The most recent project is a mirror with a frame made of the leaf casting mix. We have the book “A Garden Gallery The Plants, Art, and Hardscape of Little and Lewis“, a pictoral tour of the gardens of artists George Little and David Lewis. The book was purchased after seeing a segment on the old Martha Stewart Living show, which I much prefer to the newer style shows, where the two men showed Martha how to make a leaf casting. They also made the mirror frame, but I missed that segment but printed the instructions from her website that day. In those days you could download some of the projects but only on the day that show aired. Okay I am getting way off topic here, sorry. Back to our project. I have made several of the leaf castings. They are relatively simple and the internet abounds with instructions and helpful tips about how to do it. For several years I have wanted to make this mirror frame since I had an old mirror, actually the bathroom mirror from the original house that had been purchased at the big box store since there was no mirror in the bathroom when we bought the house. Unbelievable, I know, but true. I had studied the directions, studied the photos in the book and never could put the two together. Until this month. The Financier was out of town and I was free to devote the entire time to figuring out how to assemble the form for the frame. I cannot tell you how it was done. Honest. But it did involve sheets of styrofoam that came in some electronic purchases that had been saved for several years and packing tape. And modeling clay.
There were premade leaves from heuchera and cotinus to line the edges. The project was carefully removed from the frame. That is always the crucial time when working with this mix, which is mortar mix and concrete bonding agent. I also use the three parts sand to one part portland cement recipe, but the premixed mortar mix is the same thing and you don’t have to measure it and mix the dry ingredients before adding the liquid. Some recipes call for a mix of water and bonding agent since it is somewhat expensive but I use straight bonding agent, adding it until the mixture holds together but is not runny. It has to be wet enough to activate the chemical reaction that turns the sand and rock dust into a hard product. This not too wet not too dry is something that is learned with practice.
The project has to set for a couple of weeks in order to harden and cure before we can clean it up and paint it. While we wait let’s look around a bit. Over by the hot tub is the black plastic shelving unit where the orchids spend the summer under the row of birch trees along the wooden fence. These two paphs, shown in the last bloom day post are too tall for the shelf height and are bent over. It is nearly time to bring them inside, but I like to wait as long as possible because the outside air and humidity are healthier for them than the indoor air. Also I am lazy and don’t want to fool with them just yet.
Some of the tougher heucheras that are living, not thriving but alive, with the extreme drought we are experiencing are these H. ‘Silver Scrolls’. The leaves should be much larger and the whole plant bigger, but they look okay. It is all we are asking of the plants at this point until we get some rain.
Wandering over to the stand of Joe Pye, Eupatorium purpureum ‘Gateway’ there is something unusual going on here. I tried to nudge the little skipper butterfly, wondering if it was alive, and realized it was in the clasp of a spider that is exactly the same color as the blossom. The camouflage is perfect except for the bright chartreuse green of the spider’s body. My imperfect vision could not see it at all, but could feel that something had hold of the butterfly. Only upon studying the photo did I see the spider clearer. I feel bad for the butterfly and thought about trying to free him, but knew that is not nature’s way and it was probably too late anyway. Sigh.
the refinishing of the wood floor was the final blow and it came apart. It has been decided that it would look good out in the garden with a special plant growing out of it. Are there any suggestions of what type of plant or bulb would look good? The diameter is about ten inches at the mouth so it needs to be something that would not exceed that width. I would bury it allowing maybe five inches out of the ground. What do you think?
orange cosmos to brighten up the garden. Annuals do have an important place to give that color jolt before the mums and leaf show begin in another month.