I built a Pagoda on the Cheap

Or as I call it, an Insta-goda.

God who doesn’t love Pinterest? Heathens that’s who! I get so many great ideas off of there that I have neither time nor money to do. But every now and then I see a pin and it sparks an idea that I could whip up and get a little spark of self-accomplishment from. This happens to be one of them. Originally it was an instructables.com link (another fantastic site for no time or money ideas) called “Easy Garden Pagoda.”  I am in amidst the slow process of transforming my former overgrown cesspool of a backyard into an Asian inspired zen garden.

Stacked the parts till I got a semblance of a pagoda, stole some large rocks from my mother-in-law’s house to give it that added panache, and voila. Insta-goda.

I have a lot of appreciation for Asian landscape architecture, specifically the Japanese gardening style. It is calm amidst chaos for me. One of the features used in Japanese gardens is pagoda-like statues. They all vary in cost, size, materials used etc. But generally, they are out of my budget. What is important is the shape. The stacked tiers are a mainstay in Japanese landscape architecture. I wanted one and could not afford it. That is when I came across this brilliant how-to.

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This is a rather fancy one, for around 400 bucks.

I am not going to rehash the step by step process of me making it. I did essentially what the above link did. Found the parts at Walmart and used what I had laying around the backyard. Stacked the parts till I got a semblance of a pagoda, stole some large rocks from my mother-in-law’s house to give it that added panache, and voila. Insta-goda.

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Here is the one from the instructable. I don’t trust wood legs in my climate, so I opted out of them.

The most important part of her instructable is the level surface you build something like this on. I used an actual bubble level on the first paving brick to make sure that it was perfect, otherwise, you will have the leaning tower of a pagoda. That is not a good look and could crush a small child or raccoon or something if it falls. Screw raccoons.

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Just FYI

Stupid old-timey trash bandits.

It might even be a good idea to use a construction adhesive when you have the design you like. Also, this Mother-f@#$% is heavy. Like brute strength on PCP heavy to move it. Figure out where you want to put it, and think of it like you built a house. A small house made of lead that is not going anywhere unless you smash it with the wrecking ball.

Here is the finished product. Please ignore the gorgeous fluorescent tag I left on it.  At the time I was thinking: “color, color, color!” (I forgot to remove the tag.)  Now I just think, “god so last season.” (Tag is still there and probably will be forever.)

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Damn, I am pretty.  Oh, and “hello pollen you mother-#$%^&.”

Eventually, my pretty pagoda will be surrounded by the lovely shape of river rock and sedum Angelina adding color to the base. But we are not freaking made of money, so that will happen when I decide that eating is less important than doing my garden. I am almost there, it is a sickness really. Anyone want to start a gofundme for my plant buying sickness? I think I need about twenty bucks in plants to go around the base. (I kid, I kid. Don’t get your panties in a twist.) Next garden ornament is a Foo dog as an homage to Mouse from Dresden Files. My geekiness seems to leak out into every part of my life.

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Here is a picture of sedum Angelina for the lazy.

I am Going to Fail Spectacularly

 

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Hi, yall. I am so pretty. Image care of http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/plants/african-protea

My life’s obsession with books and reading is only eclipsed by one thing and one thing only, and that thing is gardening. Maybe books about gardening? (As I stare at the six gardening books I have on my bedside table) My obsession with gardening is only from January until September every year so it is not so bad. Really really, promise. I am one of those people that get giddy when I get new seed catalogs in the mail and instead of buying new shoes or something, I buy a plant. I went practically apoplectic today when I discovered a local nursery had tiny and cheap Japanese Painted Ferns. A plant that I had been looking for for the last 5 months for six freaking dollars.

 

 

Today in the mail I received a teeny tiny packet of protea seeds that I ordered from a dealer in Quebec.   Protea is a type of flower that looks like a Hibiscus and a pincushion had a baby, then spray painted it neon. It is all spikes, and color while being delightfully and garish and tacky. I freaking love everything about proteas. If I had a spirit flower it would probably be them. Here is the kicker. They are ridiculously and stupendously difficult to grow. Sunset magazine says that if you don’t have perfect soil and perfect climate, and perfect gardening practices; give up and enjoy cut flowers. I am never one to shy away from a challenge. CHALLENGE! I throw down my shears and hoe in the face of such a farce of a seed. It will not beat me!

 

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Ohhhh king Protea, you are one sexy bitch.

 

(it totally isn’t going to grow)

But, I will try and it will be a unique and fun experience. Proteas along with the Black Magic Rose are the two Unicorns that I have always wanted to try and grow, succeeding doesn’t really matter. I’ll add updates as this experiment goes along. I think it will be a damn success story if I can get one seed to germinate, like at all. Here goes nothing.

 

Start of my Tree Bucket List. Yes, Seriously.

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
Warren Buffet

 

It’s a weird thought to want to make a tree bucket list. Weird enough that I am a little embarrassed about this. I mean, trees are trees, right? There are literally billions of them on Earth. What makes one more special than another? You could probably find some majesty in any tree. I suppose for me though it is a combination of aesthetic, history, and a sheer will to live.  Plus, I love gardens and pretty much anything that grows in the ground. I am an avid gardener, master gardener, and I went to school and graduated with a degree in landscape architecture; plants are my thing. When doing some research for my tree bucket list, I came across this article on stumbleupon.com.  The Most Beautiful and Famous Trees on Earth.  It became my starting point for research. What beautiful trees are out there and how do I get to them?

  • The Lone Cyprus Tree in Monterey California. -According to Wikipedia, it is one of the most photographed trees in America. When I spoke about the sheer will to live or tenacity, This is the sort of thing I was referring to. I may be attributing too much to a lone tree, but it is poetic how it faces down the ocean and still, it grows. Besides Pebble Beach is gorgeous; I would like an excuse to visit as often as possible.
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Image courtesy of wikipedia.com
  • Ashdown Forest, West Sussex, EnglandThis totally makes me think of the Shire. I am a geek, and this makes me giddy.
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Image courtesy of Colin Michaelis

I know that this is not technically a single tree, but a bunch of trees. i.e., a forest. But…

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  • Rainbow Eucalyptus In Kauai, Hawaii – Please someone send me to Hawaii so I can see this tree and, um.. other reasons.
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Image courtesy of wikipedia.com

“The unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones. The previous season’s bark peels off in strips to reveal a brightly colored new bark below. The peeling process results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue, and gray. The colours of the bark are not as intense outside the tree’s native range” wikipedia.com

How cool is this? It is the Rainbow Bright of tree species.

  • Baobab Tree in Madagascar – This tree is so interesting; it stores water in its giant trunk and basically looks like something from Dr. Seuss. Some trees can store up to 32,000 gallons which they save for drought conditions.
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Image courtesy of wikipedia.com
  • The Dark Hedges in Ireland – “The Dark Hedges are an avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The trees form an atmospheric tunnel that has been used as a location in HBO‘s popular television series Game of Thrones, which has resulted in the avenue becoming a tourist attraction.” I have never seen Game of Thrones, blasphemy I know, but this looks like it could transport you to any number of fantasy novel locales. Let your imagination run wild.

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    Image courtesy of wikipedia.com
  • Dragonblood Tree – Dubbed the worlds strangest tree. I mean, seriously look at it. It also “bleeds” red sap.
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    Image courtesy of Wikipedia

    This is just touching on some of the interesting trees of the world. There is so much out there to see and to do. I’ll come up with a formal list at some point  I am sure. Plus, I have already seen a few awesome ones like the maple tree at the Japanese Garden in Portland or the Chamerops in Padua, Italy. I even have some cool pictures. What kind of trees do you like?