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!

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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!

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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!

Easy Spring Garden Prep Info

I hope everyone is having a wonderful April– it has been a busy month for me, as we just got back from vacation in Montana! We visited Glacier National Park, and it was beautiful! It was really nice to experience a part of the country we have never visited before!

As nice as our trip was, it was REALLY nice to come home to the trees on the verge of bursting with green leaves! Everything was looking stunning! My flowers were in full bloom, including my tulips:

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I am now getting ready to do a full spring garden prep! Seeing as May is just a couple weeks away, which, I still can’t believe, because April feels like it just started!

So, here are a few garden prep tips you can consider doing this spring!

  • Plants any trees or shrubs. This is the perfect time to plant any trees or shrubs, the ground is moist, and rain is typically abundant in the months of April and May. As with planting anything, trees and shrubs need a lot of water to get established.
  • Start picking up the winter rubbish. It’s time to start raking up all the gravel, leaves, sticks, and anything else that is in your yard. For this job, you should use two different rakes to get the job done:
    • Rake– your typical rake that you would use to remove leaves in the fall. All the light, loose stuff like grass, twigs, etc. will get removed the fastest and easiest way with this rake.
    • Bow Rake- This long, straight-edged rake is perfect for picking up stones and dirt that have accumulated.
  • Mulch- Since I have made some new flower beds this past fall, I know I need to mulch them and get them prepped for the coming growing season.
  • Pruning/Removing old growth– Now is the time to prune/remove anything that will be blooming in the summer and beyond. I know I started manually removing the old stems of my Autumn Joy Sedum because it has already started growing! So, start removing winter interest and get your plants ready for summer!
  • Soil prep. Turn up the soil and get it ready for spring plantings.

There is certainly many more things you can do, but here are some of the basic hardscaping chores you can do to make it easier when planting season is in full swing!

What will you be doing for spring garden prep?

 

Lazy, Hazy Garden Days– Mid-Summer Thoughts

Baby, it’s hot outside! It’s hard to believe it’s the end of July! The summer is flying by as usual. It’s been a busy few weeks, as we are prepping our house to get some major renovations this week! New siding, new windows and a new front porch!

Hot and humid days mean one thing -- canal cruising!

Hot and humid days mean one thing — canal cruising! 

Now that summer is at its peak, I thought I would take some time to note some observations.

But first, a few thoughts to note:

*First off– NOW is the time to get out to your local nurseries— it’s that time of year again– 50% off all spring nursery stock!!! I went a little crazy and got a few new things, which I will post as soon as I get some pictures.

*The deer are finally making their rounds in my neighborhood. My lily is proof of this. Deer LOVE lilies. Time to start spraying my egg concoction. I do believe that all the rain we have received this year is the reason why they have just started stalking gardens.

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We went to the Farmers’ Market this past weekend, and my husband purchased a perennial hibiscus for our back yard. And, of course, it was on sale! Yes, my gardens are expanding yet again.

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Here are some things to think about in the garden for the rest of the growing season:

It’s time to think about Fall Blooming plants! Yes, designing a four-season garden takes a lot of thought and patience. I am still trying to figure out how to do this. There are a lot of great plants that bloom during the fall, including the orchid-like Toad Lily and the beautiful Monkshood.

It’s time to think about next year. I hate to say this, but now is the time to start planning for the spring. Take a look at catalogs, online, etc. for bulbs that you would like for the spring. I know I have some pretty good ideas for what I want for next year, so I will be ordering soon to make sure I get the bulbs that I want.

Keep watering! While many regions are getting lots of rain this year, including mine, there are a lot of places that aren’t getting anything. If you don’t live in a drought-stricken area, stick to a regular watering routine. It’s the peak of the growing season, and there are many things that don’t start blooming until the end of the summer. Make sure they are hydrated enough!

If you are going to plant now, make sure to do it in the coolest parts of the day– in the early morning, and after the sun goes down. Planting during the hottest parts of the day puts stress on the plants– it’s best to do it when the temps are a little cooler.

Last but not least, enjoy a garden walk. The Buffalo Garden Walk is next weekend, and I can’t wait to go and get inspiration! The dog days of summer allow you to not only enjoy your own gardens, but enjoy others! Take a look at the garden walks going on in your neck of the woods!

Summer is speeding by, but there is still plenty of time to play in the garden! Sit back and enjoy what the rest of the season holds for you!