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!

 

 

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

This summer has been filled with lots of activity and gardening. Stay tuned for an update on what I have been up to this growing season. Until then, please take a look at these beautiful water lilies we came across on a recent hike. Enjoy!

Don’t “Weight” to Get in Shape for Gardening

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We are getting back to fundamentals. Keep yourself in shape to avoid hurting yourself in the garden.

As I write this, it is snowing outside. We have measurable snow on the ground. The first time since December. Talk about a big let down– it has been a rainy, windy, warm winter for the most part, with a Lake Effect snow blast once in a while. My daffodils are coming up, and now they are covered in snow. My snowdrops were up, and now completely buried. Just as I was getting ready to start tinkering in my yard, the snow starts again! Welcome to almost-spring, I suppose!

Well, despite the weather, I am sure everyone has been preparing for the upcoming growing season in the usual manner– garden planning, design, seed buying, etc. But there is one thing that most people forget about during the long winter season that is the most important to all of your gardening endeavors– Exercise.

Now, I have already wrote an article on the importance of exercise for gardeners. I also believe it’s worth a second look. Exercise is so important– especially strength– when it comes gardening. You do a lot bending, pulling, lifting, dragging– all using an enormous amount of strength to do the job. Exercising lowers your risk of injury in the garden. It makes doing all the “dirty” work in the garden MUCH easier.

Since I have gotten older (In fact, I just passed another birthday), I have really dialed into strength conditioning. I am a huge fan of kettlebells, but I also incorporate dumbells into my routine.

Lifting light weights two-three times a week will help you immensely when it comes to spring time garden prep. And, it doesn’t have to be heavy– 2-5 pound weights starting out, and then working your way up to your desired weight.

I don’t want to rewrite what I have already blogged about, but here are a few bullets that are worth mentioning again:

  • Bend with your knees, not at your waist. Your back has “your back” when it comes to gardening.
  • Work your CORE— sit ups, push ups, crunches– it’s your powerhouse, and it keeps your back in good shape.
  • Don’t forget– Walk. Walk far. Walk everywhere. Make sure to get some cardio of sorts into the plan as well.

I will tell you from experience that doing this stuff will make a huge difference. It may seem like it won’t do much, but the gains are amazing. Do the little stuff now to make for a great, enjoyable gardening season later!

Disclaimer: This blog post is extremely general advice when it comes to exercising. I am not a doctor or fitness expert, but these are the exercises I have been advised to do over the years and think they are universal enough for everyone to try them. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

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?

Falling for Dried Flowers

Good evening, everyone! It seems as though these blog posts get further apart, but I am trying my hardest to get them closer together. It’s been a activity packed summer, and my daughter started Kindergarten this week, so it’s been more emotional than usual around here.

First and foremost, yesterday was my 2nd Anniversary blogging! I can’t believe it’s been two years already– time does certainly fly! Born out of professional frustration, my dream is to one day blog full time, but until that day comes, I will keep doing what I am doing and improving and learning as much as I can to attain that goal. I want to thank you for reading my blog and letting me know what you think and for giving me suggestions that will help my blog in the long run! I am always trying to mix things up, but I want the intent of the blog to stay the same– to help new gardeners start their own gardening adventures by giving advice and ideas as simply and honestly as possible. I want my blog to be the “seed” that starts some great gardens out there! I am still learning a ton about gardening. I am no expert — I just pass along what I have been taught, told, shown, etc. It’s really fun, and I enjoy this immensely. So, let’s get back to business, shall we?

Now, I have to say that I actually have 3 blog posts that I could be posting tonight. I have a couple of “Field Trip” posts that I think you will really like, and hopefully will give you some inspiration in your gardens! But, my intuition was telling it’s time I do an informative piece, because it’s been a little while since I have. And I got the idea of this post from an article in a magazine, along with my blog post I did last year, The Beauty of a Fading Fall garden.

*Remember– your garden doesn’t end when the growing season ends– it keeps giving year round.

I have blogged about the garden and how it gives back to you year round, including the fading fall garden. Planting for Winter Interest also allows your landscape to work for you. Now, I know a lot of my fellow bloggers live in places that don’t have snow (and boy, do I sometimes envy you), but you still have to deal with a Winter garden as well, so please use my post as a springboard of ideas that could work for your nice, warm, green winters.

So, after some researching and getting a lightbulb to go off on my own, I was inspired to take the plants I usually keep to collect seeds, and use them in dried flower arrangements for fall. I even tried to “forage” on trails in the Niagara Gorge this past weekend, but, let’s be honest, it’s a little too early for that. LOL.

My garden grows every year. I mean, I plant more things every year. And I have had some unique things come up in my gardens that I can’t help BUT use dried.

My number one plant? Alliums. At the beginning of the summer, when my Alliums were done, I noticed how beautiful they were dried, and I snipped them off and brought them inside to use as a decoration. I have been using them all summer, and they look great with my fall decor. Yes, my house throws up with Fall decor this time of year:

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And then this happened today:

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My sunflowers came crashing down– no worries, they will be part of some dried flower arrangements to come this season.

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Soon, I will be embarking on my usual pilgrimage to the Erie Canal to get some cattails, but these fake ones I found in the store last year will do for now.

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Here are my white globe thistles in a vase. This plant has been the biggest surprise for me this year, and I am so glad I purchased these last year!

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Here are some other things that would be great to use in any fall arrangement:

  • Seedpods— Chinese lanterns, etc. The more unique looking, the better!
  • Acorns, nuts, etc.–This is what I was looking for, unfortunately, I think it’s too early. Any kind nuts or berries will do!
  • Pinecones— this one needs no explaining. You could call this a default fall/winter decoration.
  • Any flower that dries beautiful in your eyes. It’s limitless. Use what you love and make the most of it!
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This is just the beginning of a beautiful arrangement!