Organizing Theory & Artistry

Ruly Recap – June’s Theme: Yard & Garden

A blue hydrangea. . . one of the best June treasures in my garden!

This month we have been discussing ways to organize your yard and garden, primarily focusing on a lot of ideas that have nothing to do with the actual growing of plants! If there is one thing I have learned about gardening, it is that you have to learn to cede control to nature on every decision. You can plant the best plants in the best soil according to perfect instructions and there is always something (bugs, animals, bad weather, plant diseases) that will foil your plans. It has been comforting to me (and hopefully to you too!) to know that there are other ways to add beauty, charm and personality to your garden that are more in your control.

Below is the quick version of this month’s posts.

Theme Posts

We started off the month with 8 quick and easy landscaping ideas that don’t take a lot of time or money to implement.

Next, I improved on last year’s post about inexpensively updating your old patio furniture to give it a new look. First, I told you how I made a set of 20 custom chair cushions for a grand total of less than $20. Next, I showed you a way to transform a tired vinyl strap chair into a hammock chair using nylon rope.

Inevitably with every organization project, there is some aspect involving paperwork and the same is true for gardening projects. I shared with you various ideas for creating a garden journal and/or plant markers to “file” the plants in your garden.

Ruth commented:

“We for the past 4 years have lived in 3 different houses on 2 different military bases. This home we have now has the first real garden to speak of, with lovely flowering roses and tubal roses and rosemary–and a hummingbird complete with nest and 2 babies–but not sure that goes in the gardening journal. But the 2 gals that lived immediately prior–that would have been a really neat thing to pass on to us–a gardening journal! LOVE it!! Otherwise we kind of guess at what we have and do maintenance on a guesswork only basis.”

I finished off the month with 3 garden art projects to try using inexpensive, durable materials: rock creatures, metallic flowers, and a product test of the Make Your Own Poetry Stones kit.

Lou commented:

“Adorable! We have our own hand-made molds that the grandkids put in their hand print, with their name and the date. 15 years later, they’re as fun as ever!”

FYI, my test poetry stones are still on their second day of drying time but even in just one day (despite adding too much water to the mix and having high humidity) they are hardening quite nicely. The color is changing as they dry and I will update later with a picture of the final test stones.

Social Commentary

June is the kick-off of the summer cookout season and Ruly Ruth shared a popular list of the 10 best and 10 worst foods to bring to a potluck cookout, an organizational challenge frequently faced this social season.

Ben commented:

“I agree with all of the worsts, with the caveat that a GOOD potato salad is definitely worth bringing. I have recently been making a potato salad that has a bit of white wine or champagne vinegar in it to give it a good tart finish, and (don’t tell my mother in law) [my wife] says it’s better than her mom’s.”

Ruth received several comments on her Facebook page including a complaint that spinach artichoke dip should be removed from the list of worsts and an inquiry from a bachelor wondering what to bring/buy if you don’t cook. As you grocery shop this summer, please keep an eye out for delicious store-bought goodies that would work for these social situations and feel free to comment with your findings. We recently found the new heart-shaped shortbread cookies half-dipped in chocolate at our local Costco. They are fantastic! I wanted to share a picture but they were all eaten before I could take one!

Fun Posts

June is a big gift-giving month and I provided you with some gift-giving ideas for:

My incredible uncle wrote a post in his newspaper column about Father’s Day gift giving that was both funny and very touching.  I encourage you to give it a read.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s posts and wish you many hours of relaxation this summer outdoors in your own garden oasis.

For my U.S. readers, Happy 4th of July! A few safety reminders for this long weekend . . .

Have a wonderful weekend! Please check back next week when we start a new month (and the second half of 2011 if you can believe it!) and a new organizing theme.