FREE Sept 2012
SPOKANE • POST FALLS • COEUR D’ALENE • HAYDEN LAKE • SANDPOINT
VOL. 1, ISSUE 5
LANDSCAPING THE INLAND NORTHWEST
The Landscaper Who Found Gold - Page 16
OREGON GRAPE VS WADE - PAGE 18
PEPPER DAVE - PAGE 20
THE LAST GARDEN - PAGE 22
Letter from The Zealot
SePTeMBer 2012 3 My Pet Story 5 Dreamscapes A reader’s dream interpreted 7 Letter to the Zealot 7 Ask the Zealot 8 Recipe of the Month 8 Yard Art Contest Results
9 The Truly Natural Pacifier By Kelly Erikson 9 Caption Contest 10 Book Review The American Meadow Garden 11 Zealot Wisdom 12 Front Yard Makeover on a Shoe-String Budget 14 Simply Beautiful By Nate Lynch 16 Where to Find Gold on the Job Site By Ryan Linehan 17 Manifold of Dreams By Nate Lynch 17 Pet of the Month 18 A Quick Comparison By Nate Lynch 20 Pepper Dave & The Bean Queen By Kelly Erikson 22 The Last Garden By CJ James
Seriously, is anyone as tired of my writing as I am? Sheesh! Calling all landscapers and gardeners out there: Your stories are welcome here. Send them in, we’d love to hear from you! Need a topic? Try one of these: Forest While I Hike • My Garden Story • How to Build Your Own... • Junk? No! Yard Art • The Landscaper • How I Defeated that Swindled Me the Dandelion • The Swindler That • My Pet Story Landscaped Me • The Day the Rains • The Me That Landscaped Came (And There I was The Swindler Without My Slicker) • What I Mulched, • Why I Love And Why Mother Nature • Why I Hate Velcro • Why Mother Nature Tortures Me • When The Carrot Pulled Back • What I Saw At The Garden Show • The Haunted Tool Shed • How I Murdered The • The Cat’s Meow That Nefarious Skunk Maimed The Marmot • My Bombastic • Fall Clean-Up Botanical Garden • Fall Dirtied Down • My Favorite Plant • Moronic Neighbor Tales • A Day at Manito Park • The Neighbor • First I Grew It, Tells Moronic Then I Ate It Neighbor Tales • What I Steal From The Need a hand with that? Contact us. We’d love to meet you and tell your story.
The Garden Zealot
23 Custom Glass Art By Betty Keller The Garden Zealot is distributed throughout the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas monthly.
crew Nate Lynch
THE GARDEN ZEALOT EDITOR
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My Pet Story I was told this by someone who I’m quite certain would know it to be true: When a family pet dies, on its way up to Heaven it gets to pick the new addition to the family and usher him/her back down. Introductions are made, and the new story begins. If you read about my dog Arthur in the May issue of The Garden Zealot, you know that in April of this year one of the greats of all time made his way to Dog Heaven. And now for a new introduction: Toby the Dog. I don’t want to sound smug, but boy did I win the lottery with this guy! I found Toby at the Hayden Lake Animal Shelter after a few weeks of looking for my new best friend. In all honesty, I almost made a gigantic mistake and overlooked the Tobster. I’d never had anything but a Labrador Retriever, and was certain I could never betray that amazing breed. I checked the adoption websites on a nightly basis—just hoping lighting would strike and I’d instantly know the name and face of my new dog. Believe me, there were plenty of pretty faces, and I was in and out of all the local shelters to do a “meet & greet” several
times after work. I must have taken 20 different dogs for a walk. It was an interesting combination of fun and frustration. To sum it up, I’d viewed Toby’s mug online a dozen times—a small, Australian Shepherd mix (probably Greyhound). I’d walked past his cage on several occasions. He was certainly friendly, and seemed perfectly content where he was. His profile showed he was already 10&1/2 years old—perhaps a victim of age discrimination. It was true in our case: my wife had insisted that our next dog be a runner. And 10&1/2 years old? I wanted a new guy who I knew would be around for a while. Not a great match, it appeared. But sheesh! He sure was a friendly little fella! Well, I was getting desperate. I needed a new buddy to hang out with. On a Friday afternoon, I visited Toby’s shelter once again. In the kennel right next to his was a chubby Chocolate Lab—only 4-years old. I told the person at the front desk I’d like to take him for a walk. They gave me a leash and the key to his cage door, but I’d timed it poorly. It was feeding time. As I approached and
Toby opened the door to the Lab’s kennel, I quickly realized he was intently focused on his dinner dish. In fact, he was chowingdown at a magnificent rate and I was on the receiving end of a gigantic full moon. I doubted I’d be able to afford just the dog food for this brute! Well, right next-door was the nice, smallish Tobster. No lock on his gate, either. So off we went. Toby has it all. He’s as fast as lightning, loves everyone, is a great traveler, looks after the house, and is wonderful with other animals (except rabbits and squirrels, who he challenges to paw-races whenever possible). Toby has never had a bad day. All smiles, all the time.
Did I mention he’s lighting-fast? I’ve never seen a dog that can run like this—he’s poetry in motion. Chasing a ball, the water from a hose—he’s always up for action. As for my wife? She’s in love. Toby likes nothing more than joining her and our new son for a walk every morning—he’s terrific on a leash—but be warned: Toby is a kissing machine. Put your face within range, and he’ll lick you into submission. A little more slobbery than I’d like, but I can take a good spit-drowning from time to time if absolutely necessary… And believe me, according to Toby, it’s absolutely necessary. Thanks Arthur! Good choice!
2012 Fall Home Horticulture Workshop Series Presented by the Bonner County Gardeners Association Sept 19 Planning your Home Orchard (Presented by Robb McCracken) Back by popular demand, Robb will cover site selection & preparation, & tree selection for North Idaho.
Sept 26 All About Herbs (Presented by Kit Cooley, MG) A weed by any other name… Growing your own herbs for food and medicine are easy and rewarding. Learn how to cultivate, harvest and preserve your favorites. If there is time & interest, we can also discuss some wild herbs to gather.
Oct 3 Hardscape (Presented by Ivan Envik) Is Hardscape the most difficult part of your landscape project? Let a local professional show you how he does it. Ivan does pathways, patios, walls, rockeries, borders & much more.
Oct 10 Composting & Vermiculture (Presented by Ann Warwick & Janae Dale) Ann will cover “hot” and “cool” composting, suitable ingredients, compost pile management, compost harvesting & uses of compost. Janae will teach you how to keep a worm farm & use the castings to enhance your garden soil.
Oct 17 Harvesting Your Garden (Presented by Marci Crockett, Karen Hempstead & Kendall Adams from All Seasons) All that time and energy planting and maintaining your gardennow how do you harvest & what can you do with the produce? These ladies will share their methods of saving the food you worked so hard to grow.
Oct 24 Ponds (Presented by Dennis Rieger) This class will include all aspects of pond construction, including waterfalls & fountains. The addition of plants & fish is also included as well as maintenance, filtration, algae, leaks & winterization. Learn how to grow & care for those beautiful dahlias. And when winter is upon us, the real question is how to store them. This class will review various methods for digging, trimming & storing tubers for the winter.
Nov 7 Companion Planting (Presented by Diane Green) What vegetables like being planted with each other? Diane uses companion planting as one of her growing methods. Basis: certain plants can benefit others when planted next to or close to one another.
Exceptional stories from landscape professionals Local employee of the month Photos and articles from the do-it-yourself gardener Your garden photo of the month Recipe of the month Ask the Zealot - Your landscape question answered Pet of the month Garden poetry
Email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave message at 208-265-2070
Oct 31 Dahlias (Presented by Paul Krusche)
The Garden Zealot wants your submissions! • • • • • • • •
See our website at www.bcgardeners. org for details about each class, and how to purchase tickets ($10/ class).
All Classes are Wednesday’s from 6pm – 8pm at the Ponderay Event Center, 401 Bonner Mall Way, Ponderay, Idaho
Dreamscapes The Zealot peels back another layer of the onion… Dear Dreamscaper, I’m a landscaper by trade, but I feel like I have another calling. I can’t remember ever dreaming about landscaping, but I’ve dreamt that I own an F-17 fighter jet several times. Several? Probably hundreds of times! In my dream, it’s parked in the front driveway and I’m trying to figure out if I have enough room on the street to get it off the ground. I’m sure flying it would be amazing, but mostly I just stare at it and walk around it during my dream. Seems to be enough of a thrill when I’m sleeping, but I’m pretty sure I would have more fun in the air. Awake. Are landscaping and this dream related? Do you know how much room I would need to get it off the ground? You seem wise, thought I’d ask. Thanks, Jason B. of Spokane, Washington
Dear Jason, This is a common dream among landscapers. I refer to it as the “brown and dusty” complex. You spend all of your time on and in the ground. It makes sense that your inner scaper dreams of a moment unfettered by a shovel and pick. Do you find yourself acutely aware of airplane traffic while you stand in your latest trench? Of course you do! This is no different than the cow that gazes across the fence and licks his chops. The grass is always greener on the other side — until you’re on the other side! I can’t tell you how many fighter jet pilots have walked up to me on the street and said, “If only I were a landscaper!” I’ve talked with them, my friend. When they’re up there doing a training run—or even in the middle of combat—they’re looking down and daydreaming. An excavator in a dust-ball literally breaks their heart! Here’s my advice: take a hot-air balloon ride. F-17 fighter jets are more expensive than you’d think, and without the proper training can be difficult to land. The hot-air balloon will get you off the ground, and it moves so slowly that you’ll be more than able to appreciate the fine landscaping taking place below. Plus, it comes with its own pilot. It’s the best of both worlds! As for how much room you need to get it off the ground? About ¾ of an aircraft carrier deck. If you do make it into the cockpit one day, I’d say this: give yourself the whole aircraft carrier deck on the first run. It sounds like this would be your first flight, and you’ll probably be nervous. Thanks for your question Jason. Full speed ahead! The Dreamscaper
Would you like to have a dream interpreted by The Dreamscaper? Send your question to email@example.com. If we use your question, you’ll receive the original depiction of your dream by our talented in-house artist, Casey Lynch. *Only PG-rated queries please.
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LETTERS TO The
Backyard renovation Thanks so much for your articles on the backyard renovation that were shown in the June and August issue of your magazine. I’ve been prodding my husband to do a project like this, and this was the exact ammunition I needed. We’re finally planning on our own “landscape renewal” for next year. I also enjoyed “Front Yard Living” in the August issue. Very inspiring. Thanks again! Jenny B. of Spokane From The Zealot’s Desk: “Next month: Ponds, Waterfalls, and Breaking the Bank!”
Ask The Dear Garden Zealot,
Thanks for your question Emily. Here’s what I’d do:
For starters, it’s the perfect time of year for transplanting. I like to wait for the first good frost before I get too aggressive. I suppose I would compare it to icing down the patient before surgery. We’re hoping to reduce the stress to the plant, and a nice frost will certainly calm the waters.
Next, prepare the landing zone. It’s a good idea to pre-dig the new home for your plants. As soon as the transplant is out of the ground, a quick destination installation is certainly ideal. When digging the object plant, try to salvage as much of the rootball as possible. When free, lean the rootball onto a piece of burlap or tarp, securely bundle the roots, and make your move. I like to mix a bucket of water with a product called Superthrive. It’s an expensive product, but for a homeowner a single bottle should easily last 10 or more years. As a side note, I think that butterfly bush might be trouble. I’m guessing it’s going to be a battle to get free, and it may struggle next spring. Generally
I’ve spent some time looking over my garden, and I need to move several plants. Is this something I can do now and avoid the rush of next spring? If it is possible, how do I go about giving my plants the best chance to survive the winter? I want to move a Rose of Sharon, a Butterfly Bush, and a yellow daisy. I’m looking forward to your response. Thank you, Emily K. (Post Falls, Idaho)
speaking, the butterfly bush is a short-lived plant, and doesn’t deal well with cold winters.
Moving on… It’s a good idea to put a ribbon or tag on a limb that faces directly north before digging the object plant. This will help you reorient the plant when installing it. Positioning it as closely to its original exposure as possible can reduce shock to the plant. Simply realign the ribbon toward the north as you replant it. Water your plant in deeply. Then again on a daily basis for up to a week. Before the next
frost, be sure to place a nice layer of bark mulch or compost over the roots. This will be the plant’s insulation from extreme temperatures. Remember: continue to regularly water the plant during the winter. There’s nothing harder on a plant than severe cold… Nothing, that is, except for severe cold on an empty stomach. Good luck Emily, and thanks for reading! The Zealot
Email your question to email@example.com
Recipe of the Month Raspberry-Lemon Trifle This Recipe was brought to us via Sue Adams. She doesn’t recall where she originally came across it, but thought it would be a great recipe for the readers of The Garden Zealot. INGREDIENTS: • 1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk • 1/3 cup lemon juice • 2 tsp. grated lemon peel • 3 cups whipping cream
• • • •
1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 1 10 inch angle food cake 2 cups raspberries
DIRECTIONS: Mix whip cream, sugar, and vanilla. Combine condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon peel, then fold into whipped cream. Break the cake into chunks. Layer the cake, lemon cream, and raspberries, making two full layers (ending with raspberries). It looks great in a compote/triﬂe bowl. It’s also wonderful with a few huckleberries added!
ZEALOT’S NOTE: I’d like to issue this public apology to my wife: Honey, thanks again for making this great dessert for family and invited guests last week. I’d like to apologize once more for eating the whole thing before anyone got to the house. I am scum. I am a selﬁsh, greedy, miserable human. (In my defense, we have been married ﬁve years, and by now you should know better than to leave stuff like this out in the open. I mean, come on…) My sincerest apology. More sincere than when I apologized for the comment about those pants that I said… Let’s not re-hash it. Love you!
Contest Congratulations to Marianna Rieg! You’re the winner of The Garden Zealot’s 2012 Yard Art Contest. You’re taking home the Grand Prize — dinner for two at Red Robin on The Garden Zealot! This candid photo captured a B-boppin’ pair of slacks straight out of 1977 as they hip-hopped their way downtown to Studio 54! And of course, no outfit would be complete without a funky strap of cowleather as these pants set their speed on “mosey.” What are they doin’ out in the front yard? That’s simple. They’re jivin’ brother! Out of the way Jack, these pants are too groovy to stop their righteous walk! Congratulations and thanks for your winning entry, Ms. Rieg! Slap me some skin!
The Truly Natural Pacifier
Caption Contest LAST MONTh’S WINNer:
“Hmmm... Did I send that check to my insurance agent last month?” Submitted by Mr. Carson Peuck of Spokane
DIreCTIONS: Send your caption idea for the cartoon below to firstname.lastname@example.org. The person with the best idea will be published in next month’s issue of The Garden Zealot.
By Kelly Erikson ediTor
Our infant son is occasionally* cranky. His lungs have developed exponentially well over the three months he’s graced us with his presence, and he occasionally* feels the needs to demonstrate their capacity. The solution when he can’t be calmed? GO OUTSIDE! He is completely enamored by leaves moving in the wind, light flickering through the grapevines hanging on the pergola, sounds of barking dogs, and trains blowing their horns. He’s unsure about the feel of grass on his toes or how to adjust his eyes
to the transition between sun and shade. He’s quickly lulled to sleep by a stroller ride and rendered alert and interested by a gentle breeze on his face. We’re fortunate the outdoors have this effect on our son, as my husband and I both love to be outside. I have a deeper appreciation for the beauty of our yard as my son and I lay in the grass under a tree—watching and listening to the leaves rustle in the wind. Mostly I’m grateful I have the option of a natural pacifier. It always works! *definition of “occasionally” varies depending on the individual attempting to comfort the small person
How Many Scoops? A dump truck delivers 15 yards of dirt to your driveway. You’ll move it with a shovel and wheelbarrow. How many shovel scoops will it take to move it all? 1. 15 yards of dirt 2. 8 wheelbarrow loads per yard 3. 25 shovel scoops per wheelbarrow That’s 3,000 scoops of dirt! Cancel my order!
The American Meadow Garden by John Greenlee By Kelly Erikson ediTor
The Zealot himself requested I review one of his favorite books this month: The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn by John Greenlee. That’s like being asked to assist the Great Oz, so of course I obliged! The Zealot reported the book’s tips and ideas were good, but that photographs were magnificent! After perusing the book, I would have to agree with his assessment. The photographs are truly what make this book worth checking out. They also make one rethink just how attached they are to their perfectly manicured, well-fertilized lawn. Mr. Greenlee describes growing up in the Los Angeles area surrounded by concrete, small trees, neatly mowed lawns, and more concrete. He was drawn to the oasis of “The Field” in his neighborhood: an empty lot of unkempt grasses and shrubs. The natural look and feel of native grasses became his passion, and he’s currently known as the “meadow guru” of California. Mr. Greenlee strongly believes that “better living through chemistry” (a.k.a. the perfect American lawn) is highly overrated when compared with native grasses of a mead-
ow that are “alive with rhythmic movement, catching both wind and light”. Similar to the objective of the Bonner County Idaho Native Plant Demonstration Garden (featured in the July issue of The Garden Zealot), Mr. Greenlee designs and creates meadow gardens and yards to decrease maintenance, use of resources, and impact to the local environment. The idea is to find the plants that are native to your area, and then reestablish them on your property. Initially, I was a bit confused as to the definition of a “meadow” as I looked through the photographs in this book. I saw grasses, true, but I also saw flowers, trees, and moss. It turns out that meadows are whatever one wants them to be. “Meadow” is loosely defined as a “grassy openings in landscapes with trees, often associated with streams or creeks”. For those who do not have a water source on their property, another definition is more easily applied: “grassy spaces that are not mowed or maintained like conventional lawns.” Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? To have your cake and eat it too with a lawn you spend less time maintaining? I’ll concede that the meadow concept isn’t the best look for every yard (your homeowners association would likely
frown upon native grasses that grow 2-6 inches high). Perhaps your backyard is fair game though… Think about your own lawn. What if you stepped out of the box and planted a yard just as beautiful as your green grass, yet so much more interesting? Spend a few minutes with The American Meadow Garden. At the very least you’ll enjoy considering the idea! *Articles from past issues of the The Garden Zealot are available online at thegardenzealot.com.
We DIG YOur SuBMISSIONS!
Wisdom Q. Why did Susan have a black eye? A. She was Rude to Beckia. — Courtesy of Ryan & Diego, Gibson’s Nursery plant nerds.
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Front Yard Makeover on a Shoe-String Budget Dear Garden Zealot, I’ve attached a photo of my home here in Coeur d’ Alene, and am hoping you can give me some cost-effective ideas for sprucing up the front yard. My wife and I love our little spot, but aren’t sure where to start with the landscaping. Most of our neighborhood is very nicely kept and much more interesting than our own lawn. I guess you might say we’re hoping to “keep up with the Joneses.” Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. We’ve managed to save about $5,000 for the project. Thanks for any help, Mike S. (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) Thanks for your question and photo Mike! I can tell from the picture that you take great care of your lawn. You’re probably blessed with the ‘green thumb’ gene, and that’s always a great start for a do-it-yourselfer who’s taking on a landscaping project. I think that with a little elbow grease and creativity we can easily add some pizzazz with your $5,000 budget. First, don’t let anyone tell you that you need
Add a few stones for interest
anything other than a gravel driveway. I love a nice, clean gravel approach. I think it looks especially good on your home. The thing about a shaded gravel driveway is that it isn’t as susceptible to weeds as one that is exposed to full sun. Need to give the old place a pick-me-up once in a while? A yard or two of new gravel will spruce up an untidy driveway in no time. Plus, if your car was to leak oil and/or grease, you can easily rake-out the stain. Not the case with a concrete, asphalt, or pavers. One more benefit: it’s almost as good as a doggy-alarm when company arrives. Gravel under the car tire is a great indicator that your company is nearly at the front door. Secondly, I recommend adding some muscle to your front walkway. Based on what I can see in the photo, the existing sidewalk is on the verge of being swallowed by your lawn and flowerbed. I wouldn’t consider doing ANYTHING with this landscape until the walkway is corrected. Number one, it’s too low. Two, it appears to be falling apart. Three, the style of block/surface doesn’t fit the home as well as it could. Here’s where you’re in luck: having new pavers or a new concrete walkway installed are going to cost basically the same amount. Granted, you’ll be paying a premium price because the job is so small, but sometimes you’ve got to bite the bullet. When you talk with your contractor, ask him/her what
the difference in price will be for adding a generous landing near the front door. This would be a great space for a chair or two, and your guests will enjoy having a clean area to chat while entering and exiting the home. Most importantly though, you need to have a solid, comfortable walkway to the front door for all occasions. Whether it’s delivering groceries or accommodating a friend with special needs, NEVER EVER allow the route to the most popular entry be any type of challenge. Estimating our new walkway is approximately 160 square feet of pavers or concrete, I’m going to guess you’ll be looking at $2,000+/- to have it installed professionally. Doing it yourself using pavers? About $1,600 (See the June issue of The Garden Zealot for a step-by-step installation guide. Available at www.thegardenzealot.com). Next, I’m going to assume you’re already equipped with an in-ground sprinkler system. If not, you’d be looking at about $3,000 to have one installed in the front yard by a professional. As such, we’d already be at our budget limit. Instead, let’s take the remaining $3,000 and invest in some nice ornamental shrubbery—and perhaps a few easy chairs to relax away the remainder of summer. My friend, you’re one fortunate fellow. It appears you’re front lawn is almost completely shaded. Is there anything better than a shade garden? Not
as easy to come by as you might think. I’ve spent many an hour pulling my hair out while I attempt to design full-sun planting schemes in new housing developments. Shade beds are fun and easy to design (plus, most nurseries dedicate protected areas to their shade plants--so they’re easy to identify, too!). In addition, the full-grown maple tree in the background is completely glorious and gives your project instant credibility. “Credibility,” you ask? Absolutely. There’s an element of maturity that’s given by having a fully-grown tree backing our project. Plus, the tree has already accomplished one of my main goals as a designer: creating height. We’re off to a great start! Now for the fun stuff... Some of my favorite shade plants: hostas, hemlocks, hydrangeas, Japanese maples, bleeding hearts, yews, ferns, sedge grasses, hibiscus, coral bells, Oregon grape, rhododendrons... The list goes on. What we must be sure to keep in mind is our evergreens. Too often a shade garden is designed almost exclusively with leafy, deciduous plant material. It looks great in the summer when you’re putting the new plants in, but come wintertime, you’re left with a bleak, vacant space that offers little or no seasonal interest. Balance your bed with 30-40% evergreen material—and give yourself a little padding for the planting budget. Let’s start with $1,000. You’ll also want to amend the soil just a bit, and install a nice layer of bark mulch. Have a pick-up truck of your own? Good, no trucking fees that way. Two yards of dirt and 3 yards of bark mulch = $150. Now let’s put on the finishing touches. One or two smartly placed stones will add some interest to the front entry, and... Ta-da! We’re going to add a small, bubbling flowerpot near the new
greeting area. Pick a colorful and cheery pot-don’t skimp here! Give it some size. A splash of red, yellow, purple, or bronze near the entry will really give the approach some much-needed life. (I like to think of outdoor pottery as another ‘evergreen element’ for the winter). Your white house will serve as our projector screen for your colorful pottery. We’ll dig a shallow hole, install a liner, plumb in a simple bubbler pump, and sit back and relax to the soft-listening tunes of good old H2O. Less street noise, more relaxation, color, and easy maintenance. I’m guessing you’ll need to budget $500-$600 for this project if you do it yourself. And the chairs… I made my own by borrowing
I can see you there!
An evergreen pot? Yes!
a friend’s and using it as my guide. I built two chairs (it did take some time) for about $150. I used cedar studs that were on closeout at a local hardware. So here’s what we’ve proposed: A solid, reliable walkway to the front door, a sophisticated planting scheme, a couple of easy-chairs to unwind in, and an ornamental bubbler for relaxation. Estimated cost doing it yourself = $3,500. By a pro? More. Mike, I can already see you there! Cheers, The Zealot
Simply Beautiful By Nate Lynch
The Garden Zealot
Do you remember your parent’s lawn? Simple, wasn’t it? If you drive through the grandest old neighborhoods of Spokane and Coeur d’ Alene, you’ll notice a tangible symmetry of landscaping within each borough. In my Grandparent’s day, neighbors traded plants among one another as they built their yard. Dirt was leveled and moved almost exclusively with a wheelbarrow. As such, most lawns of a neighborhood shared common themes and appearances. It wasn’t extraordinary diversity that separated one lawn from another, it was the placement and quantity of materials that created each garden’s distinction. There was less variety among retailers as well. Skeptical? Check on my theory—take a trip to the South Hill and see it for yourself sometime. Still in doubt? Finish your trip in a modern development. Is it me, or is there a lot going on with these contemporary landscapes? Perhaps a little too much?
If I had landscaped in a 10-foot diameter around a cardboard box ten years ago, I have no doubt that that same area today would look completely different. Someone examining my work then, and next exploring that of today would be inclined to conclude I’m devolving. I wouldn’t argue with that, but I would contend that a stubborn belief in my own methods and designs has often been at odds with the basic nuances of Mother Nature. I used to value complexity and drama in the garden, building numerous landscapes that were obese with variety. Magnificent stonework, fantastic color schemes, powerful waterways, and complex, curving paths and walkways were the norm. Many of these projects remain among my favorites to revisit when opportunity allows. Of course, upon my return, I often realize they’re also among the most demanding to maintain. A wide variety of plants, for instance, require a broad range of skills to care for them. If I have 30 different plants in my garden, I need to learn BEFORE
30 different methods to properly care for each plant. Here’s the question: If my new goal is to imitate the simplicity of nature, would it not benefit me to simplify my pallet? I grew up maintaining a beautiful lawn in the Spokane Valley—my dad’s lawn. With his approval and assistance, we conducted a grand experiment of simplification last winter. Initially, the idea was only to install a sprinkler system on the 1-acre plot that once served as my grandfather’s pasture. That was 40 years ago. For almost 40 years my father and I dragged hoses over an acre of lawn and flower gardens (actually, I only pitched in for 20 of those 40 years). For someone like my father who values a beautiful lawn, rearranging hoses and sprinklers every evening for 5 months each year wasn’t the problem. The problem was leaving. If he and mom were to leave home for more than three days at a time in July or August, they were certain to return to a lawn of ashes. At times, the
lawn seemed like a prison (minus the bars, of course). Hopefully the sprinkler system would finally grant them their summertime parole. Here’s what I know: Nature is simple. Mountains, hills, valleys. Streams, lakes, rivers, oceans. Alpines to aspens, palms to cacti. There are no definitive transitions from one element to another. When was the last time you drove to Seattle? Did the differences between Spokane and Seattle occur suddenly, or did the changes happen so smoothly that the transitions of their magnificent personalities were hardly noticed? Compare that to a typical neighborhood of today: river rock, bark nuggets, lava rock, basalt chips, bark fines, rubber mulch… The list goes on. Six houses on the same street might be “mulched” with six different products. It looks so natural… Naturally muddled, I mean. I’m not for the regulation of private property and/or suppressing creativity, but I can understand the desire to create and enforce neighborhood AFTER
covenants when they concern the appearance of a home and that of the landscaping. Commonality of materials works—even on a small scale. As I designed my parent’s lawn remodel last fall, I became acutely aware of the needless complexity of their yard. Great swaths of lawn separated by garden beds of all shapes and sizes. Beautiful maples, ash, spruce, and fruit trees collared by derisory bedding borders they’d outgrown 15 years ago. An entire acre of landscaping that demanded daily attention. Putting an outline of the area on paper was itself a project. Maintaining it? A problem. We decided to ‘dumb it down.’ I felt I was the right man for the job. I convinced my parents that they should focus their gardening efforts around the foundation of the home and in the back yard where they spend most of their time with their grandchildren and pets. Periphery gardens were eliminated. Mature, healthy trees stayed, but struggling outlier trees were removed. We also designed the yard into two different grass-zones. The “show” lawn areas were re-seeded with a common sun/shade lawn seed, and the exterior areas were seeded with a dryland-fescue grass seed. The idea was to give dad the option to mow only half the total lawn. The second half could likewise be maintained, or be allowed to grow freely with minimal water requirements. We also seeded areas that had once been bedding under the tree stands with the same dryland-fescue. Again, if he so chose, Dad could leave the areas nearest the trees wild. By applying this type of concept, we presumed the time to mow the acre of lawn could be reduced from 2&1/2 hours to 1&1/2 hours. In addition, a clear distinction could finally be made between the “yard” and the “natural” areas. Modern landscaping? Not a fan. Too busy, too clumsy. I’ve worked with a lot of talented designers and have studied libraries of landscape architecture books and magazines. Everyone wants to make a name for themselves by being ‘the original,’ but too often a lack of expertise leads to a chaotic mess. Know what the truth is? It takes a lot of vision, talent, and experience to incorporate volumes of textures and materials into a landscape that will outlive a current trend (can anyone explain the pink retaining wall block people use to edge their barked flower bed?). Your grandparents’ lawn was beautifully simple—and the fifty-foot maple tree with the tire swing didn’t hurt either. Room to play, a rose garden, and a place for the vegetables to grow. Sound about right? As for myself, my new agendas are these: let the architecture of the home do the talking. Get me from the driveway to the front door in clean shoes. Give me a shade tree near the back patio and leave the real work and expressive creativity
at the foundation of the home. Remember the timeless value of a beautiful, expansive lawn, and pick only five favorite, reliable shrubs to build a garden’s theme. Stick to the basics. As you sit on the patio with your children twenty years from now, don’t forget to glance over the fence and see what you’ve missed. Your neighbor’s complicated,
expensive landscape from 2012: the plastic edging that’s half out of the ground, the pond that used to leak which is now an abandoned rock pile, a jungle of shrubs that swallowed the old firepit, and a stone walkway that lost the battle with the grass-intrusion 42 - 0. It’s no mystery: simple never goes out of style.
Where to Find Gold on the Job Site And How to Steal it Without your Boss Knowing By Ryan Linehan
A common misconception prevalent in modern-day America regards the earnings distributions in the professional sphere. While most Americans are wrongly convinced that Wall Street executives, oil tycoons, and bearers of other such fancy career titles are the individuals who generate the largest net revenue, I speak nothing but truth when I say that these Americans have been egregiously deceived. No, my friends, the money is not in those “decoy” industries, as we call them in the business. It instead resides within the shrouded mastermind of the professional world, a perceived underdog but true puppet-master in our modern economy. Ladies and gentlemen, I speak of landscaping. I only hope to publish this article as a crushing exposé of an industry that has deceived us all, and I can only hope that one day, it may be viewed as an equal to the journalism of Upton Sinclair, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein. In time, maybe this article will level the playing field for those who have been previously robbed of prosperity in the workplace. In my three short months as a team member in Special Additions Landscaping, I have worked on enough projects to call the landscaping business as it is: piracy. Where the gold comes from, I have no clue, but like their swashbuckling 16th century counterparts, these nefarious landscapers almost always bury their valuables. How would I know, you ask? I convinced my boss to trust me with a shovel. Despite the landscapers’ carelessness in protecting their secret from undercover informants like myself, they are very meticulous in the
method they use to sort and bury their gold. As I found out, they bury different kinds of gold in different layers at the homes of their oblivious clients. Layer One: The Fresh Air Jewel The first valuable I discovered in my short time working was the incredibly under-appreciated jewel of fresh air. After a year of intense study in the dark, consoling corners of my school library’s solitary confinement section, I found myself extremely lucky to have landed an opportunity to work outdoors, where I might be reacquainted with my old friend the Sun. Although I have had my share of rain, wind, and sunburns, I truly appreciate the ability to work in the freedom of the great outdoors. This gem is located in the top layer of the landscaper’s creation, and while it is less flashy than the other precious stones and is often overlooked, it is very much present. Thus begins the devious landscaper’s attempt to conceal the riches of the profession. Layer Two: The Sarcasm Ore Right underneath the first layer of hidden value on the job site is sarcasm. When one picks, digs, shovels, and irrigates, one of the crucial elements for alleviating the repetitiveness of the work is a well placed sense of sarcasm. From my epiphany where a shining angel came to me, offered me a golden shovel, and said, “Dig, my child,” to my boss’s threats that he will run me over in the skid steer if I don’t dig a trench deep enough, the workplace is a place of healthy and enjoyable humor. It is only with apprehension that I approach my future jobs and the bosses that may not be quite as
receptive to my sarcastic tendencies, and it is only with gratitude that I look back upon my golden days at Special Additions. One note about Sarcasm Ore: at least in landscaping, it is highly reflective. Layer Three: Finishedprojectite This third layer, named finishedprojectite for the way it bestows a sense of satisfaction when viewed, is buried below the Sarcasm Ore. Experiencing the opening and closing of a project is quite a privilege, and bestows a great deal of satisfaction when one realizes exactly how much his or her work has molded a backyard. Even though I get paid for my work, the ability to look back upon a project I have helped to bring to fruition is often the most rewarding aspect of landscaping, and will likely be one of the aspects that I will remember with the greatest clarity and fondness. Layer Four: Golden Friendship It may seem cheesy, but this yellow-colored stone is not in fact cheese; rather, it is the precious metal with which we are all familiar: gold. A defining characteristic of this precious rock is the warmth it emits when one holds it. Some say the warmth is derived from the camaraderie which the stone instills in a team, and scientists say it’s from radioactive properties, but regardless of the warmth’s origin, the gold remains the most valuable find in the landscaper’s treasure trove. It hides in the bottom layer of the job site for precisely this reason. In the three short months during which I have worked for Special Additions, I have met and consistently worked with about five individuals. As I came to know each
of them, I discovered that regardless of background, they had one defining similarity: their genuine care for the welfare of others. My boss lending me a sweatshirt during rainy weather, my coworker buying me ice cream after a long day in Sandpoint, and my other coworker educating me on the ins and outs of seventies rock music all attest to the warm and accepting nature of my fellow landscapers. They are what made my first job an enjoyment and a privilege. These riches are the hidden secrets behind the landscaper’s business. It is only with hope for the future that I write to you about this great deception. I hope that more people discover the lucrative business and seize the wealth of the scape for themselves. This information pinpoints the location of the gold in the job site, but as you have probably noticed, one question remains unanswered. How do you steal the wealth without your boss knowing? In the words of an angelically familiar visitor, I answer your question. Dig, my child. Ryan Linehan is a sophomore at the University of Boston, and will double-major in Physics and Astronomy. Ryan earned Valedictorian honors at University High School in 2011.
Manifold of Dreams By Nate Lynch
The Garden ZealoT
You can’t stumble across an artifact like this without pausing a moment to appreciate it’s grandeur and magnificence. I did just that, and have composed the following poem in honor of its creator. A man who will remain nameless, but from this moment on becomes legend. ‘Thank you,’ good sir. You’ve inspired, captivated, and irrigated my heart. Manifold of Dreams This is no green box, it’s destiny. The stars have aligned on this day. A chance encounter with genius. The Mona Lisa of all valve boxes. ‘Fabulous?’ No, too Hollywood. The word is ‘sublime.’ What kind of man has plumbered here? Can I build him again? No, that’s God’s job. A sprinkle of tenacity. A drop of patience. A dash of insanity, And a morsel of anal tendencies. Are those galvanized unions? Oh yes. I’ll disassemble and rebuild these valves as I please. What’s the pressure here? Doesn’t matter.
That’s American-made steel pipe, my friend.
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We’ll restrain the flow of Niagara Falls with these suckers. Me: “What’s with the coils?” You: “What’s with the coils?!” Me: “ Yes, what’s with the coils?” Answer: They’re splendid. Is that a sparkling gravel base I smell? Indeed. These valves float--nay dance--above. A dash of drainage, if I will? I will. Good sir, I envy you. Our meeting was destiny. Your valve box? Heavenly. Can the heavens be this good? This grandiose? Dear God, I hope so.
The Humane Society’s Adoptable
Pet of the Month May Domestic Longhair/Mix This scruffy reserved gal is very regal and doesn’t put up with silliness from the kittens in the play yard. She makes sure to referee by sending out a hiss from her perch if the rough-housing on the ground below gets too rowdy. She loves to settle herself down on your lap for brushing and petting, and would love a quiet household with a special spot in the sun just for her. She is a silly kitty with her crotchety ways and she will make you laugh when you meet her!
A Quick Comparison: The Oregon Grape vs. Wade By Nate Lynch
The Garden Zealot
One of the most unappreciated plants that I choose to deal with regularly is the low-growing variety of Oregon Grape (Mahonia repens). It took some time for this particular plant to grow on me—which is ok— Oregon Grape takes some time to grow. I’d estimate it only gets 3-4” of new growth per year. My second dog was much the same.
Most of my friends and family didn’t immediately recognize his greatness, and he ate 3-4 meals a day. There are many reasons to like Oregon Grape. Strangely enough, the best of those resemble the main reasons I so loved my second dog, Wade. First and foremost, both Wade and the Oregon Grape were/ are completely reliable. Wade took minimal maintenance. No need to give him a trim (ever heard of a black lab going in for a haircut? I thought
not). He was more than happy eating the cheap stuff from the bottom shelf at the store. Plus, he was one of the most even-tempered dogs you’d ever meet. Compare that to the Oregon Grape: trimming is optional, it survives and thrives in the worst of soils, and it’s an evergreen. Green in the summer, green in the winter. Absolutely reliable. Both Wade and the Oregon Grape stay(ed) low to the ground. Depending on the variety of Oregon Grape you choose, you can expect this plant to grow to only 2-3’ in height when mature. It spreads slowly outward, and I feel it’s best used as tall ground cover. Wade was the same way. He spread slowly outward, and could cover a lot of ground when laying flat. Sleeping was one of his favorite things to do, which always made him easy to find. Once you plant the Oregon Grape, you’ll always know where to find it! Both are/were completely loyal. Wade for obvious reasons—he’s a dog. Believe me, you’re not going to take your favorite cat on a fif-
Ready for harvest
teen-mile bike ride. After the first ¼-mile the cat would realize there are limitations on even the best of friendships. Wade, on the other hand, would join you for the remaining 14 and 3/4 miles without a second thought. In fact, he’d be happy to pull you the whole way if he thought it necessary. The Oregon Grape? I’ve backed my excavator over the same plant several times and it was always resilient and remained ready to perform. There’s no ‘quit’ in the Oregon Grape. If I could’ve cloned Wade, I would have. What a fantastic animal! How lucky would I have been to have 100 Wades? Unfortunately, he was one in a million. That’s one difference between Wade and the Oregon Grape. If you’re patient, they’ll spread (clone themselves, if I might make that leap) over the ground until they’ve become a compact thicket of purple splendor. Its foliage might be glossy or dull depending on the variety—like Wade. His coat was typically dull, but could exhibit a royal sheen after he rolled in a dead fish or other extraordinary animal carcass. Both the leafy shrubbery
Basking in the afterglow of a good fish carcass
September 2012 the Oregon Grape and the fur of Wade shed in small amounts throughout the year, and often times Wade’s hair had strange bugs and rubbish hanging from it—just as the grape-like fruit of the plant itself ! Were these two separated at birth?! Perhaps the biggest reason the Oregon Grape doesn’t garner the attention it deserves is its penchant for blending into the background. I love using this plant as a soothing backdrop to the star attractions. It will thrive in shade, partial sun, and full sun, but I feel it’s happiest in a moist, shady bed. I like to install them as a 1-gallon plant. Much more cost-effective than the 5-gallon alternative, and the smaller size allows the plant to grow into a very natural, unkempt form (as opposed a 5-gallon plant that has been cultivated and shaped by the grower for several years). In the crowded neighborhood, on the farm, at the edge of the forest… The Oregon Grape is completely flexible, low-maintenance, and works almost anywhere. Plus, you can make jam out of its fruit. And how about this: Wade loved peanut butter and jam! Give the Oregon Grape a second look next time. It may surprise you.
The spring ﬂower of the Oregon grape
Oregon Grape Jam Not for the faint of heart! DIRECTIONS: To make Oregon Grape jam, wear gloves and harvest a good quantity of the berries. Use containers and utensils that won’t stain. Wash the berries and remove any large stems or other leafy debris. Put the berries in a pot and add just enough water so that the berries are barely covered. Boil for 15 minutes until soft, then run through a food-mill in batches. The food-mill should separate the juice and pulp from the skins and seeds. Next measure your juice. If you have 4-5 cups of juice, you’ll add an equivalent amount of sugar, give or take depending on your taste. Try mixing in other fruits or berries, too—even ginger. Bring your juice to a boil and stir in the optional lemon juice and pectin. Approximately half of a 1.75 oz package. Next add the sugar, not all at once but slowly, tasting as you go until reaching your preferred balance between tart and sweet. Bring to a boil again, stirring thoroughly, and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and immediately ladle into sterilized jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. *Recipe found on the internet at “Fat of the Land” and was written by Langdon Cook.
MY MEASUREMENTS (Yields 3-1/2 pints): • 5 cups Oregon-grape juice and pulp • 4 1/2 cups sugar • juice of 1 lemon (optional) • 1 oz pectin ZEALOT’S NOTE: Trust me this isn’t for everyone. But if you’re brave of heart and looking for an adventure, give it a try!
Pepper Dave & The Bean Queen A Profile of an Otis Orchards Produce Stand By Kelly Erikson Editor
Were you impressed with your vegetable garden this season? Did you feel you had a good variety of plants? I was feeling pretty swell about my little garden, then I wandered into Fresh Start Produce in Otis Orchards, WA. The produce stand, located at 21619 E. Wellesley, just west of Harvard Road, is chock full of veggies and fruits and opened my eyes to the sheer variety of plants I am missing out on! David and Lisa Kinyon, a.k.a. “Pepper Dave and the Bean Queen” have been running Fresh Start Produce for over 30 years. They have about 140 varieties of vegetables growing on 45 acres within a few blocks of the stand. The top sellers? Peppers and beans, of course, as well as sweet corn, tomatoes, and eggplant. Most of the plants in the fields, in fact about 90%, come from seeds started in early March in the greenhouses located just behind the produce stand. Who knew there were more than 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes to grow? Who knew there are people out there who actually shop for okra or artichokes? David and Lisa moved their family out to Otis Orchards to rent a little house and farm five acres in 1981. Otis Orchards was close enough to town, few people lived in the area, and rent was reasonable. David states he graduated with a water technician degree, however work was difficult to find and wages
From the Fresh Start Fields
Mild Peppers Lettuce Carrots Hot Peppers Broccoli Beets Sweet Peppers Cauliflower
were very low. He and Lisa borrowed some money, grabbed some hoes, and planted a lot of beans. “We just went for it,” says David, “I always wanted to be a farmer.” He used his experience working on wheat farms as a youngster and the information from the classes he took to earn his degree to manage his own land. “It’s hard (to get started) when you have nothing to start with”, David notes. The beans sold well, and the Kinyons expanded their little farm from five to 80 acres over the years. David added a huge variety of sweet, hot, and mild peppers, his favorite vegetable to grow and pick. “I can still get on my hands and knees to pick peppers for a few minutes. I love to pick peppers,” he says. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago, David physically can’t contribute as much as he’d like to the daily operations of the farm. He credits his family as hard and dependable workers, who labor in the fields and sell the goods at the produce stand and farmer’s markets. They move irrigation pipes and hand-spray organic chemicals to fertilize and keep bugs at bay. He says he works about six hours per day between paperwork and produce deliveries. His wife, son, and grandchildren put in 8-14 hours per day, 5-6 days a week between March and November. The challenge of operating a farm and selling produce is contending with the whims of dear Mother NaWinter Squash Beans Sweet Corn Eggplant Tomatoes Cucumbers Pumpkins Peas
Fresh Start Francis
ture. The past few years of cold, wet springs have not been kind to David and Lisa, much less the amateur gardener. This year was especially challenging for what David refers to as “the hardest hoeing ever”, with spring rains packing the soil hard and tight. When your livelihood depends on minimal impact from weather, bugs, animals, and, unfortunately, dishonest people, staying
Zucchini Blueberries Cabbage Summer Squash Blackberries Flowers and Bedding Plants Onions Potatoes
Shipped in to the Store
in business is no easy task. David and Lisa have one full time employee, and depend on their family and friends who volunteer to keep the fields picked and the store running. A volunteer since 2006, Robin Cunningham works the store with Lisa and Christine Petrusso, hefting everything from boxes of peaches and bags of potatoes, as well as soil and fertilizer. “We pride ourselves
Apricots Cherries Walla Walla Klicker Strawberries Plums Apples Huckleberries Peaches Cantaloupe
Local Honey Nectarines Hermiston Watermelon Pears Walla Walla Sweet Onions
September 2012 on quality produce,” says Robin. “We have some of the best produce in the area.” A diverse clientele, many who are regular customers each season, keep the money coming in and the produce moving out. Some prefer the U-Pick option, heading out to the fields with buckets and boxes to select their own bounty at a lower price per pound. Others shop the store, capitalizing on fruits and veggies that are picked daily—as well as the bargains on slightly damaged or misshapen veggies. The regulars put in their orders well ahead of the season, taking home flats of beautiful flowers or boxes of produce for canning. When asked how he competes with the grocery stores, David said “We don’t really. I sell some of my produce to the Trading Company and Rosauers stores, but mostly we sell through our stand. Oh, and our corn is always 4/$1!” One of many great reasons to support a local farmer.
Fresh Start Produce
Walking into Fresh Start Produce, you are immediately greeted by friendly people and friendly signs (truly, most of the signs have smiley faces on them). “Fresh Start Francis” is a new addition this year to the eclectic décor. A yard sale find Robin Cunningham is quite proud of. “She’s a fashion statement and gourd-guardian in one. Works cheap, too!” I concluded my visit to Fresh Start with the purchase of a watermelon, juicy peaches, and some Romaine lettuce—none of which I grow in my own little garden. I plan to return for some honey, more peaches, and an enormous pumpkin or two. I’ll have my son’s photo taken with a pile of pumpkins to hang on the bulletin board at the stand. If I feel ambitious, I’ll pick some of those amazing blackberries Lisa and Robin recommended. And, I’ll encourage my readers, friends, and family to support a local farm and a local family.
David: “Well, they do call me ‘Pepper Dave’… So peppers, of course!” Lisa: Undecided. (We’ll say the beans for the “Bean Queen”) Robin: “We have the best, sweetest corn. Definitely the corn. Oh, and the tomatoes, and the flowers.” The Zealot: “The pumpkins. And all the oddly-shaped gourds!” Me: The flowers in the spring, blueberries in the summer, and pumpkins in the fall.
The Last Garden By CJ James Staff Writer
The hallways in nursing homes seem long, much longer than they actually are. This one is clean and bright, but even so there is a heaviness that seems to slow my steps as I make my way through, like I’m wading in deep water. As I pass each room I can’t help but look into open doorways. Some residents have visitors; most sit or lie alone. At the end of the hallway, off the common area where a few people rest quietly in wheelchairs and watch TV, is Grandpa Bud’s room. He glances up from his chair as I enter. After only the briefest of moments, a wave of recognition washes across his face. “Hiya, Case,” he says. “Come on over and sit down for awhile.” His eyes, perhaps once the brightest of anyone I’ve known, are slightly dimmer now. But they still twinkle when he tells me a story of his Montana childhood, or of his railroad days - or of his garden. Bud has grown his garden on the same patch of Spokane Valley ground for 51 years. He moved into the house he and Grandma Doreen have shared since 1959 when he was 38 and she 31. Every year since he has planted in the spring and harvested in the summer, as sure and unfailing as the sun rises and sets. The garden sits at the back of the property, slightly higher than the yard
and against a fence it shares with an open field. What is a year’s experience growing and tending a garden, times 51? It is knowledge and patience, good years, bad years, and countless jars of Doreen’s famous green beans. It is pulling weeds and covering tomatoes and making sure the corn gets enough (but not too much) water. It is observing the miracle of the first sprouts that appear in the spring, and cutting down the corn stalks in the fall. It is watching things grow, and watching them bloom, and then watching them die - but knowing that next Spring is only a few months away. I leave the nursing home and drive to Bud’s house. Doreen was still visiting as I left, so I enter the back yard through the side gate alone. I make my way back to the garden. In the late spring earlier this year, before Bud had fallen ill, I rototilled this patch of ground while he watched from the porch. Then there was only earth and rocks and brown and grey and dust. Now there is life. Everything is green and stout and tall. Bud planted the corn at the east end, and now it’s taller than me, well over 6 foot. Next to it are the green beans, climbing their wooden stakes as if in a competition with the corn that they can never win. Adjacent are tomatoes, then beets, carrots, arugula, cucumbers, zucchini, and finally, at the west end, squash. There are more weeds than
Bud would usually allow, but even so everything is healthy and there is lots to gather. It’s September now, and the garden that just a month before was a riot of verdant green is beginning to wane and fade. There are still some vegetables to collect, but they are nearing their end. I visit Bud and he looks good, but tired, and sometimes our conversations are brief so he can rest. I’m praying Spring comes next year.
Do It Yourself
Custom Glass Art
On a Thrift Store Budget
Nancy Stewart in her garden By Betty Keller Guest Writer
Nancy Stewart of Post Falls loves creating unique glass and pottery yard art. She received her first piece as a gift. It came with basic directions about making these dishful-delights, but she and her husband Bob soon developed an easier way to put their pieces together. The original version used a hockey puck that was drilled to accommodate a length of rebar. Bob discovered that a short piece of PVC with a cap was easier and more cost effective. Over time, Nancy also came up with some tricks that made putting the glass art together more manageable. First, Nancy only goes to area thrift stores to find her glass pieces. She uses plates, bowls, light fixtures, glass beads, and anything else that will give her latest creation a little “pop.” Nancy then works with several pieces of glass and pottery to see what assembly works best, and in what order (this might be the most important step—after they’re glued together, there’s no going back!). To bond each piece together, she uses clear
The end of a shopping spree
E-6000 glue. The base plate and PVC pipe are secured first. For the best look, be sure to keep the PVC cap below the top of the base plate. After the first connection is made, wait a minimum of 24 hours before proceeding to additional pieces. “I’ve had the best luck with E-6000 glue. It’s easy to find, and not expensive,” says Nancy. Using a thick bead of glue, Nancy then glues additional pieces—being sure to securely hold each piece until it lightly sets. 24 hours later, your new custom glass artwork is dry and ready for showtime. Pound a piece of rebar into the ground where desired, and simply slide the PVC over the top. Nancy likes to place her artwork where it will best reflect morning sunlight. “They’re so beautiful when the sun comes through them just right.” She’ll also find a spot in the garden where she can nestle a piece in between a couple of favorite shrubs and/or flowers. Nancy reports that she’s been building these unique art forms for 4-years now, and she’s never had to re-glue or touch-up a single piece—although she does suggest they be stored in a safe
place for the winter. Fortunately, that’s not a big project when all it takes is sliding them off their rebar post. Think this sounds like fun? If you’re interested in building your own glassware art in the future, Nancy recommends starting your shopping now at the local thrift stores. Finding that perfect piece can be quite a thrill—especially when it’s a bargain! They’re great for your own yard, and so much fun to give as gifts to friends and family.
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