Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cheap Meditation: "Green" Garden Projects

Living in a church parsonage means never really having your own space. We move a lot but need to make part of the place our own, even if it is temporary.   One of my needs and wants for Lent was a prayer Garden.  I know about vegetables but never really grown flowers.

This space was filled with bushes at one time.  It is 7' wide and 20' long, faces the north side of the house and has both full sun and full shade in places.  I have no time and no  money for this.  Going green can be translated as going cheap too and it will have to be done in fits and starts as time allows.

The waste brick is laid out on recycled plastic table covers over packed earth.  It isn't done yet and can be changed   It is a great place to wait for the sun to come up.

I am not an expert by a long shot.  For research, I read Butterfly and Bird magazines at a doctor's office and consulted with our local plant grower.  Everything I bought attracts birds, butterflies and bees.  Across the back are Hydrangeas which like the shade.  Buying smaller plants saves a lot of money and teaches patience.  Frugality as character building was not by design but it is there.  Notice the plants being started in recycled bedding plant holders.  I did well in getting plants from seed and cuttings.

 The one gallon containers have trumpet vine starts that I dug up in my alley way.  Lantana and other  local plants have been started also.  There are several online plant "propogation" guides on the web and at the library.  I checked one out for Texas with a chapter on our region.

Lots of great stuff is out there for the taking to start plants.

I did buy some mulch but in the future I have leaves to crumb up with my mower which are free.  The brick is all recycled, the birdbath was left by a previous pastor and the plastic ground cover was plastic banquet table covers from a covered dish dinner.  The bench is also made from scrap given to me by a man who was remodeling his house.  All FREE except for sheet rock screws and some Titebond II glue. .

the 1x4 herb planters were made with scrap and painted with paint that was headed to the trash at church.  I was about to give up on the seed but once it started the plants really took off.  The "Square Foot Garden" book is a great resource and I will be expanding to its boxes next year, Lord willing.

 The master bedroom window looks out over the garden and my wife, who loves cardinals is having fun with the birds.  We have three pairs of cardinal, lots of sparrows, blue jays, goldfinches, dozens of doves and a few migrants that we haven't identified yet.  The sparrows only eat from the feeder and  throw seed on the ground and the doves eat only on the ground.  Watching them interact is interesting and often hysterical.

The feeders are made from used cedar fence pickets attached to hackberry limbs from a tree I removed.  The dollar store bowls are left over from a daughter's wedding.  By putting the seed in a small bowl within the larger bowl there is very little waste-and less bird waste in the feed.    Send me an email if you want better instructions but the picture pretty well illustrates it.  It was all scrap and took me 30 minutes to cut and assemble.

This isn't about the garden but about making a connection with Christ.  This is a place where I can train body, mind and soul to pay attention to what God is doing all around me.  It is a place where anxiety can be turned into faith and God's Grace to become touchable....and it's fun.  I am really getting into the plants and the micro-environment that is coming together just beyond the back porch.  God grows in the garden as God grows the gardener.

I will add more pictures as it grows and fills in.  I have spent about $50 but the garden should be attractive far beyond that price.

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