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Serendipity Discovered, My Banister Garden and Butternut Squash and Bacon Quiche

Jean SmithAs you stroll through my garden's you'll notice many unusual things sprinkled here and there... peaking out of a cluster of tulips or bowing over a rash planting of zinnias... Friends say that I have a flair for mixing my passion for plants and garden junque, marrying them together into welcoming and intriguing garden rooms. As I place these abandoned and unappreciated objects throughout my gardens it allows me to express my passions using my innate creativity.

Recycling things that no one else wants is something I enjoy doing... I can see the 'practical' and artistic use of an old fashioned metal canner... a rusty old wagon wheel... wooden crates or drawers... a wash tub or even more exciting, a derelict water trough... tin buckets, old wheel barrows... garden bikes, chairs... oh the list could go on and on!  In my last post I talked about that discovered element... stumbling upon some tiny treasure you've been unknowingly looking for. My eye has become quite keen to spotting usable junque at estate sales, thrift shops and even along the curbside.  My minds eye is in tune with what I love in my gardens. I've been to sales and there and behold an old wooden crate and tin bucket cast off in a corner... yes that will sit beautifully on my porch topped by that tin bucket over flowing with double petunia's in it!

As my friends and I walk and talk meandering here and there I watch their faces... I delight in seeing the shocked look at how cute 'they think' my antique metal canner's look planted up with purple pansies... how whimsical that old banister appears in the garden surrounded by a cascade of nasturtiums... and the 'wow' when they see hot pink geraniums in a white enamelware bucket that now sits on a rickety old chair... I love inspiring people, especially in the home and garden.

I name all of my gardens. When we bought our home the upstairs railing was kicked in and totally destroyed by the previous owners... but a beautiful, old white banister still stood. As the men were removing what was left of it and getting ready to toss everything in a 'junk' pile, I was quick to say, "Hold on to that! That's not junk... that is going in a garden!"... and so was born my Banister Garden.
Legend for The Banister GardenHere is my rendition of my Banister Garden (see attachment). This garden is just under 200 square feet.To see the photo's of The Banister Garden during different stages, please go to my NEW blog site at www.fordragonfliesandme.wordpress.com

1. Knock Out Rose Bushes- 2 pink
2. Daylily- 2 orange
3. Creeping Phlox- 3 lavender
4. Burning Bush shrub
5. Lavender- Hidcotte
6. Peony- 2 pink
7. Bee's Balm planted behind Antique Two Burner Antique Canner filled with geraniums. The Banister stands behind the Bee's Balm
8. Hydrangea- old fashioned white- just planted last summer
9. Iris- purple
10. Purple Bell Flower
11. Varrigated Sedum
12. Purple Ruffles Basil
13. Spirea- pink
~I have a garden chair that sets in the garden and I usually have a tin bucket planted up on it.
This garden like the Side and Bistro was dug up and replanted as well. I didn't do all of these gardens in one year, it has been a process going on since 2009. This garden has had many faces as you will see in the photo's.

I'm a bargain shopper when it comes to plants as well as for garden junque. If I can't grow it myself, swap or get from a family member or friend then I wait for stuff to go on clearance.  In 2011 I 'stumbled' upon a great deal at a big box store on a couple Knock Out rose bushes. They were discounted 75%... now I never would have paid the full price for these even with all the hype about them... I can't say that anymore! They are worth every penny... honestly, they don't stop blooming except for about two weeks in mid summer. I would like to get several more and make a hedge with them in another garden... I always have a garden plan in mind!

Here are some idea's for things to combine in your gardens!
*Tin or Enamelware buckets with either geraniums or double petunias.
*Wash tubs- I purchase nice big hanging baskets and plant them right into them... instant wow!  I have also planted them with cascading nasturtiums. (see photo).
*Wooden crates and drawers- I like to incorporate right into my gardens. I will take the bottoms out bury part way, fill with dirt and then plant herbs or again hanging baskets.  I also like to use crates on my front porch as both planters and as objects to place other pots on.
*Tea Kettles, coffee pots, old oil cans, any other type of metal container plant worthy. I have planted succulents like Hen's & Chicks in these, pansies and petunias.
*Mailboxes- I have not done this, (yet) but I have seen some really cool ones done up. You need to use a 'top' door type- one where the top opens and the mail drops in (see photo at my blog ;-) )
...here are a few other ideas of some things I have seen, but haven't done and don't really fit into my garden scheme, but may be of interest to others...
*Old fashioned claw foot bath tubs- I would plant something tall down the entire center- zinnia's, cosmos, cleome or all and then have something that trails out all around the edges- Wave Petunias, trailing nasturtiums.
*Row boat or other nautical piece- I would bury it and then do as with the bath tub- height and cascade
*Antique Metal Bed frame- Plant the bed's legs or just set the frame down on the ground and then using appropriate flowers, plant a design of a quilt block- obviously not too detailed- maybe a Bow Tie, Diamond, Nine Patch or something along those lines.
... there are many other 'found' objects that you can use... be creative, you know what you like!
~The key to using any type of container is proper drainage!
 

We are still in the grips of winter and here is Michigan we just got another eight inches of the white stuff... so today I thinking comfort food! Enjoy friends!
Butternut Squash and Bacon Quiche

All purpose flour for rolling
1 recipe Flaky Pie dough (below)
8 slices bacon (Off course Garden Gates!)
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Salt & pepper
3/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, halved and very thinly sliced
8 large eggs
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c heavy cream
6 fresh sage leaves

 1. Preheat oven to 350 digress.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to an 11x15 inch rectangle.  Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking pan.  Fold edges of dough so sides are about 1 inch high.  Prick dough all over with a fork and freeze until firm, 15 minutes.  Press on dough, draping over rim of pan.  Bake until crust is firm and edges are lightly  browned, about 35– 45 minutes or until bottom is dry and light golden.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until almost crisp, 10 minutes, flipping once.  Drain bacon on paper towels.  Add onion to skillet, season with salt & pepper, and cook, stirring often, until golden brown,  10 minutes.  Spread mixture evenly in crust.  Top with squash, overlapping slices and adding a piece of bacon every few rows.
3. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cream; season with salt 7 pepper.  Pour enough egg mixture over filling to just reach top of crust.  Top with sage.  Bake until set in center and puffed at edges, 45 minutes.  Let cool 15  minutes.

FLAKY PIE DOUGH:
In a food processor, pulse 1 1/4 c all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp slat to combine.  Add 1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea size pieces of butter remaining.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tbsp more water, 1 tbsp at a time).  Form dough in a 1 inch thick rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerated until firm, 1 hour or up to 3 days).

"So... what are you going to do with a rickety old wooden chair with chipped paint Jean?" my husband asks me..."It's serendipity Neil...."
Happy Day,
Jean
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