A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons

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27 July 2016

The Herbary

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There is a little patio off the kitchen and it has a hideous little bit of trellis.  I call it the Herbary because I love to give grand names to little things in hopes of seeing them more grandly. This year, I determined to make this ugly little space a charming and functional spot and I am working towards that goal with plants of course. The patio serves as a plant "nursery" where I start seeds, move plants to bigger pots and compost kitchen scraps and garden trimmings.  It ALSO serves as our little lunch/dinner spot on nice days and also hosts the grill. It is a hard-working little space that needed a little dressing up!  Thanks goes out to Bonnie Plants, A.M. Leonard and Good Dirt for sponsoring portions of this post.

DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons Sage
DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
We are starting to get somewhere, but she stills looks a bit naked, doesn't she?
My first step of action was to gather up these little hanging pots I had gotten on clearance a few years ago and pot them up with some herbs from Bonnie Plants.  Rosemary, Thyme, Basil (the bush type), Oregano -- anything little and "spilly" went into the pots. (You can find Bonnie veggies at ALL the major players in the garden center buisiness -- you will know them by their biodegradable pots that you can plant directly in the ground!)

DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

When we first moved in, I started these two compost boxes under the trellises.  For over a year now, egg shells, chicken droppings, leaves and other compostable materials went into the boxes.  This year, when I turned the soil, it was beautiful, rich and ready to plant.  I planted simple garden peas and morning glories (Heavenly Blue) to twine up and around the trellis along with lettuces, radishes and such in the front of the boxes.  This area receives quite a bit of shade and stays cool in the summer, so I am hoping the cool season peas and lettuces will keep performing. As summer progressed, I added a couple of tomato plants that have worked their way into the trellis and get a large amount of sun on the backside of the trellis. The first tomato plant was a happy accident, but I think I might continue to plant tomatoes here in the rich box soil.

DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons Raised Bed Planters
Those are iris stem cuttings helping the pea shoots twine up to get onto the trellis!
DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons Flat Leafed Parsley Bonnie PLants

I also potted up a chunkier flat-leaved parsley and a cute little hen and chicks on the table.
 Nearby, on the potting bench, resides lavender, cilantro and lemon balm in white colanders.

DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons Hen and CHicks

DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

The little toolbox is what I call my succulent "nursery" and I stick little stems of various succulents 
into this sandy potting mix to propagate my favorites. It looks pretty cute in the process too!

Succulent Nursery in Tool Box Stonecrest Herbary at A Nest for All Seasons

I also potted up some green onion bottoms from the grocery store (after using the tops):
DIY Herbary and Potting Station by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons Chives in a Cake Pan
They are growing up quite nicely!

Soil and Knives

In all of my smaller pots/plantings, I make sure to use a good potting soil. Larger pots can get away with more filler, like my compost pots HERE or Styrofoam chunks in the bottom to lighten a heavy pot. In a small pot though, every inch counts. This year, I am testing out a NEW soil to the market called GOOD DIRT.  Great name, right?

Front Porch of Stonecrest with Black Rockers by Amy Renea of  A Nest for All Seasons Decor Americana

Another product I HAD to sneak in here is a fantastic little soil knife from A. M. Leonard. As part of the P. Allen Smith event, each blogger/press/personality received a knife and I have used it at least every other day since getting it home. I have often mentioned my love of hori-horis here at the Nest, but this particular knife comes with a carrying case that makes it all the more convenient.  It cuts, saws and digs small holes for "in-between" plantings which basically means the shovel (and my back) gets a break. One of the best little chores this knife does is a quick rip to open bags of soil, compost or mulch.

Front Porch of Stonecrest with Black Rockers by Amy Renea of  A Nest for All Seasons Good Dirt and A M Leonard Soil Knife

The cute carrying case:
Front Porch of Stonecrest with Black Rockers by Amy Renea of  A Nest for All Seasons Good Dirt and A M Leonard Soil Knife

Back to the soil though -- Good Dirt uses "bog bits", a recycled by-product 
from North American peat bogs that provides an air-rich structure that allows roots to thrive.

Front Porch of Stonecrest with Black Rockers by Amy Renea of  A Nest for All Seasons Good Dirt and A M Leonard Soil Knife

It comes packaged tightly and you have to break up the chunks a bit before planting.
(meaning you get more for your dollar!!)

These particular pots are my starter pots where I am testing out some Flamboyan seeds gathered in Puerto Rico 
and some Tree Peony and Japanese Maple seeds I collected from our old house/garden. I am excited to see if anything pops up!

Front Porch of Stonecrest with Black Rockers by Amy Renea of  A Nest for All Seasons Good Dirt and A M Leonard Soil Knife

I stumbled upon a happy Target clearance find of string lights for $7.48 so they have added nighttime interest and functionality to the Herbary. (I have ALWAYS wanted lights like these -- so Parenthood-ey, right? They have always been too expensive for me to purchase though, so the Target find was a happy day for me :)

See that little birdhouse on the post?  We watched baby house wrens hatched and released from there this spring!
The Herbery - All Lit up and tucked in for the night.,.

As summer progresses, the plants in the Herbary have taken off and will continue to grow into Fall. I would love to see that ugly little trellis and those wooden poles just COVERED in green by summer's end. I would also LOVE to do something about those air conditioning units and the propane tank that is just out of frame. Updates forthcoming!

To see more of the plants here at Stonecrest, check out the FRONT PORCH POST HERE!

Front Porch of Stonecrest with Black Rockers by Amy Renea of  A Nest for All Seasons Good Dirt and A M Leonard Soil Knife

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25 July 2016

Sundries and Bits

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Sundries and Bits -- little things I thought you might like to know.

I've been listening to podcasts for years, but somehow I have not made the jump to listening to gardening podcasts.  Well, this month I made the jump and sampled as many of them as I could find.  Here are my favorites:

You Bet Your Garden - My favorite~!  The host is Mike McGrath, former editor of Organic Gardening Magazine. The best way I know how to introduce you to Mike and the podcast is as the "Dave Ramsey of Gardening Podcasts".

GardenNerd Tip of the Week - At only a minute and a half long, these podcasts are great little "Did You Know" bits that are fun and informative.  (PS: If you like this type of podcast, check out the new This Week I Learned)

Gardens Illustrated - This podcast is loooooong -over an hour each recording. It is short on entertainment and long on inspiring information, so if you are  seriously into garden design, check this one out!

Poison Ivy

Lambs don't get poison ivy.  In fact, they EAT it. However it gets on their noses and their noses nuzzle their shepherdess and well...THIS ridiculously overpriced scrub actually DOES work.

You also might be interested to know the famed poison ivy antitode jewelweed DOES grow like a week around creekbeds where ivy grows rampant. The bigger the weed the better, as you pull the plant up by the roots, crack open the stem and use the liquid inside to wipe away the poison. The jury is still out on how effective this one actually is (for me), but it is a fun trick to know and a worthy weed to know how to identify. THIS blogger has a creek that looks like mine (and lots of good jewelweed info too!)

Tea and Notes

Tea and Florals Stationary

Elizabeth of Bottle Branch recently emailed in regards to my book, Crafting With Nature. I was so happy she made contact because she has the MOST BEAUTIFUL instagram and I have been enjoying following along as she makes art out of little flowers and plant bits and half empty teacups and the mundane bits of prettiness.

The cards pictured above are from my favorite line of Elizabeth's cards - Tea Time.  The summer flowers line she has out now is also a favorite of mine, but I really adore all the "fallish" colors in the tea cards. You can follow Elizabeth's (FANTASTIC) blog HERE and check out the adorable cards at her Etsy shop HERE!

Yellow Zinnia

Nature Thought it Won the War

Nature does typically win out over my efforts to tame it, but in this case, it just thinks it is winning. You see, we have this checkerboard type driveway in front of our house that used to have wooden spacers between the pavers. Years passed and the wooden spacers rotted away and weeds took hold. I have considered many different options, including a flame thrower to burn the weeds, pea gravel to cover the whole driveaway and eventually fill in the cracks...etc, etc.  Then, I realized that I actually quite like the green bits between the pavers when I squint my eyes and ignore the taller, gangly weeds. In fact, once the cracks were mown with a hand mower, they actually looked quite nice.

Enter this wicked looking tool from Ames:

Ames Stand Up Weeder Stonecrest Manor Pavers by Amy Renea
AMES periodically sends tools to A Nest for All Seasons for review.  All opinions are mine.
It is a simple push down with the foot that sends the tool into the ground, then a twist pulls the taproot up and out of the ground. 
You are left with a small hole in the ground, so you actually aerate the soil as you weed.

Ames Stand Up Weeder Stonecrest Manor Pavers by Amy Renea

The plan?  Get rid of those tallish weeds and leave anything that is low, lush and green and can be mown.
 In fall, I will seed more grass into any holes in the lawn and ideally it will look a bit like THESE pretty examples on Houzz.

Landscape Design

The Ames stand-up weeder is a must-have for that person in your live that HATES the dandelions in the lawn. When I was in college (Cedarville University), the President (Dr. Dixon) had this THING against dandelions. He abhored them in the lawn. There was this "rule" around campus to refrain from trampling all over the grass unless you saw a dandelion. You were encouraged to race across the perfect grass and rip those weeds out. If I were still in Ohio, I would definitely gift this weeder to Dr. Dixon. For now, it is helping me beat nature at her own game.

Seeding Grass Between Pavers at Stonecrest Manor by Amy Renea

One last bit: If you like coffee and you have not tried the Chameleon Cold Brew Concentrates, YOU ARE MISSING OUT.  Here is a link to them on Amazon so you know what the bottle looks like -- CLICK HERE -- then go buy a bottle at Target. (The Amazon price is ridiculously high because of the whole shipping heavy glass bottles thing -- don't buy them on Amazon.) It will make a week of summer afternoons SO nice for you :)

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