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!


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!


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!!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


That December Sun and Other Things I Have Been Up To

That December sun. The sunset tonight was out of this world. You don’t see it that often around these parts of the world at this time of year! It kind of sums up what the weather has been like for us in Buffalo. Milder than normal temps which resulted in another record broken for us– the longest we have gone this time of year without measurable snow!


So, you really can’t do anything but take advantage of this weather if you have any last minute yard/garden work that needs to be done. I have been busy with a lot of different things, so here are a few things I accomplished on this 50+ degree weekend:

  • I broke a record for myself in the garden yesterday– I planted spring bulbs on December 5th!!


Remember, you CAN plant bulbs right up until the ground freezes. Even if that means December 5th!


  • My amaryllis bulb I posted about last year is going to bloom again! After giving it TLC and taking my own advice, it’s back and I couldn’t be happier!


  • I brought my tropical hibiscus in the house and it is still going strong! I have also made it part of my seasonal decor by adding a few ornaments. You can do this with any container plants you had outdoors for the summer. It makes your interior decor unique and welcoming!

I put a few ornaments on it, but not too many because I have two cats who are a little too curious…

  • I finally got some time to decorate my urns on my front porch. They are pretty much the same as last year, but without any evergreens just yet. My spikes are still thriving, so it’s just my giant bulb ornaments with spikes and creeping jenny for now!



Nothing has cost me a lot of money– it’s amazing what a little creativity can do for you! Using your own houseplants and containers from outdoors this past growing season can be used in what I like to call “transitional decorating” — from the holidays to winter. I always like to keep some kind of decorations up all winter because it can get a little dreary without some “cheer” around the house.

I have a special decorating post I have in the hopper all about one of my favorite things — Feather Trees! So, until next time, Happy December!

That’s a Wrap — A Growing Season “Summer”y

We got our first snowflakes today! Overall, this weekend has been very cold, but after snowflakes flew this morning, it ended up being nice and sunny, so I went out and took a hike in an area park to get some nice autumn pictures.

Ellicott Creek in the fall.

Ellicott Creek in the fall.


Because it was so cold, I am thankful I got most of my yard work done when I did, even though now I am questioning myself as to whether or not I planted my spring bulbs too early this year. My parents came up to visit us (the first time since my daughter’s birthday in April– their social calendar is busier than mine), and I wanted to show my mom all my work that I had done in my back yard, and I came across this:

My bulbs are confused by the warm fall weather we are having!

My bulbs are confused by the warm fall weather we are having.

I noticed that in the new extended spring bulb bed that I made, that some of them are popping up. I hope this doesn’t mean that I have lost them until the following spring. Western New York has had an unseasonably warm October, with temps in the 60s and 70s, I have even notice that my clematis and a few of my coneflower varieties have new blooms!

I just hope they still manage to come up in the spring. Good thing it was only a few bulbs and not a lot. After seeing this yesterday, I went out this morning with my daughter and noticed that the deer ate a good part of my ryusen weeping japanese maple. That depressed me a little, but I know it’s too early to start wrapping things up, so I will do the “wait and see” for the next couple of days. If it becomes more frequent, I will have to start covering things earlier than I would like.

The deer are now taking a liking to my little Japanese Maple.

The deer are now taking a liking to my little Japanese Maple.

Looking at this carnage somehow got me thinking about the past growing season– what I did right, what I did wrong, and I what I would do better next year.

Most Improved Duty: Watering 

Yes, I must say, I worked really hard this year, especially after purchasing three trees, to make sure everything was watered. I learned my lesson last year when I didn’t water my arborvitae enough and they died over the winter because they lost more water than they had. I want to make sure everything has an adequate water supply as we go into the winter. I am even watering in the fall here, when we go without rain for extended periods of time.

What I Need to Work On: Plant Placement

Ok, so this one is kind of a misleading title. I mean, gardening itself is a process where you are constantly moving things to another place to see if does better, or transplanting because they are outgrowing their place, etc., etc. I think sometimes I get so plant crazy that I end up planting things too close together and then there isn’t any room for them to grow when they actually mature. Maybe I am just worrying too much, but I just want everything, and with such little space to plant things, I wonder if I am crowding some out!

What I Need Work On: Taking Better Care of my Containers

I will tell you I need to water these better than I do. Containers always dry out faster, and I somehow seem to neglect them. I must be better with this next year!

What I Did Well On: Creating Balance

I can honestly say that I feel I have finally created zen with everything that I have planted. It feels good, nothing is lopsided like it used to be, and it genuinely makes me happy. Even after tearing out everything behind my garage for a third time in two years, I can now say I am satisfied. I actually feel like I know what I am doing.

So, how did your garden do this past growing season? What would you like to do differently next time?

“Mum” is the Word on My Crazy Bulb Obsession and Other Musings

This past weekend was one of the nicest first weekends of fall that I can remember! All of my fall-blooming plants are doing so well– I am so happy that everything is coming along!

My first Morning Glory finally bloomed!

My first Morning Glory finally bloomed!

The problem with me is that when the weather is so nice, all I want to do is be outside, which leads to me neglecting my indoor household responsibilities. No worries, Monday and Tuesday were rain-filled days for us, and I was able to get a lot of stuff done inside. Which is the main reason why it’s Wednesday and I am just starting this post!

I was very busy in the garden over the weekend, and I went a little nuts on Friday after work. In a post not too long ago, I talked about Fall Bulbs and which ones I was going to plant. Heheheh ehh……yea, Friday night I went shopping at my local Lowe’s and ended up going bulb crazy! I also made sure to get my mums. I still would like to get a couple more of those as well.

Mums and Bulbs. Went a little crazy!

Mums and Bulbs. Went a little crazy!

Yep, I even expanded my flower beds to accommodate the more than 100 bulbs I planted into that particular area!! And that was just one bed! I ended up with a total of 160+ bulbs in the ground by weekend’s end. Really?!!!


I really can’t help it. There are so many different flowers I want to try, and I end up getting the bulbs just to try them. I was lacking in the Spring-blooming plant department, so I pretty much made up for that over the weekend. It was exhausting, but I managed to get it done. I am still waiting for some other Allium bulbs to come in the mail, so when they do, I will be over the 200 mark with Spring bulbs. I think my four-season garden is coming along just fine now!

It dawned on me as I was just finding places to plant some of these bulbs that I needed to mark them in some way, shape or form. The past few years, I have forgotten where I have planted things, and end up digging them up and losing the bulbs.

Here is my tip for you when it comes to marking your bulbs you planted:

*I simply took pictures of the bulb packages in the exact space I planted them. 

I planted hyacinths under my old bluebird house.

I planted hyacinths under my old bluebird house.

You may have other ways you mark your bulbs that are more efficient, but for me, to have photo proof keeps me from losing serious bulbs.

The overall effort of this mass bulb planting included purchasing four extra bags of dirt and the aid of a special little helper.


She did a good job, and to show my appreciation, we went to the playground and then sat on the roof of our local ice cream joint. There is no better place to watch the sunset than on top of Mississippi Mudds!

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So, this coming weekend has us getting pumpkins–part of my front entryway fall decor. Can’t wait to share!

I love fall and everything that comes with it! I made a trip to Yankee Candle last Friday night to get some wax melts and fell in love with “Autumn Leaves” scent. I just got a coupon in the mail and can’t wait to get some time to run over again and get the big jar candle!

Oh, and my last musing for this post– my sunflowers. I did a whole tutorial last year on sunflowers and how to harvest the seeds. Well, with all the rain we received in the past two days, they collapsed and fell just like last year. I was disappointed this year because my sunflowers didn’t get nearly as big as they did last year. No matter, I cut the heads off to dry and was dragging 6ft. sunflower stalks to the curb. Here’s hoping for a better crop next year!


Whoever said gardening wasn’t exercise didn’t drag 6ft. sunflower stalks, that’s for sure!

“Fall” Into Spring Garden Prep — Selecting/Planting Bulbs

As we all adjust to our regularly scheduled lives– kids back to school, getting back into work mode, vacations are over, etc., we now have to start thinking about what we have to do to get our gardens ready for next season! We have to make sure they get through whatever type of winter Mother Nature throws at us first in order to insure our spring bounty. So the first part of this “Fall” Into Spring Garden Prep is a natural– Spring Bulbs. What bulbs should you plant? How many should you plant? When is a good time to plant? Hopefully, I will be able to answer those questions for you.


*First things first: you can plant bulbs anytime during the fall right up until the ground freezes. I was planting bulbs in early November a couple of years ago. 

There are several garden seed/bulb catalogs out there that offer several different types of spring bulbs. There are so many varieties of daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths that you shouldn’t have a problem finding the bulbs you would like.

Here are a few sites that I really like when it comes to the selection and variety of bulbs and seeds that are offered:

So, what bulbs should you plant? 

Plant whatever bulbs you want! But, consider the factors: how much room do you have, do you have a large deer population, etc. There are several types of bulbs that are deer resistant, and you will notice that many garden websites have a whole section dedicated to them. If you have a lot of deer hanging around, stick with daffodils and allium varieties. Tulips are great, but deer tend to love them a lot. Another thing about tulips is that the bulbs tend to exhaust themselves over time, so you will be replanting them more often.

How many should you plant?

Well, as many as you want! Do you see a pattern here?! Whatever you want– just factor in how much space you have, and maintain adequate space between bulbs. You want to get as close to a four-season garden as you possibly can. Try to create a good distribution of spring-fall blooming plants as best as you can.

Bulbs that I am planting:

*Narcissus, Iris — I actually got these bulbs from my parents. The iris’ are close to 50+ years old, and were my grandmother’s. The narcissus were from my grandmother as well, so I am very happy that I have some of my grandmother’s flowers in my garden. After we had our house re-sided, my flower beds were destroyed from feet, and I completely changed it. Now, I have some iris’ and narcissus’ planted in there.


*Alliums — you know I love alliums. I went through a planting tutorial last year with allium bulbs. I am going to order some really neat varieties, and I can wait to show you what ones I will be planting!


*Daffodils — I am thinking of adding a few daffodils to the mix as well. I need deer resistant bulbs because of the problems my neighborhood has with our four-legged friends.

I hope this helps you a little to better understand spring bulbs and what you would like to plant. It is definitely worth the effort to plant bulbs now, because as everyone in a snow-filled area of the world knows, there is nothing better than seeing little flowers springing up from the ground after a LOOOONG winter!

Dig In To Some Great Fall Planting

Today was such a beautiful day, and it almost didn’t happen. Meaning, I had two big hurdles that I had to jump over to get any work in my garden done– 1. The Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots game was on. 2. My daughter came down with a cold yesterday. So, I did everything in pieces today.

For me, Fall garden preparation comes in two phases– the first one is planting spring bulbs. Here are some of the more common spring bulbs you will find in your local garden stores that are very affordable and readily available:

  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Tulip
  • Hyacinth
  • Muscari, or Grape Hyacinth
  • Allium

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went to my local garden store last month, and purchased some fantastic Allium bulbs. I figured I had to take advantage of the nice weather we are having and get these bulbs into the ground now, despite the fact I had a few setbacks.

Before I could plant my 35 new Allium bulbs, I needed my husband to roto-till some more of my yard for me! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take pictures as I was tending to my toddler who was a little under the weather. But, I did get to take a picture of the extension later on when I finally got a chance to dig in and get planting!

To get started, I needed to gather the tools I was going to be using.

For this garden session, I will be using a bow rake, bulb planter, shovel and knee pad.

For this garden session, I will be using a bow rake, bulb planter, shovel and knee pad.

The first one being a bow rake. A bow rake is helps level off or loosen soil. This has 16 “tines”. This is excellent for evening out large mounds of dirt or other uneven surfaces. It’s also good for leveling gravel or mulch, or any other loose items for the garden.


The second one is a bulb planter. This tool comes in handy for the first-time gardener who has never planted bulbs before. You simply push it into the ground until the whole shaft of the planter is completely in the ground, and you will create a hole deep enough to plant a bulb. Now, once you become a pro at bulb planting, you will know that you can dig a whole between 5-6 inches deep if you don’t have a bulb planter handy, because that is the average depth that bulbs are planted.


Of course, your trusty shovel will come in handy if a part of your yard is too difficult to you use your bulb planter.

And…. a knee pad! The knee pad saves you from much pain, and they are cheap! I purchased mine at a dollar store!

How to Plant Your Bulbs

Here is my beautifully newly tilled spot for my Alliums, thanks to my husband:


I used the bow rake and shovel to remove all the “rubbish” which is the grass that was tilled up along with the soil. I got a whole wheel barrow full!

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And then I reached for my bulb planter and got to work!


I simply pushed it into the ground, though you might have to put a little elbow grease into it. My yard has an exceptional amount of tree roots, and I had to use both hands to push this into the ground.

As I pulled the planter out, the center of it is filled with soil. This is what you will use to cover up your bulb with.


And then you place a bulb in the hole that you dug and cover up the bulb. It’s that easy!


Keep doing this until you have put all your bulbs in the ground. One good thing to know is that you can keep planting bulbs right up before the ground freezes. I planted bulbs in November last year.

It’s hard work, but you will be glad you did it when Spring comes and you can finally see the fruits of your labor!