My name is Mary Murphy. I garden in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Winter can be a challenge, so while I’m dreaming of flowers, I must be content with winter views. I love snow, but it can get tiresome, so here is a little story about my kitchen window and the ice lanterns I’ve made this winter.
Much of my garden inspiration has been determined by the view from my kitchen window. I spend an inordinate amount of time there cooking and washing dishes, so it has been of the utmost importance to embellish that view.
During the growing season, it is easy to keep bushes and flowers plentiful, and annuals in pots can always be depended on. Over the years, I have planted a host of beautiful plants, starting with hostas and hydrangeas and a little red pine.
I have overlaid with daffodils, tulips, iris, lilies, roses, delphinium, and hosts of annuals ranging from nursery petunias, snapdragons, alyssum, verbena, dianthus, asters, lobelia, and more.
Peonies add to the scene.
I love to grow from seed. Bachelors buttons, cosmos, zinnias, hollyhocks (above), and sunflowers (below) are my favorites.
It seems I always have something splendid to look at while doing my chores.
Winter, however, is more of a challenge. I love snow, but it can pretty much look the same for months on end. I leave a lot of growth for winter interest, but I do miss all the color of the growing season. A bird feeder attached to the window helps by bringing bright red cardinals and chickadees to visit. All this leads up to an exciting discovery this year that has renewed my winter window interest.
Ice lanterns are my latest passion! I have had to make several batches because they keep melting. The process is easy: just fill a balloon with water and put it outside to freeze. The timing is tricky: You want to catch it when the bottom of the balloon is still unfrozen so that you can carve out space for a votive.
I discovered after a little trial and error that timed LED votives are amazing. They come on at 5:00 p.m. and turn off at 10:00 a.m. I also discovered that adding some other frozen shapes adds interest. So I used round cake pans, a couple of rectangular pans, and the pieces that broke off to add to my arrangements. It is quite a transformation for my hibernating garden pots and warms my heart from the kitchen window.
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