Soft moss a downy pillow makes, and green leaves spread a tent,
Where faerie fold may rest and sleep until their night is spent.
The bluebird sings a lullaby, the firefly gives a light,
The twinkling stars are candles bright, Sleep, Faeries all, Goodnight.
---Elizabeth T. Dillingham "A Faery Song"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fanciful Fairies

I had a couple of days off work this weekend and got inspired to do something I've wanted to do for a long time (also thanks to Pinterest)...a fairy garden.  You may recall some pictures of fairy things I have taken on previous posts.  I had my fairy community at the base of a gnarly old tree.  Well I continually accumilated more fairy stuff and it started to look cluttered.  (yes,  fairies can be hoarders too!)  I thought I would enjoy them more all grouped together, raised up off the ground where I can see them.  I had an old wheelbarrow missing the wheel that I had "curb shopped" as my container.  So I went about picking up rocks for the base, shredded leaves for the middle layer and some nice composted manure/compost for the top layer.  I used sedums, moss, oxalis, lamium and even a little cedar tree sprout for my landscaping.  The pond is a plastic rock planter filled with blue stones..I even have some glass fish if you look closely. 

The other items were bought at yard sales or dollar stores.  My sister painted the cute stone fairy houses.  I keep tweaking it..since this pic I added an old horseshoe as a garden arch...cute!

After I posted my pic on facebook I was contacted my my garden buddy Heather about doing a workshop on fairy gardens.  I agreed-- so now I'm busy coming up with neat ideas I can share with others at the workshop.  The neat thing about fairy gardens is they can be done in any container..the more unusual the better.  I have seen them in old washtubs, flowerpots, birdbaths, and baskets.  Now for today's fairy project.  I have seen fairy houses made from gourds on the internet so I decided to give it a try.  My gourd was well past its prime for any bird housing so I didn't have anything to lose. 
 This is the gourd before:

This is the same gourd after about 15 minutes:

This "extreme makeover" consists of lichen, acorn cap, and nut half I found in the woods near my house.   I used some silk floral odds and ends that luckily hadn't been thrown away to give a little color and hide the ugly entrance hole.  Did you see the little porch light I made out of a marble and acorn cap?  Here's a closeup:

I have decided to keep it as part of my back porch display for now:

To end I will pose the question made famous by the fairy soap company....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Adventures in Hydroponics

Hello!  I can't believe we have had 70 degree temps on Feb 1.  If that old groundhog has a sunny day tomorrow maybe we can just forfeit this whole winter to spring.  I wanted to share my newest hobby...hydroponic gardening.  This was my set up I requested for my birthday.  Glen did a good job I think!  We researched designs on the internet and he sketched up our own version. 

Then it was my turn to figure out exactly how to use it.  I am more a fan of rooting cuttings than starting seeds or actually growing entire plants in it.  So, I set about finding some cuttings in my yard.  A few roses, some camellia, holly twigs and african violet leaves.  I prepared them Thanksgiving weekend and transplanted 2 of the roses today. 
Here is the best rooted one (although both were good)

I suffered information overload from all the sites recommending "these" nutrients and "that" growing medium.  I was eager to get started so I just used what I had...some liquid plant food and some coconut coir.  I was dreading a dark cold winter with nothing to putter around with that was garden related.  Well the winter really has been mild but I've enjoyed the hydroponic set up just the same.  It is situated in my basement underneath our staircase which makes it convenient and out of the way.  It contains 28 growing "holes" and the containers I used were just plain clear cups from Wal-mart with holes poked in the sides.  By the way..the camellias and holly were a dud.  The african violets rooted well.  So what are YOU doing till spring??