Backdrops for a Country Cottage Junk Garden

I don't live in the country.  I live in a residential cul-de-sac in a smallish town.  No country fences, no old barns, no barn wood, no meadow, no great garden backdrops, period!

So to create the country, cottage, rustic, junk garden look I strive to achieve, I have to pull in some props.  Some of my props are well known:  the stepladder in the front border, the potting sink, and the chippy white painted wheelbarrow.  These fun pieces appear over and over in my posts, but what about the workhorses, the backdrops to my vignettes?

Wagon Wheel Garden Backdrop\
My old buggy wheel here with Lady's Mantle, hostas, and other garden junk beside the house.


Add a Bike to Your Garden Just for the Fun of It

Sometimes while I am waiting for just the "right time" to post a garden photo, I wait just a little too long, and the plant or pot is a little past it's prime. That is the case with my bike basket this year. 

Here my bike basket is just gorgeous in June.
Garden Bike Basket of Annuals
Garden Bike 6/25

My bike basket annuals are Large Lilac Blue Verbena, Superbells Yellow Chiffon Calibrachoa, Supertunia Mini Purple and ornamental oregano.


Serenity in a Junk Garden

Back on June 19th, I shared a neutral, peaceful junk garden vignette that featured my newly found chippy barn door.

Peaceful and Neutral Garden Vignette

Now in late July, the barrels have filled in nicely.

Peaceful and Neutral Garden Vignette
Chippy Barn Door Under a Tree with Barrels of Sweet Potato Vine, Creeping Jenny, Bacopa, and Ponytail Grass.


A New Toy for my Succulent Garden Bed

I bought myself a new toy.  Really!

Tonka Front End Loader in a Succulent Garden
Vintage Tonka Front End Loader


New "Wheelbarrow" Clipboard on Hometalk

One of my very favorite outdoor decor pieces is my chippy white wheelbarrow.

After discovering so many great wheelbarrow ideas on Hometalk, I started a new clipboard.

I hope you will check it out at Hometalk here.  

Add your own wheelbarrow photos so I can include them in this growing clipboard.  Maybe even some fall wheelbarrows!


Revisiting Vignettes: Pressing Garden Matters, Another Kitchen Fairy Garden, & Laundry Themed Wheelbarrow

I really enjoy dreaming up clever outdoor vignettes re-using second hand, vintage junk that I can find inexpensively.  I hope you enjoy seeing them!

In this post, I will be revisiting three garden vignettes to show their progress this summer season.

Ironing Board Plant Stand
Garden Junk Vignette - Iron, ironing board. clothespin bag.

There was "Pressing Garden Matters" that debuted in late May here.

Ironing Board Plant Stand
Now in late July, the Rose Star Calibrachoa in the "laundry basket" has filled out nicely.


12 Creative Garden Ideas Under $20

A new blogging friend of mine, Melissa, the Empress of Dirt has assembled a great post with twelve creative and frugal DIY garden projects.

There is a good variety of projects in this round up from a variety of garden bloggers, including me.  Here is a link to more photos and instructions to each project!



Up Close & Personal With My Cottage Garden Plants

Yesterday I shared labelled photos of my front yard cottage garden to give you an idea how I achieved the cottage garden style that I love.  That post is here.

Since I planned out my garden to achieve a "full bloom" look from late June through early August, most of my perennials were blooming in the photos.  Another way I manage the "full bloom" look is using annuals that bloom all summer.

Here is a close up look at the flowers in my zone 3 garden, and what I like and dislike about them, and a 1-10 rating.

Plant Key:  

1.  Creeping Baby's Breath (P)  - I love the long bloom time, the non-invasive slow spread, and the airy light blossoms.  This perennial blooms from mid June through early July. Overall rating (8).
Cottage Garden - Creeping Baby's Breath


Anatomy of a Cottage Garden

I am a cottage style gardener.  My flower gardens are not formal.  I like to mix annuals, perennials and garden junk.  My only rule is "taller in the back and shorter in front".  The junk serves two purposes, vertical interest and visual interest.  A flower bed is just far more interesting and pleasing when there is some height, and varying heights.

Plan a garden! Plant a garden!  It's fun!  I have made mistakes in design and just moved the plants the following year.  

Below are labeled photographs of my 2013 front yard border.  P=Perennial, A=Annual  (Zone 3)
Cottage Garden Planting Diagram
Cottage Style Garden Planting Diagram

Cottage Garden Planting Diagram


Planting Under a Spruce Tree: Another Terra Cotta Pot Edging

Terra Cotta Pot Garden Edging
2013 Terra Cotta Pot Garden Edging

Terra Cotta Pot Garden Edging
2012 Terra Cotta Pot Garden Edging


Deadheading: The Beauty and Bane of a Flower Garden

I am a deadheader.  

Just what is deadheading?

"Deadheading" is the removal of spent blossoms to encourage further blooming and/or to improve the appearance of the plant and garden.  
I have been outside "deadheading" for a couple hours and am still not done.  After three days of hard rain, deadheading is a must.
I have read many a garden book that touts deadheading. The whole theory of deadheading is that the plant will have extra vigor to produce more blossoms if the spent bloom and seed producing part of the stem are removed.  If the plant is not seed producing, it can set forth more new blossoms".
Deadheading Annuals
A spent blossom on a trailing petuna pinched off below the seed forming area of the stem.  

Woman's Work: Utilitarian Kitchen Collectibles

I always am drawn to vintage utilitarian kitchen utensils and cookware, used by mostly women, in their heyday.  I found this bread board for $1 at an estate sale recently.

Vintage Kitchen Utensil Vignette
I think the coil stove element "burn mark" made the piece "extra special".  I know it was used for cooking family meals in the 1950's.  I recently picked up the whisk at a consignment shop for $1.


Curb Appeal

I purchased my home in 1990 as a recently divorced 34 year old parent of two children aged 11 and 5.

Curb Appeal Before Photo
This is the Century 21 file listing photo.  I loved this house.  The "Wedgwood Blue" new steel siding was very "in" and the house was up on on a sloped yard.  It seemed like my castle on a hill.  It worked for us.  Only a single stall garage, but I only had one car.

The two tall shrubs were immediately removed and the lower shrub on the left was later removed to give the covered patio a view of the street.  I became a gardener too.


Re-Using the Futon Ends & Pottery Barn Chairs in the Garden

Do you remember last year when I used the arms/end of an old college futon in my garden?
Re-purposed Futon Ends in the Garden
If you want to revisit that post, click here.


Horticulture and Garden Junk

A local horticultural society has asked to tour my flower gardens on Sunday afternoon. I am hoping they are not expecting a conventional perennial border with all the Latin botanical names of the plants, because I am a junk gardener with a green thumb. Not a traditional gardener at all.

Not sure if they are the Junk Garden type...

Lamp Shade Skelton Hosta
Petite Hosta Showcased in a Lamp Skeleton

Garden Junk Vignette
Rusty Iron Garden Figurines

Garden Junk Vignette
Craft Shop Star Birdhouse, Wooden Daisy, and Window Screen Flower.
Garden Junk Vignette

Garden Junk Vignette
I hope they enjoy my "Garden Junk" style!


Outdoor This and That 16: What's Blooming/Weeding Tips/Seal Coated Driveway

I sometimes get so wrapped up in my garden junk that I forget to show you the beautiful flowers now blooming now in my gardens!

Dropwort Filapendula
A beautiful fernleaf white Dropwort Filapendula.


Garden Hens and Chicks and Roosters

There is a very small little flower garden close to my covered patio and next to the driveway.  It is edged with a pre-fab concrete scalloped border.

Chicken Themed Garden
I have been planting succulents in three iron wheels in this garden the last few years.  Mostly sedums, hen and chicks and moss roses.


Fork & Faucet Handle Garden Flower Copy Cat

I am a big fat copy cat today.  

Fork handle valve faucet flowers


New Finds and a New Outdoor Vignette

Last weekend I attended an estate sale.  I purchased the following:  (also an old breadboard, I will show you later)

Two vintage and weathered galvanized buckets $2 each.  A wooden handle garden hand rake and a "Good Grip" aluminum hand rake.  $2 and $3 respectively.


Home Tour 2013

I have seen a lot of blogger home tours recently.  I really have never put together a whole home tour, just reveal posts room by room.  

I hope you will enjoy my unique "Organized Clutter" style home, lovingly and whimsically decorated with family heirlooms, collected antiques and vintage items.

The Living Room


Dianthus: A Cottage Garden Flower

As a fan of an informal cottage garden, "Pinks" or Dianthus are a perfect choice for me.  

The foliage is narrow, usually somewhat grasslike, and the blooms are pretty erect to slightly trailing to sort of willy-nilly.  All blossoms have the distinctive jagged edge. Pinks are either annual, biennial, or perennial.  All are pretty hardy, and able to survive a Minnesota Zone 3 winter.

I have already shown you in a previous post my perennial cheddar pinks to the right of my creeping baby's breath.  The cheddar pink has bright pink blossoms against silver gray foliage.  A very showy combination.  One tiny blossom of a zing rose dianthus deltoides is visible.  Do you see it?


Patriotic Kitchen Vignette

Do you ever wonder how a vignette comes together?  

For me, I always have a couple of key pieces in mind, like flags for the 4th and some red objects.  (The handier the items the better)

My beloved red handled masher purchased very recently and the nut grinder were already in the kitchen.