Field Trip — Garden Walk Buffalo

Summer, please slow down! When it’s Garden Walk time, you know that summer is almost over! Well, at least we get to enjoy some beautiful gardens and get inspiration for our own.

This past weekend, I got a chance to take part in the Garden Walk Buffalo. It is the largest garden walk in the nation — with over 400 gardens that take part. It’s really nice because you not only get to see great gardens, but you also get to take a walking tour of our beautiful and historic city.

So, I am going to quit writing and let you enjoy some pictures of the past weekend’s garden walk!

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Bidwell Parkway, one of three headquarters for Garden Walk Buffalo.

Bidwell Parkway, one of three headquarters for Garden Walk Buffalo.

In the city, most front yards are just flower gardens.

In the city, most front yards are just flower gardens.

Koi Pond -- one koi is over 25 years old!

Koi Pond — one koi is over 25 years old!

Love the water feature!

Love the water feature!

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Flamingos!

Flamingos!

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Lazy, Hazy Garden Days– Mid-Summer Thoughts

Baby, it’s hot outside! It’s hard to believe it’s the end of July! The summer is flying by as usual. It’s been a busy few weeks, as we are prepping our house to get some major renovations this week! New siding, new windows and a new front porch!

Hot and humid days mean one thing -- canal cruising!

Hot and humid days mean one thing — canal cruising! 

Now that summer is at its peak, I thought I would take some time to note some observations.

But first, a few thoughts to note:

*First off– NOW is the time to get out to your local nurseries— it’s that time of year again– 50% off all spring nursery stock!!! I went a little crazy and got a few new things, which I will post as soon as I get some pictures.

*The deer are finally making their rounds in my neighborhood. My lily is proof of this. Deer LOVE lilies. Time to start spraying my egg concoction. I do believe that all the rain we have received this year is the reason why they have just started stalking gardens.

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We went to the Farmers’ Market this past weekend, and my husband purchased a perennial hibiscus for our back yard. And, of course, it was on sale! Yes, my gardens are expanding yet again.

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Here are some things to think about in the garden for the rest of the growing season:

It’s time to think about Fall Blooming plants! Yes, designing a four-season garden takes a lot of thought and patience. I am still trying to figure out how to do this. There are a lot of great plants that bloom during the fall, including the orchid-like Toad Lily and the beautiful Monkshood.

It’s time to think about next year. I hate to say this, but now is the time to start planning for the spring. Take a look at catalogs, online, etc. for bulbs that you would like for the spring. I know I have some pretty good ideas for what I want for next year, so I will be ordering soon to make sure I get the bulbs that I want.

Keep watering! While many regions are getting lots of rain this year, including mine, there are a lot of places that aren’t getting anything. If you don’t live in a drought-stricken area, stick to a regular watering routine. It’s the peak of the growing season, and there are many things that don’t start blooming until the end of the summer. Make sure they are hydrated enough!

If you are going to plant now, make sure to do it in the coolest parts of the day– in the early morning, and after the sun goes down. Planting during the hottest parts of the day puts stress on the plants– it’s best to do it when the temps are a little cooler.

Last but not least, enjoy a garden walk. The Buffalo Garden Walk is next weekend, and I can’t wait to go and get inspiration! The dog days of summer allow you to not only enjoy your own gardens, but enjoy others! Take a look at the garden walks going on in your neck of the woods!

Summer is speeding by, but there is still plenty of time to play in the garden! Sit back and enjoy what the rest of the season holds for you!

A Natural Pause

In Buffalo, summer is our “jam”. We have summers that people only wish they had. One summer tradition in Buffalo is Shakespeare in Delaware Park, where theater students hone their skills by performing in a Shakespeare play outdoors. Before the show went on, I took a walk over to the Japanese Garden of Buffalo. It was so nice and beautiful, I had to just stop and take it all in. Enjoy.

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So “Mulch” To Talk About In the Garden

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! Our weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Every minute of the weekend was booked, as usual.

This was quite a grand finale!

This was quite a grand finale!

My weekend was rounded out with a trip down to my parents house, where the valley was abuzz because it’s haying season.

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As I went and visited my with my Aunt at her house, she mentioned that her Lady’s Mantle was growing like crazy and that she still had to mulch her one bed that was full of it. So, that of course got me thinking about mulching and why it is important and why you should do it.

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Mulch is any layer or covering over soil. Mulch can be a number of things, I found out. And I was surprised that some of it was considered to be mulch. But, it makes sense.

There are several types of mulch, the most common being bark or wood chips. This is considered organic mulch — mulch that will decompose over time. Some other examples of organic mulch include:

  • compost
  • manure
  • grass clippings
  • newspaper
  • pine needles
  • leaves
  • straw

There are also several synthetic or inorganic mulches — mulch that does not decompose. Examples of synthetic mulch are:

  • rubber chips
  • landscape paper
  • garbage bags, or plastic sheets
  • gravel or stone — Inorganic

What do they all have in common?

They keep the weeds out and retain moisture–they make your beds look nice and well-manicured.

What are the differences between organic and synthetic/inorganic?

Organic mulch decomposes, therefore it helps with the soil’s fertility. The more you use bark chips, grass, pine needles, etc, the more it enriches your soil. You will not get these benefits from synthetic mulch like plastic sheets. Even though it keeps the weeds away, it won’t allow water in either, which goes against the idea of using mulch in the first place.

The mulch most people closely associate with, bark or wood chip mulch, comes in different colors, and from different trees. Hardwoods and softwoods, such as Cedar, are made into bark or wood chip mulch. It comes in colors of red, black, and natural.

What mulch do I use?

Many moons ago, when I was just moving into our home, and the backyard was just that– a backyard with nothing in it, I took my first stab at landscaping the one side of my fence. I went over to Lowe’s and picked out a mulch that didn’t make me recoil– sorry folks, but I really don’t like the bright red mulch that most people/places have. It drives me nuts!

I asked the guy to load up my then Honda Civic with 8 bags of natural cedar mulch, and he told me I picked the best mulch there was! Totally a crapshoot. I liked the natural color, and because it’s Cedar, and, as we all know, Cedar retains moisture quite well, so it was a lucky guess!

Do you mulch only in the Summer/Growing Season?

No, you can mulch in the fall, too! BUT you don’t have to buy any, just wait for your leaves to come down from the trees! Leaves, in my opinion, are the best mulch for the winter– it protects your plants from harsh weather, and when it decomposes, it leaves your soil full of wonderful nutrients.

How often do you mulch?

You don’t have to mulch every year. In fact its better if you did it every other, or maybe every couple of years. However, I have mulched all of my beds the last two years, only because I keep making more! Once you have beds established, you don’t need to mulch as much. Just get out the ole garden hoe and mix up your mulch with your soil.

So “mulch” to talk about, but I believe this information will do for now. This is what I have learned about mulch, and I hope you find it of interest for your gardens, too!