garden crafting for a spring birthday May 4, 2009

Pearl’s first birthday is this week and the Western Garden Book gave me an idea for something cool to celebrate. After calling everywhere I knew of here in Portland with no luck, I found exactly what I hoped for at Van Veen Nursery, an incredible place for azaleas and rhododendrons.

Van Veen Nursery

They have thousands of varieties in dozens of greenhouses,

Van Veen Nursery

and Ms. Van Veen herself took the time to help me find the one and only baby Pink Pearl rhododendron they had — and for only $5. It was an amazing experience and I am eager to go back soon!

Van Veen Nursery

So we planted our Pink Pearl this week! It’s tiny now, but we have it on good authority that it will get big. It’s already started blossoming in just a few days outside.

the pink pearl!

And our garden has been happy too! It went from this

garden - week 1

to this in just three weeks!

garden - week 3

The little kale starts I had in recycled can mini-planters love it out there. I’ve already had to rearrange the rows to give them more space. They have grown from the size of this one (in the middle, maybe two or three inches tall)

my mini-planters

to at least five times as big — this one has happily taken over the corner of an 8 x 4 raised bed.

red russian kale growing happily

And speaking of recycled-can planters, I made some more to decorate our backyard for Pearl’s birthday, too!

my recycled planter project

This time I used industrial-sized cans instead of teeny-tiny ones and made simple hanging flower baskets. I filled them with trailing ivy geranium starts (which are on sale for 50¢ each at Fred Meyer if you’re also in the Northwest) in three shades of pink.

my recycled planter project

I left them totally plain except for some sparkly beads mixed into the wires, which I thought looked nice peeking out from behind the leaves and flowers. You could also paint them or embellish them with beads, buttons, or anything else you like!

my recycled planter project

If you want to make some too, my tutorial is over here. The set of 4 cost $6 to make total, for the flowers (not including things I had around the house — cans, wire, potting soil, beads, and a hammer and nail). After imagining spending $30 apiece for the pretty hanging baskets I keep seeing around, I was really happy with how mine turned out for just $1.50 each. I’ve already gone back to Fred’s to get more ivy geraniums to make a set of three more for our front porch, too!

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