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My Urban Garden Planters

If you are a Pinterest follower of mine you probably can tell what we’ve been up to the past week! LOTS of gardening!

We weren’t going to do a vegetable garden this year since the backyard is a work in progress, but then my sister offered us some established strawberry plants and it quickly went from adding a strawberry planter to adding a small side garden on the side of our yard to then adding another “Urban Style Garden” onto the  side of our house. I’m so excited about all the changes we’ve made and probably most proud of the Urban Garden.

I don’t have a true before picture but below is where we started last night…

urban garden before

The raised bed planters we had put in already and believe it or now we had already started to clean off the inches of dirt covering the paved walkway (what a MESS).  There was also a bamboo fence staked in next to the existing fence here (that’s what you see in the corner there) that Peter took down and by doing that we gained about 6” of space!

And here is where we are at now…

urban garden after

There is still a lot of work I want to do yet but it’s looking much better.

My favorite part about it is my Burlap Potato Planters! I LOVE burlap so for me this was the perfect solution to cover the buckets we planted the potatoes in.

Burlap Planters 1

This is all pretty experimental for us so I’m hoping it works out!

Burlap Planters 2

And if the burlap buckets don’t produce the potatoes they should I have a backup plan in another area of the yard at the end of our planted ground garden…..

potato planter

This is a really cool metal tub that Peter found in the barn at his parents so we are using it for planting more potatoes. My hopeful, optimistic approach is that these potatoes will make us all the way through the winter!

And next to the metal potato planter we have the strawberry planter that Peter built. We were able to get most of the plants that my sister gave us in here. We left some room for more plants to fill in and will probably make another planter next year.

strawberry planter

And we also have some flower container plants throughout our yard. It’s been such a late year that not many of them have filled out yet but here is a metal coffee pot with alyssum planted.

tin pitcher

And lastly we have Peter’s genius idea…

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He found this barrel at his parent’s farm and he actually came up with the idea to use it as a planter. How great is that??!!

Hopefully I’ll have some more to share as the garden takes place. I’ve got a few things left to plant, a few trellises I want to build and then I plan to “pretty it all up” and make some tags and such. It’s been a lot of work putting these gardens in but also so fun and rewarding to see it all start to grow!! It’s only been a week since we put the ground garden in and all of our seeds are growing fast!!

~Jess

Linked to:

Summer Spruce Up Series {Planters} @ Rain on a Tin Roof
Link Party @ Lil Luna
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Party Junk 195 – Burlap @ Funky Junk Interiors
Inspire Me Linky Party @ Liz Marie Blog
The Scoop Link Party @ Lolly Jane

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Succulents

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For the past few years my sister Danielle has been obsessed with succulents. After seeing her cute decorations with them I was inspired to start growing some of my own and they are becoming some of my favorite plants to decorate with around the house! I love how unique each plant is and it’s fun to find small pots and containers to grow them in.

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I also love that you can propagate them! I had some leaves that had come off when I potted my succulents so on Sunday I gathered all the information I could from my sister Danielle and spent hours on pinterest pinning and reading articles on propagating them. I followed my directions and had all my leaves set out on the kitchen windowsill on top of sandy soil to let them scap. Some are just starting to scab over and others aren’t doing well and seem to be rotting.

Last night I found this one little lone succulent cutting that I had put on top of a cabinet in my upstairs hallway on Sunday when I was working on the others and completely forgot it was there. Ironically, this little guy is already growing leaves! And it’s only been there three days!! I couldn’t believe it that the one leaf that I completely forgot about and didn’t check on constantly was the only one that was flourishing! (:

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So this morning before I left for work guess where I put all my other succulent leaves?

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~Jess


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Tips for Growing & Using Sage

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My mom is a great gardener and has been such a huge help to me. I love it when she stops by occasionally and walks through the flower beds to help me sort out the weeds from the flowers. I apparently have a really hard time with this – some of my “favorites” turned out to be weeds! LOL.

I was so happy when she told me that this plant that I suspected to be a weed was actually a Sage plant! I’ve heard (via Pinterest) that Sage is supposed to repel mosquitoes when you put it in a bonfire so for that reason alone I have been wanting to plant some. We get our fair share of mosquitos here in MN so I’m willing to try anything!!

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Other than that, however, I had little knowledge of how to care for Sage and what else I could use it for so that ended up being the first plant/herb I researched for the Garden Reference Book I’m creating for myself.

Here are a few things I learned. Feel free to share any tips or information you may have in the comments as well!!

Growing Sage Plants Outside:

  • Sage Plants need full sunshine at least 2-3 times a day;
  • They don’t need a lot of water – too much moisture will kill it; Sage does best in dry conditions and requires very little care (sounds like the perfect plant for me already!)
  • Good companion herbs to sage are Rosemary and Thyme because they have similar water and sun requirements;

Harvesting Fresh Sage for Use

  • Cut off the leaves with a scissors or pinch it off;
  • Sage is best used fresh but you can also freeze the leaves in a plastic bag or dry them;

How to Dry Sage

  • It is best to pick sage leaves for drying just before they flower;
  • Make sure the branches are dry and not wet;
  • Tie the branches loosely in a bunch and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place out of sunlight;
  • Store dried sage in an airtight bottle or container out of sunlight; Dried sage lasts indefinitely;

Harvesting Sage Plants in the Fall

  • Prune off the old branches to about half their size and allow them to go dormant; they will revive in the Spring;
  • Some sites also suggested mulching around the base of the plants with leaves or straw; Our garden has hasn’t been tended for several years so I’m thinking this isn’t always needed;

Here are some great Uses for Sage that I found on Pinterest and plan to try:

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Fire Starter / Mosquito Repellant

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Pear and Sage Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Hazelnut Crust

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Shredded Beef

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Slow Cooker Chicken with Sage and Stuffing

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This Post Featured at:

Inspire-Me-Please-Blog-Party-Featured

House of Rose Blog

Linking to:

Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Linky Party @ Liz Marie Blog
Give me the Goods Monday @ Rain on a Tin Roof


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Our Secret Garden

As a child growing up, one of my absolute favorite movies was “The Secret Garden”. I thought it was so exciting to see how these children transformed this overgrown garden into a beautiful sanctuary. I used to watch it over and over again and now, even as an adult, I enjoy watching this movie and in fact we are going to watch it tonight in our new sunroom and have a family movie night. I can’t wait!!

We moved into our house last fall so Peter and I have never actually seen our gardens in full bloom but we seem to have our own little “secret garden” project on our hands. We heard that the previous owner was known for her amazing gardens, but unfortunately the house sat vacant for a few years so the gardens and the trees were very overgrown and in pretty rough shape when we moved in.

Little by little we’ve managed to clean out the dead trees, debris and some weeds and are starting to see some progress as the flowers and trees are starting to come back to life.

Neither Pete nor myself have any gardening experience so to move into a house with a garden already established, even if it was a little buried, was actually a blessing for us.  I really don’t think we could have created something like this on our own. Now that the warm weather is finally here and we are starting to see a lot of new flowers and plants pop up and bloom and it makes us love our new house even more than we did when we moved in. I’m so excited to see how the gardens progress throughout the summer.

Here are a few pictures I snapped of our secret gardens coming to life this Spring. I was very excited to see all the tulips and lots of apple blossoms on our trees!

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tulip yellow

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This picture below is of a tulip patch by our outdoor patio. The garden solar light was given to me by a dear friend after my brother passed away and I knew this was the perfect spot for it. We have yellow tulips here in reminder of the Yellow Ribbon and Shane’s favorite color was Pink so we have our pink tulips here. Shane always said only a real man could wear pink so it’s a beautiful place to put this solar light – it always makes me smile.

tulip memory garden

Another plant I was very excited to see was an established Sedum plant! I love how these look when dried in the fall!

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We also have a TON of hostas. There are so many different kinds but these were one of my favorites…

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We also decided we need to learn to made my family’s Rhubarb Wine recipe because we have 6 monster rhubarb plants that we’ve transplanted and a ton more little ones growing in again right in the middle of our lawn.

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We also have plenty of Rose bushes. There are about five just along this fence alone and four other bushes in other areas of the back yard. I can’t wait to see these all in bloom!

rose bush

This is a Fern Leaf Peony that Pete says should do magic tricks because of how excited our mothers got when they both saw it. This little guy managed to come back even after we tilled this side of the lawn last fall after moving in! We are very curious to see what it looks like in full bloom. We’ve since transplanted it to a safer area of the garden as this was right by the walking path to the garage and it seems to be thriving?

fern leaf peony

Peter cut down three evergreen trees this Spring that were an eyesore and growing into our lilacs and our other trees. With the tree stumps I’d like to do a project with my kids I saw on Pinterest and paint a Tic Tac Toe board on here and use rocks as markers. If the weather is nice this weekend I’m hoping we can start on this…

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And lastly I have a sneak peek of the Fountain that Peter built near our patio last fall. I absolutely love the old spicket he used. I’ll share a complete feature on this later this summer after all the plants grow in around the pond….

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~Jess


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Strawberry Pyramid Planter

My newest addition to my ‘as low as possible maintenance garden’ – a Strawberry Pyramid! Kyle found the instructions online after I was inspired by a Pinterest post – I have many strawberry plants ready and waiting to be transplanted. This pyramid is 3′ tall but they can also be made to 6′. The next step is to fill it with compost through the slanted shelves, pack the dirt as we fill, and transplant. I’m hoping this will make for much easier weeding and maintenance!

>>D.

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