Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

Monday, June 26, 2017

Reviewing Garden Tags by SimplyYoursByDesign

I just received my custom garden tags by SimplyYoursByDesign and I have to write a review immediately. Whether you are an organized and skilled gardener or a hopeful and forgetful gardener like myself, you may be as excited about these garden tags as I am. I am thrilled about these customized, metal, durable, and beautiful garden tags.


Why are Garden Tags Important?



Perhaps you have a really good memory and can recall exactly what you planted where. Or perhaps, someone purchases land with existing plants and can identify every tree, bush, flower, and shrub. That's not me. No matter how hard I practice, I'm not very good at plant identification. And my memory is horrible.

I realized the importance of plant identification when I was looking for a certain type of rose bush that I had in a yard many years ago. That search has proved impossible without having more information than I have about that particular plant. As a result, I am determined to try to keep track of the plants I plant on my land.

I especially want to keep track of my PawPaw trees.

I have recently fallen in love with PawPaws. PawPaw is a tree that produces wonderful "tropical" fruit. I am planting PawPaw trees on my land at The Shack. Like apples (Red Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, etc) there are different types of PawPaws. Some I like better than others. If I am successful at growing PawPaws, I want to be able to keep track - with certainty - which tree is bearing which fruit.

These wonderful tags by SimplyYoursByDesign will help me do that.


Recommended Custom Garden Tags by SimplyYoursByDesign



I need long-lasting tags to identify my PawPaw trees. Also, I need customized tags - after all, who mass produces tags for PawPaw (Sunflower) versus PawPaw (Mango) trees? No one. 

Luckily I found this shop on Etsy that makes customized tags.

With low expectations, I ordered two tags for the two PawPaw trees I just planted.  I expected poor quality. Or paper-thin "metal". Happily, these tags have far exceeded my expectations. They are perfect!


Why I recommend these garden tags


  • customized - I was able to request (and received) both the tree name (PawPaw) and type (Sunflower)
  • communication and customer service - the shop owners messaged me to confirm what I was requesting - avoiding possible confusion (i.e did I want one PawPaw tag and one Sunflower tag, or two tags with PawPaw Sunflower)
  • I requested that they not send the included plant stakes - as I would be hanging these on the trees - and that request was honored
  • several choices in metal types/colors 
  • good thickness - the tag is as thick as a dime 
  • the words are permanently stamped into the metal
  • packaged in a simple but attractive manner
  • a mother/daughter/grand-daughter family owned business (how cool is that?!)
  • located in the US
shipped in a simple but attractive manner

There are only two very minor things about these tags/this shop that might cause someone concern. Neither of these things concerned me, but I feel that they should be mentioned.
  • the corner designs on the tags are random (for example: the bee & tree and the frog & sun on my tags)
  • a bit of time passed before I received my order
Because the items are customized, I did not receive my items immediately. It looks like I ordered on June 4th and the postmark on the envelope was June 19th. In my opinion, that was an expected amount of time for a custom order. Unfortunately, in such an instant gratification culture, some folks may not want to wait. The good news is that the shop owners clearly list their current production time on their policies page so you can decide if you can stand the wait. 


my two customized PawPaw tags


Personally, I found it to be well worth the wait. It is refreshing to get exactly what you ask for. In fact, to get better than you asked for. Thank you, women at SimplyYoursByDesign, for these beautiful, durable, and custom PawPaw tree tags. 

Related reviews:

The Review This! contributors enjoy their gardens and reviewing items and gifts related to gardening. To see more of our gardening recommendations, check out the articles under the gardening tab.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Best Shrubs for Springtime in the Garden

Every Garden should contain at least one or two of these beautiful Shrubs.  Let's Review some of the most fragrant and lovely shrubs that you should find blooming in your neighborhood!

Springtime just wouldn't be springtime if you didn't see the fragrant flowers of the Forsythia bush somewhere in your neighborhood.  The bright yellow flowers that are borne on the branches of this shrub just scream Spring Is Here!  After some of the winters we've had in the past, this kind of screaming is what everyone is just looking for.

Flowering shrubs give a colorful respite to the gardeners who have looked longingly for something fresh and fragrant after months of enduring cold and bleakness.  It's a balm for the soul and a sight for sore eyes.
These beauties in the picture will just make you wish you had smell-a-vision.  Unfortunately, that doesn't yet exist, but who know what the future holds.  

Spring Flowering Bushes

1.  The first spring bush to actually bloom does so when temperatures are still pretty cold.  Pussy willows are fantastic bushes in February and early March.  The little fuzzy catkins are just so pretty on the bare branches and the real beauty is that you can and should cut these shrubs back really hard in the spring.  If you don't you will miss out on a beautiful spring arrangement that everyone just loves.  Once the catkins flower, they become elongated and fall to the ground, leaving behind a bush that is a lush green.  Many people who haven't grown pussy-willows will not recognize them once the flowering is complete. They are a beautiful bush but just very plain once the little catkins are finished.  

2.  Forsythia is probably the next bush you will see in full bloom in April or early May, depending on how warm it gets.  These bushes are also full of yellow flowers that are arranged all along the stems of the bush.  One branch could have hundreds of flowers all screaming "Spring is Here!"  In more northern areas, you can sometimes see forsythia blooming while there is a light blanket of snow still on the ground.

3.  Azaleas and Rhododendrons are the next family of shrubs to come into bloom.   These are beautiful and delicate.  They come in a variety of colors and every garden enthusiast that I know has tried to grow one or more of these beauties.  "Rhodies" as their gardener parents will call them, need some special care.  They love acidic soils and do their best when their needs are met.  If you don't want to "baby" your shrubs, you might just want to pass up on growing these.  Even though I love to baby my plants, I have not had any luck at all with these most delicate flowering shrubs.  Gardeners can be a stubborn lot, though so I won't say that I won't try again.

4.  Lilacs have got to make this list of Spring Flowering Bushes.  Masses of purple florets are borne on stems that hang from their weight.  The most common ones are purple in color, hence the color Lilac.  What many people don't know is that Lilacs can also be white and some are such a light purple that people often think they are pinkish.  These shrubs can be single flowered or double flowered and the smell is unbelievably wonderful.  If you have this bush in your garden make sure that you bring some of the branches indoors, it will scent the whole room.  

5.  Magnolias are another wonderfully early shrub.  The bush can be left to grow into a tree or it can be pruned to keep its form as a shrub. Flowers appear in Late March or Early May.  There are several different varieties of Magnolias some light pink, yellow and creamy white.  While the fragrance of the Magnolia is not as strong as Lilacs, it still has a lovely scent.  If you trim the bush, the wood gives off a most wonderful fragrance.  

Beautiful Shrubs not only smell and look nice, they will attract bees, butterflies and if the flowers become berries, you will also have birds in your yard.


A great list of flowering shrubs to look for in your growing area are:
  • Viburnum which grows from zones 2 to 9 depending on the type.  
  • Mock Orange with it's white deeply scented flowers grows from zone 3 to 9 again depending on the type.
  • Mountain Laurel is another beauty, related to Rhododendrons, they will grow in zone 5 to 9.  Do not grow this bush if you have young inquisitive children as it is poisonous.  
  • Deutzia is another beautiful shrub that will grow in zones 5 to 8.  It can be pink or white and smells beautiful. Not as well known as the Lilac, but just as beautiful and fragrant.
  • Bridalwreath Spirea, as its name implies is a beautiful white flowered bush.  Hardy in zones 5 to 8 it will grow large if you let it, but is beautiful when trimmed up too.
  • Heath or Heathers are low growing shrubs that are really pretty in white, pink and red.  Hardy in zones 5 to 7 it will not get taller than 10-12 inches. It is a low growing ground cover that loves the sun and a well-drained soil.
  • Camellias are a lovely shrub as well and will do well in anything above zone 6 and under zone 9.  Any colder or warmer and they are not at their best.  These flowering beauties are a sore sport for more northern gardeners.  They just don't do well in anything less than zone 6.
  • Fothergilla will grow in shady areas.  Beautiful white flowers are fragrant and plentiful on this bush.  Great in zones 5 to 9 it will not only look and smell nice in springtime but in the autumn it will give you another whole flush of color as the leaves change to reds, oranges, and golds.
  • Loropetalum is another beauty.  What Lilacs are to northern gardeners, Loropetalum makes northern gardeners green with envy.  Grown in zone 7 to 9 it loves full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Ninebark is an all around winner.  It will grow in zones 3 to 7 and will take drought and summers heat without giving up.  Beautiful foliage is an added bonus.
  • Beautybush is an old favorite that is making a comeback in many gardener's homes.  Pretty pink florets and the ease of growth make this a winner for everyone.  Hardy in zones 5 to 9 it holds up will in drought conditions and is deer resistant too.  
  • Weigela is the last but not the least on this list.  In my books, it would be one of the top bushes/shrubs because not only is it really pretty with its red or pink flowers, but it also encourages Hummingbirds to the garden.  Hardy in zones 4 to 9 this is a shrub that should be considered for your gardening pleasure.

Check here if you are not sure about what zones you are doing most of your gardening in.  

You will save yourself a lot of heartache and money if you purchase plants that will grow in your area.  If you are not sure, then follow the links below for gardening zone maps and find out what your garden zone is.  Once you know that it won't change unless you move, and it will help you make better choices for your garden needs.

Not sure what your gardening zone is?  Click here to see what zone you are gardening in if you are in the United States, or click here if you garden in Canada so that you can make the most of the bushes and shrubs that are featured here.






If you want to learn more or just enjoy looking at pictures of beautiful plants and gardens then you can always check out some of my favorite books and magazines.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How to Grow Your Way to Happiness and a Great Garden A Review

Growing My Way to Happiness!  A Review!


Many studies have shown that Growing a Garden reduces stress and increases your happiness with just getting your hands dirty. As I review this idea of growing seeds for the garden, I agree that these studies are true.  I know that in my own life, as February is coming to a close, I start to look for those little signs that spring is indeed on it's way.  Little sprouts coming out of the ground are cause for me to jump for joy!  My husband still doesn't understand that completely.  Oh well, I can't explain it any more than to say my heart does indeed leap with joy, and I know that better days are ahead.  No more Seasonal Affected Disease and no more need to sit under lamps to get us out of our "funk".  The countdown is on for when we can really get our fingers into the ground and just feel wonderful.

galanthus bulbs, snow bells, spring bulbs
Snow Bells in Spring
https://pixabay.com/en/flower-rod-snowdrop-garden-nature-2080981/


So now that February is almost done and we can honestly say that Spring is just around the corner, it's time to get those seeds started that we saved from last year.  Just to be on the safe side though,  don't start just yet.  It is still February!

Preparation is the Key to Successful Spring Seed Growing

All of my die hard gardening friends have already been to at least one "Seedy Weekend".  What is that, you might ask?  Well, for anyone who lives in an Urban area with either Greenhouses or a Botanical Garden nearby, most of these will have a late winter get together called a "Seedy Saturday or Sunday".  The whole point of the weekend being that gardeners get together to share the abundance of seeds that they have saved from their own gardens and share with others for seeds that they might have.  It increases the number of seeds any gardener has and let's them share stories of their own particular gardens with like minded people.  It really is a social for gardeners who have missed being outdoors during the winter months.  If you are in the Toronto area for a visit, this weekend is the Toronto Botanical Gardens Seedy Saturday(Feb. 25),  so come on over for some fun and some great new seeds.

Back to preparation for Seed Sowing

Make sure you have purchased new seedling soil for your seeds. You never want to reuse soil from previous years, as they might be harboring bacteria that will be harmful to new seedlings.  This special seedling soil is composed of  a mix that contains very little "soil or dirt",  rather it is made up of moss, vermiculite and perlite.  These can be purchased separately and mixed together one part of each, or you can purchase it premixed.  You can fill up your home made containers, using newspapers, or half egg shells, or half a toilet paper tube.  All of these would be perfect for seed starts and are bio-degradable. It also makes it so much easier to plant in the garden afterwards because you just plant the whole thing into the ground.  No need to disturb young forming roots.

seedlings, starter tubes, repurposing toilet paper tubes
https://pixabay.com/en/macro-nursery-plants-seedlings-1840261/

Have whatever containers you choose to set up for your seeding, on heat mats. You are trying to make the seeds think it's May with nice warm soil to grow in.  Warm soil and lots of light are the two most important things you need to start your indoor seeds off right.  If you just plant seeds into little pots and set them on a window sill, you will surely get the seeds to grow, but they will suffer in a few weeks time.  Why?  Well it's really just too early for them to growing without some added help.  Warming the soil with heat mats is akin to being outdoors in May.  The sun warms up the soil outdoors so that seeds will germinate and grow.  The days are getting longer with more hours of sunshine available than in March, so that the seedlings that are growing in the ground will be hardy and strong.  Indoors we need to mimic the garden in May as much as possible if we want strong seedlings.  Without the added attention of heat and light, your seedlings will be tall, lanky and very spindly looking.  Most often they will fall over because the stalks are not strong enough to hold them upright.  Once that happens you can almost count the days to total death of the seedling.  All that work is gone and you have to start over again, if you have enough seeds.  If you don't you will be buying more seeds in short order to start all over again.  

Indoor Gardening Done Right

If you decide that you really want to grow your seeds from scratch in the early months of March and April, then be prepared to have the right set up in place.  Yes there is a bit of effort involved, but  the end result will be well worth the effort.  You can purchase an indoor garden set up with shelves, heat mats and lights all in one unit.  This is usually more than enough for your average home gardener.  You are not going to become a commercial greenhouse operation, but you will have lots of seedlings for your garden and maybe some friends too.  Doing it this way is a little expensive, but you would have the unit for years to come.  I prefer the doing my seeds with heat mats and grow lights that I have purchased separately.  For my garden needs, this is more than enough space to grow seeds.  You have to decide for yourself which set up is right for you!


With some of these choices you can start your own indoor gardening center and have some really good success with it too. The heat mats are inexpensive and will provide that much needed warmth at the soil level. The grow lights are also inexpensive and will help to keep your seedlings compact and strong.  The additional light with at least 8 to 12 hours of light, will mimic the days in May and June. Or if you really want to guarantee success, you can try one of the Areo Grow Systems for indoor herb gardens.  They have the lights and warmth built right into the unit, so that your success with these is almost a given.  Gardening is a joy especially for us northerners.  We love our changing seasons, but the change from Winter to Spring is the one that we seem to love the best.

Happy Gardening and Seed Sowing to all of you!


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Birdhouse Selection Process Reviewed

Your Birdhouse Selection Is More Important Than You Might Think

I wanted to take a little time today to discuss some important things to remember about the process of birdhouse selection. You might be thinking what process? I just find one that will be cute in my yard, hang it and the birds will come. Well, that may be one way but I can tell you it won't bring you much success if you are actually hoping to encourage birds to nest in your yard.

If you do not care whether birds actually nest in the birdhouse, you can pick something that suits your taste and reflects your personality for your yard or garden. My husband and I would get a real kick out of a birdhouse like the one below but I doubt that we would have much luck actually getting a bird to use it to lay their eggs and hatch their offspring.

Birds are not attracted by what we humans think is cute, pretty or quirky. They want safety for themselves and their young. So, there are things that we should take into consideration if we want to provide a place for our feathered friends to call home.

Important Things To Consider In Your Birdhouse Selection

  • Sizing
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Proper drainage
  • Safety
  • Mounting and accessibility
It is a good idea to research the species of bird that you hope to attract and find out what size entrance hole is best for them. The size of the floor space is important, also. You want enough room for the adult bird and the growing young to be able to move around. The distance from the floor to the entrance hole is also important. 

The materials that the birdhouse is made of is important, too. Wood is your best bet because it can stay cool in the summer and provide warmth in the winter. 

Look to see if the birdhouse provides drainage. You do not want water to stay inside where it can start to grow mold or bacteria. A nice overhang on the roof will also help to keep water out of the birdhouse.

A lot of the pre-made birdhouses have a perch. Most bird species do not require a perch at their nest. The perch actually allows an unsafe area where a predator has an easier way to get into the inside of the nesting area. Painted or stained birdhouses can be toxic to our feathered friends so natural wood is safer to use. 

You should also select a birdhouse that is easy to mount and has one side that you can open. You will need to open the birdhouse to clean it. There are several ways to mount the different styles of birdhouses but your best bet is to have it on a pole. Predators will have a more difficult time with a pole than a tree or fence. 

Research Before You Buy

I feel that if you really want to successfully encourage birds to nest in your yard or garden that a little research can help you make a good decision. Perhaps invest in a book that gives you the information you will need.

The book above has been produced in association with the National Audubon Society. Advice from them can be trusted for a safe and inviting birdhouse. It covers several species of birds to build a birdhouse for, from the little wren to even raptors.

As I write this article, we are approaching the time of the year that birds begin to choose a place to nest and bring the next generation of their species into the world. If you want to be a part of that, find a safe birdhouse to place in your backyard or garden. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sloggers Rain and Garden Shoe Review


I recently purchased a pair of Sloggers rain boots and I love them so much that I am immediately shopping for a pair of Sloggers shoes.  You may have heard of Sloggers brand boots and shoes, but I hadn't until recently. This review is to help spread the word about this awesome footwear brand. These waterproof boots and shoes are comfortable, colorful, and within my budget. Who could ask for more?


Why Buy Sloggers Rain and Garden Shoe?


Sloggers brand shoes have a following of repeat customers who give high ratings. It is because of this brand loyalty and favorable reviews that led me to find a local store and try a pair on.

I hate boots. I really don't care much for shoes. I have a terrible time finding footwear that fits well and I can't stand cracking open my wallet to buy a pair of uncomfortable shoes.  But as much as I am outside, I really need a good pair of waterproof boots.  Sloggers are not carried at my local stores so I drove up the road a bit to try a pair on.

As soon as I tried them on I immediately knew I wanted not only one pair, but at least two.  I was able to remain focused on my budget and with the purchase I went to make (one pair of rain boots) but I also tried on the garden shoes and booties. As a result, I've got a pair of the shoes in my shopping cart and ready to click the "check out" button.

Have you ever touched something and knew immediately that it was high quality and well-made? That was my thought as soon as I tried on my first pair of boots. I don't know how they make this material - almost sheer yet clearly thick and very durable - but I love it. You can see the light shining through and the outline of my fingers yet the material is thick.


view from the inside of my boot - sheer, flexible, and durable

I am quite sure that the shoes will be something I can wear in comfort all day and keep dry feet as I move from indoors to outdoors and in again. The flexibility of the shoe feels nearly like being in a pair of thick socks yet the soles protect the bottoms of your feet. 

These are the reasons I highly recommend Sloggers women's garden and rain shoes:

  • waterproof
  • flexible and comfortable upper material
  • durable and quality materials and manufacturing
  • heavy duty deep lug sole - provides excellent traction 
  • does not make the "clacky" sound of hard plastic soles that comes with many inexpensive shoe soles
  • lightweight
  • large variety of patterns and colors
  • made in the US

The following are three of the MANY colors and designs offered. Whether you are looking for floral, animal print, polka dot, cow, chicken, or leaf designs and in bright or muted colors, you can find them at Sloggers.

Color: Flower Power

Color: Leopard Print


Color: Black & White Polka Dot











Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Wooden Birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds Reviewed

Eastern Bluebirds photo by Sylvestermouse

How to Attract Bluebirds to Your Backyard!

Every year I look forward to the arrival of the Eastern Bluebirds to our backyard.  We owned our first bluebird birdhouse over 30 years ago, but I remember well how excited we were when our first bluebird couple built their nest our our wooden birdhouse.  Now, I watch for them year after year.  The thrill of seeing them investigate our bluebird birdhouse for the possibility of a home never decreases.

Just this morning, my husband excitedly whispered from the backdoor of our home, "The bluebirds are back!  Grab your camera!"  I must admit, I was very surprised.  It is still a little early for them to arrive, but I grabbed my robe and slippers and headed for the door.


The Eastern Bluebird


As you would expect, Eastern Bluebirds are blue.  They have pinkish-orange throats and breasts with white bellies.  They are small birds with bodies about 6" - 8" long.  Their wingspan can easily be measured up to 12½" and they weigh approximately 1 ounce.  They may be small, but they make a tremendous visual impact when perching on a gray fence, bare tree branch, or on their birdhouse.  They are stunningly gorgeous subjects for photographers.

Eastern Bluebird photo by Sylvestermouse


Eastern Bluebirds mostly eat berries and insects, therefore they prefer to live close to trees or wooded areas.  One thing to keep in mind, they like the ground under their nesting area to be clear of debris.  I've always believed that was a natural instinct to avoid areas where predators may be hiding. 

Eastern Bluebirds have been known to live up to 10 years in the wild.  You may well have the same couple return for several years to set up their nest and lay their eggs in your birdhouse. 


The Bluebird House


There are a few considerations when selecting and setting up a birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds.   The first consideration is obvious, do you have Eastern Bluebirds in your area?  Once you have identified them, then all you really need is the right wooden birdhouse set facing the right direction, at the right height.

There are a few considerations when selecting and setting up a birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds. Find out all about them here.
The Female Inspects the Birdhouse While the Male Stands Watch
Later, he will gather twigs & materials and bring them to her once she is inside building the nest.

 
The birdhouse selection does matter!  An Eastern Bluebird requires a small opening that will serve to protect their nest and eggs from predators.  

As I said earlier, placement matters.  A bluebird house must face east for bluebirds to nest.  It should also be nailed approximately 5' off the ground to a fence or on a post.  As you can see in the photos, our bluebird house is nailed to a fence.

Since the Eastern Bluebirds build their nests in the spring, you need to have your birdhouse up and ready to occupy in early spring.   It doesn't take long to nail up the perfect ready-made birdhouse like the one featured above!

Eastern Bluebird photo by Sylvestermouse



For More Gardening Tips, Join Me at Easy Backyard Gardening

Wooden Birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Preparing for Winter's Backyard Birds

Backyard Bird World

It's time to review how to prepare your backyard for those charming birds that will spend the Winter months with us. It's not a difficult job, but it's a fun time to share the chores with children. Once the preparation is complete, you and the kids will enjoy a chance to see many different types of birds, even in the snow.
 
 
 
 

A Simple Preparation Process


Preparation for the Winter birds in your backyard involves a few easy chores.
  • Clean out birdbaths
  • Empty and clean all of your bird feeders
  • Repair or replace any damaged bird feeders
  • Fill feeders with a winter mix of seeds
Before you put away your outdoor hose, it's a good time to clean out your bird baths. Use a scrub brush on any concrete or porous surface baths in order to get any debris left. Then fill the bird bath with fresh water. And that chore is done.

Next tackle your bird feeders (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-watching/window-bird-feeders/). Make sure to empty any old feed and seed hulls. Clean them by either washing in mild soapy water, rinsing well, or wipe clean with a damp cloth.  This is the perfect time to check for any damage. Cracks in a bird feeder will only get worse with freezing temperatures. Repair the ones you can, but replace those you can't.

The last step is the most fun. Fill your bird feeders with good appropriate seed mixes. There are many options available on the market. Some are designed for all seasons, some are designed just for the winter months. So choose which is best for the birds that enjoy your backyard.

A Word About Birdhouses in Winter


Personally, I refrain from even touching my bird houses once they securely in place. Many of my backyard birds return to the same nest in the same house year after year. They handle repairing the nest as needed. I don't want to add my human scent to their protected baby-rearing home.

Choose a New Bird Feeder


www.Backyard Bird World
If I don't need to replace a bird feeder, then I choose a new one just to offer more feeding stations for my backyard birds. My favorite is a window feeder. I have several already, but adding another one just makes viewing the Winter birds easier.

Window feeders are mounted to the outside of your window with suction cups. Most are very easy to remove for cleaning and refilling. Once it's filled with food, the birds have no problem finding it.

So take a little time to prepare your backyard (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-houses-feeders/get-your-birdfeeders-ready-for-fall) for the birds that will share Winter with you. The chores are not difficult and it's a great time to show children the value of backyard birds. Make it an annual family event.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, September 23, 2016

How to Create a Beautiful Fall Harvest Display for Your Yard or Porch

Reviewing Outdoor Fall Displays

Learn how to create a beautiful fall harvest display in yards or porch, capture the brilliance of flowers and combine it with the great harvest fest. As the weather starts to cool down and the leaves start to change colors, everything appears to be gradually preparing for a long winter's sleep.  While the fall colors are beautiful, our yards don't seem quite as vibrant and colorful as they have been.  We desire a way to hold on to the beautiful summer flowers and green lawns, but to still embrace the gorgeous fall changes.  Some of us have found the perfect solution.  

It isn't time to really start decorating for Halloween, but we can start decorating our yards for fall in a way that will compliment the Halloween decor when it is time.  Plus, thanks to the milder weather, we can leave these fall displays intact until Thanksgiving.  By creating a beautiful fall harvest display in our yards or on our porch, we capture the brilliance of flowers and combine it with the great harvest fest.  Some of the vegetables or flowers may have to be replaced over the course of the next few months, but the backdrops and foundations can easily remain.

Start by choosing a beautiful setting in front of a tree with the dramatic fall color leaves, like a maple tree.  Or, build your display on your front porch where it will be better protected from weather.

Here are Some Ideas for Creating a
Beautiful Fall Harvest Display for your Yard or Porch


Learn how to create a beautiful fall harvest display in yards or porch, capture the brilliance of flowers and combine it with the great harvest fest.


Foundations for a Fall Harvest Display


As with any creation, a strong, firm foundation will ensure the longevity of your fall yard display.   There are a variety of of items that are easy to obtain, or perhaps that you already have on hand, that make the perfect display base or foundation.

Decorative Hay Bales

20 in. and 32 in. PVC Hay Bale Set - Reusable hay bales

  1. Hay Bales
  2. Wooden Benches
  3. Wagons
  4. Wooden Crates
  5. Wheel Barrow 
  6. Wicker Baskets
  7. Wooden Baskets

Note:  The featured hay bales are PVC Hay Bales made for decorative purposes.  If you build your fall display with real hay, you can later use the hay to mulch your flower or vegetable garden, to prevent soil erosion, or to protect and cover seeds.

 


Learn how to create a beautiful fall harvest display in yards or porch, capture the brilliance of flowers and combine it with the great harvest fest.

 

Decorative Items for a Fall Yard Display 


5' Scarecrow Fall Harvest Halloween Decoration
5' Scarecrow Fall Harvest 
Halloween Decoration
Once we have our foundation in place, we can start adding the fun, decorative items that we have chosen.  I usually add my main feature next which is most often an owl or a happy scarecrow.  You can always make your own scarecrow by stuffing old clothes with straw, creating a face or mask, and topping him off with an old hat.  Or, you can purchase a ready made scarecrow.

Additional Fall Decoration Suggestions for Your Display
  1.  Pumpkins 
  2.  Gourds
  3.  Leaves
  4.  Flowers:  Mums, Sunflowers, etc.
  5.  Plants:  Ornamental Cabbage or Kale 
  6.  Ornamental Grass
  7.  Tall Corn Stalks
  8.  Indian Corn  
  9.  Pine Cones
  10.  Sting of Lights
  11.  A Bunch of Acorns  (You would need a bunch of acorns in a basket for them to show on the display.  Or, you could stuff the bottom of the basket and put the acorns on the top) 


If you build your display on your porch, you could even make a fall wreath for your front door that coordinates with your display.





"How to Create a Beautiful Fall Harvest Display for Your Yard or Porch Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Garden Review: Outstanding Spring Gardens are Planned Out in the Fall

 

Outstanding Gardens don't just happen, they are planned out by gardeners who know what to plant and how to plant it!  Now is the Time!  Spring Planting must be done in the Fall, for beauty next year when the snow has melted.


Here is the List of Bulbs that I plan on planting this fall, for a radiant, colorful garden.  I love to have flowers blooming all the time.  So I plan these bulbs accordingly.  There are many bulbs that will grow in early spring, mid-spring and late-spring almost summer. 

 

 

Grammie Olivia's List

  1.  Tulips (some of these will be early, mid-spring and late)
  2.  Daffodils or Narcissus
  3.  Crocus
  4.  Hyacinths (they smell incredible)
  5.  Anemones
  6.  Alliums 
  7.  Muscari or Grape Hyacinths
  8.  English Bluebells
  9.  Galanthus or Snow Drops
  10.  Iris

This is just the starters list.  From here I will go and pick out the Tulips that will grow at the different times in the spring and I will also decide on what colors I want.  I will plan to plant these in groups of 3 or 5 or 7.  Always, always plant in odd numbers!  Any master gardener that I have spoken to has reiterated that Rule!  Think about that when you are purchasing as well.  If you buy a dozen tulips, you will have 4 groups of 3 bulbs to plant.  That will also make a nice show in your garden.  Do the same thing with the Daffodils/Narcisus that you plan to purchase.  Figure out how many of each kind you will need to fill the spot in your garden and then try to make it an uneven number.   If you can't I would prefer to see 4 planted in the same spot as opposed to 3 in one spot and 1 all alone.  Even gardeners will make exceptions to the Rule!

Beautiful Spring Bulbs

Planting the bulbs is a little more tricky than just plopping them into a hole in the ground.  Although that might work with some bulbs, it is not an encouraged practice.  Once you have purchased your bulbs, make sure that you have the time and instructions for how deep these bulbs should go in the ground.  A rule of thumb is about 3 to 5 times the size of the bulb is how deep the hole should be!   Now that gives you some playing room too.  If you plant tulips 4 to 5 inches deep, then when back filling the hole, you could actually plant some smaller bulbs on top at the three inch level and then fill the hole right up.  Doing this will fill in your garden with color as these bulbs start to grow.  You can also use this trick if you are planning on using bulbs in containers.  Different sized bulbs get planted at different depths.  Just remember that 5 times(roughly) the size of the bulb, is how deep you want to plant it.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay.com
Bulbs generally are planted with the pointed side up and the more rounded side down into the ground.  This picture is just to show you that and not to be used as a guide to depth of planting.   These are grown in a greenhouse with totally different conditions than you will have. 


As you can see Tulips and Daffodils come in several different colors and combinations.  So many plants now are bred for their color and growing characteristics.   All of these are beautiful.  Planting bulbs is an activity that the children and grandchildren can easily help you with.


It's even easier if you are doing it in containers.  Here are some instructions for you to make it easier!   Make sure your planter has drainage holes, bulbs don't mind being cold over the winter months.   So plant a container full of bulbs to make your springtime even better.   Follow the depth planting chart found here so that you know your bulbs will be planted correctly.  Do plan your container in such a way that the bigger bulbs are at the bottom and the smaller ones towards the top.  Keep this container in a garden shed or garage in a cooler, or surrounded with a batt of insulation.  They don't mind getting really cold, but they don't want to be frozen and thawed and frozen and thawed again.  They need to stay dormant, until the days start warming up.  When it's the end of February or so, you can un-blanket your container give it a drink and move it into a sheltered spot in the garden.  In a few weeks time, you will be rewarded with green sprouts coming out of the planter.  



://www.proflowers.com/blog/beginners-guide-bulb-gardening 

This chart comes from Proflowers.com

It is a comprehensive guide to all kinds of bulbs that I have mentioned here in this post as  well as others that you might consider growing.

Planting bulbs is a joy for you and for all your family and friends that will enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you look at the chart you will see that it is full of information about the differences between bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers.

There is a detailed zone map for  your particular zone.  Just look on the map and co-relate the color to your Hardiness Zone.

If you are in Florida, there will be plants that won't do as well as if you are in Colorado or elsewhere.

It also reiterates what I have told you earlier in how deep to plant all your bulbs.

This chart also takes you through bulbs and corms that can be planted in summer and fall as well as spring.

The only time of year when you do not want to plant anything is in the middle of the winter.  By then the ground is frozen and you really don't want to be outside for any length of time anyways.

If you forgot to plant bulbs in the fall and you  want to plant them, try planting them in a pot as large as possible and keep them in a garage or some sheltered area.  They may just surprise you and grow, or they will die.  If they manage to grow you are a winner and if not, you really haven't lost anything more than you would have by not trying.







Please feel free to join me on Pinterest where there is a host of information for gardeners of all levels of expertise. https://www.pinterest.com/haydnsgrammie/weekend-gardener/




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Reviewing New Grandmother Gifts

The message on this new grandma necklace makes it the perfect gift for a new grandmother.
Every Time a Baby Is Born So Is a Grandma
by GutsyGoodness on Etsy
Our family is expecting a miracle. In fact, the blessed event is coming up fast. Yes, in just a few short months I'm going to be a grandma! It's taken time for the reality to sink in, but I was thinking about it today and suddenly decided to go online window shopping for something for myself, the future new grandmother. Here are some items that I've added to my wish list, each of which I think would make a fabulous new grandmother gift.

I absolutely love this vintage pendant necklace. The message reads, "Every time a baby is born, so is a Grandma." That sentiment is perfect for me since I'm new at this grandparenting thing. I adore the vintage look of the antique bronze pendant and, even though I'm not sure yet what my grandmother name will be, "Grandma" on the charm works fine for now.

The necklace also comes with a birthstone charm. I'll have to decide if I want to go with the probable, calculated birth month or if I want to choose a different birthstone to start with, either my own or that of my son, the dad to be (actually, I love that idea). There are more add-on charms and other options available with this piece, including the length and type of chain. The shop owner packages the necklace in a beautiful box that includes an encouraging note about new grandmothers that puts a fitting finishing touch on this absolutely perfect gift.

Sharing Activities With the New "Grand"


For grandmothers who enjoy gardening, a custom-made Grandma's Garden sign is a great gift idea.
Grandma's Garden Sign
by BobsWoodSignShop on Etsy
Recently, my daughter-in-law, the mom of this soon-to-be-here baby, asked me if I had been thinking of things I might want to do someday with my new grandchild. Funny she should ask, because actually I had given that some thought.

One of the pastimes I enjoy is working in my little garden and, when he or she is older, I'd love to plant the seed of loving growing things in that tiny tot's little head. That's why this new grandma would like to have a "Grandma's Garden"sign like this one. It's one of those items that, when I saw it, I really wanted it. I may wait until my future grandparent nickname is settled, though, since Bob of Bob's Wood Sign Shop on Etsy takes special orders!

These mother-daughter aprons are perfect for a grandmother and granddaughter, too!
Pink Mother-Daughter Aprons
by GrandmaJackies on Etsy


Another activity I'm looking forward to when spending time with my future grandchild is cooking. That's something I fondly remember doing with both of my grandmothers, with my mom, and then eventually with my sons. So whether this kiddo is a girl or a boy, I'm sure we'll spend lots of time together working in the kitchen.

If it's a girl, I'll choose these grandmother-granddaughter pink checked aprons for the two of us. I like the aprons, but I especially like this simple photo that shopkeeper GrandmaJackies included in her Etsy listing. Reminds me of when I was the little girl helping in the kitchen.


A Title To Live Up To


This pretty, floral Best Grandma Ever mug would make a perfect gift for any new grandmother.
Best Grandma Ever Mug
by Willow and Olive on Etsy

Becoming a new grandmother has been pretty easy on my part, so far. I mean, well, you know. My son and daughter-in-law are doing all the work and before long, voilà, we'll be grandparents. The job of being a good grandmother isn't something I plan on taking lightly, though. I want to be a good influence and do the best job I possibly can do to be the best grandmother I can be. This beautiful floral "Best Grandma Ever" mug is something I'd like to have so I can be reminded daily (though I'm not likely to forget) that I will have a truly important title to live up to.

So, these are the new grandmother gifts I've picked out for myself. How did I do? Do you have a favorite? Have any new grandparenting advice to share? I hope you'll let me know in a comment below.

Enjoy this review of several fabulous gift ideas for a new grandmother. | ReviewThisReviews.com
Thanks for sharing!
~Susan
Click here to read more of my reviews.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Review Some of Grammie Olivia's Favorite Things

Grammieknows is what my darling little ones tell everyone, whenever I answer a question for them. 

Sometimes the answers are true and other times they are a story that makes absolutely no sense, but has them laughing in the aisles.  My propensity for telling tales has earned me the moniker of being a know it all.....So I guess the nickname Grammieknows fits pretty good.


Trilliums 2016 from  Grammie Olivia's Garden. 


What Grammie does Know is, that gardening is a balm for the soul and works nicely to make a body tired, so that sleep can, eventually make the body rest.  Working in the garden not only makes the body tired, but it is great exercise.  As we age, we need that exercise to keep us moving one step at a time.  You know (and Grammieknows) if you don't use it, you'll lose it!  It is so true with exercise, if you don't move those muscles, arthritis and weakness will take over.  


Muscle Medicine


Gardening also provides a way for you to enjoy the beauty that is all around.  From the ground right up to the sky, flowers and plants make the world a more beautiful place. It doesn't stop at the ground level either.  All those flowers planted in garden beds, encourage bees, butterflies, birds and small animals to gather and enjoy the work of your hands.


Finding great tools to use to make the job easier is also a lot of fun.  I have my special tools that I just can't be without!  Like any other craftsman, looking for new tools is a joy and I love sharing those great finds.  You can see some of the tools I love in another Review This Article, I love my tools.


Being green minded, may be avante garde today, but I have been that way for a long time.  I don't encourage the use of chemicals in any way, shape, or form.  There are natural solutions to every problem and I try to search those out.  When something works particularly well, you will find me sharing that with everyone who will listen. 

 


Recipe for Homemade Weed Killer

Like my favorite weed killer, that is made up of Vinegar, Salt and Dawn (Blue) Dishwashing liquid.  I know you want the recipe now....  So, it's one gallon White Vinegar,  2 cups of Salt, and 1/2 cup of Dawn.  Always shake it up well, before applying.  Put it into your sprayer or divide it up into several different spray bottles (make sure you label them) and use early in the morning(on a dry day) for your weed issues.


Gardening is such an incredible opportunity to stand on God's earth and work to make the world a better place to live, breathe, and be!


You will find me on Review This, or on my website, www.grammieknowshow.com and sometimes on Facebook posting things of interest to gardeners  and those who enjoy flowers and nature at https://www.facebook.com/GrammieKnowsWeekendGardeners.
The other places where Grammie Olivia posts things of interest include  Pinterest for fun and lots of interesting subjects that just tickle her funny bone.  You can check out some of the interesting things Grammie Olivia finds online right there.  


I love to hear from others, so use one or all of the platforms I have shared with you to drop me a line.  I will answer, because after all, GrammieKnows.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Green Thumbs Love Day Lilies!

What grows without too much trouble, looks beautiful and makes gardeners all over the world smile?

You could answer with a multitude of plant names and I'm sure that some gardeners, somewhere, would agree with almost any suggestion.  The answer I'm looking for right now is Day Lilies!

With over 30,000 different cultivars, you know that the plant world has taken this plant and just loved it so much that developing a new cultivar is like finding gold.

Hemorocallis is the proper name for the genus of Day Lilies and comes from the Greek words Hemera (day) and Kallos (beautiful). So the Latin name is very appropriate and a straight translation. They are called Day Lilies because each flower usually lasts only one day.  One every stem though you can have 5 to 10 buds.  So they last a lot longer than one day.  July and August are the greatest months for Day Lilies.  They are  blooming like crazy during the summer months.
                                      Picture from my garden, please don't copy.

With over 30,000 different cultivars, it is highly unlikely that you will ever see all of these beauties in one place.  There are gardeners all over the world who use their gardening skills to breed new cultivars of Day Lilies in the hopes of bringing another beauty into being.

green thumbs love day lilies
Picture Wikimedia Commons


Developing new cultivars is not for the faint-hearted gardener.  It can take 3 to 5 years and sometimes longer to develop a new strain and then it must be tested to make sure it comes true to it's cross and does not revert back to one of the parent lilies.

When I first fell in love with Day Lilies, they just happened to be the most ordinary Day Lily. Ordinary in the sense that they are common and found all over the world.  They are just plain orange, but bloom with lots of buds on each stem, so they flower for a long time.  Most people call them Tiger Lilies.  

Today I have a few more Day Lilies that are quite beautiful.  I have fallen in love with one called Devil's Delight, that is a dark red/burgundy with a green throat.  Ruffled edges on the petals make it look like a ladies evening gown.  That root cost me a small fortune and looking at my pictures I realize I have never taken her picture.  Sorry, I would have loved to share her with you.

I have neighbors go by my garden asking me for a root of that particular Day Lily, but I am not so keen to share it.  

The other one that I really like is called Moonlight Dance ( see the picture above)  and she is yellow with a halo of darker orange and the edges are also the dark orange and ruffled as well.  They remind me of ballerina tutus.

This weekend June 24-26th there is a Day Lily Festival in Tennessee.  If you are close by, I would say go and be prepared to be awed by over 200 varieties of Day Lilies.


green thumbs love day lilies
Photo by Ken Oakes 

Why Grow Day Lilies?


As I was telling you earlier, there are so many Day Lily cultivars, that I'm sure no one has seen them all in one place at one time. Why are there so many?  Well I'd like to guess that it's partially due to the ease with which you can grow this plant. While it is originally from the Eurasian area, China, Korea and Japan, day lilies have found their way around the world and can grow in a variety of settings.
They can be large flowered with multiple petals, or large with singular petals. Some have stripes or rings, some are ruffled and others are not. Colors vary from the common orange, to dark reds, violets, pinks, yellows and everything in between.

Their root systems are so strong that they will get denser and denser as the years go by.

If you leave a clump of day lilies growing without any interference, it may take a pick ax to dig it out again. I tend to let mine grow for a year without disturbance, and then the next year, I will go in and remove some of the roots for planting elsewhere or sharing with friends and family.

The large strap shaped leaves look like a giant spider plant, until the spikes of flowers begin to show in mid-July. Then prepare yourself for some breath-taking beauty.

Some are scented and re-bloom later in the year as well, but not all of them. It's hard for any plant to be this beautiful and smell nice too! Whatever you don't get in scent is certainly made up for, by the depths of colors and intricacies in this plant.

Can I make some suggestions for your garden?


If you have never grown Day Lilies I would start with this one, The Stella d'Oro is a rebloomer, meaning that it will bloom more than once.  It is beautiful in it's golden color and it smells nice too! You will not be disappointed with this plant.


25 Bareroot Stella D'Oros Daylilies--1-2 fan











Do you want to learn more?


I only made one suggestion for your garden because I could not possibly choose the others for you.
Rather,  I would suggest getting this book, for some really nice summer time reading and dreaming.

You will enjoy seeing the multitudes of day lilies within the pages and the descriptions of what makes each one "special".  It will also open your eyes to at least 1700 different cultivars that are available.

This book will become bookmarked with your choices in colors and types of day lilies.  Leave it out in the open for your children to see, so next time there is a gift giving opportunity, they will know at least one thing that you would love to have in your garden. If you are inclined you could even use some sticky notes to mark out your favorites.........Sneaky, right?



The New Encyclopedia of Daylilies: More Than 1700 Outstanding 
Selections

I prefer to be this kind of sneaky and get something that I really want in my garden than to have my kids bring me cut flowers that will surely last only a few days.  This way, your plants will come back year after year becoming more beautiful with the passing of time.  They will be a living reminder of the gift given once and enjoyed ever after.




Just one word of caution, once you have one day lily in your garden, you will want more!  




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON: