our acreage: gardens

When we first moved out here, we didn’t have a garden. Geoffrey and I talked about making a large vegetable garden somewhere in our yard, but we couldn’t agree on where. What we did agree on was waiting at least a full year to think about it and get a feeling for where it would work best before we went ahead and dug up the grass. Then the snow began to melt.

What we noticed first was a small square perimeter of wood in our front yard. As the snow melted more, we began to see sand. Once it completely disappeared, we were left with an old 8′ x 8′ sandbox that had clearly been neglected. Not wanting to keep it a sandbox because of all the stray cats and wildlife around here, I eventually chose for it to become my rock garden.

I envisioned a desert-inspired garden with lots of cacti and rocks. I asked many people what I should do to transform this sandbox into a usable, grow-able space and was given lots of ideas. My sister-in-law was the most knowledgeable, so I listened mostly to her. The first thing I did was stain the wood. I chose a darker colour called “Coffee” thinking that it would contrast our light grey house nicely. I went in blind since I had no idea what exterior theme we would eventually go with- modern, western, etc. I therefore aimed for a slightly more modern look.

Next I dug several 1′ x 1′ holes. I think I started with around seventeen. Then I filled them with soil. It was still too cold to plant anything, so for days I just stared out the window at these holes. To me, it looked much too cluttered. I decided to fill those holes back in with sand and dig new ones. This time I ended up with ten. Much better.

Over the next few weeks, I set about getting everything planted in my garden. I started by propagating a few cacti that were growing in our home. Right away it was clear that they weren’t going to survive. (I was too excited and planted them too early.) Then my next door neighbour gave me thyme to put in my garden. I thought, ‘OK, this will be a thyme and cacti rock garden’. A few days later I went to a greenhouse and came back not with cacti but bell peppers, white onions, succulents, and red Canadian roses. Clearly my desert-inspired garden was slowly becoming a vegetable/flower garden. Oh well!

Have you ever tried growing green onion in water from food scraps? It is ridiculously easy, even for a brown thumb like me! After you buy some from the grocery store and consume the dark green part of the vegetable, take the leftover part (the white bulb with roots attached) and put it in a glass of water. Be sure to change the water every day or every second day. Almost instantly you will see new growth occur. I did this for about two weeks before I transplanted them into my garden. That’s when they really took off! They are over 3 feet tall. I have never seen green onion quite like this before. Geoff and I still laugh about how massive they are.

To finish it off, I purchased large river stones to cover the sand. I think that it took around eight bags. Then I bought small smooth pebbles to fill in the gaps. I found the large rocks to line the plant holes along the dirt roads that we walk on everyday.

After filling my rock garden with all of the plants and vegetables that I could think of, I felt like that it began to look a little disorganized. Somewhere along the way I lost my vision of a minimalist cacti haven. Following advice from my mother-in-law and mum to start a garden along the garage, I decided to do just that. I removed the rhubarb from the rock garden, then the sunflower plant, then the white onions, then the peppers, and put them in my new garden that Geoff made for me by rototilling a long and narrow patch. We also added the peonies that we took from our other house. Garden thieves.

I tended to that second garden for a few weeks before I began to notice that every night animals were digging in it. After a lengthy search on Pinterest, I found simple and practical fence options that one could DIY in a matter of a few days. Back I went to Geoffrey, asking him to now build a fence around our spontaneous little garden. He was probably hesitant at first, but once I showed him the pictures, he became very excited and said that he would love to do it.

As an added treat, I took the kids to visit an out-of-town friend for two days. Armed with music, beer, and hot weather, he constructed the cutest darn fence that we have ever had. He used cement, chicken wire, and treated 2′ x 4’s and posts. Then I laid down mulch.

We finished it off by adding hinges and a latch on the gate. Beautiful and practical. Yet, we weren’t done.

Once I saw how lovely the treated lumber looked, I knew that my slightly-modern outdoor theme was now out the window. Rustic was the way to go for our acreage. This meant that I wanted to change the stained wood that housed my rock garden. I sent Geoffrey back to Home Depot for treated 2′ x 6’s. He went and picked them up, then came home and replaced the wood, making it much taller as well. I love the way it turned out. This rock garden will forever remind me of my sister-in-law.

Next year we have plans for raised flower beds in an enclosure along the sunnier side of the garage. Until then, these are our acreage gardens.

Emory

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indoor/outdoor succulent basket – diy

Many weeks ago, I had gone to one of my favourite local greenhouses to buy a hanging succulent basket. I thought that the front of our house desperately needed one, and I had seen these types of hanging planters when I had gone there previously. I had never thought of filling a basket with succulents instead of flowers, and after leaving empty handed that day, I couldn’t get them out of my mind. So after days and days of pining over them, I decided to go back and buy one!

I wasn’t sure how much they cost, but I was hoping that they wouldn’t be more than $50. When I had arrived, I found the first basket and flipped the tag over. It was $75. My heart sank. I did the same for the others and they were all the same price. Darn.

Remy and I walked around the greenhouse for the next 20 minutes hoping to find smaller succulent baskets. There were none. Knowing that all of their plants were reasonably priced, my next thought was to make my own. 

I picked out a beautiful basket and quickly gathered up all of the same type of succulents that were found in it. Then we paid for everything and left. The total was only $23!

Next I asked Geoff to meet me at the dollar store. He was between shifts and so he sat in the vehicle with Remy while I ran inside and grabbed a hanging basket for $2. After that, he drove to his second job and we drove home.

That evening I spray painted the basket and switched out the rope for twine. Then I added the succulents one by one.

After playing around with the arrangement, I grabbed a ladder and drill and went outside. First I hung the iron bracket. Finally, I hung the basket.

Remy helped! Kidding, she kept going in and out of the house and closing the door on me. Brat.

All in all I’m more in love with my version of the succulent basket than what I saw at the greenhouse. It was really fun to make. Additionally, I saved $50! 

This is something that will last the entire year, as you should bring it inside during the colder months. Then, its back outside for the spring and summer. For $25, how can you go wrong?

<3

Emory

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dutch growers

I don’t know about you, but I love spending time among plants. I feel like it’s good for my soul.

I recently took Remy to one of my favourite local greenhouses, Dutch Growers. It was a misty spring day and rather than going for our afternoon walk outside in the rain, I decided to instead walk around a greenhouse. That way, we were able to keep warm and take in a bit of nature. It did wonders for us.

Remy adores plants. Every Sunday we water all of the succulents around our home. We also have to water the air plants every second day. She loves watching me do it. I name every plant for her and afterwards she plays with the watering can and plant mister.

It took me years to get acquire a green thumb, so I hope to instill one in Remy at a young age. I’m already very lucky that she has such an interest in greenery!

If anyone ever finds themselves on the Canadian prairies, then please stop by Dutch Growers. You will not be disappointed.

<3

Emory

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clay cross planter: diy

I saw a hanging clay planter on Etsy awhile ago, and it’s been on my DIY list ever since. Actually, I’ve always wanted to learn how to throw pots on a wheel. It looks like so much fun! So until I can get my hands on one, here is my rendition of a clay planter. It’s still very fun to create.

Materials

Packaged molding clay
Acrylic paint
Paintbrushes
Toothpicks
Succulent
River rocks
Rope
Rolling pin

Steps

1. Remove the clay from the packaging. Place it on a flat and clean surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten the clay so that it is roughly an inch thick.

2. Now it is time to form a pot. Start with the sides. Determine the height that you would like, then form one cohesive piece of clay that is that exact height. Use the rolling pin to make it smooth. Ensure that the length of this piece will be long enough so that when you bring the ends together, it forms a cylinder large enough to hold your succulent or plant.

3. Take another piece of clay and make it into a circular shape. This will be the base of the pot.

4. Now form a cylinder with the clay in step 3. Gently place it on the base. Attach the cylinder to the base with your fingers. Spend some time blending all of the visible lines on the pot.

5. Using the wooden ends of the paintbrushes, create a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, as well as two on either side and closer to the top. Make sure that they are wide enough for the rope, and are level with one another.

6. Using the toothpicks, carve crosses into the pot. Once you have completed this, set the pot aside. Let dry overnight.

7. After the clay is completely dry, you may begin to paint it. Start with the base color, covering the exterior and interior of the pot. Once dry, use a different color for the crosses. Let dry once again.

8. Add the succulent and river rocks to the pot. Then take the rope and string it through the two holes on either side of the pot. Knot the ends, and proceed to find a sunny place to hang your new and beautiful creation!

<3

Emory

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hanging geode terrarium kit

terrarium-kit-3A few weeks ago, I ordered this Hanging Geode Terrarium Kit from Urban Outfitters. We had a space on our wall where it would fit perfectly.

terrarium-kit-1terrarium-kit-2I wasn’t sure what to expect with the kit. Geoffrey had bought me a terrarium kit two years ago, and unlike the package had promised, nothing grew. That was a Sedum + Moss kit. This one’s main feature was a geode. It is more or less for decoration, so already I had higher hopes for it in that nothing was expected to grow.

terrarium-kit-5This kit also came with a cute glass vase. It was incredibly easy to put together, and it looks just like the one on the website!

terrarium-kit-7Overall this was a really great purchase, in my opinion. I definitely want a few more to hang around our home. Maybe I’ll get some in April. ;-)))

<3

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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