It’s “snow” joke, we need winter for spring blooms!

As most of us are sitting inside because the wind chill is sub zero, and the snow keeps coming. We gardeners are daydreaming of spring. I mean, I just received my David Austin® rose catalog, and the 8 degrees that my phone keeps telling me is not making things any better. We are nearing mid-winter, and that means we are ready for it to end!

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One day soon the garden will be green and lush again! 

 

We must keep in mind that cold and snow is an important part of the gardening process. I am not going to ignore the fact that winter can kill a lot of stuff in the garden, and can cause a lot of damage, but when you get right down to it, gardens need winter to get through the growing season.

Here are some quick thoughts to think about on this winter day!

Snow:

  • Gives the necessary moisture to plants, bulbs and a variety of critters that are tucked away for their winter slumber.
  • Helps big organisms (frogs, earthworms, turtles) in their hibernation/life cycle, and small organisms (bacteria, amoeba, fungi) that are working overtime to make your soil rich and nutritional for your plants and trees.
  • Is a great insulator for all of plants and organisms.

Before you know it, the snowdrops and hellebores will be pointing their little heads to the sky, reminding us all why spring is sweeter because of winter!

 

 

Dahlias, Roses and Silently “Growing”- The 2018 Wrap Up

I am not even going to talk about how this year has flown by, or how it has been since May since I have last blogged. Life has been full and good, and trust me, I have not stepped away from the garden– I have been still digging, growing and learning new things.

I am at the point where I have pretty much quit adding to my garden (there are just a couple things I want to add this year), but maintaining and working with what I have. As I mentioned in my wrap-up post from last year, I went plant crazy in the beginning, and I paid for it. A lot of them did not come back after one season, so instead I am moving the plants I have to either 1. Give them more space, or 2. Make my garden beds look a little more put together.

In October, I worked on this bed. I extended it so I could bring more full sun-loving plants over here.

As I mentioned in my only couple of posts earlier this year, I had Dahlia tubers from last year that I planted, along with some new varieties. Here were my results:

  • My dahlia tubers I had from last year did not make it. I put them in the ground at the same time as my new dahlia varieties, and when they weren’t coming up, and the others were, I dug them up to find mold on them. I was disappointed because I overwintered as I was advised to, but it just didn’t happen. I have also read where some people just treat dahlia tubers as annuals. I thought I would try again this year, and if they didn’t come up again, I too, will be just buying new tubers every year to give me one less headache!
  • My new dahlia varieties this year were beautiful. I have caught the dahlia bug! I am now wanting to try many different new varieties. I am going to make more room for dahlias this year. I love how many blooms I get, and I love cutting them every morning before work to have fresh blooms in the house and to give them away to neighbors and co-workers.

I loved all the varieties I planted, but of course the “Cafe Au Lait” did not disappoint, which is why I plan on buying more for my little cutting garden this year. What was the biggest surprise was the “Nadia Ruth” variety, it blew me away and I got the most blooms from that. One variety did not come up for me at all, and that was the “Creme de Cassis”.

The “Burlesca” variety was marketed as a honeycomb shaped flower, but that was not the case at all. Still beautiful, but not what it was supposed to be.

My rose:

It did not bloom this year. I planted the David Austin Rose “The Pilgrim”, and it grew on my trellis, just never flowered. I am hoping this year it will, as with our 6-month winter last year might have had something to do with it. Fingers crossed!

So, looking ahead– I am going to concentrate on mulching all of my beds this year, and adding more dahlias. I also would like to purchase one more David Austin rose, and then really start “landscaping” my yard. Now that I have a bulk of the planting done, it’s time to give these beds some shape and definition!

I hope you all have a nice New Year, I look forward to getting back to business with blogging all of my outdoor and gardening adventures. I post on Instagram most often, so, feel free to take a look when you get a chance!

Everything is Coming Up Roses — Back in the Garden!

It has been wayyyy to long since I have last blogged! We have had a lot going on in our home– since March, we have been laying down new flooring in phases– which, we finally finished this past weekend! That, and winter being sooo longggg here, it’s been a tough few months, but I got back in the garden this past week, and I have learned quite a bit!

I bought my first Davin Austin® Rose this year! My plans were a little loose as far as the garden was concerned, but one of my major plans was to plant a rose. I splurged and purchased my new “The Pilgrim” rose in February, and they mailed it to me two weeks ago!

Photo source: David Austin Roses

Here’s a little bit of information about The Pilgrim:

  • As you can see above, it is a beautiful yellow climbing rose. Climbing roses to have bigger flowers and don’t grow as fast or vigorously as rambler roses.
  • It does very well in shady areas— particularly North facing areas, which, I was thrilled about, because I planted the rose on the front of my house, which happens to be North facing.

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I got the rose on the Thursday before we went camping, and, by the way, it was SNOWING and 30 degrees that weekend. I left the bare root in the box. I called David Austin® Roses USA based out of Texas, the Monday after we got back, and wanted to get some info about my rose, and when I should plant it, considering it was snowing the past weekend–why would I bother until it got a little warmer? The customer service representative was a little snarky with me, saying I needed to get the bare root in the ground immediately, but first, I needed to soak it in water for several hours before I planted it. If you follow me on Instagram, you know my desperate call for help when it came to soaking the bare root– several hours, or several days, or just a couple hours? I soaked mine for seven hours and then planted it.

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My first experience with a bare root anything!! 

Thanks in large part to the David Austin® Roses website, which, I highly recommend visiting, because it is an extremely easy and informative website to understand when it comes to everything roses.

So, what has this rose-growing novice learned so far?

  • Bare root roses need to be soaked for hours (that could be anything from 2 hours to 2 days, everybody has a different preference), so it can be re-hydrated before it is planted in the ground.
  • Make a hole large enough to fit the large root system of the stem. (You could go with the usual rule for any plant, make a hole twice as large as the plant).
  • Give your rose some room to grow– make sure it is not competing too much with other plants. Hmmm…I think my plants might be a little closer than they should be, but hopefully it won’t be a huge issue.

I am happy to report that so far, so good. My bare root has buds on it, and they are growing. I will be giving a full report and time goes on and as I learn more about roses, and what I need to do to keep them alive! I honestly never thought I would ever grow a rose, so the fact I am actually doing it now is very exciting to me.

Stay tuned for more info. I hope you all weathered the long winter well!

A Natural Pause November 6 2016

The past few weeks have been very productive around here! Painting, yard work and buttoning up the little things before the snow starts flying next week! This weekend was a treat, because I took a break from doing any major house work and got outside while the weather was nice! A quick trip down to my parents house, along with the usual hike around the woods always makes me happy! Those of you who follow me on Instagram have already seen this photo, but I couldn’t help myself– I had to post it as a “Natural Pause” because I was pretty happy with how it turned out! Enjoy!

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Go Ahead, Spoil Your Soil

Is it me, or do the days get busier and faster? This fall has been wonderful, and our days have been filled with the usual day to day work schedule, along with all the other things that have helped our weekends go by at warp speed– weddings, birthday parties, pumpkin picking, walks, bike rides, etc. I have also been busy doing things around the house as opposed to any garden work. I got some necessary painting done, along with organizing the house, while the weather is nice.

Now I am back to the garden, and I am so happy to be– it’s been another spectacular weekend here in Western New York, and I really don’t know how much longer we will have days that are 70+ degrees. Fall garden prep is underway! I have been collecting seeds as much as I can, but also need to work on some other very important parts of the yard. My front yard and flower beds are in desperate need for improvement. My garden plan for next year includes revamping the front yard and foliage. I seem to have some serious problems with things doing well in my front beds. With last year’s house remodel and other things going on, I haven’t given them enough attention. I need to start from the ground, up (Hehe) — I need to spoil my soil!

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Since we sank our toes into veggie gardening this year, (tomatoes, and some gourds from seeds of last year’s gourds), I have been learning more about soil and how important it is that it is healthy for the sake of not only your veggies, but your plants and flowers as well.

Soil contains many beneficial bacteria and organisms that are vital to everything on earth. Sometimes it needs a little boost:

  • Time to turn it up. I use a garden hoe or a spade and turn up my beds to bring up some of the good organisms to the top to revitalize the soil.
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  • Give it some help. Add more fresh top soil, manure, peat moss, compost to your existing flower beds to give it the health it needs to keep your plants and flowers energized during the growing season.
  • It doesn’t cost much. Top soil, mulch, compost, etc. does not cost a lot, so if you are on a budget, this will definitely not break the bank!

I decided this year I needed to add some composted manure to my front beds. Every other year I usually add top soil, but I thought adding manure to my existing soil would give my beds a good boost of nutrients for a healthy, bountiful growing season next year!

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I am using a bow rake to level out the manure I added to my flower beds.

My large front bed also got a few allium bulbs added to it. It seems too bare out there! I need more of a four-season feel out front of the house, too!

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New layer of manure and new bulbs will make this bed look a little more full come spring! 

Happy fall prep to you all– what do you do in your part of the world?

The No-Kinks Sprinkler Guide

Disclaimer: I am just passing on knowledge in regards to shopping for a sprinkler. If you are in a drought stricken area, where watering is NOT an option, then I am by no means advocating watering. If you are fortunate enough to use a sprinkler regularly or on occasion, then I hope you find my sprinkler-shopping guide helpful. I also just thought it would be fun to blog about sprinklers.

Hot. Dry. Crusty. Brown. All great words to describe the summer so far in Western New York. It’s been great, don’t get me wrong. We get some rain here and there on occasion, but nothing adding up to much. I have been diligent when it comes to watering, though I have slowed down some, as it is August, and unfortunately most of my plants have faded out fast. There are a few plants that really like hot, dry weather, so I am focusing on them.

In order for me to keep watering my flowers, and I have been advised to really douse them periodically, I use a sprinkler to get them. Because, let’s face it, standing there with a hose in your hand only wets the very top of the soil, and doesn’t do much. So, I went sprinkler shopping to get the one that would fit my needs perfectly.

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This sprinkler is for small yards and waters my plants perfectly!

Who knew there were so many different types of sprinklers? There was one long cavernous aisle devoted to them.  I currently own three, and they are the right ones for my needs.

Things to consider when purchasing a sprinkler:

The size of your yard. Big, small, they have a sprinkler for all!

What you are going to use it for. Watering your lawn, or watering your flowers, there  is literally a sprinkler for every watering purpose.

How much water you want to use. Want a soaker? You got it! Or, just a little mister to keep your plants looking shiny and nice? They have that too!

Currently, this is my sprinkler rotation:

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The old fashioned sprinkler at the bottom of the picture should be a default for everyone. It is good to cover bigger areas of your yard, and because it can be great fun running in it when the thermometer reads 91 degrees!

So, if you think that there is just one sprinkler to use, and it doesn’t suit you well, always remember– this is modern-day America, where the choices are there for you, and they are abundant!