Monday, January 7, 2013

Garden Corner

At last! progress: Come with me for a short visit to the walled courtyard.
  Here we have the utility area, paved with limestone bedded on gravel. A little grotesque cheerfully 
guards the potting bench and shelters under the hygrangea petiolaris.
 He is sitting so quietly that moss is beginning to grow on his seat. 
 The gardener is trying to revive a little plant inherited from a friend. The pots await transplants while the birdcage,
 partially concealed, continues to rust away.

You can see one of the decorative garden balls placed in the old iron planters. 
These decorations divide the flower garden from the work area. 

On the architectural plinth is an old bee skep with a honey label. The bright colour of the everlasting flowers attract the bees. A little birdhouse is almost concealed in the growth of the climbing hydrangea. The mirror was crackled and the surround of the mirror is trimmed to compliment the windows of the house.

A closer look at the climbing vine. This was reconstructed from a small scale ornamental ivy
vine. Leaves were chosen for their smaller size and most repainted. The flowers were a brilliant find received from Elizabeth

I had been working my fingers to the bone punching out little circles in the attempt to make the flowers. The photo below shows the vine climbing over on to the other side of the wall.

Stepping back a little we can watch as a bird tries to find a mate in the crackled mirror. The pathway and decorative garden ball ornament is reflected as well.

A closer look at the bee skep - simply made by wrapping string around a clay pot and topping with a toggle button and label.

Above:  An overview of the flower garden - representations of agapanthus, hydrangea, chartruse green chrysanthemum, spires of bugbain and black mega-mondo grass contained by a finely trimmed boxwood hedge.
I purchased the agapanthus some years ago at the Seattle Miniature Show but made the other plants. The chrysanthemum leaves are made with an oak-leaf punch to cut painted water-colour paper.  Leaves were shaped and applied to paper-wrapped wire. The flowers are a little plastic daisy that you may find at a craft store like Michaels or Joannes in the U.S.

The daisies are trimmed to various sizes and painted. The black mondo was sea grass for an aquarium - painted and trimmed. The hydrangea - once again I used the ivy leaves painted a more consistent paler green, the flowers are from a floral pic. The bugbain (to attract bees) can be found at most craft places as well. The ornamental balls are from the dollar store - 12 for $1. The grotesque was the top of a stamp.

Below is another view that can only be seen when the garden is detached from the wall. Yes! I must paint the back of the architectural salvage. The soil was made from a mix of dried coffee grinds and tea bag leaves. I thinned white glue and mixed the "soil" then applied it around the plants that were each held in place by a small piece of foam. That was a messy idea. Wonder if any of you have found a better way? Fortunately the hedge held everything in place.

You can see that I have only worked on approximately a fifth of the garden space. When I started I felt it was not large enough to fit the things I had planned to put in it. I am happy now with its size and I know I still have a lot of challenges ahead - which of course is the pleasure in working on a project like this.

Below is a final look at this part of the courtyard garden, in place against the house.
It is great to be able to detach this area as it is much easier to work on it than it is to work inside rooms of the house.

I hope this look at the utility area is of interest to you and that some of the information may be helpful. If there is anything you would like to know don't hesitate to ask and I will try and help.

I had been doing a lot of thinking about this area and seemed to be dragging my feet in getting to the foliage. Once I began I was so inspired and enthusiastic I could hardly leave my work area to concentrate on real life. It made me feel very happy!

I hope it makes you happy too!

Regards Janine


  1. Janine, What a tease you are! The climbing hydrangea is beautifully executed and it frames the mirror most becomingly. I can see the reflection of the rusted pots with the black wire ball just peeking along side, too. The birdhouse embedded amid the vine and the bee skep and the tiny clay pot of flowers....! So much story within a frame!!! LOVE IT!

  2. Wonderful detail, a feast for the eyes.......would love to sit here and listen to the birds chirp.

  3. Dear Janine,
    What a wonderful garden piece ! You put a lot of working hours in this beautiful piece.
    Greetings Dorien.

  4. Hello Janine,
    These pictures just knocked me off my feet. I am always impressed by miniature settings that look like real life, but this just takjes the cake. It was worth all your hard work because every last little detail is perfection.
    Wow! Absolutely fantastic work on everything. Wow!!!
    Big hug,

    1. Hi Giac, Bruce took a photo from the kitchen looking out into the mini courtyard. It looks so realistic. I will show you in a few days. Really having fun creating the garden space.
      Regards and thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Janine, my goodness, I am so full of admiration for what you have done here. It's like a little piece of paradise! I can't even begin to think of the hours of work you must have put into this amazing little project. I can understand when you say that it made you happy. You must feel so fulfilled and you should! I can tell that you are passionate about gardening. And, now, you have your own little wee garden to admire all year long!

    1. You are correct Lucille. I do love to be in the garden so working on the mini garden is providing a bit of relief while I wait for my own garden to come to life. I did see the tiny pink cyclamens pushing their heads above the soil so I know we are now on the downward slide to warmer weather.
      regards Janine

  6. Que fantastico trabajo, me encanta como te ha quedado enhorabuena!!
    besitos ascension

    1. Thank you Ascension -" What fantastic work "is such a nice comment. How nice it is that we can travel the world in just a few clicks!
      Regards Janine

  7. It's lovely and I can almost feel the sunshine. You've managed to include lots of interesting details and I can't wait now to see the finished article.

    1. Hi Irene, I believe the weather in Edinborough is similar to Vancouver. ... today it is another wet soggy grey day. We can only dream of those soft summer days in the garden.
      Regards Janine

  8. Janine....there is nothing left for me to say! Summarize....Delightful! Thank you for sharing.