Monday, January 30, 2006

Planning for Spring in the Garden

By Christina VanGinkel

This past weekend brought us rain yet again, when we would normally have snow at this time of year. The local weather man reminded us that the one inch that fell on average over our county, in other My husband and I were sitting in our house, staying dry, and watching our feeders and enjoying the view of our off-season garden when the subject of adding some new focal elements to the garden come spring was broached. I had noticed that a favorite rabbit shaped planter that I have had for years, had broken. I would like to replace it, but am not sure with what. The rabbit was not large, but he sat in quite a conspicuous spot, and he was quite the charmer for the young visitors. We also talked a bit about an additional walking path that we would like to incorporate into our garden. In the end, we decided what with the rain outside, it was a good day to do some online shopping to see if we could find some new additions to our outdoor space, and maybe come up with some ideas to help us create the new walkway.

The walkway is an idea that we both have been tossing around, something to help our young grandson, and other youngsters, enjoy their time spent in our garden. At two years old, our Grandson's idea of fun so far, has been to help us weed, and picking big bouquets of flowers, even when it is not really time for them to be picked. The idea of a walkway that would be pleasing to him came about when he showed such an earnest interest in a stepping-stone that our youngest son, his Uncle, made in school. It has a fish and seaweed made out of glass impressed into a cement base. Our grandson would sit on that stone, counting the pieces of glass, and telling stories to the fish. We figured that if we could design a walkway that would be enticing to him, he might focus more just on running through the space, giving his attention to the path, and less time picking and weeding! Let me further say that when we picked this to focus on, we had no real idea what it was we were searching for, but if we found it, we hoped we would recognize it.

What we found was almost too good to be true, a set of cast iron stepping stones in the shapes of a frog, a turtle, a flower, and a butterfly. While we did not think he would be too highly impressed by the flower shaped one, the other three would be sure to captivate him. The sizes of those that we found were as follows: Butterfly, 12"Wx12"D; sunflower, 12"Wx12"D; frog, 13"W x 9"H; turtle, 15"Wx11"D. We felt that a short path made up of three or four of each shape would definitely make his time in the garden more fun. If we also take the initiative to help him plant his own patch of flowers, and maybe even a few vegetables, we think that maybe our part of the garden will have a much better chance of surviving his tender loving care!

As to another focal point, we did not have as much luck there. I did see several items that piqued my interest, as did my husband, but nothing that really made us want to plunk down the credit card and order. As it goes when shopping, I did see a very interesting cart that could be used to either sit on, to save on the back muscles when weeding, or it would collapse down and become a pad to kneel on when you really needed to get down close, and the padding would save the wear and tear on your knees. I was impressed with it, but at close to a hundred dollars, unless it pulled the weeds for me, I did not think I could really make it a serious consideration. With the new stones ordered though, I am now more ready than ever for spring to arrive. We will keep looking for something to replace the rabbit, and if we find it, I hope it jumps out at us as much as the stepping-stones did. That gives me an idea, maybe a frog to replace the rabbit, which would go along with the theme of the stones? Anybody see an oversized frog anywhere?

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