How to Make an Ice Wreath

I first saw instructions for this project on The Artful Parent blog and thought it was incredibly clever — and I can’t believe that I never saw a similar ice wreath during all the frigid winters I spent on the Great Lakes. If I lived in a cold climate at the moment, I’d be gathering together all the materials I needed to make my own ice wreath, and figuring out where to hang it.

ice wreath

photo courtesy of Jean Van’t Hul at The Artful Parent blog; used with permission

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Yard Art: Bottle Trees Add Color to the Winter Landscape

IMG_0255_RESIZEDI shot this photo of a cobalt blue bottle tree one winter while I was taking a little road jaunt with my friend Connie, somewhere up near Adairsville, Georgia. It’s funny, sometimes when I mention bottle trees in a conversation, people don’t know what I’m talking about – so maybe this is your first one too, and I’m glad I could introduce you.

I think of bottle trees as a Southern tradition in yard art, mainly because I never saw a single one before I moved to Georgia. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and some of them are truly creative. I’ve always been a bit enamored with cobalt blue glass myself, and I save all the blue bottles that come into my house, though I tend to perch them on a windowsill and not out in the yard. Maybe someday I’ll have a bottle tree of my own… Continue reading

Salvaged Items Become Garden Ornaments

If you’ve ever doubted that gardeners are the most innovative people under the sun, just look at the photos below. I shot these on a summer garden tour for inspiration.


I took this shot at the home of Atlanta landscape designer Paula Refi — that’s the side of her garage you’re looking at! A salvaged mantel piece was painted, outfitted with mirrors, and bolted to the outside wall. A stone “hearth” completes the illusion.

This next idea is also clever: Continue reading

Forcing Bulbs: Tipsy Paperwhites Don’t Fall Over

Photo: Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

A friend of mine always says it wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without a pot of paperwhite narcissus in bloom. There’s definitely something magical about flower bulbs in general, but at this time of year, paperwhites become almost staggeringly precious for their ability to grow and bloom indoors. Watching a pot of the bulbs progress from day to day is a deep, private pleasure – from the first plump white roots to the lengthening stems, fattening buds, and, finally, the creamy white blooms. A vase of cut flowers, no matter how beautiful, can’t captivate and engage its audience this way. Not even close. Continue reading

Creepy Halloween Plants?

Is this ghost orchid creepy?
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Can plants be creepy? Okay, there’s the horror film version of giant, man-eating flowers, like in Little Shop of Horrors. But what about in real life?

I got a newsletter from Garden Design magazine the other day, inviting me to view a slideshow of “creepy, Halloween-ready plants” on their website, so of course I had to click through and see what was there.

The verdict? Not so creepy. Continue reading