Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How I made my Tepee Garden


Two years ago I decided that I needed a tepee in my life. I was really into the blog HonestlyWTF and they had a DIY post about how to make your own tepee. I instantly feel in love with the idea and decided to get to work.

Building the tepee structure with my dad.

I first built the tepee for my Burning Man themed graduation party in 2011, check out the post here. My father and I went into the forest and cut down the trees ourselves and a family friend provided a few more tepee poles to use. With fabrics I found at the thrift store I sewed together a cover for the tepee. I used denim, velvet, my childhood Star Wars sheets, and floral prints to name a few. I made a patch work quilt for the structure.
The tepee was a hit at the party; it became a peaceful hang out amongst all the fun. My friends had intimate conversations; face painted, gave each other massages and even slept in the tepee.
Graduation Party 2011
After the party was over with all the work that went into building it I had no intention of taking it down anytime soon. The tepee eventually became apart of my family's property. In the winter we decorated it with Christmas lights. It survived snow, rain, sleet and hail, but eventually the quilt wore out. I decided to take the quilt cover off and let the tepee stand as a skeleton.
Christmas in the tepee

This summer I decided to give the tepee new life by turning it into a tepee garden.
In the early spring I started gathering seeds, planning how the garden would be structured and what would grow inside of it. I decided to grow climber plants up the tepee poles such as morning glories, cardinal climbers, black-eyed susans and beans. The inside of the tepee garden would have a mix of herbs and vegetables including lavender, sage, oregano, dill, cilantro, peppers, peas and tomatoes.
Baby cilantro in a eggshell 
I got the idea from the Free People Blog to make an egg crate garden to start my seeds. In the egg crate garden I watched my baby plants begin to grow in their eggshell homes. Some plants did well in the eggs other didn’t make it. I learned quickly that gardening is a process of trial and error. You are never always going to get it right the first time. But the seeds that did well flourished like my cilantro, beans and peas.

As time went by the plants started to outgrow their eggshell homes and the temperature was warm enough to finally plant them outside.
My Gardener Guru and good friend Nikki Jimmo came over to help me break ground. We overturned the dirt in the tepee so I could sit inside and have plants surrounding me at all angles. We planted beans and pea seeds directly into the soil as well as placing the egg starter plants in the garden. Getting everything in the ground was a lot of work but we could only imagine what it would look like when it was in bloom at the end of the summer.
Slowly as the days began to get warmer my plants started to grow. I remember the day the baby pea plants just popped right out the ground. Their presence was reassurance that this was really happening my tepee garden was growing.
Planting sage, lavender and mint. 

All of the plants growth was staggered different plants peaking at various times. The peas came in the late spring, dill and cilantro grew in the early summer, while the lavender and sage flourished in the mid summer. The tomatoes arrived by mid July and the morning glories blossomed in early August. Watching each of my plants grow from seed to full shape I learned to appreciate each stage of its life. Evolving from tiny sprouts, to vines and finally a bright flower full of light.

Although summer is coming to an end the tepee garden hasn’t peaked.  The cardinal climbers vines have grown to the top of the tepee but still need to produce red flowers. I am hoping in time for my birthday in September.
Spending the summer weeding, planting and eating the harvests of the tepee garden has been a healing experience. Every morning I look forward to running outside and seeing something new that has grown or bloomed. It has served as a peaceful sanctuary for me anytime I am upset, stressed or sad. As soon as I step inside the tepee garden and rub my fingers with the lavender and smell their sweet scent whatever was bugging me feels far away. The tepee stands tall in my yard, it has a presence. It’s a symbol of my presence on earth.


More photos of my tepee's evolution below. 



 










1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this for my morning wake up. What a beautiful, never ending journey gardening is. Your pics are great, too! Can't wait to stop by and check it out. We all need our own teepee garden to run to, relax in, contemplate and work in.

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