Last spring I got the urge to spruce up our outdoor patio space. It was fairly drab for the whole first year we lived here.
In my dreams, I wanted large planter beds where I could grow my own produce, and I had big plans to write a formal request to plant some fruit trees and berry bushes in the ground next to our cement patio. But when I researched planter beds, I realized how unrealistic this dream was. Pre-built, planter beds are expensive in any material, but even buying wood and borrowing the tools to create them myself would have been more than I could budget. So for weeks I scoured Pinterest in search of the cheapest, least eye-sore planter beds, and I came up with mostly nothing. And right as I was about to give up, I found this, which led me to wattle and the decision to weave my own planters and trellises.
Living in such a densely-treed area, I figured I could easily find branches to make larger planter beds, so I set out across campus and landed in a cedar grove with abundant bare and naturally fallen branches. While any number of branches could have worked, the cedar branches are perfect because they're pliable and they have a slight natural bend already, perfect for weaving into rounded planter beds. So I took numerous afternoon walks and returned with bags full of branches to weave into the planters we now have. While I did spend lots of time outside, I spent $0 on the planters themselves.
I filled the beds with organic produce last season, and while my tomatoes, snow peas, and kale were somewhat successful, we only harvested three small zucchini, two tiny spaghetti squash, and a few mustard greens; the cauliflower and carrots never made it to adulthood, birds ate the blueberries, and something wretched overtook both of the bell peppers. So this year I'm aiming for a different garden theme.
|Sad, immature carrots|
|Baby bell pepper|
I never ripped out the kale from last year, so it's about 8 feet tall and full of yellow hummingbird-attracting flowers, so I'm leaving that in place for now, too. I did also buy a thornless dwarf blackberry bush because blackberries are my favorite, and their little wrinkled flowers look so good in pictures (see here).
Also this year, more whimsy. Last year I made a butterfly bath (which I prefer to call a butterfly beach), but this year I want to add a few more items: maybe a bird bath, some bird houses, or (if I'm feeling so bold) a bug hotel.
And maybe, since I don't have any baskets to weave this year, I'll build one of these. I just can't get it out of my head...
(All photos are from last year's garden except for the magnificent coral poppy in the final photo.)