Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gardening Season is Over

Last night the temperature dropped into the low 29's and it was very cold.  We had our first hard frost of the season and with that the gardening season had ended.  

Today I went out to the garden and did cut back the remaining foliage to the soil line and then covered the gardens with mulch. The garden season is over and all that is left is my grass gardens. They will add interest to my yard for the next several week or until the spring flowers start to bloom.

I will miss my time in the garden as I am one who enjoys my garden very much. The only thing that is left is to plant some daffodils that my husband bought at Lowes today. He was able to get a bag of 40 bulbs for $6.98.

Know that as long as the ground is not completely frozen you can still plant the bulbs. I think I will cut back the chrysanthemum that are in the large containers and plant some daffodils. Then come spring these containers will look nice and add curb appeal to the front of the house.

Here are some article on spring bulbs that you may like.

How to plant daffodils tulips and crocus

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Manicuring Flower Gardens in Late Fall

We had a mild frost last week and many of my plants were effected so since it was warm today I spent the afternoon in the garden. Today the temperature was 64 degrees Fahrenheit, a perfect temperature for gardening in late fall.

My main objective today was to cut back the daylilies, the four O’clock s and the zinnia flowers to the ground. I was also gathering any remaining seeds from the flower heads. In addition to the manicuring of the gardens I was hoping that I had time to prune the rose bushes.

When all the garden maintenance work was done I would apply the mulch my husband made for me with his wood chipper. He gathered fallen branches from our meadow and used the small chipper that we bought at to create organic garden mulch.

So I started gardening in the back garden close to the woods entrance. My husband was relaxing on the patio, he was 46 feet from me. It was comforting he was in the yard, if I need him he was there. I was busy working when I heard my husband laugh and I thought he had read something funny. I smiled and waved, then turned to go back to work. There was a patch of stubborn grasses that needed to be dug out so I turned to grab my garden tool belt and found my hand shovel was missing.

I looked for it in the garden shed, in the greenhouse and even in the mud room. My hand shovel was gone and my husband was laughing. So I asked him "did you take my shovel" and he shook his head no.

I swore I brought my garden hand tools out of the shed before I stared my work. But since I could not find my hand tools I went to get the shovel. Before I went to search for my full size garden shovel in the tool shed I took off my work gloves and laid them on top of the wheelbarrow. I got the shovel, went to put on my gloves and they were gone. My husband laughing so I assumed he had been sneaking up on me and taking my garden supplies. Right?

Husband says "it wasn't me" Then points up at the maple tree that is closest to me and there I see the garden tool thief. Up the tree is the raccoon Lucy that we had rescued in the spring after her mom was poached by hunters. Lucy came out of the woods and was sneaking up on me, she took all of my garden supplies and was hiding them at the base of the oak tree.

I had a good laugh, and it is hard to be mad at a junior raccoon especially when these orphans don't know to stay out of sight during daylight hours. This little girl was sneaking up on me and taking my things and that was funny

 It is safe to say that I could careless about raccoon's in my yard, but if you find that they are a nuisance and want to keep them out of your yard, then read my article on how to get rid of raccoons without hurting the,

Monday, October 26, 2015

Perennial Grasses add Interest to Winter Garden

Today my neighbor came to see me, he had his lawn trimmer in his hand, he asked me how far back he should cut his perennial grass garden. I replied that spring is the best time to cut the grass back and that I recommend that the grasses be left alone.

My neighbor looked at me blankly, it was clear that he could not visualize what his yard and garden would look like so I went to and did a digital design that would show my neighbor how lovely his yard and garden would look if he did not cut his perennial grasses back until spring. 

The winters are long and cold and I think the dried grasses look nice. The grass plumes are eye appealing plus they add movement and provide wildlife with shelter, windbreak for birds, rabbits and cats.  I took this photo last fall of cat lying under the fountain grass in the winter. 

Feral Gray Tabby Cat in Woods Greeting Card
Feral Gray Tabby Cat in Woods Greeting Card by giftsforcatlovers

In the autumn season after I remove the leaves I trim the grasses so they are more manicured and off the garden path.  Then I will mulch around the fountain, and reed grasses. This mulch will add a more manicured look to the garden.

You can also highlight the grass garden with solar lights then when you look out at your yard at night during the winter months you will view a garden area that is eye appealing.  This is why I recommend leaving your ornamental grasses alone throughout the autumn and winter months.  

Here is a photograph of my grass garden next to my garden path.  The photo was taken after I trimmed the grass as it had grown over the stepping stones.

Grass garden in autumn, dried plumes look lovely
Fountain grass in winter looks interesting


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Covered Tropical Plants with Frost Covers

Tonight is cold night, and I took steps to cover my orchids and elephant ear tropical plants with frost covers.  The forecast does not call for a freeze and tomorrow it will be warm again but with temperatures dipping into the low 40's I thought best to cover my tropical plants.

The weather that we are having is not normal for this time of the year.  It is a cold snap with back to normal temperatures in a few days.  By Monday the high is 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the forecast shows many days of warm weather.  For this reason I decided to leave my tropical plants outdoors for now.  The frost cover will protect them and tomorrow I will uncover them and the orchids will look so pretty.

Eventually I will have to take all tropical plants indoors and get the elephant ears ready for winter storage. At the moment  I am putting that off.  I want to prolong the garden season as long as I can.

Do you have orchids or other tropical plants?  When do you bring them indoors?

Here is a photo of tropical elephant ears in container.  

Elephant ear container plant
And if you like orchids then you will love this yellow one.  I think it is gorgeous, so I turned it into a postcard.  You can view it at my Susang6 online shop.

Yellow Orchid in Bloom Postcard
Yellow Orchid in Bloom Postcard by Susang6
Browse Yellow flower Postcards online at

Friday, October 9, 2015

Getting Gardens Ready for First Snow

I learned today that the weather forecast for the end of October is snow followed by bitter cold weather.  Know that this cold weather is coming very early in season and at a time that we usually enjoy our yard and garden.

Autumn season cut short due to snow forecast

Today and probably all of next week I will have to work harder on the gardens to get them ready for the frigid cold weather and snow.  Normally I do not cut back my lilies until after a hard frost, but plan on cutting them back so I can cover the flower bed with mulch.  I will also have to plant 120 daffodils next week, because this must be done before the ground freezes.
My yard and gardens with snow

I started working in the side yard, clearing  the brush that was growing next to the dog kennel.  I got 8 feet cut back and have another 9 feet to finish.  While working I noticed that my irises rhizomes are above the soil line and suspect that removing the leaves last week from the garden caused erosion.  I will probably add a layer of compost next week and maybe a light layer of natural mulch.  I am thinking that ice will not be good for them since their roots are just bellow the soil.

Then when all the manicuring and caring for flower gardens is completed I have to stake the gardens with poles with flags because if I do not my hubby will plow the snow through the gardens.  Yes it safe to say that I am going to be busy next week because I must get the yard and gardens ready for first snow of the season.

Is the weather changing where you live?  Will you have snow in October?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Deciduous Trees Have Canker Disease

I am not a tree expert but when I saw that there was something wrong with my willow and mimosa tree bark I knew it was not normal. The bark had cracked open and separated leaving a hole that allowed insects to go inside. I treated the area infection with organic pest control but it had little affect on the problem. Within a week my mature mimosa tree subcombed to whatever had infected it and died. My pine, oak and silver maple trees were also infected with canker disease.

I love my trees and was not willing to let them die just because we have the no chemical rule in our yard and garden. So I called a tree expert and met with him yesterday. Learned that the trees were infected with Canker disease which is a fungus.

Here is a postcard that I created from a photograph of my silver maple tree. If I lose this tree to the canker disease and termites then the autumn season will not be the same. Hoping that we caught all in time.
Autumn Leaves Thanksgiving Postcard
Autumn Leaves Thanksgiving Postcard by Susang6
Browse Thanksgiving Postcards online at

The expert on closer examination found that the trees had termites too. They had gotten into the tree from the open wound on tree branches and trunk that had become infected with fungus.

I agreed to the treatment for my trees, it was a chemical but I had to do it or I would lose all 8 mature trees in my yard. The tree expert will check back the end of the month to see if further treatment is needed. He told me that once the tree becomes infected it may take up to 4 treatments to get rid of the termites and kill the fungus.

Know that the two trees that we cut down yesterday, that the wood needed to be disposed of and the stump and surrounding area needed to be treated to put a stop to the spread of fungus, bacteria and termites.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Maintaining Yard and Gardens in September

Maintaining and manicuring the yard and gardens in September will enable you to have a beautiful landscape throughout the cold season. 

 Today my husband and I took advantage of the good weather and spent the morning outdoors in they yard.  We worked together to create a lovely landscape and cleaned up the  patio by getting the firepit ready for sitting by the fire on cool fall nights. 

We both worked at cleaning up the sand set flagstone patio, I removed the weeds that were growing between the stone and husband put down new drainage rock around the firepit.  When the patio was completed I moved on to my next garden project.

 I dead headed all of the spent flowers, trimmed back the coneflowers and zinnia that started to turn brown from those few nights of low 40's temperature.  Harvested the seeds by putting seeds in Ziploc bag and  then covered the garden bed with cedar mulch.

When all of the seeds were harvested I moved on to trimming back the grass garden because they were overgrown and covered the garden path.  There was enough time to spot check the irises and to pull the weeds and grass that was growing in the bed.  

While I worked on the gardens my husband cut the grass and used the blower to remove the leaves from patios, paths and driveway.  It was a great day to work in the garden, Husband and I accomplished so much and our  September yard and garden looks beautiful.

Here are some photographs of my gardens, patio paths.

End of season shade garden
September blooms of Sweet Autumn Clematis
Updated patio and firepit for Fall usage, firepit and patio designed by Sgolis

Pea Gravel garden path, designed and installed by Sgolis

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Flowers Blooming in End of Summer Garden

Chrysanthemum, falls flower

This week I have a few flowers blooming in my garden but not many. The weather has been cooler than usual at night and my zinnias and coneflowers did start to die off so I cut them and collected the seeds. 

 My four O'clocks started to go into seed, but there are still a few blooms. Other than that the sweet autumn clematis is in bloom, a few belladonna, and the cosmos are in bloom.   The yellow chrysanthemums are covered with buds and blooms and they will sure look pretty throughout the fall season. 

In my herb garden there are a few blooms; peppermint and chamomile and they look pretty.  I looked for the toad lilies but they did not come up this year. I suppose the winter was too harsh last year or perhaps a cat dug them up.  

This week I am enjoying the end of summer/early autumn blooms. How about you, what is blooming in your flower garden this week?

Here are some photographs of end of summer flowers.

Sweet autumn clematis on trellis

Four O' Clock flowers by garden wall


Here is a photo postcard of Belladonna lily.  I captured this photo in the early morning when the flower bloomed. 

Pink Belladonna Lily Bloom Postcard
Pink Belladonna Lily Bloom Postcard by Susang6
Find other Pink flower Postcards at

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Damaged Irises Have NEW Growth: Flower Photographs

Today when I went to look at the irises that were damaged by the lawn mower I was happy to see that some have signs of new growth. 

These backyard irises were damaged when husband cut his corner too close and ran them over with the lawn mower. Know that many of the rhizomes were damages and did die, however some were not as badly damaged and did respond to the immediate care that I gave them.

When the mowing occurred I went to irises aide by applying one inch of compost to the flower bed. Then set up soaking hose to water them with slow drip in the morning. The damage to the irises occurred during the hot summer when there was drought conditions.

 I also treated the garden bed with neem oil extract for spider mites. I used a concentrated formula that you mix with water and spayed the soil at dusk because it is not good to use neem oil in the direct light.

A month after the occurrence I noticed that the irises garden is pest fee and suspect it is due to the neem oil insecticide. I also noticed that the irises have signs of improvement. The leaves that looked sickly are now showing signs of new growth, leaf bud on one of the rhizomes. 

 Granted a few flowers are still struggling to survive and 10 have turned brown and died due to the shock of the lawn mower.  I have not given up. 

 Know that my neighbor has tossed his irises that have had borers into the woods, thinking that they were hopeless and they have survived. We now have wild irises blooming in the woods in the spring, so anything is possible.

Here are some photographs of my irises, all photographs were taken of my personal residence flower gardens.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Outdoor Living Ideas: Creating a Space

Recently one of online followers emailed a question. They told me that they were following my polyvore home and garden sets and my yard and garden secrets blog and that they did not have a patio or a deck, but instead a large yard and wanted an outdoor space.  They asked me if I had any ideas or suggestions. 

 My follower asked if they could create an entertainment or outdoors space where family and friends could sit and enjoy the view of their gardens and lake.  I replied of course you can have an outdoor space and that areas in the yard can be very eye appealing.

Here is a Tuscany outdoor space that I created to show a client what they could do with the courtyard in their townhouse.  Click to view in high resolution. 

Know that you can create a space anywhere and that you do not need a patio or a deck. Although it is nice to find a nook in your yard that has a nice shade tree, garden overlook or in this persons case a view of the lake.

You can create a quick space by filling in an area with gravel, or do a sand set stone patio. If you do not want to do that you can buy cobblestone molds and make your own cement walkway to your outdoor space or base for you garden furniture.

Of course you can always create an area by setting your furniture on the grass, but I would recommend cutting it very short in this area and treating it with an organic insecticide; concentrated spearmint oil or garlic are two products on the market that work very well.

Here are a few outdoor living areas that I designed at The first one shows a natural setting with outdoor furniture, heating unit and fire pit for ambiance. I accented this set with a variety of autumn throw pillows and lightweight blanket. All of these products are from my zazzle shop.

The second outdoors space shows a seating area that is under a gazebo, this space is again set up on the on the lawn with stone path to the outdoors living space. This is an inviting area were friends and family can relax and enjoy nature.

Anyone can create a space in their backyard, find the area that has the best view then set up your lawn furniture, add decorations and create a space that is comfortable and has ambiance. Outdoors living will enable you to enjoy nature and you will feel more relaxed.

***You can buy the cobblestone cement molds at and create your own walkway or unique area for your patio furniture. It is a fun DIY landscape improvement project.