New Design Sponge Series: Sound Garden

Angela alerted me to yet another wonderful new sub-column from Design*Sponge: “Sound Garden” by Sarah B. Essentially, florist extraordinaire Sarah B. takes her favorite album covers and translates them into beautiful floral arrangements:

Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life”

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Bounty in the Land of No Rain


While I’ve been taking random photos throughout the summer (and I’ll get them up eventually), I haven’t been very good at sharing much of the newly created flower beds and newly expanded garden. I can’t express how thankful I am to the various friends who’ve given me perennials from their gardens/stores – my little flower beds look like they’ve been there forever, not like they were just built this year! And Butchy has put in SO MUCH WORK in expanding Fort Knox (including having to build raised beds in parts that were too rocky) and adding in all sorts of new veggies. We now have root veggies, rainbow swiss chard, flashy trout-back lettuce and have even started an asparagus patch! We still seem to be having issues with coaxing forth any green peppers, and unfortunately by the time we realized our brussel sprouts were not flourishing there were no plants left to buy….But the beauty of the North Country is that you always have a friend, a community garden, a co-op or a farm stand that you can buy veggies from cheap and fresh!

We also started a few different berry patches and a variety of fruit trees – I’ll post photos of those soon. And as usual, there was no shortage of butterflies, bees and birds nesting in our birdhouses….or building nests wherever they felt! Even Smash-cat, perpetual homebody, decided that she was now a wild-thing and wants to be outside all the time, stalking the wild potato beetle.

2011 saw torrential rains that stalled the creation of the original part of the garden, and this year we were sidetracked by a neighbors broken tiller…but at least we seem to be right on the same production schedule we were last year. Maybe next year we can get an earlier start, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, all by ourselves! We’re in talks with a neighbor on buying a quarter-share of a cow and on the horizon for next year at the Five Birch Perch? CHICKENS!


Five Birch Perch: Opening Weekend 2012

Memorial Day weekend was gorgeous up here in the North Country (altho’ a tad bit “August”), and Butchy and I both had the full weekend off together. There was a lot to do – with Butch planting trees and bushes and expanding the veggie garden (photos of that coming soon), and me putting the finishing touches on the flower beds/pots, picking up the slack around the house and running errands I don’t usually run (ie. grocery shopping!).

So without further ado (and do please ignore the weeds and woodworking projects-in-progress), enjoy the 2012 opening weekend of the Five Birch Perch, including new flower beds along the house full of donated perennials, our brand new fruit trees (apples, peach and fig) and berry bushes (blueberry, strawberry and both red & black raspberry)…and, of course, Grim-cat helping out with the gardening:

Floral Explosion: Photographs by Fong Qi Wei

Found via CosmicWolfgirl, Fong Qi Wei’s “Exploded Flowers” series is a magical disassembly not only of the physical construction of the flowers, but of the exploratory nature of photography itself.

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Excuse me, where are the Hollyhocks?

FUN FACT! “Outhouse” Hollyhocks are named so because in times of yore when they were used as decorative barriers for outhouses. This trend was started so refined ladies didn’t have to degrade themselves by asking where the bathroom was, just where the hollyhocks were! This also explains why in certain older neighborhoods, there are hollyhocks randomly growing along the back fence way across the yard.

I personally love love LOVE Nigra Hollyhocks – I mean, a black flower? Really? Isn’t that what brought down the entire Netherlands tulip empire back in the day (according to Michael Pollan)? But the truth is, I will probably have to go with something a little brighter to stand out against our dark brown house….I’m thinking lots of bright pinks and yellows and oranges and whites….and…

That’s right – it’s time for ordering seeds! Butch and I have been pouring over seed catalogues, making lists, checking twice and basically trying to control our spending urges on our first garden. I’ve officially made Butch in charge of ordering for the veggie patch, and I’ll handle the flowers and landscaping. The catalogues we’ve looked at are Burpee, Harris Seeds, Jung and Seed Savers Exchange. Seed Savers is especially cool because they carry a lot of heirloom varieties – I told Butch he should send them some of his family string been seeds (of which he’s very excited to finally plant).

I also just discovered Cherrygal online today and they’re cheaper than any of the above places…true, you get less seeds per packet, but I don’t need 200 sunflower seeds that will just go bad by next year anyway.

But in truth, we’re not going to start too many things by seed anyway…I know what Kring’s carries and can just hop over there come May for some sturdy little plants that I know won’t die on me. Ooh…I can’t wait! Well, there’s still some time before last frost so…back to sewing curtains…