Make a Woodland Fairy Garden

Make a fun and beautiful woodland fairy garden using natural elements and Mary Engelbreit flower fairies.

Make a woodland fairy garden

I started this woodland fairy garden last month and had the best intentions of sharing it around the first day of spring.

Then life took a shift…

It was a pretty good turn and since our son was here, I decided to let the blog go and enjoy our time without a “To Do” list of business activity.

This was before we headed down wisteria lane. 


We all had a good time enjoying the outdoors and the guys spent their afternoons hog hunting…

So, while that was going on, I played in the dirt and came up with this spring inspired, woodland fairy garden planter.

Supplies for Fairy Planter


This project was filled with simplicity and things I already had.  Well mostly…

A few new plants were purchased to fill in the gaps.

Let’s take a look at the supply list before we chat about those faded fairies.


Fairy Garden Supplies

  • Metal Container – Better Homes and Garden container from Walmart – Purchased on clearance last summer.
  • Petrified wood – Rocks I found at the property.
  • Thyme plant
  • Two violas and one dianthus.  You may enjoy this read about carnations here.
  • Copper wire
  • Tree twigs and potting soil.
  • Mary Engelbreit fairies

Here’s the thing about those fairies, I’ve had mine for a couple of years and they’re not easy to find.

I did a little online hunting and found these links (non affiliated) at the best price I could uncover.

If you’re into fairy gardening, you’re going to love what each website has to offer.

Let’s just say that Jewel, Maisie and Lily have caught my attention…


Before and After Flower Fairies


Here are my tired fairies GiGi and Eva.   After several garden seasons they have faded beyond belief.

Since Robert is a toy soldier painter, I took advantage of his skills and asked him to make these fairies look new again.

He did great and even gave them painted toe nails.


When he brought them to me,  I smile and within minutes, GiGi and Eva flew into the garden.

They were thrilled with their cutting edge look and quickly returned to the garden to see what might be new.


Sometimes turning something old into a brighter creation is a reminder new direction is seeded in all of us.



Planting with annual bloomers and Thyme


Securing Potted Plants

While GiGi and Eva were flying through the garden I continued working on this planter.

It already had a thyme plant secured in the center and all I had to do was place two violas and one dianthus plant.


This planter needed some color and the week prior when I purchased these plants the selection was minimal.

Choosing blooming plants is the fun part, select a combination you enjoy and create a container planter that makes you smile.



Adding sticks and copper to create a natural look in the fairy garden.

Adding Sticks , Rocks and Copper Trellis

The final step included the copper trellis.  I twisted a weathered piece around a new copper wire and inserted into the planter.

Then I added the rocks and finished with twigs I gathered from nature.


If you select twigs with a bend you can almost create a birdcage impression by inserting towards the edge where they can bow inward.


Even at the finishing point of this project I could tell something was missing.

A little detail that makes me smile…

I whistled and flying in full speed, came GiGi and Eva ready to call this planter home.


Fairy gardens can be simple or elaborate and they’re a fun way to play in the garden and remember that with a little creativity anything is possible.


For more adventures with GIGI and Eva you may enjoy, Terracotta Fairy Garden and  Fairy Garden Box.


Enjoy a Great Day Everyone and See the Good…

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

Make a woodland fairy garden

Drive HWY 80 Down Wisteria Lane

Discover inspiration on a healthy drive down hwy 80 down wisteria lane

Wisteria Lane


When Robert and I decided to head south the weather wasn’t the best.

It was questionable if we could leave with our RV because the road was still muddy after days of rain.


But like a gift from God, there was an opening…

Kind of like a silver lining…

The wind and temperatures worked together and we were able to pack up and leave our property on a new adventure.


Our travels took us just a few hours away leading us down HWY 80, where we were greeted by rows of wisteria.

Which I now refer as, wisteria lane…

Take a closer look at Wisteria


I love wisteria, it’s mystical and remember it growing in my grandmother’s garden along the fence line.


As we drove down HWY 80, between Marshall and Waskom, Texas – we were greeted with endless patches of wisteria.

I looked over at Robert and smiled…

No words were necessary to express the peace I felt as we headed towards our destination.


Beautiful Wisteria


Wisteria is a plant with an amazing immunity.  Some might even say, “It grows like a weed.”

It has the ability to flourish in the wild and in a contained setting with seasonal trims.


I like both, contained like this bush and wild along the highway. Each display offers a graceful sense of peace and strength.


Peace is a beautiful thing and I’m reminded that too many times we seek this feeling in all the wrong places.


Wild Growing Wisteria vines


Wild wisteria on the other hand has a mind of its own.

It has the courage to trail in all directions by reaching out, upwards and beyond.

It wraps around pine trees and sweeps through green shrubbery, reminding us, life without grace can be draining…


“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”  Numbers 6:24-26


Wisteria Vines


In the mix of these beautiful flowers, let’s direct our attention towards those vines.

They weave in all directions and this might surprise you but they offer some neat possibilities for natural crafting.


Years ago, before kids I had my own dried flower business and I remember gathering wisteria vines to make wreaths.

These vines became a unique base for dried flowers and were a hit at craft shows where I sold my creations.


The best time of year to prune wisteria vines is in January/February and again in July/August.

If wisteria is growing in your garden don’t overlook what this plant has to offer for crafting…


Falling Wisteria


We continued driving and a couple days later we went back so I could take photos.


When I stepped outside, that wisteria scent captured a stronger sense of peace.

It was heavenly friends, a sweet reminder that God’s blessings are all around us if we choose to see them.


Driving down HWY 80 was a beautiful gift and the best time of year to experience this beauty would be the middle of March…


Our journey was part of that silver lining…

A reminder that no matter what, God is always in control and he is waiting to give you peace…


Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West


Wisteria Lane

Learn More About Bobwhite Quail Eggs

Learn more about Bobwhite quail eggs, when they produce and their nesting behavior in captivity.


Amazing Bobwhite Quail Eggs

Bobwhite quail eggs are amazing because that pop of white is a reminder that nature is working.

These eggs are different than other breeds so let’s dive in and see if bobwhites will be a good option for your quail journey.


We begin with outdoor temperature and hours of daylight, because they both have a huge impact on quail egg season for all breeds.

Our weather is unpredictable, so when quail begin to start laying varies. This year it was the later of part of  April.

Bobwhite quail normally begin egg production between March/April, then end around Oct/Nov.  Their fertile season is almost compatible with daylight savings time and temperature has a huge impact.


If you’re looking to raise bobwhites for the purpose of eggs it’s really best to establish your flock in the late summer or early fall.  This way you can expect your females to begin egg production the following spring.

It takes 16 weeks for Bobwhites to reach maturity and almost 24 weeks for the females to begin laying eggs.

Its unlikely spring chicks will begin producing eggs that first season, keep in mind this doesn’t always hold true, some will begin laying if they were hatched early in the spring.

Egg Production and Active Females

One female will lay about 100 eggs their first season, this isn’t fantastic compared to the coturnix who lay almost double.

For this reason I raise my bobwhite quail for meat and some are released to nature, helping increase population.


We’re approaching a fun time in the sanctuary because the females are very active as they hunt for bugs between finding a safe place to lay their eggs.

During this time the females will also choose their mate.

That’s right the females decide who they will pair off with and sometimes they’ll select up to three different males per season.

Nesting Space

Since quail naturally hide in tall grass this is also where they build their nests.

It makes sense that spring is breeding season because this is when the grass is tall and thick.  Warmer temperatures and extended daylight is the final ingredient for amazing egg production.

In the above photo, this nest that was made inside their shelter box.

If the quail hatch this egg nest, the female may choose to raise the off spring by herself or with her mate.


On occasion I see bobwhite pairs roaming the sanctuary as they weave between the grasses to where I’m assuming is another nest area.

This pairing off is interesting to watch and it very common to see a male and female incubate and raise the chicks together.  Sometimes however the females will leave the nest for the males to raise alone.

It’s been my experience the female will stick around until the chicks are at least 6 weeks old.

When new life hatches in captivity, it’s pretty incredible and a great way to keep your flock growing strong in a natural environment.

Bobwhite quail are not for everyone, but I sure do love having them near my garden space.


Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

Amazing Bobwhite Quail Eggs

Best All Zone Gardening Advice

Get the best easy to understand all zone garden advice to begin your growing space.



Across the board almost all gardening advice and tips are the same regardless of where you live.

The two main things that will change your experience include zones and soil types.

I’ve covered soil types in various articles here on the blog and in my book Startle Garden Now.  Soil is a topic I’m passionate about because this is where gardening begins.


For me, I learned a lot about dirt in my grandma’s backyard.  I was young and assumed everybody across the planet was gardening in loamy soil.


As life marched on, Robert and I purchased our first home in Everett, Washington.  I was 30 and this is where I grew my first garden.

To begin, all I had to do was grab a shovel and dig.

In one season I added 5 planting areas using that same shovel.

The soil was amazing, we grew awesome vegetables, herbs and flowers and it was a breeze to move forward.


Nine months after living in that house an opportunity to move back to Texas surfaced and we jumped on it.

Robert found us a beautiful new home and made sure it came with a huge backyard.  I had dreams of gardening on a large scale and agreed this particular lot was perfect.

Ready to dive in, I remember breaking that same shovel while digging.

At that moment I was introduced to clay and quickly realized I had a lot to learn about gardening in this new climate.


This was year 2000, we didn’t have a computer and I couldn’t call my grandma because dementia was slipping her away.

The moral of the story is, I had to figure it out…


Priority #1 Included Getting Back to Basics.

I took what I learned from grandma, utilized the library to study my new zone and things eventually came together.


Gardening is an ongoing learning experience and that’s what I love most about it.

We learn as we go and, in the process, we grow…


My garden style back then was very different than how I garden today.

It’s actually less work because I realized it was faster to amend soil in raised beds.

So, when I look back, I’m thankful for all those years of learning because it’s brought me to where I am today.


To Begin, Focus on Your Planting Zone

To begin focus on your planting zone and discover your soil type.

I highly recommend my book, Startle Garden Now because I’ve placed this activity in simple steps using smaller and taller raised beds that are easy to maintain.

Read the reviews and discover more here.


Then, focus on your planting zone to discover what you can grow in your area.

If you’re in a hurry to learn, move forward by using the information on the back of seed packets.  Some are more helpful than others but most will bullet point basic details to help you begin.

Where ever you live, the information on these packets and plant tags will help you understand your zone.

What Change for Each Zone Includes:

  • What you can plant
  • Hours of sunlight
  • When to plant
  • When to harvest.

So, let’s chat about those 4 areas because I know you’ll find my simple way of viewing each one to be refreshing.


Get More From Garden Up Green – View our Books here


What you can Plant?

Everybody has their own idea of what should grow in a garden.  Most automatically connect gardening with food.

For many of us, gardening goes beyond what you can grow to eat.

Some enjoy growing plants like herbs and fresh cut flowers where others prefer a variety of perennial gardens.


The first thing you need to decide is, “What kind of garden do you want to grow?”

Decide which plants to grow and grab my free planner here.

This handy planner includes seasonal planting tips and additional printable pages for taking notes.


Plant selections will be based on your zone, which will require additional research to narrow down.

This won’t require a lot of time because remember you can quickly find that information on seed packets.


Selecting Hours of Sunlight

Hours of sunlight is very important and allows for a little investigation.

  • Make sure you can provide the proper lighting for the plants you want to grow.

Once you have a list together the next step will be to evaluate required lighting.

Again this information will be on the back of seed packets or included on a plastic stick with plant purchases.

You may also enjoy this read, matching plants to hours of sunlight.  It’s loaded with helpful details for spring and fall gardening.


When you will Plant

When it’s time to plant will depend on the last freeze date.

This will vary across the country and you can visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac to find those results.

I actually track the local weather to stay on target with that date because as we all know weather changes.



Harvesting details will also be on the back of seed packets.

This information is simple by stating how many days it takes for plants to mature from germination.

Calculate to find the date, then record using the free garden planner.


So, if You’re Following What I’m Saying use this Checklist:

  1. New or seasoned gardeners who want an easy to maintain garden, Get my book, Startle Garden Now.
  2. Write down what you want to grow and make sure you can provide correct hours of sunlight.
  3. Uncover your last freeze date and write it down as this will impact planting.
  4. Then calculate germination to maturity to estimate when harvesting begins.


Starting a garden in any zone doesn’t have to be difficult.  It’s important to understand that gardening isn’t an overnight success activity.

It can take years to figure things out especially if you move around a lot like I have.

But it’s not impossible to comprehend, especially if you have a desire to grow.

The best all zone gardening advice begins with wanting to learn so you can grow what your heart desires.


Thanks for joining me today

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

Laminated Garden Markers with Copper Hangers

Easy to make laminated garden markers made from empty seed packages using copper hangers.

This post contains amazon affiliate links that means if you make a purchase after clicking, there’s no additional cost to you,  I earn a small commission.  Click here to read site terms.


I’ve been germinating seeds since January and got hooked on Botanical Interests.  It was their packaging that caught my attention because they’re so pretty.

I carefully opened each one while adding seeds to terracotta pots because I knew eventually an idea would spark for a craft later.

That’s just what happened and the other day I decided to make some new garden markers.

I took a few of these pretty envelopes and laminated them; after a few more details I ended up with this neat project for my garden.

Keep reading to make your own and don’t worry I’ve linked the supply list just in case you don’t have everything.

Project Supply List

If you want to make several you can get Botanical Interests packages in bulk by variety:

Get Ready to Laminate

To begin we laminate empty seed packages by lying them on the clear cover.

Allow plenty of space around the edges, make sure they’re clean and corners are pressed flat.

I tossed in a Burpee envelope because I wanted to do a test example as I went along.

That isn’t necessary but I tend to practice steps before applying to my finished project to keep from making mistakes.


Insert into Scotch Machine

The next step is simple and once the machine is ready to use, insert the laminate paper with seed packages and watch them slide through with a clear protector.

I love this little machine, it’s so easy to use and it’s handy for many projects, Robert even uses it.


Cutting the Edges

Next, we cut the edges using a paper cutter.  I like straight edges and this cutter works much better than scissors because I’m the worst when it comes to cutting direct lines.

You want to leave a clear edge around the three sides and a little more space on top leaving room to hole punch.

Hopefully in this photo you can see the cutting distance.

Simply hole punch on top as this will be used for hanging the garden markers.

This craft is so easy friends and I plan to make more.



Making the Copper Hanger

The hanger takes a strong hand and I recommend wearing work gloves because it will make bending less difficult.  Need awesome work gloves?  Check out my review here.

To create, I took 1.5 ft. of copper wire for each hanger and bent a couple loops from one end.  You want to make sure those loops are relatively close together.

Then slide the marker through the loops to keep it secure.

Notice on my finished project that you can also leave a straight line of copper and secure the marker over the top keeping it still.

I like both styles and they look so neat in my Startle Garden.

This is a super neat project and a neat activity for the afternoon.  Go ahead, make a few laminated garden markers for your growing space.


Thanks for joining me today,

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

Perfect Fit Outdoor Gloves for Women

Perfect fit and great quaility garden and outdoor work gloves for women. I love these and what a game changer.

Trying to find a good outdoor glove for women isn’t easy.

Especially for me because I have small hands and my outdoor activity goes from light gardening to removing heavy tree rubble.

It’s like the retail world has overlooked that some of us chicks work physically hard.

Maybe I’m just a rare breed but I have to say that finding the perfect work glove for both gardening and clearing land takes some research.

It’s also takes trying several brands and spending a lot of money.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many pairs of work gloves, I’ve tried in the last 10 years.

I’ve gone through many brands, some I really liked but they weren’t perfect until now.

This post contains amazon affiliate links that means if you make a purchase after clicking, there’s no additional cost to you,  I earn a small commission.  Click here to read site terms.


This fall, I went on a buying spree again and decided to try several brands to find the one that could last several months and offer the perfect fit.

Let’s face it, a glove needs to fit in order to get the work done.

This led me to the Well’s Lamont, Women’s Hybrid Leather Palm Work Glove.

I know that’s a long name but let me tell you it’s perfectly stated…

These gloves fit, they’re snug but not to where my hands cannot breathe.  I bet that makes sense because the female hand is designed smaller.

It’s like, there’s just enough space within this flexible material to allow easy movement so it almost feels like you don’t have gloves on.

Which is weird because they’re also very protective.

For me, protection is important because when we’re clearing land we run into thorns and they can rip your skin quickly.

Needless to say, I really appreciate that leather palm with a good stitch.

When I put these gloves to the test, I fell in love and the velcro wrist is awesome because it keeps them snug.

In the past, other work gloves would stretch out after a couple wears and no longer fit my hands.

Recently a pair slipped into the fire… That was like saying good-bye to a twenty-dollar bill and asking yourself, “Now what?”

Well that, “Now what?” led me to my fall shopping spree where I discovered these gloves.

I guess watching my old pair burn wasn’t all bad and isn’t that fushia color amazing?


Friends, these gloves are a game changer and the best part they’re long lasting, even with my workload from the garden to clearing land.

Thankfully I found them online for you, because spring is right around the corner.  I bet you can agree that starting the new garden season with perfect fit gloves sounds pretty sweet.

Check them out here > Women’s Hybrid Leather Palm Work Glove.


Thanks for Joining me today –

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

Where to Purchase a Quail Flock

Get helpful links and ideas on where to purchase your first quail flock for the homestead or backyard quail.


Quail Flock Purchase tips for Online

If you made the decision to raise quail, the first step is to decide where to purchase.

The good news is – this isn’t difficult and the best part of the process is you have several options.

The goal is to figure out which one of these suggestions will work best.

Step number one is deciding on a breed. The best quail breed for beginners is Coturnix and the reason being is they’re a stronger bird and they mature faster than any other quail breed.

You can begin enjoying fresh eggs and meat in under three months and females will begin laying eggs between 7 and 8 weeks.  Meat maturity is around 11 weeks which is always a good time to thin out the males.


If you’re like me and have an interest in raising native breeds then my best advice is to begin with a small test flock of coturnix then go native.

This will help you understand quail behavior so you know how to respond when troubles occur.

Even if you have experience raising other types of poultry I would still recommend beginning with coturnix as most native quail will not begin laying eggs until the following season.

Final note, native breeds are just not as hardy as the coturnix in the early stages.  With all that being said, I will include places to purchase all types of quail.

Quail Flock Purchase Tips

Where do you Purchase Quail?

You might be surprised but you have several options when it comes to making that first quail purchase; many will depend on where you live.

It’s possible in small communities to find breeders by interacting at the local feed store.

I find that most quail people stick together or at least know who’s doing what.

If that feed store has a bulletin board you could create a flyer with your contact information requesting breeders.

One thing that I love about small communities is people tend to want to help each other and they do this with a sense of pride.

Quail Flock Purchase

Community Newspapers

If you’re seeking an approach that’s a little less direct, community newspapers are another good option.  This is just a matter of looking through the ads on a regular basis to see if anyone is selling quail chicks or eggs to incubate.

If you see an advertisement for pickled quail eggs that could also be a contact because they may be interested in shrinking their flock.

The point here is don’t rule out what could be a potential opportunity.


Craigslist is probably the easiest place to search for quail because you can organize your search via state/city and surrounding areas.

My first and second flock of coturnix quail came from craigslist.

I had to drive about 45 minutes to an hour but it was worth it because both times I was implementing these birds either early or late in the season.

Do not drive out to these locations by yourself, make sure you go with someone because one never knows what you might run into.

I’ve never had a bad experience but then I’ve also asked certain questions prior to arriving to ensure that contact was indeed a quail breeder.

You can never be too safe, call the contact do not text or email.

Quail Flock Purchase

Online Hatcheries

Online hatcheries would be the least direct approach.  It’s a matter of finding the hatchery that offers you the best service, quality and price.  Simply click, purchase and pick up.

These birds will be delivered to the post office and you’ll need to pick them up first thing.  The sooner the better because they’ll need instant care and don’t be shocked if one or two expired during the delivery process.

I’ve found online options for those of you interested by movoing on with “click here.”  Please note I’ve only purchased online from WR Hatchery.

Pure Poultry – Click Here

It appears Pure Poultry has a nice variety of quail and I would stay away from the button quail because they’re eggs are smaller than the coturnix and they hold no meat value do to their size.  Their quail do look a little pricey compared to what I can purchase quail for here in north Texas.  I would recommend doing additional research before launching forward.

Loudoonberry Farm – Click Here

Their prices for coturnix look good but the site doesn’t appear updated so if you choose this option you may need to call in an order.

WR Hatchery – Click Here

This company has over 25 years’ experience and where I purchased my Northern Bobwhites.  Very easy to do business with and they always have special discounts prior to spring and later in the fall.  Check out their Chukar Partridge, absolutely beautiful.

Diamond H Ranch – Click Here

They offer both Coturnix and Bobwhite but they only ship fertilized eggs.  It looks like you would have to call direct to place an order.

Best Damn Quail in Texas – Click Here

For the hunters, out there this place would be a spot for hunting quail.  It appears you can also purchase bobwhite live; they’re raised in flight pens and I’m going to guess the focus here is to hunt and repopulate.  Definitely worth looking into for those of you in Texas.


Quail Flock Purchase tips

Summing up Purchasing Quail

Additional resources can be foun online and as we move forward into the future some of these will probably come and go.

For that reason, I suggest to first seek purchasing your starter flock locally if at all possible.

This would allow you to meet others with the same passion for raising quail.

They would also be a good resource for future purchases and it’s always fun to see what others are doing.

I also recommend beginning your quail flock with chicks because once full grown it’s difficult to know their age and unfortunately when purchasing large birds there are just some folks that don’t always share all the facts.

Be wise, don’t move fast and do your research.

Purchasing your quail should be fun, exciting and an opportunity to learn more about this new adventure.

If you have a favorite quail resource, please share in the comments below.


Thanks for joining me…

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

Quail Flock Purchase tips for Online


DIY Stencil Garden Plant Crate

DIY Stencil Garden crate for the car to transport new plant purchases.


DIY Garden Plant Crate

Have you ever gone plant shopping only to have your purchases crammed into a plastic bag?

That drives me crazy because I remember the days when nurseries had cardboard boxes available.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers this…

To detour this little frustration, I decided to make a new garden crate for the car.

You can do the same because this is an easy project built from a cedar fence board.

Recycled Crate project

The Beginning of a Garden Crate


Let’s pause for a moment because this crate was actually recycled from Robert’s hobby.  You see, I’ve been helping him downsize his stuff and in the process all these wooden crates became available.

I remember him building these like it was yesterday.

It was actually a couple years ago and in about an hour he turned a few fence boards into a stack of storage boxes.

With all these fabulous crates available it seemed like a good idea to make something so earlier this week, I spent an afternoon in the workshop.

Now when I go plant shopping, I can place my selections in this crate and not be concerned with broken stems or leaves…


Cut and Build Tips

This project is a simple build using new pine or cedar fence boards.  Make to your desired measurements and drill pilot holes before connecting.

Rope handles are optional by drilling two large holes at each end if you like this idea.

  • Cut two walls at the same size.
  • Cut two ends at the same size.
  • Then connect the ends to the walls using finishing nails.
  • Next up we add the bottom.


Adding Crate Bottom Boards

This post contains amazon and Dixie Belle affiliate links that means if you make a purchase after clicking, there’s no additional cost to you, but I will earn a small commission.  Click here to read site terms.

Adding Crate Bottom Planks

These crates were unique originally, they had a tray for the bottom which means I had to do a little revamp to make this box garden friendly.

I took another fence board and closed in the bottom with planks cut to fit, connecting with finishing nails.

This made the crate sturdy and I was finally ready to paint.


If you’re not into building and like things premade or precut then check out the following crates online.

Each link offers a great option for a similar concept perfect for transporting plants.

Project Supplies

Finishing Supplies – The Fun Stuff

When the supplies were gathered, I painted the inside and bottom of the crate with midnight sky.

Then I painted the exterior using driftwood, this is a calming color.


Stenciling and Painting the Crate

Stenciling the Crate

The Garden Shop and Herb stencil came from Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils, love these and the details were perfect.

This transfer was a lot of fun using the color, midnight sky and you can get my complete stencil tips here.

My best stencil advice is to always do a test on scrap wood before applying to your project and remember less paint on the brush is best…


Get more from Garden Up Green and Check out Carole’s books here.


Finished Plant Purchase Crate


Project Complete

As you can see, I stenciled a little different on each side making sure to use the word “garden” twice.

  • Then I transferred, plants, bulbs and seeds on both ends.
  • Added locally grown from the herb stencil above the handle.
  • A flower was also added near the handle.
  • When everything dred a little sanding was added to rough up the edges.
  • I finished with a nice clear wax from Dixie Belle Paint.

The wax protects the paint and wood as it travels from one place to the next.

I have to admit, it felt pretty great to get back in the workshop and make something new, it’s been a long time coming…

If stenciling and wood crafting looks like something you may enjoy then you may like these ideas, Stenciled Market Bags and Inspired Garden Signs Here.


Thanks for joining me and hope you have a great day.

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

5 Healthy Herbs for the Garden

Discover 5 healthy herbs to grow in your Startle Garden this year.


This post contains amazon affiliate links that means if you make a purchase after clicking, there’s no additional cost to you, but I will earn a small commission.  Click here to read site terms.



There are many herbs to grow and if I were new to these plants it would probably be overwhelming to make selections.

There are 5 healthy herbs I would like to recommend, four being perennials and one an annual, they include:

  • Marjoram
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Basil

Which means problem solved, you know where to begin using this simple list.

It’s easy enough to start looking for perennial plants now because light winter gardeners like me, can transplant the first four suggestions outside when temperatures remain higher than 40 degrees.

For everyone else begin by seed and transplant in the spring.   I love Botanical Interest seeds, they germinate fast and offer a great selection.


It’s my hope that by the end you’ll be encouraged to grow at least three of these options in your garden this year.


Perennial Herb Marjoram

Marjoram is a perennial herb; this means it continues to grow year-round.

For gardeners further north it acts like an annual, needing to be replanted each year or brought inside over the winter as it cannot handle harsh temperatures.

Let me just say, this plant would be amazing indoors.


It tends to appear similar to Oregano but I’m here to tell you it tastes so much better as the flavor is mild, sweet and delicate in comparison. I enjoy it with breakfast eggs, seafood, and salads.


Quick Planting Tips

It prefers full sun with a light well-drained soil mix and I plant where it has protection, as it can get cold here for weeks at a time.

By offering it a backwall this has helped keep it green, allowing me to harvest year-round.

Perennial Herb Sage

I can’t imagine my garden without sage and with so many varieties to choose from you could spend days learning about each one.

I love the color of sage because it breaks up all the darker shades of green in my startle garden.

It’s also one of my favorite cooking herbs especially for breakfast when I’m making scrambled eggs.


Quick Planting Tips

Sage is a perennial, hardy evergreen with a woody stem, growing 1 – 2 ft. tall in the form of a bush.

Does best in full sun to partial shade, in well-drained sandy soil but I’m here to tell you in amended clay it does pretty fantastic.

To learn more about Sage read here.


Perennial Herb Rosemary

Rosemary takes me back to childhood because my grandmother had a huge plant right before you entered her garage.

This space provided a lot of protection for this plant allowing her to keep it living for as long as I can remember.

When we cooked together, she would send me outside to grab a few stems for whatever she was teaching me to make.

She was always cooking with fresh herbs and that’s why her food tasted amazing.   Glad I was paying attention because cooking with fresh herbs is something I’ve been doing for a very long time.

In my new book, Startle Garden Herbs I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes and grandmas too.


Quick Planting Tips

Rosemary is also an evergreen with growth from 2 -6 ft.

Requires well-drained soil, thrives in full sunshine and I’m here to tell you getting a new plant established can be tricky.

To learn more about Rosemary read here and if you’re already growing get my propagating tips here.


Perennial Herb Lemon Thyme

Thyme is an herb that I introduced to myself by accident when we lived in Little Elm, Texas.

We had this huge backyard where I found joy in growing roses.

So, I planted many and one day when browsing through the nursery, inspiration struck and I decided to fill in the gaps with herbs.


There was no plan during that shopping trip and I had no idea what I was doing.  I was good at shopping though so how difficult could it be?

I grabbed several herb plants, thyme being one and the rest is history.


I fell in love with that rose/herb garden, it was a time when my life was very different.

We had this huge, brand new home, I was new to town so no friends, and I was busy raising two vibrant children while Robert continued working in aviation.

This backyard garden was my place to regroup and I loved having access to those fresh herbs because like my grandmother I started cooking with them often.

Our time in Little Elm was neat and when we sold out in 2005 it was bittersweet.


Quick Planting Tips

Thyme is a low growing evergreen reaching 6 and 15 inches, blooming pink and lavender clustered flowers in the mid-summer.  These flowers are absolutely precious.

This herb will grow best in full sun to partial shade, preferring well-drained sandy soil. With that being said, I’ve had an amazing experience with amended clay soil which is awesome.

To learn more about Thyme read here.


Annual Herb Basil

Finally, we have basil and I honestly can’t imagine life without this beauty.  I cook with it all the time and sometimes I’ve been known to go a little overboard.

It grows with a very independent spirit and seeds germinate quick or it’s easy enough to purchase new plants from nurseries.

Basil is an annual so you’ll have to wait for spring before growing outdoors.


Quick Planting Tips

Basil does best in well drained, moist soil with a neutral ph and it thrives in full sun loving warm climates.  Start seeds inside now and transplant after the last spring freeze.

There you have it, my top five favorites herbs and I grow them all in my Startle Garden.

Begin your growing space and check out my new book Startle Garden Herbs here.



I’m excited because I’ve compiled a list of annual and perennial herbs that are perfect to grow in the Startle Garden System.

This book includes detailed plant profiles, how to plant and cook with fresh herbs.   I’ve also included a variety of projects that complement an herb garden small or large.

Gardening in general is a beneficial activity, with these 5 healthy herbs it’s a great place to begin your Startle Garden.


Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West


Starting by Seed, don’t forget Botanical Interests herb seeds.