“Mum” is the Word on My Crazy Bulb Obsession and Other Musings

This past weekend was one of the nicest first weekends of fall that I can remember! All of my fall-blooming plants are doing so well– I am so happy that everything is coming along!

My first Morning Glory finally bloomed!

My first Morning Glory finally bloomed!

The problem with me is that when the weather is so nice, all I want to do is be outside, which leads to me neglecting my indoor household responsibilities. No worries, Monday and Tuesday were rain-filled days for us, and I was able to get a lot of stuff done inside. Which is the main reason why it’s Wednesday and I am just starting this post!

I was very busy in the garden over the weekend, and I went a little nuts on Friday after work. In a post not too long ago, I talked about Fall Bulbs and which ones I was going to plant. Heheheh ehh……yea, Friday night I went shopping at my local Lowe’s and ended up going bulb crazy! I also made sure to get my mums. I still would like to get a couple more of those as well.

Mums and Bulbs. Went a little crazy!

Mums and Bulbs. Went a little crazy!

Yep, I even expanded my flower beds to accommodate the more than 100 bulbs I planted into that particular area!! And that was just one bed! I ended up with a total of 160+ bulbs in the ground by weekend’s end. Really?!!!

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I really can’t help it. There are so many different flowers I want to try, and I end up getting the bulbs just to try them. I was lacking in the Spring-blooming plant department, so I pretty much made up for that over the weekend. It was exhausting, but I managed to get it done. I am still waiting for some other Allium bulbs to come in the mail, so when they do, I will be over the 200 mark with Spring bulbs. I think my four-season garden is coming along just fine now!

It dawned on me as I was just finding places to plant some of these bulbs that I needed to mark them in some way, shape or form. The past few years, I have forgotten where I have planted things, and end up digging them up and losing the bulbs.

Here is my tip for you when it comes to marking your bulbs you planted:

*I simply took pictures of the bulb packages in the exact space I planted them. 

I planted hyacinths under my old bluebird house.

I planted hyacinths under my old bluebird house.

You may have other ways you mark your bulbs that are more efficient, but for me, to have photo proof keeps me from losing serious bulbs.

The overall effort of this mass bulb planting included purchasing four extra bags of dirt and the aid of a special little helper.

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She did a good job, and to show my appreciation, we went to the playground and then sat on the roof of our local ice cream joint. There is no better place to watch the sunset than on top of Mississippi Mudds!

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So, this coming weekend has us getting pumpkins–part of my front entryway fall decor. Can’t wait to share!

I love fall and everything that comes with it! I made a trip to Yankee Candle last Friday night to get some wax melts and fell in love with “Autumn Leaves” scent. I just got a coupon in the mail and can’t wait to get some time to run over again and get the big jar candle!

Oh, and my last musing for this post– my sunflowers. I did a whole tutorial last year on sunflowers and how to harvest the seeds. Well, with all the rain we received in the past two days, they collapsed and fell just like last year. I was disappointed this year because my sunflowers didn’t get nearly as big as they did last year. No matter, I cut the heads off to dry and was dragging 6ft. sunflower stalks to the curb. Here’s hoping for a better crop next year!

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Whoever said gardening wasn’t exercise didn’t drag 6ft. sunflower stalks, that’s for sure!

Spotlight: Garden Shed — Post Hole Digger

Fall is just a few days away, and I am not complaining about the great weather we are having. It’s finally cool enough to do things without sweating like crazy, and honestly, even though summer was hot and steamy, I still prefer milder temperatures. The one good thing about sweaty, oppressive summers is lots of beach going, and that, my friends, I do miss!

Perfect fall weather during a walk along the canal.

Perfect fall weather during a walk along the canal.

I will tell you it’s a lot more pleasant to get yard work done. Now that the summer has slowed down, I have been able to finally finish some projects I started in May!! Yes, remember when I wrote my DIY series — Bottle Trees? Well, this past weekend, I finally finished it! I got a lot of interest from my readers in regards to that post, so I would like to go through it step by step with you so you know exactly what I did.  I can definitely tell you my bottle tree would not have been possible without the help of my friend the post hole digger!

And that got me thinking about all the tools and gadgets we may have in our garage or shed that we have no idea how to use, but can be so important when maintaining our gardens. So, I am going to start off a new series of posts all dedicated to our garden sheds, and all the great, practical tools they have in them!

The Post Hole Digger = Garden Decor Central!

This is a post hole digger. I purchased this Kobalt Post Hole Digger at Lowes. They range in price from $25 and up.

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I know it looks scary, and to be honest with you, I had no idea how the heck to use this thing, and really still can’t tell you exactly how to use it. But, somehow I made it work and it works SO much better than trying to dig a whole for a post with a shovel. Nightmare- and the post doesn’t even stay up!

So, I first used it by opening it fully and twisting it. By twisting it, I push the handles outward and pinch the dirt. (As demonstrated in above photo). I keep doing this over and over until I have reach the desired depth of the hole I want.

Here I am, making this happen!

Here I am, making this happen!

After I make a hole, I take the 8ft pine post I purchased and put a coat of polyurethane on it, hoping that this will allow it to prevent any rotting of the wood in the future.

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My 8 ft. post is about to get cut down to 5ft. for my bottle tree.

My 8 ft. post is about to get cut down to 5ft. for my bottle tree.

I want to thank my husband for his assistance with my bottle tree. He was very patient and supportive!

Now it’s time to take the gutter spikes I purchased a LONG time ago and start drilling them into the post.

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The finished product.

The finished product.

Now, for the bottles. I purchased mine at a dollar store. I also had some left over wine bottles.

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And now, the finished product!

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There you have it! I am especially proud of this one because I knew a little bit more of what I was doing this time around, and hopefully this one will last longer than the previous one I had.

Now, I know you are thinking I am a little dumb for making one now that the weather is turning cold and will eventually be snowy, but I can tell you that I made this specifically for Winter Interest— something nice and colorful to look at when its cold and snowy!

Oh, and if you are wondering what I did with that last 3ft of my pine post, wonder no more! I had my husband attach a bird house that my mother-in-law purchased for me on it and it’s now out back of my garage.

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So, there you have it! Creating diy garden decor with the help of a few friends! Never underestimate the power of those dirty power horses in your garden shed!

“Fall” Into Spring Garden Prep — Selecting/Planting Bulbs

As we all adjust to our regularly scheduled lives– kids back to school, getting back into work mode, vacations are over, etc., we now have to start thinking about what we have to do to get our gardens ready for next season! We have to make sure they get through whatever type of winter Mother Nature throws at us first in order to insure our spring bounty. So the first part of this “Fall” Into Spring Garden Prep is a natural– Spring Bulbs. What bulbs should you plant? How many should you plant? When is a good time to plant? Hopefully, I will be able to answer those questions for you.

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*First things first: you can plant bulbs anytime during the fall right up until the ground freezes. I was planting bulbs in early November a couple of years ago. 

There are several garden seed/bulb catalogs out there that offer several different types of spring bulbs. There are so many varieties of daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths that you shouldn’t have a problem finding the bulbs you would like.

Here are a few sites that I really like when it comes to the selection and variety of bulbs and seeds that are offered:

So, what bulbs should you plant? 

Plant whatever bulbs you want! But, consider the factors: how much room do you have, do you have a large deer population, etc. There are several types of bulbs that are deer resistant, and you will notice that many garden websites have a whole section dedicated to them. If you have a lot of deer hanging around, stick with daffodils and allium varieties. Tulips are great, but deer tend to love them a lot. Another thing about tulips is that the bulbs tend to exhaust themselves over time, so you will be replanting them more often.

How many should you plant?

Well, as many as you want! Do you see a pattern here?! Whatever you want– just factor in how much space you have, and maintain adequate space between bulbs. You want to get as close to a four-season garden as you possibly can. Try to create a good distribution of spring-fall blooming plants as best as you can.

Bulbs that I am planting:

*Narcissus, Iris — I actually got these bulbs from my parents. The iris’ are close to 50+ years old, and were my grandmother’s. The narcissus were from my grandmother as well, so I am very happy that I have some of my grandmother’s flowers in my garden. After we had our house re-sided, my flower beds were destroyed from feet, and I completely changed it. Now, I have some iris’ and narcissus’ planted in there.

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*Alliums — you know I love alliums. I went through a planting tutorial last year with allium bulbs. I am going to order some really neat varieties, and I can wait to show you what ones I will be planting!

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*Daffodils — I am thinking of adding a few daffodils to the mix as well. I need deer resistant bulbs because of the problems my neighborhood has with our four-legged friends.

I hope this helps you a little to better understand spring bulbs and what you would like to plant. It is definitely worth the effort to plant bulbs now, because as everyone in a snow-filled area of the world knows, there is nothing better than seeing little flowers springing up from the ground after a LOOOONG winter!

One Year Anniversary and a Field Trip — Nannen Arboretum

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend– we made it to the beach for one last time this season, and then wrapped our summer up with a camping trip! With the weather so oppressively hot for the weekend (extremely rare, we usually have rain and cold), I wanted to make sure we got in everything we wanted to do this summer. We did, but I have to admit I can’t wait for the slower pace of the fall. I have to wait another two weeks before I can think about staying home all weekend!

I also wanted to make a note that my blog celebrated its one year anniversary on September 4! I am very proud of myself for publishing something once a week since then! I am grateful to all of my readers who have stuck with me for the year! I had an idea for this blog a year before I even knew where to begin with it. I started this blog out of professional frustration, I guess you could say. I wanted to get back into my writing habit since I mainly do design and layout for my day job. But I figured if I was going to do anything extra, it would have to be something that I love. And, I truly do love writing blog posts every week. I love to pass along any new tips or knowledge to anybody who is just as clueless as I am about gardening. So again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog every week. It really does make me feel that I am helping someone out one way or another!

Looking forward, I have a couple posts in the hopper that I am still working on, but this week, I wanted to take you to a small, beautiful place in the southern tier of Western New York, also known as my home! Two weeks ago, I mentioned that my brother got married. The wedding took place in the beautiful setting of the Nannen Arboretum in Ellicottville, NY, also known as the “Aspen of the East”. A small, rural village that is one of the most beautiful. Here are some pictures I took on my smartphone, since I had didn’t have time to get out the DSLR. Bridal party duties came first!

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The wedding venue.

The wedding venue.

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A Natural Pause

When we went out of town for my brother’s wedding, we visited my favorite place in the whole world, Allegany State Park in my hometown. We took a hike to the popular “Bear Caves” and this is what I saw. I had to take the picture! Enjoy.

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