Homemade glass mushrooms can spruce up your garden and help hide bare spots.
At this time of year, we may develop gaps in our gardens. Perhaps a perennial didnít spread as much as we expected, or deer or bugs demolished a plant.
Thatís when itís nice to have something ready to set in that spot to take up some of that extra room.
Pots of flowers can be moved around to fill in the gaps and add color to your garden. But donít confine yourself to annuals, though; herbs can be very attractive, too. Vegetables such as tomato plants are less decorative, but still useful. I had more tomato plants this year than I had room for in my vegetable garden, so I planted the extras in good-sized pots and placed them where I had room. A pot with a tomato plant definitely looks better than a bare spot.
Rocks and decorative stepping stones can also fill in blank spaces. If youíre really looking to draw attention, try garden art. Iíve seen statues of all kinds, but Iíve also seen a bubble gum machine, old wash tubs, bird cages and assorted items picked from the garbage.
If you like the upcycled look, you can create your own garden art. Here are the directions for a simple and inexpensive project: making a mushroom out of old glassware.
Start by finding clear glassware at a thrift store or garage sale. For the stems, use vases and tall glasses. for the mushroom caps, look for bowls.
Clear glass works better than ceramic because glazed ceramic bowls usually have an unglazed ring on the bottom so when you flip the bowl over, it wonít look attractive as your mushroom cap.
You need glue thatís good for glass and for outdoor use, which can be found at the hardware store. From there, you can follow the directions on the glue.
Protect your work area with newspaper or craft paper and make sure your room is well ventilated; you want to be safe, plus the glue is stinky. This may not be a project to do with the kids.
Wash and dry your glassware well. The instructions on the glue said to lightly sand very smooth surfaces, but I skipped that step. So far so good.
Before you apply any glue, press the two pieces together to see where they meet. I misjudged and had to start over. Apply the glue to both surfaces. The glue is clear and dries clear, so you can goop it on liberally. This doesnít have to be a fussy, detailed project. Even if there are gobs of glue out of place, no one is going to be looking that closely.
Wait five minutes for the glue to get tacky, then press the pieces together. Donít move your mushroom for at least two hours, and remember it takes 24 hours for the glue to cure.
Another tip: these look more like mushrooms when you view them from the side than when you view them from the top, so try to find a spot in your garden where you can see them from a good angle.
One final tip: If you use a heavy bowl on top of a slender vase, your finished mushroom could be top heavy and tip over. To help prevent that, put some white stones or colored marbles in the bottom of the vase to counterbalance the weight of the bowl.
Make a set of these mushrooms to add sparkle to bare spots in your garden.
Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com
, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.