Lessons Learned in the Garden – Midsummer Report

Happy summer! It’s hard to believe it’s the end of July– no doubt it’s been a busy one for us. My daughter is at an age where she can do a lot of stuff that she couldn’t before, and we have been taking advantage of it. Life has been busy, and unfortunately blogging has taken a back seat, but I honestly can say that I have been having the time of my life, and as long as I keep getting in a blog post in when I can, I am happy. Family time before all else!

Weather-wise, Western New York has been very rainy and much milder than last summer. I have enjoyed the cooler temps, though, but I have missed going to the beach! Honestly, I have not once had to actually water my plants. No sprinkler posts this year! My window boxes have been thriving, and have not looked sparse and brittle like last year!


A little wilted after yet more rain, my window boxes are thriving this year! 

Despite the weather, we have busy bike riding, hiking, rollerblading, swimming, camping, all that good summer stuff, but I have been also doing a lot in the garden. I am at the stage where I really am not adding much, but doing more of the routine maintenance on what I do have, and there are certainly some lessons I have learned that I won’t try to intentionally “unlearn” in the future!

Lesson #1– It’s OK to have space between your plants.

I know, I have even mentioned this in past posts, I planted too many things VERY close together (we are talking so close you can smell the body odor on the person next to you close). I was so crazy about trying to get every plant I wanted, I planted them too close together– this resulted in what I like to say “The Survival of the Fittest” in my flower beds– I lost a lot of really cool varieties because I got a tad bit overzealous in my planting. I have spent a good portion of my summer thinning out a lot of my plants, and even moving them if needed…which leads me into the next lesson–

Lesson #2 Plants not blooming/growing that well? It’s OK to MOVE them.

Yes. The biggest thing I have learned in the past few years is if your plants are not doing well in the location you have them– try moving them. They just may need a new residence to make them happy!

A great example of this is my very pretty gayfeather. I purchased these three years ago for 50% off at the local farm store. I put them in an area I had some space, and they grew, but they never actually flowered. I finally had the sense last year to move them to a sunnier location. Ta-da! Full on flower power action!


This bee is very happy I moved this lovely gayfeather!

Lesson #3 — Remember to do the little stuff.

I can honestly tell you that I don’t have time to weed my whole garden at once. BUT, when I am outside and my daughter is swinging on her swing, I pick an area and go to town! Even if it’s a little area, it makes such a difference! I have managed to keep weeding all summer– little by little, and I feel better about how my landscape looks! I also pruned my Lilac bushes this year, as they were getting a little to “bushy” for me. They were growing right over the area I have my daffodils and muscari, and I want that distinction, if you will, between all of my plants.

If you are follow me on instagram, you will see all the goings-on in my garden. I post pictures of my blooms and my gardening adventures. I will be posting about our little veggie patch, and my mini “cutting” garden. Two new ventures that I would like to expand next year! Until then, take care, and I hope that the summer has been good to you in your neck of the woods!

Tribute Flowers in the Garden: An Ode to my Grandmother

My soul is mourning. That’s the only way to describe it. My grandmother, Joyce, passed away Thursday evening at 84 years old. She lived a full life, and when I saw her in December, I could see in her eyes that she was not long for this world. But still, after hearing the news of her passing this past Thursday, the news completely knocked the wind out of me. I guess the absoluteness of the situation still shocks you even though you know it’s coming.

I grew up a country girl who didn’t have much– but I always had what I needed- no more, no less. What I did have a lot of? Family. I was blessed with pretty much all of my family living on the same road in the same rolling-hills valley. For the first part of my life, I had three grandparents– my father’s mother and both of my mother’s parents. My grandmothers were the loves of my life. In the late nineties, I lost my father’s mother, Mildred and my grandfather, Bob. My first broken heart was not from a boy, but my grandmother dying. She lived right next to us, and she was so sweet and wonderful. I was constantly picking her flowers from the daffodil patch on the side of the road and she loved it. “Bless your heart”, she would say.

I am an extremely sentimental person, and I am not afraid to admit it. When I moved into the house I live in right now, I wanted a little bit of my grandma Mildred in my garden, and I planted some of her favorite flowers, peonies and narcsicuss’. I was happy to get some of her iris bulbs from my father last summer. These bulbs are close to 50 years old, and I am really hoping they come up for me this year.

While grandma Mildred was the finest example of what a grandmother was and should be, grandma Joyce blows that ideal out of the water. WAY out of the water.

My mother’s mother, Joyce, was in no way, shape or form like anybody I had ever known. That still holds true to my 35 year old self today. While you think of the typical little grandmother as being sweet and lovable, who knitted sweaters and baked cookies for you, Joyce did not. She was a old-school country woman who was brash, loud, and as lovable as a cactus. She could be downright embarrassing (ask my mother). It wasn’t her style to show affection. She drove a truck (and fast to boot). She was a tough old broad who said what she felt and didn’t fake anything. She was honest, eccentric, and what some might even call, a little bat-shit crazy. The irony of this all, is that these attributes are what made her so damn lovable.

My grandma Joyce was the original, genuine bad ass. She would pass people on a side street if they were going too slow. She would pull over on a treacherous dirt road in the middle of a thunderstorm to pick up an empty beer can just to get the 5 cents. I watched her rip a nasty snake in two pieces with her bare hands. This woman was freaking awesome.

I challenge anybody who knew my grandmother that didn’t deep-belly laugh when they were around her. You were always guaranteed to laugh in her presence. She lit up the room she was in, and anybody who was in a bad mood was no longer when she came around.

In the early years, every Sunday my siblings and I would go down to my grandma’s house and play kickball with my cousins and even my uncles at times. We would eat all her food and drink all of her milk. Grandma’s house is where I cultivated my love for black licorice and cheese curds. And she really did love having everyone around. She had 7 kids, and 16 grandchildren, so the front door was always slamming, and that drove my grandfather crazy.


Grandma’s House is where I spent a good deal of time during my childhood.

As the years went on, I would continue to go to my grandmother’s house to visit with her. Unlike my friends and other people I knew, I didn’t go over to her house just to get money or something else of value, I loved talking with her. And I did that for years. She was my buddy, and I was her confidante. She talked to me about everything. I was her ear. And through those conversations was how I learned just how kind and compassionate she was. She was a genuinely good person who was just as vulnerable and sensitive as anyone else. Her tough exterior was justified. Life had not been too kind to my grandmother, she endured great loss, and lived with a broken heart for almost 50 years.

Like any great love story, there is always a rough patch. We did have a falling out for a few years, but we came back around just at the right time. I am so lucky to have had her for a grandmother. I just loved her. And I will continue to. Behind my mother and father, she was one of the single greatest influences on my life, which ultimately molded me into the person I became.

So, as for flowers or plants I should plant for her? That is still up in the air. Maybe I will ask my mom if she had a favorite. Grandma wasn’t a gardener–she didn’t have time with 7 kids. If she doesn’t know, I am sure it will come to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if grandma herself doesn’t bonk me over the head with something she does like.

Don’t be afraid to let your garden tell your story. A little bit of your past, present and future is what makes it so grand. 

Rest in peace, grandma. I will never forget you.



A Natural Pause


It was no joke four years ago today, when my due date had come and gone. Yet, I still had no idea how a tiny little human being would change my life forever.

This Easter weekend, my daughter turns the big 4. It’s true when they say that time flies when you have children. It is by far the hardest job I have ever had. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I have grown as a human being in ways I can’t even begin to describe. Have a great Easter weekend. Enjoy.