Getting creative during quarantine
There have been lots of challenges to deal with this year and lots of people have been staying home more than usual. But gardeners are a hardy group and that time spent at home hasn't been wasted. We've seen dozens of projects completed and proudly shared via e-mail or our Facebook group (Garden Gate Magazine Garden Club Community). Beds have been dug, borders added on to, pergolas, trellises and sheds built, patios spruced up, containers planted — the list could go on and on. Some folks have even plunged into gardening for the very first time bringing lots of questions and new ideas to inspire those who've been around for awhile. So we thought we'd collect a few of those projects in one place so you can enjoy some of the positive things that have been going on this year.
Share your quarantine garden projects with us!
Do you have a garden project you completed during quarantine? We'd love to see it! Submit your projects with our online form and put "Quarantine Projects" as the subject line. You may find your project featured in this article, too!
Now let's take a look at some great looking quarantine projects.
Build a greenhouse with old windows
Jessica Maloy, PA
Jessica and her husband built this 8x10 foot greenhouse using old windows. They built and erected a frame made of 2x4s first then attached the windows to that using screws. The sides are made up of six-pane windows and the front and back have a variety of shapes and sizes. Jessica sealed all of the windows with latex caulk mostly for appearance since there were lots of gaps between these old windows. Two windows on each side and the trianglar ones at the top of the front and back can be opened to allow air to circulate. The floor is made up of easy-care gravel.
Upcycle a dresser into a planter
Inside the greenhouse is an old dresser that Jessica turned into a planter and holds a few favorite annuals. The drawers are 32 inches wide and range from 5 to 8 inches tall. Jessica drilled holes in the bottom of each drawer to help water drain and lined each with a plastic garbage bag to provide some protection for the wood and help it last longer.
Dress up a an old piano bench
Debbi Forbes, MI
After scouring through some old Garden Gate magazines, Debbi Forbes started cutting out flower photos that she liked to create a garden story board. Around the same time her husband, Ken, came home from curb "shopping" with an old piano bench that was sturdy but the finish was in terrible shape. Instead of sanding and painting Debbi decided to use those cut out photos for decoupouge which would be easier and look just as nice. So she got our her old jar of Mod Podge® and got to work. It took some trial and error to get the look she liked and in the end there wasn't a single flower photo left in the magazines. Here are a few things Debbi learned the from putting it together:
- Start on the back of the piece so any mistakes you make while you're getting the hang of the process isn't front and center.
- Cut around the edge of the flowers instead of a square or rectangle — it's more interesting that way.
- Lay the photos down first to coordinate shapes, colors and sizes.
- Work in a small area and brush the Mod Podge on the wood in a slightly bigger area than the photos you're applying at that time.
- Place the photo on the sticky surface and gently rub out from center to get the photo to stick.
- Repeat until the surface is covered.
Build a great shed
Ruth Bookmiller, MD
Have you ever dreamed of adding a garden shed to your yard? With running water and electricity, Ruth's new shed has all the things you'll need to get plants in pots, start seeds, store tools and work on projects in all kinds of weather.
Build a pergola for your swing
Kendra Sulesky, OH
Kendra Sulesky says her morning coffee tastes better sitting in the swing under the pergola. She, her husband, Jay and their college-age son, Ryan started the project in mid-March right after everything shut down and have worked weekends for 6 months — until mid-September to complete it. The pergola is 10x10 feet so there's plenty of room to swing and add an extra seat or two, if needed. The truss beams came from an old beer factory that was being torn down and the rest is made of pressure-treated pine. It was a lot of work, but as Kendra said "By golly, we finished it and we're still married!"
Easy-peasy garden light
Alice's latest project lights up her garden every evening. It's a galvanized watering can that hangs from a shepherd's hook. Battery operated string lights are strung through the rose and "flow" out of the spout and into a washtub planted with flowers below. The battery pack for the lights sits inside the body of the watering can.