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

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

How to Make Your Fall Garden Clean UP a Breeze

Fall Garden Clean-up Can be EASY with the right tools!  Let's Review two that will make your work so much easier!

Gardening is a hobby that tugs at my heart, but after a day out there, my hamstrings, back and arms are aching.  Did you know there are some really great tools available that will make the garden clean-up much easier and less labor intensive?

If you have trees in your yard, you know that there will be some clean up required before Ole Mr. Winter rears his head.  If you have trees that produce nuts, pine cones or fruits, there will be even more clean up required.   I'm here to tell you not to get your overalls in a knot!  I just saw and revelled at a new garden tool that I'm sure everyone will want.  No more stooping over to pick up all those "presents" that so many trees give us.

Leaving fruits and nuts on the lawn over the winter months is not a recommended practice. It is much better for you and your garden to get that mess cleaned up in the fall.  You will have a nice clean area to work with come springtime. Many fruit trees, nut trees, and evergreens can harbor diseases and small animals (rodents) and you really don't want that. Nut trees like Black Walnuts will damage your yard as they contain chemicals that prohibit the growth of other plants. Plus you will have to deal with the hassle of cleaning up in spring when it's wet and messy! This makes fall a much better choice. This Nut Harvester, will pick up nuts, acorns, pine cones, fruit that has dropped before ripening, lemons, limes, apples and more. Left in the ground these fruits are a magnet for wasps and other critters that bite! If you have children playing in the yard, that is definitely a no-no. Personally I have gone out to the garden and turned my ankle on an apple that had fallen off the tree. So I know that this is not a pleasant experience.

Walnuts, acorns, pine cones, crabapples, chestnuts and more can be easily removed from the yard before that last mowing takes place.  There is a new tool that lets you roll over all this detris and make it a thing of the past.  Made by the same people that gave you the Garden Weasel, this tool is lightweight, easy to handle and makes stooping down a thing of the past.



If you have a teenager living at home and a golf course nearby, they could get a job collecting golf balls too! Dual purpose and easy to do too.



Now the other tool that I really like will help you gather all the leaves that will be falling soon. This tool will require a little bit of stooping over, but your "Garden Hands" will help make each bend over much more productive.By increasing the size of your hands, you are able to pick up that much more and make the gathering of leaves a job that gets done likety split. 

The other option as far as leaf gathering goes, is to leave them on the lawn and mow them over a few times. Hopefully you have a mulcher option on your lawn mower, so that the leaves are broken up into small pieces that will nourish your lawn as they break down. This option is for gardens that don't have a lot of leaves. If you have trees everywhere, and lots of leaves on the grass, you are much better off to pick those leaves up. Breaking them down into smaller pieces will only smother the grass underneath if the layer of mulched leaves is too thick!  The grass needs nourishment, but doesn't like to be smothered under a blanket of rotting leaves.

Those are my two suggestions for making your Fall Garden Cleanup and much easier routine.  Besides enjoying the crisp fall air, you will get a great level of exercise in before winter hibernation routines kick in. 


Fall is one of the most beautiful times in nature and it's great to get out there and enjoy the sights, sounds and the beauty all around us.  



For more Gardening Reviews you can Check out this link:  Review This Gardening  There are lots of articles from fellow members of the Review This team!




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


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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Choosing Flowers for an East West Facing Home

A Popular Easy to Maintain Full Sun Flower Basket
featuring Bell Flowers, Petunias, and Verbena
A Review of Flowers for a House Where the Afternoon Sun is in the Front Yard and the Morning Sun is in the Backyard
Or the reverse.

Our home faces directly East-West and over twenty years ago when we purchased our home, I wasn't experienced enough with flower planting to understand how the sun floated around our home to keep the poor things alive for an extended period of time.

I'm not a gardening or flower expert by any stretch of the imagination, however I have, via trial and error, found some easy to choose flowers that will survive the daily trip around the sun.


Climbing Rose Bush in Front Island

Our Front Yard is Fully Treed - Easy Care, However Not Flower Friendly

Ha! That solves it. Little room for flower errors.

After filling our yard with greenery, it became difficult to get annual flowers to grow. So other than a few select potted plants, there are few flowers to care for in the front.

As you can see in the featured photo, we have a small front island, however, after trying and retrying a variety of flowers in it, nothing seemed to grow. So we placed easy to grow juniper as ground filler to contrast with the stepping stones, and stuck with one climbing rose bush.

However, it's not just a rose bush, it has a spiritual connection.

A friend of our family was sadly diagnosed with cancer, and before he passed away we were able to purchase this rose bush from his store, and it's thrived for about twenty years now.

More freakishly, these are the ONLY perennial flowers to have survived our front yard for over twenty years. Divine intervention? We think of him every time we look at the rose bush, so we like to think so.


Begonias on the Table - They Like the Shade
Backyard Flowers - Morning Sun that Floats Away from the House by 11:00am and Finally Leaves the Yard by 5:00pm

I've essentially stayed with three or four types of flowers.

The flowers closest to the house that only feel sun til 11:00am, are 'Sun Impatiens' also known as New Guinea Impatiens.

Unlike regular shade impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens can tolerate about a half a day of sun. Morning sun is best.

To add color to the patio table, we used Begonias. They like the shade, and since the umbrella is up most of the time, they work in that spot.

For the flower planter which gets sun all day, we selected a mixed arrangement featuring three of my favorite flowers, Verbena, Bellflowers (Campanula family), and Petunias. However, skip the Petunias for a mostly maintenance free bouquet.

Popular New Guinea Impatiens - Easy to Care For
they can handle about 3 or 4 hours of a sun a day,
morning sun is best

The Complete Story of How We Landscaped this Challenging Yard, More Here:




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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Landscaping Solution for Areas Where the Grass Won't Grow

Our Front Yard Fix - My DIY Stepping Stone Solution
When You Want to Keep Your Trees but Can't Keep the Lawn

If you don't have to, don't cut down the trees.

Let me start by saying that I'm not a gardening expert. 

However, I did manage to pull off this DIY. Review the photos featured here to get a good look at the results.

Over 20 years ago we moved into our home in a new tree-less development. Other than the one tree the city provided, the yard was simply grass and a builder's walkway.

Landscaping was a must for us so we got busy planting trees and had a lovely interlocking walkway put in around the home.

My husband picked a tree he liked, a Birch Tree, and I picked a tree I liked, a Blue Spruce. We had both planted in the front yard with the birch tree surrounded by a small island featuring easy to care for Juniper. 

We put Boxwoods along the walkway, cedar trees on each side of the garage doors and a Bristol
A Close Up of Part of the
Front Yard
Ruby Weigela by the porch. On the other side of the driveway we had an English Oak Tree planted, which today, is magnificent.

For the back yard we planted about 50 cedar trees around the fence. You can see pictures of the backyard here with some gardening tips here.

In those early years, the trees were essentially our height or lower so keeping the lawn green and healthy was never an issue, until the trees became very large and as you can well imagine the little bit of exposed lawn in the front yard turned into a disaster.

One Day, I Decided that Was IT! No More

LOL I'm not exaggerating. One day about ten years ago I arrived home from work and solicited the help of my sons to do some Diy landscaping. Off we went to the local Home Depot to purchase the stepping stones you see in the photos. 

I chose bigger irregular stepping stones for most of the what was left of the lawn area, and smaller ones to go in front of the island. 

Not wanting the dirt to show between the stepping stones and not wanting to wait for planted ground cover to grow, I choose small red gardening rocks to fill in the cracks.

The only thing I forgot to do was to line the area with a protection barrier fabric to prevent the weeds from growing through the stones. But that's ok, I just dig out the weeds between the stones from time to time. It's good exercise, in fact I just did it again the other day.

A Closer Look - DIY Stepping Stone Fix
Also, to finish the look I put red cedar wood chips around the bushes and along the walkway. 

Was This a Hard DIY?

No. Since the lawn was mostly gone, there wasn't much digging to do to get the yard ready to receive the stepping stones. We poured the small red colored rock between the stones. Oh, and my sons did the heavy lifting.

Had I Ever Done This Type of Work Before?

No. I was totally inexperienced. The only advantage I may have had was that in my real estate years I had seen a great deal of property, and thus had a lot of visual assistance stored in the back of my mind.

What Tips Would You Give?

The most important aspect, at least for me, was to look carefully at the yard to roughly determine the
A Section of the Backyard Along the Fence where
the Grass doesn't Grow - These stepping stones are NOT
positioned close together on purpose!
size of the stepping stones needed and then do a bit of math to establish how many stones to buy.

It's easier to be as exact as you can than to continuously go back to the store to get additional stepping stones. However, I didn't get it right the first time either; I ended up at the store twice.

Also, install enough stepping stones. In other words, don't try to save money by spacing them too far apart so you won't need as many.

The closer together they are, the better the finished product will look. Plus, having them closer together means fewer red colored rocks.

What Did this Project Cost You?

Ok.... Remember this was done around 2008. My estimated price for the work I personally did was about $1000(ish) Canadian. Of course that doesn't include the trees or the professionally installed walkways. That money includes the stepping stones, cedar red chips, and red colored rocks. No labour costs, as of course, it was a DIY.

Don't be afraid to try this, it's a lot easier than it looks. I am not an expert and managed, so I'm sure you could as well. The photos really don't do this DIY justice :)

This is a recent photo (2018) - Stepping Stones still Holding Up Nicely, 10 Years Later






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Sunday, July 8, 2018

How to Bring English Ivy Back to Life - A Review of What Worked

How to Repair English Ivy
Let me start by saying, I'm not a gardening expert.

What you'll find here is something I tried from an online search on how to bring English Ivy back to life … and it sounded too simple, but it freaking worked!

I can't guarantee you'll have as much luck as I did, but considering how easy it was, perhaps you'll be able to restore your Ivy as well? It's worth a try.

I've included a couple of videos, both taken just recently in 2018: One shows the disaster that our Ivy became this year, along with patchy, blotchy lawn.

The other video shows the results of new lawn growth and Ivy growth after using the two products indicated below.

BEFORE: Take a Look at the Disaster of our Ivy this Year. You'll also see the Lawn before the Repairs. What a Mess!



What Killed the Ivy You Ask?

The Ivy that surrounds our back patio has been there, without ever dying, since we had the patio installed in the early 1990s. I've NEVER had to repair it. The Ivy has always been a reliable patio ground-cover support.

We chose Ivy because it's maintenance free and has been so until this year, 2018.

So what took the life out of our Ivy? It could have been the harsh winter we just had, but I doubt that as we've had many harsh winters over the past twenty plus years. Or it could have been dog urine. We recently had a lovely dog visitor over the winter and he enjoyed choosing the Ivy to do his business on. Quite frankly, we suspect it was the doggie urine.

What Did We Do to Repair the Ivy?

The big secret was Miracle Grow. Honestly our Ivy was so bad that I really didn't expect it to work. After searching online for what to use to revive the Ivy, the most consistent response Google kept kicking back was 'Miracle Grow'. So I gave in, and tried it.

AFTER: Take a Look at the Ivy and Lawn After the Repair was Done this Year!




There's a Few HOWEVERS Though

1. However, as mentioned above, each year I repair our lawn with Scotts EZseed Patch and Repair. Scotts EZ is a combination of Mulch, Seed and Fertilizer.
Here's the Ivy fully Repaired - The Lawn Growing Nicely

I highly recommend Scotts EZSeed!

Every year I buy several large bags and spread it along the perimeter of our cedar trees and on the dry dead patches of our lawn.

The cedar trees suck the life out of our lawn, so after replacing our lawn three times over the past several decades, I decided to consistently repair it year after year instead. Best decision.

Also, I  did try another brand of Lawn Repair and Scotts was far superior.

The reason I mention the Lawn repair is because who knows whether the fertilizer in it somehow enhanced the Miracle Grow on the Ivy. Not being a gardener, I have no idea, but thought you should know.

2. That's not the only fertilizer in our yard. Each year I also put 36 Tree Fertilizer Spikes in the ground around the cedars. You can read about how awesome that works for the trees here.

So in summary, our annual routine is normally tree fertilizer spikes and Scotts EZSeed Repair for the lawn, but this year's disaster with the Ivy called for Miracle Grow to repair it, and it worked!

Here's What the Ivy Looked Liked Last Year and Every Year Before that - Before the 'Dead Ivy' Crisis of 2018.

We've restored the Ivy again and it's Well on it's Way to Looking Like it has for over 20 Years




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Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Review of Creativity on Review This!

(c) Kimberly Austin Daly, Artist*
Creativity Lives in Everyone!

My daughter is an artist.  She studied art in college, graduating with a degree in Fine Arts. But her creativity in this field has been present since she was old enough to hold a crayon.  All her life she has been compelled to draw & paint.  I've always admired her artistic ability because I can't draw a straight line with a ruler! :-)

*Artwork is the property of Kimberly Daly, Artist/Illustrator.  Copyright: Do not copy.  Permission granted for display in this story.






My hubby was a fine musician, having studied the violin for 14 years, then played the guitar for many more years and even had his own 'trio' during the 'folk music' era of our college days.
Today my son plays guitar and several other instruments and has his own local band with a group of fellow musicians.  I can't play any instrument and have no musical ability.

My brother sings and plays guitar.  My mother and sister could sing up a storm. I can't carry a tune in a bucket!  

Coastal Crochet Crafts on Etsy

I used to say to my talented family that I had no 'talent' for anything, until they reminded me that my crochet and needlework crafting was MY creative ability.  






Creative Talent is in Everyone


You don't have to be able to sing or dance, play an instrument or draw to be talented.  Creativity in ANY area is a talent all its own.  It was a nice reminder that we all have some form of creative talent, whether its in the arts & crafts field, music or dance, or simply being a wonderful cook.  Being able to express ourselves in writing is also a creative endeavor.  


Highlighting a Few Reviews Written by Our Talented Contributors on Review This!


Our team of contributors who write for Review This! review many products and do music, book and movie reviews, in addition to a wide range of other topics.  They are also very creative, sharing a variety of crafts, tutorials of DIY projects, cooking and baking recipes, and photography and gardening tips.  The following are a few examples of this team's creative talents.


Crafts Reviews



(c) Dawn Rae
How to Make Easy Christmas Tree Ornaments by Dawn Rae.  Dawn gives us easy step-by-step instructions on how to create with your children these simple, yet lovely, ornaments for your holiday tree.







(c) Bev Owens

For crochet crafters, Bev Owens tells us about this easy pattern you can use to create your own handmade poncho in her review titled Reviewing A Crochet Poncho Pattern.






(c) Wednesday-Elf

Wednesday-Elf loves to crochet, particularly stuffed animals.  Handmade crafts are her favorite, as shown in this A Bird in the Hand-i-Craft article.  In addition to her own crochet crafting, she enjoys sharing the creative talents of many other fiber art creators on Etsy.










DIY Projects


(c) RenaisanceWoman2010)
Clever & creative Diana (RenaissanceWoman2010) gives us a tutorial for a DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder using a regular canning jar, a pretty plate or bowl, and a few other simple supplies (glue, wire, and a chick feeder base). Then just add bird seed and watch the local feathered friends in your area flock to your new bird feeder. 







Photography Tips



(c) mbgphoto
Several of the Review This contributors are photographers, but Mary Beth Granger (mbgphoto) goes one step further with sharing her fabulous photography tips for all of us to learn to take even better photographs. She shares the tips she's learned from taking photography classes and doing LOTS of practice. I would imagine Mary Beth seldom goes anywhere without a camera. Her favorite subjects are lighthouses! Check out her Review of Photography Tips for some helpful advice for your own photographs. 





Recipe Reviews



(c) Sylvestermouse

Sylvestermouse is our creative baker here on Review This! She loves to put together fancy cakes and cupcakes.  A quick look at one of her favorite cookbooks for baking (the Cupcake Cakes Cookbook) will give you an idea of some of the fun and clever ideas she often incorporates into her baking.








Gardening Tips



Olivia Morris is one of our resident gardeners.  In her How to Grow Your Way to Happiness and a Great Garden, she shares some tips for your spring planting. 




Articles on Creativity


For more articles on these creative reviews, click on each subject below:






What do you consider your 'creative' talent?  







(c) Review of Creativity by Wednesday Elf


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Sunday, June 3, 2018

An Easy Tip to Help Keep the Trees on Your Property Healthy - A Personal Review

Our Backyard Trees - Kept Healthy with this Easy Tip
About ten years ago, while visiting a client, I had to know how in the world they were able to get the massive trees on their property to stay so healthy and look so beautiful.

He pointed to the neighbors trees across the street and said, 'when we first purchased this house, these trees looked just like those'. And 'Those' weren't very nice at all. 

I asked him, 'what did you do?'

Here's the tip he passed along to me, and we've been using it ever since for the trees in our yard.

He said, every spring and fall, we put Evergreen Fertilizer Spikes around all of our trees.

'That's it?' I asked.

He was adamant, 'yep, just put them in and forget it'.

'How long before you saw results?' 

He said it was by next year that the trees had a new life.

Our Home Has so Many Trees, I Had to Try This Product

When we purchased our home over 20 years ago we hand planted over 50 Cedar Trees in our
A Closer Look at the Health of Our Trees
from Implementing this One Tip
backyard, and in the front yard put a Blue Spruce, a Birch Tree and an English Oak Tree, along with shrubs.

As the years went on I noticed that the cedar trees in the backyard were looking a little rough, and knowing that sparse Cedar Trees aren't attractive, an immediate solution was in order.

For some reason my mind believed that caring for trees would be complicated. Wow, was I wrong!

I highly recommend using Fertilizer Spikes to care for your trees. Our experience has been fantastic.

Not being a tree expert in any way shape or form, I simply had to trust that this product would do the job.

You can find Fertilizer Spikes at just about any hardware store or The Home Depot or of course, online. 

I'm not fussy on any particular brand. The only thing I look for, for our trees, are spikes that say 'Evergreen'. There are various fertilizer spikes for different types of trees and shrubs. Just pick the ones you need based on your trees/shrubs.

This year I added another fertilizer spike to the mix, one that was for both Evergreens and Flowering Shrubs.

How Do You Put Fertilizer Spikes in the Ground?

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. That's how :)

The ones I buy come twelve in a pack, with two plastic tops to use to hammer them in the ground.

It's like making Elephant Pudding (tee hee, an old elephant joke) - simply follow the directions on the package.

I use three boxes, that's 36 spikes for the backyard, and this year I used 30 spikes for the front yard. Some of the front yard spikes were for flowering shrubs.

Also, they say to use the spikes for spring and fall and I've only ever put them in the ground in the spring. However, I think this year I'll put them in the ground again in the fall.

I've put some of the product choices below, but as mentioned above, I'm not dedicated to a particular brand. Each year I just grab whatever is on the shelf at the local hardware store. I have used both brands featured below, and both were fine. I don't have a preference.




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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Unique and Beautiful Watering Options for your Gardens

There are two reasons for this REVIEW TODAY! 

1. According to the Calendar of Days,  it is "Water a Plant Day" 

2.  Summer seems to be off to a fine start and I know my garden is in need of a daily drink!

Gardens are a place to rest and relax, to get your hands just a little dirty and to find something beautiful to enjoy!  Some of us have large gardens and others may have a small garden, but one thing is certain, everybody enjoys to see flowers blooming!  The garden doesn't have to do too much to make a weary soul smile. The hardiest of flowers can be enjoyed by everyone.  There is no need to be intimidated by thoughts of exotic plants (unless you want to be).  A pot full of marigolds is a beautiful sight.

Since the time of Adam and Eve, we have nurtured gardens and tried to bring some of them under our control.  With trying to control their growth, we also need to control their watering and feeding.  You can't have one without the other.


water a plant day, watering cans, garden Review

Water a plant day brings up some interesting points about watering options for our gardens.  Let's for right now focus on watering cans and manual ways to keep our plants from dying of thirst!  I will leave drip irrigation methods to gardeners who really need that kind of extended watering options.  (Leave me a comment and I'll gladly discuss this with you!)

Water can be heavy, so when you are deciding on a watering can for your needs remember that you will need to carry it!  To that end, I will suggest that a watering can should hold around 2 gallons of water.  Any more than this and the weight becomes difficult to handle.  With my arthritis, I would not want to carry more than this personally.  It's also a good size when it comes to adding fertilizers to enhance the blooming of your flowers.

Now I'm going to show you one that gets a 5 Star rating and tell you why it's a good choice.

This watering can holds 2 Gallons so it's the perfect size. It has a fairly large opening to fill it and also to add any fertilizers. It is made of a light weight resin material that can be left out in the great outdoors without any problems.  It has a nozzle that makes the water fall like a shower on your plants.  The only down side to this watering can is that the nozzle is NOT removable.  This watering can is practical, but not very pretty.  If you are looking for function, this watering can will do the trick quite nicely and it's very affordable.



Now if you are looking for a watering can that does the job, but looks pretty too, there are many more options.  You can find watering cans that your children or grandchildren would love to use.  Any gardener that loves their hobby, loves to share that hobby with their loved ones too!  These watering cans would make playing and working in the garden a really fun time! Check out these lovely options in watering cans and see if one doesn't make you smile too! Little hands would enjoy the animals that could help them, help you! This is just a little sample of the many watering cans that you can get. I just happen to love the colors and the shapes of these ones. The child in me has never really grown up!

Now here are a few practical things to remember when using a watering can to give your plants a drink.  Plants don't like to be watered with ice cold water, especially on really hot days.  It is a shock to their tender roots.  Fill your watering can and let it stand outdoors for an hour or so before subjecting your plants/planters to their daily drink.  Water your plants early in the morning rather than at high noon.  The plants will be able to drink more and be able to cope with the midday sun easier when they are well hydrated.  If you are using the watering cans to water your planters, you might also look at a schedule for fertilizing these planters.  Check out the labels and directions for your favorite types of fertilizers and use them accordingly.

water a plant day, Review This, Gardening help

A closing bit of advice, when you are watering your plants, talk to them too!  Plants do respond by growing much better when they are coddled!  Ask any gardener and they will agree that Watering, Talking, Primping and Pruning will do wonders for anything you are trying to grow!





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Monday, February 12, 2018

Reviewing the Antique Rose Emporium

The Antique Rose Emporium 2018 catalog.
Do you love Roses? Would you like to grow roses in your garden but believe they are too delicate and difficult to grow? Are you looking for a special, hardy, old-fashioned rose and can't find quite what you want at the local nurseries? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" I recommend that you shop at the Antique Rose Emporium.

What better recommendation is there than word-of-mouth?  A few years ago, when I was searching for a very specific rose but had no idea it's name, Renaissance Woman pointed me in the direction of The Antique Rose Emporium.  I'm glad she did. Receiving my 2018 catalog in the mail recently reminded me that I wanted to continue to spread the word about the wonderful roses offered at the Antique Rose Emporium (ARE).


The Antique Rose Emporium


The Antique Rose Emporium (ARE) is located in Independence, Texas. There you will find their display garden and retail center.  If, like me, you are not able to visit them in Texas, you can order from them online and request their catalog. The ship orders within the continental US. It is their philosophy (and in my limited experience with roses, I agree) that old garden roses are hardy and easy-to-grow.

An excerpt from their "our story" page:


"Until the discovery of old garden roses, I shared the prevailing bias that roses were hard to grow, were fussy, needed to be sprayed, needed to be pruned in a certain way, and were short-lived. Roses we have since discovered have changed my bias and have made me an advocate of these easy care roses and I truly believe they are the ultimate garden plant"  -- Mike Shoup at Antique Rose Emporium

If you'd like to read more of what Mike Shoup has to say about roses, take a peek at his book:

Empress of the Garden available on Amazon

My Quest for a Specific Rose


Many years ago, I lived in a home that had been the home of a family who had lived there for 60+ years. In that yard was a rose bush that was both adored and hated. It was the most thorny thing and was a chore to mow around.  Yet, despite not being pruned or fertilized, or cared for in any other way it provided constant and a profuse amount of little maroon blossoms from the heat of the summer through late autumn. Those small roses had a strong fragrance that floated through the yard and into the house. On days off, I spread a blanket in the yard near that bush and relaxed with a book.

I had no idea how much I'd miss that rose bush and how often I would think about it after I moved away.  So the search began for a similar rose bush.

The problem is, I know next-to-nothing about roses. Didn't know what "hips" were. Double-bloom? Rambler? Remontant? WHAT?! 

Despite my complete lack of familiarity with describing roses, and trying to recall details about a rose from a decade ago, I emailed ARE to ask if they could help me identify that elusive rose.


Great Customer Service at the Antique Rose Emporium


I expected no response from my strange email request to help find that rose bush. Imagine my surprise when I received a personal response within that same day! Mr. Shoup described two roses with similar characteristics. And closed with the comment "This is the closest I can get. I think you are describing an old Hybrid Tea that we don't carry". 

I was astounded that anyone would take the time to respond to my inept description of an old rose bush. In my excitement about the roses they had to offer, I had already ordered a Granny Grimmetts for my yard at The Shack.

I received my Granny Grimmetts via the mail; shipped safely in a box and packaging that held it securely. I planted it in my yard at The Shack and the deer immediately stripped it. I now know that roses are a delicacy to deer and planting a rose on a ridge in West Virginia was like ringing a deer dinner bell. I placed a protective cage around the bush, and something else feasted on that poor plant.  I was sure that I had failed and killed that little rose bush but I allowed the cage to remain. And I was thrilled that the following year, that poor victimized rose had grown, put on a few buds, and was doing well! 


Granny Grimmetts in her new home
I have since returned to the area where that original rose bush was. I drove past the home and had plans of knocking on the door to ask if I could get some cuts from the plant. Alas, that unruly and thorny rosebush was long gone. But I have my Granny Grimmetts and plan to add the recommended Dame de Coeur.


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hobby Time from the Review This! Contributors




hob·by - an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. 

January is known as National Hobby Month.   The contributing writers here on Review This! each have their favorite ways to enjoy a relaxing pursuit and have written many reviews of various how-to books, crafting supplies and DIY tutorials, gardening tips, recipes & kitchen aids for the cook, photography lessons, reading or listening to music, sports, and a host of other hobbies. 

These are but a few of the hobbies enjoyed by the Review This crew. The list of hobbies is almost endless.  If you are interested in looking for what we writers here have reviewed, type in the name of your 'hobby' either in the box in the top left-hand corner of any Review This page, or in the search box down the right-hand side. By looking at the author's name, you won't have any problem figuring out which HOBBY is each writers' favorite! For instance, mine  (Wednesday Elf) is crochet and my hobby is shared by several other contributors here, so we learn and share with each other. A more comprehensive list is shown below.


National Hobby Month




Begun by the Hobby Guild of America in 1955,  National Hobby Month was celebrated in April until 1976, then in October until 1986.  Since then, it has been celebrated during the month of January. 

January was most likely chosen for National Hobby Month as it is the beginning of a new year and a good time to start a new hobby.  Many people have never had hobbies during their working years or while raising a family and begin one in their retirement or after the children are grown.  Others try many hobbies throughout their life before finding one or two that gives them the most enjoyment. 


Hobby Examples on Review This!



Hobbies can be passive (such as crafting, reading, writing, listening to music or watching a movie) or an activity such as gardening, cooking or participating in sports. Many people have more than one hobby and often combine them, such as listening to music while crafting. 

In addition to writing reviews here on Review This!, most of the contributing writers here write for their own blogs and websites.  Writers consider writing to be more work than hobby, so time away from writing is important. That's where the activities done in our leisure time become such a pleasure. It is also interesting to note that the passion we feel for our hobbies is shown in many of the subjects we write about.


  • Barbara Tremblay Cipak (Brite-Ideas) is crazy about country music and frequently writes about the artists and their music she is so passionate about.  She is also loves to experiment with color in home décor. 
  • Dawn Rae does crochet and participates in a group of fellow jeep owners.  She also enjoys gardening and lately 'learning about homesteading'.
  • Cynthia Sylvestermouse is a freelance writer and photographer who loves all different kinds of crafts, including crafting in the kitchen, creating fancy cakes and cupcakes. 
  • Barbara (BarbRad) is an expert on books and loves to read.  She is also a nature photographer who most enjoys photographing her central California area. 
  • Mary Beth Granger (MBGphoto) is a fabulous photographer who continually takes photography classes to learn more.  Photography has become her passion in her retirement, along with traveling.  Lighthouses and beaches are her favorite subjects. 
  • Wednesday Elf loves crochet and needlework, watching baseball and reading. 
  • Beverly Owens is busy researching her Native American Indian heritage and loves to write about spirit animals and the wisdom of her ancestors. She also enjoys crocheting. 
  • Olivia Morris loves gardening and following the fashion world.
  • Brenda Little (Treasures By Brenda) collects coffee mugs and researches the history of vintage cups and other vintage items which she shares in her eBay store.  She also loves reading, great movies, cooking, and pop culture. 
  • Diana Wenzel (Renaissance Woman2010) enjoys an off-the-grid lifestyle where she pursues her interests in animal rescue, wonderful nature photography, and DIY projects. She also loves to read. 
  • Louanne Cox (Lou16) loves reading, 80s music, zombies and dolls, among a host of other interests. 
  • Heather Burns (Heather426) is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer. Her hobby is her artistic accomplishments, including the colored pencils she has created for coloring pages and coloring books. 
  • Coletta Teske is a published book author and loves to sew. 

These are just the highlights of hobbies and interests I have observed from the articles they publish and the interaction we have as a team here on the staff of Review This!.  I am sure there are other interests each of them have.  


Quick View Home Page



By clicking on the Quick View Home Page button at the top of any Review This! page, you will have weekly examples of many of the articles your hobbyists here enjoy (plus many non-hobby reviews).  

Stop by the comments section and tell us your favorite hobby or activity. The Review This! staff would love to hear about what gives you pleasure in your leisure time.

(c) Written by Wednesday Elf on 1/20/2018







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


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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Halloween Garden Cleanup and Planting Time Too! Let's Review How to Get This Done

Summer's Heat has given way to Autumn cooler temperatures, let's review ways to get your garden ready for the oncoming cold that is sure to happen.


Autumn is that wonderful time of year when the weather gets a little cooler and the days start to have a little bite in them.  Leaves are turning those beautiful shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red. Everywhere the eye goes, it's a myriad of beautiful colors to keep us all in Awe!  What a wonderful mystical, beautiful time of year.  The Maker's  paintbrush is never still and our picture changes daily.
Everyday,  I look out over my balcony and the trees are changing colors from one day to the next.  Yesterday the leaves were all green and today it seems that they are turning shades of gold, red, browns and oranges.  One day makes such a difference.


It's also time to get cracking on the Autumn garden chores! 


If you are not sure what to do with all those leaves,  give that link(Autumn garden chores) a quick review, your garden will love you for it.  It doesn't hurt to organize our chores for the best outcomes in our gardens. 


Cooler Days and changing colors are a shock to the system after all of summer's warm days.  Time moves on and these changes are a gardener's Alarm Clock, because the next thing is garden cleanup before the winds of winter come.


Don't fret!  Garden cleanup is easier than you think.  You just need the right tools and the right attitude and your job will be done lickety split!


Because Autumn is also the time for Halloween, we can do two things at once!  By using our leaves in funky Halloween decorator bags, we now have our glorious pumpkin display all done.  Or if you prefer you can also make crazy spiders and pumpkins to give all the kids a good chuckle.   Packing those bags will be child's play after raking them all together and then using our monster hands to stuff the bags. Now after all the festivities are over, don't throw all those beautiful leaves away. Use a chipper/grinder to make the world's easiest and best mulch for your garden beds. The extras can go into the composter along with the worms and everyone will be happy! You won't believe the work that those worms will do in the composter.  Even in the winter months, those worms are working away.  The beauty of a compost heap is that it will remain warm all winter long.  The worms will be happy and so will you when you see what they accomplish while you are inside staying toasty warm.

Autumn is also a great time to buy yourself a new pair of gloves, because I'm sure the ones you started out with in the spring have seen better days, and they just might be on sale at this time of year. You know you will always use them.



Once the gardens are all cleaned-up, it will be easy to see where to plant all the tulips and daffodils, crocus and snowbells, grape hyacinths and some irises too!  The time to do that is now!   Fall Bulbs are available in just about every garden store around.  If you want that gorgeous Spring Garden you do have to plant those bulbs in the fall.  Spring will be just bursting forth sooner than you think and those bulbs will be so happy to grow in your well mulched beds. It's a little bit of heaven in just a few short months and something to pin your hopes on while the cold winds blow. The Leaves you have mulched added under the bulbs will give those bulbs an extra boost of good compost right under their roots, so they will grow big and strong! You won't be disappointed. Good gardeners and great gardens all give so much credit to the mulch that is brought right down into the soil. Best of all, it's free fertilizer and no chemicals! All natural, Mother Nature will thank you and so will all your family when they are enjoying the fruits of your labor. Such a pretty sight, a well tended garden can bring a smile to you and everyone else too!

I hope you take the time to enjoy the changing of the seasons and preparing your gardens for the Spring of 2018!  In planting for the spring, you give everyone a reason to hope for the future and the brightness of your fabulous garden to come.
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All pictures are courtesy of Pixabay.  




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Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
Woman2010
Lou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecorating
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Heather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G

 

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We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner