Forward to Spring — The Winter Clean-Up

Happy Spring, Everyone!

What a wild and crazy winter we had here in the Northeast! As someone who lives in between two great lakes and is used to some challenging weather, I can’t remember a more windy, bizarre winter. With winds up to 75 mph, it definitely was a “hunker down and stay warm” kind of winter. This left me longing for spring faster than usual. Fortunately, my daughter kept me busy, and we have some other exciting things in the mix this year, which will allow me to flex my gardening muscle and challenge me in a different way. Stay tuned for more information!

The Doldrums of Winter

While winter kind of let me down this year, (January was OK, but February and after was blizzard central), I got to do something I haven’t really done since my daughter was born– read!

Amazon prime kept me busy– I pretty much bought books all season long!

They were all great reads, and I think I will be posting my other favorite reads in a future post. However, I am recommending this one first, because, it was the first one I purchased and the first one I loved!


The Atlas of Poetic Botany by Francis Halle is a WONDERFUL read. Honestly, this book was an Instagram Ad on my feed, and I was intrigued. It tells of the unique plants the botanist has encountered in his many years studying the rainforest. The illustrations are delightful. The words flow, making it an engaging and interesting read. It does not get boring and dry like some other informational/reference books on plants can sometimes get, hence the “Poetic” in the name. If you want to learn about the interesting plants of the tropics, including a “walking tree”, I encourage you to read this. There is another book in this series coming out in May called, “The Atlas of Poetic Zoology”, and I can’t wait to get that one!

Spring Things

This morning, I was finally able to survey the perimeter of my yard, to see signs of spring that I have been anxiously awaiting. Just the other day, we had snow burying all the little treasures just waiting to pop out and bloom.


From left to right, my alliums, hellebores and tulips are looking good! I guess my leaf mulch helped them get through the sub-zero wind and weather this year! (At least, I’d like to think it did). I am really anxious to get outside and clean up the twigs and other crazy things that blew in and claimed residence to my landscape.

Garden Plans

Yes, it has happened– I have officially become that person who wants to try to grow many varieties of dahlias. I like them because they are just so darn pretty, and they make people happy.  You can take them into work and give them to co-workers who are having a bad day, and they immediately perk up. They bloom well into fall and you can have fresh blooms all the time. I guess that’s why I like them so much. So, I saw one of my fellow gardeners on Instagram have a catalog for Swan Island Dahlias. I quickly requested one myself.


So, cut flower gardeners, if you are looking for a good selection of dahlias, this one is for you! Or, if you know of another great collection, please feel free to share! I have purchased a few dahlia bulbs from my local store, so it will be nice to try them from the different places.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to enjoy spring and get my hands dirty!


Gifts for Gardeners – 2016 Edition

It’s hard to believe that Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks! December always ends up being a stressful month for me, no matter how I try to make it OK. One year ago today, it was 70 degrees out– there were dandelions on the ground!!

Fast forward to today– it’s 33 degrees, and at my house, we are getting our first real blast of Lake Effect snow. What a difference a year makes!


All perfect timing to do my annual Gifts for Gardeners list! And the funny thing? I never get any of them!!! LOL

Here are some things that I am going to make an effort to acquire– because they are both practical and nice to have!


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Muck Boots— I LOVE that they are now making a wellie-like winter boot! I love the Royal Horticulture Society version, but unfortunately, you can’t get it in the US. I am sure I could probably order it online straight from Europe.

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Plant:Exploring the Botanical World –I have heard nothing but good things about this book, and after taking a peek at the preview on Amazon, I can see why. The illustrations are stunning, and the book itself looks in depth and informative. I need to get my hands on this!

 Women's UA StudioLux® Beanie LIMITED TIME: FREE U.S. SHIPPING 2 Colors $34.99

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Under Armour Studio Lux Beanie — I LOVE this hat! I own two and want every color! They are comfy and cover up my ears just right! So, when I am out filling up bird feeders or taking pictures of Winter Interest in my garden, this will be the first one I pick up!


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Smith and Hawken Terracotta Pots — My garden plan next year includes using more terracotta planters in my garden. I have to start thinking about stocking up!

Joseph Bentley 21 in. Wooden Garden Trug

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Garden Trug — This is the one thing I have wanted to get for some time, but keep pushing it off for something else! This is so simple, practical and beautiful. If we are expanding our veggie garden, I want to be prepared! I might actually buy this for myself and put it under the tree– then I will finally have something under the tree for me LOL!


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Garden Trowel and Fork Set— Playing off my namesake blog– you NEED a good set of tools to do work in your garden. This is the perfect, quality set! Besides, what would be a Gift for Gardeners list without the necessities!
The 2017 Whole Seed Catalog

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The Whole Seed Catalog — I just saw this at Barnes and Noble the other day, and got excited, because now that we are expanding our vegetable garden, this will be the perfect periodical to pick out some great new seeds to grow!
I hope this list is helpful– I can guarantee any gardener in your life will be thrilled to get any of these!
Happy holiday shopping!

Great Garden Reads

Andddd we are back up and running! I had a little computer situation– yea, almost had to buy another one if it weren’t for my husband who knows how to play around with them and get them working again! Thank goodness all is well (for now), and I can get back to blogging!

In between the computer issues and being sicker than I have been in YEARS– I got walloped this time– I had to sit back and rest as much as I could. If you know me, I am a reader– books, magazines, anything. But I LOVE magazines. Do you ever find yourself gravitating towards the magazine aisle of any grocery store, drug store, or book store? Yep, that’s me, too! I subscribe to them as well as buy them in the stores.

My tastes have changed over the years. I went from Seventeen magazine as a teenager to every fitness magazine under the sun for a while, and then there was Rolling Stone magazine, several outdoor magazines, The New Yorker…  and now garden magazines!

Garden and Decor magazines can be great inspiration. Please do not be intimidated by the absolutely gorgeous homes and gardens these periodicals display. The intent of any magazine is to give you ideas for your own home and garden, not to make you feel bad because you don’t have a 100+ acre spread with guest house and sprawling gardens. I personally love the photography and articles in a lot of these periodicals.

BUT, I will admit I am picky. I like high quality, worth-my-money reads. Because we all know magazines can be expensive. Some of the ones I like are almost 10 bucks a pop!


Here is a pile of magazines and a book that I am loving right now!

Here are a few magazines (and a book) that I think are fantastic reads:

Gardenista– this book was published in October, and a very easy, yet informative read on making your backyard a getaway. They not only show you examples of great garden ideas, but also point out great garden tools/gear, give you a directory to good landscapers/designers, and much more. This should be something on your Christmas list!

American Magazines:

  • Garden Design — (Not pictured!! My copy was hiding on me!!) Fantastic publication. This was the first magazine I actually subscribed to immediately when I really started getting into gardening. Photography is amazing, and they give you an in depth look on designing your garden to the way that fits your home and life.
  • Fine Gardening- This magazine is, in my opinion, the best gardening periodical in America. It is so informative– picks out plants that are best for your region of the country, and they go in depth with a lot of different aspects of gardening that you do not normal see.
  • Elle Decor — This is not exactly a garden magazine, but for interior design. However, I like this magazine’s idea of using different flowers and plants in your living space. And it will do a feature every now and then on a great garden. Besides, I love design and I am constantly changing my little house around!

British Magazines:

By far, British gardening magazines are my favorite. Europeans take their gardening seriously, and it shows in the pages of some great periodicals. Gardening is a way of life for them, rather than just a novel hobby. The articles you read about can be everything from making your own butter to scything (yes, scything!). Here are a few titles to check out some time:

  • Gardens Illustrated — if you want a magazine worth your money, you will not be disappointed with this one. Great photography, great plant and flower pics, great features. Must read.
  • Country Living-– The British edition of this magazine is wonderful. It is full of some of the best feature writing on classic country living. The gardening features are informative and I could read this over and over!
  • Elle Decoration — British version of Elle Decor and another great read on inspiring design and gardening. I love that I can get two of my favorite subjects in one read!
  • House and Garden — Love this magazine for its great spreads on fantastic gardens, along with interior design. Another magazine that I get two subjects in one!


What are some of your favorite reads?