Hygge and Gardeners

In a way, I feel I have missed the boat on writing this post tonight. It’s more of a winter post of sorts, and since it certainly does not feel like winter in my part of the world, I feel like the timeliness of this blog post could be questioned. Haha!

However, it still is, technically, winter, so I am going say that I got it in just in time! And it’s really interesting to me that there is an actual word for something that seems to be not a “thing”, but a regular way of life. Boy, was I wrong!

Hygge, (pronounced hue-gah), is the Scandinavian concept of coziness, and taking pleasure in the ordinary, day to day things in life, including:

  • Warm blankets, socks
  • Hot cup of liquid– tea, coffee, hot chocolate
  • Candles burning
  • Enjoying good people around you
  • Bringing the Outdoors In

Hygge originated with the Danish, and it was their way of coping with long, dark winters. Now, I don’t know about you– but I think I have been living the Hygge way all along! Western New York winters can be brutal, and I love my big, warm socks and blankets for sure! And most winter nights, you will find us playing board games, or going bowling with friends or family. When it’s REALLY cold, I am drinking tea like there is no tomorrow!

So, that’s nice, but how does this pertain to gardening? Well, that’s where the “Bringing Outdoors In” comes in to play. Buy some houseplants, try indoor gardening, make a terrarium, you get the point. We as gardeners are constantly thinking about spring and the start of the new growing season. Winter tends to stymie the average gardener, but as I blogged about almost 3 years ago, houseplants can fill that void nicely!


Here are some houseplants that I am “wintering” — some belong on my patio. A fake reindeer pelt makes everything nice and cozy. It almost makes a great cat bed!

So, how do you “hygge”? What little things make you happy?

A little Saturday “Snow”ledge

The temperature at my house currently reads 2 degrees. It is awful, and you can barely step outside. If any of you are worried about your plants being harmed by the snow and cold, have no fear.

Snow is an insulator, a mulch of sorts. It protects your plants from winter’s harshness. It allows water to move efficiently through the root system. Bottom line: you want snow in winter, it does wonders for your garden!


Don’t worry, this little guy is going to be OK!

Have a great President’s weekend!



Winter Gardening: Zone Specific

I hope everyone is having a great week. I just got my seed catalog in the mail the other day, and I am having a blast looking through it! Even though it really hasn’t felt like winter this year at all– no cross country skiing or snowshoeing — I don’t mind– the mild temperatures and actually being able to go outside and walk has been a plus for sure!

I am always looking for and researching topics that are informational and helpful to not only me, but you as a gardener. One of my first few posts I ever wrote was about growing zones. Even though we are on the home stretch and spring is right around the corner, I thought this article about winter gardening and your grow zones would be something to get you thinking about next year.

I would like to thank the people from over at fix.com with this great article that explains things a lot better than I could right now!


Ringing in the New Year with Indoor Projects

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope your holiday season was wonderful! As always, it’s over as fast it comes. It was a whirlwind December at work, (as usual–always choatic at the end of the year), and with pretty much the first half of the year supposedly just as crazy, I thought I would concentrate on some small indoor projects that hopefully keep my sanity in check!

Christmas in our household was wonderful. My daughter got everything on her list from Santa. The only thing we didn’t get was snow.



After 8 weeks of germination, the apple seed my daughter brought home from school has finally been repotted. I hope it becomes a seedling in a couple of weeks.


Here’s hoping something starts sprouting soon!

I also purchased two amaryllis bulbs on clearance at the store right before Christmas, so I decided to try and see if they will blossom for me now. These two were a little different from the amaryllis I potted last year. I had a disc of dry medium in the box, and I had to add two and a half cups of water. It became dirt right before my eyes! LOL


Warning: This is not brownie mix! 

So, here’s hoping they bloom for me!


The weather was warm right up until Christmas, and then this past New Year’s weekend, it became cold, snowy and windy. We really only have a dusting on the ground, but the wind chill really gets you!

Now is the time to start sketching out your garden plans. What do you have in mind? What are some of the projects you would like to complete this year? Stay tuned for my list!




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!

Bamboo Sticks and Burlap: The Great Garden Cover- Up

Happy November! I know that Buffalo has been loving the first week of the month so far– we hit 73 degrees (23 degrees celsius) on Wednesday this past week! Lots of lunch time walks this week just because you never know what the weather will be like in a couple of weeks (November 17 last year it started snowing and 7 feet of snow and 3 days later, it looked like a scene out of the apocalypse).

That being said, I needed to “wrap-up” (pun intended) my gardening to-do list this weekend. Even though the 7 day outlook looks decent, you just can’t trust it this far into fall. So, away I went to get some work done. I detailed my winter preparation in a post last year, but I thought I would go through it a little more this year.

The cover-up begins!

The cover-up begins!

This year, I was a little more savvy than last, so I purchased more appropriate tools to get the job done right (hopefully).

The three things you will need are:

  1. Bamboo Sticks – this is something I didn’t get last year, and this will help out with my japanese maples and my pencil hollies for the added support with the burlap. I do not recommend these for bigger trees and shrubs– you can purchase separate bigger and stronger support stakes for the bigger jobs.
Bamboo sticks are a cheap way to help with your garden winterizing.

Bamboo sticks are a cheap way to help with your garden winterizing.

2. Burlap – another cheap garden cover that works really well. I remember watching TV last year when a garden expert was pretty much dissing burlap and saying how ugly it was, and to use a more expensive and appealing covering. Who really cares? If it does the job and protects your plants, then go for it. It’s very affordable and I really like using burlap for decorating too.

The smell of burlap takes me back to my childhood-- it smells exactly like baling twine!

The smell of burlap takes me back to my childhood– it smells exactly like baling twine!

3. Chicken wire — this will always come in handy, and you can use it when burlap really isn’t an option, especially around trees.

And again, another affordable, more durable covering for your bigger trees and plants

And again, another affordable, more durable covering for your bigger trees and plants.

I then went to work. I covered my pencil holly with burlap. I used one of my bamboo sticks as support.


I then took some burlap and wrapped it around the pencil holly, but first I punched a hole in the burlap to give it a more snug hold around the holly.

I poked a hole in the burlap the first time as I wrapped the holly and then I did it again at the end.

I poked a hole in the burlap the first time as I wrapped the holly and then I did it again at the end.

For added security and to keep the burlap wrapped tight? I pulled a MacGuyver and I snipped off small pieces of the chicken wire and “pinned” them in several places on the burlap. Now, you can buy several different fasteners and stakes in the store, but I have found that you can use the metal hooks for Christmas ornaments (I buy several packs of these each season– they are so versatile around the house), or if you can find anything or don’t have anything, you can snip off small pieces of chicken wire that work just as good!

MacGuyver would be so proud. When in a pinch, just snip some chicken wire!

MacGuyver would be so proud. When in a pinch, just snip some chicken wire!

Oila! It’s complete! I have three very securely covered pencil hollies!


A special thanks goes out to my knee pad — it’s my savior!


Now, it’s time to wrap my badly eaten Japanese Maple. Because it is small, I am using bamboo sticks with chicken wire. It might be also a good idea to use stronger support stakes. I might pick one or two up for added support.


Chicken wire can be difficult to work with, but it’s not impossible. It bends very easily.


And that is how it’s done! I take the bamboo sticks and “string” it through the chicken wire for support. This should be good for my little japanese maple. I am so upset the deer have shredded it.

After the covering is done, it’s time to rake up some leaves, pick up old sunflower heads and cut down my hostas.

Garden rubbish at its best!

Garden rubbish at its best!

I don’t pick up all the leaves–particularly in my flower beds. They are a great winter mulch for them.

So, that was my weekend– lots of work done and now it’s time to start thinking about decorating my urns for the holidays.

**I want to apologize that I never did a post on Fall Decor in my urns. The thing is, the weather has been so warm that the Creeping Jenny and Spikes I have in them are still flourishing, and I didn’t have the heart to rip them out. But, some Christmas decor will be coming for sure! 

So, please have a great week, and best of luck on your winter garden preparation!

A Natural Pause

On Saturday afternoon, I took advantage of the opportunity to do some snowshoeing while my daughter took her nap. As I lapped the little park I have all of my winter fun in, I noticed a small rainbow in the sky. It’s a special treat to see a winter rainbow, mainly because you don’t associate rainbows with winter. It takes you back to warm and rainy summer days that we are all longing for at this point in the season! Enjoy.

A small rainbow in a dusky sky made my day!

A small rainbow in a dusky sky made my day!

En”Deer”ing Friends and Your Garden – Winter Version

Another cold, winter week goes by, and I have noticed that hats, gloves, coats, mittens and boots wet with puddles dominate the landscape of my whole house. Scarves in the bedroom and living room, coats hung on the dining room chairs — you get the idea. I love winter, I love the change of scenery, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. My daughter loves it too, and plays in it with style:

She couldn't help herself when we got back from the doctor's the other day. Had to play on a snowy swingset!

She couldn’t help herself when we got back from the doctor’s the other day. Had to play on a snowy swing set!

The two aspects I don’t like about winter? Driving in it and deer.

How so you say?

Well, in my neighborhood, we have a severe deer problem. Overpopulation at its finest. They are a year round nuisance, (spring/summer versions will be coming), but they have been proving to be the most destructive in winter for my garden.

Every hunter's dream -- to have this big guy in your back yard!

Every hunter’s dream — to have this big guy in your back yard!

Here’s why:

It’s winter, and food sources are scarce. If it’s a particularly cold winter, they will pretty much eat ANYTHING. Even the “deer resistant” plants that you purchase. They are so hungry, they will eat anything, including thorn bushes at times. They have massacred my holly bush, and that is supposed to be “deer resistant”. I even have chicken wire around it!

You have a bird feeder around. Yes, I have a bird feeder, and this is where I found this “deer” friend 5 o’clock at night on Thanksgiving:

This grainy photo is evidence that my "deer" friends eating out of my bird feeder.

This grainy photo is evidence that my “deer” friends like eating out of my bird feeder.

They will eat your bird seed and then start scoping out the rest of your yard.

What I have learned about bird seed and deer. They tend to like the super cheap stuff you can get in the 20lb. bag for $6 bucks at any store. I have the pricier sunflower seed in my feeders now, and they don’t like that as much. They also do not like thistle seed either. I put some in last year to attract more finches.

So, how do you protect your plants against deer in the winter?

Cover up. Burlap or any other full covering is the best protection in my opinion. I have fenced some other plants, including my holly bush, and they will avoid it as long as they can find other food. Once they can’t find anymore food, they will become aggressive and make their way into the wire. Now, fencing works for bigger things such as trees. Lesson Learned for me: burlap all of the smaller plants and bushes!

If all else fails, just deal with it. If you have done everything on your part to keep the deer away, and they still are making problems for you, just worry about it in the spring when you can actually do something about it. The damage will be minimal if you have covered it up for the most part. Winter itself can do serious damage to your plants, so it’s a trade-off at one point or another. It will grow back, and if it doesn’t, you can always get a new one!

Disclaimer: Deer are really wonderful animals, but they are also very destructive when it comes to your landscape. As a gardener, you spend a lot of time and money trying to make your home and yard look beautiful. The intention of this post is to give you tips on how to deal and live with the deer you have in your neighborhood, without harming them.