Category Archives: All Things Green, or should be anyway!

All garden and outdoor decorating ideas, tips and dreams.

Colorful Tomato Cages!

Spray painted these tomato cages to add a bit of whimsy in the garden with pink, lavendar, yellow, and lime green. Too cute!


Mary saw an ad in the paper for colored tomato cages that we were both pretty intrigued by.  We thought…”hmmm….now that would be cute, and best of all, we get to do our favorite mode-whimsical!”  But then we saw how much they wanted for them and started back pedaling. $8 a piece for Pete’s sake is a lot of money to replace perfectly good cages.  Mary needed about 40 so that would have been about $360 in cages of different colors. I just needed 5, but I really liked the ones I bought last year shaped like a rectangle. So we turned into our mothers, and bought spray paint! (Remember how your mom use to spray paint EVERYTHING back in the day?)  They turned out really cute!!!!!! And we added a lot of color to our garden that is without much color for some time.  I love them! 

God I love spray paint!



This size pot holds a 100 ft hose nicely.


Since we don’t have a sprinkler system (crazy) we have gigantic 100 ft. hoses everyplace. We have tried everything to try to hide them. This has been fruitless so far, because we don’t feel we have found a workable system for doing so that isn’t unsightly or takes forever to roll back up. I hate those hose things that you have to turn the wheel to wind them back up.  They don’t work very well and are slow as can be.  We had not found a solution, that is, until we went to my Mother-In-Law’s 90th birthday party that was in their beautiful yard. (It must be noted that they maintain this gorgeous goliath themselves.) As I was going in the back door, I spotted the best idea I have ever seen that they had come up with. There, sitting on their patio, was the solution! They had taken a flowerpot/container, and utilized it as the home for the hose, where they had then just laid the hose in, circling the pot with it as they filled the container.  It was brilliant! It looked great! And it was fast winding it back up! 

We immediately ran to our local discount garden place and found a handsome large and sturdy burgundy colored plastic container that worked well with the outside colors of the house. Reid drilled a few small holes about the circumference of a pencil  in the bottom for drainage. 

Hole in lower side of container to add stability


Next, he put a hole just a hair larger than the coupler on the hose, in the side, close to the bottom of the container, that would allow to snake the hose into the container. Voile’!  A great solution for a problem that has driven us crazy for years. Reid used a saw hole on his drill, but his father just used a sharp knife to cut this larger hole on the side  This also gives the whole thing stability and keeps it from falling over as you pull the hose out of the container through the top.  If you just don’t want to mess with putting in the holes just use a heavier pot that already comes with a hole in the bottom of it. I used this lighter weight one for several weeks without the side hole in it, and it was okay, but kept falling over. I don’t think you would have this problem with a heavier pot.      

My mother and father-in-law on her 90th birthday, with their great grandchildren.


Perhaps the most incredible part of this post is that my in-laws take care of their own large gorgeous yard at the age of 90 and 91. Proof that yard work is good for you! No excuses for the rest of us!!!! 🙂 


How a Gazebo Reincarnated and Became Yard Art!

This was this gazebo's first life.

The second life of the gazebo as yard art!

I have long admired my neighbor, Mary, and her portable gazebo that sits up next to the back of their house and provided them with shade.  I loved the ornate metal corners whenever I had the occasion to see them. I always wondered what they would look like by themselves. I thought they would make lovely freestanding trellises.  So when Mary asked me if I wanted this particular item because they were replacing it with a new gazebo, I didn’t hesitate. Not even for heartbeat.  

It took all of us, Mary and I along with the hubby’s,  to move it over to our back yard. They were very confused when I told them not to put it on the patio, that I had other plans for it. I actually knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I put it in the new perennial bed for all kinds of things to climb on and to give the bed a sort of outdoor room feel. I just took it apart, and rearranged the pieces.    

I love it! It’s so much fun! And I have planted two clematis, some climbing spinach, and tiger lillies to best utilize the corners. I have plans to plant a climbing rose with both of the clematis which I think will be a lovely complement to each other and maximize the bloom spot. We considered putting hanging pots on the bars that stretched across the tellises, but ours were too heavy. And then I remembered these darling outdoor lamps I bought two years ago that I have not used yet, and this will be the perfect place to hang those. I also have plans for other assorted wind chimes and all kinds of things.  It just lends itself to all kinds of things that are fun!    

So here’s the lesson I learned.  If you really like some element of something, don’t just think about it for the dedicated use that it was originally intended for, and then throw it out when part of it is used up.  Think outside of the box, and think about what element of it you can recycle and reuse. What’s the thing you like about it? The length? The color? The material it’s made out of? Where would that particular element be an enhancement? Can you take it apart? Or use just a portion of it? Try it!! Then you have something that you not only salvaged, but something you don’t have to replace! Lots of good recycling karma coming your way.  Plus, you have the joy of creating something that is all your own idea. No one else has it except you. Well, until everyone copies your idea, which is the best of complements!

Beautiful and tastes good too!

Mary's chives in bloom

Is this not gorgeous? Mary’s bucket ‘o chives in full bloom. Love it! She has had it for several years, and it has reseeded itself over the years but how wonderful it is to see these tasty little morsels in full bloom.

Buy some herbs and plant them! You can justify the small cost because there is NOTHING better for your recipes than fresh herbs. Sublime! The other cost justification is that fresh herbs can be pricey.  It’s so much fun to run outside and pick them when you need them. One of the true joys of summer!   Even if you only have a small balcony, or just a small front porch, or a window for that matter, just use a large container like the one in the picture, and there you have it! Your very own garden of fresh herbs. 

Texas Tarragon and Nasturtium

I also bought my first Nasturtium for food. Yes, that’s flowers folks. Got them from Neff’s farms at Bradley Fair ( Tuesday 4 to 7 ) along with Texas Tarragon. I love the peppery acidic taste of the blooms and the leaves, which on this variety of Alaska,  reminds me of tomatoes! The leaves are a lovely varigated variety amd are so pretty.  The Texas Tarragon is suppose to be hardier than it’s French cousin because of it being indigenous to Texas.  I also think it’s a little sweeter.  The leaf is a bit larger too.  And of course, there is always basil to use with your fresh tomatoes and a little fresh mozzarella. Yum!

Just getting back from Oregon….Wow! Now THAT’s where you could plant a garden!

Portland Oregon from the Washington Park Test Rose Gardens

Just got back from Portland Oregon and the Oregon Coast so I haven’t had time to post. But I will by the end of the weekend. I will put my photo’s up too from my trip! Incredible country. If you can’t grow stuff in Oregon, you really should give up gardening….. I have got to get back there when the roses are in bloom. They are only a little behind us, maybe a week, on the spring growing season, but it doesn’t get very cold unless you get into the mountains.

It’s a really busy time of year here now that we are back in Kansas! So much to do, so little time!!! YIKES!!! I’m not the only one feeling the pressure. But at least we got a little bit of rain….1/3 of an inch on the east side of Wichita. Of course, they got more out west. Almost 2/3 of an inch is what I have heard. And the wind is howling of course. At least it’s nice on the temperature. Only mid 70’s.

I have great photos of an idea I implemented from an old tent Mary gave us. It is great in the garden! I will take pics and post. I’m kinda proud of it. 🙂

A New Garden to plant!


Bulbs in the new bed this spring

A new bed on the south side of our house just waiting to be filled!

New garden bed looking east toward the creek

Last year was the perfect summer weather. My flowers looked great all summer and into the fall, which is not always the case every year. Mind you, the summer of 2009 did not, in any way, resemble a typical Kansas summer. It was wonderful. No wind driving at 40 mph all day, frying things to a crisp in 100 degree plus weather. There was the perfect amount of rain so none of the usual flood or drought that we have grown accustom to. It was without a doubt, the finest Kansas summer I remember in my 5 decades here. So, what did we do? Based on this weather, we put in a great big new flower bed.  How’s that for good reasoning?  

The excitement and lure of good weather for at best, two more months through the middle of June, means we can be in complete denial about what is on the horizon, while I do what all gardeners enjoy doing, and that is planting new plants that I haven’t had in a while or have never tried!! And they usually last at least two months, so I can pretend I’m really good at this for at least that long!

The new bed is on the south side of our house, so it get’s lots of sun. Last year I had over 10 tomato plants that got terrible blight, so I am going to move my tomatoes to avoid those problems and let that soil rest. I also miss having lots of flowers to cut like I did before we moved to Crafish Ranch.  I have enough room that I can try out all kinds of new things over the next few years!!! Yippee!!!

photos of what I planted in the fall

I planted bulbs in the fall, and they have not disappointed! I also realized last fall that I had all kinds of things that were perennials in my pots that I could plant. I tried Cardinal flowers, which I haven’t had before, and my new favorite plant, agastache, in a lovely pink and orange. I had salvia from my pots, moved those peonies that haven’t done well since I planted them under those trees.   I knew I wouldn’t actually remember all I planted, so I took lots of photos so I could tell what I planted and where.  There will probably still be some surprises. Seems like there always is in one’s garden. 

I used leaves, we have an extraordinary amount from all of the trees on our property, as mulch, over the winter. It got much colder than usual, 10 degrees below zero several nights, with extended very cold temperatures so we’ll see what has managed to survive.    

Reid is excited because he will have less lawn to mowe.  That is something we have wanted to work on for some time now, to cut back on the amount of lawn there is to take care of. We’re probably just exchanging one kind of work for another kind of work. Oh what the heck! I’ll have flowers to cut for arrangements and new space to plant!!

Spring Almost Sprung!

Is there anything worse than having just a tease of spring after a long hard winter, only to loose it???? AAARRRGGGHH! I am so glad I saved a few bulbs to force, and in typical Gail fashion did it much later than one would think one should…. because now as I see my hyacinths poking their little heads up out of my mulch in my garden, I can actually see and smell the ones I have on my kitchen counter top!
Too bad I can’t somehow insert their delicious fragrance into this blog. It is the headiest of all the bulbs. And I love the fuschia pink! So bright and cheery!