"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dahlia, dear dahlia

Dahlia, dear dahlia, with colors so bright,
You brighten my garden with all your delight.

There you are strong standing tall on your stem,
Among the other flowers, you are the gem.

Yellow, peach, white, pink and red,
Your colors enrich the garden bed.

As your flowers fade and petals scatter on the ground,
I lock your memory away in my heart to be found.

- Heidi Kuijer

From the Victorian language of flowers, a dahlia means elegance and dignity. I am thrilled that the dahlias I planted both in my front and back garden are flourishing almost to the point where I think the other flowers would accuse them of showing off. They make me smile each morning when I open the bedroom curtains and brighten my day as I look out from my living room window. I do love dahlias!

Have a wonderful weekend my blogging friends!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

Another garden make do...

It is no weather for the garden here in Holland. It has been more autumn than summer with rain, high winds and cool temperatures. Our plants are suffering from it too. Still, I have another garden project to share which we made do with.

There was a well established grape vine in a strange place when we started changing the garden. Jos did not want to move it as he thinks it would not survive. The round poles it was supposed to be supported by were something he hated and were rotting for the most part. Two were still in tact which we used in my last make do post.

He first cut back the bamboo which hedges our garden from the neighbors. It has been left to grow on its own will taking over about 2 yards into the garden. Then the inner section was totally dead and simply rotting. The smell was awful. Jos cleaned it all up right back to the border of the two gardens. We are now adding some yew which we hope will give us a nicer green border on our side.

All this work left the grape standing looking quite forlorn. So I came up the idea of creating a pergola for the grape to grow against while also creating a secret area to sit. We went through what wood we still had left from our previous house. We needed to buy only three 3 meter long posts and used all the old wood and arches we had.

You see this view from the living room. I love the old cross which we found at a flea market. Jos mounted in a concrete block for me. There is also an old bell, which I had already and you can see in the first photo, hanging on the opposite corner of the pergola.

There is still a round post which we will remove in the winter season but the grape will eventually be lead up the new pergola and against the metal raster we attached. There are many grapes bunches growing which will be a feast for the birds in the autumn.

When you come around the center of the garden, you find a little area where you can sit in the sunshine (when it shines that is). Don't forget to grab a couple of pillows on your way out which are sitting in an large apple basket by the door...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

A week flies by when you are busy and we have been busy. We stayed at home this weekend instead of going to the cottage as we had another garden project to finish.

Our philosophy is to spend as little as possible and still create a nice garden so recycling items is a big part of that. Last weekend, we went to a monthly flea market held in Friesland. We found a couple of treasures to bring home with us. One was an old iron barn window frame. The man was asking 35 euros for it but Jos was able to get is for only 17,50 euros. Bargaining is a major sport for Jos.

We have been doing a number of projects in the garden and while ripping up one area, we removed a row of round posts. Most of them were rotted but two were still good. We had saved these and now put them to good use. Jos mounted the iron frame (boy is it ever heavy!) to these posts but it was not quite right.

I rummaged through the pieces of oak floorboards that were put outside by the man who laid our floors. These have been sitting outside since October so well weathered which was just right for what I had in mind. We cut up the pieces we had and created what looks like a piece of wall left from an old shed.

This is the results.....a ruin of a folly.....

We hung our old rusted thermometer on the wall, planted a star jasmine at the foot of the window frame and it still needed something. I was sitting on the terrace close to the house and suddenly thought what was needed. There was a dark spot under the trees and it needed something light to grab your eye and make you want to walk to the back of the garden.....

So we moved Jos' statue there. He loves that statue so I call it his. *grins* He had to play around with what to use as a base to make sure she was visible from both terraces. Now Mother Nature has to do her part. Around the ground where we placed both the wall and the statue is bare. Eventually ivy and other ground cover will start to grow up the wall which will make it looks as though a shed had been there many years ago.

This make do project cost us only the 17,50 euros for the frame and hard work. All the wood and poles we already had.

Our garden is finally starting to feel like our own. We have to catch up with 16 years of no work being done. That means rock solid earth and much weeding. It is starting to come together. I am adding things in nooks and crannies to create a secret cottage garden feel to it. I already dubbed it Granny's garden but I will tell you that story in another blog post.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

I was so enthusiastic about the candlesticks being painted that I got out my paint once again for my Make do and mend project. First, I was asked by a couple of people about the paint. I purchased the primer and matt black paint from a shop here called Action which sells it in spray cans for less than 2 euros. I would use spray paint for any brass items. Check the label to see if it works on metal.

Another thing I have from our old house that do not work here any longer are these flower pots. They are a yellow sand color which clashes with the colors we are now using. I do love the rough look of these pots so have kept them. If you enlarge the photos I think you will be able to see the texture on the flower pots. I took the leftover paint from our darker wall in the living room to paint them. Since these are indoor pots, this emulsion will work. Brushing it on did take two coats simply because of the texture and all of 5 minutes total to give me.......

...two flower pots that now work perfectly in our living room! This is actually a dark color but they come out lighter on the photos. I really love them now. The dark cocoa grey color really makes the hot pink flowers of the Kalanchoƫ Calandiva "zing".

What about you? Do you have things that you could put a paint brush to in order to give it new life?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cherry season.....

It is cherry season in Holland! I celebrate with a pinkeep I stitched a number of years ago combined with a bowl of cherries.....

"When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter.
For the eater
When the dews fall.
And you’ll be fairies all."

~ Emily Dickinson