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Posts Tagged ‘exterior decoration’

Over the last few years, we have added quite a number rosebed of plants to the property. Some of them have finally established enough that it was possible to split and spread them around a bit. We have two varieties of shrub roses and both have firmly established themselves and keep striking out for new territory. Since some of that territory is already spoken for, it made sense to set up a whole new bed. Along with the shrub roses, there was another, older style high bush rose that had come through the east fence and was struggling in the shade. Along with those we also had a low, creeping white rose and a trio of miniatures that had survived going into and out of the teapots for the past couple of years. All together, there were enough for us to set up a whole bed of roses. We cut into the lawn at the start of the path and that gave us borders on two sides. I like where it is and while it’s filled with more tomatoes, this year, than roses, it should be looking more like it was intended by next spring. I’m also a bit amused that all the roses, whether they were bought, volunteers or were just survivors, have turned out to to be white or just slightly off-white.

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We have tried a really wide assortment of tomato types over the years.

black tomatoes, August 2014

black tomatoes, August 2014

Quite a number have been labelled as “black” and we have pretty much had at least a couple of black cherry tomatoes every year. With that being said, this is the first year we have had truly black ones. They were labelled as an “early black”, but are not moving all that much faster than the rest of the plantings but at least a couple have ripened. Of course, it’s a bit hard to tell how close they are to ripe since the colour doesn’t show much. They do turn an orangish red, on their bottoms, but never get all that soft, so even going with the gentle squeeze test is a bit difficult. The flavour is also a bit closer to a tomatillo than a standard tomato, and didn’t impress the tomato connoisseur, that is my mother so I don’t think we’ll be doing them again next year. While I know that tomatoes are in the same family as eggplants, I never expected to grow ones that had the same colour!

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We’ve had an assorted set of cast iron and wood benches and chairs garden furniture out on the east lawn for the last few years. They sit in the shade of the large maple tree and provide a comfortable conversation grouping. While it’s pleasant to have them covered by shade, it’s not all that good for the wood. They had finally gotten to the point where I could no longer trust in their stability so it was time for the wood to be replaced. We decided to go with ash, since it is a hardwood and we could get some locally. Since they were going to be dis-assembled, it made sense to clean up and re paint the iron parts as well. They had been a mix of black and a faux verdigris green (that hadn’t been all that well applied) and we wanted to make the whole group more cohesive. I decided to go with a semi-gloss black. It looks sharp, and is also an easy one to do later touch-ups, if needed. The wood was sealed with a marine sealant, but left in it’s natural colour. I’m really happy with how they look now that they’ve been rebuilt. We also finally got the cement tile bases for all of them in position so they won’t sink into the ground. (and Dad will have an easier time with the mowing around them)

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The space around the sign is slowly getting filled in with plants. yarrow We’ve chosen to go with perennials and small shrubs. One that we put in late last year, was a yarrow. It was more than a little bedraggled looking, and last years drought meant the conditions stayed a bit harsh, but we expected it to survive since they are one of those perennials that are practically weeds. Unsurprisingly, it came out strong in the spring and has continued to develop into a large patch. It put out a bunch of yellow flower clusters and they are almost 4′ high and some are almost as big as my palms! It has compound blooms that have an attractive texture, from a distance but are more interesting up close. The flowers give a great punch of colour and considering how well it has done, we think we’ll be able to split it as soon as next spring. I’m not sure if we’ll extend it’s space in the same bed or put it in a new spot. At least we know it can hold it’s own through rough conditions and it’s been densely packed enough that no weed has been able to get close to it, so we won’t have to worry much about where it goes.

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A couple of years ago we found a clematis, lost in the tangle of plants beside Land and Ross,

purple clematis, July 2013

purple clematis, July 2013

to the east. Last spring we had the house front garden to the point where it was ready for the vine to be moved in. The transplant went well and there were a few small flowers last year but it didn’t put on a full display until now. It had some very vigorous growth this spring and we were hopeful that the flowers would be abundant and it performed even better our best expectations! It has crawled over a good chunk of the east corner of the gardens iron fence and is covered in showy blooms. It’s a thrill to see it doing so well after only a year and I can’t wait to see what it does next year.

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So, I feel like a bit of slacker, with this, the second pumpkin clock.

Steampunk pumpkin clock, 2012

The face is likely to be from the 20’s and I liked how well it went with both the feet and the little goddess figure. The hands are practically new, in comparison to the rest of the parts, but they don’t look it and were the right scale. I’d intended to carve a very Art Deco clock case outline around the components but the incredible toughness of these pumpkins put me off. I could have taken the Dremel carving bit to this one as well but it’s actually not that much fun to do. All these tiny, slightly sticky flecks of orange and yellow flying everywhere and ending up all over me! Ick! Anyway, I’ve left this one as a more spare design and I think it still works. (of course, I could have not mentioned any of this and just said it was my plan the whole time, but oh well, too late now:)

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It was a stunningly lovely day here yesterday. Well into the 20’s and sunny,  with just a light wind. I had the door open and tried to do as many things as possible outside. Near the top of the list was getting this years pumpkins done. I decided to go with the hot design trend, and used assorted antique clock bits that were around to make some Steamy pumpkin clocks. I’ve been using lino cutters, to scrape off the outer skin, and they usually work really well but these were the toughest skinned gourds I’ve ever come across! In the end, I admitted defeat and used one of the carving heads on my Dremel tool. Even with a power tool, it still took a while to cut off the rind on this one. I’d had plans to detail the columns more, but gave up on that. I have slightly larger set of the column top and bottom pieces, but they are two different colours so I went with these, the smaller set. The clock face is set in and I lined the back in tinfoil, so it wouldn’t be damaged by touching the fruit directly. I have to wonder how well the nails will hold, between now and Halloween.

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