Sprucing Up the Porch for Autumn

You can’t see the bugs in the photo, but the plants look like they’ve been sprinkled with sticky sugar.

Summer is winding down, as I have already mentioned. The big blue pots on either side of the front door have been planted up with red geraniums, a vine-y thing, and a looks-like-petunias-but-its-really-something-else-I-can’t-remember-cascade-y thing. They have been pretty accents on the porch, but they have suffered from forgetful watering several times and the stress of that is probably what left them vulnerable to an infestation of whiteflies. Rather than fight with them, I decided I would rather just discard the tired plants and get something fresh to look at for the next few weeks. I am lucky to be able to walk down the side alley to a neighbor’s house to choose some just-starting-to-bloom chrysanthemums.

This is the result of a summer’s worth of non-attention around the pots. Blech.

When I pulled the pots away from their spots, here is what I found. This is what you don’t see in the magazine spreads of “welcoming entrances, right? It’s real life, though, and it is going to require some scrubbing. Now, if you think I am going to scrub my entire front porch, you’ve got another thing coming. I’m the queen of “that’s good enough,” after all. Also, while I am out here on the porch getting myself wet (I know this will happen — I always get wet when I use water!), I decide I may as well take apart and scrub the dog’s crate, a job I try to do a couple of times a year. Half the time, I don’t get around to it until it is so far into autumn that we need to shut off the outside faucets and it either doesn’t get done at all or I’m out there doing it (and getting wet) in very chilly air, so I am kind of proud of myself for remembering it today. Then, if I am going to clean the dog’s crate, I am going to wash his crate towel (which I do many, many more times than twice a year), and if I am going to do that, I am going to brush him.

Tools of the trade


Calvin the Wonder Dog personifies “hangdoggeryness” whenever his brush comes into view!

Our dog always acts like he is being tortured when he realizes he is going to be brushed, but as soon as he accepts that no amount of slinking and mooning is going to make a difference, he settles in and acts like he is having a spa day. Silly animal.

So after I finished pampering Calvin, I did all the dirty scrubbing and rinsing — no pix because of my track record with water. You understand.

Not perfect, but good enough

Is it me or do the spiders seem to have been extra busy weaving this year?

Letting the sunshine assist me

When I finally finished, everything was dripping but satisfactorily clean.

Much improved

I love our front door. I painted it last summer and smile every time I approach it since. That blue is ME!

Typical — just as I am reveling in how clean it all is…


…my gaze travels upward for a second and I spy THIS in the transom over the door. Oh, well — another day, I think.

I got two pots of well-grown mums to replace the infested summer flowers. They are only $5 each — quite a bargain. Do let me note here that I know it is a luxury to be able to buy plants. There have been times when that sort of fun was simply not part of our budget, and I want any reader who finds herself in that situation to know I understand. Lacking funds for flowers, never underestimate the impact and pleasure of simply keeping the entry clean and tidy. I was impressed with what a difference just that effort made. But of course, it is lovely to have some seasonal color.

A perfect fit!

I was pleased to discover it wasn’t necessary to lug potting soil up from the basement and so on right now. I simply left about half the old soil in the big pottery pots and scooped out an area in the center to cradle the nursery pots. Leaving the mums in those was nice for the time I had available today, but if I see them suffering at all I can always repot them in more soil as I had originally planned.

In its place, symmetry is a very good thing.

I was careful to choose plants whose bloom is just getting started, which will allow us to enjoy fresh-looking flowers for as long as possible.

Porch spruce-up accomplished — welcome, Autumn!

It gives me a lift to be welcomed home by a neat front entrance. We don’t go in for much decorating at our house, really, but flowers on the porch are always a happy addition.

Do you decorate for the seasons?



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  1. Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Calvin made me laugh. Silly animal! And I LOVE your front door. Just love it! (Saying it just once is not descriptive enough of how much I love it, so I’ll say it twice…) What a perfect blue!

    And I, too have noticed a crazy number of spiders this year. I thought it was just the new house and the neglect it suffered last year, but now I have heard two other people remark about spiders, so I think it must not be a coincidence.

    • Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      I love my front door, too, Church Mouse! It was a pain to strip and paint, but so great once it was done. I wonder why there are so many spiders?
      Lori recently posted..Sprucing Up the Porch for AutumnMy Profile

  2. Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Very pretty! Love those planters on either side of the door. Fun to see you reflected in the last photo, too 🙂
    April Starr recently posted..Selling on Etsy InfographicMy Profile

    • Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      There I am, trying to take a photo and hang onto my empty watering jug at the same time! Glad you like the planters.
      Lori recently posted..Sprucing Up the Porch for AutumnMy Profile

  3. melaine
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    I love you blue door, it’s beautiful, so happy and welcoming, just like your house. Love the flowers too. We put an old metal tub I had that got dented and planted some flowers out our front door. We took Tilly to the nursery and let her choose the flowers so of course they are pink and purple :). It is so nice to have a welcome splash of colour out front and it’s so cute to hear her tell people how she planted them and takes care of them. (Love you blue pots too)

    • Posted September 7, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Kids and container gardening are a perfect fit, aren’t they? Well, they are at Tilly’s age — my teens/twenty-somethings are rushing in and out of the house with so much on their minds they had a hard time remembering to water our pots this summer, but then I was the same, now and then. 🙂 Enjoy your spring down under.
      Lori recently posted..Sprucing Up the Porch for AutumnMy Profile

  4. Samantha
    Posted September 7, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I do have a lovely wreath hanging on my front door, but the flower beds need to be weeded and I realized we still have pots from this summer that need to be emptied. I guess it is time to remove them and make the house really ready for fall. We do some fall decorating and Pinterest has me really inspired to do some more this year. Audrey has some great ideas as well. I’m so glad that she is old enough now to really enjoy and even help with the decorating.

    • Posted September 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      It is terrific when your kids start to generate good ideas for things like that, Samantha. It’s fun to let them go with it when we can!
      Lori recently posted..Sprucing Up the Porch for AutumnMy Profile

  5. Lorrene
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Yes, the spiders have been extremely busy this year. We’re used to them, here in the wooded-mountainous regions, but there were definitely “more” webs this year! But, God put them for a reason, even if I don’t know what it is, so I’ll try to live among them without too much complaining 😉

    I love your front porch. And I love that silly Calvin dog too. He’s so funny. I would LOVE to put out some pretty plants on my porch, but we have 5 cats outside. Potted plants & our cats just don’t mix.

    Our backyard is one gigantic mutant squash plant though. That’s about as far as my fall decorating has gone 😉

    Enjoy Autumn!

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