Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I Like Zazzle Rain and Garden Boots

 When it comes to working in the yard during the spring months I have to wear rubber boots. In the past I have picked up boots at Walmart and other discounted shops and these boots were okay to use for walking in the rain.  They were not good for working in the yard.   They were not comfortable, and the sole did not keep my feet in one place.  My feet paid the price because there were no comfort soles, plus the sole did not have good traction and the inexpensive rain boots were not suited for working in the garden.

Then I bought Slogger rain boots at, and I thought that this boot would probably be wonderful but they were too wide for my feet.  I ended up giving them away.  

Presently I like the Twoalit  rain boots at  These boots will suit my comfort, and fashion needs, plus they cleanup easily which is a big plus for anyone who works outdoors in garden, yard or farm. 

I like that these clear boots are made in the USA and they can be hosed off after I work in the garden. But what I really like is the prints...instead of wearing a boring black pair of boots I can now wear adorable fashion rain or garden boots.

Okay so these boots were made for rain and working in the garden...but are these boots comfortable?  

Know that these boots come with comfort soles; “Comfort Soles are included with your boots! These comfort soles only need to be worn if you plan to wear the clear boots without your TwoAlity boot liners! If you wanted to wear the clear boots with your own tall socks, you will need to insert the comfort soles first." quote from boot website.

Please note that "if you try to wear the comfort soles and the boot liners at the same time, the boots could be snug! Boots are made by TwoAlity™ and are designed to brighten up your rainy, snowy or muddy day! You can choose from a variety of boot liners! Customize your TwoAlity boot liners by adding embroidery". Know that these boot liners are the perfect way to show off your name, or other text, even a logo. Learn more about these rain and garden boots at

Here are my rubber boots.  They are great for rain wear


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring Gardening

Normally my spring garden would not be on my mind, but today the temperature  was 70 degrees Fahrenheit   and this spring like day has got me thinking of my garden. Normally the weather is cold, with snow but this year the weather forecast is calling for warmer than usual.

Know that we do need a hard frost and bitter cold temperatures to kill off the ticks and to enable the spring bulbs to sleep before awakening in the late January – early February. But nature this year has a different idea because today when I removed a patch of leaves in the yard I saw the grassy foliage of my crocus had broken ground and the green stems were two inches above soil.

The spring bulbs breaking ground has got me thinking about gardening and getting a head start on my preparations.   I went out to my greenhouse today and sterilized some pots for planting. Normally I start my annuals, herbs and vegetables in mid to late January in the portable greenhouse that I bought at the last year. But since we are having spring like weather I thought I would get a head start with my gardening chores.

I am thinking that by the end of December I will have my window-boxes sterilized and painted also. This year I am thinking of planting the tulips and crocus that I have in cold storage,  I have had good results with forcing the spring bulbs to bloom and will probably force the bulbs to bloom indoors and give the containers away as gifts. 

Here is a video that will show you how to force spring bulbs to bloom in approximately five weeks indoors.

Getting ready for spring in December is an activity that I am not accustomed to but do like that i can get many tasks done now while the weather is warm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Caring for Christmas Poinsettia

Its the season for the Christmas poinsettia plant for gift giving and home decorating.  The poinsettia is a beautiful plant that comes in a variety of colors; crimson red, pink white or bi-color leaves along with dark green leaves. It is one magnificent plant and is known as the plant of Christmas.

Know if you reside in a mild climate where the average temperate is 55 to 60 at night and the high is 70 degrees Fahrenheit then you can feature this plant outdoors on your porch or in your feature garden. However, if you reside in an area where the weather is cold then poinsettia must stay indoors.

Red poinsettia plant by pixabay
Healthy red poinsettia gets plenty of light by the window

Red poinsettias are grown in an outdoor feature garden.

Shop for live poinsettias at This quality plant is best for gift giving. 
 Also, shop at or at their store. I saw gorgeous poinsettias there and they were reasonably priced. and also have poinsettias in their seasonal departments.

Buying Tips

When you go to buy a poinsettia I would recommend buying a healthy plant that does not have drooping leaves or brown sots as this would be an indication of not adequate water, which would cause the poinsettia to have stress.

Caring for Poinsettia 

Bring your poinsettia home in a covered bag so that it does not get too cold or suffer a cold draft. Remove your poinsettia from the foil holiday pot wrapper and set it on a plant draining saucer. 

 The best location for your poinsettia is in a sunny room where the average temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your poinsettia needs an average of six hours of bright light so if you do not have a room that has a lot sunlight then set in under a table light. (I do not recommend setting your poinsettia in direct sunlight) 

At night poinsettia prefers cooler temperature so a room that is an average temperature of 60 to 70 degrees will keep your Christmas season poinsettia healthy.

Maintain your poinsettia plant by checking the soil daily. Know that poinsettias grow best in soil that is allowed to dry out some in-between watering. Test the soil daily to see if the soil is dry by inserting your index finger into the soil about one inch. If soil is dry then water the plant until it drains out the bottom. Let all the water drain from the plant container, but do not set the pot in the water in the saucer. Instead, dump the water out.  Poinsettias do not like wet soil.  


Know that my friend resides in  Florida and she does grow her poinsettias outdoors. She told me she planted it in her yard after Christmas in an area where the soil was well-drained, plus the plant got six hours of sun daily with part sun in the heat of the day.   Her poinsettia grew into a shapely shrub in her  Florida outdoor garden.

Here is a video where you can learn how to make your plant rebloom again.

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.

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 my online followers emailed a question. They told me that they were following my home and garden sets at my 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. 
small outdoor living space

 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, that she could have an appealing outdoor space that she would enjoy for many years.

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 an area in your yard that has a nice shade tree, garden overlook or view of the lake.
simple backyard space

You can create a quick space by filling in an area with gravel, mulch or do a 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 your 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.
cozy space by the lake

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 a lightweight blanket. All of these products are from my zazzle shop.

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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Caring For Damaged Irises

The other day my husband decided to run the mulching lawn mower over my backyard irises. He thought it was a good idea; quicker and faster way to trim back the fans and needless to say I was devastated. Many of the rhizomes were damaged and other plants had no leaves as they were cut down so low that I doubt they will produce flowers next spring or the year after, that is if they survive this shock.
My backyard irises that grow next to the rock wall

Anyway I was upset but today I dried the tears from my eyes and decided I would try to care for my damaged irises; try to save them. The first thing that I did was add some organic compost to the flower bed. Normally I do not cover the rhizomes but today I did cover most of them, leaving only a small section before the leaf would begin. The compost is a rich fertilizer and hopefully will aid in provided the irises with the nutrients that are needed to grow and not die.

When I completed the compost, I then watered the irises, in fact I set up a soaking hose that will provide the irises with a slow drip in the morning.

Presently I am watching the irises for sucking insects like spider-mites and aphids and if I see these garden type insects I will treat the irises with a spraying of neem oil insecticide. My friend is a master gardener and she does not think that the flowers will survive. It is a terrible shock to flowers and like I said the rhizomes were cut.

Know that my husband is a great help to me with the garden and that I had explained how to trim back the leaves, even showed him how to sterilize the garden scissor but he thought the mower was a good idea and cut down the irises. Of course he knew immediately that he made a mistake and did say he was sorry.  But the damage is done.

Keeping Irises Insect Free with Neem Oil

This summer has been a real buggy one. I suppose it was due to a cold and damp spring, followed by standing water due to ground saturation then it got hot and the insects came out in full force. Overall my irises took a beating from the sucking insects and when I found that natural soap  treatment was not strong enough I cut the irises back and treated the soil rhizomes and leaves with neem oil insecticide
Keeping my irises healthy with neem oil concentrate

Neem oil insecticide is natural and is safe to use in your garden. Plus it will not harm the butterflies or hummingbirds. I bought the brand Garden safe Neem oil extract concentrated liquid from The label featured that it eliminate the garden pests; spider mites, aphids, powdery mildew, whiteflies, black spot and rust.

I followed the directions and treated my irises and roses in the evening after the sun went down. It is best to use this plant and shrub spray on a cloudy day or in the evening. Not a good idea to use during the heat of the day or in direct light as it will burn your plants leaves.

I saturated the soil, around and my plants stems and leaves. I am am pleased with the results thus far. Now as far as the grasshopper and other chewing garden pests I plan to treat my entire yard with concentrated spearmint as this was recommended to me by pest control expert.

Know that if you irises are under attack by mites, leaf spot disease, rust and aphids then neem oil concentrate mixed with water will help. If you have grasshoppers or other chewing garden pests then neem oil will not get rid of them

Learn the dos and don’ts for cutting back irises here

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DO NOT Trim Iris Leaves with Lawn Mower

This post is not like my usual How to care, plant or maintain your yard and gardens, instead it has to do with what NOT to do.

Know that yesterday my husband offered to help me cut the leaves of the irises, because I am having a problem with garden pests and needed to treat the irises with concentrated spearmint.   I thought that the leaves were  cut on irises then it the pest repellent would have a better chance at getting to the rhizome and then get rid of the borers. 

I sterilized two sets of garden scissors and showed my husband the proper way to cut the leaves.  I generally cut them to three inches and the  leaves look like a fan.  Husband said he understood. So I got started with the garden in the front, 300 irises and husband started in the back; 287 irises.

About ten minutes into the project husband told me that cutting the leaves was ridiculous and that he decided to cut the grass. So I thanked him for what he did and went about my garden business.

I heard the lawn mower and was happy the grass was being cut.  A few minutes later my husband approaches me and says “ I cut them too short” I was not sure what he was referring to and asked “what did you cut too short” He replied “the irises” 

Bearded irises growing both sides of garden path
Know that if the rhizome is cut then they are damaged and yes this is too short, I had showed him and thought he understood how to cut the irises leaves.  Apparently not because I followed my husband to the backyard where the Batik irises are planted on both sides of the garden path and yes he did cut them too short and I suspect I lost a couple hundred irises flowers because my husband ran them over with the mulching lawn mower.

Using the lawn mower or grass trimmer is the wrong way to cut irises and if you do this you put them at risk for borers and damage that cannot be repaired. I suspect that they will all die.

Know that my husband can be a great help to me in the garden, and I have no idea why he thought using the lawn more on the irises was a good idea. He watched me cut the leaves so that they looked like fans  with a sterilized garden scissor. I am shaking my head in disbelief. He said he was sorry, but does not really understand the damage that his actions have created.

Learn proper care for irises here

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gardening Today: Removing Dead Branches from Trees

Husband and I were up early today because if we are going to do any work outdoors it has to be early in the morning because afternoons are too hot. Here in the central states we have extreme heat and drought. To give you an idea the average temperature has been 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with a heat index of 110. We are both used to working outdoors, but this extreme heat is just too hot.

I have been weeding the garden beds and husband removed the dead branches from the Mimosa tree and also trimmed the branches that are too close to the windows on the side of the house. Then from there husband pruned back the poison ivy that was growing over the wall. I cannot touch it but for some reason he can pull out with his hands and it does not bother him.

We worked together today on manicuring the trees and also treated the flowers, shrubs and around the trees with a soap wash to get rid of the aphids, spider mites and beetles

Learn more about mimosa tree by reading my blog post here.  Know that our mimosa tree is no longer flowering so it is safe to trim back the  branches to encourage growth and many blooms next year.

Happy summer gardening everyone. If you are out in the garden be sure to have some water close by. Keeping your body hydrated is the best way to prevent heat stroke.  

Learn more about pruning your flowering trees by viewing this video.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dandelions: Easy to Grow and Tastes Good Too

Every growing season my husband and I have disagreements about the dandelions that grow in the yard. He thinks of them as an ugly weed and I think of them as a health food. Since my husband was opposed to the dandelions growing in the lawn I transplanted them to their own earth box.

Dandelions will grow anywhere as long as they have good drainage, sun and water. So you can pant them in a container garden, raised garden or separate area in your yard if you trust your spouse not to mow them over.  Dandelions are easy to grow and have a pretty flower however the new leaves and the flowers also taste good.

Dandelion greens are similar to spinach. Know that If you like sautéed spinach then it is wise to grow dandelions. The entire plant is edible; flower, leaves and root. You can serve in salad, chopped as a garnish on casseroles or sauteed as a side dish.

You will feel better when you grow and eat dandelions because the dandelion also has medicinal properties; the leaves are a natural diuretic, plant. The roots can be roasted to make a coffee like drink or herbal tea.  Dandelion is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, and essential B vitamins. So if you want to improve the health of your liver or gallbladder it is wise to add the Dandelion herb to your garden.

Learn more about dandelions by viewing the youtube video.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Maintaining Backyard Wildlife Habitat

In 2004 my husband and I decided to grow a wildlife habitat that would naturally provide the songbirds, squirrel, deer and other wildlife with forage. We knew that initially the garden would not do as intended but within a few growing season we would no longer have to worry; the plants would adapt to the garden and the wildlife would have plenty of food.

Here are photographs of wildlife in the backyard habitat 

Raccoon by serviceberry trees 

Black butterfly and mimosa flower

Butterfly garden

Cat relaxing after visiting the catnip garden
Raccoon hiding in the grass garden

Well that was the plan and it worked well the first few years then came the droughts and the extreme heat during the summer months and we lost many fruit shrubs due to not enough water and or pests. We simply could not hydrate the plants with the water restrictions in our area.

So the following year we collected water from the spring rains in the barrels that I bought at This was a good idea, however come end of July we had exhausted all of the water intended to sustain the habitat plants during the drought season.

Know that when we noticed the rain barrel water levels were getting low we then started collecting household water from bath, shower and water used to rinse the vegetables.  Yes taking buckets of water from house to outdoor rain barrel wasn't fun, the buckets were heavy and sometimes the water spilled out of the bucket when lifting to pour into the barrel. But by recycling the water we were able to have more water for the forage plants,  but it was not enough water to maintain the wildlife habitat throughout the summer.

Since we had lost many plants due to our extremely hot summers we decided to grow only native plants and other fruit bearing plants. Also instead of growing the forage plants away from the house we grew them closer. By doing this we were able to hydrate them with soaking hoses in the early morning on our assigned  watering days. We also invested in water retention mulch by Scotts. The cost of this mulch is higher than others but it is well worth it because it does help you to save water.

Initially our plan was to grow forage for the wildlife in our area, but with the changes to climates that idea became costly and one we could not afford to maintain.  Know that the wildlife habitat has changed to native plants that are maintained with the special water retaining mulch, soaker hose system that provide the plants at the soil level a slow and steady drip of water. We set these soaker hoses on a timer and water every other day for two hours in the early morning.

We continue to save the spring rain water but instead of waiting for the water level in these barrels to empty out before recycling, we started a water recycling system that we do constantly throughout the growing season.

By implementing the ongoing water recycling we found that the water barrel watering system does not deplete and has allowed us to continue to water our wildlife habitat during the hottest month of the summer.

Do you recycle water for your outdoor gardens?