GROWING THE GARDEN

It’s summer and here in the Northwest, for many of us, our obsession with gardening is in full swing.  It started slowly, softly in March. There were hushed whispers of, “Look! Bedding plants!” as we wandered into stores everywhere. Then, the garden centers suddenly burgeoned with new plants, shrubs, and trees. Suddenly you see people exiting Costco with their “ganga* sized” hanging fuchsia baskets and the ubiquitous “color baskets”. Trees sprout from half closed trunk lids and the interiors of cars look like dense forests because they are packed with shrubs and perennials.

Those days are behind us (at least for this year) and we are now refining, tuning, tweaking (NOT twerking) the garden. That means looking to the fertilizing, trimming, grooming of the plants and ensuring that the watering system  is up to snuff and working correctly. (Yes, even here in the Northwest – famous for its rain – we need to water some things in the summer months.)

That’s where this blog comes in. You see, I can be a rank pragmatist at times. If the watering system works it’s alright with me if the sprayers are mounted on lengths of cedar grape stakes. It’s naaatural! Colleen, however, holds with different views. Oh, I’ve acceded to the occasional garden ornament. You  know the kind, bright bits of decorative glass in discs or globes (or is that globs?? never mind!) adorning a rickety bit of quasi steel rod. But, I tend to believe it’s a garden so the plants should be the stars. OH! How wrong I was! I know that reads sarcastically but, really, I was wrong.

beautiful hand blown glass ornaments from the talented Chris Rich. Rich Glass Studios - Portland, OR - it has a place of pride in the garden

beautiful hand blown glass ornaments from the talented Chris Rich. Rich Glass Studios – Portland, OR – it has a place of pride in the garden

Colleen suggested that we find some more “cute sparklies” and put the sprayers on them. So, off to our local discount mega store we went – where we suffered acute sticker shock. Cheap, tacky and insubstantial looking ornaments were selling for 4 times what they did a mere 5 years ago. I’m not averse to paying $7 or $8 dollars for something mass manufactured but I do draw the line at $30 or more. Our custom blown glass ornament from Rich Glass Studio in Portland wasn’t all that much more and it’s art, not schlock.

Anyway, we abandoned the megastore and headed to the usual aftermarket places. Goodwill, Ross, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning… you get the idea. Anyway, as we were shopping we evolved an entirely new idea. We decided to add some interesting variations to our (Colleen’s) original idea.

Meeting with overwhelming success, we hauled our trove or trinkets and ornaments home. By the way, they cost us less than two of the mass produced schlock ornaments at the so called discount megastore. Then, as with all things about us, I took her original concept and modified it to be yet something else. Whether it’s writing, decorating, or gardening, we work best as a synergistic team. Or at least, we think we do. You be the judge. Comments gratefully received.

Oddly enough, our dear friends Gareth and Michelle came over for the ‘Post 4th’ barbecue at our house. They had intended to come over and see the ornaments anyway and this made it something of an occasion. Ironically, two days later, Gareth sent me an article on making an interesting entry and walk through your garden. Guess what they had as a suggestion. Odd bits of glass and decoration to capture the viewer’s eye and imagination. Cool! and we did it ahead of time!

And, if you find yourself in Portland of a Saturday in the summer, drop by Rich Glass’ booth at the Saturday Market and say hey. You will not be disappointed.

*GANGA – a colloquial Spanish word meaning bargain. A common hyperbole in advertisements, especially those of ‘olde’ for El Gigante in Tucson, AZ – Ah! Good times! Good times!.

Brass tone urn with a sparkler hummingbird inside. The sprinkler head is barely visible above the flower.

Brass tone urn with a sparkler hummingbird inside. The sprinkler head is barely visible above the flower.

A whimsical faucet and bucket retasked to be both planter and sprinkler host. A few quick holes for drainage and voila! That vinca is HAPPY in there.

A whimsical faucet and bucket retasked to be both planter and sprinkler host. A few quick holes for drainage and voila! That vinca is HAPPY in there.

Again, whimsy in metal. This bird looked very steampunk to us so - we HAD to have it. the sprinkler head peeks out from the top of his tail. And the bowl serves as an auxiliary water source for the birds that visit us.

Again, whimsy in metal. This bird looked very steampunk to us so – we HAD to have it. the sprinkler head peeks out from the top of his tail. And the bowl serves as an auxiliary water source for the birds that visit us.

This sun, star, and planet sparkler was fitted through the bottom of an Indian inspired openwork metal basket. We nestled it into the rhododendron. When it blooms purple next spring it should be spectacular.

This sun, star, and planet sparkler was fitted through the bottom of an Indian inspired openwork metal basket. We nestled it into the rhododendron. When it blooms purple next spring it should be spectacular.

This cast figure of an African herdsman was affixed to a piece of rock using high strength epoxy glue. He appears to be cast in bronze which makes the $7 we paid for the pair a real steal. Look for the water sprinkler in the detail pictures.

This cast figure of an African herdsman was affixed to a piece of rock using high strength epoxy glue. He appears to be cast in bronze which makes the $7 we paid for the pair a real steal. Look for the water sprinkler in the detail pictures.

A straight on view of the herdsman reveals nothing. But it is a surprise to passers by when they realize that stick has a face, hands, feet and a herding stick.

A straight on view of the herdsman reveals nothing. But it is a surprise to passers by when they realize that stick has a face, hands, feet and a herding stick.

The herdsman's mate. You can see the position of the microsprayer now. It nestles perfectly at the base of each figure's skull. Cute, whimsical, and practical. Truly garden ornaments at their best and truly unique.

The herdsman’s mate. You can see the position of the microsprayer now. It nestles perfectly at the base of each figure’s skull. Cute, whimsical, and practical. Truly garden ornaments at their best and truly unique.

Technically not part of this exercise but the birdbath filler hose was fed up through the body of a dysfunctional copper sprinkler that we cut off. With a piece of left over copper plumbing pipe and a fitting costing less than $2 we made this lovely filler for the bath. It just shows you what you can do with a bit of imagination.

Technically not part of this exercise but the birdbath filler hose was fed up through the body of a dysfunctional copper sprinkler that we cut off. With a piece of left over copper plumbing pipe and a fitting costing less than $2 we made this lovely filler for the bath. It just shows you what you can do with a bit of imagination.

 

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2 thoughts on “GROWING THE GARDEN

  1. Wow – I really love the garden ornaments — you are both very talented!! Wish I could see them in person! Miss you guys!

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