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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems






Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Brand New Year


The Bird House Garden January 1, 2015 You can see before and after photos of the Birdhouse Garden here.
I like the way 2015 is looking already.

The turn of the calendar to 2015 gives us a chance to reflect. As far as the garden goes, I find it fun to look back at my photo archives because they tell the story. 2014 will forever be etched in my memory as the year we left behind my garden of 30 years and started building another one. My initial reaction was to feel cheated. Cheated out of growing old with my garden. Cheated out of what I felt was my ultimate peaceful, private haven. Truth is, once I let go and embraced the change, my creativity for this new garden began to flow. As it did my vision was freed and my strength was renewed to accept the challenges of starting over. So without regret I can say today I am completely satisfied and even still very excited about the possibilities in this new garden. 2015 is going to be a good year!


There are many opportunities in this garden for lots of *before and after* photos. Many projects were undertaken in the last 6 months. I'll be back with more soon.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2015. Thank you each one for following along with my journey. Garden more, dream more, dig more, plant more ... tell me what you'd like to do more!


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All material © 2007-2015 by Meems for Hoe and Shovel Gardening Blog. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Quick Weekend Project :: Repurposed Ladders

Believe me when I say it has been a VERY long time that I've wanted a pergola in my garden. I can't even pinpoint for how long I've seen visions of dappled shade from wooden rafters overhead. It was a dream that never came to fruition in my OLD garden. I'm happy to announce that we just finished having one built in the back yard of my NEW garden. I'll detail the process of building the pergola in another post. You needed to know about the pergola so I can tell you the next story.
During the build of the pergola (December 2014)
Under the pergola my ultimate plan is to create a multi-purpose area. We opted for a roof to keep it dry underneath. It's big enough for a seating area and a work area. Foremost, the idea is to have a gardening work area. I'm waiting right now ... I do a lot of waiting ... I know you do too ... most of us do when it comes to dreams. The plan includes having a work bench built for potting and projects. Then I'd like some open, stacked shelving where I can put my trays of seed starts and plant starts. Everything gets accomplished in stages around here. I'm good with that...continues to teach me patience. While I'm waiting for the next phase of my plans, I decided to improvise on the stacked shelving for the interim.
Clear polycarbonate roofing over the pergola
I've been holding on to an ancient wooden ladder for quite a long time. I knew I wanted to repurpose it for something in the garden, but wasn't sure what/how/where until we moved into this house. The previous owner left me his slightly shorter ancient wooden ladder. With two wooden ladders I'm ready to get busy. Do they even make wooden ladders anymore?

This is by no means an original idea. I've seen ladders painted and displayed in other situations. In the back of mind I imagined I would make a display for pretty potted plants using the ladders somewhere out in the garden. Clarity has struck ... you know, like an aha moment... when all those swirling thoughts come together and you can SEE IT. I will use the ladders under the pergola for my temporary stacked shelving. It's the perfect place and use for them.

My old wooden ladder is 6' tall.  I've had this ladder for over 36 years. It was the first ladder Mr. Meems and I ever bought together. I've puttied, caulked, painted, stenciled, drilled, papered, washed, nailed, leveled and scraped climbing this old wooden ladder. It was long ago replaced by a fancy metal one or two. The new life I'm giving it will be a bit of a memorial to the tasks accomplished up and down those steps. 

Here's how my weekend repurposed ladder project went down.

First, I scrubbed the ladders with a good cleanser and brush to be sure they were ready for paint. They've been resting idle for a long time. They dried in partial sun and overnight. In the meantime, I raided my ample supply of spray paints to determine which bright colors I'd use to transform them.
I had bought an extra can of Rustoleum Summer Squash with this project in mind a few months ago when I used it for some autumn decorating. After all this time it was still my first choice. It is a delicious golden yellow color that says 'smiling sunshine' when I look at it.

The second color for the shorter ladder was almost as easy to decide. I've been spray painting clay pots with Rustoleum Lagoon and I'm loving how it blends with green/chartreuse plants. I wanted something bright and quirky, but I also kept in mind colors that work with my garden/house. 

I gathered some old salvaged wooden planks of varying sizes out of my garage to place on and between the rungs of the ladders. I just had to paint one of them (again Rustoleum) Paprika. The others are already gray. (Rustoleum is getting some free advertising here. I do love their spray paint because it is primer and paint all in one.)

The posts under the yellow ladder are leftover pieces from the pergola that I painted Rustoleum Espresso. They make another layer for more trays.

Pergola is east-facing with lots of filtered morning sun.
I'm ready now to gather up the grow-trays of baby cuttings that are hiding out in the garden hither and yon. This protected area is going to be perfect for starting seeds, too.


Plants that need shade are placed toward the back. It is nice to have them all in one spot. There is a water spigot under the pergola which makes it easy to manage watering duties for whatever plants/seeds end up resting here.

I hope you are enjoying your gardens this season if you live in a warm climate like Florida.
Happy gardening, Meems

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Come hang out with me and other gardening friends for daily updates from Hoe and Shovel on Facebook... here's the link:
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All material © 2007-2014 by Meems for Hoe and Shovel Gardening Blog. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway