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Friday Finds


I always wonder how weeks in the middle of winter still manage to get away from me once in a while. The mental countdown to gardening season has begun, but usually this is the time of year when time seems to pass slowly. Not this week. A death in the family (expected) and deadlines at work blew several blog posts out of the water, but I’m hoping there will be lots to read here next week.

To be honest, I still have a lot of off-gardening-season projects that need to be done, so I’m still thankful there is time to crank those out before I head outside.

One of the projects I’ve been working on is redoing the stairs to the basement. They were covered in really terrible wall-to-wall carpet, which I’ve ripped off. They’ll be painted and I’ll install a runner (of sorts). I’ll blog about the whole project but I’ll just warn you know that pulling carpet is a terrible job.

Basement stairs before
Here’s the official before photo of the basement stairs project, with obligatory recycling basket at the bottom of the stairs and “crap shelf” on the left. Light and bright will be a good thing here.

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I’ve been enjoying Instagram lately where many of the garden Instagrammers I follow have been posting lovely, inspirational, colorful photos. 

Clive Nichols feed is a feast for the eyes. No surprise as he is certainly one of the best garden photographers on the planet.

Clive Nichols instagram photo

This study of how different stains look on different woods is really handy. I’m looking forward to trying that Minwax Simply White color. 

This article claims to be “Everything you need to know about gravel” but the main thing you need to know about gravel isn’t mentioned: Don’t put landscape fabric under it. (Here’s why.) I’ve since confirmed this with several landscapers. 

Speaking of gravel, I’ve been working hard on finalizing the design of the new vegetable garden, which I’ll share once that’s finished and I’m 100% sure that it’s going to happen. I don’t think I’ll feel confident about that until we start leveling the area. I’ve been struggling with what I want on the main “path” which will have raised beds on either side. Originally I was thinking about brick, but that seems cost prohibitive, so I’ve been toying with the idea of large cement pavers or maybe something like these wood-look patio “tiles.”

Got a better idea? I’m all ears!

Benjamin Britten rose

Crown Princess Margareta rose

One of the things I’d like at the entrance to the garden (parterre style, surrounded by a wire fence) is climbing roses. You’ve heard of she sheds? Well if this comes together it will be my “special place.” I anticipate many cocktail hours amongst my veggies. Anyway … a little pretty is called for and I’ve been working on selecting roses. I’m stuck on ‘Crown Princess Margareta’, which is said to be a tough, reliable rose with apricot flowers with a yellow hinge. That color is tough to combine with other typical rose colors, and I’m not interested in a fully yellow rose. Because anything in the light pink area could go horribly wrong, I’m surprising myself a bit but being drawn to a very strong color in ‘Benjamin Britten’, which, despite the photo, is said to be either deep salmon or red-pink, depending on which description you read. Most gardeners seem to report that the salmon description is more accurate. 

Well, rose dreaming will have to wait for another day. There’s winter stuff to be done. What are you up to this weekend?

9 Responses

  1. I wanted to let you know your amaryllis video inspired me. I started them at the end of November and had 6 plants in bud just in time for Christmas presents. They were a big hit. Thank you.

  2. I’m installing basic square concrete pavers from Home Depot in my vegetable garden this year. They go on sale for about 1.20 each in the Spring. It is an investment upfront, but I don’t want to be hauling mulch or cutting grass between the raised beds in the coming years. I already have a lovely potting shed in place. Can’t wait for Spring!

  3. I have the 2018 David Austin Rose catalog and read myself to sleep at night. My first star on a rose is when it says ‘strong fragrance’. I’m a ‘smell’ girl!

  4. If you are interested in peachy roses, have you thought about really really dark red or purplish, like Munstead Wood. Not a climber but if you look you will see what I mean colorwise. And what about gravel for the veggie garden paths. Could be a larger size but similar color as what you are using elsewhere. Maybe with a few bluestone type large pavers at beginning and endings or intersections. I am working madly on projects and need to look for a contractor if we want to replace windows and build bookshelves in the new “studio.” I can’t find our last guy who we liked and I am afraid he got out of the biz. Mark has pulled up carpet and would agree with you and he may do it again in the studio if we go whole hog on the redesign. I’ve ordered the first plants and marked up my Flower Factory catalog, so spring feels very near though it is wintry cold here with light snow forecast on the weekend.

    1. You are full of good ideas, Linda and you’ve given me lots to think about here. I just started digging into the Flower Factory catalog (that green Hakonechloa got highlighted right away). Sounds like your studio project will be fabulous.

      1. I’ve been growing the green hakoneechloa for years and can highly recommend it. It is much more upright than Aureola with the same graceful arching and better winter interest because of its height.

  5. A good time of year to get things accomplished inside. Then while you are resting up from all that work you can dream about the she shed and all the marvelous veggies you will have while sipping cocktails and sniffing roses. Yep sounds like a plan to me.

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