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!

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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!

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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!!

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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!

 

It’s Finally Spring — Now to Survey and Assess…

What a wonderful Sunday it was! And today is even better! Western New York has been waiting a long time for this weather, and we aren’t wasting any time getting outside! I took my daughter on her inaugural trip to the playground yesterday, and ice cream after made it the perfect Sunday afternoon.

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I have heard everybody say that now that the weather is finally nice, they can actually take down their outdoor Christmas decorations! So sad, but true. The winter really kicked our butts!

Now that winter is in the rear view mirror, we can look ahead to the warm weather and the great things that come with it. However, one thing that I don’t look forward to during the spring is taking a look at my flower beds and seeing the damage that winter and animals have done with it once the snow melts.

So, I sucked it up yesterday and went out in my back yard, as well as the front yard. Overall, I am happy with the results. Some things I lost,which I had predicted and others have pleasantly surprised me.

As I had mentioned last month, I knew my arborvitae had bitten the dust. Well, they did, fabulously.

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But despite this, there are signs of life everywhere, my tulips are coming up, and the Alliums I planted last fall.

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So, what am I going to do with the damage I found?

  • I am going to ditch the arborvitae. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best location for those shrubs. I think I am going to get two more boxwood bushes that I already have next to the arborvitae now. Boxwood are a very common shrub used for edges, borders, etc. You can trim and shape them to your liking. They have worked well for me, and continue to grow. So, boxwood it will be!
Boxwood are commonly used for borders. Deer do not seem to bother these, which makes them even more ideal for your landscaping!

Boxwood are commonly used for borders. The deer do not seem to bother these, which makes them even more ideal for your landscaping!

  • A lot of my damage has also come from the deer that have parked themselves out in my backyard. I am putting new chicken wire around my raspberry bush, and I need to protect my dwarf burning bush that I planted last year as well. I also have an egg and water concoction that I am using for the spring/summer. More info to come on that subject…
Chicken wire is a savior for plants when it comes to animals, in particular, deer.

Chicken wire is a savior for plants when it comes to animals.  In particular, deer.

So, overall everything is coming along just fine. I planted a lot of new stuff last year, and it looks as though I will be seeing them again this year. I found some new bulbs and seeds that I am going to try this year as well, so I am crossing my fingers I will get something this year!

How did your garden fair this winter season, even if you didn’t get any snow? What do you need to do in order to get your garden the way you want it? Time to assess your gardens before the growing season is in full swing!

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.

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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.

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

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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!