Handy hints for starting seeds – An easy DIY for any gardener

Starting seeds - clothes pin label at wall flower studioWhen you’re in a pinch, pardon the pun, and need some quick, inexpensive, yet effective labels for starting those seedlings, I’ve found clothes pins to be the way to go.  Simply write the variety of seed in the container on the clothes pin and clip it on the pot.

When the time comes to plant your seedlings in the garden, the clothespin can be switched to a bamboo stake and stuck in the ground.  Of course, they can be decorated too, and you’ll find a plethora of ideas on Pinterest, but to be honest, other than Martha Stewart, who actually has time for that?!

newspaper pots at wall flower studioAlso, I like to make my own newspaper pot containers to start my seeds in. Not only am I recycling, but the whole enchilada can be planted in the ground, when the time comes, which means those tender roots won’t be disturbed. Many plants do not appreciate being repotted or replanted.

Since the newspaper will break down in the garden, there’s not muss and no fuss. My kind of gardening.

Happy planting!

 

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Wordless Wednesday spring blooms – Alpine Clematis ‘Constance’

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Blooming blues – Sharing floral hues and flower symbolism while waiting for spring

bachelor button

Centaurea cyanus

Veronica spicata

Veronica spicata

A blue flower, according to Wikipedia, “is a central symbol of inspiration“,  standing for desire, love, and the metaphysical striving for the infinite and unreachable. It also symbolizes “hope and the beauty of things.

Borago

Borage

That’s quite a mouthful. Obviously, the colour blue has much historical significance, and reverence!

Admittedly that’s easy to relate to right now, and this post has come about due to an infinite hope for spring’s seemingly unreachable arrival. You see, we had snow fall overnight here in cottage country, and it’s chilly outside to say the least.  Like many of you, I am itching to get in the garden.

forget me nots wfs

Myosotis

Feeling starved for colour,  with a monochromatic landscape looming outside, I took to viewing some flower photos on my Flickr site.

In doing so, it dawned on me just how many blue flowers are in my garden.

bearded iris

baptisia

Baptisia australis – False indigo

Of course, they don’t all bloom at the same time, (a bit of a shame considering the show they’d offer!), but on the other hand, it’s nice to have constant flow of colour throughout the season.  In any case, Wikipedia’s description seems quite fitting, indeed. So, in honor of spring’s imminent arrival, I’d like to offer up some visual hope right here.

Feel free to share your favourite blue flower here with me. Happy Spring!

Omphalodes

Omphalodes

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica

 

Not quite blue, but I do love lavender.

Not quite blue, but I do love lavender.

Echinops ritro wfs

Echinops

Blue cardinal flower

Blue cardinal flower

 

Morning glory

Morning glory

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A unique and unusual native woodland plant: Jack-in-the-pulpit

Arisaema triphyllum - Wall Flower StudioThe unusual and unique Jack-in-the-pulpit is an excellent perennial woodland garden plant.

The Latin name is Arisaema triphyllum. This plant is easy to recognize, even when not in bloom, due to the foliage combination of 3 leaves.

These lovelies are easy to cultivate under the right conditions. They require no care at all once established.  Jack will thrive in most soils, moist to dry, as long as it’s shady. They will happily accept seasonally wet locations.

The good news is that deer will not eat this plant. Having said that, neither should you or anybody else! It is poisonous.

Jack blooms for a long time; May through June in my neck of the woods, (which is considered a ‘zone 3’ USDA),  ‘zone 4 A’ in Canada.

Jack in the Pulpit - Arisaema triphyllumThis exquisite  native woodland perennial is a treat to see every spring!  For more information on this lovely fellow, I’d recommend a visit to:

Happy Gardening!

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Classic garden elements – Adding unique structures to your landscape

This is a just a sampling of some of the garden structures we create in-house here in Minden Ontario, at Wall Flower Studio – Garden obelisks, vertical gardens, and bee hotels.

Obelisk at Wall Flower Studio

Garden obelisk trellis

Planting peas and runner beans on the trellis

Obelisk in the garden, early spring.

 

 

 

 

 

Obelisks are perfect for vertical gardening which adds height and an added growing dimension to any garden. We especially love them for the winter interest that they add. Our garden structures are constructed of high quality timber and we offer a variety of paint colours to choose from.  One can grow almost any herbaceous climbing plant on these sturdy, simple, classic and elegant structures. 6516101931_34f3dd889f_o
Obelisks at Wall Flower Studio front of shop

Obelisk with peas and runner beans at WFS

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Square succulent wall garden for indoors or out

Our rustic vertical wall gardens are very popular, with good reason! Presently, we have 3 sizes available but we are working on creating different shapes, as well.  These space-saving, artistic plant containers are a work of living art. They can be planted with succulents, herbs and more. The only limit is one’s imagination!17240632025_41d3dcb7b2_o

 

 

 

We are thrilled to offer solitary bee hotels. 1795607_10153309127676488_1229602207476800234_n

Each one is unique and one of a kind, but they all offer a habitat for our native bees and other beneficial insects.  They can be mounted on a fence, a tree or anywhere you like.

Bees are vital for cross pollination of flowers, vegetables crops  and fruit trees not only for suburban gardens but also for farms,
parklands, plant nurseries and community gardens.
One way we can all help is to re-introduce these often unknown  little pollinators back into our environment and our gardens.

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DIY – Making suet balls to feed our feathered friends!

Feeding our feathered friends in winter can be fun, easy, and economical when you create your own homemade suet balls!  

Suet balls blog 1Ingredients:

-1 pound lard or fat
– 3/4 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup flour
– 1/4 cup cornmeal
– 1 cup sugar
– approximately half a loaf of bread crumbs
– 1-1/2 cups of mixed seeds, nuts and chopped dried fruits

 

Directions:

Chickadee at Wall Flower Studio - copyright Karen SloanMelt the lard and peanut butter over low heat. Mix flour, cornmeal, and sugar and stir in.
-Add enough bread crumbs to absorb all liquid.
-Add fruit, seeds, and nuts as desired.
-Pour into a 9 x 5″ bread pan (lined with plastic wrap), or pour into suet cake molds.(molds can be saved from store-bought suet.) -Allow to cool completely.
-Keep refrigerated or in a cool place like a basement.

One batch makes about four cakes.

When you’re snowed in, (as many of us were last week here in Ontario), why not create a treat for the birds?! Kids love to help with this too – Have fun!

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Sharing a miniature Fairy garden DIY – Terrariums and furniture for the ‘wee folk’!

Fairy Terrarium with blue chair - Wall Flower Studio Karen SloanOne of my lovely customers ordered a Fairy garden in a terrarium. They requested that it be kept simple. For a container, I used a large apothecary jar. These offer ample room for soil, plants, charcoal, rocks, pebbles and moss that make up the wee garden.

The finished creation includes a small Peperomia caperata and a False aralia (Dizygotheca elegantissima). Sheet moss and lichens from our yard were added, along with some wooden ‘stepping stones’ to offer the illusion of a  pathway through the enclosed garden. Last but not least, the wee blue chair.

Fairy terrarium blue chair from above

After our last workshop here at the shop, there were a lot of twig and branch scraps on hand. That worked out well because I cut up all of the long twigs into smaller, more usable pieces. I also had some of the oak disks, (branches cut on their side, like a loaf of bread!), which work well for seats and tabletops.

fairy furniture chairs 1

 

Here are the first 3 chairs created at the kitchen counter. With glue gun in hand, I rifled through the twigs, and came up with 2 wee chairs and a table. It’s fun to try different styles, so one is a somewhat traditional style chair, and the other, a funky recliner!

I dislike seeing the strands of glue that you just can’t get away from when using a glue gun. I refer to them as ‘spider webs’. Hold your creation up to the light and pull those off. And, to hide any glue bumps, add a bit of moss to cover it up. Moss and lichens are great for disguising any of those unsightly mechanics.

finished fairy garden furniture Karen Sloan benchThey say the ‘devil is in the details’, but that’s the fun part! I had a couple of tiny little cuttings from a couple of twigs that ended up on the table as drinking cups. Being a floral designer, a small table arrangement was a must! Putka pods and dried Pee gee hydrangea seed heads worked well to create a tabletop bouquet.

finished fairy garden furniture Karen Sloan 22
After my bench and chair grouping was finished, it was on to bedroom furniture. First a night table, chair and bed! Again, more moss, which gives it a very natural ‘gardeny’ feel, along with paper birch that was lying on the ground in our yard. Birch bark makes terrific pillows and duvets! Just a note, I never rip the bark from the tree.

Fairy night table, bed and chair. Wall Flower StudioSuch fun!

Well, it’s back to the glue gun for me! I’m having too good of a time to stop now, but wanted to share.

I hope you’ll enjoy making your own miniature creations! If you’re located in Ontario, Canada and you’re interested in one of our upcoming workshops, please visit HERE for more information. Thanks!

Wishing everyone a very happy week. ~ Karen

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