Outdoor Living Summer Blog Hop
Join us for an all inspiring Outdoor Living Summer Blog Hop, featuring several talented bloggers. Gather up loads of great ideas for your outdoor living space just in time for the long weekend.
Many of you may remember last year we launched our first, big group, summer blog hop with the 2017 Great Outdoor Living post. We joined several talented bloggers around the world to launch our favorite outdoor living spaces. This year a few of us have teamed back up to bring you a second serving of all of our great outdoor goodness.
Since June 6th launches National Gardening Week, I decided to really focus on my planting selections for this year. I am located in the southeastern section of United States, which allows me start a lot earlier than some of my northern blogger friends. This gave me a little bit of a head start on the growing season, but not to worry the Georgia heat will eventually take it’s toll on my plants this summer and my friends to the north will be sitting really pretty and not paying a ridiculous water bill like me, lol. I selected my herbs and vegetables back in March. You will probably be able to notice a huge difference between this back yard picture and the present day photos. Since I have a vertical container system, I can easily take my plants inside if the weather gets too cold at night. This allows me to keep them safe and warm. This year I decided to go with all my old standbys: basil, rosemary, cilantro, sage, parsley (curly & flat) , thyme, oregano, Thai basil, Mexican tarragon, chives, and mint. Word to the wise, always plant mint in a container unless your want it to grow everywhere!As you can see my herbs are growing prolifically and my Thai basil has even sent out flowers. I have heard this makes the herbs hot or bitter and you should not allow this to happen. However, I have not noticed a change as of yet, so I think we are good. As you can see we still love our Vertical Pallet Herb Garden, we just added a fresh coat of trim paint and new plants and it was good to go again this year. Feel free to click the link above if you would like more information on the DIY portion to make your own. This year I decided to put a mix of “fairway variegated coleus” plants under our potted Japanese Maple. I normally have Impatient’s here but I really fell in love with these beauties and the bright vibrate varieties I found at a local grower this year. Coleus, like Impatient’s, require shade and will melt in the hot Georgia sun. So just like my Hosta’s, I have to keep them protected. As mention above, I purchased all my herbs and veggies back in March. Some of my tomato plants are already starting to flower, which means I should have tomato’s soon. This sweet little wheel barrow was built for me by my husband as a front porch decoration for my Fall Harvest Front Porch. I decided that I would repurpose it into a small container garden for the back patio, I loving call it my “salsa cart” now since it houses peppers and tomatoes. I have a DIY tutorial that I released this week with all the details so be sure to check it out at DIY Wheel Barrow Garden O’Plenty. We are so lucky to have such a nice private wooded lot behind out home that backs up to a pretty large creek. The lower area of our back yard is considered to be a part of the wetlands and can never be developed for that reason. This makes the perfect growing conditions for several kinds of plants. As you can see my rose garden has gotten very large after only 2 growing seasons, these are Knock Out Roses which are very hardy and one of the easiest kinds to grow here in Georgia.You might also notice the gigantic day lilies lining the front edge of this hill side. This variety is called Stella D’oro, they will bloom yellow though out the entire summer and return each year. They are also very easy to grow, but in all my years of gardening I have never seen them grow this big after just 2 years, must be the soil. I also want to take this time to thank several of my very generous neighbors, that have shared several types of native bulbs with me since we built our home. It just assures me we chose the right area with so many wonderful gardeners willing to share their love of gardening with us.I was so excited to get some beautiful blooms on my Peony’s this year. I planted 3 plants 2 years ago varying shades of pink. This year I was so excited to see how well they were doing that I added 3 more Sarah Bernhardts, which are a white peony. I was actually able to cut my own big beautiful peonies this year, which is something I really missed when we moved. My previous yard was like an English garden and I always had the ability to cut fresh cut flowers year round. Now this to me is a treasure. I know a lot of people probably think it is just a weed, but this vine of little white flowers is wild Cherokee Rose, which is actually our state flower. Right now the wild privet is in bloom, but just a few weeks ago our wood line was covered with this pretty little white flower. The cool thing about this is how much actually grows so prolifically in this area and I can tell you legend of why:
“The Legend of the Cherokee Roses states that when the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, because they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother’s spirits to give them strength. It is said that everywhere the mother tear’s fell the Cherokee Rose’s began to bloom.”Since my home is actually located along the Historic Trail of Tear and the Cherokee always followed water, I can’t help but think that they probably came through this way. I am actually 1/8 Cherokee Indian on my mother’s side and 1/16 on my father’s side the Kerbo’s. Oh my mom side I am the great-great- great grand daughter of Chief Tuttle and his wife Pokerhontas (yeah, pretty close to Pocahontas, right?) See Disney has been ripping off my family for years now, LOL, just kidding! I know, I know, with my blonde hair and blue eyes, I so do not look the part of a Native American ancestor at all, but you can not judge a book by its cover. Now here is some fun food for thought, for some unexplained reason I was really drawn to this particular piece of land to build our home. I also believe there is a hidden burial site further down along the creek, with flat stone in area that looks like a grave yard. Many of you know that my husband and I both work from home. We have been known to catch up on our Vitamin D intake by having work day lunches on the patio. Today we have a simple cold slice BBQ chicken plate, with a Fresh Broccoli Salad. It really is fun to take our plates out back, on a pretty day and enjoy a simple lunch break outside. Besides, we built this beautiful Patio, which you can see in my DIY Patio Paver post for more details. So we love to take full advantage of it on pretty days like today. Other days you might just find us out here instead, it just depends on how we are feeling and how long of lunch break we decide to take. This deck is more of a weekend grilling station and you can see on this deck we have an umbrella for a little bit more shade. We even created the flower basket you see as the centerpiece so that it works with the umbrella at all times. You can see the full tutorial here at: DIY Umbrella Holder. You may have noticed that I do a lot of container planting. I love the ability to mix full flats of flowers together in unique combinations to create one of kind containers for all my porches. It gives an expensive custom feeling without the designer price tag. In the pots below, you will see the same New Guinea Impatient’s that I used throughout my containers, but I added purple sweet potato vine for a trailing effect and peppermint salvia for a pop.You may have also noticed that I also really like to use found objects or unexpected items for gardening. I really like to add a bit of whimsey to my garden. I have noticed by touring a lot of great gardens around the world, the most successful way to do that is by adding plants to unexpected items. For example, this old tarnished tea set that was given to us as a wedding gift, I love it and could not bare to part with it but I wanted to give it a new life.
I was inspired by all the fairy gardens you see on Pinterest and I thought what a fun outdoor centerpiece this would make. So I lined the tray with potting soil and placed moss on top with a few pretty rocks, then added soil to the tea pot, cream and sugar bowl. Just add a few plants and a cute moveable centerpiece is born.The same is true for this old pot belly stove. I found this at an antique store for nearly nothing. I added a pot to the underside and planted this fragrant Confederate Jasmine to the pot. Since this jasmine is a vine it can be trained to grow up a stake or drape over the sides.Let me say, it smells divine, so it found a home on my front porch right next to the door. Here in the south it is a tradition to have a nice smelling plant within a few feet of your foot door to welcome your guests. I also have a gardenia that has been trained into to a tree that resides on the front porch as well. Last year I did not have very good luck with hanging baskets of flowers or ferns, since my porch gets heavy afternoon sun. This year I decided to just do smaller containers of colorful annuals I could keep sheltered from the blistering sun and I planted hanging succulents in my baskets. Which is fairing quite nicely.I also have the same issue with the urns I placed on either side of my garage doors. For this reason I choose hardy drought tolerant lantana in this cheery bright yellow color. I added purple fountain grass to add hight and interest in fall season as the lantana starts to fade. The last plants we added this year were a few native azaleas. We had Encore Azaleas and our super cold winter basically murdered them so we had to get all new this year, for continuity sake. We also decided to add some knock out roses to the base of our sunset maple tree in the front yard for summer color, and year round structure.
Our final stop on the Outdoor Living Tour this year is my screened sitting porch that was recently redone with the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge. While it was no a part of the challenge we agree it just needed an upgrade to match the feel of my office. You may recognize the furniture from our sun deck last season, which became the grilling porch this season. Just the addition of a few new pillows, outdoor drapes and a new rug dress up this space to feel brand new again. We loving call this “cap nip” or “cat nap” porch, many because of the multi pots of cat nip I have planted around the porch for our finicky felines. Usually there are one or two sunning themselves here, so I am surprised I got a picture sans the kitty parade.
You can SAVE 10% off with my JENRON friends and family link, of my Brightech String Lights seen artfully draped across the ceiling, they really do add to the cozy nature of this porch in the evenings.
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