April Showers and May Flowers

Happy Spring! Its been a busy one already. But the sun is out, the temperatures are rising and soon it will be time to start moving my tomatoes and snap peas out into the garden. Even Agnes the Mighty, defender of my porch, is ready for it with her adorable raincoat.

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I am goose, hear me roar!

Although I have been silent on the blog, I have been busy preparing for the spring and doing other stuff. Since the last post I started volunteering at the Baltimore County Humane Society, had my first craft show of the season and been traveling for work quite a bit. I also successfully performed in my very first burlesque show last week! Lots of hobbies continuing and new ones starting! But always, crafts are my first love.

One of the projects I was most excited for this spring was a crafting and gardening hybrid project using my new favorite upcycled material: wooden pallets. I know the internet is piled high with pallet projects, but I wanted to showcase mine here. In my house, there is a little room of the back of the kitchen that leads out into the back yard. I guess you can call it a mud room. This is where my computer is and all of my plants live. Since it is just off the kitchen, I planned to put an indoor garden in for year-long access to fresh herbs. But how to do it?

At first, I was just going to make shelves and get cute pots to put my herbs in. But then I started getting pallets and I decided to make an herb wall. There are a million and one tutorials on how to do this on a million and one blogs, so I am not going to make it a million and two, but I will show you the basic idea of what I did. I opted to use the pallet in conjunction with landscaping fabric to make little pockets for the plants to grow in. Usually landscape fabric is used to keep weeds out of beds while letting air and moisture in, so it works perfectly for this. I repositioned the slats the way I wanted them and got to stapling. Using a lot of staples and a heavy duty staple gun, I stapled fabric to the back of the pallet and then made the pockets using Scotts Pro Landscape Fabric.

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A f@!$ton of staples. 

After all the stapling, I should have hung it up on the wall, but I did not because I was impatient and wanted to get to the planting. So I filled the pockets with dirt. The dirt bulged out a bit on some of the pockets, so I emptied it out and stapled it again on the inside of the pallet to keep it from doing so and filled it again. I also decided to add some extra color and shabby-chicness to it by stapling strips of sage burlap on alternating rows leftover from the curtains I made for that room. I think it looks great and ties the room together.

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Finished, sans herbes.

Despite trying so hard, I am not good at raising plants from seed. I planted all the herbs I wanted to put in the wall garden and a lot of them sprouted, even thrived for a short time. Then they died when I moved them. I think that the pallet is not getting enough of light, so I am going to get another shop light and grow bulb combination I am using on the plant tables I have the seedlings on (which are made out of pallets I cut in half and put 30″ tall legs on). Anyways, after the seedlings in the pallet didn’t work out, I decided to buy some herb plants instead, since I have good luck with already-established plants. I added them to the pallet over the weekend. The bottom right slot though is for mustard plants I want to add that are doing okay as seedlings, but are still too small to transplant. I also made little signs for them, using wooden cutouts I got at the craft store held on with green pushpins I had laying around.

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Finished, avec herbes.

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I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes…

Although the thing now weighs a ton, I still want to mount it on the wall. Since it is so heavy, I bought an OOK Hangman French Cleat, as suggested here. The cleat is rated to hold up to 200 lbs; I don’t know how much it weighs exactly, but I don’t think it is more than that. I want to anchor it to the wall beams, but I suck at the tap-and-listen method of finding beams in the wall. I purchased a beam finder yesterday, so I hope to get the pallet on the wall tonight and the grow light on the ceiling by the end of the weekend.

Last week my mother and my sister came down to visit. Although I am an atheist, I was raised Catholic so I hosted for Easter. My sister came down to see my burlesque show and mom came down the next day, as she was understandably not interested in the show. My mother used to be a florist, and she grows quite a collection of plants at her Brooklyn, NY apartment, both inside the house and outside on the fire escape. She helped me do a bit of landscaping in the front yard and garden. We went to a big box store to get the plants, but I was happy to see that a lot of them were locally grown at Catoctin Mountain Growers in Maryland, near the Pennsylvania border. So we went to work on the front gardens.

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A helluva lot of plants

So we both dug in and went to work. We also broke the plastic spades I got at the big box store after less than an hour’s worth of digging, so I went to the home improvement store, got more spades, grabbed some black mulch, picked up a couple of white phlox plants and another variegated hosta came back. Then we dug in again.

The beds in front of the patio both have two beautiful red rose bushes at each end, which I did not want to disturb. In the middle of them, my mom planted purple hyacinths and white phlox. I also decided to plant marigolds in various colors along all the borders in the front garden beds. I don’t have a picture of it, but mom also put some tulips in the bed in front of my kitchen window. The tulips haven’t opened yet, but it looks like they may be white and red and double-petaled.

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No garden is complete without a pink plastic flamingo. Especially in Baltimore.

The hyacinths look sad, but they’ve since perked up a bit. I also plan to connect that front bed with the side/kitchen bed by digging out the grass on the side of the patio and getting some nice shade-loving plants for that area. Probably hellebores, but I have not decided yet.

I also dug up a section along the front path and added some hostas. I alternated between variegated hostas I purchased and all green hostas I dug up from the side garden. I ran out of variegated ones, so I only planted on the straight parts of the path. I plan to do the entire path, both sides, by the end of the season. My awesome neighbor (who edits Faerie Magazine) is getting rid of some green hostas in her front yard and is going to donate them to the cause.

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Hosta path is coming along

I also purchased some awesome solar globe lights to put between the plants going up the path. They are really nice and have a crackled glass look. And they look great at night.

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Glowy hosta path!

That is all of what I have for now, but there will be more to come. I have quite a few things I am looking to do outdoors: composting, more patio furniture, veggie gardening and a bunch more. I also have some indoor updates to show y’all!

As always, thanks for reading!

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