Instead, I'll go for DIY projects, and the cheaper and quicker, the better. After all, gardens mean watering, weeding, deadheading and other chores to keep up with.
I've recently completed two whimsical garden projects - one was very quick, the other took a little more time. But both were easy on the wallet and fun to do.
Awhile back, I purchased eight rather rusty items at a thrift store that looked like giant nails (about 8" long); they were 35c each. I don't know what their original purpose was, but I thought it'd be fun to transform into a bit of garden art.
My first plan was to paint these "nails" with my DecoArt Patio Paints, but rust-removal efforts weren't entirely successful. No problem, I decided, I'll just cover up the rust with fabric strips. I have a bagful of rather exotic-looking stretchy fabric scraps (garage sale purchase) that would work well.
So it was just a matter of cutting the fabric into narrow strips and winding them onto the "nails", securing with glue along the top and bottom edges. I tied a small strip of contrasting fabric near the top and then glued bits of costume jewelry (estate sale finds) on top.
Here's how these turned out:
My set of eight, ready to go outside.
I placed them among a perennial bed in our front yard:
Above, orange print fabric contrasts with a blue/green turtle that had formerly been a pin.
Purple and pink, topped with a silver vintage button.
Granted, these aren't waterproof, although the glue is (Quick Grip brand). They are a bit sheltered from the elements because of the plantings they're mingling with. And as quick, easy and inexpensive as this project was, I can just add more fabric if needed, or remove the original strips if the glue isn't too stubborn.
The second yard whimsy took longer to make even though it's supposed to be a kids' project called "Stickville". It was featured in an issue of the late, great Martha Stewart Kids magazine. This publication was around in the early-mid 2000's and had cute crafts with kid appeal. I was sorry when it folded.
"Stickville" refers to various structures made from that old kids' crafting staple, popsicle sticks. A snack shop, a sailboat, a delivery truck, Adirondack chair, road sign, tree hotel, and house were shown. I liked the tree hotel the best, and that's what I made:
The magazine had included instructions for putting a branch in a small pail and anchoring it with modeling clay. I sit out on our deck in nice weather as much as I can, so I hung my "tree hotel" on a tomato cage that's supporting a cherry tomato plant. I also tied the base of the "tree hotel" to the cage to further secure it.
If you can make out a bit of red on the base, and a bit of yellow on the "ladder" leading up to the base, those are little people I made from bits of colored wire. What's a "hotel" without people in it? (Martha Stewart Kids showed plastic toy animals as hotel inhabitants).
Yes, of course, this is totally frivolous, but it makes me smile when I see it. And after all, this post is titled "Garden Whimsies"!
If you and the kids in your life would like to try this tree hotel project, you can find the directions here.