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!

Gifts for Gardeners – 2016 Edition

It’s hard to believe that Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks! December always ends up being a stressful month for me, no matter how I try to make it OK. One year ago today, it was 70 degrees out– there were dandelions on the ground!!

Fast forward to today– it’s 33 degrees, and at my house, we are getting our first real blast of Lake Effect snow. What a difference a year makes!

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All perfect timing to do my annual Gifts for Gardeners list! And the funny thing? I never get any of them!!! LOL

Here are some things that I am going to make an effort to acquire– because they are both practical and nice to have!

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Photo Source: muckboots.com.eu

Muck Boots— I LOVE that they are now making a wellie-like winter boot! I love the Royal Horticulture Society version, but unfortunately, you can’t get it in the US. I am sure I could probably order it online straight from Europe.

Photo source: amazon.com

Plant:Exploring the Botanical World –I have heard nothing but good things about this book, and after taking a peek at the preview on Amazon, I can see why. The illustrations are stunning, and the book itself looks in depth and informative. I need to get my hands on this!

 Women's UA StudioLux® Beanie LIMITED TIME: FREE U.S. SHIPPING 2 Colors $34.99

Photo source: underarmour.com

Under Armour Studio Lux Beanie — I LOVE this hat! I own two and want every color! They are comfy and cover up my ears just right! So, when I am out filling up bird feeders or taking pictures of Winter Interest in my garden, this will be the first one I pick up!

 

Photo Source: target.com

Smith and Hawken Terracotta Pots — My garden plan next year includes using more terracotta planters in my garden. I have to start thinking about stocking up!

Joseph Bentley 21 in. Wooden Garden Trug

Photo Source: homedepot.com

Garden Trug — This is the one thing I have wanted to get for some time, but keep pushing it off for something else! This is so simple, practical and beautiful. If we are expanding our veggie garden, I want to be prepared! I might actually buy this for myself and put it under the tree– then I will finally have something under the tree for me LOL!

 

Photo Source: terrain.com

Garden Trowel and Fork Set— Playing off my namesake blog– you NEED a good set of tools to do work in your garden. This is the perfect, quality set! Besides, what would be a Gift for Gardeners list without the necessities!
The 2017 Whole Seed Catalog

Photo Source: rareseeds.com

The Whole Seed Catalog — I just saw this at Barnes and Noble the other day, and got excited, because now that we are expanding our vegetable garden, this will be the perfect periodical to pick out some great new seeds to grow!
I hope this list is helpful– I can guarantee any gardener in your life will be thrilled to get any of these!
Happy holiday shopping!

It’s “Sow” Beautiful!

One day until Halloween! I hope everyone is having a spooktacular holiday!! I decided to actually dress up the exterior of our home for Halloween this year. I have kind of neglected full-on Halloween decorating the past years and just kept my fall display up. Since my daughter was really getting into it this year, I figured I would make it fun. So, as I have skeletons coming out of my window boxes!

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Besides getting creative with decor, I have been fortunate to have 70 degrees temps for pretty much the whole fall. We have had significant rain in Western New York (and we are still considered in a drought!) this fall as well, and that has left the soil very easy to work with.

As I had wrote in my garden journal, I wanted to work on the front of my yard. For the past 8 years, I have been so busy landscaping the back yard (because it was a disaster– NOTHING was there but a sandy outline of a once-upon-a-time pool ), that all I have done is keep the flower beds in tact out front. Well, that has changed! I have done my homework, and I am very happy with the initial stage!

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I started digging that nice, soft soil and I am going to plant directly in front of the hedgerow. There is SO much potential there, and I am finally going to tap into it! The front yard is a dry shade, but after further review, every part of the tiny place gets SOME sun, so I started with some full sun/part shade spring bulbs, and then, as I did out back, it will grow from there, I know!!

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This pack of 40 bulbs cost $20. It is a very cheap way to add a little color to your landscape!

I love daffodils, and this variety pack caught my eye. I have to be careful of what I plant because of my deer problem.

I had a little helper yesterday with my bulb planting. After the bulbs were planted, I manually took the big chunks of dirt I dug up and loosened them to cover all of my bulbs. It was a lot of work, but it did the job. Now, I just have to hope that the squirrels won’t get my bulbs…

I am actually looking forward to next spring even more so to see what my little daffodils will do! I figure I will use the bulbs as a bench mark, and then design from there.

Overall, this fall has been full of seed collecting and bulb planting, as usual. Not as much as last year, but definitely making an improvement on the front yard. It’s a start!

That’s exactly what it is, a start. Everybody deserves a “start”. Gardening takes years, and lots of work, but SO worth it. Make your little part of the world yours by investing in the future of your home.

All the little things you do for your landscape will be “sow” beautiful. I promise!

 

A Natural Pause

Yesterday, I took my first walk down by the water through Erie Basin Marina in the Buffalo Harbor. It was so nice to get out on my 2.25 mile walk again! I love these paper birch trees that line the marina. I wish my yard was big enough to plant one! If you have room, consider including one of these excellent specimens to your landscape. Enjoy.

Birch Trees by the Coast Guard Lighthouse in Erie Basin Marina.

Birch Trees by the Coast Guard Lighthouse at Erie Basin Marina.

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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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