Customizing a Coco Liner Fit a Half Circle Planter Basket

Half circle or half moon planters can be an attractive way to hang plants on a wall or fence. I have a metal framed planter in this shape hanging outside my front door and I like it very much. However, it’s always been challenging to find replacement coir/coco liners to fit it. Prefabricated coco liners…

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Cinder Blocks: Garden Edging and Planter Combined

Echiveria and hens and chicks growing in a brick

I was looking for some sort of material to edge my vegetable garden beds with at the same time as a friend of mine was looking to get rid of a large stack of cinder blocks. Several trips later (I could only carry 6 in my car on each trip, because of their weight!) I…

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How to Make a Winter Planter Arrangement (2019)

I was really looking forward to decorating my new giant planter pot for Christmas this year, but hadn’t reckoned on needing to do it in a hurry. Warm fall weather lingered here, but then winter was forecast to wallop us with a massive snowstorm mere days after I had picked my last garden tomato. Long…

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How to Attach a Stick to a Pine Cone

I love using pine cones in my winter planter arrangements. They’re a nice decorative touch.   You can buy pine cones with sticks already attached* to them, so that you can anchor them into your arrangements. But if you want to use loose pine cones, whether from your own trees or those you’ve purchased, you…

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How to Repair a Leak in Your Small Pond

I built a very small water feature in my back garden several years ago. It is essentially a pond in a black plastic bucket. Retailers would call the bucket a “hard sided pond liner.” At some point this spring my pond liner sprung a leak. I didn’t know exactly where the leak was but almost…

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Build a Simple Pond or Water Feature

How to build a small pond or water feature

In my garden I have what I not so gracefully call a pond-in-a-bucket. It is more elegantly referred to as a water feature. I installed it primarily for the sound; so that I could enjoy the sound of water and so that it would drown out the sounds of close neighbours enjoying their back yards.…

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How to Fix a Weld Without Welding

The weld attaching the handle to my watering can broke a few weeks ago.   This set me off on a quest to buy a new watering can, as I thought the only way to fix my old watering can would be to have someone weld it. I planned to do that eventually, but there…

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How to Grow Zucchini

How to Grow Zucchini and Fight Off Striped Cucumber Beetles

Zucchini, also known by its French name, courgette, is reputed to be an incredibly easy plant to grow, and a prolific producer as well. During zucchini season there are jokes made about people breaking into cars and leaving a bag of zucchinis, so desperate are gardeners to get rid of their excess. Fortunately, there are…

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How to Paint a Cast Iron Urn

My friends bought a new house last year and asked me for some help with their garden in the spring. The previous owners had left behind a cast iron planter, but it was in rough shape:   Someone had drawn on it with crayon and it was quite rusty. I get that rust on old…

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Winter Decorating Mistakes To Avoid

How to avoid the most common mistakes when making winter planter arrangements

Creating an attractive arrangement of greenery and accessories in your outdoor planters isn’t difficult. But there are a few common mistakes I see, and a few I’ve made myself, so I thought I’d compile a tip list of what not to do.   Using too many accessories Some well selected decorations (including winter urn ornaments…

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What to do with a leaking hose

How to fix a leaking hose

My friend’s garden hose sprung a leak just before I was to house sit for her. No problem, I thought, I’ll fix it for her while she’s gone. The process is the same as for replacing the end of a hose, which I’ve done before.   My first challenge came at the hardware store, where…

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Plant Ties Like My Grandpa Used to Make

How to make perfect thrifty plant ties

My grandparents lived through the depression, and, like most people of that era, were into “recycling” and “reusing” multiple decades before those terms were trendy. I’ve left some of their frugal practices by the wayside (saving, drying, and reusing teabags, for one!) but others have value that endures, and that’s the case with my grandfather’s…

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The best plant labels for vegetables

I’ve been on the hunt for a good way to label the plants in my vegetable garden, specifically, the many varieties of tomatoes. I grow some of the same types each year, but also try a new variety or two each year.   I love the look and durability the of metal plant labels you…

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Get tree sap off your hands with two ingredients from your kitchen

How to clean tree sap off of your hands

The one down side from making your own Christmas wreath out of fresh greenery, or doing any holiday decorating with pine and other sap oozing branches, is that you end up with gunk (that’s the not-so-technical term for tree sap) all over your hands. I’ve found washing to regular soap and water doesn’t help, but…

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At the end of your hose?

How to replace a hose coupling

We haven’t had a good, garden-soaking rain in my area for more than a week, and it’s been hot so I’ve been doing a lot of watering. But I ran into a problem when the coupling at the end of my hose (sometimes referred to as “the brass piece that water comes out of” or…

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Keeping birds safe from windows

There are easy ways to protect birds from window strikes

I’ve mentioned previously how much I enjoy having birds in the garden, and that I have several birdfeeders to entice them to visit. Most of the time this arrangement has been beneficial for both the birds and I. However, there is a dark side; from time to time, I have heard the sickening thud of…

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Make your own thrifty custom winter urn decorations

Christmas tree ornaments turned into urn accessories

My first challenge with writing this post, and frankly, the most difficult, was figuring out what to call the festively coloured balls, pinecones, and other bits of interesting stuff that people use to decorate their outdoor Christmas urn arrangements? Accessories? Embellishments? Decorations? Well, whatever you call them, I first started to make my own when…

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Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Jars of Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

I have a great recipe for spicy roasted red pepper and tomato soup. I’ve tweaked one that was given to me years ago by a good friend to the point where I think I can call it mine now. For several years I made big batches of it in the fall, and then froze it…

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Dealing with lots of tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes with cracked skins and calyx

I grow a lot of tomatoes. A lot. In fact, some people might say I have a bit of a tomato growing problem. But you know, some people buy what might be considered excessive pairs of shoes, have closets full of handbags, or perhaps a dozen too many tech gadgets. I…grow tomatoes. And I’m pretty…

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I couldn’t find it so I created it–The Best Zucchini Bread Recipe

Close up of the best zucchini bread

My garden has entered that late summer stage where, as far as flowers go, it’s all about the dahlias and the black-eyed susans. Rudbeckia triloba (my favourite form of black-eyed susan) has self seeded in several places (not all of which are convenient, but I let it go anyway) and it certainly must be one…

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How to Make a Wreath Out of Fresh Greenery (updated)

Pliers, wire and a thumb

Making a Christmas wreath from scratch is not difficult but it does take time and patience. It takes me about 2 hours to create a wreath, and I’ve been making them every year since about 2004. My horticultural society used to hold a wreath-making workshop for our members every November, and that was where I…

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Cement leaf casting in Kingston

cement cast leaf

Last Saturday I spent the day playing with cement and plants in Kingston, Ontario. I was a student in a day long workshop at Leaf Relief, a studio run by artist Deb Stagg, out of her home. I’ve seen many tutorials on making cement stepping stones, using leaves as molds, and even took a shot…

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Canning for the first time

Close up of ripe peaches

I’ve been afraid to start canning. Not scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it, but concerned that I wouldn’t be able to stop. Both my mother and father’s family canned every year, and my mother has lined her fruit-cellar shelves with jars and jars of fruit jam for as long as I’ve been…

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