Margaret Furlong Blog | Everyday Life & Porcelain Design Inspiration



Chartreuse is one of my favorite colors for the garden. I love chartreuse foliage as well chartreuse blooms like Lady’s Mantle and lime green Nicotiana. This is a great color for white gardens as well as full color gardens.

Because these plants are plentiful in my garden, I chose to paint the garden furniture at the beach chartreuse. I actually bought this furniture at K-Mart – a great Martha Stewart design. They were originally a natural wood finish and I had them painted to give them some pizzazz!

I had these contemporary shadow boxes made so I could arrange 3-dimensional sea collages on the wall at the beach house.

The beauty of these stacks of shells, found objects, and vintage pieces is that two or more of them simply stacked together in a shadow box make unique and delightful wall art!

These are the objects I used in my four collages:

  1. A vintage wooden egg crowns a sea urchin.
  2. A baby nautilus shell balances on a sea star with another tiny sea star on the back surface.
  3. Another sea star base, this time with a sea urchin, then a shell and finally a green vintage marble to top it all off.
  4. On an antique wooden stand, a polished stone from the beach is nestled into a shell.


  1. Use a purchased shadow box, a custom-made shadow box or simply a small wooden box (new or vintage) and just start playing around with some beautiful natural forms and perhaps add a fun vintage item.
  2. Use museum wax, candle wax or some other type of soft wax made for temporary attachments to hold the stacks together. I also used wax to attach the little sea star on the back wall of one of the arrangements.
  3. Hang your wall art on the wall in just the right place and enjoy it!

I have had this Turkish urn for over 10 years and wanted to find a good place for it in my garden. In early June of this year I built a miniature circular garden as the centerpiece in the backyard. I laid half bricks as edging and placed the urn in the center raised on an old metal stand to a dramatic height. .

I planted a trimmed boxwood globe in the urn. In the circular garden below I put in starts from my lambs ear on the outside and a circle of garlic chives on the inside. The garlic chives are a narrow flat blade, about a 1/4″ across, and the blooms are airy and white. I used plant material I already had in the garden so this new little garden design would match the whole big garden.

I finished June 7 and today the plant starts are already filled in enough to be attractive.


  1. The first step was to find the center of the space in my backyard where I wanted to create the circular garden. Using a stick tied onto a two-foot length of string, I secured it in the center of my space and drew a circle in the ground for the outside marking of the bricks. I carefully dug out the length of the brick about 2″ deep inside my circle. See the last photos for the project beginning.
  2. I then set the bricks around the edge adjusting the depths and using a level to keep them even. I did have to extend the circle out a little to get the last full brick in. I also used four more bricks in the center of the circle to create a base for the metal stand.
  3. After the bricks were set, I set up the stand and urn and planted the boxwood, lamb’s ear and chives.

A Note About Garlic Chives:

Garlic chives are a lovely addition to any garden and they are also a culinary delight. I love them in salads and also in many hot dishes. I like to add them to hot dishes just before I take them off the heat so that they just wilt and stay brilliant green and pungent with flavor.

Last summer I planted a Passion flower vine on a large trellis in the front yard. This year the foliage climbed to the top of the trellis and up there the blooms are smiling at the sky, but can’t even see them.

My solution to this dilemma is to cut the blossoms and bring them inside where I can enjoy the exotic, incredibly 3-dimensional flower, up close and personal. Because the stems are short I put each single flower in a cute little glass and they smile up at me at the kitchen table.

One of my favorite garden perennials is Lady’s Mantle. It is an old-fashioned, classic English garden plant and it thrives in my yard in both sun and shade. Not only does it come back every year, but it self-seeds and starts lots of new plants. I use the volunteers to fill in the bare spots in the garden and as under plantings for tall flowers like lilies and roses.

I am intrigued by the distinctive beauty of the leaves; they unfold like a lady’s fan and hold droplets of water that look like cabochon diamonds. The blooms are tiny stars and cover the plants in airy clouds of chartreuse.

I have been making lots of bouquets for the past three or four weeks. I love them in simple little airy arrangements in clear glass. I also use them as filler, like baby’s breath, to showcase larger blossoms.

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