December 17, 2011

Where the Magic Happens

This is where the magic happens.  This is my potting bench, as seen the day after Jim brought it up from the basement when he built it several winters ago.  It never again looked as neat and tidy, but that first day on the patio it was pristine.

We live in a community that bans outdoor structures (and swingsets and clotheslines, sigh), so we cannot put up a garden shed.  I am a serious gardener, making horticultural miracles happen without a shed, greenhouse, cold frame, storage structure, or tool depot.

But I have a great cedar potting bench, custom built.

Of course it is rarely used for potting up.  It is a staging area, a work table and a place to stash stuff.  The metal cans have tight lids, so things that need to stay dry, like pruners and gloves, are stored in there.  Empty pots accumulate around the bench, and all the miscellaneous dirt encrusted things from the garden make their way to the bench, bringing half the soil from my garden onto the patio.

Big manly tools, like shovels and wheelbarrows, live in the garage with the John Deere.  There is a lot of schlepping back and forth between the patio and the garage on the other side of the house.

And the compost pile is hidden behind some spruces way at the back of our property, nowhere near the bench.  Again, more tromping between the compost pile and the patio.  I walk back and forth a lot when I garden.  It's not ideal.

Some of the magic happens on the porch.  It's unheated but gets bright daylight, and it's where the tender plants live during the cold season.  It's cramped and not ideal here either, but it suffices.

Here is where the real magic happens --- indoors, at the dining room table.

This is, in fact, an ideal workplace, the best place to garden on a winter afternoon.


  1. No swingsets? I wouldn't be able to do it. You should check out the type of play area my kids have. If swing sets weren't allowed, this thing would be WAY out.

    There are restrictions against clothes lines in my neighborhood. I feel your pain on that one.

    I wish I could say with a straight face that I am a serious gardener. I also wish I could make horticultural miracles happen. I am a wannabe. I am a baby gardener.

    Great post.

  2. Love your potting bench! What a great job your husband did in building it. I don't have a garden shed, either, and I'd love to have one, but it's not because of any housing covenants. I've got stuff stashed everywhere, from some of the farm sheds to the garage. I figure I get walking exercise just getting everything out and putting it back when I'm gardening:) I couldn't live without a clothesline, though!

  3. I don't have a potting bench or a garden shed. Our stone patio table serves as a potting bench and it's not ideal, either. But it gets the job done, so I'm happy. :o)

    Yellow Hyperion daylilies would work well in your narrow strip where the nandina is. They are tall, fragrant,and drought resistant.

  4. Sorry I just can't get past that first comment about your community not allowing outdoor structures. Those sort of ridiculous rules make me livid. Life isn't a magazine cover, it gets a little messy, that's part of the beauty. Okay, enough of me ranting, I see you've started to receive the garden catalogues and it looks like you have some extremely organized lists there. I could take a few lessons from you.

  5. Crafty Cristy, I'm okay with no swingsets here, as my kids are grown and away, but no clotheslines is a pain!

    Rose, You garden like I do, walking all over the place just to retrieve the tools : )

    Tammy, I thought you had a shed. It's great to know you can make gardening magic happen without one too. I wish I could love daylily foliage more, since the strip where the nandina lives is the front walk and is seen up close.

    Marguerite, Sometimes I think the best part of actual gardening is poring over the catalogs. Everyone's garden is perfect on paper!

  6. Magic can happen anywhere. Next spring you will see!

  7. That is a lovely potting bench. I don't have a shed for gardening things either, so I use the front and back porches both for storing supplies and potting things up.

    But yes, where a lot of the magic happens this time is year is wherever one likes to spend time poring over catalogs. :)

  8. Donna, thanks! Right now spring's magic seems a long way off . . . .

    Sweetbay, I am surprised at how many gardeners with beautiful gardens do not have any tool shed or storage structure.


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