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!

Seeds n’ Things

Happy fall! I hope everyone had a wonderful summer– which honestly, it still feels like here in Western New York. The weather has been beautiful– however, maybe too much. It has been so warm here that my spring bulbs are starting to sprout again! I fear that we won’t have such a colorful fall like last year because it has been so dry and warm this past summer.

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Never the less, I am not wasting another minute inside, it’s time to get along with my fall garden preparation tasks. A couple of years ago, I wrote a step by step on how to plant bulbs in the fall. I know a lot of people really don’t know how to (I know I sure didn’t at one time), so I wanted to give a little tutorial on how to plant them.

Well, now I am learning how to preserve seeds more. I have done this a little bit in the past, but this year, I have found great joy in harvesting seeds. Every plant has its own unique seed pod.

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The seeds of the hollyhock are slim, wafer-like discs.

Here are a few tips when collecting seeds:

  • Make sure the seeds pods are completely dry when you harvest them.
  • When storing seeds, never place them in plastic bags. Use paper seed packets or bags to allow the seeds to breathe.
  • Remember to share them– think of them as holiday gifts!

Harvesting seeds is a good thing. It is a natural way of controlling individual plant species from taking over your garden.

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The seed pod of a Giant Hibiscus is, well, giant!

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Hollyhocks, Cosmos (Upper Right), White Globe Thistle (Lower Center) will make any gardener happy!

I spent a good portion of last weekend re-organizing and making a place in the unfinished side of my basement to become my little gardening area, which means, saving seeds and storing bulbs that cannot stay outside for the winter. I plan on scouring  Etsy in search for the perfect antique printer tray to hold all my seeds until spring!

I also have purchased 3 more varieties of Allium bulbs that need to be planted, but until it cools down a little more, I think I will wait it out a little longer.

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What are your plans for fall planting? I would to hear what everyone is planting. Trust me, I am not done purchasing bulbs, yet…

 

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!

The Need for Seed and Other Musings – The January Wrap-Up

Here it is, the last week of January is upon us. We are pretty much half way through winter, so lets hope the ole’ groundhog gives us a break this year and predicts that spring will come early! By this time of year, we are all getting cabin fever, heck even my daughter is getting sick of riding her new bike around in circles in the basement. She’s ready for the rubber to meet the road!

After a wild and crazy Saturday night of learning to ride our new bike, it's finally time to take a rest.

After a wild and crazy Saturday night of learning to ride our new bike, it’s finally time to take a rest.

It’s also time to  check in and see if I am practicing what I preached way back when the snow started to fly. Well, I am very proud to say that I am now underway. So here’s a little round-up of what’s been keeping me busy in my world.

1. I am looking at seeds.

I am sure most of you have had your mailboxes inundated with seed catalogs like this:

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Yes, now is the time to purchase your seeds to get a jump-start on your growing season. Whether you are going to start your veggies, herbs or some of your favorite flowers, this is the perfect time to purchase them. Why? Because the stores and nurseries are freshly stocked and you will get everything your little heart desires!!

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2. I have been putting the pen to paper.

I love words. My life’s work is putting pen to paper. I do it in my job, but I have also been journalizing since I was very young. I currently have four different journals. One of those journals is my garden journal. It has all my musings in regards to my gardens, yard and what I want to do with it all.

Nothing better than a Moleskine. Or two.

Nothing better than a Moleskine. Or two.

3. I purchased some new books.

I remember a time, oh, about ten years ago, when all I did was work, exercise, and read. My love of words never died, it just went on vacation for a few years. I could read at least a book a week at one time. Now, it’s one a year! That’s life for you! But now, things are changing where I can now devote more time for reading and researching than I could before. My time management skills are getting much better the older I get. So, I have some really great books that I will review in the not so distant future, and I am excited to dive in to them.

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4. I am getting dynamic inspiration.

This was the year I promised I would get back to being “me”. I took a few years off of being “me” to devote fully to being “mommy”. Before I became a mother, I always worked towards being dynamic. I always wanted to know a little bit about most things just so I would always be able to carry on a conversation with anybody I met. This thinking too, has contributed to the inspiration I get for gardening. It’s amazing the cool things you can think of when you look at the bigger picture!

5. I have been getting outside.

Yes, I have been able get outside a lot more than I have in the past few years, and it has made an incredible difference. I feel more at peace, and get such great joy with walking about the woods in snowshoes, cross-country skiing, or even walking. It’s amazing the effect nature has on you.

So, I guess that’s it in a nutshell. Just a little bit of what I have been working on, and hopefully it will all translate into a great, inspirational, and productive growing season!