Vintage Crafts For Girls – Odd Gardens, part one

What if you cannot leave the city, as some do, to enjoy the delights of a summer in country; what if you have not even a foot of ground, you may still have some of the sweets with which summer is so lavish; you may, nevertheless, have your flower-garden. Summer will help you grow your plants. The sun is knocking now on your window, bidding you prepare the ground for summer to make fruitful.

A Country Garden in the City

A real hanging garden, with creeping vines and fragrant flowers, will prove a delight, and it may be yours though your window is your only garden plot.

Take your tape measure and find the width of your window. It is about three feet wide, isn't it? Well, it doesn't matter. Whatever the width, add two feet more and you have the length for your garden. Thus, for a three foot window you will have a five foot garden.

Go to the planing mill and select a wide board of that length. See that iit is without flaws, and do not be afraid of having it thick, for it must bear a heavy weight. Buy a pair of strong iron brackets, or very likely at the mill they will give you two three-cornered pieces of board like Fig. 591, whick will answer the purpose as well.

With screws fasten these brackets to the board, about half a foot from each end, as in Fig. 592. Near the back edge of the board, directly above the two brackets, screw in good sized screw eyes, as shown by A, B, Fig. 592. Measure the distance from the bottom edge of your board to the top of the screw eye, as desinated by the dotted line C in Fig. 593, and fasten strong hooks in the outer wall on either side of your window at the same distance above the window sill. Be careful about your measurements and have your hooks just as far apart as the screw eyes.

Go to a hardware store and get a piece of wire netting, such as is used for fences, long enough to go around the front and side edges of your board. Have three strips cut from it, one eighteen inches wide for your garden fence, the other two each twelve inches wide and about three feet long for trellises for your vines. Fit the fence around the board, bending it sharply at the corner, and tack in place along the edge of the board, using double tacks, called staple tacks, for the purpose. Paint the board and wire netting dark green, and, when dry, lift it out of the window, and, resting the board on the outside window sill slip the screw eyes on the hooks in the wall in is Fig. 592. With two staple tacks fasten the ends of the fence to the wall.

Now you are

Ready for Your Boxes

Get two strong wooden ones from your grocer, about eight inches deep and of a size to fit the board at either side of your window, and another to fit between the two end ones. Bore several holes in the bottom of each box, bind the edges where they meet with strips of tin, as shown by the dark strips in Fig. 594. Have the tinsmith cut the tin the required lengths and also bend it to fit your boxes. It will then be easy work to tack it on yourself.

Binding the boxes in this way makes them strong and prevents their bursting apart, as they are very apt to do with nothing to stay them. Paint the boxes dark green, like the board, and on the bottom of each place a layer of charcoal, next a layer of sand and then fill with earth, enriched with fertilizer. Weave two straight sticks, about four feet long, in and out through each piece of wire netting for your trellises. Stand a trellis upright in either end box by pushing the end of the sticks deep into the soil.

It is a country, not a city, garden you want, is it not? Then don't be persuaded into buying geraniums, fuchsias, verbenas, etc. They are very lovely, but you can have them all winter long, if you wish. What your are trying for now is

A Real Summer Garden

– one where you plant the seeds and have the excitement of seeing them come up, then watching them grow, and finally of discovering the first buds which so soon are to blossom and reward you with their beauty and fragrance for all the care bestowed upon them.

Have you ever seen the hop vine? It is very pretty, with its soft festoons of feathery tassels. The hop vine, running up the trellis on one side of the window; the red bean, with its scarlet blossoms, on the other, will bring a bit of the country to you as little else can.

Around the front and side edges of the end boxes plant nasturtium seeds, and midsummer will find a wealth of tangled vines and fragrant flowers which will clamber over, under, and through your fence in wild abandon.

In the middle box plant bachelor's buttons (corn flowers), which blossom from July to late autumn with white, blue, and pink flowers. Plant also mignonette for its sweetness, and, to complete the country effect, add lady slipper.

All these flowers are raised from the seed, except the hop vine. For this you will have to get the "sets" which are the underground stems of the old vines cut inot pieces. Three or four "sets" planted together will give you a nice vine.

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  1. Joy of Desserts May 11, 2011