Of Cobalt Blue Bottle Trees & Gardens During a Storm… plus fairy rock gardens

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the finished product, before the storm hit.

Observation from my soon-to-be graduating high school senior, quoting Parks & Recreation, when I told him I was thinking about getting the bottle tree the other day:

Connor: “We have the most colorful, eccentric, and eclectic yard in the neighborhood, with all the flowers and hammocks and art and stuff, Mom- I like it, ‘treat yo’ self'”

Maisie (poking her head out from around the corner and lisping in her toddler voice): “YEAH! TWEET YO’ SELF!”

(UPDATE: THE BOY HAS SINCE GRADUATED- STILL UGLY CRYING OVER IT, WILL POST ABOUT IT LATER)

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Ironically, the comedian Retta, who played Donna on the show, said she was ‘so over’ people using the phrase this week. My kids didn’t get the memo. It’s become part of our culture, if a teen AND a three year old are using it.

So… my friend delivered the items. His mom passed away recently and he is rehoming her stuff. We also received some punched tin and steel stars, plus other gewgaws I will be redoing for outdoor art projects. He has river rock in her garden we will hopefully get for the new landscaping project we’re planning this summer.

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Steel star, punched tin star, and a cute birdhouse that we will repaint for the garden!

I LOVE outdoor projects! IDK why, but I enjoy them far more than indoor things. Gardening and hard work are so good for the soul and body.

A storm, the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto, was positioned to hit our area of the Great Lakes yesterday, so we had to work fast before the storm blew in.

I had an old birch tree that we cut down years ago after it died. Later, we decorated the stump with shards of broken pottery, strawberry plants, succulents and used it as a planter for years. It finally rotted away totally, so this was where the new tree needed to live.

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my sad old stump, like the book The Giving Tree, she’s been repurposed many times since she died-with it’s shards of pottery crumbling away from it now, from the last incarnation as a planter- and the oregano, columbine, and lemon balm growing wild-

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R digging out the old stump. My garden’s been absolutely neglected due to health issues and is being re-landscaped this summer.

Once planted, we discovered that the tree was missing 6 blue wine bottles. A friend generously donated the remainder to me-. My dad and I finished the decorating of the tree… and we were very pleased with the results.

We didn’t get the labels off til the next day, as the storm blew in before that could happen.


SO, the next day, we put down a rock garden beneath the bottle tree, planted some flowers, and installed little plants and fairy things for a fairy garden. The rocks provided the tree with additional stability in case of a wind storm.

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Little fairy garden

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Fairy house and ‘tree’ nestled in the rocks

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after the rain

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so much more to do, but she’s in love with the whimsical garden and so are we!

Maisie was absolutely enchanted with it.

We also planted 2 types of heirloom tomatoes and some cucumbers in the purple ‘bunny bed’. My kid expects fresh cukes to be growing on the fence every year- they’re her favorite things to eat.

We have SO MANY more beds to clean and re-plant/landscape. Since we use a majority of reclaimed/recycled materials in our landscaping, things have to be updated or redone every year or so.

I am having health issues, so it is slow going. Hoping to get back outside tomorrow and start gardening again!

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