For decades now, I've pined for a potting bench. I don't know why I didn't press the issue sooner; I suppose I considered it was an unattainable dream, a discretionary-income extravagance, and just one more thing that would not fit in my fairly tiny backyard.
But this spring - in my year of No Day But Today - I decided there was no more holding back. So as my husband was dropping me curbside at the airport on our way to Vietnam, I threw back over my shoulder, "Hey, if you want to make me a potting bench, go for it."
Of course, in classic husband mode, he didn't do much while I was gone. But the morning after my return, while I slept till noon, my husband whipped a little something together for me.
^ It's a pretty solid little potting bench.
One shelf at the perfect work height.
One shelf down below for storage.
And in a little design tweak yet to come, we will add one more narrow shelf up top.
Best of all, this rascal cost us not a penny. Leftover bits and drabs of pallet lumber, a handful of nails and screws, exterior-strength Varathane from my paint stash.
I kind of love it.
^ No longer do I mix up batches of mud on my kitchen counter with my ongoing potting and re-potting projects. I can make all the mess I want out here, and simply sweep the soil to the ground when I'm done.
^ Tucked into a corner of my side yard that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, the bench is also an ideal plant hospital. This little succ-in-a-pig needs some TLC and he's thriving in this protected place.
^ Let's be honest. If nothing else, the top shelf of my new potting bench serves as a giant landing pad for my beloved clippers and Hori-Hori knife. A hundred times a day, I set them down and forget where I laid them. I always find them eventually so they're never exactly lost but it's nice to have a big fat place to put them down.
^ The bottom shelf provides plenty of storage for my inventory of garden-related flotsam and jetsam. I will also confess that through most of the summer, I maintain a stash of adorable plants that I bought before I knew what to do with them. Sooner or later, a genius idea always presents itself and I put the extras to good use. Now I have a proper waiting area for them.
^ There's something about my potting bench that makes me feel like a more legit gardener. Maybe it's looking down on those neat stacks of obediently waiting of pots.
^ Or catching a daily glimpse of at my little stash of Burpee seeds, just like Grandma always bought.
^ I love not only how my potting bench looks but also how it makes me feel: as if - one by one - my dreams really are coming true.