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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.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Upcycled Wooden Pallet Garden Art

This winter one of the visions I've been holding in my mind for my garden became reality. I carved out a space for an outdoor fire pit/ seating area. I'll catch you up about how that came to be at another time. Today it's about the garden art I made to complement the space.
The steel fire pit was delivered on this pallet. I tried so hard to get rid of the pallet. Twice. Chance would have it that the two times I thought I had arranged for someone to haul it off, they left it behind. That's when I decided to put it to use. My first idea was to fill it with dirt and plant a vertical garden. For some odd reason this pallet has slats too wide (to plant) on one side and too close on the other.

I'm working on trying to think outside of my comfort zone for the garden. Generally, I like to keep things natural, but I'm also trying to add a few whimsical pieces occasionally that blend well with my garden style. 

That's how it dawned on me to paint it.

First I washed it/scrubbed it lightly and let it dry in the sun. I didn't bother with sanding. I wanted the rough look to remain.

Then I painted the front, back and sides with Rust-Oleum primer paint 'Espresso' that I already had on hand. 

I used a fairly dry 2" flat brush and swiped some blue strokes across the front slats to shabby it up a little. (I forgot to get a photo of that step).

Next came the fun part. I painted part of a simple sunflower in one corner. Again, I used acrylic craft paints I had on hand.  When it was dry I sprayed a coat of Rust-Oleum Clear Protective Finish over the entire front. I have no idea if that will help it last a little longer. It couldn't hurt right?
To secure it upright I *hung* it on two 4' rebar stakes anchored into the ground and fastened to the back side with cable wires. This should keep it from getting rocked by wind or animals that decide to crawl on it. Uh-hem ... that's you pesky squirrels!
I was hoping the pallet would hide my wood/trash pile back there behind it. Not from this angle. LOL

The next day I happened upon these tin pots at Home Depot while looking for something else. They had metal brackets available that fit around them for hanging. YES! I'm going to get a glimmer of a vertical garden after all.

Paint is my friend! I love paint. Paint will change your world in a matter of minutes or even seconds sometimes. Rust-Oleum 'Paprika'. It's not too red. It's not too orange. It's just what I wanted!

I potted up some very low maintenance plants (Donkey's ears succulent, Peperomia, and a fern) that I won't have to worry with watering every other day. There you have it... a mini vertical garden is born.

The new garden art addition happily married into the seating area at the back of the garden. Cheap art too! What about you? Do you have a piece of wood or fence or pallet you could upcycle into garden art? I didn't know I did either. Next time I think I won't be so quick to want to throw away. :-)

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Carolina Jessamine

Sweetly scented, buttercup yellow flowers are clambering high into one of my trees. There's a story here. It's one of those tales that likely only matters to me, but you get to hear it anyway.
Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) 

Florida gardeners,do you remember the winter of 2010? It was bad. It was cold. We are quite spoiled by our mild winters so by Florida's standards it was out of the ordinary. So many freezes/frosts in a row that most of our gardens suffered some serious damage. I know mine did. I had thoughts that year that I would never plant another tropical plant in my garden.  E.V.E.R. An idea that I couldn't possibly abide, but it seemed so rational at the time.
A single Carolina jessamine has crawled two stories up a Natchez Crepe
There was some good that came from that winter though. It gave Florida gardeners a chance to look around and make note of the survivors, the hardy warrior plants that didn't falter during those bleak few weeks. 

I felt just a tiny bit ahead of the game even with the brown,wilted foliage we were left with after that season. I had already made it my goal to add a greater number of native plants and to create a garden with sustainable winter structure.
A closer look at how the jessamine fills up the barren branches of Crepe Myrtle during winter/spring.
So that's the backstory of why I planted a single Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) at the feet of one of my largest/oldest Natchez Crepe Myrtle trees. I thought the tree would make a perfect trellis. The deciduous Crepe loses its leaves in late fall and the jessamine flowers follow in winter. The Florida native, Carolina jessamine, is cold hardy here. It typically peaks in flowering beauty towards the close of winter and into the first few weeks of spring. 

I never planned for it to travel the height of the Crepe. Carolina jessamine will stay bushy when grown in sunny conditions. My problem is that I can't reach it to prune it AND during growing season it is shaded by the fullness of the Crepe. The lack of direct sunlight urges it to travel even higher.

Other than that, this jessamine is drought resistant surviving only on rainfall here and it is completely ignored by me until I notice the pretty yellow flowers. The stems are wiry. It is considered to be a well behaved vine. I suppose mine would *behave* better if it had just a tad bit of training. :-)

Happy gardening y'all, Meems

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September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway