In my world, a garden begins with a vision. A totally awesome vision which, by hook or by crook, can be realized on a less-than awesome budget. Wanna decorate rich even when you’re not? Consider my little Herb Garden:
(TIP: Click highlighted text for more details.)
Crime Scene, 2007: The disjointed rear wings of this many-winged house required a garden to “tie” them together. The music room wing (interior pictures here) is on the right, and the old kitchen wing, or “north wing,” is on the left.
Wing, wing, wing.
Wanna live in a sprawling 19th century mansion? Do what we did, and buy — for a shockingly-low price — a glorious wreck of a house in a depressed neighborhood. You won’t have many closets. But you will have a stunning staircase, and lots of elegant fireplaces.
If you are lucky, the house will harbor lots of ghosts.
And here’s the best part: You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you saved a piece of local history.
Now back to our lawn-to-lettuce love story.
The Herb Garden’s basic elements — 4 raised beds, wire-mesh fencing, pressure-treated fence posts, 2 gates, and pea-gravel paths — set me back not more than $100. The beds are framed with common pine.
The garden’s focal point, an antique cast-iron urn, cost $20 at auction. It makes a nice setting for ‘Callie,’ a lavender-blue Calibrachoa. The plant blooms and blooms, and it does not require deadheading.
Deadheading is not my idea of a good time.
I’d rather sip a martini, and dream up more ways to live rich, even though I’m not.
The plain-white music room wall made a dreadfully boring backdrop for the garden. Consequently, I gave it some architectural interest. Stained glass windows were my first choice. More affordable was a trio of black metal trellises, acquired from Lowe’s for $10 a piece. I attached them to the wall in a triangular fashion.
And for further architectural interest, I recently nabbed a pair of Supertunias in big hanging baskets, and suspended them from brackets attached to the music room wall. Supertunias flower with shameless exuberance. They smell nice, too.
Since arches make graceful entrance-ways, I marked the main gate with an arched cedar arbor. Although the piece during summer was priced at $235.00, I bought it at the end of the growing season for just $50.00.
Tip: If you’d like to find high-quality garden-furnishings at rock-bottom prices, be sure to visit your garden center or “odd lot” shop in September. These stores are making room for winter inventory then, so patio furniture, arbors, and the like are usually steeply discounted.
Bed #2: Common chives, white aslyssum, and flat-leaved parsley. I’ll cut the chives back later today, and turn them into this incredible pesto.
Bed #4: Savoy and red cabbage. Both types are delicious for roasting.
Boxwood cuttings are how I created yet another elegant but low-cost garden on this property. Click here for details.
In closing, I’d like to remind you that garden beauty needn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
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In my kitchen now:
Irish Stew with Dark Beer and Bittersweet Chocolate
Rustic Apple Cake