Posts Tagged ‘Door Number 9’

Garden Portals: From Imagination to Art to Full Bloom

Our downstairs bathroom is a magical place inside a magical place. When we first decided to move into this little cottage, I had some major decorating concerns. I loved having a downstairs bathroom, but the thought of someone leaving the bathroom door open and even (gasp!) the toilet lid up with a view from our kitchen table literally kept me up at night. I’m a bit of a feng shui freak because I am so sensitive to energies that I really need a beautiful, well designed and ordered space in order to function. I gave so much attention to the poor toilet that the poor thing actually clogged up during our second phase of move-in. It turned out not to be just the toilet itself but the entire line to the street, which hadn’t been flushed in who knows how long, since this renovated property was formerly the neighborhood blight.

When David mentioned to me that my thoughts had manifested a pretty severe plumbing problem, I realized I needed to make peace with the downstairs bathroom. I apologized to the toilet. I put kyanite in the bathroom to help bridge above and below and to help “the little bathroom that could” live up to the rest of the house’s potential for delight. The plumbing still didn’t work, so I upped the ante. I agreed to make this downstairs bathroom the most magical, childlike place in the entire house — quite a tall order, because we live in a faery cottage, complete with faery doors, lots of plants, crystals and painted portals. But I do live by the Faery Rule, “A person’s word is bond,” so I set about creating this space.

I hung a beige curtain outside the bathroom door so that at no time could I ever see the toilet from the kitchen. I hand wrote and framed a sign to please close the lid before flushing. I put ivy in there because I heard that ivy purifies bathroom germs in a matter of minutes. I had already leaned Door Number 9 in the corner, but I set about hanging whimsical paintings by myself, my friend Tania Marie, my nephew, and a sun wearing sunglasses, painted by a young boy (now teenager) whom David had taken under his wing in Madison. People giggle when they go in that room, because the curtain makes things dramatic, and then they’re met with walls full of embroidered or painted childlike delights.

This was all by design, but today, even I gasped as I suddenly noticed the everyday view from the “pot.”

First, a picture of the full portal door, a picture which I managed to take by sitting in the sink.

First, a picture of the full portal door, a picture which I managed to take by sitting in the sink.

The message on the bottom reads: "Remember, my friend, you must go down the road to know, it is as above as so below." This is a variation of the typical phrasing of as above, so below, which works on subtle, Runic levels -- kind of a magickal pun.

The message on the bottom reads: “Remember, my friend, you must go down the road to know, it is as above as so below.” This is a variation of the typical phrasing of as above, so below, which works on subtle, Runic levels — kind of a magickal pun.

Here's the part that made me gasp. I painted this door in 2010, way before I ever had my own garden or ever thought of growing sunflowers. I have no idea what those fuzzy white, purple and bluish flowery things are underneath the sunflowers.

Here’s the part that made me gasp. I painted this door in 2010, way before I ever had my own garden or ever thought of growing sunflowers. I have no idea what those fuzzy white, purple and bluish flowery things are underneath the sunflowers.

Whatever those flowers happen to be, though, they were part of a bee-friendly yet unknown mix of wildflowers I planted with my sunflowers. I literally have this part of Door Number 9 growing outside our house!

Whatever those flowers happen to be, though, they were part of a bee-friendly yet unknown mix of wildflowers I planted with my sunflowers. I literally have this part of Door Number 9 growing outside our house!

I took this all as a lovely affirmation that my Winter garden plans will come to fruition, too. As usual, I’m currently reading 9+ books. Here are some of them, along with an heirloom collection of Fall/Winter seeds I bought in Madison, and a bag of wildflower seeds my friend Suzanna recently gifted me:

The Frugal Gardener, Lasagna Gardening, Four Season Harvest, The One-Straw Revolution

The Frugal Gardener, Lasagna Gardening, Four Season Harvest, The One-Straw Revolution

I had read an excerpt of The One-Straw Revolution, a part that talks about planting desired crops just ahead of the weeds sprouting. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessing over when and where to plant those wildflowers. Can I really have a less dandelion-filled yard next Spring if I prepare a bed for them this Fall? And when, oh when is the perfect time to plant those seeds?? I’ve also been gobbling up Four Season Harvest, even to the extent of purchasing a new raised bed just for planting Fall/Winter crops. You see, our Summer garden is simply too lush to offer any room for seeds that need planting now:

Where Does the Thyme Go

If you look carefully, you can see a pot of thyme that I pulled from this overcrowded bed only to wander around the yard unable to find another suitable place for it. David was cutting gopher wire to go under the new raised bed and asked what I was doing. When I explained my dilemma to him — in all seriousness, mind you! — he completely cracked me up by saying, “Where does the thyme go?” Right now it goes in a pot, awaiting transplant to the new bed. 🙂

The Guarden

The Guarden

This new 4′ x 8′ bed is called “The Guarden,” and it comes with a detachable cold frame. It is extremely easy to assemble, although I still managed to mess it up. 😉 Thank goodness David’s more mechanically inclined and, um, direction reading than I am! He managed to salvage my goof. As you can see above, I’ve only filled it about 1/3 with a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite and various mixes of compost. We still have bags of compost cluttering our driveway:

Let me just say, that Chickity Doo Doo is really fun to say but much less fun to smell! LOL, it really *is* chicken shit. :)

Let me just say, that Chickity Doo Doo is really fun to say but much less fun to smell! LOL, it really *is* chicken shit. 🙂

It will probably take more than these to fill the new bed, but I’ve located someone to deliver organic compost to me for my lasagna gardening projects this Fall. If need be, I’ll either get that delivery early or convince someone to take me to buy another car load of compost bags. Our homemade compost isn’t finished yet, but I can dump even partially finished compost in a lasagna garden, then cover it with more straw, leaves and yes (!) another free load of wood mulch.

As I’ve pondered the possibilities for our yard, I’m also excited to plant things our neighbor children will love. Our next door neighbors love our cherry tomatoes, and they are always asking permission to run around our yard looking for butterflies. I’d love to take cuttings of some people’s butterfly bushes and surprise them with an entire butterfly garden next summer. Of course, I don’t wish to be a watering and weeding slave to these new beds, so I’m using my research and planning ways to increase soil fertility and moisture retention, both ecological and “lazy” on the back end, although they do require some extra smarts and labor on the front end.

Recognizing the sunflower/bluish feathery flowers/Door Number 9 connection urged me to look around at other garden and decorative manifestations. In addition to the potential view of the toilet, our kitchen table offered a pretty ugly view out the window on the other side. I immediately began to strategize ways to distract the eye from ugliness with more vibrant, attention grabbing loveliness instead. We placed David’s hand wrapped crystal frames in the window, and I manifested a bunch of free plants from various friends, old and new. This Spring we found and bought decorative trellises that will offer pretty views even without the morning glories on them during the Summer and Fall. I like the sparkles on the butterfly and flower trellises, but right now they are covered in morning glories!

Room with a View

This photo doesn’t really do it justice, because of the outside brightness, but we couldn’t ask for a prettier view! Between indoor plants, outdoor morning glories, David’s crystals, my nephew’s handpainted hummingbird window hanging, a faery chandelier, and a bird hanging from Grandma Van, we’ve got feasts for the eyes whichever way we turn at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I do love how imagination sparks the art, which leads to planting, sprouting, growth and bloom — sometimes quite literally.

Cheers!