Monday, January 6, 2020

Do You Buy Plants Without Knowing Where They Will Be Planted?

A couple of years ago I started a post about this garden in my backyard. (I never finished it until tonight.) There is a large plant sale in our area (I use 'area' loosely- this sale is almost 2 hours away). I have gone three or four times since we moved here. Prices are getting higher, so I am not sure that I will frequent the sale regularly.

At this sale I bought a handful of Camellias and Azaleas. Not knowing where to plant the Camellias I decided to create a new garden bed. I am of the frame of mind that if grass doesn’t grow well in a spot in your yard, then mulch it and make a new garden. This area is on the north side of the house, under the deck overhang. It would be protected, have some morning sun and plenty of shade midday through the afternoon.

The plants were planted, garden created with the help of a certain German Shepherd. I planted a couple of the Camellias; C. sasanqua ‘Ashley Eden’, C. sasanqua ‘Elizabeth Ann’, and C. sasanqua ‘Leslie Ann’ and two azaleas, Rhododendron ‘Delaware Valley White’. One of the compost tumblers was ready to be spread. Compost and mulch and some newspaper under the mulch, voila - a garden.

I have a couple wagons that I make good use of in the garden. This one is one that dumps, and spreading mulch goes quickly when you can dump and go. Yes, I used some newspaper over the compost but under the mulch. It was a thin layer and decomposed pretty quickly. Chickweed and Poa annua grass run rampant in our yards where grass is thin. Some kind of weed block to give me a head start was needed.

Midway through the garden prep Liebling was very interested in something in the back near the wall. What was it? A baby Eastern Rat snake, one of the good guys.

Phase one of the new garden done! Unfortunately two of the Camellias did not do well. One was moved out front and seems to be doing better. ‘Ashley Eden’ remains and has bloomed a couple of times, she is still quite small, maybe eighteen inches tall.

The azaleas bloomed well and are settling into their new garden. I like having white blooms, the whiteness really pops in the shade. Between the shrubs are some ferns. I figure you can’t go wrong with ferns. This fall I also planted some Trillium, we will see how well they do. I planted Trillium in the large shaded garden a couple years ago and have no idea where they are. It might be too much leaf litter.

Phase two- the garden was expanded. The mulched area now goes along the edge of the patio under the deck. A few square cement blocks were added in the widest part of the bed so no one walks on any plants. Yes, I did add more. I divided my daffodils in one of the front gardens and needed a spot to put them. As I write the four clumps of daffodils are coming up. Most are about six inches of fresh green foliage already. Later this year I will place some stepping stones in a better pattern, when I know where all the daffodils are growing! At the end of the wall is very wet from the French drain and a downspout outlet. Since this edge of the garden gets sun, I planted a few Mountain Mint that I was dividing. What was I thinking?? I may need to put an edging around the mint.

July 2019

Oh,inquiring minds might ask what the plant is that is hanging over the wall. It is Edgeworthia chrysantha. This is one plant. Apparently it is happy there. I have five along that side of the house, all are quite large. Next month the blooms will be at their peak, sending glorious fragrance through the garden.

July 2019

Back to the question in the title of this post. Seems I always fall in love with a plant or a bargain on a plant (or ten) and then have to come up with ideas as to where they might thrive in my garden. What do you do?

©Copyright 2020 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Halloween Storm-y

Supplies in hand, this year's Halloween costumes are underway. What are we supposed to be? Well, I thought it was pretty clear, but when my daughter asked if we were jellyfish, I figured we needed a thunderbolt. Yes, we are thunderclouds with lightening and rain. 

Supplies: plenty of fiberfill, umbrella hats, fairy lights with small battery included, dark tulle for lining, Mylar ribbon, and beads on a string. If you don't have a glue gun, include that on your shopping list with plenty of extra glue sticks. I bought a hot glue gun- if I had it to do again, it would be a cool temperature one. (hello burns on my fingertips) Foam core board to make some lightening bolts added after the fact.
I had plenty of help with the first cloud, Millie was most intrigued with my supplies. Not knowing how much tulle I needed, I first cut it in half and then quartered it. Since the umbrella hats were rainbow colors, I needed to camouflage it. The tulle I found was had gold glitter sparkles in the cool is that! 
Weaving and layering the strips of tulle through the spokes of the umbrella and gluing in place was pretty straight forward. 

Next step was to weave one strand of the fairy lights in the black tulle. The battery case was glued to the center post of the underside.

Flipping the umbrella over I decided to glue the fairy lights on first, to be under the cloud. The battery cases were glued at the top on either side of the white knob on top. 

Tried it on to see how it looked. You can see the lights on the underside in the black tulle and the lights on top, springing free of the glue. 

Next step was gluing the fiberfill over the lights. This fiberfill didn't come in strips or sheets but loose for packing a stuffed animal or pillow. I took small handfuls of it and glued it down, moving around the hat. If there was a gap in the fill, I would come back and either add more or glue the fill to itself.

Lights underneath

Time to glue the bead threads. I decided to glue the longest ones on the spokes of the umbrella for good spacing. Also hung strands of Mylar ribbon from the spokes and around the represent rain. Also cut a lightening bolt and glued it on the top front.

Thundercloud #1 complete

Lamps make good 'cloud stands'

Thundercloud #2 was easier to make- upstairs, away from the kitty

My craft/sewing table
Here is the underside with the battery case glued to the underside of the top. 

After trying to locate the spokes after the fiberfill was glued on the first cloud, I thought it would be easier to glue and tie on the rain streamers before the fiberfill. Also marked the front so I could get most of the rain streamers in the front and most of the lights.

Trying this one on. As Charlie is a lot taller, his rain streamers are longer. That is really the only difference between the two. You can see in the photo below I need to tuck some of the black tulle back into the hat, it shouldn't hang that long. 

Lightening bolt added........all done. We will dress in dark clothes to disappear below the clouds.

No prizes this year but lots of fun at the neighborhood party. Do you dress up for Halloween?

©Copyright 2019 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

It's Almost Halloween! Costumes, costumes, costumes.....

A number of years ago we had gone to our neighborhood Halloween party in costumes that won prizes - think it was for most creative. I shared a photo of it back in 2013 with a promise of details on how to put it together. Well, apparently I didn't follow through. As I get ready to create another costume I thought I would take a stroll down memory lane and share some of the previous costumes we have done over the years AND a 'how to' for our award winning costume. Be aware there will be lots of photos.
Nine years of costumes
And now as promised- the Martians from Sesame Street, otherwise called the Yip-Yip Monsters.

I really loved these costumes. Fun to make and not difficult. Let me say this right up front- I don't really follow patterns. Detailed directions are not my forte. I wing it quite often. I have a vision of what I want the outcome to look like and go from there. 
Luckily our local Jo-Anne fabric store was still open when I chose to make this costume. With husband in tow we went with a list :
eyes and pupils
mouths and lips
Needless to say the ladies at the fabric store were a little amused at our shopping technique. 
Body= fabric - pick whatever color flow-y fabric you like (make sure it is not see through) How much? This is where you need the person who is wearing the costume. You want it long enough to go from the knees (at least), over the head and back down to the length in the front...roughly 3-4 yards give or take. 
Eyes= Styrofoam balls big enough to have a good presence on your head. About softball size or a little smaller. Pupils were decided to be some of the leftover fabric from the mouth.
Antenna= Pipe cleaners.  Where would we be without pipe cleaners? 
Mouth and lips= The mouth needs to be thin enough to see through. The lips, or rather the working part of the formed mouth...what to use, what to use? I finally came up with a car washing sponge. 

Supplies and Safety Pins

 First dilemma was the correct placement of the eyeballs and how to keep the top of the head on the top of your head. Solution was to safety pin a baseball cap, worn backwards, to the costume material. Once the material was set on your body, longer length in the front by about a foot or so, secure the baseball cap with safety pins. Eye placement is tricky if you are trying this on your own as you can't see through the fabric. I placed my husband's eyeballs and he did mine. We chose to place the eyeballs almost on the crown of our heads. Mark the fabric accordingly. Also mark where the mouth will be. I used tape.

Inside view of baseball cap

 Cut the mouth opening after removing the costume. Always go smaller than you think is needed as you can cut more. Remember you will need to see through the mouth fabric, so cut the mouth high enough on your face so your eyes are in the mouth opening.
 Measure the black fabric with the cut portion of the body piece. Assemble and sew in place. 

 Here comes in the car wash sponge. It was large enough to be able to control the mouth and lightweight enough to not weigh down the front of the costume when not holding it. Cut in half- half for each costume. The rounded edge goes against the inside of the bottom lip.
                                                  I used fabric glue to secure the sponges in place. 

Next was gluing the Styrofoam balls and the twisted pipe cleaners for antenna. I needed to use multiple pipe cleaners twisted together to give them the heft to stay upright. It was good to glue the pipe cleaners close to the eyeballs, helping to hold them straight.  Also multiple safety pins come in handy.

 Adjust accordingly. I added the pupils to the eyeballs last. I wanted them to be facing in the right direction. To assess placement I used two camera tripods to hold up the costumes and instantly had a dining room full of personality. As with other Muppet puppets, once the eyes are complete they have so much life, so much personality.

To wear the costumes, pin the sides closed in one or two places. With hands inside the costume you can move the sponge up and down to open and close the mouth.

This costume was lots of fun to make and wear. No one knew it was us!  Give this one a try; be bold, be brave and just wing it!

©Copyright 2019 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.