Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Heat and Wine Bottles

My weekly Leaf-Chronicle article follows:

Summer is here and it appears Mother Nature is really mad at us. How else do we explain leaving record setting winter temperatures and moving straight into record setting summer temperatures? Someone needs to apologize and soon—otherwise we’ll all just turn into puddles on the sidewalk!

The worst part is, we had all of that rain and my perennials went nuts! Usually that’s good thing, but my front garden went from a reasonably attractive cottage garden to “grab your machete in order to cut through this dense growth” garden. Thinning that growth in this heat was horrible! The other drawback to the rain is the weeds. They really enjoyed our wet spring, too. We’ve determined that feeding the birds this past winter, combined with the rain, resulted in copious amounts of weeds. But, we did use the weeds as an opportunity for some “family bonding,” by enlisting the help of the kids to pluck the weeds out of our garden beds. Needless to say, they don’t want to feed the birds next winter.

Now, we’re just watching the water meter tick off gallon after gallon in order to give the newly planted perennials and annuals a fighting chance. Several years ago, I found my favorite garden product—it is called the “Plant Nanny.” They help keep the soil moist—right at the roots, too. This isn’t the kind with the glass globes; you use your own recycled wine bottles. We sold them at Hodgepodge but, the manufacturer hasn’t been producing them and I’ve not had them available for over a year. I recently approached a local potter and asked her to reproduce them for me—I’ll keep you posted!

Speaking of wine bottles, have you ever had one that you just hate to throw-out or even send to the recycling bin because it’s just too pretty? (I find it especially difficult to give up blue bottles.) Well, that just means you need to find something creative to do with them—like those plant nannies. I love seeing a row of pretty bottle, blue, green or clear, lined-up across a window sill—catching the morning or afternoon sun. I’ve seen them transformed into clever chandeliers, such as those made by Jillian Legg-Romano at ARTifacts. I have candelabras that you insert in used wine bottles. There are so many creative re-uses for these bottles! There is also the bottle trees you see in many yards—I never tire of those.

My all-time favorite re-use, however, is to invert them in the ground to form an edging for your garden (a la “rock garden”) or use them as a border along your path. I originally saw this at my friend’s, Becky Hall’s, house. She used them in groups of 5 – 7 as mini ledges for a garden she planted on an incline. It reminded me of my parents’ rock garden in Maryland—only there are wine bottles where the rocks would be. Terribly clever!

Bottle Garden_0017

Bottle Garden_0019Bottle Garden_0024

I’ve recently made my own wine bottle lanterns. I’ll be posting instructions for your own DIY project later this week. Do you have any other ideas for recycling wine bottles? As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Okay—time for the alibi. I was going to post the instruction for the wine bottle lantern, then I decided it would be more fun to get-together and make them. So, mark your calendars and sign-up for our next “How Do They Do That?” class on June 28th, 6:30 p.m. at my house. I’ll provide all of the supplies, but you can use your own wine bottle, if you so desire. Cost for the class will be $15. It’ll look like this—minus the mounting bracket . . .

wine bottle lantern

Pay for the class online, through paypal:

Thanks for your indulgence!


1 comment:

Kendall Welsh said...

Excited about the class! Sign me up, I will pay you in the shop.

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