lavender

Strawberry baskets, and a picnic of Lavender..

Lavender in Bike Basket

How are you, and how has your week been?  I have the day off work today and am brewing up to hosting our annual family reunion; the kitchen is an explosion of pots, pans, sticky spoons and odd streaks decorate every surface (passata? chocolate?? let’s hope so..).  The windows are steamed up which is helpful, hiding as it does the fact that the garden is being lashed with rain and gales, and our carefully hung bunting is now drooping rather dejectedly and is speckled flamboyantly with mud.

Ah well, it will give us a chance to play how-many-adults-can-you-squash-onto-a-sofa and other such games, if the heavens do not comply.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of projects I did in the garden recently when the weather was much kinder; planting up hanging strawberry baskets and a hamper full of lavender.

I repurposed a couple of our Easter egg hunt baskets and added a binliner to help with water retention, then filled with potting soil and planted a couple of young strawberry plants we’d been coaxing along on the windowsill;

How to plant a strawberry basket

Whilst strawberries are delicious, strawberry plants are undeniably quite dull, so I added some of these gorgeous cappuccino-coloured trailing bedding plants to provide a bit of colour and contrast…

Hanging baskets with strawberries and cappucino daisies

I then twisted rubber-coated wire firmly around the handle, creating a double-strength cord to hang the basket from the tree (I used this make);

How to hang a strawberry basket

Hang from your chosen tree (I used this one under which we play our noughts and crosses)

Strawberry hanging baskets

Wait about 2-3 weeks, watering frequently, and suddenly… STRAWBERRIES!!!

We have strawberries!

Pick and enjoy immediately..

Strawberry picking

home grown strawberries

I also planted a wicker picnic hamper with lavender, using a plastic box as an inner to protect the wicker and stop the moisture from evaporating so quickly…

Lavender hamper

The lavender has grown quickly and filled out, creating a lovely feature on the patio…

Lavender basket on the terrace

And a helpfully portable one!  A nice welcome for our guests in the spare bedroom…

Lavender basket and old butchers block

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The hamper fits beauitfully in my old delivery bike, which I recently painted (admittedly in a rather half-assed way; it needs another coat..); we prop this against the garden gates whevener we’re expecting company…

Lavender in Bike Basket

Bike with flowers

And my final outdoor project, which is very much a work-in-progress; I’m trying to grow a living skirt for my vintage mannequin, after dressing her for Christmas and spring.  Climbing roses and clematis are slowly but surely weaving their way skywards; in my head I’m picturing a sea of cascading white flowers and delicate tendrils.  If the weather has its way though, I suspect I may instead by rescuing her from a tree, or even from next door…

the summer lady with her skirt of roses

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend.  Ours may be wet and wild, but it will be enormous fun, of that I’m sure – we have a 30ft bouncy castle arriving at dawn and no-one can resist that… :-) .

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Painted Pots!

DIY Painted Pots from katescreativespace

Earlier in June the sun broke through the grey British skies and we had three magnificent weeks of an early taste of summer. We spent most of our free hours outside; building dens, bringing the garden back to life, practising football skills and planting up pots for some summer-long colour.  I have a HUGE supply of pots but most are modern, dull terracotta, so I raided our shelf of old tester pots of paint and brought them back to a more colourful life…

Painted pots

Here’s what I used…

DIy Painted Pots Materials

In each case I simply washed and dried the pots and then painted each a different, complementary colour, experimenting with techniques to see what happened.  For this first one (below), I used two layers of a lavender/grey paint and then lightly sanded around the rim to age it a little.  When dry, I used a bit of sponge to dab some lichen-coloured paint around the base (leftover from our kitchen!)..

Painted pots 1

For contrast, I used a deep, bold charcoal paint sample for the rosemary pot, and rubbed a tiny dab of silver paint (this one) around the rim to highlight..

Painted pots 2

And for the lavender, I used a vibrant blue and brushed it on very roughly, before stippling the dry paint with a sponge topped with white emulsion paint…

lavender pot in blues

When you’ve completed your artistic endeavours and painted all the pots, simply coat with a brush-on wax or varnish to seal – hey presto; summer is here!

Clustered painted pots

With lavender on my mind, we’re heading to Provence for a few days; I’m fantasising about swimming outdoors, browsing for brocantes in local village markets and sipping chilled rosé as dusk falls… I can’t wait!  If you’ve visited the region and have any recommendations do please let me know in the comments; we’re staying near Grasse, and hoping to catch a glimpse of the Tour de France as it barrels through the neighbouring countryside..

p.s. thank you for the lovely comments on last week’s Mouseketeers post; I’m still smiling…

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