Garden Art – Make a Straw Bale flower wall

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You can create a very unique summer garden wall in a few days and set it up in half a day.

One year I had a 100-foot tall tree that had to be removed and between the left over tree trunk that had to be pulled and the ruts in the yard, I had a very unattractive area to deal with. It was tucked in the back of the yard but very noticeable.

I decided to hide the mess until the fall when I had more time. I picked up 9 straw bales and some chicken wire. I went into my barn where it’s almost possible to find anything and dragged out an old door and doorframe and some stakes.

I laid the bales down flat and started to water them. For three days I watered them until they were soaked. The last day I watered them with a compost fertilizer spray that I made.

This watering of the bales gets them wet so that I can plant in them. I add compost fertilizer to give the plants a good growing bed. The rots go into the straw much like they would dirt.

I then cut holes into the bales that are 6 inches wide by 8 inches deep and are on a bit of a slant toward one side of the bale. I remove the straw and put good compost or soil in the bales and pack it in. I water the bale again and let it sit.

If any of the soil has washed away from the holes I add more soil.

The next step is to set the bales up on end with the long end on the ground and the holes slanting toward the ground. I stack another bale on top and place a stake on the back of the bale where people won’t see it as much. I stacked two bales, then placed another two bales beside that and staked the bales again on the backside. I ran chicken coop wire on the outside of the bales to help hold everything together, Where I had cut holes in the straw bales I used wire cutters and removed most of the wire from in front of the soil.

I placed the door next to the bales and staked into place. One the back I also had a triangle form I nailed onto the doorframe sides for extra support against wind. I then stacked two bales on top of each other on this side of the doorframe and staked. I repeated this again so that I had a wall of straw bales with a door in the middle. These bales were also covered with chicken coop wire. I put the additional bale on one end of the wall to break the square look I had created.

Next I wanted an old look so I mixed up a couple batches of moss milk to paint on the bales to give the bales that “I have been here forever” look.

Moss Milk Recipe

You will need to find some living moss. A walk in the woods or along a streambed should find you a cup or so of moss. In your hunting make sure you do not remove moss from someone’s property or strip all the moss off of one rock or branch. It’s always environmentally friendly to leave a little of whatever you harvest naturally behind.

Place the moss and a little buttermilk into a blender and mix them together. You will want the mixture to be runny enough to paint on a container with a brush.

Paint the moss-buttermilk mixture on the outside of the straw. Apply it heavy and in a swiping pattern. You want just enough moss to add age to the wall. . Moss takes a few weeks to grow so plant the flower and just wait a few weeks for the moss to grow and flowers to settle in.

Planting the wall

I choose flowers that stay low like moss rose. I also like ivy planted in the wall. As the ivy grows I shape it in the direction I want it to grow and tack it in place by placing it beneath the chicken coop wire or wiring it into place with bread wrappers.

I placed my holes in the bales about 8 inches apart. Just place the plants in the holes and firm into place. I use a spray bottle to eater them at first.

The wall always looks nice but as the moss takes and the flowers grow the wall become a focal point. I added an old chair in front of the wall, a decorative bucket and a few plants in containers on the lower bale.

It’s a fun project and will hide an ugly area until yoiu can attend to it. It would also be a great entrance to a Secret Garden.

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Denise

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