A Wreath for all Seasons

A wreath on the door is welcoming, friendly and adds a touch of charm to your entry.  Before the door is even opened, it sends a hug or handshake to your guests.

Wreaths can have many personalities, so it’s good to pick one that represents you.  Take some time to choose the “bones” of your wreath.  I personally love the twig wreath.  It can represent all seasons with a few simple adjustments.

First you might need to browse the internet or hobby store for a wreath that has the basic structure and appearance you want to convey to your guests.  Of course, the option of buying one pre-assembled is a short cut you might want to consider.

Generally speaking you can find a very natural look of twigs, pine, leaves, etc. to enhance by wiring, or tying your adornments to the body of your wreath.  I prefer a light leafy look or a few grassy, or wild-flower, stems to dress my twiggy wreath.  A ribbon or cord of your choosing and a wreath hanger will are helpful support system items for your wreath. ( I have to admit I have a nail I pounded into the door in my excitement to hang a wreath one year, and it has been there ever since…and works just fine!)

You can get ideas from images on line, or magazines before you begin your process.  However, I’ve been known to emotionally engage on the spur of the moment while I walk the isles of the craft store or art mart grabbing rolls of ribbon, berries, dried leaves or flowers and grasses to intermingle as i begin to get inspired.  It’s such fun; I just get it and keep it for other projects (they make wrapping presents a lot more fun) or to change out my wreath’s appearance another time.

We have reached that ‘twixt time of year when we can decorate for fall, or falling into Christmas.  I’m planning on adding some Christmas twinkles to my wreath pictured above.  I love simple, so it may have very slender ribbon strands, snatches of berries and maybe some tin stars…or rustic bells.  I’m getting excited to start already, but I don’t want to rush Thanksgiving out the door before it begins.

I hope you enjoy your project…I always recommend making a cup of tea or hot chocolate, unless you prefer a glass of wine to enjoy while working on your wreath.  I’ve been known to put on an old classic movie or turn on some music to balance my manic creativity.  

PS…You might want to have a wreath making party!  Set a date, invite a few friends to join you and bring the bones, etc. for their wreath…set out your refreshments and make some memories. 

                                                                           till next time,

                                                                                    Jackie 

 

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Summer Daze

019For me, summer is a challenge.  I really don’t function well in heat.  That may be from living along the coast in Huntington Beach for many, wonderful years.  After transitioning to rural North San Diego County, I discovered my adaptability to the heat of summer challenging to say the least.  However, I have learned to use my ingenuity to work around the heat.  I look for the pearls, hunt for the treasure, or search for a star in the midst of the haboob of summer.  

I tend to do gardening in the evening as a treat after a hot day…or take a trip to the beach after the crowds and heat have gone.  You get to walk along the water seeing the remnants of sand castles, or take some wonderful photos of kites still flying, surfers out for their final rides of the day, a peaceful fisherman with his line cast, or couples walking hand in hand at sunset.  I take my camera, or phone along; it allows me to capture life, emotions, dreams, and the peace of the shore at dusk. The sound of the surf rolling in ad out is a soothing balm at the end of a hot day.

I just discovered that spring cleaning can be done in the heat of summer with the blessed air conditioning on!  This discovery happened quite by accident!  I had back surgery in mid-April with a 3 month recovery plan that has slipped into summer.  Now that I’m reaching that mark & planning on finding a path to normal, I’m using some valuable time indoors cleaning out cupboards, closets, draws, & more!  As I re-organize, I evaluate need.  I find it cathartic and much like having a fresh start for my back…my living “spaces” are getting a fresh start, as well.

Summer, can also be a great time to try new “light” recipes that require simple preparation.  Salads are a great staple, especially if you’ve started your own garden.  You can have pasta salads cold or warm (I’ve recently discovered uses for dried tomatoes) …and veggie salads with dried cranberries or blueberries, green salads can have shrimp, chicken or beans added.  I love simple cooking in the summer…and sitting outdoors in the evening with your simple dinner, a nice glass of wine, iced tea or fresh lemonade watching the sunset!

If you have kids or grandkids, you can make bird houses for the garden in a snap by pre-cutting the sides and roof, buying some paint and brushes in several sizes and glue and screws or nails to assemble!  That way they can paint and decorate them with gusto. The internet is a great resource for ideas.  There were also many easy and fun ideas on bird feeders.

Another fun project I saw was gathering stones at the shore (or buying a package of assorted sizes) and paint rocks…you can even make a “rock garden” by getting some paint pens and making your rocks look like cactus!  Then fill a small glazed pot with sand and “plant” your cactus stones! 

Making stepping-stones out of plaster of paris, or cement with hand or foot prints can also be fun!  They can be round, square or heart-shaped.  Make sure you have shells, beads, coins, etc. for decoration.  With projects like this, you can have as much fun as the kids and make great memories in the process!

One of my favorite past-times in the summer is reading…I love a good book store & recently found one on Coronado Island!  It’s called “Bay Books” and is a treasure for book lovers.  In fact, so is a trip to the Island!  We walked through the little town, and up and down neighborhood streets, along the shore and felt the breeze.  We found restaurants, and the Hotel Del, unique gift shops, candy stores, and more, but my favorite was Bay Books!  Sometimes I browse on-line and cheat myself out of the fun of a book store experience.  But it does give me the advantage of downloading a sample of the book before purchase. My tablet is light and portable, easy to charge up and takes pictures too, but it doesn’t replace that feel of holding a book, using a bookmark and putting it on the shelf like a treasure when I’ve finished it. 

I must share with you about my love for puzzles.  If you get a light piece of particle board and cover it with contact paper, set it on a table and buy a couple of awesome puzzles, it can be fun for the whole family …or just you!  It can sit waiting for the right moment, or friends to come by, or a relaxing moment, a break in your day…a date after dinner.  Puzzles are fun anytime of the year, but when it’s hot outside; it makes for fun inside….no pressure to finish, since half the fun is that special “time-out” with your puzzle.  This idea comes from a time in my life when my kids were around and neighbors were next door.  But thinking about it has resurrected nice feelings & happy memories to share.

I discovered drawing books at Barnes and Noble!  They had books with a suggestion and space to draw something new each day (or how often you want)!  What fun…you don’t have to be a great artist to play, but what a great challenge.  I just found the one I purchased and got out a set of pencils.  I’m going to take the plunge and explore the world of drawing.

One of my plans, for this summer was to take an art class!  I had to take a time-out for back surgery, but it’s still on my list.  If it turns out that it’s still a possibility, I will make sure the class is air-conditioned!  Check online or ask friends if they know of classes available.

It’s fun to start something new to stay fit, but that can be challenging in the summer.  However, there are options like a Yoga Class, or evening Tennis, or early morning Golf.  Since summer isn’t over yet.   I’m hoping to get the “OK” for getting back to Yoga.  I’ve also seen several runners along the beach in Carlsbad, as well as, walkers.  I find that exercise that is fun produces better results than the drudgery or chore of other methods. I walk better with music.  It starts my happy engine helping me put some pep in my step, and it’s a great stress reliever.  So far, I’m not in my usual peppy walking mode yet.  I do better on the tread mill, but not chalking up more than a mile and a smidge.  I won’t give up….better things are yet to come (I hope).

Originally, Tom and I had planned to learn to SUP this summer.  I figured we’d fall enough to stay cool!  Maybe that can be a plan for next summer or fall.   I’m glad I got up the courage to move ahead with the surgery, rather than continuing to delete some of my favorite activities.  I hope my ideas above prove fruitful in your life.  I try to plant seeds, hoping to hear that they are growing in the lives of the people I care about.  Sharing Ideas are like a community garden that brings blessings to everyone.

Until our next visit, 

Jackie 

Urban Small Space Gardening

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I love small cottages, with their cozy charm, the kind you find in small towns or historic communities within a city.  They are so charming, but often are on a small lot with limited gardening space. Also, popular and sought after beach front housing around small coastal communities, marinas, and bays often have compromised yard space due to the compression of building as many homes into small, cozy, or prestigious areas as possible.  In our urban communities more and more yard space is limited with the construction of duplexes, condos, and townhouses with shared park-like green space leaving very little plant-able “personal” space.

Fear not!  There are lovely solutions for gardeners who want their own garden of creativity.  You can introduce container gardens to  your porch or patio, or use window boxes for veggies, herbs, or succulent planters, painting them in colors you love to give

Small Space Gardening Photos

them a more personal touch or going for the earthy natural style of metal or wood.  If you choose wood for planting, be sure to line your planter with plastic.  Rolls of plastic are easily found in the paint department of most hardware stores, as well as nylon screen for the bottom of planters and pots, so you don’t wash out planter mix or soil.  If you have space for a small trellis or overhead patio cover, you can have vines or hanging pots for color.  A baker’s shelf, often found in antique stores or vintage shops, can provide shelving in a delightful venue for setting pots and planters, or…a simple old wooden ladder propped against a wall or a free standing ladder can become a charming potted plant holder taking up very little space.  Just give it an inexpensive coat of paint and select a place in your unique growing space.
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Fences can be an opportunity for attaching a plant pocket, or partial rain gutter for herbs, succulents, or seasonal color depending on personal preference and exposure considerations.  Also, finding a 3-tiered fountain makes a great planter and can add some height for a unique and creative planting.  If you are lucky, you can find one on line that someone wants to get rid of…”what a find”.

Old wooden pallets can become incredible planters for succulents and take up very little space, by attaching ground cloth to the back, adding  some potting soil and planting in the cracks, while cuddling in the succulents with damp moss.  A simple old wooden ladder propped against a wall or a free standing ladder can become a charming potted plant holder taking up very little space.  Just give it an inexpensive coat of paint and select a place in your unique growing space.  Here are a few images that might give you some inspiration.

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Even a small balcony or porch can become your “Garden of Possibilities”… your “Peaceful Citadel” with a little imagination.  I hope as always that I have touched that earthy part of your soul that loves gardening… that transports you to the happy place in your corner of the world you call home.  May your creativity keep growing, as your hands keep diggin’ in the dirt.

Till our next visit,

Jackie 

 

 

 

Dirty Garden Gloves

When I see dirty garden gloves, it only means one thing!  Somebody’s happy!  Somebody’s been diggin’ in the dirt…planting, weeding, cultivating soil, and pruning.  For me, those days help me dig down to my core as well…my cares disappear and get buried in the dust as I prune out old dead branches, and redesign my garden with a fresh new look.  It may only need some replacements with just a few plants, or I may embark on a complete transformation, but it feels good and freshens up my garden giving it new energy.  When this process begins, I find that I get energized as well, becoming absorbed in the renewal.  It gives me such a feeling of satisfaction and delight.

I find that dirty garden gloves initiate dirty jeans.  I often use an old chair pad to knell or sit on, but I can’t help getting into the dirt as I reach for a stem or weed to toss.  As I sometimes crawl into spaces only meant for bugs and snails, I search out dead leaves and branches.  Resembling my dog when she’s found a good stick or buried bone, I toss and scratch in the dirt with tremendous satisfaction.  Sometimes the only right tools are hands and knees.

I have some faded, flowered slip-on canvas shoes that have seen their better days, but I’ve spent many of my happiest hours in those shoes.  They are part of my “gear” for chopping, snapping and raking.  As I get a little older, I enjoy taking on a section at a time, so I can go back the next day or so to enjoy another section of my renovation.  Each time I finish and look back at what I’ve done, I feel so alive, and likewise given new life to my garden.  In the wake of this transformation I catch sight of my overflowing trash can waiting for the mulch pile.  My vision magically transforms it into a glowing trophy of my efforts as I gaze with excitement to the next patch of garden waiting for some therapy.

So, I dust off the gloves, and stamp my feet…give those jeans a shake and smile.  I know they will be there waiting, just as I will for another happy day…another pair of “Dirty Gloves”.  Then I treat myself to a glass of iced tea as ideas dance in my head for the next round of renovation.

It’s always fun to visit with you like this…sharing my stories and thoughts on life in my garden…  I’m just thinking the best gift I could give you would be to wish you many “Dirty Glove Days” in your garden too.

Jackie Jesch

 

More than Driftwood

 When I see a piece of driftwood, I think of the sea…but there is more to it than that. Driftwood is a survivor of the storms. It gets tossed, carved, polished and punished by harsh forces before it gets to shore. Even then it survives sun, wind, and more storms. I’ve often overlooked the journey of a piece of driftwood…only admiring the smooth, beautiful twists and turns…colors and shapes of the end result.

Some of them still look rough and worn…even battered, but others fair better and the beauty is brought about by their trials. The qualities of the wood from which they derive play a part in their journey, as well. Softer wood will show the ravages of a storm in a different way than hard wood and the intrinsic values of each wood…color, growth patterns, and density will be a part of the end result.  In any case, every piece of driftwood has a story.

I love to see driftwood used in the landscape, or used as a container for planting. It can be a wonderful patio or home décor accent, adding a touch of nature to your environment. I’ve seen it used as a base for tables or displayed on walls, even hung by rope or chain from beams…both inside and out. We can only guess the story of each piece as we place it, or plant it or hang it, but to be sure it will bring a story to your home, and no doubt be a conversation piece.

We are not that different from the driftwood, are we? We have trials, and storms to weather…we have certain characteristics handed down through generations…we have strengths, and weaknesses that can tear us down…or give us a hurdle to jump. We have stories too. Sometimes I see dozens of beautifully different faces, laughing, talking, playing or working…however, once in a while I catch a glimpse of someone I’d love to draw, or write about. Their face has character…lines and wrinkles that hold a smile…eyes that shine despite the creases around them, weathered hands that are gentle, or a raspy voice that carries soft encouraging words.

The next time I plant a piece of driftwood, or choose one to display…I will wonder where it has been, what is has experienced, and admire the intrinsic qualities of the wood…and I hope I can give more grace to the difficult people I encounter…or encouragement when I have a chance. There just might be a hurdle in their path, after all…we are all on our way to becoming “beautiful”.

Come by and take a look at our wonderful display of driftwood from Larry Bourget’s “Sea Foam Driftwood” here at Waterwise Botanicals. There might be a piece you identify with…a soulmate from the sea…an intriguing accent for your home or garden waiting for you!

The Bountiful Garden

bountiful-garden-picsAutumn is the time of year when I tend to peruse book stores and magazine racks. The alluring titles and pictures of Harvest time is a magnet. Photos of baking bread, berry pies, recipes with squash and apples, and gardens full of Pumpkins and Sunflowers make my pulse rate rise with enthusiasm.

        It makes me want to have one of those glorious gardens that are an eclectic mix of veggies and flowers, entwined with roses and colorful vines. Where theredownload are blue and white china bowls filled with herbs, or old whisky barrels painted in vivid colors with the herbs of the season ready to enhance the tasty recipes I’ve clipped throughout the years.

I picture table grapes in rows along the fence and tee-pees full of beans or peas in a corner with fragrant lavender or roses in waves, accenting the bounty from my garden.

Along with my favorite Liquid Amber trees for fall color, and cypress or fir for Christmas scent, a few fruit trees for different seasons would be scattered here and there with wildflower-like perennials at their feet. There would be strawberries in season & rosemary for a fresh herb, as well as aroma therapy in vases around the house.

       834b96cef750549713a80be25478dcc6 I’d plant chard, zucchini and artichokes with my flowering shrubs, and at this time of year, I’d be getting ready to cut my pumpkins for the porch and hearth. I love the thought of living the country life and sharing its glorious bounty with neighbors and friends…of making pies with my berry crop or apple trees, but alas I have to admit that instead, I make trips to the farmers markets and floral stands by the side of the road. My stack of recipes keeps mounting and I haven’t even found the magic of growing the rudimentary tomato.

       images I can still adore the feeling that overwhelms me with warmth and joy as I see visions of fall and plan my garden of amazing harvests…and look forward to my time curled up on the sofa with my magazines of inspiration. Who knows…maybe one day my vision of the perfect garden will exist. Maybe one day, inch by inch, I will bring that magic to fruition. I will grow beans and sweet peas, and watch my Sunflowers reach for the sky, and then you will come over for my famous apple crumb pie or peach cobbler!

        As I wrote this article, I envisioned the landscape I was creating on paper, so I enlisted the internet to see any images I could find where veggies, fruit, sunflowers or pumpkins were used to get some real visuals. I came across a website by Rosalind Creasy of Los Altos, California with some great examples of doing just what I had envisioned. She has also written several books, but the one that covers our topic here is “Edible Landscaping”.   I have used some of the photos from her pages available online.  She also has a blog, but I couldn’t find any recent posts. It was however quite interesting & colorful in a harvest of creativity. If you get a chance, or this article provokes more interest, I’d recommend visiting her website.

Happy Harvest Time,

          Jackie Jesch

 

 

 

Summertime Projects…An Infusion of Joy for your Garden

We all like to spend time outdoors with family and friends in the summer, which leads to giving some attention to our outdoor living space. I have found that I love to spend some early evening time outdoors snipping, planting and dreaming up ideas for my garden area.

As I made my mental notes of fun ideas, I thought I’d share them with you. If outdoor decorating & creating brings you joy, as it does me, I hope I can pass along some positive energy and smiles to you.

    • I love “Market Lights”!  They are fun and inviting. Look for places you might want to try them.images1XP7PQQM

 

 

 

    • Plant a succulent, or perennial chair to place in your garden, porch or patio area. I go to vintage, antique barns, or second hand stores to find one that have some charm & remove the seat. You can give it a coat of chalk or spray 028 (2)paint first, if it needs some first aid. Staple or tack soft screen in the seat area leaving enough droop in the seat for soil. Fill your soil enough to give it a gentle mound to plant on. Then just plant with succulents or small assorted perennials!
    • Try adding some sand and smooth stones to create a dry stream bed. This is good for difficult areas to grow plants (too shady, hot or uneven) and gives a new dimension to your outdoor space. Be sure to give it soft sides and look at pictures of mountain streams first, to avoid a ring-around-the rosy look with your larger rocks.   This will avoid the “after-thought” look.
    • Add soft nature music to your outdoor entertainment area. Bird song, rivers, rain, breeze…will make you feel relaxed and transport you to the mountains or sea right in your own backyard.
    • Move some softness outside with overstuffed pillows and throws for evenings with friends on the patio.14 Mullen

 

 

  • Luminaries in the garden or patio tables make me “light –up” with joy! They are unexpected and your guests will feel transported to a delightful get-away…so will you. 
  • Shade sails are great for summer fun in your outdoor spaces where it gets too hot to sit, swim or entertain. They are readily available on the internet & Sunbrella makes them in several colors!imagesR7TT8R25

 

  • Find a place for a double-seated swing or glider… I love the ones that look vintage and can be hung from a beam. Just picture a nice summer evening gliding back and forth… feeling the evening air, reading, talking …or just dreaming as you sip that iced lemonade or coffee.images[8]

I enjoyed sharing my “wish list” with you…now have some fun making one of your own. I hope I gave you new vision as you look at your familiar space with new excitement. If you have some shady areas that need a punch of color, come and visit WB’s Shade House full of exotic Bromeliads, potted & hanging Succulents, decorative Driftwood and more.

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Have a Joy-filled summer in your Garden,

Jackie Jesch