More Garden Junque: Bountiful Buckets and Yummy Blueberry, Kale and Quinoa Salad


Spring rains have been faithful and all the gardens are looking lush and beautiful. The hosta’s, bleeding hearts and other cool loving plants are thriving while the roses and hydrangea’s are wondering when warmer days will arrive. As I meander along the garden paths, the sweet scent of my Miss. Kim lilacs wafts up across my face… it’s dimply heavenly. Ahhh, spring in the gardens!


Lets move on to another of my favorite garden junque items- old buckets! Whether they be galvanized, tin, old canners or enamel ware, they add charm and delight to any garden space.

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I love the thrill of stumbling upon a stash at a yard sale or thrift shop. An exhilarating feeling rushes over me and I think, “I better grab those before someone else sees them!” You garden junquer’s know what I’m talking about.

Three pots with geraniums atop my patios buffet

Three pots with geraniums atop my patios buffet

Purple geraniums look stunning in these mini buckets lining my buffet in the patio! I strewed the pots down to the posts of my buffet and then just place the potted geranium inside… no worries on them tipping or blowing off in heavy winds!

Here are some photo’s from my garden’s and how I’ve used them… hope you’re inspired!

Buckets on the side of my potting shed

Buckets on the side of my potting shed

A lovely trio adorns the side of my potting shed. Filled with Apple Bloosom geraniums say welcome to all those that come up our lane.

Another trio of buckets resting in my outdoor back entry.

Another trio of buckets resting in my outdoor back entry.

These happy hostas planted directly into old buckets greet those as they enter through the outdoor back entry. Hostas typically do very well potted. I always take them out in the fall and replant into one of my garden beds, water and mulch until next year.

Buckets on my porch

Buckets on my porch

I typically always have buckets filled with geraniums and petunia’s scattered on my front porch. Such a happy and relaxing place to rest after a long day in the gardens…

White enamel ware bucket

White enamel ware bucket

I am in love with enamel ware anything, but I hit the jackpot with finding two of these at a sale. Planted with double impatiens is so charming. This pot sets on top of one of my front porch tables.

Pretty pot!

Pretty pot!

One of my favorite things is to take a lush hanging basket and plant it directly into my larger pails! I planted these petunia in my fave pail and simply placed it in the seat hole of one of my garden chairs. Instant wow as I like to say!

Here is another yummy recipe to help you along with the kale that’s coming out of your gardens… along with some super yummy blueberries! Enjoy


Blueberry, Kale, And Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled (prepared according to package directions)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cup shredded kale
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, kale, feta, and almonds. Mix until well combined.
2. Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss to fully coat.
3. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Happy Day!
Be sure to check out For Dragonflies Facebook for more ideas, photos and recipes!

Spring To-do List, Using Old Ladders In Our Gardens, Yummy Soft Boiled Eggs in a ‘Green’ Nest

Spring is a time of new birth and rejuvenation. It’s when we look around and simply stand in awe at the beauty surrounding us… forsythias vibrant yellow… the sweet aroma of apple and cherry blossoms… lavender lilac bouncing in the breeze carrying the scents through the open windows… searching out the first tips of rhubarb and asparagus.

This is a hedge of 'Miss. Kim' lilacs we planted in our front yard three years ago.

This is a hedge of ‘Miss. Kim’ lilacs we planted in our front yard three years ago.

Spring… there isn’t quite anything as perfect in my mind.

Yesterday I was walking to the greenhouse when my feet went ‘squishhhh’ in the mud… I loved it, especially wearing flip-flops. Yes, I know it was cold, but it was almost 85 degrees in the greenhouse when the sun was shining! Neil was helping me and his feelings were a tad bit different… more of exasperation from the heat- he likes the cold. I’ll take the heat and a sweaty brow any day of the week over bundling up to keep warm.

Spring is also a time ‘to-do’ lots of stuff! As most of my dragonfly readers can testify, I strongly encourage lists- for everything! Garden and yard projects are no exception. I love the feeling of making the list and scratching off each item as it’s accomplished. I’m a visual person and I think that’s why lists make so much sense to me… plus they keep me on track.

This photo is of my chalkboard in my office where I keep my 'daily' lists.  I add sticky notes below as things need to be done.

This photo is of my chalkboard in my office where I keep my ‘daily’ lists. I add sticky notes below as things need to be done.

Scanning through my yard and gardens I’m seeing the multitude of things I need and want to get accomplished this season. I have a couple windows of opportunity before and after my ‘busy’ times, so I must utilize that time wisely. I thought it would be interesting to share this years list with all my dragonfly friends… now don’t be alarmed when you see it… I have lots of helping hands around our farm!

My list of outside jobs to do this year…

back of garage
potting shed
front of greenhouse
back of hoop house
repaint back door where dog scratched

2. Fix arbor in front of hoop house- put new lattice on sides and top
3. Put post up at small herb bed for wisteria
4. Move raised beds from beside hoop house to cut flower raised bed garden
5. New flower bed around potting shed

6. Plant:

Pink climbing roses at back corners of potting shed
Rose of Sharon at back corner of house in back yard
Rose trellis on front of house at living room window

7. Finish Patio:

floor and sides

8. Ladder trellis on side of garage over tea bed in Potager

Here is the photo I mentioned a few blog posts back. I got a photo of it the other day.  I'm so excited to do this on my garage this summer!  Can't you just see it covered with pink roses!

Here is the photo I mentioned a few blog posts back. I got a photo of it the other day. I’m so excited to do this on my garage this summer! Can’t you just see it covered with pink roses!

Number eight is one of the topics of this post. I often talk about my love for garden junque, it’s one of my favorite things about cottage gardening. I love being able to artfully incorporate what I absolutely adore, even though some people consider it trash. There are oodles of items that can be used, but lets look at old wooden ladders today.

A few posts ago I mentioned this ladder trellis- well I stopped the other day and took a photo of it… not the greatest, but you get the idea. I plan on doing this on the side of my garage over the tea bed in our Potager and planting… you guessed it, a climbing rose… but first I have to find them! So if you read my guest post at Flea Market Gardening ( ) you’ll understand how patient I can be!

Uses for ladders…
*Ladders can also be used in your flower beds to put potted plants on (see photo).

This is a really cool old ladder that I picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks... so cut with pots!

This is a really cool old ladder that I picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks… so cut with pots!

*I also have a ladder on one of the columns on our front porch that a climbing rose uses.
*Lattice/ trellis- I have a few ladders that go across the top of my pergola for the vines.

To many they are just something to climb up, but on my list, they have a much higher calling 😉

Spring is here and greens are coming in abundantly… and so are the eggs! Here’s a yummy recipe to use what you have- Enjoy friends!
Soft Boiled Eggs in a ‘Green’ Nest

Farm fresh eggs just laid in one of our farms many nesting boxes!

Farm fresh eggs just laid in one of our farms many nesting boxes!

1 Bunch of Chard, Kale or Spinach, stems and ribs discarded
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Red Pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Eggs

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop your greens into bite size pieces and toss in the oil and seasoning to coat evenly. Spread evenly in the bottom of a 10″x10″ glass baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes, till crisp. Remove from oven and divide into 2 bowls and create a ‘nest’ with a hole in the center.
2. While greens are baking, bring a 2 quart pot of water to a rolling boil and gently lower eggs into water, turn off heat and cover. Let eggs sit in water for 6 1/2 minutes for soft boiled eggs.
3. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit for about 1/2 minute. Working carefully and quickly, peel eggs, and place in center of nests. Season and serve immediately.

Be sure to come on over to Dragonflies Facebook for lots more photo’s and extra info plus tons of great links to other interesting sites. Hope to see you there…
Happy Day,

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….

Front Porch7 emailver

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.

front porch3 emailver

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.

front porch14

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.

front porch8 emailver

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.

front arbor12<

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.

front porch20

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!

front porch10 emailver

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!)

front porch11 emailver

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.

front porch21

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.

front porch23

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,