Inexpensive & Quick Front Porch Makeover

Recently, on a trip to the hardware store to purchase supplies for our seedlings, we got distracted by the pretty flowers. This happens to everyone, right? Because we rent, we didn’t really want to put any money into landscaping. But one can only look at dirt and empty flower pots and our next door neighbors’ gardens for so long before breaking down. We may have been saving a money, but the front of our house was an eyesore. Curb Appeal: The Block, where are you?

Fed up with ugliness and desperate to fill the empty, bolted down, blue pots on the front stoop, we ran up and down the garden store aisles saying, “I want this one, and this one, and this one, and this one…” before realizing we have shade and all the flowers we had chosen need sun. After putting the sun-loving plants back where they belong, we chose standard shade plants to spruce up our front porch.

We planted light pink begonias in the three matching blue pots and placed them on the front steps to create a little asymmetry. We also planted multicolored impatiens with periwinkle blue lobelia (which is actually a sun plant but supposedly does well in shade too) in light green “window boxes” placed on the front porch railing. I think we spent less than $50 on all the flowers, containers, & potting soil.

We took a hose to the entire porch to wash off the winter grime and cleaned the rocking chairs and adirondack chairs that were covered in a light green haze of pollen. With a little money, an afternoon, and some TLC, our front porch is now happy and homey.

All we need now are some hanging plants, wind chimes, AND SOMETHING GREEN IN THE FRONT YARD, and we’ll be all set.

Dirty porch, empty pots, sad-looking house, front yard of dirt and weeds.

Pretty, clean porch! (Front yard of dirt and weeds not pictured.)

Valentine’s Day flowers, to give or not to give…

Once upon a time, I told Jordan that I didn’t ever want flowers for holidays because they just die and you don’t get to enjoy them for very long and then it’s not fun to get rid of old flowers because they smell bad and they literally fall apart as you carry them to the trash and you have to vacuum up after them and if you’re really lucky you touch a slimy stem or drip stinky green water on your bare feet.

But they’re so pretty, and I like what the giving of flowers symbolizes, and I love love. Sigh.

Unfortunately, most cut flowers that you buy at the grocery store are not very good for the environment or for you. They are usually imported and thus carry a large carbon footprint and are most likely coated with pesticides because they aren’t usually grown organically. And the first thing we do is sniff them! (!) When we talk about buying locally, it seems like the conversations begin and end with food. But shouldn’t we extend the same rules to buying flowers on special holidays?

If we did try to buy flowers locally and seasonally, we probably wouldn’t have access to red roses. When did red roses became standard gifts at Valentine’s Day anyway? Is there a Society for the Preservation of Red Rose Giving on Valentine’s Day dot org or something? We should be giving each other plants that are blooming right now like daffodils and winter irises. If only we could escape our offices for an afternoon and take some time to run around in the woods, we could probably create a beautiful winter plant bouquet for free! At least in NC, where we don’t have winter winter.

The question remains: Would I say no to a beautiful bouquet of imported flowers on Valentine’s Day from my one-and-only? Probably not. Should we spend the next afternoon running through the woods looking for winter flowers? Most definitely yes.