A Spring Showcase

Warm weather, bring it on! We are finally getting nice, mild temperatures in Western New York! I am happy to report that a good portion of my bulbs I planted last year are coming up very well! It’s been really great to see everything in bloom. For a long time, I didn’t have anything come up for me in the Spring, only because nothing was planted! I took a lot of time in the fall to plant over 200 bulbs, which included everything from daffodils to alliums — one of my favorite spring flowers. I have a post in the works for why you should plant them. I have planted many different varieties that will be coming up at different times of the growing season. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of planting different types of plants, shrubs, trees, etc. that come up at different times of the year. Making a show for your landscape last year round is a long and slow process. Enjoy the process and remember that your hard work will not go unnoticed.

I have a few pictures of my spring show that’s going on right now. Please hop on over to my instagram feed to see more of my spring flower photos.Instagram is one of the easiest ways for me to post all of my pictures on my many outdoor excursions.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. In between all the BBQs and fun, make sure to take a moment to remember and appreciate those who have fought and are fighting for our freedom every day.



A Natural Pause

Yes, the temperatures have finally felt like winter around here, but with very little snow, it’s hard to think of it as such. On my lunch walk, I love to take pictures of Buffalo Harbor. This is a picture I took a few weeks ago. Enjoy.


That’s a Wrap — A Growing Season “Summer”y

We got our first snowflakes today! Overall, this weekend has been very cold, but after snowflakes flew this morning, it ended up being nice and sunny, so I went out and took a hike in an area park to get some nice autumn pictures.

Ellicott Creek in the fall.

Ellicott Creek in the fall.


Because it was so cold, I am thankful I got most of my yard work done when I did, even though now I am questioning myself as to whether or not I planted my spring bulbs too early this year. My parents came up to visit us (the first time since my daughter’s birthday in April– their social calendar is busier than mine), and I wanted to show my mom all my work that I had done in my back yard, and I came across this:

My bulbs are confused by the warm fall weather we are having!

My bulbs are confused by the warm fall weather we are having.

I noticed that in the new extended spring bulb bed that I made, that some of them are popping up. I hope this doesn’t mean that I have lost them until the following spring. Western New York has had an unseasonably warm October, with temps in the 60s and 70s, I have even notice that my clematis and a few of my coneflower varieties have new blooms!

I just hope they still manage to come up in the spring. Good thing it was only a few bulbs and not a lot. After seeing this yesterday, I went out this morning with my daughter and noticed that the deer ate a good part of my ryusen weeping japanese maple. That depressed me a little, but I know it’s too early to start wrapping things up, so I will do the “wait and see” for the next couple of days. If it becomes more frequent, I will have to start covering things earlier than I would like.

The deer are now taking a liking to my little Japanese Maple.

The deer are now taking a liking to my little Japanese Maple.

Looking at this carnage somehow got me thinking about the past growing season– what I did right, what I did wrong, and I what I would do better next year.

Most Improved Duty: Watering 

Yes, I must say, I worked really hard this year, especially after purchasing three trees, to make sure everything was watered. I learned my lesson last year when I didn’t water my arborvitae enough and they died over the winter because they lost more water than they had. I want to make sure everything has an adequate water supply as we go into the winter. I am even watering in the fall here, when we go without rain for extended periods of time.

What I Need to Work On: Plant Placement

Ok, so this one is kind of a misleading title. I mean, gardening itself is a process where you are constantly moving things to another place to see if does better, or transplanting because they are outgrowing their place, etc., etc. I think sometimes I get so plant crazy that I end up planting things too close together and then there isn’t any room for them to grow when they actually mature. Maybe I am just worrying too much, but I just want everything, and with such little space to plant things, I wonder if I am crowding some out!

What I Need Work On: Taking Better Care of my Containers

I will tell you I need to water these better than I do. Containers always dry out faster, and I somehow seem to neglect them. I must be better with this next year!

What I Did Well On: Creating Balance

I can honestly say that I feel I have finally created zen with everything that I have planted. It feels good, nothing is lopsided like it used to be, and it genuinely makes me happy. Even after tearing out everything behind my garage for a third time in two years, I can now say I am satisfied. I actually feel like I know what I am doing.

So, how did your garden do this past growing season? What would you like to do differently next time?

Garden and the Gear — What I’m Digging- Fall Edition

I hope everyone is having a great week!

*First things first— I have created a new page on my blog!!! I am so excited that I actually figured out how to do this. I get so intimidated by technology sometimes, I feel I can’t ever figure it out on my own. But, I did! It’s a whole new page entitled “Visit Buffalo, NY” that sets right alongside the “Home” and “About” page. Please take the time to peruse it, and get to know the city I currently call home! 

Aside from that, with such wonderful weather Western New York has been having, it’s hard to believe the coming weekend is said to bring rain and SNOW.

This tree is absolutely beautiful. I have never seen anything like it!

This tree is absolutely beautiful. I have never seen anything like it!

Nooooooo! No matter, it really got me thinking that while I still have a few things to do in the garden, I need to prepare for the weather to come.

Now, if anyone knows me, I love GEAR. I am such an outdoor gear junkie, I will spend next to nothing on work clothes, but make sure I have the best outdoor/active apparel and gear around! Go figure! Since I know I will be messing around outside in the rain doing last-minute gardening, hiking, running, etc., I know I need to check out the latest gear for me and the garden. It just so happens I have a few things on my gear list that I am thinking about investing in for my zone 6a weather.

  1. Rain Boots — When you are stomping around in the mud doing the last of your winter garden prep, you need a good pair of rain boots. I can tell you any rain boot will do, but I do have my eye on these:
    1. Helly Hansen Rain Boots — Love these and they look so practical and comfy — they are, after all, Norwegian, so you know you will be able to get out of them what you pay for them, that’s for sure!
    2. Helly Hansen Lyness Insulated Coat — I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time finding a rain coat that is just right for spring or fall. It’s still cold, but not too cold, so you need some insulation, but not too much… yea I actually saw this at my local sporting goods store and am pretty convinced this coat will be perfect when I have to start prepping my flower beds with burlap in the cold and rain. A little on the pricey side, but definitely something that will take you from the garden to the office.
    3. Hand Forged Weeding Fork from White Flower Farm — you know from my last “What I’m digging” that I was really eyeing up a tulip shaped trowel, and still have that on my Christmas list. Well, this is actually the perfect gear I need to dig up the last of my dwarf sunflower roots that have been giving me troubles while I tug and tug and look foolish because I can’t get the roots out of the ground! Again, this is pricey, so your best bet would be to put this on your Christmas list, but then again, good garden tools are a great investment, you don’t want another bent trowel, do you? 😉
      1. Hand-Forged Weeding Fork
      2. http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com
    4. Water Proof Gardening Gloves— at $4 a pair, these gloves come highly rated, and worth it, especially when you will be putting your hands in the mud and they will end up getting cold!
      1. http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Glove-Nitrile-Garden-Gloves/dp/B000MTT11S

So here are a few of my favorite things. I like to share some of things that I come across, or that catches my eye, because like in life, you always need to be prepared, particularly in a rainy fall garden!

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!


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!







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.


A Natural Pause

On Saturday afternoon, I took advantage of the opportunity to do some snowshoeing while my daughter took her nap. As I lapped the little park I have all of my winter fun in, I noticed a small rainbow in the sky. It’s a special treat to see a winter rainbow, mainly because you don’t associate rainbows with winter. It takes you back to warm and rainy summer days that we are all longing for at this point in the season! Enjoy.

A small rainbow in a dusky sky made my day!

A small rainbow in a dusky sky made my day!

“Spruce” up your Winter Decorating!

I can’t believe the first week of December is already over! Unfortunately, it’s going to go much faster than I would like it to go. My work schedule is crushing me this month, so I thought I better prioritize my responsibilties a little better. I have to go out-of-town this coming week for work, so this meant I must try to get my Christmas shopping and decorations up as soon as I could, or it wasn’t going to happen at all! I am happy to say that I feel good about both tasks, so now, all I have to do is concentrate on my up coming schedule. I should be in the clear by week’s end (hopefully).

As I was running into Walmart to pick up some Christmas presents I ordered online this past Tuesday, I was very surprised, and actually a bit relieved in regards to what I had found. It was two bundles of evergreens, and it truly had made my day.


By the way, yes, it was Walmart I found these in. Normally, I would go to my farm store, but with time and schedule restraints, the supercenter that is less than five minutes from my house trumped all other options this week. I was pleasantly surprised to see they were even selling them. Thanksgiving weekend had me frantically hiking through the woods around my neighborhood to find some spruce branches, but unfortunately, there were very little for me to get.

Spruce, Fir and Pine trees are all conifers. Conifers are trees or shrubs, mostly evergreen, that have needle-like or scale-like leaves. Conifers are the quintessential Winter decoration. I love them. I decorate with them up right up until Spring. I love the look of Spruce/Pine branches with pinecones.

So, how do you tell the difference between them?

Pines— have long smooth needles that come in bundles of 2,3 or 5


Spruce– single needles are smooth and roll around in your hand

Fir– have single needles that are flat so you can’t roll them


I learned a lot about trees, especially Pine, from my father, who could tell you every different kind of tree. As a boy, he planted over 3,000+ trees for a 4-H project. Those are the woods I grew up playing in.

20140511_145953     20140511_150103

So now, I can finish decorating my urns out front of my house.

I got some huge ornaments that are supposed to go in a tree in your front yard, but instead I used them for my urns.

My hands were freezing! It was 29 degrees!

My hands were freezing! It was 29 degrees!


I inserted the hook part into the dirt in my urns to secure them from the wind. As you can see, I still had some spike plants from summer in there. I actually had to get my trowel out to get them out! The root systems were enormous!

My spike plants that I will talk more about in future posts.

My spike plants that I will talk more about in future posts.

I took my evergreen “bouquets” and inserted them in the urn for a “quick and dirty” holiday decoration.


I want to emphasize that creative decorating does NOT have to be expensive. Really cool decorations can be created with different items just hanging around your house! And nature, of course! I purchased these evergreen bundles for $4.87 a piece. So, I did not spend much at all.

Yes, I will be foraging for more spruce twigs as winter goes on, like I did last year while snowshoeing.

My snowshoe excursion in search of spruce and fir branches.

My snowshoe excursion in search of spruce and fir branches.

You can also decorate with them inside.

  • When decorating with spruce, pine or fir in your home, please make sure you WATER them often, or the needles will fall all over. They create quite a mess. Lesson learned from last winter!

I hope you get a chance to decorate with conifers this holiday/winter season. Just taking a walk on a snowy path through the woods to find them can be wonderful. Who doesn’t love the smell of spruce or pine in the winter? It’s very inviting and homey-feeling. Consider planting a smaller or dwarf version in your yard if you do not have a big backyard. They are an excellent example of winter interest as well!

So, quit “pining” for summer when winter has its perks as well!

Say it ain’t “snow”! Now what do I do?

What a week! Western New York got its first real accumulation of snow this week! My parents have over 6 inches on the ground already, while at my house in North Tonawanda, we had only a dusting.

This was on Wednesday night of this past week. I just had arrived home from work and snapped this pic of our first "snow" in my backyard. It looked pretty to me.

This was on Wednesday night of this past week. I just had arrived home from work and snapped this pic of our first “snow” in my backyard. It looked pretty to me.

This coming week is forecasting to dump some major snow on us, all in thanks to the Lake Effect machine we call Lake Erie. Great Lakes living at its finest! No need to worry, my car is stocked with blankets, shovels, boots and I just purchased a new pair of YakTrax for my boots and shoes. The last pair I purchased was over six years ago and they have seen better days.

I am prepared for the weather to come!

I am prepared for the weather to come!

This is always the time of year that nobody looks forward to. That icky transition from Fall to Winter, even though Winter is officially a little over a month away, this time brings unpredictable, icky weather that really doesn’t allow for much time outside. In between it getting dark at 5 at night, and the icky cold, windy weather that isn’t easy to do anything in, it’s easy to see how many people get the “Winter Blahs.” I took my daughter on a nature walk last week through a wildlife sanctuary, and it was so windy and cold, thank goodness it wasn’t a long trail!

She loves being outside, but I don't think she was loving the wind on our marsh walk!

She loves being outside, but I don’t think she was loving the wind on our marsh walk!

Now that your garden is buttoned up for the Winter, you are probably thinking, “Now what do I do?” This is the time to capitalize on the time you have to start planning your gardens for the next growing season. I like to call it the “off-season”, and here are some really great things you can do to while you are cooped up inside for the Winter:

  • Research, Research, Research — utilize the down time you have to start planning for next year’s growing season. Pick up some magazines such as Fine Gardening, Garden Gate or English Garden to get inspired and get some great ideas for your gardens. All of these periodicals happened to be my favorites. Start making a list of what you would like to do next season and write down the seeds and bulbs you would like to purchase. The research phase of the “off-season” is something I have always enjoyed, and you will too!
  • Get Educated — Take a look at some horticulture classes that are available near you, or take a class online. There are also some free classes and webinars out there, as I have taken a free landscape design class at my leisure. It’s always important to understand how gardening and growing works, and if you learn the “ins and outs” of it, the better you will be able to enhance your own little gardening spot!
  • Take It Inside — Just because you can’t play with your outside plants doesn’t mean you can’t purchase and work with an inside garden! Houseplants are just as interesting, and I started really adding to my collection last Winter, so I have some really cool houseplants that I will be sharing with you for the duration of the Winter. Different houseplants require different care. That keeps you busy in itself!
  • Get Back to Nature — Embrace the season. I am a very active person and outdoor enthusiast, I like to exercise and take advantage of all the weather Western New York has to offer, which includes all four seasons–some longer than others. When Winter rolls around, I am usually sledding with my daughter or snow shoeing and cross-country skiing. I am known to walk and run during the Winter, but have limited my exercise outside to just walking anymore. Just enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. You will come across some pretty cool things.

So Winter Blahs no more! Enjoy and grasp the season for all it is worth! It could be the down time you need to come up with something spectacular for your garden next season!