Fruit Pruning DIY Roundup From Minerva’s Garden

 

Hello everyone!  I hope you are enjoying the first signs of spring around your house and even your garden.  In the Pacific Northwest where I live, it’s still cold at night and often rainy during the day, but we have the happy circumstance of a lovely sunny day now and then, and it makes me want to get out in the garden in between all the memorizing I need to be doing for the summer play I’m cast in–A Midsummer Night’s Dream!  I can’t wait, and I will be playing opposite my sweet hubby in several scenes, which we haven’t done in years, so it should be fun.

 

 

There are, however, some late winter or early spring chores that need to get done around the garden, and pruning the fruit-bearing trees, canes and bushes figure prominently on my gardening to-do list for this time of year.  (For my new readers–I’m a Master Gardener and have been gardening on our current property for the last 13 years.  We grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit on our single-city lot.)  I thought I’d put together a round-up of posts that I’ve written about how to prune apple and pear trees in an espaliered belgian fence configuration, as well as pruning grape vines, raspberry and blackberry canes, and other types of small-fruit maintenance tips to give your plants a great start for the season.  I give tips for how I fertilize these plants and how we’ve created support structures for them, all so they produce wonderful fruit later this summer and fall.

 

People sometimes get a little scared when it comes to pruning, but really, I say go for it!  I will give you some tips to avoid mishaps, but with a lot of these types of fruit, especially grapes, they are pretty forgiving if you don’t do it perfectly.  And the more often you practice pruning, the more you will see how your plants respond to the pruning, and the better you get at it, so I say, jump in and give it a go!  NOTE:  Always be safe–please wear long-sleeves and gloves, eye and ear protection anytime you are pruning plants–all it takes is one little twig to break off in the wrong direction and you can end up with a very nasty scratch to your eye or skin–I know from personal experience, so don’t let it happen to you.

 

A tip to help you get better at pruning:  Take a photo of your fruit plant before you begin pruning, and then after you are done pruning, and then one late in the summer when it’s about to produce fruit, and compare them–from this you’ll learn a great deal about how your pruning caused the plant to grow.

 

Have you ever wanted to try growing your own apples and pears, but thought that you couldn’t because you don’t have enough, or any, ground in which to plant?  I’ve had good success with creating from scratch an espaliered Belgian fence created out of mini-dwarf apple, crabapple, and pear trees that I learned how to graft myself, fitting 8 fruit trees into a two-foot by fifteen-foot growing space!  I have a video that talks about creating the Belgian fence, and I have this post that talks about how to prune your fruit trees so they stay in shape and produce fruit this fall:

 

Pruning An Espaliered Belgian Fence of Mini-Dwarf Apple, Crabapple and Pear Trees

 

 

Grafting and Espalier Creation Video:

 

For those with no ground, you might want to try growing mini-dwarf fruit trees in large containers.  I wrote an article for our local Master Gardeners’ newsletter a few years ago that goes into detail on how to succeed at this, and what fruit varieties work well in containers:

 

 source

Growing Mini-Dwarf Apple Trees In Containers

 

Berries are easy to grow, and so delicious when picked fresh from your garden.  Learn all my tips for pruning, fertilizing, and trellising cane fruits like raspberries and blackberries, as well as how to tidy up and fertilize your strawberries and other berries for optimal production this summer:

 

 

Berry Plant Care

 

 

Is there anything more perfect than a grape-covered pergola in the summer as a lovely spot for a glass of iced tea or an outdoor meal?  Learn about how we built our sturdy pergola using many recycled materials, and then how we grew a grapevine from a free cutting (yes, you read that correctly!) that now covers the pergola each year with glorious leaves, and beautiful bunches of table grapes in the late summer.  I cover pruning grapes for the complete beginner in detail, with illustrations and photos:

 

 

 

Pruning ‘Einset’ Grapes–Use Color Coding!

 

Enjoy the rest of your day!  If you have any questions about fruit pruning or growing fruit, please leave them in the comments section of this post, and I’ll do my best to answer them :)

 

Have you ever tried growing fruit?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

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Posted in 'Einset' grape, Apple and pear trees, Berries, Fruit, Pruning, Raspberries and Blackberries | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cats

 

Hello and Happy Valentine’s Day!  Glad to be back for a bit with you all.  The show has opened, and all is well :)  I may even get to clean my house again someday soon.

 

I awoke this morning and took this series of photos of our cats.  I thought they  . . .hey, . . . wait a minute!!  NO!!!

(Cats tackle Athena, pin her to the ground, and then proceed to take over the blog.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A minor scuffle as Athena takes over the computer once again . . .)

 

And so I fed them, and afterward they took a nap.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, all!

 

Do your cats take over your blog from time to time?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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More Valentine’s Day Decor 2014

 

 

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a lovely weekend.

 

I want to finish up my Valentine’s Decor posts for you with a few final pictures that I took last week.  I kept a lot of my January decor up, because much of it was white, and removed the yellow and chartreuse and added in pinks and reds to make it appropriate for Valentine’s.  The decorations are projects that I’ve made in the past–and I’ll have a link at the end of this post if you’d like to learn how to make them yourself–as well as a few new thrifted finds.  I never spend a lot of money on decorating, but I enjoy using color combinations, making things myself and just having fun with it.  If it makes me smile when I walk into a room, then as far as I’m concerned, I’ve succeeded.

 

So here goes with More Valentine’s Decor 2014!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s to a happy Valentine’s Day to us all–I hope you spend it with someone you love.

 

For more Valentine’s Day ideas, check out these posts and board:

Valentine’s Decor 2014

 

Valentine’s Day Idea Roundup from Minerva’s Garden

 

Valentine’s Day Ideas Pinterest Board

 

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day around your home?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Valentine’s Decor 2014

 

 

Hi!  I didn’t think I’d be back this soon, but I couldn’t help myself :)  I was able to get some Valentine’s decorations up, and I want to share them with you before it’s too late.  I just made small changes, nothing major, that I could accomplish in the limited amount of time I had in which to work on this.  Also, I’m still under the weather and still having to motor on regardless as our show opens on Monday, so I’m on vocal rest at home during the days.  Since I can’t talk, I walked around the house this morning and took some pictures.

 

I think I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves, and I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a few more Valentine’s decor pictures to share with you, so I’ll do that soon.  Have a great rest of your day!

 

If you’re looking for Valentine’s decorating ideas, you might enjoy this post:

 

Valentine’s Day Idea Roundup from Minerva’s Garden

 

And check out my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board for even more inspiration!

 

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day around your home?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Till next time,

I’m participating at:

 Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

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Posted in Valentine's Decor 2014 | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Valentine’s Day Idea Roundup From Minerva’s Garden

 

Hello to you all!  Hope that your weekend was relaxing and fun.  I have been down with a nasty head cold, but it seems I’m starting to feel better.  This is good, as we are going into our final week of rehearsals for a musical that’s got an audience on Monday, plus I crazily decided to do an audition in the middle of all of this as well–yikes, I have a lot to get crammed into my head!  However, I love this, so I definitely can’t complain.  But what it does mean is that I won’t be here as much until after the show opens in a couple of weeks, so I wanted to do a post to tide you over until I get back :)

 

Also, the sun is out, the birds are enjoying the feeders, the bulbs are starting to make an appearance–in other words, it’s February!  I thought it would be fun to do a little recap of Valentine’s Day ideas that I’ve shared with you all in the past, and I hope that it provides you with inspiration for a little vignette or decoration that you can make inexpensively and enjoy in your home this year.

 

 

Here are some decor ideas:

 

Valentine’s Lampshade Transformation DIY

 

 

Dollar Tree Valentine’s Wreath Tutorial

 

 

Unexpected Thrifted Valentine’s Centerpiece

 

 

 Valentine’s Sideboard

 

And some food ideas for Valentine’s Day:

 

 

Savory Valentine’s Fare and A Tablescape

 

 

Valentine’s Scones

 

And I also have a Pinterest Valentine’s Day Ideas board for you to explore for even more ideas.

 

I hope to try to get pictures of a vignette or two if I have time to do something new for this year–not counting on it, but we’ll see how my time goes.  Now I actually have to try to get my house decorated a bit for Valentine’s Day, so I will bid you all a fond adieu!

 

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day around your home?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Yellow Book January Vignette

 

Hello!  Hope you had a great weekend.  It was bright sunshine all weekend here, but unfortunately I got a cold, so wasn’t outside to enjoy a lot of it.  Drinking tea and having chicken soup seems to be helping, so I’m definitely on the mend :)

 

Today I have a little vignette that I put together on top of our dining room china cabinet.  I love to decorate with books, so this one features some books with yellow spines, a cheery yellow to brighten up January’s often-grey skies.

 

 

I love that pretty little crocheted edge on that ivory tablecloth that forms the base of the vignette.  I’d like to use it on my table, too, so may have to look for another one :)

 

 

One of Peter Mayle’s books about living in Provence has the perfect yellow spine, so a little bit of a French theme started appearing.

 

I’ve had this vignette up since the beginning of the month, but I haven’t shown it until now because I have been looking for a new lamp for this spot, and it took me a while to find one.  I think the shape of this one is interesting, and the colors work with the wallpaper and for fall or winter decorating, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to want something lighter and brighter here for spring and summer.  But for now, I’m happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citrus on display also makes me happy at this time of year, too!

 

 

It’s almost February, and time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day–I barely got through January decorating!  We’ll see what happens for February.

 

For other January decorating ideas, you might also like:

 

Snowdrop Bottle Beauty

 

 

How do you like to brighten up your home’s decor for January?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Till next time,

I’m participating at:

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Posted in Yellow Book January Vignette | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Snowdrop Bottle Beauty

 

Happy Monday!  Take a moment to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. today.  I hope you’re having a great start to your week.

 

Today I wanted to feature a flower that blooms in January.  I got a little sidetracked by pretty, tiny bottles, however.

 

I have a thing for small beautiful bottles.  Here is one way I decorated a pretty little bottle even further.

 

I love the shape of the glass, and how the light plays over the faceted surfaces.  I decided to use some simple but lovely tiny bottles on their own to dress up the window sill in our bathroom.

 

 

I also decided that I better learn how to really use my DSLR camera, so I checked Scott Kelby’s digital photography book 1 out of the library, and tried playing around with some of his ideas.  Shooting in manual is uncharted waters for me, but no time like the present to learn more, right :)

 

 

 

I like how the green beads are backlit, and you can really see the silhouette outlines of the bottles:

 

 

 

Have a super, happy week!

 

(ps–I appear to have an error in some of the html code that is messing up the appearance of some of the pages on my blog.  I’m aware of it, but haven’t been able to track down exactly where the problem is.  I hope you’ll bear with me, and I am working to have it figured out soon!)

 

Do you like tiny bottles, too? How do you use them to decorate?  I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Till next time,

I’m participating at:

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Posted in Bulbs, Snowdrop Bottle Beauty, Winter-Blooming bulbs | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Winter Bright Indoor Plants

 

Happy new week to you all!  It’s been a busy few days here–just started rehearsals for a new show, and so I’ve been at my desk, busily memorizing lyrics and harmony lines in songs that we’ll be doing–fun stuff!

 

I also took a few minutes out to brighten up a little corner by our window with a small arrangement of bright winter plants:

 

 

These are some plants I brought in before it got cold outside, and they had been hanging out in the basement under lights in a large container.  I just broke them into individual plant clumps, and repotted them into some old little clay pots that I painted white and immediately wiped off with some paper towel, so some of the terra cotta shows through a bit.

 

I arranged it all on a little wooden thrifted tray that I repainted creamy white, and added a Dollar Tree lemon to the grouping.  An old thrift-store frame also got painted white and then got propped up behind the lamp–I like some rectangular height behind this lamp, but I didn’t want to block out any sunlight for these plants, so the empty frame worked well for this.

 

 

The plants are:  (in the taller pot) Golden Creeping Jenny (which is kind of a thug, at least in my area, if you let it go in your flower beds outdoors, but I do like it as a container plant–it keeps it a little more manageable), and (in the smaller pot) an unknown variety of succulent that I picked up at a plant sale last spring.  I water and Miracle-Gro them once every other week, so they are very low maintenance.  One big key for success with winter plants indoors is good, bright light, and this is a south-facing window, which seems to provide them with enough light.

 

I think they go nicely with my Citrus Splash January mantel, which is close by this arrangement.

 

 

Do you use indoor plants in the winter, and if so, what are your favorite varieties? I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Till next time,

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Posted in Winter Bright Indoor Plants, Winter Decorating Ideas For After The Holidays | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Citrus Splash January Mantel

 

Happy New Year!  We had a nice and quiet holiday, interspersed with music gigs, get-togethers with friends and colleagues, as well as parties.   I was ready by January 1st to take down all the winter holiday decorations and come up with something bright, simple and fun for January.  In the Pacific Northwest, January usually means grey skies and rain, so I knew I’d like some cheery colors for our home.  I am so influenced by the colors around me, and find that they really do affect my mood and how I feel, so to me, it was important to give special attention to the colors I wanted to work with this time around.

 

I, of course, went to Pinterest for inspiration, and was frankly quite disappointed in the lack of January decorating ideas I found there.  I did start a January 2014 board that I used for a bit of inspiration, but mostly I found that my ideas had to come out of my own little brain whatever I was going to do.

 

I love citrus at this time of year, and so decided to focus on white with shots of bright lemon yellow and lime green to create some citrus splashes around the house.

 

The mantel takes on such prominence during December, and I still wanted it in January to be the focal point that it is in our living room.  I used what I had on hand, and just tweaked a few items to make them work.

 

 

I had some old small garden terra cotta pots out in the potting shed, so I grabbed those and gave them a brushing down with white paint, then took some paper towels while the paint was still wet and wiped a bunch of the paint off–so simple.  After they dried overnight, I wrapped them in white coffee filter papers, and tied with white ribbons–just stuff I had hanging around the house.   Yellow tulips make me happy, and I made the book page flower–you can find directions at Jacqueline’s Cabin & Cottage blog.  (Yay me–I finally got around to actually making one of the bazillion projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest!)  I plan on making several more flowers to dress up our almost-finished newly redecorated library–will show you that soon!

 

I like the white mixed with shiny surfaces, like the mirror, glass and the silver items–it brightens everything up by grabbing whatever light is available and doubling it.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the benefits of being a book hound is that I usually can find some books around the house that are in the color scheme I need at any given time :)

 

 

 

 

While I was painting those pots white, I also took a pretty bottle we found in a neighbor’s recycle bin and gave it a coat of white paint as well.  After it dried, I just sanded the raised areas so they look more defined.

 

 

 

 

If you missed it, you can see my last year’s January decor ideas:  Fun Fresh Color For A New Year.

 

More bright yellow and green goodness to come!

 

Do you decorate for January, or are you burnt out after the winter holidays?   I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Thank you so much for your friendship and support–I appreciate it!

Till next time,

I’m participating at:

Met Monday at Between Naps On The Porch

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

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Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors

Posted in Citrus Splash January Mantel, Winter Decorating Ideas For After The Holidays | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Holiday Winter Sideboard 2013

 

Hello friends!  So nice to be with you this Friday morning–I hope you are enjoying this holiday season and having fun!

 

Today I have my final holiday post for you, and it features our sideboard all decked out for winter.

 

 

I found this green pitcher while out thrifting a few months ago, and thought it would work well for Christmas, filled with greenery.

 

 

I love to decorate with birds, and luckily this is one the cats can’t eat.

 

 

I did this little cork arrangement last year as well, and it just cracks me up–don’t they look like bon-bons or something that you should pick up and eat??

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there–I’ve said everything I wanted to say about decorating for the winter holidays!  If I don’t get a chance to visit with you before, I want to wish you the happiest holiday season, and I hope you spend it with the people you love doing something fun :)

 

How are you celebrating the shortest day of the year, Christmas and other holidays and just winter in general this year?   I’d love to hear about it down in the comments, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

 

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to Minerva’s Garden via email or RSS, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on You TubePinterest and Google +.  You can also follow us on Linky!

 

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Thank you so much for your friendship and support–I appreciate it!

Till next time,

I’m participating at:

 Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Party Junk at Funky Junk Interiors

The Sunday Showcase at Under The Table and Dreaming

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments