Megawatt Begonia, Biggest of the Big

Megawatt Begonia, Biggest of the really big begonias

I know we’ve still got plenty of summer left, but I can’t wait until September to gush over my Megawatt Begonia. In my flowerbeds, they  have clearly proven they are the biggest of the really big begonias.

Amazing Flower Power!

Megawatt Begonia Pink Bronze Leaf

The color I have is Pink Bronze Leaf and I planted mine on the May long weekend. They started flowering within a week or two and have flowered like crazy ever since.

Heat and Drought tolerant!

These begonia have proven their heat tolerance through some seriously hot weather and continued to flower right through it. After the first week or two, I’ve only watered once a week at most, usually less, and we’ve had very little rain here this summer.

The series comes from PanAmerican Seed, the same company behind the popular Dragon Wing and Baby Wing series of Begonia. In my opinion this begonia has some serious star power.

Megawatt Begonia Stems

I planted mine in a bed that receives just a couple of hours of morning sun and it is thriving. Megawatt Begonia have these wonderful beefy stems and grows with a well branched upright habit, perfect for show stopping planters. One one each side of an entrance would look amazing!

Megawatt Pink Bronze Leaf Begonia Flower

The blooms on Megawatt Pink Bronze Leaf Begonia are huge, showy clusters above thick glossy bronze leaves, and they flower profusely. I really can’t say enough about how gorgeous these begonias are.

Megawatt Begonia at a glance:

Height

Megawatt Begonia will reach heights of 20-28″ (51-71 cm).

Spread

Megawatt Begonia will need plenty of room so be sure to space them 12-16″ (30-41 cm) apart.

Vigor & Size

Megawatt Begonia is a monster of a begonia. It has well branched hearty stems and large leaves to support the showy flowers. I have not pinched or fertilized mine.

Foliage Color

Megawatt Begonia is available in both green-leaved and bronze-leaved varieties. Bronze-leaved varieties are earlier to flower than green-leaved.

Flower Color

For 2017 Megawatt will be available in Pink Bronze Leaf, Rose Bronze Leaf, Red Green Leaf, and Rose Green Leaf. Flowers are huge with no need to deadhead.

Flower Season

Just like the popular Dragon Wing series, Megawatt flowers from spring through to frost.

Exposure

Part Sun, but will probably do just fine in shadier locations as well. It is worth noting that of the three I have, the one that gets a couple more hours of sun is taller than the other two.

If you’re looking for a continuous flowering showy annual, be sure to pin this one for your wish list!

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Someday Dreams and my Vintage Coffee Bar

Pending Projects

At the start of the weekend I was feeling very discouraged because I haven’t completed a single project this week. Not one. Instead I’ve created a bunch of pending projects for myself.

Stack of old fence boards

There was this pile of used fence boards purchased on Monday. My plan is to pull all the nails, clean them up and stain them. Once that’s done, I’ll use them to add a skirt to my deck. The area underneath the deck is visible when approaching my house and it isn’t a view that puts our best face forward.

Rusty Butterfly Chair Frame

Then on Friday I made a trip to Picker’s Pig Pen, where I found this rusty Butterfly Chair frame. I’ve already cleaned up the frame and painted it, but there is still the cover to sew.

Future small sitting area

Eventually I will create a small sitting area under this willow tree. It’s a perfect place to sit and admire the work that has already been done. The finished Butterfly Chair will go there. Replacing the German Shepherd’s kiddie pool with a natural looking smallish pond is just one of my someday dreams.

Old Shovels

I can’t imagine anyone other than a fellow blogger appreciating the value in this bucket of old shovels. Now I just need someplace to stash them away until inspiration hits. Storage at my place is scarce, a garage, workshop, or even just a shed of my own, is another of my someday dreams.

My Mother’s Garden

On Saturday, I went to the Blenheim Cherry Fest with my mother and Aunts and their cousins. I picked my mother up at her house and took a few pictures while there.

Begonia Pegasus with Dragon Wing Pink

This planter has PW’s Begonia Pegasus along with some Pink Dragon Wing begonia. It’s value is primarily for those pretty leaves, and with a pair of them on either side of her door, this planter combo is very attractive.

Hosta Bed at my Moms (2)

The pictures above and below are of just one of my mother’s Hosta beds. My father built the little bench for her out of scrap lumber. It would be easy to build your own. In my opinion, benches and other places to sit are a very important part of any garden. They anchor garden beds while giving them a purpose, plus it’s a great reminder to avid gardeners that they need to occasionally sit and admire what they’ve created.

Hosta Bed at my Moms

For anyone who thinks shade gardens or even Hosta themselves are boring, I would have to argue that they simply haven’t explored the huge variety of leaf colors, textures and sizes that are available in Hosta. Plus they haven’t seen what my mother can do with them.

Blenheim Cherry Fest

At the Blenheim Cherry Fest we went to an Art in the Garden event. The gardens themselves were lovely.

Hosta Golden Tiara

I was quick to spot this Golden Tiara Hosta.

shady garden with old fashioned pedestal sink

The old-fashioned pedestal sink complete with faucet made an interesting statement in this bed.

Tic-Tac-Toe

Most of the pathways were found bits of old concrete with plenty of benches and areas to sit placed here and there. On some of the benches, there were these handy tic-tac-toe boards. I doubt many ever intend to play tic-tac-toe, but I bet it gets used as people sit and enjoy the gardens around them.

A must see artist website

I really hope you’ll take a minute to click on this next link – Alishia Ellis creates beautiful art that I felt would be unethical for me to photograph. I stood in her booth and admired her stunning work until my Aunt dragged me on. As much as I would love to own one of her pieces, my house is not fine art friendly at this time.

Vintage Coffee Bar

Vintage Cabinet

Indoors there were antiques and treasures on display, I fell in love with this vintage buffet. Thanks to my wonderful Aunts, it came home with me.

Buffet turned vintage coffee bar

It’s perfect as a coffee bar with my vintage canisters on top. I love using that wicker basket for our to-go cups. They are tall and so tippy that without the basket, it’s hard to contain them.

vintage coffee bar drawer pull

Check out the chrome drawer pulls. They really are in beautiful condition.

vintage coffee bar chrome legs

And really, when have you ever seen anything sexier than those chrome legs?

Vintage glassware (2)

The space behind the sliding doors is perfect for storing my collection of vintage green glassware. Does anyone else have a vintage chip and dip bowl? They are genius for serving nachos and salsa, I try to use mine when my friends are over for cards and tea.

Vintage Coffee Bar

Those are my ‘company’ mugs. The design is partly in silver so I refuse to put them in the dishwasher or have them disappear into the boys rooms. There is plenty of space behind the etched glass to store my everyday coffee mugs too.

vintage tea towels

The one drawer gives me a place to stash my handful of vintage tea towels. I’m reluctant to use them, even if they are nicer than anything you can buy today.

vintage buffet drawer perfect for tea

This drawer makes handy storage for our flavored teas. You cannot imagine how much counter and cupboard space this beauty has freed up in my tiny kitchen.

Vintage buffet counter detail

I love the aluminum edging. This is how they used to make counters and while granite counters are what most people want, I prefer this vintage look.

My kitchen table and chairs

I’m feeling a need to polish the chrome on my kitchen set now. My mother got it for me at an auction and recovered it 14 years ago. It’s starting to show some wear and tear with the missing upholstery nails, but I still love it.

It’s time to get off the computer and look after yesterdays undone chores. Have a fantastic Sunday!

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Hosta ‘Sun Power’

Hosta Sun Power

I’ve had Hosta Sun Power for a several years, but for one reason or the other, never under ideal conditions.

06-07 Corner Begonia Bed

Last spring, I divided my clump and planted it in the raised corner bed to provide a backdrop for my Santa Cruz and San Francisco begonia.

Hosta Sun Power with Begonia and Ferns

Here is the same bed a year later. You can see how rapidly Hosta Sun Power is filling the space. A mature Sun Power has a spread of up to 5 feet so one clump will fill most of the awkward to reach back corner of this bed.

Hosta 'Sun Power'

The foliage on Hosta Sun Power is high impact with its bright chartreuse to gold color and slightly rippled leaf edges.

Hosta 'Sun Power' Leaf

No margins or variegation on these leaves, Sun Power makes a showy statement without them.

Hosta 'Sun Power' Flower

Mine are in flower with pretty spikes of pale lavender or orchid colored blooms.

Hosta Sun Power at a glance:

Height:

Sun Power when mature will reach heights of 27-29 inches or 70-75 cm

Spread:

Sun Power will spread out to 47-59 inches or 120-150 cm so be sure to give it lots of space in your garden.

Vigor & Size:

Hosta ‘Sun Power’ is a large-sized hosta. It’s size, spread and gorgeous sunny color make it an excellent choice for background plantings in your garden

Foliage Color:

Large leaves are slightly twisted giving a ripple-effect to the edges. Leaf color ranges from chartreuse to bright gold, and for best color this hosta likes a bit of morning sun.

Flower Color:

Flowers are a pale orchid or lilac color on 36″ scapes.

Hosta Sun Power is perfect choice for bright sunny color in shade to part shade gardens so be sure to pin it for your wish list.

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Cheap and Easy Outdoor Chair Cushions

Outdoor Chair Cushions
Make outside chair cushions on the cheap with economy pillows and a fabric shower curtain!

Spring is for planting and gardening, but summer is for kicking back and appreciating the beauty I’ve created around me. Which is why I’ve spent the past couple of weeks on deck projects. I spend a lot of time sitting out there, so I wanted to spruce things up a bit. I really wanted to add some outdoor chair cushions this year.

Outdoor chair cushions have always been a bit of a dilemma for me. My deck is not covered, so anything out there gets exposed to the weather. Along with weather comes bird and spider poop. Plus if I even remembered to bring them indoors, I’ve really got no place to put them.

Practicality aside, I still wanted them and a couple of weeks ago I even had two outdoor chair cushions in my cart, but decided that 2 for $30 wasn’t enough of a bargain for me. My choices were limited because everything was already picked over. I needed two that matched and would look good with my chairs which limited my choices even more.

Why finally splurge only to ‘settle’ when I knew I could make my own?

What I used instead:

Chair Cushion Pillows

In the bedding department I found these pillows for $3.47. They might be way too soft for sleeping, but they’re perfect for my patio chairs and I could choose my fabric for the cover. If they’re still usable when summer is over, I can swap out the cover and use them on my couch so storing them isn’t a problem. If they end up being garbage at the end of the summer, even my cheap little heart won’t cry over the seven bucks they cost.

Chair Cushions Fabric Contendors

I had these fabrics at home that would have worked, but the only one I had enough of to really use was the bright green. Bright green and aqua wasn’t the look I wanted to go for. The other two fabrics were really too expensive to use on outdoor projects.

Chair Cushions Fabric

Wal-mart only carries pre-cut quilting fabric and anything that I liked, wasn’t enough fabric for two pillows. So I used plan B and headed for the bedding department again to look at sheets and curtains, anything that would yield a big enough piece of fabric. I found this fabric shower curtain on the clearance rack for $15 and the colors were a perfect match for my chairs.

Making the Covers

Making a pillow cover is one of those simple easy jobs I kind of enjoy. It’s just measure, cut, and sew. There aren’t any any intricate cuts or high precision sewing to worry about. The only part of making these I didn’t enjoy, was the piles of mending my boys tried to foist on me when they saw the sewing machine come out.

Chair Cushion Fabric Pieces (2)

I went for a straight-forward envelope back with a 2″ overlap and no buttons or fastenings. I also left off any cording. It gives cushions and upholstery a more defined look, but it is an extra step plus the messing around to get nice corners. I also used the existing hems at the top and bottom of the shower curtain to simplify these covers even more.

My pillows measured 20 x 26″, so for each pillow I cut a 21 x 27″ front (1/2″ seam allowances times 2), and for each back I used two pieces, one 16.5 x 27″ and one 12.5 x 27″, adding in 2″ of overlap and 1/2″ seam allowances. Remember my pieces were already hemmed, if I were to hem them, the length for each with a 1″ hem plus a 1/2″ turn under, would have been 18 and 14 instead.

Chair Cushion wrong side

Then I just stacked my pieces right sides together and sewed around the four sides using 1/2″ seam allowances.

Chair Cushions clipping corners

I clipped the seam allowance close to my stitching at the corners and then turned them right-side out. The fabric is synthetic and I didn’t iron it, mainly because I am positive it would melt before it held a crease.

My finished outdoor chair cushions

 

Outdoor Chair Cushion on Chair

So there you have it, two outdoor chair cushions for around $11 each. That $15 shower curtain could have easily covered a third pillow, and with some finesse maybe even a fourth.

Chair Cushions on Deck

The fabric goes so nicely with the chairs. By happy accident, the design placement on the fabric is nearly identical on each cushion.

Cushions just seem to make the space friendlier don’t they?

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Hosta Golden Tiara

Hosta Golden Tiara

Hosta Golden Tiara with its tidy heart-shaped leaves and compact height of just 15″ is one of my favorites in the garden.

Hosta Golden Tiara
One year old clump of Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’

The picture above is a one year old clump, it will eventually reach a spread of up to 35″ making it an excellent choice for borders. To see an example of mature Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ used as a garden border click here.

Hosta 'Golden Tiara' leaves

Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ has medium green leaves with chartreuse margins. When grown in sun the margins will become more gold-colored. Light purple flowers will appear mid-summer, they are darker when Golden Tiara is grown in sun.

Hosta Golden Tiara at a glance:

Height:

Golden Tiara when mature will reach heights of 12-16 inches or 30-40 cm

Spread:

Golden Tiara will spread out to 29-35 inches or 75-90 cm so be sure to give it some space in the garden.

Vigor & Size:

Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ is a medium-sized hosta. It’s size and spread make it an excellent choice for garden borders but it is also suitable for container growing.

Foliage Color:

Heart shaped leaves have a medium green center with a narrow chartreuse edging. Edges will become more of a gold color when grown in sun.

Flower Color:

Flowers appear mid-summer on 24 inch scapes. They are lilac or light purple, but darker when grown in sunnier locations.

If Hosta Golden Tiara isn’t already a part of your shade garden it would be an excellent addition, so be sure to pin this one for your wish list.

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Loving my Black Stained Deck!

After staining my deck on the weekend it was killing me to wait the two days before putting everything back on it. But the wait is finally over and I think it looks fantastic!

Black Stained Deck

I love the way water beads up on the surface now! It’s such an amazing clean look. No more discoloration from moss and water and I can barely see the gouges from the dog’s toenails. It feels so nice and smooth when I walk out there barefoot. Like any dark surface it does show dusty shoe prints and paw prints, but they are easily swept away.

Pothos glowing against Black Stained Deck

My chairs look amazing and cheery against the black stain and look how bright my pothos looks.

Planter Grouping

All of Mr. Toads hidey-holes are back in front of the patio door where he hangs out. The white flowers of begonia ‘Santa Barbara’ show well against the black stain. It’s a begonia to watch for next year – perfect for hanging baskets and planters.

Tradescantia

This is a variety of Tradescantia I really like – I’ll be over wintering some of that for next spring.

Begonia 'Funky' - Available 2017

In the pink planter is Begonia ‘Funky’, another new variety that will be available next spring. It has a coral tint to it and is very pretty.

Silver & Green Planter

My Silver & Green planter also shows well against the black stain. I will probably leave it much as it is when I bring it in for the winter. Most of the plants in it are houseplants.

Purple and Lime Planter

This purple and lime planter has plenty of room between the chair and my floral painted table. All of the little pots of houseplants are up there now, leaving room on the glass-topped table for coffee, tea or a drink.

Furniture Sliders

I attached furniture glides to the bottoms of my Black & White planters. It lifts them off of the deck boards just enough for good air-circulation under the pots, which is beneficial for both the plants and the deck.

Attached to bottom of large planter

All of my planters now have something under them especially that pink pot. It has a very rough bottom on it and has already made a mark. Staining the deck may not have been as much work as I thought it would be, but I still want it to stay nice for as long as possible.

Black and White Planter

You can see how nicely the planters have filled in since I planted them at the end of may. You can also see under the pot the one spot where the pink pot left a mark. It could also be because that area is right next to the barbecue, maybe there was grease there I didn’t notice.

Black Stained Deck

My deck is right next to my driveway, so it’s the first thing I see when I pull in, and I love it more every time. All that’s left to do is make cushions for the chairs and the last bit of staining in front of the other door. We have sorely needed rain in the forecast, so I won’t finish the rest of the stain until the weekend.

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Stain Your Deck in One Weekend

Have you ever spent hours thinking about a project, trying to talk yourself out of it because you’re convinced it will be too much work? Well that’s exactly where I was at on staining the deck or not staining the deck.

My Deck - Before Washing

This is how my deck looked Thursday evening. My dad built my deck around 2002 or 2003. Before that most of it was the deck surrounding my parents above-ground pool for 15 or 20 years. Those boards are old!

Being under trees and heavily shaded, it’s always been an annual chore to clean the moss and slime off of the surface. I clean it with the power-washer every year and on my hands and knees with a scrub brush and bleach every other year. Still, I was drinking deeply of the whole ‘let it age naturally, its pressure treated’ and ‘old grey wood looks great!’ Kool-Aid.

As a child of the 70’s, I also have a bit of a mental block over stain. Back then, every single piece of outdoor wood was either ‘redwood’ or ‘cedar’. Neither of them looked the least bit natural, and both are what immediately comes to mind when I think of stain.

Last year I started thinking how much stain would spruce up that old wood. This spring I was thinking even harder about it. But I was also worried about the upkeep of stain. I know even the best stain in the world isn’t going to last forever, and I did not want to add another annual chore to my spring.  So I cleaned the deck, on my hands and knees with bleach and laundry detergent to get the slime off. Then I hit it with the power washer.

Deck after scrubbing

It still looked like shit. Since stain was looking better by the minute, I asked at the hardware store if I needed to sand the deck down before staining it. They advised me that as long as it was clean, I could stain it without sanding it first. Just to be on the safe side, I grabbed a package of 60 grit sandpaper for my little palm sander.

Sanding the Deck

Sunday morning, I went outside for my morning coffee and smoke, still in my sleepwear of leggings and a t-shirt. Everything from the deck was still sitting off to the side of the yard and the deck was empty. I kept looking at that deck and the sander that was out from the night before.

Getting Started - preparing to stain the deck

Halfway through my first cup of coffee, I grabbed the sander and started sanding. And just like that, I started a job I was trying to avoid. I kept my expectations realistic. Rather than try for like new smooth, I just leveled out the grain a bit.

Completely sanded

Two hours and two cups of coffee later, I finished sanding**. Or at least up to the other door. I decided to leave that area for next weekend so we could still get in and out. You can see how beat up the wood is from the dog’s nails. They have their own little version of the ‘Tokyo Drift’ they use when they’re rough-housing.

Sawdust covered 'pajamas'

This is what my ‘pajamas’ looked like after I finished sanding. Next came the real moment of truth.

Staining the Deck

Commited to staining the deck

Once that brush hits wood, it’s commitment time! I was now staining the deck whether I wanted to or not.

First Coat of Stain Finished

Here it is after I finished the first coat. By this time I was really getting excited to see how it would look finished.

Damn Birds!

Those damn birds just won’t give me a break.

Poster Board to keep the stain off of the siding

As I worked my way across, staining the deck, I used a piece of craft or poster board – the foam core kind – to keep the stain off of the siding. I also kept a damp rag handy, good for misses with the brush and continued bird shit episodes.

Deck Stained Black
The truck you see in the background? Last year I had numerous parts of it on my deck for most of the summer.

Here it is after the second coat. That one board at the bottom of the steps is terrible to reach – I may have to take it off to get it fully stained. That big huge job I was dreading, knocked off in time for grocery shopping and dinner! Except for the cleaning and waiting until the wood dried from that, I sanded and stained the deck, or most of it, in one day!

Black Stained Deck from Front Corner

Now I just have to finish that last section – a chore for next weekend. After that, it’s time to add a skirt to the deck and railings. Originally I wanted the deck left open for the view of the lake, but since I have no control over what neighbors do on their own property the view is no more. Now I need railings to fully enclose the yard for the very big, very scary German Shepherd who lives here.

I may also have a little surprise up my sleeve if all goes according to plan. If it doesn’t come to fruition this year, it will next year. 

Tools and supplies used to stain my deck

I used 60 grit sandpaper and my orbital palm-sander to sand the deck and a wide short-bristled stain brush for the staining. I also used a foam brush for any tight spaces and will probably go back over the ‘in between’ spaces with a foam brush to get better coverage on the sides of the deck boards. I worked the stairs from top to bottom. I worked the top one board at a time, staining the full length of each before working my way back to the other side. So from left to right on one board, and then from right to left on the next. Working it that way was a bit easier on the knees.

The stain I used is a semi-transparent Rona brand stain. The color is black onyx, it’s the same stain I used for my Fretwork Garden Fence. Somehow I got very lucky when I bought it, because someone had already had two 4 liter cans (close to two gallons) mixed and then reconsidered. At $20 each, I grabbed both of them. The completed part of the deck is 8′ by almost 16′ and it took the better part of one can for two coats. That wood was thirsty!

Mr. Toad

According to the recommendations on my stain, I will need to wait one or two days before moving my furniture and plants back to the deck. Mr. Toad is very anxious to have his hidey-holes back.

**Before sanding pressure treated wood, take the time to research all necessary safety pre-cautions. If you aren’t sure whether it’s pressure treated or not, play it safe and assume it is.

Question

If you were adding a skirt to this deck, would you build it out even with the edges of the deck or would you recess it using the existing 4 x 4 support posts?

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Canada Day Plans

Here in Canada we’ll be celebrating Canada Day this Friday and over in the US you’ll be celebrating July 4th, which makes for one of those most awesome circumstances  – a three-day weekend! I’ve got some pretty ambitious goals for those three days.

Plague and Pestilence

Living near Lake Erie, every spring summons up some very messy aggravations.

Maple Keys:

Maple Keys under car wipers

Last year we had a bumper crop of helicopters flying around. I spent hours cleaning them up and plucking maple seedlings out of my gardens. Hours! This year there weren’t very many at all and I am so grateful!

Maple Keys

Still what we did get littered the deck and made for lots of sweeping.

Poplar Fuzz:

Poplar trees love water, so it’s no real surprise there are always a lot of them near the lake. Nor is it surprising when every spring there are a few days of fluff floating everywhere. It’s horrible for clogging up window screens and A/C units.

Poplar fuzz caught in a cobweb

Not only that, but any cobwebs hanging around are instantly transformed into epic webs worthy of display in a haunted house tour. Of course that fuzz serves it’s purpose of carrying seed far and wide, so I’ll be plucking those seedlings from garden beds too.

Mayflies:

Mayflies on a window screen

Also called shadflies, whatever you want to call them, they swarm in from the lake for their thankfully brief mating season. While they’re here, they make a huge stinky mess, leaving behind their shed skins and dead. Often there will be literally piles of them on the ground in the morning under street lights and house lights. Last week I woke up one morning to see my house looked like it had grown bark because there were so many of them on the siding.

Cleaning Up:

The Siding:

My Canada Day plans include some quality time spent with the power washer cleaning up the siding and the deck. Despite me often taking the broom to my eaves, there is still definitely a haunted house vibe happening around all the eaves. There’s also plenty of bird and spider shit to go around.

Speaking of spiders, I’ll also be spraying Spider-Ban into all of their preferred nooks and crannies. Spiders are prolific near the water and twice annual applications of Spider-Ban are a necessity to avoid indoor infestation. I’ve had wolf-spiders that were big enough to mistake for mice run across the living room floor.

The deck:

I’ll also be hitting the deck with the power washer. Being under a maple tree tends to get mossy. Since I prefer to go down the steps on my feet and not my backside, it’s time to clean that up. I don’t trust anyone other than myself to power wash my deck. I’ve seen too many times where someone (usually it’s men) gets overzealous with stripping away the grime. It ends up lifting a layer of the wood and leaving behind a splintered mess.

Lately I’ve been considering staining the deck. It’s old pressure treated wood that’s never been stained now. My concern is if I stain it now, will I just be making another annual spring chore for myself? Still I can’t help thinking how much more polished it would look stained. I would use the same color as I used for my fretwork garden fence. I also plan to stain the raised veggie beds in that color. I know you aren’t supposed to stain wood used for vegetables, but the look of raw spruce bothers me.

Deck Furniture and Accessories:

All of my patio furnishings need a good scrubbing. I’ve wiped them down periodically, but it’s time to attack the embossed wood grain on the plastic Adirondack chairs and give the table and chairs set a good wash.

I’m accessorizing the deck a bit more this year, adding a few more horizontal surfaces for a tea or coffee cup. You can see those projects here and here.

Upcycled TV Stand Front

I will also be making some cushions for the blue chairs, they aren’t as comfortable as ones I’ve owned before. I’ll share the details of that project in a later post.

Outdoor furnishings and accessories are something carefully considered here. They must either be weather-proof, or not take much space indoors. My house is small – just 1,000 square feet – and there isn’t a lot of storage room to spare. There is no basement or garage and my only other storage is a 10 x 10 shed that is already jam-packed full of the things I consider necessary for maintenance of my home, yard and vehicle.

Of course there will be the usual weekend chores too along with a bit of weeding. I would also dearly love to get that last fretwork garden fence panel finished, I’ve already started training a clematis along the first one.

Clematis 'Rooguchi'
Clematis ‘Rooguchi’

Clematis are something I’ve never tried before, but always admired. That corner does get a bit more sun than most of the rest of my yard, but the fence and other plants shade the roots. I could always try setting Fred at the base, I’m sure he would be excellent at keeping the clematis’s ‘feet’ cool.

So what are your plans for this glorious long day weekend?

 

 

How Hosta Change as They Mature

One of the things I found most challenging in my new gardens this year, aside from the surplus of pink sun-loving flowers, was how tall each plant would get, in particular the height of mature hosta in each variety I have.

I spent a week before my latest big garden do over looking up each variety and noting their mature height and spread. I used that information, along with color, to decide each plants place. A mature hosta can look so different from a young plant just purchased, that some of my choices look odd right now.

Hosta 'Rhino Hide'
Hosta ‘Rhino Hide’ has thick heavily waxed leaves good for deterring slugs.

Consider Hosta ‘Rhino Hide’, at maturity it will have a height of 20″ and a spread of 30″.

Hosta 'Blue Cadet' in front of Hosta 'Rhino Hide'
Hosta ‘Blue Cadet’ in front of Hosta ‘Rhino Hide’

But it still looks lost in behind a Hosta ‘Blue Cadet’ that is a year old from division. Blue Cadet should have a mature height of only 12″ and a spread of 30″.

Hosta 'Golden Meadows'
Hosta ‘Golden Meadows’

This one is Hosta ‘Golden Meadows’. At maturity it should reach a height of only 18″ and a spread of 36″. Right now, newly planted, it’s taller than ‘Rhino Hide’.

To make it even more complicated:

Mature Blue Cadet at my moms

Then just to muddy the waters even further, here is a mature Hosta ‘Blue Cadet’ in my mother’s garden. My mother intends to divide it next year, but it makes me wonder how true the expected height of 12″ really is. Of course she’s got crazy good dirt on her property too.

My mother tells me there can even be some variation in leaf patterning on mature hosta as opposed to newly planted hosta. Brims may get wider or more defined. The leaves themselves can also be much larger, noticeable when you compare my 1 year old Blue Cadet, to her more mature one.

Something tells me that even though I’m finished tweaking my gardens for this year, I’ll have more changes next year. It’s also highly likely there will be other additions to contend with. Who knows, a few years from now I could have a yard that’s just garden. I’m okay with that idea.

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Floral End Table

Upcycled TV Stand and Tray Before

Remember that icky melamine folding table I had from the same place my TV Stand turned Tea Table came from? Well I had a lot of fun making and floral end table from that 80’s melamine. Or at least I did after I recovered from a couple of big mess-ups!

I started out by scrubbing the table down and then I spray-painted it in Rustoleum’s ‘Aqua’. Once everything seemed dry enough I moved to the next step. I knew after recently seeing some Merimekko textiles and wall-coverings that I wanted to have big billowy flowers, and that I wanted to use strong colors.

Marimekko Inspired Floral

I added the centers and painted in some little white flowers in the bare spots. It looked awesome. The next morning I took my floral end table outside to spray sealer on it and watch completely horrified as the Aqua spray paint started to lift and crackle. Seriously it was like watching a stone chip in a windshield turn into a crack across the whole thing.

Honestly even though I knew it wasn’t a good finish, I was going to leave it as it was. So then I went to add the second coat of sealer, and grabbed the wrong can.

Crackling Paint on first floral end table

Still I soldiered on and turned it into an ‘airbrushed’ edge, and really I was going to just use it as it was. Right up until a bird came along and shit right in the middle of the table. That’s when I grabbed the palm sander and sanded everything off, giving the melamine a good scuff in the process.

Better the second time around?

Outlining Flowers

Once the base color was dry, I started painting my big billowy flowers again. I’ve doodled flowers like anybody else, but I found it surprisingly hard to make really big flowers. For each one I painted an outline first.

Filling In

Then I used a larger brush to fill them in. The paint I used really showed the brush strokes. Rather than stress about it, I incorporated the texture.

Flower Texture Detail

After the first layer was fully dry, I added centers to the flowers.

Stippling centers

I sort of stippled them for the texture it added to the paint.

Outlining White Daisy Petals

I added some white daisies to lighten up the dark blue flowers.

Daisies Finished

I left it to dry some more.

Stippling Centers of Daisies

I stippled the centers of these too, just with a smaller brush. Once it was completely dry, I took it outside to seal it. I sent a quick prayer to the spray paint gods before starting and then gave it a good coat. Everything was fine this time. I think the first event was just from forgetting to scuff up the melamine before I painted it.

 

Floral End Table

So there it is, an end table for my deck made from an old melamine folding table. I think I’m going to have to decide which style direction the deck furnishings are going in soon though. Because the Tea Table and the End Table aren’t exactly coordinating or even complimentary styles or colors.

Upcycled Side Table Up Close (1)

So what do you think – are the daisies overkill?

Linking up to these great sites.

DIY Sunday Showcase

Talk of The Town

You’re Gonna Love it Tuesday

The DIY Dreamer

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