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Stories from the valley

A Season in Our Gardens – Garden Bling!

Contributed by Tim Johnson

Contributed by Paul Buttner

Contributed by Luke Matthews

We not only love gardening, but also the stuff we get put in and around our gardens! This week’s blog will focus on the extras we add to make it ours. 

New Garden – Paul Buttner, Environmental Affairs Manager

Like my co-worker Luke, I’m a carpenter but not much of an artist.  Luckily, I spend a lot of quality time with an amazing artist—Nasreen—who loves to artistically enhance anything I make with wood.  And, since we envision a raised bed garden which is also a great place to go and sip some wine on great summer evenings, we put our heads together on some artistic enhancements for our “Zen” garden.

scare crow picture on a fence

I took the first step by finding some great scarecrow art on the internet and then went into the woodshop with my table, jig and band saws.  Coming out of my woodshop were cut-outs for Nasreen to do her magic on.  The result was pretty amazing mostly because of her hard part.  I definitely had the easy part.  I’ve included a couple photos here of the results which include three not-so-scary “scarecrows” and cut-out wooden nameplates in case we forget what a corn or soybean plant looks like.

Large Rural Garden – Tim Johnson, President & CEO

New garden shed

I had two additions to the garden this year. First, is my shed. After years of working out of the garage, I decided to build a shed to hold all the tools and to add an architectural element to the space. With an eye to design, I drew it to look like an old shed you might find on a ranch, complete with a metal roof. 

chair in front of shed

The newest bling just arrived for Ann’s birthday. She has long wanted a rustic twig chair. It fits perfectly on the covered porch of garden shed!

Diverse Urban Garden – Luke Mathews, Wildlife Program Manager

chicken coop

While I have some skills as a carpenter, I will be the first to admit that I am not an artistic person. Thankfully though my fiancé, Medina, is both artistic and creative so together we make a great team. This is usually how projects get done at our house: Medina will have an idea and shows me examples of what she wants built, I design and build it, then it back to her for painting and adding an artistic flair. 

Bee hive

Here you will see our chicken coop, which I build and she painted ‘Barn Door’ red with white trim. However, the real artistic highlight of our yard is the beehive. We bought a used Langstroth hive to house our bees and she immediately went to work designing art for it. The hive now features beautiful hand-painted sunflowers, honey comb, and a larger than life bee guarding the front entrance!