All Things Spring

Happy first day of spring! It’s been so nice to see some of my bulbs that are popping up through the earth– I should have crocus’ tomorrow!

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It’s been really crazy weather in my neck of the woods — 70 degrees one week and 30 degrees in another! I have to admit, I have not done much outside, except for uncovering my pencil hollies I planted behind my garage.

I was actually proud of myself for getting some indoor gardening done this year — like re-potting some plants that have needed it desperately. I also planted some cat grass! For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter, I went to my local garden center a few weeks back, but actually found time to plant the seeds last week. To my great surprise, it is coming up really fast!

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I was so thrilled to see this!

The cat grass was the extent of my indoor gardening this year. Maybe next year I will get some more time to actually start seeds. I have been doing a lot of re-decorating my house along with all things indoor. Moving furniture, buying furniture, just switching things around, makes a HUGE difference!

Yesterday was a cold Saturday morning to go to our local farmer’s market, but the mission was accomplished– I bought pussy willows!

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Now, I was going to dedicate a whole “Consider This” to Pussy Willows, but I chickened out, because though they are beautiful, pussy willow trees have deep root systems, and the roots tend to wreak havoc on underground pipes, tanks, etc. Unless you have LOTS of space, I would not recommend them. There are several different varieties of Pussy Willows, and if you are interested and have an expansive landscape that tends to be more on the wet/boggy side, then I would highly recommend these!

In Buffalo, the day after Easter is celebrated in a big way, called Dyngus Day. This after- Lent celebration includes Pussy willow branches that are used to flirt with the opposite sex by giving that person a gentle “tap”.  Pussy willows in bloom are a sure sign of spring to me!

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Hopefully, the next post will have me doing more stuff outside, and checking out some great new plants that should go in your garden!

 

Got”chia”: The Chia Pet Chronicles

I have been slacking big time on getting posts out in a timely manner. It just hasn’t been happening because Life happens.  Work, kids, family, etc. Lots going on, and that’s not a bad thing! We did finally get some snow this week. I live north of the city, and we never get anywhere near the lake effect snow that the city and south towns get. It really does depress me, because I like to play outside in the snow! Oh well, we are forecasted to get some starting tomorrow, so here’s hoping for a few inches!

My company now allows for flex hours, and I go into work an hour later and leave an hour later. My nights are already pretty compressed — trying to get dinner, play with my daughter  and then start the bedtime routine. But now as my daughter gets older, I feel like my weeknights are flying by faster than ever. So, I have to admit I have been neglecting my indoor plants a little bit. Last year I was learning about my plants and wanting to purchase more, but time seems to be lacking for me to even really get excited about the whole endeavor. I wanted to change that!

I purchased something before Christmas that I never really EVER thought of buying. I mean, I see it on TV all the time around the holidays, but you never really buy the thing, do you?!! Yes, I did.

I bought a Chia Pet. But not just any Chia Pet. The Jurassic World version of the Chia Pet. And of course, it was my daughter who wanted the thing, and of course, I bought it.

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It also didn’t dawn on me that the “chia” in Chia Pet meant the chia seeds I put in my overnight oats were one in the same!

So, I followed the directions, and put the seeds in a quarter cup of water and let them soak for an hour. After the hour, you can start spooning/basting the seeds on the clay form. I tried to spoon them on the top like the picture, but it didn’t work so well for me. (Note: I accidentally threw out the plastic tray that came with the Chia, so I had to use one of my baking dishes.)

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Ok, so obviously mine did not look pretty. Big shocker, it looked nowhere near like what you see on the box. I know this was my first time trying one of these, so I gave myself a break and just let it be.

Now it says to keep watering it everyday by placing water in the hole on top of the clay form. They said to take the left over water in the bottom and put it back in the clay piece, but that did not happen for me. It was pretty much evaporated every day, and I couldn’t get the seeds on top to stay moist.

But, to my surprise, after a few weeks, the bottom half started to sprout, and I was pretty excited about it.

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But then, after a while, even though they did grow well on the bottom half, it started also getting moldy because of the moisture content down there. And on the top like the box shows, NOTHING happened.

What it also says in the instructions is that you can keep using this clay form over and over, but after I finally gave up on the this thing, I tried to wash the seeds off to give it another shot. It was like trying to scrub concrete off something. It didn’t happen.

So, I threw it out. The whole thing. No more Chia Pet. To be honest, I could find many other ways to waste $15 bucks. So, I will just stick to enjoying the holiday commercials.

 

 

Ringing in the New Year with Indoor Projects

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope your holiday season was wonderful! As always, it’s over as fast it comes. It was a whirlwind December at work, (as usual–always choatic at the end of the year), and with pretty much the first half of the year supposedly just as crazy, I thought I would concentrate on some small indoor projects that hopefully keep my sanity in check!

Christmas in our household was wonderful. My daughter got everything on her list from Santa. The only thing we didn’t get was snow.

 

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After 8 weeks of germination, the apple seed my daughter brought home from school has finally been repotted. I hope it becomes a seedling in a couple of weeks.

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Here’s hoping something starts sprouting soon!

I also purchased two amaryllis bulbs on clearance at the store right before Christmas, so I decided to try and see if they will blossom for me now. These two were a little different from the amaryllis I potted last year. I had a disc of dry medium in the box, and I had to add two and a half cups of water. It became dirt right before my eyes! LOL

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Warning: This is not brownie mix! 

So, here’s hoping they bloom for me!

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The weather was warm right up until Christmas, and then this past New Year’s weekend, it became cold, snowy and windy. We really only have a dusting on the ground, but the wind chill really gets you!

Now is the time to start sketching out your garden plans. What do you have in mind? What are some of the projects you would like to complete this year? Stay tuned for my list!

 

 

 

Houseplants, Part One: Basic Information

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I can’t believe the year is almost done! Christmas was very nice this year.

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I know we had a nice time, despite my little girl getting sick on Christmas day. Santa was very good to her this year.

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Now that the holidays are over, and a new year is upon us, most people, gardeners included, end up hunkering down for the rest of the Winter and hiding until they see the tulips come up in Spring.

However, most people fail to think about houseplants– the gardening you focus on when the snow and cold are swirling outside! Houseplants can be fun to collect, and you can get them at a fairly reasonable price– especially the common ones.

So, what is so great about that green plant in the pot in the corner of your living room?

A lot, actually.

Houseplants:

  • Are great “living” home decorations. They bring a warm, homey feeling to your interior decor.
  • Most varieties of houseplants are very easy to maintain. Even easier than you outdoor gardens!
  • There are houseplants for every type of person. For example, if you are a person who is tends to forget you have plants around, there are plants that are extremely low maintenance and don’t need to be watered as much as others. If you are very attentive to your houseplants, there are many more high maintenance varieties that you will love as well!
  • Houseplants are healthy for your home. They work as filters for the air in your home. Experts say you should have between 10-20 houseplants in your home to keep the air you breathe clean.
  • They are easy to find. To be honest, most of the houseplants I own came from my local grocery store. And they are always on sale. They can be much cheaper than the chintzy little vase you paid a fortune for that does nothing to improve the look and feel of your home!

Caring for Your Houseplants

Depending on the plants you purchase, you may have to experiment for a while to see what works for them. I know I have had to move plants from one place to another before they started to really take off. Some like more light, others don’t. You can research the plants you would like to get and see what has worked for others. But don’t go crazy. If you are looking on the internet, there is a lot of information that people will throw out, but really and truly, you must listen to your gut and use COMMON SENSE. Take the information you learn and work it into your houseplant care routine. It’s really not as crazy as what people say.

For example:

“Water three times a day, with the first time being warm water, then with slightly cold water and then just regular water.” WHAT?!!

Common Sense says:

Plants can not only get too little water, but too much. They will rot and mold if water that often. Keep it simple– schedule your main watering once a week. If it’s Winter time, they tend to dry out quicker because of the heat being on. Do a soil check and you may have to water more. Just take the time to be watchful at first so you know what works for you and your home.

The next part of this series will discuss and portray common houseplants you will most likely find in your home improvement or grocery store.

So, I wish everyone a Happy New Year! Make it even better by getting a houseplant to not only chase the Winter blues away, but keep your green thumb fresh for the Spring!

Indoor Plant Kits and Some Points about the Poinsettia

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope that your holiday season is coming along just fine! I am actually looking forward to some time off here within the next few days. It will be nice to decompress after a quick and busy December! This is one of my favorite scenes of the season:

This little Christmas tree stand right down the street from me looked so pretty with the snow we got last week!

This little Christmas tree stand on the canal right down the street looked so pretty with the snow we received last week!

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased my first indoor plant kit! You almost always see indoor plant kits/bulbs at the holidays. Two of the most common and popular are the Amaryllis and Paperwhites. Amaryllis are big, beautiful plants that are most generally grown inside. They are said to bloom quickly and easily. Hopefully, mine will as well!  Paperwhites are small, beautiful delicate flowers that are, well, white. Both of these plants are very popular indoor plants that brighten up the long, dreary days of winter.

So, for $8.99 at my local garden center, I purchased this one:

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Now this is a kit and was extremely easy to put together. All the instructions are on the backside of the box.

This is what is supplied to you:

You have your bulb, potting mix, pot and saucer.

You have your bulb, potting mix, pot and saucer.

  1. Start by putting two inches of the potting mix in the pot.

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2.  Place the bulb in the pot and spread out the roots.

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3. Take the rest of the potting mix and place around the roots of the bulb. Make sure that the top 1/3 of the bulb is exposed.

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The exact reason why I need a potting soil scoop!

The exact reason why I need a potting soil scoop!

4. When you are done, make sure water it first with lukewarm water, and then place it in a sunny spot in your house. Make sure to keep the soil moist– do not over water.

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Your plant should bloom within 6-10 weeks. Enjoy, and take good care of it!

Fast facts about the Poinsettia

I love getting Poinsettia for family members, and myself, for Christmas. I really like the ones you can get in the grocery store that are purple and full of glitter! They are actually a very interesting plant with an amazing history. Here are some fun facts about this beautiful holiday plant!

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  • They are native to Mexico and Central America— they are actually shrubs/trees that can grow up to 13 feet tall in their native environment!
  • There are over 100 different varieties of the Poinsettia
  • They are NOT poisonous— contrary to popular belief, they are NOT poisonous to your pets, though if your cat or dog did get a hold of leaf, they would have minor gastrointestinal problems. So, be sure to keep them out of reach!
  • It became associated with Christmas in 16th Century Mexico— the star-shaped leaves are said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and cheers to a great new year in the garden ahead!