Summer means outdoor grilling and fresh herbs for cooking!
The smell of fresh rosemary and basil! That hint of mint in your morning cup of tea! I love fresh herbs and, no, I am not a pro at keeping them alive! I experiment a lot AND ask a ton of advice from neighbors & friends when it comes to all things plants.
Even before closing on our new house, I knew I wanted an herb garden in the backyard! These white washed pots were the perfect solution for keeping herbs contained and labeled. They add a cute touch of modern farmhouse to the backyard, don't ya think?
To start..here is a list of supplies I gathered:
- DecoArt acrylic chalkboard paint or black acrylic paint (depending if you want labels to be actual chalkboard)
- a small sponge paint brush
- a couple of cheapo paint brushes with stiff bristles (you WANT to see brushstrokes!)
- white acrylic paint
- light gray acrylic paint (I actually used leftover interior house paint! Use what you have!)
- chalkboard marker or white paint marker
- sandpaper (I have a stash that my grandma saved all the way from 1980-something!)
- clear spray sealant
- gardening gloves
- gardening trowel
- potting soil
- pea gravel
- herbs.. I used my top 5 favorites.. mint, parsley, rosemary, basil, and oregano.
- 5 terracotta pots and saucers... notice there are 4 in the photo below. That's because I forgot about oregano and had to go all the way back to Lowe's to get another pot. Poor oregano!
If you make big messes like me, use brown craft paper under your project. Crumple it up and throw it away after... leaving no potting soil or paint behind!
Next, paint splotches (I don't know a better word for them..fat strokes?!) around the pot with white paint. Use one of the hard bristle cheapo brushes. I like these brushes and I get them at Lowe's. They're so inexpensive that I just throw them away and not wash them out.
Fill in the unpainted parts with gray paint strokes..it's good to overlap the white and grey in parts. Don't forget the inside and saucers! I didn't paint the entire inside of the pots..just the parts that would show.
Paint all the pots then let them all dry....slightly. This is my trick! I wait until the paint has dried a little bit, is still tacky, and then I start sanding. It helps blend the white and grey together! Rub off paint where you want it to look scruffy? well-worn? old? However much of the terracotta you want to show is up to you. Rubbing off paint around the rim makes it especially look aged!
Isn't it funny how we buy new things to look old? Years ago, we gave our old things away at Goodwill or garage sales. Farmhouse style and vintage decor has made us go to Goodwill and junk stores hunting for rusty pails, crates, and old glass bottles to decorate with! When I can't find what I'm searching for, I like to try to recreate the look!
After the white paint has completely dried, the sanding is done, go ahead and paint black rectangles with a sponge brush and chalkboard paint. You can use painter's tape to measure and outline the rectangles if you want to be precise. I'm not patient like that : ) I used the edge of the sponge brush to measure out the labels so they were approximately the same.
Let the black paint dry.
For this next step, I used a chalk marker (you can use a paint marker instead) and wrote the herb names on the dried black rectangle.
I started out thinking I wanted these to be actual chalkboard labels and that's why I used chalkboard paint. Then I thought about the rain and how my chalk words would be smeary and wiped off anyways. So, you can use the chalk labels as actual chalkboards if you plan to keep your plants indoors or under a covered porch. If you decide to do that, spray the clear sealant on after the white paint dries and before you paint the labels.
If you decide you want the labels to be permanent (like me) then spray sealant after the black labels and white words are on.
MAKE SURE your white writing is completely DRY before spraying with sealant! I would wait a good 30 minutes for it to dry. I made the mistake of spraying to early and it looked fine at first. I went back to the pot after awhile and the words were all running down the pot! I had to repaint the black rectangle and redo the words.
I sprayed three coats of sealant on the outside, inside, and on the saucers. Also wait for the sealant to dry. You don't want your pots sticking to your saucers! : )
The last few steps go by rather quickly...
Fill up the pots halfway with pea gravel for drainage.
Fill the rest of the way up with potting soil.
Make a space in the middle of the soil and plant your herbs.
Spread the soil around the base of the herbs.
Water your plants.
These white washed pots with herbs also make a great gift for someone you know who loves to cook or garden! I use rosemary for grilled chicken and roasted pork tenderloin. Mint makes a nice garnish for ice cream and desserts. Mint can be refreshing in a pot of hot tea, iced tea, watermelon juice, or lemonade! Add a dash of oregano the next time you make homemade marinara sauce! Parsley is always great to have on hand and especially useful during the holidays. Impress your guests and "chiffonade" some freshly picked basil and sprinkle over caprese salad. I learned the word "chiffonade" in culinary school and try to use it whenever I can to make myself sound fancy! ; )
What herbs are you going to plant? Let me know in the comments!