For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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Easy Rose and Coleus Topiary's, Garden 'Junque' Decor, Potting Shed Door Organizer, Yummy Asparagus Bread

Right now garage & rummage sales are around every bend along with estate sales!  I don't always have time to go to these because I am typically at market on Saturdays and by the time we are on the way home, the last thing I feel like doing is 'saleing'.  Thrift shopping is another story though... I know I will find just about whatever I want at the ones we drive past in the city on our way home.  But good garden junque is not so easy to find this way.  Antique shoppes, flea markets and sales are better shopping opportunity for this kind of stuff.  I love to add elements into my beds that give a feeling of invitation... cool old chairs, stools and benches say 'come on in for a stay!', tin pails and buckets add height and dimension in the flower beds; ladders and bird cages can be incorporated as well!  I love to get lost in my flower beds and just relax... weed, water and rest... gardening, what could anyone want more?

Topiary's are very charming and can easily be made with many different plants.  Use large pots for them and be sure to put at least 3 inches of pea stone on the bottom of pot before adding your potting mix.  Here are a few ideas, have fun!
*Coleus- choose a single stemmed coleus; pinch out all the side growth until the stem reaches a height of about 12 to 18 inches; you will need to stake the stem to keep it straight and for extra support.  Once the plant reaches the desired height, begin to pinch back the top; when each of the two branches develops four leaves, pinch their tips.  Continue pinching the tips that form from the top branches after their four leaves develop.  The main stem will get very woody and square.  Fertilize and continue pinching out all blooms that may form. 
*Rose- to make a rose tree you will need a rather large pot~ choose a plant at least 2' to 3' in height that has an upright, centered 'leader' cane that you will be able to stake as the 'trunk'; once selected you will need to cut all the other canes off before planting the rose.  Strip all the leaves & stems off the bottom 2/3's leaving about 12" of leaves & stems at top .  This will be the 'rose ball' on top.  As the leaves form keep cutting and shaping your top, meanwhile continually stripping any new growth on the bottom of the trunk.
Other plants to try~  Peonies and Bright Yellow Sweet Broom- (very similar in appearance as Forsythia)- follow same instructions as rose.
Good luck & have fun!

Garden Junque is so fun to incorporate in your gardens and it adds character and charm for very little.  I love to thrift shop and garage sale~ as they say, 'one person's trash is another persons treasure'.
*I got both my garden bikes this way.  Every garden needs at least one! Put a cute basket on the handle bars and plant some pretty trailing plants!
*Old tin pails & buckets... geraniums like nothing more!
*Enamel Ware... do I need say anything else?
*Cool old chairs  to put potted plants on and surround with Shasta daisies!
*One very cool thing to keep your eyes open for are bird cages, especially free standing ones~ table tops are cute too, but the height of free standing cages adds structure to your flower bed and an artsy touch.  I plant morning glories at the bottom to grow up the cage and then put potted sweet potato vine or nasturtiums inside the cage- two or three.  (see photo)  
*If you can find some neat old wooden ladders, put one of these in the background of a flower bed and put clay pots with petunias on each step~ or whatever suits your fancy.
... the ideas are endless!

I am all about organization, whether it be in the house, green house or the potting shed... everything has it's place so put everything back in it's place!  A really easy way to utilize the door of the potting shed is to be able to hang stuff on it! There are lots of great ways to do this. (see photo)
*Attach a piece of left over lattice to the inside of the door, get some 'S' hooks and hang more often used garden tools on it~ easy and accessible.
*Purchase a clear plastic shoe organizer and hang; you can keep packs of nails & screws, garden tags or stakes, twine, seed packets, hand tools or anything else you may have that can fit into those nifty little pockets!
*Peg board is a wonderful thing.  You can use this on the door and the walls.  Hooks come in every shape & size imaginable to hang whatever you need.  

Here is a great way to get those family members who aren't so fond of asparagus to get the nutritional benefits from it.  This is a great variation to Zucchini bread!
Yummy Asparagus Bread

3 eggs from Garden Gate, beaten
1 cup safflower oil or similar
1 2/3 cup raw organic sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 pound asparagus, grated
3 cup bread flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Whisk together eggs, oil, sugar's and vanilla; add asparagus; mix lightly.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients except the nuts, if using; add flour mixture to liquid mixture; stir to blend; stir in nuts now if using; divide mixture equally between 2 lightly greased 9"x5" loaf pans.
3. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until a toothpick comes out of center clean.
     

Happy Day,

Jean

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