cup sugar

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until rhubarb is completely coated.
2. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake for 45 minutes or until rhubarb is soft.

Serve with some homemade vanilla ice cream… enjoy friends!

I recently posted my first video on For Dragonflies And Me Facebook page. I gave a short demonstration on how to properly harvest rhubarb. Stop by and check it out! Hope to see you there!
Here’s the direct link to the video. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=184040798434306

Happy Day,
Jean

Designing A Potager

Here I am harvesting basil

Here I am harvesting basil

I’ve always tried to encourage others to plant something… anything. The thrill that you get from placing the seed or the little seedling into the pleasant earth… then waiting and watching for the first signs of life to come springing up out of the soft ground… then suddenly one morning there it is… a tiny sprout or the first blossom on your tomato plant. As you patiently await the first signs of fruit… then the ripening… then the harvest.

As you stand there holding your pleasant reward, staring at it and re-thinking the whole process and the time and tender care that it took to get this into your hand.

Garlic I just harvested

Garlic I just harvested

…when you eat that first thing you’ve grown… you’ll close your eyes and savor the taste, taking in the flavor and enjoying it like no other thing you’ve ever eaten.

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…a new respect you’ll have for the seed and the dirt… a new passion will be stirred up in you.

I love gardening…

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Some may think that starting a garden is a difficult task, but not so. A garden is like anything else. You’ll need to do a bit of research and planning; you’ll need to think over what you’d like to grow and the amount of space that you have available. I have five acres, and if I could, other than the house and outbuildings, it would all be gardens… just an expanse of gardens.

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Unfortunately my dreams are bigger than my reach…

Potager’s or more commonly known today as Kitchen Gardens were historically a mainstay for many families. My heart and soul are simply thrilled with the resurgence of home gardening and canning over the last decade. I love to hear about all the urban gardens, the thrill in the voices of my market friends as they tell me what they’re harvesting out of their little home gardens… especially when it’s from the plants they purchased from me earlier in the year.

Kitchen garden

Kitchen garden

The definition of this French word, potagère is simply vegetable garden and is properly pronounced: “por-ta-jj”, giving credit to the French who inspired this style of ornamental kitchen garden’s.

The potager is most similar to the traditional English cottage garden but is mainly based on vegetables and other edible plants and herbs, often incorporating some cut flower plants for the household.

Historically plants were chosen for their form, color and taste, with seasonality and continuity of fresh vegetables for the household in mind and were typically low maintenance and closely planted. This is very similar to raised bed gardening (another blog ;-))

herbs

herbs

What you include in your potager is all about you and your family. What you like and love, although I do suggest trying at least one new thing each year…I do!

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Veggies~ This is a matter of personal prefference. We like to include one zuchinni, four hills of potatoes, two pepper plants, several lettuces, spinach, kale and chard, two tomato plants- one Roma and one salad type, short rows of carrots, onions and garlic. I also like to include a cucumber that I typically grow up on a trellis.

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Herbs: We use lots of fresh herbs in our cooking. I wanted to incorporate an herb section in our potager. Herbs have a tendency to ‘get out of hand’, so all my herbs are in containers of sorts.
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Here is a photo of part of my herb section.
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My perennials include- sage, oregano, chives, sorrel, thyme, and biennial parsley. Calendula reseeds itself each year and I plant purple, lemon and Genovese type basil each year.

Flowers- try edibles: I grow nasturtiums and day lilies in my potager, along with marigolds along side the tomatoes. I also have several other perennials incorporated simply for beautification. The potager is beside the pergola which has several sweet autumn clematis and climbing roses along its side. I also have some hosta’s, a white bleeding heart, Astilbe and bee’s balm .
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I believe, as the gardeners of old that all three… vegetables, herbs and flowers all belong balanced together in a potager.

No matter what you decide to grow, make your garden’s a reflection of your soul… a passionate place that you can escape to from all the cares of life… a meditative place to commune with the almighty One…

Happy day,
Jean

More Garden Junque: Charming Chairs

I’ve been busy in the gardens, fields and green houses with all the duties that our farms market and CSA demands of me. But now I can happily and thankfully say that what needed to be done is done! What a splendid feeling that is! My gardens have that full, lush look that cool spring days and frequent rains allow… summers heat hasn’t yet exasperated them… or me.

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I left all of you off with garden junque topics, so without further adieu, lets move on to one of my favorites… garden chairs.

Putting an established hanging basket in a pot, nestled in the seat of a chair!

Putting an established hanging basket in a pot, nestled in the seat of a chair!

I love to have instant WOW in my garden’s with my larger pots. What I do is purchase large established hanging baskets and then plant them in my patio pots… I think they call that ‘instant gardener gratification’! Here I planted one in a really cool old galvanized milk pail and then set it in the seat hole of the chair.

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Here I simply placed a planter with a potted geranium on top of a freshly painted chair.

A simple iron chair resting in the garden

A simple iron chair resting in the garden

You don’t always have to add a potted plant to a chair. Here I’ve used an ornate iron folding chair and simply placed it in the midst of the soon to be blooming Russian sage.

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Here is a rooster planter that I put another potted geranium and set in the midst of my front garden.

Here are some idea’s I’ve discovered along the way! Enjoy friends!

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Well, I hope this gives you lots of inspiration to get in your gardens… enjoy friends!
Be sure to stop by Dragonflies Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-Dragonflies-And-Me/550000798362651?ref=stream if you haven’t and give a Like & Share!

See you soon!
Jean