Everything needs framing in one way or another. Whether it's a drawing or an opinion, a frame gives perspective, and most importantly, it helps to direct focus.
Even though seasons are held within the framework of a calendar year, their subtle shifts from day to day can sometimes get lost in the larger picture. One day you look out your window and there is a blanket of snow and then, all of the sudden, there are tulips. We all know that transition doesn't happen in a split second, but with so much going on in any given day, it can seem like it...
...which is exactly why I decided to make something to help put a frame around spring. To celebrate incremental changes day by day rather than week by week. To watch every detail...
... as plants grow taller...
... as buds form...
... as the theater of the season unfolds a little more each day.
How To Build A Spring Theater:
The most important part of a garden theater isn't the size of the materials, but only that it provides a solid and steady frame around the plant you choose. For my frame I used bamboo garden stakes, some string and a few pieces of scrap wood. But you could use fallen branches, wooden dowels, old boards, or pretty much anything you can make a rectangle out of and stake in the ground. If you would like to make one like the theater pictured above here are a few simple instructions:
- Bamboo garden stakes
- Scrap wood, something around 1/4" thick
- A handsaw
- A drill (optional if you prefer to tie the entire wide frame-up rather than attach it to the bamboo frame through the holes)
- Waterproof wood glue
Look up the average height of the plant you would like to put the theater in front of and make sure your theater frame will be big enough to surround it as it grows to its final height. Then cut the side pieces 8" longer than that measurement (6" of this will go into the ground). I used two bamboo stakes for each side but you could use more or less.
Then cut the top and bottom pieces 4" longer than your preferred measurement. Make a square with your sticks (click the third photo to make larger) with the longer pieces on the sides extending 6" below the square. Secure the corners by binding them with string (this is great for kids to help with).
Then, if you would like the colored wider frame that sits inside, cut three lengths of wood to match the inside dimensions of your square (you don't have to worry about precision here because you can always adjust the bamboo to match your wooden frame). I only cut three sides so that the bar on the bottom wouldn't obscure plants in their first few days when they are barely visible above ground. With waterproof glue, glue the top piece on top of the two side pieces (see image above). Once those are dry, measure where you would like to drill your connection holes and drill them with a 1/4" drill bit (or something around that size).
Decorate the frame however you would like and then attach it to the bamboo structure with string. Apart from pre-cutting and drilling the wood, children can do most of this project on their own with adult supervision.
Once your theater is done, stake it in your garden and visit daily to watch the acts unfold!
Suggested Spring Theater Activities:
- Use the frame of the theater as a marker for taking time lapse photos of the plant on a daily basis.
- Share your daily photos on our Facebook page, or in our Flickr Pool and watch spring unfold one plant at a time!
- Measure and note the growth of the plant daily.
- Look at the plant with a magnifying glass and note changes in color and shape.
- Make up stories about the plant's adventures and write them in a book to go with the daily photos.
Enjoy the show!
P.S. Don't forget to enter our current book giveaway: Audubon Guide to Landscape Photography!
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: Planning the Garden