Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Harvest of Ideas

This display garden by Jason Hamon, EcoSystems Landscape Solutions, is filled with repurposed and rethought articles used in whimsical ways in the garden. His garden was called "A Breath of Fresh Air," and it won the prestigious silver medal for design. Jason's attitude is "get outside and play in your garden." Shouldn't your garden be playful, too?

Dear Friends,

This is an extra post for the week because I just returned from the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. If you are anywhere near the show and you're looking for inspiration, rare plants, garden furniture, garden art, books, seeds galore, and more, well, you MUST take time and treat yourself to a day at the show.

Any comments you leave will be added to the hat for my double-doozie drawing this Sunday. You may win a kneeler from Gardener's Supply Company or my friend Karen Weir-Jimerson's wonderful new book So Much Sky.

Here are a few highlights and some of my favorite products and ideas:

Jason used old magazines as placemats

Jason's patio features this circa 1950ish kitchen cart, which he uses as a serving area, game holder, and cookbook storage.

Another idea from Jason, and who'd a thunk?

Another repurposing by Jason. I actually feature this idea in my book Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots. Don't you have an old wagon sitting around somewhere? I grew miniature pumpkins in my son's old wagon. A great part of growing in this is that you can follow the sun.

Handmade, glass stars dangle and dazzle from the trees in Jason's garden. The stars were crafted by Tandem Glass of Maine. 

Landscape Restoration Dan Pozzi's "Timeless Peace" won a Silver medal

An old clawfoot bathtub and shower for a water element in his garden

Dan's gardener's shed nestles among trees 

Love modern and chic? These stainless steel clad planters, all in varying sizes and heights, seem to float above the ground. They highlight the sculptural form of the plants featured.

Modern, minimalist (not enough plants for me, but perfect for others). I like the simple double rusted iron fire rings. This would be simple to do in any garden EXCEPT a California forest or chaparral lands. I liked the rectangular, shallow pool, and fountain to the left, too.

I've been drooling over one of these huge galvanized containers at our local Farm Supply in San Luis Obispo. I wanted to use it for a water element (not bad at $195.00), but the folks at Star Apple Edible Gardens, a fabulous, young company that designs and installs edible gardens, used this tub for a series of pie-shaped gardens. One is for tea plants, one for a variety of mustards, and one for tomatoes. The plant in the middle is a Yuzu, which is a citrus. Fred Hempel, breeder and farmer at Baia Nicchia Farm & Nursery, uses all the plants featured AND the Yuzu. They use both the leaves and the rinds of the fruits. 

I'll let the Baia Nicchia folks speak for themselves. They've got great ideas and great products.

A close up of the mini-garden with Yuzu in center

Patricia "Pattie" Boudier, who owns one of my favorite garden and seed supply businesses, interviews me in the Star Apple garden for a segment they filmed for their on-line Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply web-site. This video should be up in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know.

Raised planters were constructed of recycled wood. I like how they've planted herbs with a repeat pattern of succulents between the varieties.

Even a tiny patio could accommodate a recycled wood unit like this. If these were all at the same level, there wouldn't be the great design wow factor.

A great use for old windows. Start your tender seedlings inside this. Ok, Lili (Fearless Nesting), now you can go look for windows and have Henri build you one of these. Or Grace Peterson, how about you and your dh? I loved these so much.

An outdoor dining table made from recycled wood and planted in the center with... array of handsome succulents

I can't shower Star Apple with enough kudos.

Star Apple used recycled wood for these restaurant planters. They lined the sides of the planters with burlap from food bags, filled them with great soil, and planted them with goodies.

Star Apples salad garden. The wooden salad fork is a garden marker.

You probably know that I have worked toward a garden in every school for two decades. Well, I have long been an admirer of Ben Eichorn, famed for his school gardens projects. Here is his "Grow Your Lunch" garden for kids. Look at some of his playful solutions for small school gardens.

Color, innovation, and organic practices inform Ben's garden designs for kids

Some products I loved (and bought)

Handmade copper gardening tools at Harley Farms. THESE ARE GORGEOUS and usable. I couldn't resist and treated myself to a weeder.

Every morning I spend time sweeping and raking my patios, stone walkways, and decomposed granite pathways. The broom doesn't quite cut it, and the rake stirs up the decomposed granite. I found my solution yesterday with this wonderful, handmade garden broom. It is lightweight and made from coconut palm leaves that have withered and fallen off the tree. I used it for half an hour and managed to do a job that normally takes twice as much time. I love it. The Original Garden, 604 724-0872.

I could not resist these tin boxes of seeds that come from Peaceful Valley (oh yes, and that is my copper weeder and cultivator from Harley Farm). The seeds are so wonderful, they have nine different collections available. I'm especially tickled by the "Crafter's Delight" autumn decor mix, which includes gourds, broom corn, blue corn, and more. Soon I will be offering NINE of these to lucky winners in upcoming drawings. If you are a follower and a member of my Grimy Hands Girls' Club, one of these could be in YOUR future.

I hope that this posting has given you a few ideas for your own garden. Be sure to leave a comment to be eligible for the Sunday drawing of a kneeler and the new book by Karen Weir-Jimerson.

Love and peace,

Still going after all these months!



Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Those are truly wonderful ideas Sharon dear. I love the miniature greenhouse and the way Jason upcycled all those tools, magazine etc. Love to you. Wish I could have walked through it with you.~~Dee

The Painted Garden said...

Hi Sharon,
Oh my goodness - thank you for sharing with us so many wonderful and simple ideas for our gardens. I have a small garden with lots of containers and this year I am planting more herbs and vegetables in containers. The idea of planting an old wagon or cart on wheels so it can be moved to follow the sun is perfect for my garden.
Congraulations to Jason for his charming and creative ideas on repurposing - the magazine placemats are delightful.

I really appreciate that you shaed so much helpful information.
Thank you.

Carri Stokes said...

Hi Sharon! So nice to finally meet you at Rebecca's party. Hope to see you at another garden event soon!


Julie Marie said...

Oh my goodness Sharon!... I am going to have to go back and read this post all over again, I don't want to miss a thing, I love it all!... I especially love the 50's kitchen cart, and also your new garden broom, thanks for giving all the links!... I have my old Radio Flyer from when I was a little girl (over 50 years ago now!)... I always haul garden tools and such around in it, but they are fun to plant... looking forward to your interview!... Happy Spring!... xoxo Julie Marie

Vee said...

It must be a treat for you to visit these shows. (I remember my trips to the Boston Flower Show fondly and would love to return.) So many neat things to purchase, too. Any tool that cuts work time in half is a bargain! Yay for the broom! Do you give lectures at these shows? I am quite certain that you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Debra Howard said...

Wow! It looks like the show was fantastic. I love all the ideas for reusing things.

From the Kitchen said...

Hello Sharon:

I have very much enjoyed visiting with you today. I need to keep this garden show in mind and perhaps visit my S.F. son for the event in the future. I especially love the fact that Jason Hamon seemed to be channeling my mother in his 50s items!! I also love his idea of using old magazines as place mats. If only I could turn loose of some of my vintage Gourmets.


Pat said...

Sensory overload! Looks like a fabulous show and a great way to kick off the season. Love that table with built in garden down the middle - very clever and the perfect centerpiece...I can picture some chunky candles placed along the way...So many of those repurposed items I remember growing up with - how fun!
Thank you for sharing your visit!

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

Spring Hugs to you Sharon!
I am SO INSPIRED by your post! So MANY wonderful fun ideas to temp the imagination! I haven't been to a garden show in "SO LONG", I'm am SO ASHAMED to admit! We have been teased terrible here in New England by these SUMMER TEMPS! Have to be careful NOT to work the wrong things out there too early..."DID YOU SEE YOUR MAINE TEMPS"??? WOW!!!
Thank you for bringing us along to that fun show...
Have a wonderful weeks end,

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Thank you for sharing so many great ideas. I haven't been to a garden show like this in years.

Rock rose said...

Lots of great products and ideas especially the recycled wood planters. Do tell me that is an English robin at the head of your blog.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

I understand that many of you like the idea of using the old magazines for placemats, but you don't want to ruin your treasures.

Why not scan them and print them on great paper? I'm going to do that with some antique Down East and Yankee Magazines.



Michelle said...

So many wonderful ideas! I confess I have been wanting one of those large, round, "tubs", as well! I wanted to make a water feature I found on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing these ideas!

Blondie's Journal said...

This post is chock full of wonderful ideas, Sharon, too many to mention, although I think it is unanimous that we all love the wagon!! ;-D

I will definitely check out that broom. My wee little patio is original {and I wouldn't change it one bit} to our home and full of cracks. This broom would be a Godsend!

I mentioned in my last post that I just barely missed the annual Chicago Home And Garden Show...what a loss. Next year for sure!!

Have a wonderful weekend, Sharon!


Robin Larkspur said...

What a great post about our favorite subject. You must have been like a kid in a candy shoppe! Love all the recycled planters. Thanks for the tour and the links to some great sites!

rebecca sweet said...

I'm so glad to see that you made it home safe and sound - and how wonderful to see the show here through your eyes. Oh, how I love you and Jeff!! Thanks again for driving up here and gracing my home with your presence, love and laughter. And I'd better not see that fairy door ditched by the side of the road when I drive back up to the show tomorrow!! XOXO

Bonnie K said...

Thank you so much for the tour of the show. Here in South Dakota we don't get the opportunity to see such things. I needed some inspirations, since most of my beds are still sleeping under the snow. I appreciate the photos. Such wonderful ideas. I also liked the links so I could do a bit of shopping. Fun fun.

Anonymous said...

Love the little seed metal boxes !!! said...

It's so much fun to go to a garden show-always lots of good ideas. I can't beleive your pumpkin is still going strong.

Dee Dee Osborne said...

Sharon, thanks so much for sharing the great pictures and ideas. I will make sure and attend the show next year. Meanwhile, I am getting very inspired just reading your books and seeing the videos of your wonderful garden.

kj said...

oh be still my passionate eager heart ( cleaned up my act so as not to be redundant) :^)

sharon, i LOVE this post. i am buying that broom, that's for sure. and the wheelbarrow to hold rakes and tools: great idea! and look at my blue metal yard chairs! how did they end up in california?!

you have inspired me to a new level. i want to show off for you. i always post up photos of my yard and gar dent but this year i am positioning myself, with humility , for your approval.

you rock, sharon. ♥

Pondside said...

I'm going to have to find one of those brooms!
Such an interesting post! I love the galvanized container - that would be such fun to play with!

Kay G. said...

Dear Sharon,
There is never just one thing that I can settle on that I love, I love everything you have shown us!
Looking forward to your book!

Evelyn Vincent said...

Thanks Sharon for taking so many great photo's for those of us too far away to attend, very inspirational. I LOVE the Copper Tools and Garden Broom!!!

Jackie DiGiovanni said...

I wish I could attend this show--such inspired ideas. I'ts nice to see how the once humble vegetable garden is being transformed using the old and the new.

Cristy said...

My favorite is the little succulent garden right in the deck! What a wonderful idea.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Thank you for the virtual tour, Sharon:)What a simple, nice idea using the magazines as place mats!I found a trolley like that put to the curb, brought it home and painted it yellow:)Love the beehive in the grow your own lunch display, your new broom and tool, also:) Have a beautiful day, Love from Leslie xx

Commonweeder said...

I love getting ideas from flower shows. I have a copper tool that is intended for some biodynamic task, but it was a gift and I am not sure how to use it.

Jennie said...

wow wow wow! so many fantastic ideas. i've already opened the link to Harley Farms. i especially love what they did with the recycled windows and by-level wood plants. thank you!

Lori ann said...

oh how i wish, first i wish i had ginnys garden, wouldn't so many of these designs go well there? love all these ideas sharon. i'm looking forward to the video.
have a wonderful weekend!
love, lori

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Thanks for the tour of the SF Garden Show, dear Sharon. Everything looks so inviting. Weather too warm here. Looking forward to cooler temps. Off to work in the garden. Enjoy your weekend with your dear hubby! xxoo Nancy

Vicki Boster said...

This was a delightful post! I totally loved seeing all the new and creative garden inspirations. Oh to have gardens such as these. I could have stayed all day --- ( and spent all my money!) at a show like this one!

Thanks for all these great ideas!!


The Herbalist's Cottage said...

A most enjoyable post to read. Thank you for sharing!
Love Leanne

Anonymous said...

Can't thank you enough for this visual excursion through your creative eyes...each feature was truly stupendous and full of inspiration!!!Thank you so much!
~Jane in NV

jessica J said...

I am so very proud of Jason, he is one of my big brothers. He amazes me every year with the original ideas he has and the magnificent pieces he creates! In a note about your mother and the 50's , our amazing mother was in his company on this build and she is infatuated with the 50's and I dare say she inspired him. Congrats to all and love to my big brother!

jessica J said...

Thank you so much for the amazing pictures! Jason is not only a great inspiration to me but also my big brother. I am so proud of you for sticking to what you believe in and sharing it with the world. You deserve the best and glad you and mom got to share this time bonding over old stuff renewed!

Susan said...

I love flower shows and never miss ours here in Seattle...NEVER! It's in February and makes Spring seem like it won't "skip it's turn!"
However, one day, I'd love to take a tour of your gardens, which I amazing, but for now, I'll have to get my birds-eye-view with Country Gardens magazine. <3

Pam Gardner said...

I love garden shows too. I would really like a raised bed, too bad DH is not handy and they are so expensive. Those seed tins are intriguing. Very early spring here in Finger Lakes of Western NYS, but we must resist planting-weather is foolish and fickle here but good time for clean-up. We have daffies, forsythia and flowering trees-unheard of as long as I can remember until end of April and sometimes later.
Happy Gardening

Storybook Woods said...

SF garden show is pretty amazing. About 26 years ago (gosh I am getting old) I went to a lavender workshop and saw a beautifu lime green lavender, flowers and all. I have never seen it since. It had an amaziing scent!! xox Clarice

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Oh my, I do have all kinds of ideas from this post.

One thing I love about a post like this is seeing something in a picture and then thinking how I can do something similar with an object I already have!

But that also doesn't stop me from drooling over some of the goodies being sold. :)

Anonymous said...

What a terrific post! Thank you for the wonderful pictures and descriptions. I love to attend garden shows -- we have some great ones here on the east coast. The ideas one can be inspired to do!


Lili said...

I had almost forgotten about our idea to incorporate the window frames Sharon!!! Thanks for that reminder (and shout out). Absolutely love the idea for the succulent plantings in the middle of the table and those copper garden implements and all the wonderful ideas on here. (I am happily devouring the book I won from you, gearing up for the anticipation of spring time around here. Thanks so much!)Maybe we'll find some Spring shows to attend around here that don't involve RVs or campers...haha! xoxo ~Lili

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I'm sorry we missed the show this year, but my schedule with the goat babies won't let me leave the farm at the moment. I enjoyed your tour. I especially like those stainless clad planters. I have rather eclectic taste, both modern and traditional, but tend to gravitate towards simplicity in design. I think these are perfect! The copper tools are gorgeous too, but I do wonder, as copper is such a soft metal, how well they'll hold up. I'd be tempted to mount them on the shed as garden art!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Wonderful ideas! I wish I had a broom rake like the one you show! Too bad the show is so far away from Bath, Ohio!

Jorgelina said...

Wonderful ideas !
Jorgelina of Argentina

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Welcome Jorgelina of Argentina. I can't stop saying that aloud. Wonderful.

Enjoy the creative ideas by some wonderful garden designers. They're an inspiration!



Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I hope you are well, Sharon! You haven't posted anything about the drawing last Sunday and I thought you would unless something dire happened.....

May you be well in every way!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Kristi,

I wanted to announce winners when I posted new blog, but I have a Country Gardens story due and I haven't posted a new blog. We closed the contest at midnight Sunday.

More later,


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Whoever wins the contest will be happy with their prizes.

This must have been a wonderful show to see in person. I love those galavanized tubs, what a great idea for a raised garden.

So much inspiration in this post.

Wishing you well with your story for Country Gardens. I know it will be wonderful.

Love and hugs to you dear Sharon,


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I LOVE going to garden shows and visiting botanic gardens, Sharon. My propperty is small so I have to palnt everything in pots and containers so I loved seeing all the conainer designs you showed. I grow lots of herbs and a few tomatoes and pepper plants the rest is flowers. I love bright flowers! I also have a large fig tree growing in a alrge pot. I get about 150 figs from it each season.

Susan said...

Regarding the bath tub in the garden, I'm planning to have an outside shower. Now I'm thinking a bathtub would be nice. Having a soak under the stars on a warm summer's night sounds like something I could handle. I'll see how difficult it is to get the shower functioning and take it from there.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hey Susan,

I have been thinking about doing an old claw foot and shower at our cottage in Maine. Just have to figure out how to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Hey all, I'll try to post tomorrow when all my assignments are in. We've got two winners to announce and then another great give-away for my next posting.



Carol said...

Dear Sharon, Looks like you had a great time at the garden show! Thanks so much for sharing. I love Jason's ideas for fun in the garden and the raised salad beds are great for folks in wheel chairs. Beautiful garden broom! I must go find the post with those darling hummingbirds!! You look fabulous by the way!! ;>) Hugs from the east. Carol

Jen said...

What fantastic and unusual ideas! I love using the little red wagon for plants and believe we still have one from when the kids were little - would be adorable in our front garden. I also really like that galvanized container.

Buttercup said...

What great ideas. I love the tin seed boxes.

Unknown said...

That goat made me laugh. I love their faces. What characters.

Scented geraniums are a huge favorite of both my husband and mine. I love the soft backdrop peppermint geranium offers when tied up on a short trellis in a container planted with annuals. But my hearts first love is "Grey Lady Plymouth" with her soft green and white variegated leaves and beautiful habit. The leaves are wonderful to adorn desserts with too.

Thank you for hosting the giveaway.

kathy said...

I would love this book....amazing!