Want to add a dash of creativity to your garden? Come look around my garden. I’ve been on a garden art-making rampage so there’s lots of ideas to share.
Love bold colours? Kick it up a notch with these colourful garden ideas!
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I have been waffling about the grand vision for this garden but this year I decided to take some bold steps, use some strong colours, and just have some fun with it.
As I write this, it is mid June and we’re about a month behind for flowering plants due to a ridiculously cold month of May and some late near-frosts.
Come have a look…
From Scratch to Now
When I started this garden from scratch a few years ago, I really did not have a plan. New to the growing zone and conditions, I wanted to wait and see how things would grow before coming up with any big design ideas.
Turns out, plants growing in this very sandy soil are either a tad invasive or they struggle (with very few exceptions). There’s almost no middle ground.
I’ve been around the turnip patch long enough to know there’s no sense fighting it. I have put aside notions of taming the beast and instead let those that thrive—spread, and those that struggle —fend for themselves. It sounds heartless but, if you want a sustainable garden with minimal resource hogging, that’s the way to go.
It won’t ever be perfect but it will be fine.
Colour Colour Colour
My first big decision this year was to embrace colour in the garden. Go big or go home. The first candidate was my old painting ladder. My daughter selected a bold blue for our shed door last year and I opted to use more of it throughout the garden.
It’s interesting to note that when you repeat a bold colour choice, it suddenly fits better. There’s something about the continuity that makes it work. You’ll see more of this blue as we go through.
Annual Flower Power
The mini greenhouse has proven to be a favourite addition to the garden. The squirrels like it too. They climb across it to leap to the peanut feeder. #sigh
You’ll see in these next few pictures that I also love using a few annuals for bold colour including my lifelong love of pansies.
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Who’s That Girl?
Black-eyed Susan vines are another favourite. If you want to grow your own, they need to be started from seed quite early in the winter.
This one (from a nursery) hangs from a wire at the arbour and twirls in the wind. It’s quite charming.
The orange honeysuckle is also thriving after a rough start in another location. I moved the entire arbour and vine and, thankfully, they all survived just fine. And no, honeysuckle is not invasive here (I always get asked). It is a fabulous hummingbird magnet and one of the few plants that actually grows in moderation.
The Bold and the Beautiful
My new commitment to colour brought on a fun painting project. I took every yard sale birdhouse I had sitting in storage and gave each one a makeover, opting for clear, bold colours.
I use patio paints for projects like this. They work on surface likes rocks as well. You can see them here on Amazon (affiliate account).
I’ve got them lined up on a newly built fence/divider to block the view of the old pool. Vines have been planted to further greenify the space. You can see the whole project here.
Previous owners planted a raspberry patch near the walnut tree. Clearly the two were not playing nice together so I finally transplanted all the raspberries to a whole new place in the sun.
I wrote a post about transplanting them (shown below) and I’m happy to report they are doing very well. One, in fact, is fruiting for the first time ever. I expect lots of berries next year when they’re all settled in.
Ally Ally Alliums
Another fun and dramatic choice is alliums. They are tall, bold, and the bees loves them. Plus the early blooms are a great source of nectar in the spring when there’s not a whole lot of blooming going on.
You can see in the image (above) that alliums are just as wonderful when they’re going to seed as they are in bloom. I totally love them.
You Say Tomatoes
What a wild ride these tomatoes have been on! Most of these plants were started from seed months ago. A few flowered and fruited indoors (yes, you can grow tomatoes indoors—it’s slow but they will fruit if conditions are right and you choose the right varieties).
I was all set to put the late bloomers outdoors in May when we had a few weeks of abnormally low temperatures. I was moving pots around like a madwoman to protect everything! Some of the leaves got frost-burned but somehow the blossoms survived and now most of them are fruiting. Crazy! But good.
I’m on this twine kick and want to tie everything up! Okay, that didn’t sound good but you know what I mean: veggies and vines! I buy it on spools (see it at Amazon) and it’s biodegradable which means here for a good time, not a long time.
Here’s one of my veggie boxes (below) with the pea and bean twine supports in place. Right after taking this photo, it rained for about two days and the peas shot up another 18″! You can see how people in damper climates have such lush gardens. It’s the water advantage! Here we’re prone to drought so it’s usually fairly slow growing much of the time.
It’s a Veggie! It’s a Fence! It’s Two Great Things in One!
My beloved asparagus patch provided a huge bounty this year. I never pick all of it. Really, there’s some shoots that seem to bipass the edible stage and get 4-5 feet tall before I can say boo.
I put tomato cages around them this year and realize they make a great privacy barrier. I’ve got the area mulched and ready to add a bunch more next spring.
Here’s another example of my twine obsession at work. This DIY water feeder has been very popular with the birds, bees, and butterflies! Triple score! Plus, I noticed the sparrows like to steal pieces of the twine for their nests. I can’t blame them! I love it too.
Please Bug Me
Another new addition to the garden is my bug house. Made from a thrift shop knickknack shelf, it was perfect for this project. You can see how to make one here.
An old bed spring and door that were stashed behind the shed have been put to work as a future leaf mold container. Basically, you keep all of your fallen leaves, chop them up if you can (I use a weed wacker), and leave them to rot. Leaves are excellent as compost/mulch.
I have several rusty old junk art items (like the funnel and tire rim) and I thought it would be cool to put them altogether. This way they can rust in peace.
It’s been 4 years since I painted and stencilled my trusty wheelbarrow. The inside is now ready for a fresh coat of paint.
Here’s the blue paint again. I really enjoyed making this mirror project. At first sight, some readers worry that the birds will fly into it but they don’t. It’s apparent that the birds do not see the same optical illusion effect we see, and neither would a bird try and fly through such a (seemingly) small opening. It just doesn’t happen. And, if you know me, you know that caring for the wild things comes first around here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look around my June garden. I’ve got lots more projects coming up. Any excuse to play outside, right?
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
My life as a gardener was deeply inspired by the gardens of Tasha Tudor.