When the weather turns warm, I can't wait to hit the greenhouses and garden centers for the most beautiful plants I can find. I make it into a challenge to get the good stuff before anyone else.  I'm a competitor and my intent is to win. (But let's keep that secret between the two of us, okay?)     Have you always wanted to create an extraordinary container garden?   You see them at the garden centers and in magazines. Could you really create an extraordinary container garden? My resounding answer is, YES!!     Why not create one this … [Read more...]

There isn't anything prettier than streets lined with Bradford Pear Trees in early spring. One of my good friends in Western New York lived on one of those streets. I would drive out of my way just to see the glory of all those flowering pear branches sporting their stunning white blossoms. Ahhhh....the beauty. My small town is not lined with them, but the few along the tree line bring brilliance to Main Street.     We haven't lived in our current house very long. Last year was our first spring here and we were more about trimming the jungle in our yard than in reveling in the beauty. This … [Read more...]

  Spring... You've been teasing us with warm days and buds bursting from the soil with new life.  And then you turn around and shower us with sleet, and snow for days on end, and through clouds of steel give us only glimpses of sunshine.  Some days I think you are positively mean.  And then I realize...it is not Spring...it is still winter...for a few more days.  Winter officially departs and lovely dear Spring rides in March 20, at precisely 7:02 AM EDT.     It fascinates me that on this first day of Spring...day and night are each approximately 12 hours long. Did you know that the … [Read more...]

  Paperwhites!   What can be prettier in the dead of winter than live plants sending up beautiful white flowers? Today I'm sharing with you A Visual Tutorial for growing paperwhites for the holidays.     Are those just not the prettiest flowers ever? You can pretty up your home with paperwhites too!   Here's what to do....                           Paperwhites : Easy DIY Holiday Project   1. Gather the following supplies: Waterproof container (I used … [Read more...]

Day 12   A year ago today the movers pulled up to our house and loaded all our worldly possessions onto their long blue and white truck.  In the midst of a driving (make that...monsoon) rainstorm.  How everything did not arrive all wet and moldy is a mystery. After a good sleep, we pulled out-of-town with the cats and drove to our new home.  One of the first things I was excited to do at my new house was to fill the front window box.  With pumpkins.  But, there was no time, or extra money, for plumping with pumpkins.  Instead we were on a mission to clean, and paint several rooms, before the … [Read more...]

Fall garden.   For some, fall and garden do not go together in the same sentence. I remember back when I lived in Michigan I pretty much threw up my hands in exasperation by the end August.   It was a sad sight. Can you relate?     When I moved to New York I knew that my next garden needed to be an all-season garden.   Since I love the colors of fall and being outside, I made sure to select perennials that would bloom in September and into October.  My husband even says that he likes our fall garden best.  For me, that's success!  I wish I could show you photos of that … [Read more...]

This morning, after watering and fertilizing my porch pots, window boxes, and hanging baskets, I took a stroll around my "garden." Really all I have is a rolling, bumpy, rough-around-the-edges yard.  It isn't really a garden, yet.  Though I do have a small but lovely island of various Sedums, Euphorbia, Goat's Beard, Iris, and Geranium in the middle of my backyard. In the back corner, someone, long ago, had a garden.  I've pulled multitudes of weeds from that corner, leaving behind strawberry plants which I had hoped would bear lots of fat juice red berries.  Ha!  Unfortunately they are not that kind of … [Read more...]

  Earlier this summer, as the ferns were pushing up their lovely fiddleheads I was smitten.     When the trees filled out, I discovered that my yard was enveloped in shade.   Mostly.  Cool, peaceful shade.  As I came to realize that flowers were not to be major players in my gardens, my eye was continually drawn to ferns.  Especially the giant Ostrich Ferns. When you walk a woodland path, do you find a swath of ferns cool and restful?  Is there something about them that rejuvenates your spirit?   Don't you wish that you could have that feeling every day?   Here are some … [Read more...]

Not long ago I was walking in my neighborhood when I noticed a ground cover plant that has been a favorite of mine for using in container gardens.  I love its variegated leaf and that it fills out nicely, as well as growing long cascading vines, over the summer.  When I lived in Michigan I would over-winter it in my garden to have for my containers from year to year.  One year it grew like crazy over the winter and I discovered that my container vine was also a fabulous ground cover.    Lamiastrum g. 'Variegatum'  This spring I had been looking for it in all the local greenhouses and garden shops.  I … [Read more...]

  Have you always wanted to create a pretty container garden?       Why not create one this weekend?     Below are 9 steps to help you get started, plus lots of inspiration too!        But first.... more inspiration!       Nine steps to get the process started.   1.  Decide where you want your container garden(s). 2.  Notice if that location is sunny, partly sunny, or mostly shadey? 3.  Choose a container for your location.  Don't skimp on the size...your plants need room to grow. 4.  Select … [Read more...]

Seeing God demonstrate his love for us in nature. If we just look, God has object lessons of his grace and love all around for us to see and experience.     Almost exactly 3 years ago to the day, my husband and I were sitting in the office of our executive pastor. We were anticipating some new changes in the structure of the children's ministry.  Tim was leading a thriving and growing ministry to children with excellence and grace, and we were anticipating a good meeting.  Several minutes later we were told that we (I was Tim's ministry assistant) would no longer be leading the children's … [Read more...]

Was this past weekend your big "get the yard in shape" working weekend?   Traditionally Memorial Day {Weekend} is when mulch gets spread, shrubs, and lawns get trimmed, flowers get planted, the pool gets opened, and everyone gets ready for summer outdoor fun.  Is that your tradition?  We tend to spend plenty of time "playing" in the yard.  But, gardening and yard work for our family starts as soon as the weather is spring like, and flower planting begins usually around Mother's Day.   This year has been a bit challenging for me, with limited finances, living in a new town, … [Read more...]