A gathering place for the Art of Gardening and Natures Beauty

Gardens of Etsy is a gathering space for artisans and friends.
A viewing point for natures beauty.
A place for inspiration.
We fill our gardens with not only plants and love but enhance them with our arts and crafts.
We bring the outdoors in by filling our homes with our nature inspired works of art.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Autumn happenings in my garden

These are last of the garden pictures for the season.  It was a beautiful Autumn.  The dogwoods and crepe myrtles were spectacular this year.  The sourwoods and sassafras were gorgeous red and orange, Even the forsythia put on a show.  Most of the leaves have fallen now so I'll wait patiently through the winter, looking at garden catalogs and dream of next years garden.  I do want to try to have some tomato plants next year.  If you've been following, you know I battled the deer with sprays, hot peppers and chili powder, wind chimes, cages.  Nothing would stop them.  I learned from a neighbor that she used ivory soap cut up in chunks around hers and that worked. So next time, I'll give that a try.  

Red orange sassafras trees

Forsythia will turn this pretty purple the more sun it gets in the fall.  Talk about a southern staple.  It grows everywhere and doesn't need anything.  Just cut it back occasionally if it gets too big.  Pretty bell shaped yellow flowers in the spring, a carefree, open shrub in the summer and then this lovely purple in the fall. What's not to love?

Heading around the curve in the driveway and this sugar maple greets me

Crepe myrtles line one side of the driveway

This is an azalea.  No, really!  It blooms in the spring, off and on in the summer and then this show in the fall

Some garden mums in a pinky purple.  There'a a little bee taking a nap in this one.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Lotus experiment.........continued

Part one -

Here's an update on my experiment over the summer, growing a lotus from a seed.
I had placed the 8 lotus sprouts in pots in different places, 5 went in my pond and two on my deck in a tub.
Well it turns out, the ones placed in the pond had a ever so slight trickle of water near them from a nearby water fall and in less than a week, the 5 baby lotus plants here did not survive :(
They definitely must be placed in STILL water.
Out of the two plants I placed in the tub on my deck, one perished ? and one flourished!

Here it is in late August ~

It even had a resident frog all summer long :)

The plant that survived ended up with 12 floating leaves and 5 standing leaves.
They were a Gorgeous blue/green. Such a cool leaf, totally waterproof, any droplet of water on them would just roll right off.

.... Late October now.... getting frost here in New York, so I needed to decide weather to bring it into the basement or place in the bog that was ready. After much research, others have been successful leaving them out in my zone, so I decided I would be planting it right in the bog.
We lifted the pot out and to my surprise there were shoots of roots up to 15 inches long that found their way out of the 4 holes in the bottom of the pot. The plant was totally root bound. Now I see how they can become evasive in a pond.

I decided to cut the pot as to try not to disturb the plant in any way.
(My husband so nicely did this part for me).

The bog I created is 18 inches deep filled with a mixture of soil and peat moss. I left 3 inches of room on the top for water to sit. It took the two of us to plant it with our arms totally immersed in mud. Had a lot of fun with it!

My finished Bog ~

So far so good. It loves it there!
Even in these cold temps down to 40 degrees, new shoots were emerging in the last two weeks. Fingers crossed.

Next to the lotus I placed a water iris in a pot for now.

In this last picture in the left lower corner, you can see the money plant sprouts from the seeds Julie from willowtreepottery sent me. Reaserch for my zone said to plant the seeds in Late Summer. They are doing wonderfully and will be a Beautiful backdrop for the bog. Thanks again Julie for the seeds and your awesome bog idea. It has been a wonderful adventure.
Here are the links to Julie's bog blog ~

I am counting the days till spring :)
to be continued.........................................

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to care butterfly cycle

I have been working on making a Butterfly Garden in my yard since 2009. I have seen 28 kinds of butterfly in the garden this year!!! The most important part of my butterfly garden is making a good environment for a butterfly's life cycle. Two kinds of butterflies, Black Swallowtail and Wild Indigo Dusckywing, laid eggs and spent their cycle in my garden this year! When I found butterfly larvae, I put them into an insect cage or surrounded the plants where I found the larvae with chicken wire and covered the wire with mesh fabric like this picture.

This is an Indigo blue plant. I couldn't bring Wild Indigo Dusckywing larvae into insect cage, because I had only one plant. I didn't have enough to feed them in the cage constantly. That's why I decided to leave them outside and use the wire and fabric.
Ten or more Wild Indigo pupae turned into butterflies!

I need to protect the butterfly larvae because I'm feeding birds in my yard. Butterfly larvae can't survive without protections in my yard.

Black Swallowtail laid eggs on my husband Fennel and Parsley. Fortunately, we had enough plants to feed the larvae in a insect cage. I put the larvae into the cage, and took care of them until they tuned into butterflies. :)
I'm going to share what I learned from taking care of Black Swallowtail.

This Black Swallowtail is laying eggs on a parsley plant.

The egg is the tiny white spot on the leaf in the middle of the picture.

I learned that Black Swallowtail larva has five instars. An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each molt, until sexual maturity is reached.

  This is not good picture, but you can see how small first instar stage of the larva is.

Look at the small black larva. This is the second instar stage. A white line appeared on the center of the body.

Third instar stage. A lot of horns appeared on it's back.

Fourth instar stage. Body color turned green. You still see the horns on it's back

Fifty instar stage. The horns disappeared. It's almost ready to turn into a pupa.

It's about to turn into a pupa.  There is a fine silk line surrounding the body and the branch.

These are two differently colored Black Swallowtail pupae.


The Black Swallowtail pupae may be green or brown, but not depending on surroundings or what they have pupated on. The color of the chrysalis is determined by a local genetic balance that ensures the majority of pupae will blend in.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar has an orange "forked gland", called the osmeterium. When in danger the osmeterium, which looks like a snake's tongue, and releases a foul smell to repel predators. I saw the osmeterium on even first instar stage of larva.

I had six Black Swallowtail pupae, and only one pupa turned into a butterfly. 

 This is a female. Her right tail is not open completely yet. 
She took a rest a while on my hand until her wings completely open.

If you take care of butterfly cycle, you can have them climb on your hand!!! I did same thing with Wild Indigo Dusckywing. That was awesome!

Kentucky, where I live, got cold weather in September, so most pupae couldn't turn into butterflies. However, a Garden Club member (I belong to Glasgow Garden Club in KY) told me that Black Swallowtail pupa can over winter, and they can turn into a butterfly. I'll keep my pupae in the garage until next spring. I look forward to seeing that my pupae turn into butterflies next spring. :)

I'm sharing my butterfly pictures, which I took in my garden, on my Facebook page. If you are interested in which butterflies you can see in my garden, search "hummingbird_kj2010@yahoo.com" on Facebook, and please send a friend request. :) My Facebook page is not published to all people.


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Season of "The Gathering"

~ Welcome Autumn ~

Here in the Gardens of Etsy, Artisans Gather Together to Celebrate Autumn
The work featured in this treasury is just a glimpse of the Beautiful work created by the talented members of our team.

Here you can see more of their Beautiful creations:

The Season of the Gathering ~ by Julie DeGroot
Autumn to me is the earth preparing for it's long winter slumber. Getting ready to start the circle of life yet again. I am so inspired by the beauty and vibrate explosion of color that surround me.

I smell the cool crisp sweet scented air and that distinct aroma of rotting leaves, ever falling from the trees, creating a blanket onto the earth for cover & mulch for Spring's new growth.

Natures carpet becomes alive with dancing whirling leaves as the winds begin to blow more intense, scattering the seeds of life about. I meander through my gardens planting and gathering.

Time to collect my wind chimes and garden art and bring them to safety.

I anticipate the glorious arrival of the Harvest and Hunters' Moons, as they greet me and envelop the night sky.

Autumn to me is the Season of The Gathering.
In the skies, birds flock to begin their journeys together.
In the forests, wildlife herd up once again.
In the water, my Koi group at the deepest depths of my pond to start their hibernation.
On the land, we gather together to harvest our crops, game and seeds. Gathering in kitchens and pantries canning, baking and freezing.

Autumn to me, it is a Season of Celebration, as we gather together at tables with family and friends. Grateful and Thankful for them and for natures bounty, The Harvest.

"Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all."......Stanley Horowitz

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sharing "Teddy Bear Sunflower seeds" from my garden

Hi Gardens of Etsy Team members and the blog followers,

As I posted my tread at the team forum, somehow I had a few Teddy Bear Sunflowers in my garden this year, and succeeded in saving the seeds.

I'm belong to Glasgow Garden Club in KY as a volunteer, so I asked members what kind of sunflower it is. However no one knew the answer. My mother-in-law finally gave me the answer. She knows very well about flowers, trees and birds. She and I are garden friends. :)

I'm going to give the seeds to you. :)
Mine is not a dwarf variety. It reached my height (5 feet). The largest flower was about 7” in diameter. One plant can have five or more flowers.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get many seeds, because where I live had more rain than usual this summer. Most of the seeds got moldy. I'll send only five seeds per applicant. I think I can share the seeds with 20 garden friends :) I hope you can grow a new face in your garden!

If you are interested in the seeds, please send a message to my shop. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

My bog garden wrap up

Bog garden continued before and after

I thought I would do a before and after shot of the bog garden.  I've been waiting patiently for the ironweed to bloom because it's so pretty. It blooms down at the river in it's native form which gets 6-7 feet tall.  My variety is a cultivar dwarf size.

It's been hot and dry this summer and I've lost a lot of plants but the bog was a huge success.  Except for not having the pickeral weed which was the original plan.  I gave up on it after the deer ate it down every time it would get over 2" tall.  I have native passion flower twining around the ground and up the hook that holds the wind chime.  My varigated yucca made an appearance after I had forgotten that I put it there.  The blue tinged panic grasses are doing well.  The pitcher plants are great.  I'm so glad I tried them.  The whole thing was almost maintenence except for adding water when it was dry (which was most of the summer).

So that is the bog blog wrapping up for the season.  I'll be posting about other garden stuff till frost but I'm so glad you joined me on this adventure.  Next time you have an area of the yard that won't drain or where the gutters always make a wet spot, try a bog.

Remember this?  

Now look at this!

That's passion flower growing around the ground and some varigated yucca spikes

Ironweed with feathery clumps of lavender flowers complete with butterfly

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Creative Play- Jewelry from dried plant material

Entry with some of the material: acorns, Franklinia seed pod, sweet gum  tree pod, pine cone, eucalyptus leaf, wisteria seed, styrax seed. (not pictured:mustard seeds, peppercorn)
I am a collector of seedpods, leaves and pretty much all range of flora.  Often I find inspiration for my jewelry in the infinite shapes, forms and texture.  This year I was able to use some of my stash to create a piece of jewelry to enter in the Jewelry Class at The Philadelphia Flower Show.  The theme, Un Colleir pour la Reine (a necklace for a queen), is not intended to be worn however it is supposed to embody all the attributes of a real piece.  There isn’t a monetary award or notoriety attached to this, however if you win a blue ribbon you and your guest get to attend the big Luncheon for all the winners. If you live in Philly and/or you are into gardening, this show is a big deal. I do this for my own pleasure and to take a creative break even though this necklace took about twice as long as a real piece to make.
Art supplies, nail polish and dried pods take over the kitchen table.

I have been designing and making jewelry for others and myself since attaining my BFA in Metals from Rochester Institute of Technology, back when it was The School for American Craftsmen. Finding inspiration for new work can be challenging at times and I have found that working in another medium infuses the creative spirit.  The design process is the same as if this were a commission however the only thing at stake this time is satisfying myself. And once completed, my necklace will be seen by thousands of visitors who slowly file past the lighted cases where mine and the other entries of this unique art form are displayed.
The pieces I did not make.

Looking back over my sketches and holding the finished piece, I see changes that I could have made to make this a stronger design. If I were to make another I know what I would do differently the next time. This is the creative process at work. There is always something new to learn and put to use the next time.

A few things learned:
Admit that something isn’t working and don’t be afraid to start over.
Don’t get hung up using one element.
Step back and see the whole piece.
Rather than add, simplify- take something away.

*Post by Mimi Favre. Originally posted on my blog Studio Jeweler. FavreBijoux on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Lotus Experiment...............

I just love the art of water gardening, always looking and experimenting with new ways to enhance mine. I have always had my favorite, water lilies growing there, but I always dreamed of having a lotus plant in my garden. The local nursery's stock was just not an option $, so I thought I would try to germinate and grow my own from seed.
First I cut the seeds out of the pod

Then I scarified each seed by sanding the outer shell until I could see the cream colored flesh inside. Placed the seeds in a small bowl of water, at a depth to just slightly cover them, changing the water 3 times a day. After 3 days, the seeds looked larger from the absorption of water. About 5 days later, I noticed a crack in some of the seeds. The next day some revealed a stout green shoot emerging. Within a weeks time, they grew very fast, still keeping them just below the water line, With the seed staying at the bottom they stand straight up ever reaching for the top of the water, I used a large vase for this part and yes kept changing the water 3 times a day.

At this stage I decided to plant them.

Ordinary dirt even clay based is fine for lotus. Think about where they grow naturally, in muck and mud of a still water pond. I used 8 inch round flower pots, place a plastic grocery bag at the bottom (to keep the roots in the pot) and some rocks to hold the bag down, then filled each flower pot with the soil & clay mixture. I made a hole in the center and gently placed the seed in. Firmed the soil around it and placed a thin layer of pea gravel on top of the soil, to keep the seed from floating out of the pot and to keep the dirt in.

I submerged the pots into a large black tub, (the kind you find at outdoor parties used for ice & drinks).
Lotus plants need very warm water to grow and at least 6 hours of sunshine and must be grown in still water. So for now I have them on my deck, until that is I finish the bog they will be placed in next year.

Success! My first leaf appeared about a week later, very exciting!

However the mosquitoes were also loving this still water tub. So I used a tiny piece of a mosquito dunk to control this.
Refreshing the water from time to time, I will keep these growing in this tub for the summer & fall, for they will not produce any flowers until next year (hopefully!) only leaves for now. I will bring them in when the weather turns here in New York & place them in the basement in water for them to become dormant (at a temp of at least 55 degrees). Never dead head the leaves of a lotus, for they keep feeding the tuber. I will experiment with one and lower it to the lowest point in my pond where the fish hibernate to see if it can survive a winter here.
Next spring they will be placed in the bog to grow.

This is the bog I am working on. A Thank you to Julie (willowtreepottery) for her bog garden she created and showed us a while back. Great idea for a different way to garden. Love that! Had to try it! This is also the garden I will be planting the wonderful gift of Money seeds I received from her for the backdrop of the bog, Thanks Julie.

My bog ~ I dug the hole level to the surrounding soil of the garden, quite the workout! I will be filling it partially with a peat moss and soil mixture. In the picture you see a straight black liner leading to the bog. This is the drainage from 2 gutters on our house that will feed the bog as it rains. Here in the country, with well water, we have to conserve, so I thought this would be the best solution for that.

My last picture of them, taken just the other day, at 12 weeks old, So far so good! My baby lotus nursery :)
I am already looking forward to next spring :)
to be continued..................

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bog garden continued

I've been out of the loop for the last week.  My son graduated Basic Training and we all went for the ceremony.  It was awesome.  I'll try to get some pictures up for that occasion soon.  But in the mean time here's an update on the bog.  The pitcher plants are doing great.  They get bigger and more robust every day.  The "pitchers" are tinged with red around the top.  They had a big bloom about to open when I first put them in but didn't get out to take a picture in time.  I didn't know they bloomed, I just thought they were pitchers.

I have to go out and add water every couple of days now that it is hot and dry.  I bought a new hose for that corner of the house just for that purpose.  You can never have enough hoses!

You can see white dryer sheets in the background of the pictures.  That was to keep the deer from eating the pickeral weed.  It sometimes works and judging by the bottom picture, sometimes not.  They may not let me have them but I'll keep trying.

It's been fun to watch the progress and I'm really glad I started this project.

May 19th
Pitcher plants in the foreground, sedge to the screen left and
dryer sheets protecting the pickeral weed.

May 19th

May 23rd
The pitcher plants are really happy, the sedge is OK, not much to be excited about.

June 7
Really HAPPY, pitcher plant.  I guess they do whatever they do
as far catching insects or whatever.  They did have a big bloom
earlier in the season but I was too slow to catch it.  Who knew
Pitcher plants bloomed?

June 7th
You can still see the dryer sheets in the background on top of
the pickeral weed.

As you can see, it doesn't always work!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Garden relic

What do you do with an old satellite dish?  Well, this would be a good choice.  When we moved to our property 16 years ago, this old dish was part of the landscape.  I started gardening the area around it, as I moved plants from one home to the new house.  Everybody kept saying I should take down the dish.  After a while, I didn't even notice it but was thinking that it would be an awesome structure for some climbing rose.

About 10 years ago, I ordered a Paul's Himalayan Musk rose from Wayside Garden.  In the description it stated, "Only grow this on a strong structure".  The dish seemed to be the perfect thing!!  It grows with reckless abandon around the concave dish.  It perfumes the air when it's in bloom.  I just wish it bloomed all season.  It's fleeting in its glory but so worth the wait.

Paul's Himalayan Musk Rose

Do you think it gets good reception?

They smell devine

 A blanket of roses

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Children in the Garden

This Spring introduce your children to the wonderful and rewarding art of gardening ~
Get them outdoors and enjoying nature ~
Help them to create their own special space to experiment with plants and garden art. This can be a fun and simple project to do over a weekend.
Keeping them busy every year tending and adding to it.
Bringing them hours of enjoyment and accomplishment.

My children had gardens growing up and had so much fun creating them along the years and were very proud of them. Showing them off by giving garden tours to everyone who visited. They filled them with not only plants and love, but garden art and crafts they created.
20 years later their gardens are still there. A bit overgrown and sadly forgotten. But ready to embrace a new generation of caretakers, "Their Children". How fun that will be to do all over again when they come to visit Grandmama!

~ My son's garden was a collection of plants found right on our land. A woodland garden. Full of elderberry bushes, moss, ferns, wild daffodils, rocks and fossils he'd collected from our all of our travels. He used wild strawberries he found for the ground cover. He picked these every year and ate them with his cherrios :)

~ My daughter's was a fairy garden. Early spring it exploded with crocus, tulips and daffodils. Our cat loved to hide in them and popped out to scare her quite often :) Followed by double daylilies in the summer with gorgeous primrose for the ground cover. She made little paths of tiny pebbles that lead in all directions in her garden. Tiny fairy statues adorned the paths with Fairy houses made of mud and moss.
I smile every time I pass by them.

My Granddaughters fairy garden. We work on it every time she visits.

A simple garden journal is a good way to start.
Map out their garden ideas on paper as to what they envision their garden to become. Keep a garden chore chart along with the journal. With stickers to mark when garden chores are done. When to water, weed, flick those flower eating bugs into a can, dead head the old blossoms and mulching. This reinforces their organizational skills and a sense of responsibility.
Help them work and fertilize the soil to get them going. Maybe encourage them with their own set of children's garden tools.
Then its off to your local nursery or an adventure on your property to gather some plants and watch the fun grow!

By ~ Julie DeGroot