A couple of months ago I spent quite a few dollars on petunias, small foliage and other flowers and planted them in pots to display on my porch. They looked wonderful and were a delightful splash of color amongst the monochromatic desert landscape of my yard.
When I purchased the plants I temporarily forgot that I didn’t live on the coast of California where everyone could have a green thumb and lush gardens with very little effort. Here in the high desert, I have found that it is very difficult to keep plants alive at all because of extremes in temperature, unless they are a cactus of course.
I tried to keep my lovely petunia garden alive with constant watering and pampering, but there was nothing I could do when the temperature reached 114 degrees. Even the bugs that were devouring the delicate leaves on the plants were dying off in the blazing heat. I abandoned the little garden and watched it shrivel up before my eyes.
Instead of leaving the pot barren which only showed my lack of gardening ability and someone I knew who lived in Sedona told me that an empty pot is bad luck, I looked for an alternative. I wanted to find something that could endure the cold as well as the heat and wasn’t a cactus.
At a local thrift store I found a tacky metal flower candle holder for under a dollar and it was covered with dull pastel blue and peachy pink paint with iridescent glitter sprinkled on the edges as an accent. The thing looked like something my great grandmother would have loved but somehow I was compelled to buy it. I really liked the whimsical butterfly that was attached to one of the flowers and I thought it was the perfect size for my empty pot.
I brought it home and had my husband saw off the metal candle holder with a hacksaw. After scraping off the glitter, cleaning the entire piece and letting it dry, I proceeded to paint the flowers with acrylic craft paint. Using a small brush I painted the flowers solid orange and while it was still wet, I lightly brushed the centers with red paint from the center outward.
After the red paint was dry, I dipped the brush in yellow paint and highlighted areas of the flowers focusing on the tips. The highlights gave more dimension to the flowers even if they didn’t look real. I touched up the leaves and stems with green and painted the base brown so that it would hide under the dirt in the pot and let it dry.
I cleaned up the pot leaving most of the dirt and roots of the expired petunias and inserted the metal flowers into the pot. I placed it outside and sat down on the porch for a little while with an ice cold drink in hand and admired my little crafty creation. As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade….and don’t try gardening in a heatwave.