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
    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!

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!

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!

20151005_184133 20151005_184023  20151005_183845 20151005_183742 20151005_183714 20151005_183635 20151005_183517 20151005_183429 20151005_183322 20151005_183233 20151005_183106 20151005_183050 20151005_183018 20151005_182900 20151005_182840 20151005_182733

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!







So “Mulch” To Talk About In the Garden

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! Our weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Every minute of the weekend was booked, as usual.

This was quite a grand finale!

This was quite a grand finale!

My weekend was rounded out with a trip down to my parents house, where the valley was abuzz because it’s haying season.


As I went and visited my with my Aunt at her house, she mentioned that her Lady’s Mantle was growing like crazy and that she still had to mulch her one bed that was full of it. So, that of course got me thinking about mulching and why it is important and why you should do it.


Mulch is any layer or covering over soil. Mulch can be a number of things, I found out. And I was surprised that some of it was considered to be mulch. But, it makes sense.

There are several types of mulch, the most common being bark or wood chips. This is considered organic mulch — mulch that will decompose over time. Some other examples of organic mulch include:

  • compost
  • manure
  • grass clippings
  • newspaper
  • pine needles
  • leaves
  • straw

There are also several synthetic or inorganic mulches — mulch that does not decompose. Examples of synthetic mulch are:

  • rubber chips
  • landscape paper
  • garbage bags, or plastic sheets
  • gravel or stone — Inorganic

What do they all have in common?

They keep the weeds out and retain moisture–they make your beds look nice and well-manicured.

What are the differences between organic and synthetic/inorganic?

Organic mulch decomposes, therefore it helps with the soil’s fertility. The more you use bark chips, grass, pine needles, etc, the more it enriches your soil. You will not get these benefits from synthetic mulch like plastic sheets. Even though it keeps the weeds away, it won’t allow water in either, which goes against the idea of using mulch in the first place.

The mulch most people closely associate with, bark or wood chip mulch, comes in different colors, and from different trees. Hardwoods and softwoods, such as Cedar, are made into bark or wood chip mulch. It comes in colors of red, black, and natural.

What mulch do I use?

Many moons ago, when I was just moving into our home, and the backyard was just that– a backyard with nothing in it, I took my first stab at landscaping the one side of my fence. I went over to Lowe’s and picked out a mulch that didn’t make me recoil– sorry folks, but I really don’t like the bright red mulch that most people/places have. It drives me nuts!

I asked the guy to load up my then Honda Civic with 8 bags of natural cedar mulch, and he told me I picked the best mulch there was! Totally a crapshoot. I liked the natural color, and because it’s Cedar, and, as we all know, Cedar retains moisture quite well, so it was a lucky guess!

Do you mulch only in the Summer/Growing Season?

No, you can mulch in the fall, too! BUT you don’t have to buy any, just wait for your leaves to come down from the trees! Leaves, in my opinion, are the best mulch for the winter– it protects your plants from harsh weather, and when it decomposes, it leaves your soil full of wonderful nutrients.

How often do you mulch?

You don’t have to mulch every year. In fact its better if you did it every other, or maybe every couple of years. However, I have mulched all of my beds the last two years, only because I keep making more! Once you have beds established, you don’t need to mulch as much. Just get out the ole garden hoe and mix up your mulch with your soil.

So “mulch” to talk about, but I believe this information will do for now. This is what I have learned about mulch, and I hope you find it of interest for your gardens, too!