A Little Birdie Told Me…The April Wrap-Up

I can’t believe that this is the end of April…where did the time go? I have to admit, this past weekend, I did not do one bit of garden preparation/yard work. Instead, I decided to play all weekend with my daughter. My husband was really sick with a BAD stomach virus, so I wanted to keep the little one busy. With a trip to the zoo, two consecutive stops at the playground and a nature walk, I kept her outside all weekend…and she slept well to boot!

Meerkats at the zoo totally rock!

Meerkats at the zoo totally rock!

Well, I am really looking forward to this coming weekend–it’s going to be beautiful! I am probably going to do some last-minute stuff to the yard, and before you know it, it will be planting time! I can’t wait!

So, what am I planting this year?

Bleeding Hearts— they are a these stems of beautiful heart-shaped flowers that I hope will come up. I have purchased a package of three bulbs. I have wanted these for a long time, so I am really anxious to get them started!

Astilbe— these fern like flowers come in many varieties, and somehow I got my hands on a package of very tall ones. I thought they looked neat, so I thought I would give them a shot.

Morning Glory— a beautiful annual vine that has blue flowers. My mother actually suggested a few years ago that I should get one. I purchased a package of seeds, so I really hope the seeds come up this year. Our winter was so cold, none of my seeds really did well…

Cosmos— …except for my Cosmos seeds! I purchased another package, and this year, I have picked out pink and blue ones. They did really well, and I am anticipating this batch will do well, too!

Sunflowers— because of tree roots, these are the only things that will grow on the one side of my garage, and they did wonderfully last year! They will always be in my yard, if my husband has anything to say about it!

*And, a follow-up to a post I did in the winter in regards to that spent Amaryllis bulb from the holidays? Well, remember when I showed you how I butchered the darn thing when you shouldn’t cut the leaves off?

The leaves grew back! I was thrilled! And they grew really fast! So, all is not lost should you accidentally cut all the leaves off of your Amaryllis bulb!

Before

Before

And today! The leaves grew back!

And today! The leaves grew back!

And now, for some exciting news! After much nudging from friends and co-workers, I have gone and done it. The Bent Trowel is now on Twitter! In case anyone is interested, my handle is @BentTrowel. My extremely kind and helpful co-worker (who happens to be my cubicle neighbor in the Marketing Department and Social Media Strategist for my company) has steered me in the right direction and given lots of advice to this technologically handicapped person! I have just started the account and have a lot to learn, but I feel this is very important to know. Social Media is very powerful, and here to stay. I have been slowly taking The Bent Trowel to the next level, and I think this is a good step forward.

The twitter account will also go hand-in-hand with the planned expansion I would like to do with my blog. Of course, this will all take time, because, as many of you know, being a full-time working mother can be overwhelming, and trying to fit everything in seems impossible at times. The only time I do get to blog is when my daughter is sleeping, so I don’t get to play around with things on my site as much as I would like. There is a lot to learn, and with time, I know things will work out according.

So, enjoy the week, and tune in next time for a regularly scheduled and (hopefully) informative blog post!

A Natural Pause

Four.

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.

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Winter and the Garden : A Damaging Tale

I don’t know anybody who isn’t ready for spring at this point. I love all seasons, but I am getting really worried about winter and what it’s going to do not only to my house (ice dams) but my plants! I fear that being buried under 4 feet of snow is going to result in some major damage. From what I can still see, I have some major Winter Burn, and I already know I have lost quite a few plants. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I have my work cut out for me as soon as the snow melts!

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So, let’s start with the basics so we can get a better understanding of typical damage done to our gardens due to winter, and the approach we should take with each of these perils.

Ice and Breakage:

Depending on what part of the country (or world) you live in, many people are have experience some major icing that has coated the trees and shrubs in your yard. Ice is the most damaging and most dangerous winter peril, in my opinion. So what if you have a tree with broken branches in your yard? Unless it is a major danger to you and your house, DO NOT try to prune it. Pruning a broken branch or shrub with ice on it could cause more damage to the plant than you think. Wait until spring to start cutting it back to stimulate new growth.

Winter Burn:

This has also been referred to as desiccation. Evergreens are the most susceptible to this, including my own Emerald Green Arborvitae, which I have mentioned in my posts before. I had purchased two small arborvitae in the Fall of 2013, and I noticed this fall that the one had turn completely brown, as if it were dead. Winter Burn happens when the plant has not received enough water in the fall to sustain itself through winter. And interestingly enough, your plants don’t stop losing water during the winter, either. You can try to see if it will come back on its own, or you can just remove it during the spring. Even just a regular winter takes a lot out of your plants. I have said this before, I know my biggest weakness with my garden is not watering enough. Another lesson learned! 

Animal Damage:

In the past, I have mentioned my never-ending struggle with my “deer” friends. Deer aren’t the only ones to cause some major damage to your landscape. Rabbits, moles, voles and mice can also do some work on your plants. The only thing you can do with animal damage is just wait let it go and allow for nature to heal itself, and prepare better the following year by covering and fencing in the plants you know animals like to target.

Snow:

As I have depicted many times, most people in the Eastern US are dealing with historic snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.

This is the coldest I have ever seen it in the Buffalo  Metro area.

This is the coldest I have ever seen it in the Buffalo Metro area.

With over 4 feet of snow in your yard, you cannot do anything to help your plants. In fact, trying to help them with that much snow will only harm them. Your perennials that go dormant every year should not be harmed at all, even if they are buried in snow. It’s really hard to harm a plant that has established itself in your yard. Don’t worry about what you can’t control–it’s not worth it.

For the most part, there isn’t anything that cannot be fixed in your garden without a little time and patience when spring comes. “Live and Learn” comes in to mind when you are experiencing a particularly brutal winter, as most of us are this year. None of us have even come close to dealing with weather like this before, so the more we learn this year, the more we will be prepared for the next bad winter!

A Natural Pause

A couple of weeks ago, before we had 3 feet of snow burying the back yard, I was playing outside with my daughter after work when I saw these icicles on the side of my patio. I loved how the dusky sun in the background looked so nice with it. Enjoy.

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