Get Your Hands Dirty, but Then Thoroughly Wash Them

If there is any flower more beautiful and perfect in nature than an Iris, then please show me. Just look at the artful design of each blossom. Simply stunning! This is just one of the many rewarding flowers in my little garden of treasures.

Everyone, including all of us Boomers and seniors are stuck!  But there could be some good news on the horizon in that retail, restaurants and other businesses are being allowed to open up, but ever so slowly.  Except of course for the beaches which are out of control.  And while we want to get out of the rut and venture forth, it is still wise to shelter and distance as much as possible, because it appears we are far from over with the pandemic.  As of this morning’s news, 18 states are showing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.

Here’s the “no-joy” part of it.  We’re fast approaching our summer months when normally things are bustling and people are traveling everywhere.  But we’re still stuck in our homes  feeling quite frustrated.  That is certainly the case with my BoomerGuy and myself in that we have been looking after my parent’s home here in southern California as they continue to reside in the nursing home.  While we’ve found numerous maintenance projects to keep ourselves busy, we nevertheless feel the drag on being sequestered.  

So, here is what we’ve done about it, and you should think about doing something similar, especially the mother nature part of it.  The great big “wow and joy” activity that we launched into is gardening, but not in your traditional sense since we don’t have plots of land.  Instead, we have made do with elegant pots full of colorful and expressive plants.

Just one my varieties of cactus (the blooms are turning into light orange flowers), a Madagascar Palm, and Kalanchoe and coleus perennials mixed together in a variety of pots, purchased before the shut-down at Costco, Home Goods and the local nursery.

Here’s what we found to be true.  While we have our list of to-do’s, it’s great to check them off at the end of the day or week, but doing so doesn’t give nearly the satisfaction that it does when you run your hands through the dirt and your new or restored plants.  You can invest as little or as much into revamping a look and style just by adding a few colorful plants.  In addition, the companionship we get from working together is wonderful.  And don’t forget, even if you’re by yourself, your companionship comes from taking a photo and sending it to family and friends and your gardening club and boasting on your accomplishment.

In another area of my patio, I have full-on desert landscaping in the way of a large Canary Palm, two Agave’s, and a barrel cactus (foreground). The good news, once these are planted they require very little maintenance and just an occasional watering. Note the golf course in the background, as the house and patio sit right on the 9th fairway of the Executive Course.

So, during this time of uncertainty, put some certainty back into your life by gardening and getting creative with your plantings.  It will give a whole new meaningfulness to your life, whether it be annuals, perennials, succulents, or even vegetables.  In addition, add a few new pots to spice up the look of your space and garden area.  Also, get ready for it, you can actually burn a few extra calories in addition to your normal exercise routines.  Here’s how my BoomerGuy looks at it, being the analytic he is, you get an immense return on labor along with added psychological benefits that you just can’t get from the walk, the bike ride, or your home exercise routine.  

And the really good thing, gardening is a safe activity, where you’re not in close proximity to anyone else…it’s just you and the dirt.

As mentioned, we really don’t have a back yard or plot of land that we can dedicate to a full-blown garden, but we do have patios that we’ve decorated with a variety of luscious succulents and annuals.  However, we did have one patio in particular that was a left over from many years of neglect.  It’s rather small, only about 45 sq ft, and it was a mess.  The exterior gate was rusted and the handle inoperable, along with the concrete flooring being stained and just down-right ugly.  So, we decided to invest a few bucks and a little bit of labor and got busy with a DIY project that has ultimately given us great joy and confidence.

The window coverings on the slider going out to the patio can now be left open, rather than closed because there just wasn’t anything to look out on.

The photos below will give you a chronological journey of our project.  And let me tell you, you can successfully accomplish just about any DIY project by ordering on-line.  In our case, that’s exactly what we did except for one trip to the nursery and one trip to the local Home Depot.  

Be sure to read the captions on each photo as they will inform you of the process we undertook.  

Your BoomerGal is wishing you happy DIY and gardening.

The beginning stage of the DIY project revamping the atrium. The metal gate in complete disrepair with the door handle and lock removed. Taped paper in place preparing for the spray painting job ahead.
My gate, still without any hardware, but the spray paint job now complete.
Voila, the gate is now complete, and I’ve added some wall art that I found on Amazon. The butterflies are magnificent and cost only $24.00 for all three. I thought they would dress up the otherwise boring cream colored walls and then would serve as a backdrop for the upcoming plants and pots.
I wasn’t kidding about the ugly stained concrete floor.
Home Depot comes to the rescue with a superb concrete paint–they will mix it to your desired color.
I decided to give the floor several extra coats to make sure I had good coverage and to protect against water seepage from the plants. Looking better!
The basic template is now done and it’s time for the bling. Found these very unique pots at Moller’s Nursery in Palm Desert. They were handcrafted in Vietnam and feature a light blue glass embedded into the clay as its curing. The pots are then painted a glorious blue color which enhances the butterflies and contrasts nicely with the painted floor.
The finished product in the butterfly corner. A light and airy fern in the background along with an overlapping potato vine and a variegated coleus, and in the front pot a pink calla Lilly fronted by yellow Calibrachoa.
And and in the opposite corner, we have magnificent blue glazed pots from Costco (and, yes, they’re heavy) along with a larger pygmy date palm, a sago palm and yellow Kalanchoe to compliment the yellow flowers in the other corner. All in all, a great project that now gives me delight everyday that I look out on my newly redesigned atrium. Success!!!
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