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A Touch of Tuscany

Posted by sweetannie4u midOK_z6b/7a (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 17:34

As most of you know, I have been collecting and placing in my garden, statues, arches, pots and etc with the Tuscany flair. I just love the look and plants that grow well in Tuscany also do well here where I live.

I bought an iron arch and a metal trellis last year and they need to be repainted. I also want to paint my terracotta pots to go with the aqua Tuscany look - not all of them, just some. Too much would be too much.

I found information on how to paint my pots so they have the look. So I will be washing and painting them as soon as the weather stabilizes. I am anxious to get after it, but we are expecting a major blizzard tomorrow.

The arch's original paint is n the aqua colour, but it has faded so much that it can hardly be discerned except up close.. The trellis was white, but there is more of the black iron showing now since the white has flaked off.

Does anyone know what kind of paint to use for repainting my iron trellis and arch? I know HOW to do it so it will have the look of antiquity, but I'm just not sure what kind of paint to use on the metal.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

I woke up this morning, visualizing a new rock wall and a Tuscany wall fountain spilling water down into a small pool.

Atwood's has the wall fountains.....
My NEXT project!

I also want to buy some Russian Olive trees to create a little olive grove (Not the same as the Mission olives that bear edible fruit, but as close as I can get here in Oklahoma).

I had two Russian Olives in the back yard that were very big trees. I loved their grey trunks and gnarly branches. Did not like their thorns - ouch! But, I can deal with it. They bloomed in early spring with tiny fragrant flowers that the honeybees loved.. An October tornado just twisted them right out of the ground like a corkscrew, and laid them neatly on the grass nearby. Weird, huh? But it broke my heart to lose them.
Hope to find a local nursery that sells them or who will order them for me.

More ideas for my Touch of Tuscany.

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

  • Posted by Dgregory 6A - So.Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 19:10

Hi Anne
I'm new to the cottage garden forum, but have been on gardenweb in the hosta forum for a while now. Your project sounds wonderful and I especially like the use of metal trellis in your gardens.

About your pot painting project, I felt I should warn you (in case you don't already know) that many paints are toxic to plants in terracotta pots. It seems it's because the terracotta is porous. I've read that acrylic paints are OK to use and you'll want to protect your art work with acrylic paint sealer. You can find it at craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Micheal's.

About the metal trellis, my DH does a lot of welding and paints his metal projects. He always prepares the surface first, of course, by sanding any loose or flaking paint with a wire brush or steel wool. Be sure the surface is free of dirt and dust and dry before painting. Next step is primer. Always use primer before painting, following the directions. Most of his work is spray painted, but it may be easier for you to paint your trellis with a brush. Look for paint that is used specifically for metal outdoor items. Be sure to let it dry for a couple of days before moving it or letting it get wet.


RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Thank you Deb!

I knew to use Acrylic paint on the terracotta post, but thanks. It's good to let everyone else know who might not. I bought the acrylic paint for the pots already, but need the sealer. Will make a run into town this week to Hobby Lobby for the acrylic sealer. :)

Thanks HEAPS about the painting of the metal arch and trellis. The smaller trellis will be a snap to re-do, as I can pull it easily out of the garden, but the big Pouch-style Tuscan arch is going to be a major pill to sand, seal and repaint. Not looking forward to that project. Oh, my aching back and neck! Me and ladders do NOT get along. I have degenerative spin and arthritis. But, them's the breaks!

So glad I asked about this on here. You never know who might be out there in the ether world that knows just how to do what you do not know. You are a God-send.

Thanks again!!!

This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Wed, Feb 27, 13 at 18:18

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Annie I love the fragrance of Russian Olive, don't have one and don't have the room to plant one or I would. Be sure and post pics when you've pulled it all together it all sounds so wonderful.
Ever since I watched the movie 'Under a Tuscan Sun' I've been drawn to those colors that exude such warmth and charm. Terracotta pots, urns, arches and stonework, now if I was 20 years younger :). I do have tile floors throughout the house and plaster walls tho....


RE: A Touch of Tuscany


I would love to have ceramic tile floors installed here, but our basement can't support the weight. I've consulted with a guy about it. Your home sounds lovely. I love the cool feel of tile flooring. And it cleans so nicely too.

I love the rural Tuscany area and would love to go there someday before I get where I can't walk or ride a bike..
I can dream anyway. Right?

Over the years I have collected garden elements that all turned out to be of Tuscany flair. I was just attracted to that look. After my mother bought me that big arch last year for my birthday, I decided to bring them all together and see how it turns out.

That's my dream anyhow. I'll just do it and see how it turns out.

This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Wed, Feb 27, 13 at 18:19

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


The instructions I found on giving terracotta pots that look of Tuscany stated that you water down the acrylic paint, so that it is more of a glaze than a heavy coat of paint. It is supposed to look antique, so you don't want to paint them, just give the illusion of old pots. You can even add some brown watered down acrylic to the pot bottoms and under the rims so they look like they've been sitting in the dirt for ages. (my idea there).

First you scrub out your pots thoroughly and let them dry. Then add water to the acrylic paint so that it is thinner and brush it on. Use some crumpled up newspaper to wipe off any excesses. The rims can be painted gold, if you like, using newspaper - not a brush.
When you get the look and colour intensity that you want, allow the pots to thoroughly dry and apply an acrylic sealer.

Remember: You don't want them to look pristine & NEW, like you just bought them at the store. The whole idea is to make them look ages old, weather worn and sorta crusty, like they've been sitting in your garden for years. :)

I'll post pictures later on of my process showing before, during and after.

This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Wed, Feb 27, 13 at 18:21

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

I wish you and I lived near one another. We would haunt all the salvage stores for things "Tuscan d'art" and help one another. Teas in the garden and the whole lah ti dah! Your gardens inspire me!

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

  • Posted by okak 7b (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 25, 13 at 21:22

I am in oklahoma too and love the Tuscan look.
If you go to Anchor Paint in Okc they will give you info about painting your trellis. We were just there and will be painting our pipe fence. They have an inhibulator that you put on your rusted trellis and then you can paint right over the top. They use this on oil rigs, bridges etc. You can buy small amount of paint and they have lots of colors or they can custom make your color at a small charge.
We are really glad to have found them as I will be doing two trellis as well.
Hope this helps you.

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Annie, for painting steel or iron, I always go with good old Rust-Oleum. If the iron is rusty at all, I wire brush it and use their Rusty Metal Primer and a couple of coats of one of their colors over that. It lasts really well.

Someday I will be able to get outside again and do some yard and garden work too, once the snow leaves.


RE: A Touch of Tuscany

I love the Tuscan look especially aged statues, etc. like your lady in the garden.

I also recommend Rustoleum paint (here in Canada it's called Tremclad). Very durable for metal but we've also used it on wood.

For small projects I've used Patio Craft paint on pots and concrete and it's very durable.

I was once given a large painted pot as a gift and the decorative paint peeled off. I was told it should have been sealed inside as the moisture from the soil goes thru the terracotta and causes peeling. I do have 2 white painted pots with the paint peeling off but I've left them as I like that look.

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

I also would recommend Rustoleum. They do pretty well in our conditions up here in the cold, wet north.

I am surprised to hear you have Russian Olives. Over here in Ontario, they are considered pest trees for the way they can spread out and take over native trees. They are lovely though and do look very rustic.

And I also agree with lucky gal on this. Just so you protect your pots better, perhaps paint something waterproof inside the pot so it doesn't split and crack the outer paint.

Final, perhaps you might also like the peeling white paint, moss covered pot.. - and you probably know how to create moss paint with buttermilk and moss mixed up.


RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Sounds like a fun theme Annie. Got any pictures to share?

Not sure why, but terra cotta pots always remind me of Italy. Especially red geraniums in TC, lol. I've got a sort of collection of TC pots and they are a pain in the aster to lug in and out!!! Why oh why did I have to go for the big ones? Lol.

Not sure you are interested, but these links are to some fun Italy/garden pics. These links are a testament to how loaded my computer is with garden related links (rolling my eyes at myself here).

Mediterranean gardens: HERE
& Gardens in Italy: Garden World Images

I love that last site for when I want inspiration or ideas on how to use a certain plant.

Ps. you might also try soaking your pots in water for a different look- that way they will be less porous and won't absorb as much paint wash. You could even just soak one end and have that graduated color effect...

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

First, Thank You TM!

Rustoleum is way cheaper way for me to go. I use it all the time, but before I painted that arch and trellis, I wanted to ask you guys. I have missed seeing you since last summer. I wasn't on here as much as I wanted to be for personal reasons, as most of you know.

And thank you as well, luckgal and ianna ,

As for the Russian Olives - in this climate, they don't spread like that. You have to water them like crazy to get them growing and going (when we have drought years) and then they do fine. Too much rain and they are tornado fodder - they twist right out of the ground like my two big old beauties did. (it was a wet summer that year). Their roots don't grow deep - they just spread out, like you said. I have room for root-spreading trees. :) My soil is perfect for them - sandy loam, good drainage and a quite sloping hillside. That's why I terraced it.

This area was once part of that US gov.'s Conservation program to stop the Dust Bowl erosion our Okie dust wouldn't blow into Washington DC again and interrupt the more important issues while Congress was in session.. :) . My dad's older brother dropped out of high school and worked for WPA building bridges and laying brickwork and working with the crews who were Contouring the land to stop erosion, including this very area. Every time I dig up a beer bottle, I save it - it might have been Uncle's!

You wouldn't believe the things they buried in each contour - tractor parts, bottles, cans, truck parts,and etc. I even found the hood of an old Ford truck! I found a treasure - a family heirlom, so to speak. My great-grandfather and his brother invented a hair tonic to restore hair colour to gray hair (yes, the original Grecian formula was actually an Okie invention). The small company was located in my father's hometown. Well, I found one of their bottles. I guess one of the crew used it and tossed the bottle into the junk they filled with. It was called
"S & S, Special SHAMPOO - S & S Central Laboratories, Inc.

The factory was located on Central street in Cushing, Oklahoma - Central Laboratories...get it? :)

I have two other bottles from an entire crate of bottles that were found about 20 years ago in the back storage room of the old factory that are intact , still filled and sealed with the shampoo. It still bubbles when you shake the bottles. That's how I recognized the bottle when I found it in the contour.
Cool huh? Ironic that I would find it.

So...getting back on the topic, uh hum!

This entire ridge is contoured. I just followed the contours and added rock terracing. The hill is above my house, so posed a problem in figuring out how to garden and stop the rivers of rain water that rush down through my yard every spring. And I mean, it came down through here like White Water rapids! Anyway, the terracing worked and stopped the flooding runoff. Then I started gardening and amending the sandy soil. The soil further up the hill is underlain with clay and the entire ridge is underlain with heavy ironstone - a very dense, deep red rock that was formed in layers. This is also often where they find oil...several miles below., of course.

When I first bought this place, most areas around the house only had a few inches of soil. I had to use a pick and a maddox to chop it out down to three feet. Glad I did that when I was younger and stronger. I couldn't now. No way. After a few years of that fun stuff, I bought a big leaf shredder and started adding & building the soil on top. But, it is a major problem to garden here because those rock layers and sandy soil allow the water to drain down very quickly. That can be good - it allows me to be able to get out there and work the garden earlier than most people can in Spring, but in drought years, it is a serious issue. So, I have to drag the water hose from sunup to way past sunset every day through the summer. Since this drought hit, I have to water year round.

Enough on that.

As for the buttermilk and moss trick - I tried that. It's too dry here. No moss! The best I can do is have the green algae form on the pot bottoms. Good enough.

I like the peeling paint, aged look too. The reason I am repainting the arch and the metal trellis is that the aqua colour on the arch has faded too much - you can no longer see it unless you are standing next to it. It just looks very pastel. I don't think it was painted. Nothing flaking off, just fading. It is very old. The people I bought it from brought it up from New Mexico. It was in someone's old Spanish Garden. Wish I knew the complete history.

The metal trellis is black wrought iron that was painted white, but most of it has flaked off, so it can barely be seen in the garden. I want it to stand out more. It came from the same area in New Mexico, but it is not an antique, at least not in the same category of antiquity as the arch.

As Bugs Bunny used to say...that's all Folks!

Thanks everyone. Mmmmwah!

p.s. - if there are any typos in my text, you figure it out! :)

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


I missed your post. I was writing my reply to the others when you posted yours. Sorry honey.

Thanks for those LINKS. I will peruse them thoroughly.
I've done my fair share of touring the internet for inspirational pics too. Gads! No wonder my computer is so slow!

Thanks for the idea about water soaking the TC pots. I will try that! (I am wondering if that is also why the directions say to wash and thoroughly rinse the pots first??? I just thought of that, but it doesn't say, so I don't know.).
Anyway, thank you for that information and suggestion. Makes complete sense!

I love terracotta pots filled with Geraniums, too. They are very Mediterranean for sure. Growing up in Southern Calie where the Spanish influence runs deep, the gardens there were so similar to those in Tuscany. All of the Mediterranean countries share many of the same cultures. Stucco homes with walled gardens and olive trees. Terracotta pots filled with geraniums and lots of herbs like Rosemary and Lavender and Sages. No lawns, just dirt and gravel paths. Terraced patios paved in stone or brick. Roses and Bougainvillea. Figs and citrus trees. Winding dirt roads and little cottages dotting the hilly, rocky countryside. Vineyards and colourful poppies covering the grassy hillsides where gentle sheep are grazing...oh, I'm swooning. So much like my hometown once was.

I hope I can find a three-tiered fountain made of good quality concrete for my new area. The new area is on the hill above the Upper Garden and opens out from through an arched gateway, I think a fountain needs to go right there in the center, don't you?

My Great-great grandfather had one in front of his Rancho Hacienda and the fountain and the palms he planted are still there. It was a HUGE fountain. I loved playing on it.

My Mother fell into the big one at San Luis Rey Mission when she was a little girl. My grandfather was there on business, trading his honey with the monks for olive oil and other items. When she came up out of the water, the priest who was with Grandpa said in Spanish, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen". :)

Now, I just have to convince DH that we NEED one.
I don't want one that big, of course. Just a small one will do for me...say about 3-4 ft in diameter and 5 ft. tall. LOL
It will add to our property value, Babie! It's actually an investment!

Think that'll work?


This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 0:49

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


I went to the second link and found GOBS of awesome pics. I will post links to some of the ones that instantly grabbed me.

First this one. It looks like where I was born and raised. Amazingly so.


This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 0:52

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Second pic that grabbed me:

Olea, 'TUSCAN FRANTOIO' is the Olive tree.
I want this in my garden. I have two of those same terracotta urns, plenty of rocks and herbs. Now I just need the olive trees!

Here is a link that might be useful: OLEA 'TUSCAN FRANTOIO' AND TERRACOTA POT

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

I guess I will have to look for this rose, too. :)

Rosa, 'Tuscan Sun', a floribunda rose

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosa, 'Tuscan Sun'

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Oh! Found another rose:

Rosa, 'Tuscany' - English Rose, David Austin

Fits right in with all my new purple and magenta roses. Awesome!

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosa, Tuscany

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Pelargoniums (Geraniums) on a wooden wheelbarrow. in Tuscany.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pelargoniums on wooden wheelbarrow

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Swooning over this one...

I love everything about this flower!


Never find that one in Okie though. :(

Here is a link that might be useful: Jasmine, 'Garnd Duke of Tuscany'

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

In this photo, just replace the village on the hill above with wild dry grasses, sagebrush, Manzanita bushes and outcrops of white and black granite boulders and you'd have an almost exact image of my Great-uncle Murray's old Olive Grove on the family ranch in Southern Calif..
Brings back such pleasant memories.

Here is a link that might be useful: Olea 'Europea' - a grove of European Olives

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Last one I will post from this site:

Red Pelargoniums (geraniums) spilling from a trough, Tuscany.

There are more if you want to go look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Red Geraniums in a trough

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


Thanks for your input. I will definitely keep that inhibitor in mind when it comes time to repaint my old metal lawn chairs. They tend to rust out bad if you don't keep them in good shape.

My arch and trellis, however, are not rusted. They are in excellent shape. I just want to paint them.

Thanks so much for jumping in with useful info.


RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Tuscany has also grapes and lots of it. Can grapes live in your area?

It is always of interest to me how you built up good soil on really dry terrain. You should have a blog to show how you do these things.

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


I have given some thought to blogging, but don't know how to go about it. Can you make money doing that? If so, I could dig it

If you read my above blabbering, I mentioned vineyards.
Yes, I have grapes. They are yummy. With this evil drought and triple-digit temps we've had the past two years, last year the fruit shriveled up just as they are almost ready to harvest. (grrrr)
There are actually quite a number of Wineries in Oklahoma now. Yes, we have our own brands of wine - crazy, huh? The state finally came to their senses and voted in a law allowing it. They realized there was money to be made, and that means more revenue. ( duh!)

There are four wineries and vineyards very near here. The bigger one also has a fine restaurant. You can tour the vineyards and taste-test their wares. Good stuff, too. Then, sit down for a lovely candle-lit meal sitting out on the huge patio balcony at sunset, overlooking the vineyards. Awesome place. You have to make reservations there.

I should go talk to them and see how they keep their fruit from shriveling on the vines in the horrible heat of summer. Maybe use some of those floating covers. I bought some to use this year over my tomatoes, if need be. I could get more for the grapes, I guess. Worth a try.

Even with all the rain and snowfall we've had in the past month, I still had to go out and water today. Brrrr. Everything is looking good though and I enjoy watering.

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

LOL, glad you liked the site Annie!

I have that 'Tuscan Sun' rose. Not my fav color (I naturally tend to go for the more pastel or dark reddish/purples and the David Austin types...) but it is a great plant. Very upright and vigorous. It starts out that golden orange color and fades to a coppery pink. Loaded with flowers, even though it is in a bit o' shade.

I wonder if the type of grape you got wasn't suited to the extreme climate? Some time ago I was watching a program where some vineyard owner said that, because of the changing climate, they were going to start planting grape varieties that were more heat tolerant than the ones they were growing now. Thought it was interesting...

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


That totally makes sense about the one grape variety not having extreme heat tolerance. The other grape, however, is a wild, desert dry wash creek-growing variety, but it is native to Southern California, though. It did great in 2011, I got lots of grapes. They wee yummy! But not last year. I didn't water it enough though. It was all I could do to water everything close to the house. I need to move it closer to the rest of the garden, I reckon.
I will check online for the variety to see what it says. Thanks!

I'm with you on the rose colours. I have a few orange-types and reds, but tend to be partial to my pinks, mauves, wines, and purples and various shades of white to cream.

Later Chickadee!

RE: A Touch of Tuscany


That totally makes sense about the one grape variety not having extreme heat tolerance. The other grape, however, is a wild, desert dry wash creek-growing variety, but it is native to Southern California.

The latter did great in 2011, I got lots of grapes. They were yummy! But not last year. I didn't irrigate it enough. It was all I could do to water everything close to the house. I need to move it closer to the rest of the garden, I reckon.
I will check online for the Champagne variety to see what it says. Thanks!

I'm with you on the rose colours. I have a few orange-types and reds, but tend to be partial to my pinks, mauves, wines, and purples and various shades of white to cream.

Later Chickadee!

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

ps. I found a neat dyi project you might like, on making a terra cotta teired fountain. Posted it to you fountain thread ;-)

RE: A Touch of Tuscany

Annie- It all sounds lovely! I hope you post some pictures of your garden. That dark purple rose is beautiful.

'Under the Tuscan Sun' is one of my favorite movies, too. Here's a link to Hooked on Houses/Under the Tuscan Sun, in case anyone wants to see some pictures. Scroll down to see the garden :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Hooked on Houses

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