“Tree”t Your Landscape

It’s August, people!! I hope you are having a great summer! I can’t complain– we have done a lot of stuff this summer, but my family still has a few things to check off the list before I can officially call it a completely fun-filled summer.

Garden wise, I have been watering like crazy. We had 90+ degree temps (32 Celsius) last week, and everything was withering under the hot, oppressive sun. We still haven’t received any real rain, other than the big thunderstorm that came through my neck of the woods on Saturday.


I have been quite busy with all the stuff that’s happening with our house. As I have mentioned in past posts, we are getting some major remodeling done, and unfortunately, my flower beds have taken a toll. With the house being re-sided, ladders and lots of feet had pretty much trampled down my front garden beds, leaving me very sad. I know, however that this was bound to happen, and I know that next year everything will come back even bigger and stronger!

Well, my beds out back of my garage have taken the biggest hit. So, I quickly moved everything over to the other side of my yard and extended my flower beds once again. I actually like that I have moved everything, and it looks as though my dwarf burning bush is doing much better in its new location than the previous one.

Here it is, my quick emergency bed to save everything from getting trampled!

Here it is, my quick emergency bed to save everything from getting trampled!

I have since done some work on it to make it look prettier, but as usual, I have a long way to go. After surveying my back yard landscape, I knew I needed to add something to it besides just flowers, plants, and shrubs. It was an absolute “tree”t to see that there were a lot of great trees on sale at my local nurseries right now. I have since bought three!

  • To keep your landscape interesting, think about adding some trees to the picture. Keep in mind the size of your yard, and there is a tree out there for every landscape, from postage stamp size to major acreage!
My little yard.

My little yard.

  • When looking for some trees to put in your yard, try to find some different varieties that you don’t often see. For example, if you have a larger yard, get a beautiful tulip tree, or a variety of maple that isn’t as common. For small yards like mine, you can pick from a large list of Japanese maples, or other ornamental or dwarf size trees.
  • Location is key. Make sure wherever you plant your tree, you have given it room to grow. Or, maybe you want some privacy in your yard, so you will plant it to accommodate this.

I am now filling in the rest of my yard with a few trees that get about 8-10ft tall.

What are they you ask?

Japanese Maples — 50% off right now at your local nurseries. I purchased a Crimson Queen (that unfortunately was put into the hot sun during the beginning phases of our home remodel, and the leaves dried up to a crisp). PLEASE DO NOT JUDGE ME. I am trying really hard to bring this little guy back, and it’s working, his regular leaves are coming back. They are reddish/green laceleaves– so intricate and beautiful!

Crimson Queen Laceleaf, a little fried.

Crimson Queen Laceleaf, a little fried.

The other tree I purchased was a Ryusen Weeping Japanese Maple. The tree, as I am told,  is a very rare weeping Japanese Maple that grows much faster compared to most other varieties of this tree. It averages about 10ft. high, but can grow as high as 20ft. It looks like a waterfall when fully grown.

Ryusen Weeping Japanese Maple

Ryusen Weeping Japanese Maple

I really love “weeping” plants and trees. They are so different, yet dramatic and graceful. Another “weeping” specimen I purchased was this Weeping Norway Spruce. They get to about 8 ft. tall. Just perfect for my yard.

Weeping Norway Spruce

Weeping Norway Spruce

There are many different trees to choose from, take your time and research some that are perfect for your part of the world. Adding trees to your flower beds makes your garden more well-rounded and lovely!

“Spruce” up your Winter Decorating!

I can’t believe the first week of December is already over! Unfortunately, it’s going to go much faster than I would like it to go. My work schedule is crushing me this month, so I thought I better prioritize my responsibilties a little better. I have to go out-of-town this coming week for work, so this meant I must try to get my Christmas shopping and decorations up as soon as I could, or it wasn’t going to happen at all! I am happy to say that I feel good about both tasks, so now, all I have to do is concentrate on my up coming schedule. I should be in the clear by week’s end (hopefully).

As I was running into Walmart to pick up some Christmas presents I ordered online this past Tuesday, I was very surprised, and actually a bit relieved in regards to what I had found. It was two bundles of evergreens, and it truly had made my day.


By the way, yes, it was Walmart I found these in. Normally, I would go to my farm store, but with time and schedule restraints, the supercenter that is less than five minutes from my house trumped all other options this week. I was pleasantly surprised to see they were even selling them. Thanksgiving weekend had me frantically hiking through the woods around my neighborhood to find some spruce branches, but unfortunately, there were very little for me to get.

Spruce, Fir and Pine trees are all conifers. Conifers are trees or shrubs, mostly evergreen, that have needle-like or scale-like leaves. Conifers are the quintessential Winter decoration. I love them. I decorate with them up right up until Spring. I love the look of Spruce/Pine branches with pinecones.

So, how do you tell the difference between them?

Pines— have long smooth needles that come in bundles of 2,3 or 5


Spruce– single needles are smooth and roll around in your hand

Fir– have single needles that are flat so you can’t roll them


I learned a lot about trees, especially Pine, from my father, who could tell you every different kind of tree. As a boy, he planted over 3,000+ trees for a 4-H project. Those are the woods I grew up playing in.

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So now, I can finish decorating my urns out front of my house.

I got some huge ornaments that are supposed to go in a tree in your front yard, but instead I used them for my urns.

My hands were freezing! It was 29 degrees!

My hands were freezing! It was 29 degrees!


I inserted the hook part into the dirt in my urns to secure them from the wind. As you can see, I still had some spike plants from summer in there. I actually had to get my trowel out to get them out! The root systems were enormous!

My spike plants that I will talk more about in future posts.

My spike plants that I will talk more about in future posts.

I took my evergreen “bouquets” and inserted them in the urn for a “quick and dirty” holiday decoration.


I want to emphasize that creative decorating does NOT have to be expensive. Really cool decorations can be created with different items just hanging around your house! And nature, of course! I purchased these evergreen bundles for $4.87 a piece. So, I did not spend much at all.

Yes, I will be foraging for more spruce twigs as winter goes on, like I did last year while snowshoeing.

My snowshoe excursion in search of spruce and fir branches.

My snowshoe excursion in search of spruce and fir branches.

You can also decorate with them inside.

  • When decorating with spruce, pine or fir in your home, please make sure you WATER them often, or the needles will fall all over. They create quite a mess. Lesson learned from last winter!

I hope you get a chance to decorate with conifers this holiday/winter season. Just taking a walk on a snowy path through the woods to find them can be wonderful. Who doesn’t love the smell of spruce or pine in the winter? It’s very inviting and homey-feeling. Consider planting a smaller or dwarf version in your yard if you do not have a big backyard. They are an excellent example of winter interest as well!

So, quit “pining” for summer when winter has its perks as well!