About GardenLifeDesigns

I am the artist behind Garden Life Designs. I have a shop on etsy www.etsy.com/gardenlifedesigns where I showcase my hand painted inspirational and custom art. I am an avid gardener and artist. I have a saying; It goes like this - God made us to live in the Garden and our spirit remembers whenever we touch the earth. Garden Life Designs is born of this idea. My creations combine the beauty I find in the garden with the wisdom and inspiration I find to cultivate a grateful heart and a positive attitude toward life - to "bee" positive. Part of this journey is creating things that are good for the earth and good for the soul. Whenever possible I use reclaimed wood and eco-friendly materials. I have always been a painter and majored in art at the University of Dallas and have always had plants around me as long as I could find a little dirt and a pot. I love beautiful natural things and have always sought the wisdom of great thinkers for inspiration in my own life journey. I am an avid gardener and worked for 25 years in non-profit management and medical research. In 2007 my life changed when my husband suffered a series of strokes following back surgery. Then another blow in 2009 - a dear friend died suddenly. I found myself re-thinking my priorities. During that time two things helped to keep me sane - prayer and my garden. This blog will journal my journey as a gardener and as an artist. Thanks for stopping by and remember to "bee" positive!

The Rain Dance Worked

The forecast did not indicate a gully-washer anytime this week and yet we had lots and lots of rain, some thunder and lightning and some flooding.  The flooding did not come from the rain, though, our water heater chose this week to poop out.  I am happy to say that my husband did not let any grass grow under his feet to get it replaced.  So all is well and as you who follow my blog or garden avidly know that after the rain is a great time to weed so that is what I will be doing this weekend.  In the meantime, here are a few pics as my garden transitions from spring blooms to heat-loving summer blossoms.

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Happy weeding and remember to “bee” positive!

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Rain Dance Schmail Dance – This might be what I’m looking for…

With summer fast approaching, I have been looking at alternatives to watering from the outdoor faucet. A rain barrel is a great idea but still sort of mysterious in that I don’t fully comprehend how it will fit with my soaker hoses etc. I love this post.
Conservative gardening and remember to “bee” positive

The Garden Diary

Our new fence created a little nook that quickly became a potting area complete with …. TA DAH!…. A rain barrel.

We have wanted a rain barrel for a long time and this is the perfect one for this space. It isn’t even installed yet and already I am thinking I probably need another one. Please don’t mention that to Mr. G. At least until the temperature leaves the 90s.

It is going to be so wonderful to have 50 gallons of rain water!

Do you have a rain barrel?

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Night Blooming Jessamin Cestrum Nocturnum “Orange Peel” and a Garden Visitor

For those of you who have suffered through my below average photography skills, I am proud of today’s post.  I went to a plant sale at the Dallas Arboretum in 2007.  It was the last day of the sale and what was left were mostly annuals.  I don’t spend a lot of money on annuals because when building your garden, they are just not a good investment.  Perennials are the stable in any flower garden as they are mine.  I did find a tiny little plant labeled Cestrum Nocturnum “Orange Peel”.  The very informative lady at the table said it was part of the nightshade family, had small orange flowers, was frost tender, and liked a little shade.  So I grew it in my shade garden since this last season with disappointing results.  It did grow but did not flourish and never flowered.  This year I decided to move this plant (commonly known as a Night Blooming Jessamine, still a mouthful to say, to my cutting garden for more sun and hopefully it would survive winters without as much protection.  To my delight it has bloomed for the first time and seems very happy where she is.  I have not ventured out at night to experience what is described as an intoxicating scent but will soon enough.

This plant is a woody shrub with long sword like nearly evergreen leaves and small syringe type orange blossoms.  The bees seem to love them.  I took a picture of the first blossom (below) and didn’t notice the guest appearance until I saw it on my computer.

You have to look closely to see him but he is nevertheless there laying in wait, camaflouged and ready to pounce.  Now I don’t see a lot of insects except roly polys and the occasional mosquito.  You would think as an organic gardener I would have built an encyclopedic knowledge of garden pests and beneficial bugs.  I haven’t.  The truth is I don’t really care unless they are doing major, concentrated damage.  Then I look it up, figure out the best strategy (usually soap or insecticidal oil) and go with it.  So I can’t tell you what this guy is but he looks like a predator to me.  So welcome to my garden and bon appetite.

Tasty gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Garden As Art: The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Who says gardening isn’t an art form.  Check out these living sculptures from the Lost Gardens of Heligan in the UK:

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For more about this garden, check out these websites:

http://designyoutrust.com/2011/03/the-lost-gardens-of-heligan/

http://www.facebook.com/thelostgardens

Artful gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Woodland Perennials II

I have Epimedium envy but it is far too hot here for these beauties to survive. These are lovely though…

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Mike's Garden Top 5 Plants

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ – Commonly known as Barrenwort or Bishop’s Hat, this semi-evergreen perennial bears primrose yellow flowers from mid to late spring. The heart-shaped leaflets emerge with a distinct reddish-bronze tinge, maturing to green. This Award of Garden Merit winner is drought tolerant once established. Grows 12-15″ high. Zone 5.

Meconopsis betonicifolia (recently reclassified as M. baileyi) – The Tibetan Blue Poppy  is a much coveted but difficult to grow perennial. Discovered in 1912, it bears 3-4″ wide translucent sky-blue blooms in early summer. It is herbaceous and short-lived, preferring part sun and even soil moisture during summer. Grows 24-36″ high by 12-18″ wide. Hardy to zone 3.

Polygonatum x hybridum – The Common Solomon’s Seal is a cross of P. multiflorum and P. odoratum. It bears clusters (usually 4) of creamy-white flowers with green tips, trailing below the arching stems. The green lance-shaped leaves are…

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Triplet Sighting: Fledgling Robins are Alive and Well!

I thought we had bid a final farewell to the triplets; Winken, Blinken, and Nod, the baby robins who grew up before our eyes but I have an update.  Three fledgling robins are handing out in our shade garden.  Their flight is very limited but they are learning how to look for their own dinner.  I thought they might be our triplets but wasn’t sure because our shade garden is a great sight for fledgling birds.  Fresh water, enclosed space, lots of places to hide.  But I was assured these are our babies when mom robin flew in with a mouthful of wormy goodness and all three ran to her.  So I am happy to report they are alive and well.  My camera is not great for long-range photos so I have enhanced them circling the little darlings so you can make them out.

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Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

I Will Grow Them, Sam I Am!

As I write this post, I am reminded of the treasured childrens’ book by Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs And Ham. If you are like most Americans, you will catch this reference immediately.  If you have never read this classic American literary work, take yourself forthwith to the nearest library and check it out as you have missed a critical rite of passage in growing up in America.  If you did not grow up in America, check it out anyway, it’s a good read.

The way this is relevant to this discussion is that I had previously posted an entry on growing Hollyhocks: https://gardenlifedesigns.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/old-fashioned-hollyhocks-not-lovin-them/ in which I expressed a less-than-successful trial of growing these old fashioned beauties listing the pest and disease problems they are prone to during the three years I have tried to grow them.  As they were forming buds to finally flower, I predicted that the resulting blooms would not be spectacular enough to warrant the trouble to grow them.  Boy was I wrong!  Check out these babies:

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So I will grow them with the pests,

And I will grow them with the rust,

I will grow them here and there,

Heck, I will grow them anywhere!

I’m in love with them, I AM I AM

I do love Hollyhocks in the end.

Happy gardening and remember to “bee” positive!