Seeds n’ Things

Happy fall! I hope everyone had a wonderful summer– which honestly, it still feels like here in Western New York. The weather has been beautiful– however, maybe too much. It has been so warm here that my spring bulbs are starting to sprout again! I fear that we won’t have such a colorful fall like last year because it has been so dry and warm this past summer.


Never the less, I am not wasting another minute inside, it’s time to get along with my fall garden preparation tasks. A couple of years ago, I wrote a step by step on how to plant bulbs in the fall. I know a lot of people really don’t know how to (I know I sure didn’t at one time), so I wanted to give a little tutorial on how to plant them.

Well, now I am learning how to preserve seeds more. I have done this a little bit in the past, but this year, I have found great joy in harvesting seeds. Every plant has its own unique seed pod.


The seeds of the hollyhock are slim, wafer-like discs.

Here are a few tips when collecting seeds:

  • Make sure the seeds pods are completely dry when you harvest them.
  • When storing seeds, never place them in plastic bags. Use paper seed packets or bags to allow the seeds to breathe.
  • Remember to share them– think of them as holiday gifts!

Harvesting seeds is a good thing. It is a natural way of controlling individual plant species from taking over your garden.


The seed pod of a Giant Hibiscus is, well, giant!


Hollyhocks, Cosmos (Upper Right), White Globe Thistle (Lower Center) will make any gardener happy!

I spent a good portion of last weekend re-organizing and making a place in the unfinished side of my basement to become my little gardening area, which means, saving seeds and storing bulbs that cannot stay outside for the winter. I plan on scouring  Etsy in search for the perfect antique printer tray to hold all my seeds until spring!

I also have purchased 3 more varieties of Allium bulbs that need to be planted, but until it cools down a little more, I think I will wait it out a little longer.


What are your plans for fall planting? I would to hear what everyone is planting. Trust me, I am not done purchasing bulbs, yet…


The Beauty of a Fading Fall Garden

Have I told you how much I love fall?? Haha, yes, I have mentioned it before, and for good reason. The transitional season that will be ushering us into winter is so spectacular in its own right, with the leaves on the trees turning vibrant colors, you can’t help but be in awe of such beauty.

All spring and summer we takes hundreds of pictures of our gardens, posting them on every social media outlet we can, and blogging about them. But, do we ever think about taking pictures of our gardens as they wind down? I was doing some last-minute yard work this weekend — putting away my garden decor for the season, and I couldn’t help but notice the beauty that surrounded me, despite the imminent ending to another growing season.

So, here is a collage of pictures from the garden as it nears its end. I hope you take a look at yours and feel the same way too!

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“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?!!!


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.


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!


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

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!

Fall Preparation Part 2 – I’ve Got You Covered.

As the weather turns even more unfavorable as the weeks progress, I am reminded I still have stuff that needs to be done in the yard before the ground freezes and the snow starts sticking to the ground. It’s really hard to do so when it starts getting dark at 5:00 at night. I used to be able to get quite a few things accomplished after work, but it just doesn’t happen anymore! I did, however, manage to help some of my plants take cover yesterday, and also started cutting some of my hostas down.

  • One thing I have not done yet is rake the yard. I have A LOT of trees in my neighborhood, and I would like to wait another week before I get the leaf blower out. The trees still have a lot of leaves on them, and I don’t want to have to keep going out and raking when I could just wait when most of the leaves are off the trees instead of another futile attempt. Haha!

Well, this is finally the second phase of my Fall preparation in the garden. It took a little longer to do it than I would have liked, but I finally got it done. Covering and cutting– it’s that simple. And I used only a couple of things:

For this garden session, I used some burlap and large garden shears.

For this garden session, I used some burlap and large garden shears.

Burlap is a nice, heavy-duty covering for any shrubs, trees or plants that you would like to protect from the weather or animals. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you can get it at hardware and home improvement stores. You can also purchase covers that go right over shrubs and trees to make things easier. I just happen to have burlap leftover and figure I will use this up before I buy anything more.

Large gardening shears or clippers, happened to be my favorite gardening tool. They are so versatile, and can be used for most of your landscaping needs. They pulled double duty for me when it came to cutting my burlap and cutting down my plants.

I have a couple of small emerald-green arborvitae out in front of my house. I started wrapping them first with burlap.


I wrapped the burlap around the arborvitae until it was completely covered. You can use anything to tie or clip the burlap on. There are ties that you can use, and I have known people to staple it and I myself have used metal ornament hooks to keep the burlap closed!


The next item on my “To-do” list for cleaning up was cutting down my hostas. I cut the old stuff down so the new can grow up next season.

For anyone who doesn’t know, hostas are a gardener’s dream plant. They are a hardy, shade loving perennial that will pretty much grow anywhere you put them. So, if you have a spot in your yard that you can’t seem to grow anything, chances are a hosta will do the job for you! And because they are so prolific and they grow so big, they can be separated, and people will give them to you just because they have so many.

There are several types of hostas, and I have quite a few. They grow HUGE and can be separated.

There are several types of hostas, and I have quite a few. They grow HUGE and can be separated.

Now my hostas have turned a beautiful yellow, and I need to shear them.


I really want to thank the Deer, for they have helped me out tremendously with my fall cleanup. (Future post will be coming!)

Deer LOVE hostas.

Deer LOVE hostas.

I just cut them as close to the ground as possible.


Voila! All done.


And I take the “garden rubbish” and dispose of it properly.


There you have it! Fall cleanup is a cinch! Lots of work no doubt, but very important if you want to start your next growing season out the right way!

Freeze! Everything you need to know about Frost and Growing Seasons

I really can’t believe this is the last weekend of October already! I have accomplished quite a bit of what I wanted to do this growing season, so I am very happy for that. I still have to do a couple of things, but all in all, I feel accomplished. When I was planting bulbs a few weeks ago, I was talking about how you can plant bulbs right up until the ground freezes. Well, what does that mean exactly?

  • Freeze– when the ground turns solid. This happens when the air temperature drops down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit ( 0 degrees Celsius) or colder.

Please don’t get it confused with this:


This is what you call frost. Frost is an ice coating on the ground that usually happens at night as temperatures dip down to or close to freezing, but there is still plenty of humidity in the air. The above picture happened two weeks ago for me. Frosts happen in early spring and late fall; the beginning and end of the growing season. Frost is part of the freezing process, and it will kill any delicate plants you have planted. That’s why you usually hear the weather person on television say to “cover up any tender vegetation” you may have if a frost is looming. I remember as a child watching my parents take big, old sheets and covering up plants, mainly in the spring, since they had just planted them.

So, what exactly is a growing season? A growing season is a period of time in every year that allows for the most growth in your plants. A “frost free” time, if you will. And growing seasons vary for everyone in every different part of the country, and even the world! And now that you know what a growing season is, you will also need to know your regional hardiness zone. There are many factors that make up your region’s hardiness zone, but one of the main factors is just how cold your area gets. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map is a great one to check out, and once you find out your hardiness zone, you will be able to purchase plants and seeds that will thrive in your zone.

An interesting thing to note is that even though I now reside about 1 hour and a half north from where I grew up, my hardiness zone is different from my parents. My parents reside within zone 5a, whereas I now reside within zone 6a. Why is that? Well, I am surrounded by two huge bodies of water, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. I am going to have warmer temperatures than my parents who reside further south and further interior. They get much colder and much more snow than I do, believe it or not.

Whatever your little part of the world, you will be able to garden with optimum results if you know your growing season and hardiness zone. Taking the time to find out this important information will help you better understand what plants you can grow and how you can get the most out of your growing season!

To Every Season, Urn, Urn…

As I have said before, Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the sights, smells, everything. I have apple pie flavored coffee, and “crisp fall leaves” smelling wax melts in my candlewarmer. I have four totes in my crawl space full of fall decorations that I put up in my house Labor Day Weekend. It’s funny how when you move into a house, you all of a sudden love to buy decorations for every season. I buy too much! The core of my fall decorating will stay out until Christmas, but I will swap out Halloween decorations with Thanksgiving decorations when needed.

This also goes for my decorations on my front entryway. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make a nice entryway. My decor has changed over the years, as it naturally will, because your tastes change and you finally understand how to make things look nice and put together! I have to admit I am still working on this, but I’m finally understanding more as time goes on. Like everything, including my home, it’s a work in progress!

And all you need are a couple of planters. Or urns, like I have stated in the title. And you can get pretty much use anything. Back in the Spring, I really wanted a couple of urns to put out on our small porch. Well, urns are expensive. And trust me, I like to splurge, but I really didn’t feel I wanted to splurge on urns. I knew better. But, lo and behold, I found two black plastic urns for $11.98 each. Yay! What a bargain! And, they were just the right size for my small entryway. So, as Summer came, I planted a few annuals in it. But now that it’s Fall, I wanted to decorate accordingly, and will probably do it for the Winter, too.

This is what I decorated my urns with, maybe this will give you some ideas on how to decorate your planters!


I have put some gourds, which are very inexpensive, in the urn, along with some fake grasses that I purchased at a craft store. Mixing real plants with a few fake plants to fill in the holes will add nice textures, along with improving the aesthetics of the planter.

  • Find something you really like to put in your planter and make it the “star” of the decor. Everything else you choose should enhance the main interest in the planter.

As you can see, my “star” of my planter are the brown, fuzzy corn-dog looking things called Cattails. What are they? Cattails are a marsh and wetland plant that are really interesting looking. Since I live so close to the Erie Canal, my daughter and I went what I like to call “stroller off-roading” one beautiful September day on the canal path and snipped some off.

cattails cattails canal

They are very fuzzy, and when they mature, the seeds float off into the air. They look like little feathers from a down coat! I have used cattails in my fall decorations for the past couple of years. I actually rode my mountain bike many miles one year to find them! I’m always up for an adventure!

Even if you don’t have access to cattails, you can use ANYTHING– tree branches, corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins (orange and white), and fall favorite plant, mums! Anything can be used, it’s all in what makes you happy!


This is what I continued to work on. I love white pumpkins, so I added them and my daughter’s regular pumpkin ready to be carved, along with a yellow mum, and a bowling ball… yes I will elaborate on using bowling balls as decoration in a Spring post!

Outdoor decorating can be made into anything you want it to be. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money either. It all depends on what is right for you and your home. So, sit back and enjoy the wonders of the Fall season. Winter will be here before you know it!