Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Little Plastic Surgery at Minimal Cost

Last year was the first year that I really started getting into gardening.  My mother is a wonderful gardener and her mother was a wonderful gardener.  So naturally I should be a wonderful gardener too, right?  No quite.  I'm attempting to be a wonderful gardener...but I've had many trials and tribulations along the way.  I've forgotten to water, watered too much, and killed plants with Miracle Grow and Clorox...yes...Clorox.  (The great Clorox incident of 2008 is another story I will share with you at a later date.)  We've also battled deer, aphids, fungi, mole crickets, slugs, grub worms, and spring tails, not to mention the unseasonable cold and wet winter that just about did us and our plants in.  (I was wishing I lived in Florida every time the temperature dipped below 30 degrees.) 

Lee Anne in mother's vegetable garden (age 4)

Despite all of my failed attempts at keeping our yard as beautiful as my mother's, I still try...sometimes with success and sometimes with failure.  Let me share one of my success stories with you.  Read on and learn how a little plastic surgery to your garden can go a long way at minimal cost.

My mother has the most peaceful porch you've ever seen.  Her porch was actually featured in Better Homes and Gardens in 2000 for being so cozy and inviting.  One thing that makes her porch so peaceful are all of her plants and hanging baskets. 

Mom's Front Porch

Mom's Back Porch

Don't you just want to curl up, listen to some James Taylor, and sip some sweet tea?  I love that her porches make you feel that way. 

Last year I was trying to spruce up my front porch and thought that maybe I could try and be like my mother and add a few touches of potted plants and hanging baskets.  My mom was actually visiting me in Charleston and we went to Lowe's together and bought two hanging baskets filled with beautiful purple verbena.  I made Brad shimmy up on that porch and attach two hooks to hang the plants from.  I promised Brad that I would care for those verbena...we were not going to waste our money yet again on plants.  I was serious this time.  Well, I did keep my promise...for about one month.  Little did I realize that caring for a hanging basket is hard work!  I'm barely 5'3" and I had to stand on my tippy toes, balancing on top of a chair, just to get those suckers down to water them.  Since they were in direct sunlight, I had to water every day!  I was pretty good for a few days, but soon my everyday watering became every other day, and then every few days...and you can probably see where this is all going.  Yes, they died.  I let them die.  Another 40 bucks down the drain.

As spring came around this year I saw all of my neighbors putting out their hanging baskets.  Some neighbors were hanging beautiful ferns, others were hanging petunias, and some were hanging purple verbena...that darn purple verbena was the bane of my existence.  Every time I looked at their hanging baskets I sighed.  I wanted to put my hanging baskets back out too...but did I really want to waste another 40 dollars for (realistically) 1 month of beauty?  Did I really want to stand on my tippy toes and nearly break my back watering them again?  After going back and forth in my head several times about what to do, I came up with the perfect plan.  A plan that would save me from having to stand on my tippy toes and would save us money in the long run.  I performed a little plastic surgery. 

I went to Michael's when all their greens were 50 percent off.  I bought 8 plastic fern stems.  Originally $6.00 each...I got them for $3.00.  Total spent $24.00 plus tax.  When I got home I dusted off my old hanging baskets that were crammed in the corner of my garage, waiting to be thrown away because surely they would not be used ever again.  In each hanging basket, I stuck four fern stems in the left over dirt from last year's neglected verbena.  I walked out to my front porch, stood on my tippy toes for the final time...and presto!  I had hanging baskets...that didn't look fake and were just as beautiful as my mother's.  If you've ever neglected your hanging baskets and you want something quick, easy, and cheap, you should perform a little plastic surgery too!  Here's the play by play if you're curious as to how my plastic ferns turned out...

If the sun starts to fade the color of the ferns, all I'm going to do is pull the stems out, spray them with "Moss Green" spray paint and they'll be new all over again.  My mother does this with her silk wreaths and it works great.  You can buy this spray paint at Michael's or Hobby Lobby (don't forget your coupon)!


  1. hysterical. you crack me up, lee anne!
    good solution!!!

  2. I loved your idea, Lee Anne! You may have noticed that my Petunias couldn't take the heat (nor the lack of water or attention), though they did gave it a good fight. Turns out ferns are on sale at Michaels this week so I picked up a few. You'll have to let me know what you think.