A SIGMA PHI GAMMA GARDEN by WENDIE MCKNELLY, INTERNATIONAL COUNSELOR

Yep, it’s another gardening blog, with a quick wood-working lesson. Have you ever considered building a Sigma Phi Gamma garden? Here’s a couple ideas. One idea is to begin with an over-sized planter, wood, plastic, resin, concrete. I have some store-bought planters and a bunch of hand-made mortar/stone and redwood/cedar planters.

Pick your location, preferably with a tree to the back side of your planters, where the planter will get 6 hours of daily sun.

To build your own stone container, gather about 40-60 good- sized rocks, 8-10 inches in diameter. Plan how big you want your circle. Twenty inches across works well. A garden hose can be curved to show you the shape and position of your garden! Use a mortar mixture, the consistency of butter to create your circle of friendship. Spread a small amount of mortar on each stone as you stack and begin building your circular garden. Continue stacking your stones until you have 4 to 5 rows, which should be 10-12 inches high. If you have rabbits, you might want to go 20″ high to keep those little rascals out! Let the mortar setup over night.

On day two, fill the circle garden with a good mix of potting soil and peat moss. On the back side, plant a blue wisteria vine. On the front side, plant yellow/orange marigolds.

You could buy a trellis for $20.00, but it’s more enjoyable to build your own! To build your own trellis, use 2″ X 2″ redwood. This is a much sturdier trellis than you can buy in the store. It will stand between the planter and the tree. A 5 foot trellis will take 5- eight foot boards at a cost less than $15.00 If you have a table saw, you can save a little money by ripping larger redwood boards into 2″X2″ pieces. On my trellis, I ripped the cross bars down to 1″X2″.

Cut three equal length pieces for the legs. Angle them slightly to make a fan shape. Cut your cross pieces starting at the bottom, making the first cut just long enough to go across the base of the trellis. Make each subsequent cut slightly longer than the previous cut as you move up the trellis.. Pre-drill pilot holes for each intersection with the leg pieces. That way, the screws won’t split the wood. When I finished, I took two left over scrap pieces and added them as extra braces for the cross pieces.

Here’s an example of what your trellis will look like. I put this trellis behind an over-sized planter. I used a combination of blue wisteria and salvia. The yellow marigolds will fit in the front. Presto, in just a couple hours, you’ll have an SPG garden with a trellis!