I cannot believe how beautiful the garden is looking...and how simple it has really been! (Especially when you consider the start!) We haven't had any veggies yet (though we did get a couple of strawberries!) and the flowers have been a bit sporadically haggard...but overall the yard looks better than ever! To gloat a bit more, I've decided to share some of my photos with you, I hope you enjoy!

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The front garden bed is still doing remarkably well, though I have been pulling grass out once a week (and it's still a bit untidy--oh well)
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Our tomatoes are looking fantastic! The early girl in the front has a little bunch of vine tomatoes growing, and this monster beefsteak is large and in charge. We also have tomatoes growing in a container--in CO, this is pretty exciting!
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We finally have some sunflowers budding in the little bed behind the veggie garden! They are almost as tall as the annual salvia already! The gladiolus bulbs are so strong, I can't wait to see them all flower, and if I've timed it correctly, maybe they'll flower alongside the sunflowers! (What luck!)
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Roses on the side of the house are my favorite to cut and place in a little vase on my kitchen table. They are plentiful enough that I don't feel guilty about cutting flowers, and they are just so pretty! (Especially since there's nothing else planted back there)
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I really can't believe how enormous the zucchini is!! We have at least four little zucchini growing, and the thing just keeps on blooming! It has seriously dwarfed the cantaloupe and watermelon planted nearby, but those little guys have flowers and so hopefully we'll get some fruit soon! In the meantime, I need to find a good zucchini bread recipe!
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The poppy is still surviving, with some new buds about to bloom..the marigolds have done very well, spreading only a little, and the Shasta daisy is bigger, but still flowerless
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Peppers galore! We'll soon be swimming in them from the looks of these healthy plants!
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I am so happy to see my roses in bloom! I transplanted this little guy at the end of the summer last year, and it's doing so well! I just love the hot pink color of the flowers beside the yellow marigold.
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The butterfly bush is blooming!!! I'll keep my camera ready for flutterbies!

I've been pleased at how very little we've had to do to get the garden in ship-shape! The bf has been dutifully watering every night, and I've been weeding about once a week (sometimes more often if it bothers me enough). Sometimes if I've let the weeds take over, I'll take a hoe and stir the dirt to make it easier to remove the weeds. All in all, definitely worth the minimal effort..and pretty soon, we'll be swimming in vegetables! I've just planted a few button bells in some of the empty places, so hopefully those sprout soon!

 

I've been wanting to share some lovely specimen from my garden....sooo here we go!

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Hard to believe this is natural lighting with no enhancements! I love the way this asiatic lilly looks beside the greens and the yellow pansy. The mulch is the perfect touch! (kudos bf) though, it looks like I need to start weeding again...
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I snapped this photo just before this columbine finished shedding its first-of-the-year flowers. Can you see the new little buds?
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This little pink poppy flower was quite a surprise, the others having been all orange, I'm glad I was able to get a quick pic of it before it fell off, even if the plant is a bit tipsy. I only hope it flowers long enough to share its beauty with the Shasta daisy that's growing next door...at least there are some violas and marigolds to keep it company!
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I had to enhance this butterfly bush a bit so you could see the bud starting to form...but it's there, I promise! And it quite good company with that happy little viola!
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I just love the way these colors look together--I just wish I could remember the name of the greens! (And the onion has seen better days, I suppose)
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This is my favorite, no sunflowers in the sunflower bed yet, but my little red flowers have sprung back to life and better yet, the bulbs are sprouting!!!
 
It's been a bit late in coming, but I wanted to share with you some of my new additions to my garden as well as to give you a little progress report on the veggies that I recently planted!
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As you can see, my bulbs have not been sprouting, so last week we went out and bought some flowers to brighten up the place a bit
With my seeds and bulbs having failed pretty miserably, I thought I'd stick with the transplanting method... So me and bf went out and picked up a few perrenials (columbine, poppy, lilly) and some annuals (pansy, marigold, viola) to put in some beds around the yard...but first it seemed like a good idea to clean things up a bit.
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Sadly I think we may have lost the daffodils to the heat or the weed killer, but luckily I managed to snap a photo of its only bloom...too bad it is surrounded by weeds and grass.
The bf bought some mulch to help stop the massive weed issue, so after waiting a few days (probably too long), the landlords dropped off some weed killer and bf sprayed down the yard. We then got to work weeding and transplanting. 
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In this bed, in the backyard, I found a place for the poppy beside the returning daisy and a few other small growers.
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Here we have a few pansies planted by some unknown returning perennial and an onion bulb
We happened to have planted a few mostly dead flowers last year, and apparently they were perennials, since some of them have begun to grow this spring. So I planted a few flowers around them to supplement and add a bit more color. 
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A few violas next to this butterfly bush which has miraculously come back from the mostly dead transplant that failed to thrive last year.
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In the corner of the yard, we have a few roses, and what might be daffodils, so I added some onion bulbs and marigolds to supplement the pink color....if anything ever flowers
After a little bit of work, I think the garden came out quite nice. It will be interesting to see if any of the bulbs I planted grow. 
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Here's the final result for the bed in front of the house.
In addition to our newly replenished flower beds, the veggies in our little garden seem to be doing very well! We have sprouts of beans and broccoli from the seeds that were planted two weeks ago. The peppers look great, and we have even managed not to kill the watermelon. We did kill the cucumber but managed to sprout a few seeds...and the strawberry is bigger, although looks like it's had a bit too much heat. With any luck we may actually have some produce this summer.
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We caged the tomatoes, and I know it's hard to see, but there's a solid row of bean sprouts and two rows of broccoli, though the carrots are not sprouting as of yet.
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watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini and cucumber...and a whole lot of weeds
 
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It has been a blessing in disguise to have not begun my garden outside earlier--hopefully the roses and the trees survive all this wet snow!
I have been "closely" monitoring my seed starter now for a while now, and after my initial excitement at seeing little shoots sprouting from my newly planted seeds, I have subsequently killed all the tomatoes. A few days after finding my sprouts, I watered and placed them in the afternoon sun for a few hours. I then took them back inside and placed them in their original place atop the washing machine--wherein I failed to do anything else with them all week. Now it has snowed again, making me grateful that I haven't planted them outside, but certain that it is time to transplant! So I will be placing some of the sprouts in pots and hopefully can save some of these dead little guys!
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Oops! They have collapsed!
Of course, being a master procrastinator, I didn't get back to this project until several days after I wrote the first part of this post...by then, the sprouts were beyond dead--but I figured I'd try anyway. 
I began by cutting up the individual pots from this seed starter. I tried to select a few with some stronger looking (ie: less dead) sprouts. 
After I had cut out an individual pot, I filled a plastic pot with potting soil and dug a little hole. I then placed the pot into the little hole and added more potting soil on top. I think it is easier if you water the first bit of dirt and then add your pot, because otherwise the little pot floats when you water---even if you've added a bunch of dirt to cover it. Another thing to think about (assuming the little sprouts survive this transplant) is the drainage in the pot. Most seeds and bulbs tell you what type of sunlight and water drainage levels are required. For seeds that require more drainage, I placed a few rocks at the bottom of the pot, and tried not to pack the dirt too much. 
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here you can see some of my pots on the counter beside my "Thriving" basil plant. I figured it was best to wait until the snow had passed before placing them outside.
Of course, having finally gotten the energy to plant my seedlings, I had to wait a few days before they could be placed outside...since I didn't want to kill them with frost...Eventually though, it warmed enough for me to set them on the little deck.  Of course, I still have quite a few seedlings left over--so now I need to work up the energy to rake the yard and prepare a suitable place to plant some of them! (I am thinking I should have done that before starting the seeds....oh well!)
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I was so happy to have ~60 degree weather today! I put together another pot and planted one of my peony bulbs! Hopefully I can manage to gets some plants in my potted garden this year!
 
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With spring finally underway (ish) here in Colorado, I've decided to attempt some gardening this year (wish me luck!). I have a few plants from my office that were started for me by some green-thumbed colleagues, but they're starting to overgrow their little pots (or cups of water...I'm a very devoted horticulturist, if you couldn't guess by now--the one in the mug is what've been taking care of myself--ha!). I've been staring at this little pot problem for a while--since fall really, (hey let's keep politics out of it! ba-dum-pum pssht!--okay, back to work) and spring, as well as some glaring from aforementioned colleagues, has finally convinced me to do something about it!

 I of course turned to our ever-steady friends, google and pintrest to get some crafty ideas for resolving my spacing issues.  (I've shared some of my search results below!) 
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image source: The Graphics Fairy http://www.graphicsfairy-diy.com/2011/06/french-flower-pots.html
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image source: Market Nine http://kristieshelton.com/?p=595#more-595


I just love all these lovely whitewashed pots! I don't have any terracotta, unfortunately, but I do have some old plastic pots that I found in the garage...and what a great way to give them a little shine! (or rust--ha!) 
I found this super cute vintage-esque flower pot on The Graphics Fairy. It was submitted by a blog reader named Bernadette, who used terracotta pots and liquitex to transfer a "vintage french image" to the flower pot. 
Needless to say, these flower pots are gorgeous! And apparently this trend went a little viral, since I found tutorials all over the blog-o-sphere...and here's the best part--you can make these pretty pots with Mod Podge! (my favorite!) 
If you haven't the patience for the video, I've also linked to some blog tutorials from Heaven's Walk, Market Nine (left), and Town and Country (below), who has shared a cute stool with the same transfer method...or you could scroll down to see my version of this flower pot! 
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image source: Town and Country Living http://www.town-n-country-living.com/how-to-transfer-graphics-with-mod-podge.html
To begin, I took one of my little plastic pots and painted it white using some regular craft paint. I think a streaky look is okay here, so don't worry above completely covering the pot. 
Here's my pot after I've painted it. I thought it looked a little too shiny so I took a paper towel and blotted the paint (be sure to use a towel with a simple pattern, since it will transfer onto the paint--and sometimes you don't want cars on your flowerpots.
                                           Happy with my white, I added a bit of age to the pot by blotting it with gray paint. 

I think it looks nice to lightly press the gray into the pot, so as to not overwhelm it--I also think it makes the pot look a little more weathered--but you can see the examples above and choose your own level of color blending.  If you think you've added too much, just blot it with a clean paper towel or add more white paint.
Just blot till you're happy! I think mine came out okay, i may smear it a bit more next time--since I quite like the way the bottom looks on my finished pot. I tried not to fuss too much with the paint, since I'll be covering it anyway with this lovely toile print that I got from the interwebs.
The image transfer is pretty easy to do with mod podge, although I recommend using a darker image than the one I am using here, since you will be loosing some detail with the transfer...also the ink color does change a bit, mine looks more blue in the finished project...but since I need to replace my printer ink, this is as good as it gets.  Also, if you want to transfer words, remember the mirror effect and print backwards. 
Cover the whole image to be transferred in mod podge. I probably didn't use enough...I think in this case more is better, and allows more detail to be transferred. 
Make sure your painted pot is completely dry before you stick the image to the pot, mod podge side down. Be sure to center the image where you would like it before pressing it into the pot...if you try to move it after sticking, you may end up with wrinkles the way I have here. If you do have wrinkles, try to smooth them with your thumb and press all areas of the image into the pot.  Let the paper dry completely. I have read that some people will speed up drying with a hair dryer, but since I was pretty tired at this point, I just let mine sit over night. I think it was probably dry much sooner than that, but in the end, laziness won out. 
The next morning, I dipped paper towel in water and completely saturated my image. 
With the paper completely wet, you can rub it off using your thumbs and leave the image (and a bit of mod podge stain) behind. It took me a few tries to find a good spot to rub the paper (I recommend starting from a corner) and I ended up chipping some paint off by rubbing too hard, but I think it makes the image look more natural. 
Here's the finished product! I added a little bit of paint to the corners of the image, using a paper towel to blend it. If you'd like, you can seal the pot with a top coat. Now I just need to decide if I should cover the whole pot with more toile ...I may just have to make more! Happy crafting!
 
Recently, I joined several of the bf's coworkers for a fun outing of wine and painting sponsored by Pinot's Pallet, a franchise that recently opened a downtown location here in Fort Collins. What fun! $35 buys you a seat in the class, your canvas (and easel and paints to work with) and for just a bit more, you can buy a snazzy frame for your masterpiece. According to the website, BYOB locations vary according to local liquor laws, and some locations have beer and wine available to purchase... We ended up buying a red and a white (I literally couldn't tell you more than that about them).

The concept is easy enough, an instructer leads the class in painting by example. The company has a selection of paintings from which you can choose (either in a private party or by the night). Our class was a rare example where the instructer was new and hasn't actually done the painting, let alone teach it. We all made it through easily enough, she had a script to read and we diligently followed her instructions. The paintings and style of the class are designed to be done by a person of any skill level. Some steps were a little well...duh...for me and my oh-so-obviously-superior skills (is the sarcasm too drippy for you there?). For instance, one of the first steps for "whimsical fall" was to paint a yellow line, using your medium-sized brush, three-quarters of the way down the length of the canvas. The next step was to fill in the space below the painting with yellow paint, using short horizontal swipes of your brush. I finished these steps rather quickly and had a little too much time to drink wine, which made some of the later steps a little difficult, or sloppy, I should say. After the ground had been painted yellow (think filtered sunlight), we painted a blue sky above it and using the flat side of the brush, painted leaves in purple, red, orange, and even pink so that the colors blended and became lighter from left to right across the sky. (This step seemed to take forever---although maybe that was the wine).
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My friend Lauren and I had a blast...and maybe a little too much wine
With the leaves in place, we all painted three long stripes which would become trees. I got pretty annoyed here and my trees ended up a little "halloweeny" as my friend Lauren proclaimed. The rest of the class was spent adding detail, in my case, this meant a bit of drunken water marks and smears to my as-good-as-it-was-gonna-get version of the painting. All in all, it was a terrific way to spend a girls night, and we got a better souvenir than the regular hang-over (although there was some of that as well haha!). I highly recommend this venture, for anyone considering---it would be a great bachelorette activity or for birthdays! And if you don't have something like this in your area, why not just grab some cheap supplies at michaels and host the party yourself? I suppose if you were investing-inclined, you could open your own franchise!
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"Whimsical Eve" (the painting we attempted to re-create)
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The whole gang! (See the website for more gallery shots of the different paintings)