This weekend project combines the best of both worlds: it's functional, providing plenty of space to grow small culinary herbs or succulents or a safe place to start seeds indoors while it's still frosty outside, and its large scale allows it to fill a whole wall, providing color, texture, and a bit of pattern.
My brother-in-law, Nathan, is a self-proclaimed, um, minimalist lawn care guy. He grew up in a house with a steep, turf-covered backyard hill, and as the youngest son, was the mower of choice as soon as he was big enough until he graduated from college.
And now, in his own house, with the scars of his Sisyphean task of pushmowering up the world's steepest backyard, he's not the hugest fan of taking care of his turf. I mean, who would be, when you're an awesome dad and you're faced with the choice of hanging out with your totally rad kids or mowing the grass?
But, after nearly ten years in this house, with plenty of patches and a healthy collection of dandelions, crabgrass, thistles, and all sorts of other weeds, even Nathan realized his yard could use a season of TLC.
Why Grass Seed is Way More Interesting than You'd Think: Reports from the Pennington Seed "Seed for Yourself" Summit
Over the past weekend, I was fortunate to be invited as a guest of Pennington Seed to attend the Seed for Yourself Summit near Albany, Oregon. As someone who lives in the city and is thankful I haven't had to care for a green lawn since I gave the responsibility back to my dad when I left for college, I admit I knew very little nothing about grass seed, how to grow it, or why some is better than others.
But now, I've been schooled, and I'm popping around the neighborhood goin' "See that? That's tall fescue, it goes dormant in the winter, which is why it looks like straw;" and, "Perennial rye grass right there, cause it has untoothed parallel sides and prominent parallel veins on the upper surface."
See? I learned something. And...grass seed is pretty fascinating stuff.
When most of us walk, drive, or worse, bike, over a pothole, we do what anyone would: curse, promise yourself not to do it again, and swear you're gonna write a letter.
When British artist Steve Wheen comes across a pothole, he plants a mini-guerilla garden in it. And the results are awesome...and often adorable.
Even the humble garden gnome has the potential for a full-on, justice-inducing, evil-butt-kicking alter ego.
Clever guy Kris came up with a fun and easy way to transform everyday Winklebottoms and Figgleforths into slug-stomping, possum-punishing superheroes!
He used bit of Sculpey clay, autobody filler, and some clever painting techniques for a very funny, very creative result.
File under "why didn't I think of that?!"
When we last left my tiny 4x4' backyard, it was, well, a box of dirt. A nice, square, painstakingly measured box of dirt and with flush joints, but a box of dirt nonetheless.
So, for my next project as part of the True Value Blog Squad, I needed to outfit it to support the plants, keep out the pests, and then actually start growing something!
This is my backyard. All of it. A roughly 4 x 4 1/2 ' patch of gravel and clay.
I think even the most blackest of thumbs can recognize that nothing's gonna grow in that soil. But, that's not okay with me. I want a garden. I want to be able to just walk out of my door, and grab fresh herbs, greens, and produce when I'm preparing meals. I want to participate in my food. I wanna weed, water, and scare away all those dang chipmunks that nibble at my plants.
So, as my first project for the True Value Blog Squad, I built a garden that allows my plants to thrive regardless of the soil condition, or the fact that the space is smaller than me.
And you can too! Here's how:
Something very strange has happened to me last week. I - one who came to fore in the oh-so-green and manicured lawns of the suburbs, who daily cut lawns in order to finance bicycle and first guitar purchases, who is deathly allergic to grass, and hates the idea of using all that gasoline to keep a non-native plant from growing - got an urge to mow the grass. As an urban apartment dweller, I don't have a plot of land to take care of, and what little space I do have is filled with veggies.
But, I just felt a brief, passing twinge to welcome summer with a Walkman-serenaded stroll up and down rows and rows of green, staining my shoes in the process.
When the people at True Value got in touch with us about joining their DIY Blog Squad for 2011, we were psyched. Last year's group included some heavy hitters like DesignMom, DIYdiva, and The Lettered Cottage, so I knew we'd be in good company.
Chris and I have a list of fun projects lined up for the summer, including, but not limited to, so don't hold us to this list in court, ok?:
- A Nelson-inspired slatted bench
- Raised garden beds
- Etched copper plant labels
- A sloped garden re-lanscaping project
- Some other miscellaneous fixer-upper projects
Of course, if there's a particular project you'd like to suggest, please let us know in the
Spring keeps hinting it's going to show up around my house: the sun will say hello for a hour or two, the birds will test out their morning songs before disappearing, and I haven't seen one of those awful, gross and gray snow piles in the last few days. I'm looking out the window, and I can almost hear that suite from Peer Gynt that they always played in Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Sounds likes it to drop a bomb.
Christmas card update: Nativity scenes or snow covered farms have been outdated for decades, and even thoughtful phrases like "peace on earth" or "comfort and joy" have grown a little tired over the last few years. But now? Now, non-plant producing Christmas cards are so 2009.
The "Seasons Greetings" PostCarden: "Once opened and unfolded into its log cabin, pop-out the skaters and simply sow the enclosed seeds and add water. In a few days your card will start to grow into a festive forest and will keep for 2 - 3 weeks."
Check out the video of it in action:
When I need a break from work, I tend to go for today's crossword puzzle, but I certainly appreciate the daydream-inducing liltiness of keeping a mini zen garden on one's desk.
Instructable author Obbitz has created one of the finest DIY zen garden options that'll inspire you to keep your desk clear. It's created from scrap wood and a bit of glue, and filled with ordinary sand and pebbles.
Squirting someone with the garden hose will: 1) never stop being fun, and 2) never stop being funny. The mantra "its only water" can aid in getting away with a lot, no? Imagine how much MORE fun it would be to soak your mates with a water pistol with an infinite reservoir and gusto for days.