What’s on Deck?

With the ‘rainy’ season behind us (ahem), I’ve pulled out the seat covers and the mat for our front deck. The deck feels like an extra room for about six months of the year. We generally put up an awning as well, but we waited for the winds to die down.  Now it’s so hot, that we’re more comfortable indoors.

deck furniture

Ready for summer

That took about 30 seconds

That took about 30 seconds

I’m trying something different on the deck this season: pumpkins.  Pumpkins growing in EarthBoxes® to be precise.  We’ve grown pumpkins in the back garden for many years with great success.  Last year, however, this happened:

Unwelcome Squash Bugs

Unwelcome Squash Bugs

Squash bugs.  Voracious, pumpkin-eating, squash bugs. I salvaged what I could by harvesting early, but not without casualties. I crossed my fingers that they would die off over the winter and all would be well. Ha! Thanks to our unseasonably warm *and* dry winter, they’ve seasoned over.  I spotted one in the garden last month.

I just couldn’t face another infestation, so I’m trying a covert operation instead.  I’ve surreptitiously  planted the seeds in the EarthBoxes®, far from the vegetable beds along the deck.  My hope is that mum’s the word.  One of my readers suggested planting a decoy out back, and I may well do that too.  I have plenty of extra seeds.

earthbox pumpkins

EarthBox® pumpkins

This year’s selection includes three seed types: an assortment of saved seeds from last year (the mystery box) along with  Botanical Interests Jack-o’-lanterns  and Luminas.  Mystery seeds are always fun to grown.  Three months from now, we’ll be pleasantly surprise.  My son requested carving pumpkins this year and the Luminas are one of my favorites.

The EarthBoxes® escaped the squirrels notice, but not my paintbrush.  Pauline and Boomdee convinced me that bling adds zing, so I put my Martha Stewart stencils to use. I don’t have the free hand skills to paint flowers and leaves, but I can definitely paint a stencil!  It’s good fun, too.

Seed packets, stencils and the finished boxes

Seed packets, stencils and the finished boxes

Do you have season-changing rituals?

30 thoughts on “What’s on Deck?

  1. Yikes those squash bugs are horrendous!! Every time I see this photo I feel like jumping up and running away – you know I’m not a particularly bug friendly person… 🙂

    The stencils are very cute it is wonderful to see you making these things your own and spreading your crafty wings wider and wider – I feel quite proud 🙂 I wish I could just pop over and play around with you – it would be such fun!!

    I love your out-door room – such a shame that already it is too hot to use. I feel concern about the coming months! However it’s good to see that Mouse can make use of it – he probably thinks you do all these things just for him anyway. I was just enjoying seeing him in Mikes chair on the birthday post on fb – hilarious!!


    • They are hideous. I think it’s unanimous. Maybe I should hang up this photo in the garden to see if it even scares them away. Hee!

      I wish you could pop over as well. It’s hard when the people you care about live so far away. Thank goodness for the web or I would never have found you.

      Oh, yes, Mouse thinks it’s all about him. If he were a man he would be insufferable, but somehow as a cute, whiskery cat he gets away with it. He also likes sleeping under the tall grasses now that its warmer. I smile when I see him emerge, since he’s completely hidden. Sadly, he’s killed three birds this past month, so hiding places do backfire. It makes me incredibly sad when he brings them indoors to ‘share’ on my rug. It’s spring, so the birds are everywhere, swooping down for seeds. I see them from my kitchen window in the afternoon. I wish all the cats could be content indoors.


      • Oh that made me chuckle! If mouse were a man ….. yes, I’m sure, we would all gladly have strangled him by now! Which reminds me why I settled down with a kitty 🙂

        Could you bell Mouse? I don’t think I’ve seen a collar on him – so probably not [this is obviously a conversation between me and me] It helps alert the birds……..

        Orlando, who was supposed to be an in-door cat and who spent the first year of his life running away at high speed, every time a door or window was left momentarily unguarded, [until I just gave in and let him do what made him happy] used to come proudly home with [live] birds hanging from his mouth. You can imagine the ensuing uproar ……. He had a bell on his collar and I was puzzled. I wondered if I had particularly deaf or stupid birds – but then one day I saw him on the hunt and my questions were answered. He tucked his head down [chin on chest mode] while creeping and the bell could not jingle. Clever kitty! I, however, am cleverer! Two bells fixed that problem and after a while he gave up trying. I did have an opportunity for a good laugh at his expense once when I spied him creeping and trying to keep both bells silent. it didn’t work too well for him and he got quite cross 🙂


        • What a great story, Pauline. Mouse isn’t my cat, so I need to tread cautiously. It’s a good idea though.

          Poor Orlando…outwitted by a very clever you. That would have made excellent video. It might have gone viral.


  2. Best of luck with the pumpkins!
    I love taking out my summer clothes and putting away my winter clothes for the season, it makes such a difference from Ireland where it’s pretty much the same clothes all year! 🙂


  3. Every Spring, I spray paint all of my clay pots a different color to change things up in the garden. I also used a neat zig-zag stencil on my black metal planters too. It was really fun to stencil them as it completely changed the look of the planter! We have grown pumpkins too and have never seen those ugly squash bugs on our kins. Geez they are ugly for sure!


    • That sounds like fun. I’m really enjoying painting these days. I touched up the paint in three of the rooms in our house, then painted stencils on the three earthboxes and the fairy garden trays. Now I need something else to stencil. LOL.

      Yeah, those bugs score really high in the yuck factor, don’t they?

      We grew pumpkins for ten years without every seeing one. We had a few two years ago, then that ugliness last year. Hopefully the change of venue helps. I’m going to keep a close eye out for eggs.


  4. your deck is lovely … so sorry about the heat!
    That photo of the pumpkin covered in squash bugs is … well, awful.
    Hope your new method works and the stencils look great!


  5. Your outdoor area’s are really cozy. Mouse seems to know it too 😀 How do you manage to get organized with such a cute little sidekick to tempt you with purrs and soft cuddles all day? I wish they sold nice outdoor area rugs here. It’s impossible to find one, I’ve looked and looked. Yours matches your fabrics perfectly. Thank goodness you’ve tempered the buggy picture with his Royal Cuteness because I’d be right behind Pauline and in full sprint ‘outta-there’. Yuck, eck, gag, shiver and a multitude of other spine tingling reactions. The Mexican Sage looks like it took hold well 😀 Things grow so fast for you. We are just getting tiny leaves on the trees now, soon it will be green and we’ll all be thankful. The stencilling looks great. Understated and classy. I would never attempt it freehand either and thank you for the shootout my dear. I can’t wait to see photo’s from your event today! The front garden sparkles. Have lot’s of fun xoxoxoxoxoK


    • He’s quite demanding, that one. I often give in and sit down or even lie down for a few minutes to love him. He’s quite persistent. He gets so much attention from Jasmin’s day care kids, my two boys (he loves to hang out on C’s bed), Belinda who gives him treats every day and me.

      I wish the drive to Alberta wasn’t so long. I would load up the hard to find items and bring them to you. Is it because you don’t have many months of good weather, do you think? Perhaps they don’t sell enough to make it worthwhile. I actually bought this one online. It’s made from recycled soda pop bottles. It is really light in weight and can washed with soap and water when needed. I roll it up and store it in the burlap bag it came in during the off season.

      Those bugs are creepy, aren’t they. Too bad they aren’t tasty to snails. That would be a win-win for sure.

      The sage grows like a weed. From all I’ve read, it practically thrives on neglect. The one at the curb is already huge, too.

      I’m so glad to hear that the trees are turning green. You’ll be moved in to your new place at the most perfect time of year.

      I wish you were hear to hang out with. I miss you so much. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • ((( Alys ))) xoxo Once I get our home set up, you can come and hang for as long as your family is willing to be without you. Of course they’re all invited too. I plan to get a sofa bed for the living room. Unfortunately we’re limited to June, July and August here, LOL. So after Victoria, Washington and Edmonton, it will be me coming to my ‘home away from home’ again. Ha, how many vacations ahead can we plan for now?

        I don’t know what the deal is about the shopping here. You definitely have a better selection, even though we now have almost all the same stores, they don’t seem to carry the same stuff. It’s weird. Maybe I’m too fussy but I can never just settle. I wait and wait until I fall in love with something. Like my Kitty-Kat Clock. Man I love that little thing. Just makes me smile and then of course I think about the day I got it, that visit, how much fun we have, our next trip, what you’re up too, if Mouse is over……see what I’m saying? All from, “what time is it getting to be?”…LOL. I miss you too, not long now though xoxoxoox mwaaa!


        • 🙂
          I know exactly what you mean. Finding the perfect something makes much more sense. It remains special and full of good memories.

          I can’t wait for you to visit again. You can come twice a year (at least) as far as I’m concerned. Eventually someone will go to college and I’ll be able to set up a guest room. 🙂

          Love you,

          Counting the days.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Nothing ever stops a gardener, does it?! I do hope you outwit those horrible bugs. A decoy sounds like a good idea. I wish you cooler weather so that you can enjoy your lovely deck. 🙂


  7. I love the colours on your deck!!
    those squash bugs are almost the grossest thing i have ever seen. Why so many of them?!!! YUCK.. Good luck with your pumpkins!! I am trying to grow a giant squash that i bought last fall and saved the seeds from– A reason to look forward to fall!


    • Yeah for growing squash. I wish you great success. I’m still amazed at what those vines can do in 90 days. It’s extraordinary.

      Yes, it’s unanimous: those bugs are gross.

      Good luck with your giant squash.


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