Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DIY Garden Project: Easey-peasey plant labels, pots, and cloches

Lush, enveloping, bountiful summer has arrived.

Apple tree, green pea bed, and Queen Elizabeth hedge rose

Front garden with its spiraea, lavender, roses, peonies, and plum tree

Though a garden can be fragrant in any season, the summer garden ramps up the scent level because of the heat.  The twenty or so rose bushes contribute greatly to the garden's perfume.

L'etoile de Holland, a robust climber, has dark-red, velvety blooms emitting a wonderful damask fragrance

Bourbon rose:  fragrant, stripped Ferdinand Pichard

Suspect this is Chicago Peace, taken close to twilight

David Austin English Rose:   climbing, quartered, magenta, velvety, fragrant Falstaff

This mystery rose is a glowing salmon pink, very fragrant--opening from urn-shaped buds to trusses of double blooms

Fancy flowers are show stoppers for sure, but the simpler forms can wow just as much as this single-petal white rose with its delicate yellow stamens.


Daisies are magnificent in their cheerful and unassuming simplicity.


Adding to the garden's fragrance are Lily of the Valley, cottage pinks, honeysuckle, and soon, lovely lavender.   The Calm One suggested the photo below to be captioned:  This is not the Eiffel Tower.  I would be lost without his daily dose of wit.

Remember to pick bouquets to keep fragrance nearby:  sage, daisies, Lily of the Valley, cottage pinks


Honeysuckle with Bartlett pear tree in the background

Not only flowers, but fruit also is part of the scent experience.  There are strawberries, then there are gariquettes!   When I first saw gariquettes here in France, I thought the conical strawberries  looked odd.  One taste, and I was hooked. Their fragrance is also tremendously alluring.

Yes!  June-bearing gariquette strawberries

The swollen stem end can be easily sliced off, no gouging required for de-stemming

Vegetables add to the medley of scents also with their earthy aromas. The spinach planted at the beginning of March is coming in nicely.


A nice supper recipe is a vegetarian version of an hot, open-faced sandwich:  sauté well washed and chopped spinach with garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil till tender, mix in your favourite grated cheese, and top slices of your favourite bread with the cheesy spinach, making sure the bread is moistened with the flavourful liquid from the pan.   I suspect only spinach lovers would want to try this one.

Gobbling peas in the garden is a vice, especially if one needs to accumulate enough for a fresh pea soup or a stir fried rice.

Freshly picked peas are a delight--green candy

Not only do tomato seedlings give off a mouth-watering fragrance which makes my stomach growl when tending them, they are also a tactile delight with their fuzzy stems.  I had wondered if my thirty plants would be able to bound back after being light deprived for about two weeks because of unusually drab and cool weather as I keep them on window sills.  Happily, new growth is bursting with chlorophyll once again.  The lower pale leaves can be removed and the stem buried right up to the new, green growth.  Tomato stems will sprout roots when planted, unlike many other plants whose stems would just rot.


Ah yes, the DIY project.  You probably thought I forgot about that!  So many used materials come in handy in a garden.  Three needed items are labels, cloches, and pots.  Recycled plastic  bottles/jugs are perfect from which to make all three items.  Opaque cloches can be used for blanching and for protecting plants against overnight frost.  Transparent/translucent ones are good for protecting against slugs and continuing frost. 

MATERIALS: 
  • Coloured/clear/opaque soda, water, and milk plastic bottles
  • Awl for making drainage holes for pots
  • Matt knife for cutting the bottoms off for pots
  • Scissors for cutting various sized labels
  • Water-proof markers for writing on labels
  • Bottle caps to regulate temperature, too hot, remove cap, too cold keep cap on.
Three large labels can be made from a quart-sized bottle.  The bottom becomes a small pot.


The large label can be reduced to generate a few small ones and one medium-sized label


Large label goes pointed end down into the soil

Translucent plastic cloche protecting baby lettuce from slugs.  Bottom part becomes a pot.  Awl is used for making drainage holes

Off to prepare some beds for white/kidney beans and flageolets!  See you next week.

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