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The garden shelfie - Create a vertical garden to display garden plants, pots and gardenalia with a diy garden display shelf


DIY garden shelf painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Athenian Black and finished with a coat of Chalk Paint Lacquer in matte.


The garden isn't just about my love of plants, it's a creative space. 

 I can get lost in my small urban garden for hours, planting, tinkering and thinking about what colour, texture and height I want to add to the garden next. It's also a place that I love to have fun styling and as a collector obsessed with antiques, the garden is another space I can display my collections of plants and gardenalia.

This past winter I came across a Victorian Auricula Theatre I had seen somewhere online. It's a small display shelf that holds a collection of Auriculas (a type of primula) - one of the many flowers that became popular in the Victorian era when gardening became wildly popular in England. 

I decided to create a version of one to display herbs just outside the doors to our small deck. It was an opportunity to add something interesting to a rather dull looking privacy screen. It is also practical as I can step outside my door to access fresh herbs. I think it will be fun to style throughout the seasons.

I've collaborated with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint who provided the paint for this project.


A garden shelf painted in a dark shade is a nice contrast to the green plants and terracotta pots. Shelf painted in Athenian Black, table in Olive using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.


I'm really happy with how it turned out. I like the contrast of the dark paint and the green plants and terracotta pots. I've also been wanting to give this table a fresh coat of paint for awhile (I'm obsessed with the Olive green!) and I really do love how easy it is to paint furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. But I had never thought of painting outdoor furniture, and a fence! Chalk Paint Lacquer is a finishing product that protects painted surfaces from the elements. It's a water-based polyacrylic varnish with built in UV protection. 

This is a before photo.


Before photo of the plain privacy screen and vintage enamel top table in need of a facelift.

Here's how we did it.

First we cleaned the privacy screen. Although you don't really need to prep too much with Chalk Paint, we gave the screen a light sanding to remove any rough edges or debris.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Athenian Black.

The paint went on very easily. I only did one coat and a few touch ups.


After painting the screen, we left it to dry for a few days before applying a coat of Chalk Paint Laquer

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Lacquer in clear matte.


Then we painted the old table using Olive with a finishing coat of the Chalk Paint Lacquer. I've been wanting to paint something green for awhile. I love the colour. 

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Olive.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Olive.

The garden shelf was built using what we could get our hands on at a local building supplies store. Wood has been hard to get.  My husband John used a simple knotty pine which we knew was going to be painted so it didn't really matter what kind of wood we used. It's just a simple 4 foot x 4 foot shelf with 16" between each shelf. 

Since this shelf will be outdoors, we painted and finished it with Chalk Paint Lacquer before assembling the shelf. That way it is completely sealed and better protected from the elements.

DIY garden shelf and upcycled table turned potting bench. Shelf painted Athenian Black and table in Olive with Annie Sloan Paint.


I'm really pleased with how this turned out. It's a great spot to display herbs and I also use it as another potting bench. 


A garden shelf is a great way to have fun styling your garden with your favourite pottery, plants and seasonal items. I love how it looks painted dark with Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in Athenian Black.

City Walks - Where to go and what to pack on your next urban hike

Arc'teryx Codetta Cinch Coat / Tretorn Nylite Gingam Sneaker via Heelboy / Baggu Duck Bag in Adobe via Indigo / Matt & Nat Isla Sunglasses via Indigo / Herbarium Pocket Notebook & Olive Le Pen via The Paper Place / Saje Peppermint Halo / Province Apothecary Lip balm via Well.ca / Dr. Bronner Lavender Hand Sanitizer via Well.ca / Drunk Elephant Tinted Sunscreen via Sephora / RXBar via Well.ca / Swell Calacatta Gold Water bottle via Indigo / Nomad Alto Travel Mug via Nespresso.ca / Field Guide to Ontario Birds via Urban Nature Store /

We're lucky to live in a vibrant city with lots of green space - parks, ravines, trails, waterfront and neighbourhoods to explore. Although I sometimes envy those who have cottages and country homes to "escape", living in the city, especially now during the pandemic, has meant we've spent many weekends exploring the amazing urban nature scene in Toronto.

With the first long weekend of the spring arriving this weekend, I thought I'd share a list of places that you can explore. I've been to most of these spots but there are one or two I still plan to visit - Guild Park and Glen Stuart Ravine. 

When we hit the road, along with a few urban hiking essentials, we've also been bringing along a small snacky picnic. It's nice to rest for a while so we find a quiet spot and picnic. Now that the weather's warmed up I also bring an iced coffee (iced Arpeggio from Nespresso is my favourite) in this handy travel mug for the road. 

As I'm writing this, rain is in the forecast for Toronto this weekend so I'll definitely be packing a light rain jacket to keep me dry. I've had my eye on this Gore-tex coat from Arc'teryx - it's perfect for the city!

Here's what you'll find in my tote bag when we head out for a walk in the city. 

  • A light raincoat - love this one because it's waterproof and light!
  • Comfy walking shoes are essential. I like these gingham sneakers from my favourite shoe store, Heelboy
  • A coffee for the car ride - iced these days in a travel mug perfect for summer drinks
  • Hand sanitizer, lip balm and Peppermint halo oil and sunglasses are always in my purse or tote! 
  • A water bottle - love the Swell bottles because they keep my water icy cold.
  • Sunscreen - I have this one from Sephora in my basket.
  • A notebook and pen for ideas or inspiration that might strike. I'm old school that way.
  • A field guide is fun. Birding has become quite popular and there are some great areas to bird watch in Toronto including Tommy Thompson Park. 

There are lots of great apps that you can download for walks including history on different neighbourhoods in the city. The City of Toronto's Urban Walks page is a great resource for finding walking tours that focus on architecture, nature, history, culture and more. One app to try is GPS My City - it lets you create your own walks or explore 13 self-guided walk in Toronto. 

There are lots of great locations to explore in Toronto. One of my favourites is East Point Park. It's on the eastern edge of Scarborough and the Scarborough Bluffs. It's a bit of a drive for us in the west end, but it's worth it. There are kilometres of natural shoreline to explore, it's stunning. 


East Point Park & Shoreline

 At the foot of Leslie Street is Tommy Thompson Park aka The Leslie Street Spit. It's a great spot for birding and has a great view of the city skyline. 

Tommy Thompson Park - Winter 2021

Closer to home for me at least is High Park. We're so lucky to live just steps away from this large urban park!

Again, just steps away is the Humber River Trail

Humber River Trail, Autumn 2020

Here's a list of places to explore by foot in Toronto this spring.

  • Evergreen Brickworks
  • The Beach
  • Glen Stuart Ravine
  • Cedarvale Ravine
  • High Park
  • Humber River Trail
  • East Point Park
  • Tommy Thompson Park
  • Toronto Islands
  • Edward's Gardens
  • Guild Park 


Garden therapy - garden inspired favourites from Etsy for Spring

Marigold seeds via The Love of Colour / Amanita woodland mushroom jewelry dish via AR Ceramics Shop / Vintage botanical print set via Blossom Botanica / Linen Apron via Confetti Mill / Handmade soap gift set via Agha Studio Vancouver / Eco print journal via Studio Peta Books / Vintage flower gathering basket via Winnie Horsely / Ceramic Plant Markers by Hilde Lambrechts via Magical Clay at Home


Inspired by a renewed obsession with all things garden and floral, I've put together this guide of garden inspired Etsy favourites for spring. 

From hand-printed journals using gingko leaves and natural inks, handmade soaps, linen aprons perfect for working in the garden or kitchen to pretty vintage botanical prints, flower seeds, plant markers and the cutest toadstool ceramic dish - perfect for gift giving this spring.

I'm always excited to get in the garden at this time of year, but even more so this year.  

Like many, my interest in gardening blossomed last spring when we were spending so much time at home due to the pandemic. I had always been excited about plants and putting together pretty displays in the garden, but last spring we ventured into growing veg for the first time, building a raised bed garden for our  veggie seedlings. It was fun and kept us busy looking after something at a time when we not only needed the diversion but found gardening was also very therapeutic. 

 I love adding vintage and antique finds to my garden and home and Etsy is a great resource for these. From vintage botanical prints and pots to flower gathering baskets there's lots of treasures to be found. Handmade botanical inspired items are also plentiful - there are so many talented artisans to be found on Etsy. 

For more of my favourites, check out my Etsy favourites page .