My $300 rustic picket garden shed


Build a Cute and Unique Garden Shed with Pickets for #300This is my cute rustic shed in the suburbs. It is my secret shed because in my subdivision the sheds are supposed to look like the house, be placed where the HOA says you can put it, and it is preferred to be designed and built by professionals.

The $1000 price tag on a shed from the home stores were outrageous plus I had a big problem…

A shed would have to built in the back yard and where my HOA would tell me to put it…well, I have a pond, beds of flowers, trees, and shrubs, and the biggest reason — I would see a shed from my window and not my beautiful plants. Continue reading

I am a gardener without a garden

I am a gardener without a gardenI am a gardener without a garden and have been since spring (2016) when I dug up my flower beds and sold hundreds of plants. I dug up and potted up many plants to create mulched boring beds that would be easy for someone to manage. I am a gardener without a garden

Why? Because I have to sell my house and move on. Move on and hope that I can find a new home with lots of space for hundreds of plants and my fur babies. Move on to start my life not only as an empty nester but as a divorcee with 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a love of all things green and beautiful. I have to do this with a not so realistic price tag.I am a gardener without a garden

This is not what I had imagined when I turned 50 back in February when I counted down the days for my youngest son to graduate high school and I dreamt of the day I would find my dream home in the country and return to the country life my husband and I had talked about for years. The dream of a horse, donkey, and a cow eating in the pasture. A red barn with a tractor parked inside. A veggie garden and beautiful flower beds filled with all the colors of the rainbow. The perfect setting as I gaze out my window- to be inspired to write that book and fill my life with peace and joy. I am a gardener without a garden

I am a gardener without a garden and I have struggled with the sadness. It is a sadness that has consumed me at times. I have not been to a garden center since last fall and I can barely walk through the garden center at my local home stores without feeling a sense of loss and twinge of grief because I cannot buy a plant and enjoy the beauty of the blooms in my garden…because I do not have any flower gardens.I am a gardener without a garden

I am a gardener without a garden and I struggle every day to feel in touch with nature. I have even shed tears over my thoughts about just letting go of my houseplants and other tropical garden plants. Letting go and not bringing them in and just letting go of the idea of gardening and nurturing my green thumb. But then I remember that some of them are from my dad’s funeral over 17 years ago and I just cannot let go of the connection.

I am a gardener without a garden

Google pic prior to 2008 sorry for the picture quality but it shows the shade and landscaping

My gardens were cultivated from red clay dirt that was so barren weeds did not even grow. The yard was shaded from more than 18 Oak Trees on less than a 1/4 acre plot. I had a few Oaks taken out and had the tree guy limb these beautiful 30-50 Oaks up to the canopy allowing the sun to finally hit the ground. For 8 years gardening was my therapy for my unhappiness and burying the denial of a marriage that had been troubled from the very start. The bees, blooms, butterflies, and beauty that exploded in my gardens made me happy.

I am a gardener without a garden

Some are in pots but the majority are crowded sitting on the ground

I am a gardener without a garden. Therapy of dirt under the nails, the smell of a flower, and the buzz of a bee as it lands next to you in the garden. I miss that. I am pouring my heart out because anyone who tends a garden- flower or vegetable- knows the joy that gardening can bring to your soul. The first bloom of the season, watching a butterfly flutter from flower to flower, or the first tomato you pick off the vine…there is nothing so special as those moments in nature.

I am a gardener without a garden

This is the opposite side of the above picture. Just one area where I have plants ‘stashed’

The Iris, hostas, and many assorted perennials in pots or sitting closely woven together in an area in the dappled shade waiting for their new home…since July my (15 or more varieties of) Iris have been scattered about on top of the ground just waiting to be planted. The ferns, hostas, and even heuchera are just happily crowded back there in the back of my yard hidden from view. I even have some phlox, coneflowers, and hydrangeas mixed in. I have packets of seeds waiting to be sown…dsc_0267

I continue to house hunt and dream about my new home on the edge of a small town with room for a veggie garden, orchard, tons of flower beds, greenhouse, chicken coop, barn, and a workshop. It has been quite exhausting putting aside the past and moving forward stuck in my house which is not a home without my flower gardens. Is this my dream? Am I still a gardener? It is very difficult for me to pass a garden center and not think about what I am…I am a gardener without a garden

I am a gardener without a garden.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my story. Check out my other blog The Garden Frog Boutique too.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

copyrighted 2016 C Renee Cumberworth

I am a gardener without a garden

The Many Faces of Poison Ivy

The many faces of Poison Ivy, Leaves of 3 let it be and if you see 4 it is best to ignoreThe many faces of poison ivy as seen here in the south. I know I am going to blow that old myth away about “leaves of 3 let it be” and other tips for spotting poison ivy. Believe me when I say I know firsthand what it is to touch the wrong plant. I am highly allergic to poison ivy and from trial and error I have learned that poison ivy is not always 3 leaves!

Please do not think I am saying ignore  the “leaves of 3 let it be” but I am adding some more tips for you especially if you are walking in the woods here in the south (and I would love to hear from anyone else from other parts of the country). Here are some pics in this post of variations of poison ivy in  my area here in SE Virginia.

“LEAVES OF 3 LET IT BE; IF YOU SEE 4 IT IS BEST TO IGNORE” this is what I follow

I have found by unhappy accident that Virginia Creeper hides poison ivy many times. It is awful to start pulling what you think is an innocent vine to uncover the 3 or 4 leaves of poison ivy. Poison ivy has many forms and I hope that if you are like me and allergic to it that this post helps you stay clear of this nasty but beneficial vine in nature.The many faces of poison ivy, leaves of 3 let it be and 4 ignore

Poison ivy does not always have small serrated leaves you see in all these posts! Look at the above picture and do you see how big those leaves are and how the poison ivy is very woody and grows straight out from the vine.

“Leaves of 3 let it be; if you see 4 it is best to ignore”The many faces of Poison Ivy,

Oh yes poison ivy can have 4 leaves and vine up a tree mixing in with Virginia Creeper disguising itself. I have learned never to just pull out vines and if you must I suggest wearing long sleeves, pants, gloves, and trying to cover as much of your exposed skin as you can. Go in and immediately throw you clothes in the washer and take a shower. You can get poison ivy by contact with your clothes and your pets! So handle with care and washing withn 15 minutes of exposure works to minimize contact. The many faces of Poison Ivy,

Now I am going to give you another hint that I have done when I am no where near home and I come in contact with poison ivy. I carry hand sanitizer with me and I rub that on any exposed skin. I have also used window cleaner when I was at a friend’s house and sprayed it on my skin and wiped off. I knew I had to wash my skin because I walked right into a patch (the poison ivy was wrapped in an area of English ivy).

I have had Poison Ivy every year for as long as I can remember and a couple years ago I discovered a product at Walgreens that works to help alleviate itching and the spread. I have tried the homemade recipes but never any relief. IVAREST medicated poison ivy cleansing foam is the product and I do not quite follow the directions exactly- I use it a couple times a day lathering and scrubbing with my scrunchie to relieve the itching and breaking open the blisters to dry them up faster. In 40 years of getting poison ivy, I find this to help the best (this is my own personal experience).The many faces of Poison Ivy, leaves of 3 let it be and if you see 4 it is best to ignore

If you ever find yourself walking along a wooded area, in a park, or even in your own yard just remember this “LEAVES OF 3 LET IT BE AND IF YOU SEE 4 IT IS BEST TO IGNORE”. Thanks for stopping by and if you ever have any questions, just ask and I will help you the best I can.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016 copyrighted C Renee

What is this smelly tar like substance leaking from my Oak tree?

What is this smelly tar like substance oozing from my Oak tree? Slime fluxWhat is this smelly tar like substance leaking from my Oak tree?

It is most likely ‘slime flux’ and it is a bacterial disease which in many cases does NOT cause long term or severe damage to the tree. Slime Flux Or Wetwood disease can affect Oaks, Tulip Populars, Elms, and Maples. There is nothing to do- really- just let the tree be and let nature takes it course.

When I first encountered this last year, I panicked but read all that I could and decided that leaving the tree be was best. I was right. My Oak Tree is fine but this slime kills any plants it comes in contact. I also read that the tree is less valuable as lumber which is not really a concern I have in my suburban yard. You can google ‘Slime Flux’ and read more about the bacteria which seems to occur in my zone 7 under extreme drought conditions. This year (2016) we are in a severe summer drought and I have noticed several Oaks on my walks through the wooded areas oozing. I will be watching and updating any information to you if this has any adverse affects on the trees.

The bacteria oozes out of cracks, splits, or injuries to the tree trunk and bark. My Oak tree developed Slime Flux last year I could not believe how awful smelling this disease is and how many insects were attracted to it. The tree healed within a month to 6 weeks. No adverse affects. I have seen trees develop this on different degrees and the tree pictured here has quite a stream going with signs of distress caused from the drought we are experiencing (leaves and branches wilting and leaves browning). What is this smelly tar like substance oozing from my tree? Slime Flux or Wetwood

In my experience with Slime Flux in Oaks, the trees heal themselves with no human interference. I suggest that you do not mound mulch up against the bark of any tree or shrub and be careful not to cause serious injury to the trunk of any tree with lawn equipment or tools. I looked up in my 70 year old gardening books and found that they state it is probably best to leave the tree be.

Thanks for stopping by and if you ever have a question, just ask and I will try to answer it.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

Sweet Autumn Clematis Gone Wild

Sweet Autumn Clematis gone wildSweet Autumn Clematis gone wild in many areas overtaking and overpowering native and non native plants, trees, and structures. In my subdivision (SE Virginia) the Sweet Autumn Clematis has overtaken many wooded areas climbing over and choking out the native Virgin’s Bower and other native trees and bushes such as Red Cedar and small Redbud trees.Sweet Autumn Clematis Gone Wild, Clematis terniflora, leaf identification

How can you tell the difference between Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) and native Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana) The leaves- Sweet Autumn Clematis has leaves with smooth edges while the Virgin’s Bower has toothed or jagged edges. Both of these vines bloom late summer through fall in zones 5-9, in sun to part shade, and will grow upwards of 30′. Sweet Autumn Clematis is fast growing, agressive, and a prolific reseeder!Sweet Autumn Clematis, Clematis terniflora, invasive vine

Sweet Autumn Clematis has such delicate beautiful white blooms and it is hard to imagine that such a delicate looking vine could choke out and kill the native Red Cedar it climbed up and entwined in its embrace. It is a beautiful vine but it has had deadly consquences in the wild. If you choose to plant this vine, just know that the seeds will float and reseed in neighboring flower beds and wooded areas. If this vine likes the conditions, you will be pulling and destroying to keep it from smothering your beautiful ornamental bushes, trees, and flowers. Sweet Autumn Clematis, Clematis terniflora, invasive vine, fall bloomer

Planting a garden is more than digging a hole and watering. It is about working with nature and being mindful of what you choose to grow and enjoy. Research before you buy and remember if the tag says “fast growing” this is a warning that it may have invasive tendencies.

Thanks for stopping by and soon I will update and create a new kind of blog here at the Have a great day in the garden!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016 C Renee Fuller