Sunday, February 26, 2012

Felt Planters

Hello my name is Christl and I'm addicted to felt.  This is well known among family and friends, who collect stories and send me pictures of anything felt related.  A friend who had attended Stitches West called me up to tell me about some felt flower pot cozies she had seen.  Seeing as I am also an avid gardener, this got my wheels turning.

Access to felt was absolutely not a problem for me.  I sell felt (or technically fulled) accessories at Fiberpuppy.  I have all kinds of failed projects lying around.  I fondly refer to them as my Chernobyl collection.  Flower pots on the other hand are in short supply at my house.  My husband is a plant hoarder
Every container is in use as a holding cell for some bit of greenery he could not bear to part with.

Then it occurred to me that there is really no reason to even use a pot.  The felt actually retains water making it an ideal planter.  I wasn't 100% sure this would work so we started small, using succulents which tend to tolerate small containers.

We added dirt, then the plants and finished with lava rock.  We then soaked them in a bucket of water.  Look they actually float.

The felted containers I had were kind of odd shapes and didn't really want to stand up on their own.  I tried propping them up against other plants.

Then the second brilliant part of the plan emerged.  I should hang them on the fence.  Not only did this keep the plants upright, it created vertical planting space.

So we'll see how these plants fare, before I go whole hog creating planting installments all over the fence.  But I'm thinking I could be on to something wonderful.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Garden

I've decided to tempt all you folks in colder climes with a few sneak peeks at what is going on in the garden.  We've been starting veggies under the cold frame and have actually harvested some lettuce.  Unfortunately, snails or slugs have been eating some of the new shoots but I over planted so it looks like some will make it.

There are also a number of things blooming.

Our beautiful Magnolia tree is in full bloom.  It has such a delicious odor and keeps blooming for near 3 weeks.  The creamy flowers against the dark green foliage is dreamy.

Our potted Aeonium is just about to pop.  The flowers on these succulents are just so unique.

This grows like a weed here.  It has wandered in through a neighbors yard.  I believe it is crocosmia, but I wouldn't swear to it since I never planted it.  The hummingbirds LOVE this so I let it be.

We've got a couple of these Echeveria planted in pots.  They are just starting to go into full glory.

And finally the Nicotiana I planted last year has overwintered and really never stopped blooming.  I keep meaning to pull this up but just when I'm about to hack it down I'll spy a luscious deep red bloom.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Building a Cold Frame

We've had a pretty mild winter here in Northern California with only about 2 inches of rain in January.  So we've been itching to get into the garden.  Unfortunately with our sloping lot, the yard is a cold dark place during the winter.  We thought we'd do something about it and decided to build a cold frame for the raised beds.

Our idea was to cover half the bed with a removable frame that could also be placed over the compost in the summer to speed decomposition with a little heat.

The materials were fairly inexpensive.  Some (fir I believe) strapping, brackets, screws, staples and a painters plastic drop cloth.

Well I've got to say the results have been a huge success.  Our lettuce (Grand Rapids) sprouted and we even harvested our first head yesterday.  Is it really February?  I even became bold enough to plant tomato seeds (Roma and Stupice) in front, after I placed a Thermometer inside the frame and it showed the temp at 82 degrees.  Perhaps that was wishful thinking, but if I fail I've only lost the cost of a few seeds.