Monday, April 24, 2017

About Lilacs the Flowering Shrubs

If you like showy flowers that are fragrant then you should grow lilac shrubs in your yard. Lilacs are a fragrant flowering shrub that blooms in mid to late spring. This showy flower can be grown as a hedge, free standing accent plant or a foundation plant. Lilacs are a long-lived plant that produces lovely flower clusters that are fragrant and can be cut for bouquets or as a centerpiece for the dining table.

When I was a child my neighbor had lilac shrubs growing along her driveway. Every spring when the flowers would bloom my mother would open the windows and the lovely flower fragrance would be enjoyed in our living room. So it is safe to say, that at a young age I loved lilacs.

When I got married and we bought a home I joined an organization and received two small Old Fashioned lilacs. They were bare roots and did not bloom for five years. Of course, that was 18 years ago and now my lilacs are mature and have multiplied. 

My shrub is 6 feet in height with a similar spread.  I do prune my lilacs every other year.  Know that lilacs like water, so during the summer months I water them daily in the morning with a soaking hose.  Along with keeping the soil from drying out I also keep the area around my lilacs free of weeds and grass.  

Your lilac shrub will benefit from spring fertilizing and a layer of mulch.

Here are some tips on pruning your lilac shrubs.  Pruning will keep your lilacs healthy.

If you are interested in growing a lilac flowing shrub in your yard and garden then choose a planting area that has well-drained soil. I recommend growing this flowering hedge where you can enjoy seeing the showy flowers. 
The best time to plant lilacs is in the spring after the danger of late season frost has passed. Planting on a cloudy day before spring rain is also helpful.
Learn more about growing and maintaining lilacs here 

Hanging Bird Feeders – Location Matters

Watching songbirds in your yard can be a fun activity but when you find that millet, sunflowers, and corn growing in your grass then this feeder becomes less fun. When the squirrel hangs off the side of the feeder or the raccoon knock the feeder to the ground, then you learn quickly that hanging the bird feeder in the right location matters.

My bird feeder hangs from an S-hook from a metal pole that my husband installed in the middle of our yard. It is out in the open with no tree branches around it. This is a good location because animals other than birds cannot get to it.

My neighbor has his bird feeder under the overhang on his garage, the seed never gets wet but every now and then a bird will fly into the garage wall and the squirrel get onto the roof of the garage and work their way down to the bird feeder. The seed falls to the ground and makes an awful mess. Hanging your bird feeder anywhere where the squirrels or raccoon can get to it is not a good location.

Other Tips
Never hang your bird feeder in a location that is close to a window as birds may fly into the window. Best to have the feeder in a location away from your home or garage. Your pole bird feeder should be 8 feet away from buildings, windows, privacy fences, tree branches, and walls.
Prevent squirrels from climbing the feeder pole with a baffle, it is a plastic dome that looks like an umbrella. Wrap it around the pole just bellow your feeder and this will put a stop to the squirrels from getting to your bird's food. There is also a product called Twirl a Squirrel, it runs on batteries and is a deterrent.
This video will show you how the Audobon baffle works.


Helpful to buy feeders that are made to prevent squirrels from getting the seed. Know that if squirrels are at your feeders then the birds will leave your yard.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Perky-Pet Bird Feeder Product Review

Wildlife and songbird plants grow in my yard and garden and I also hang bird feeders for millet and sunflower seeds. In the past, I did buy the inexpensive plastic feeders but found that they were not quality made and they did not last. Instead of throwing away my money on inexpensive bird-feeders I prefer to invest in copper bird feeders.
Original photograph of my perky-pet copper bird feeder with seed.

While shopping online at Amazon.com I found a copper feeder that worked with my budget. My husband suggested that I use his prime account to buy the feeder since the members do get benefits; sale prices and free shipping. The prime afforded me to buy the perky pet panorama bird feeder at a reduced price plus I did not have to pay for shipping.
Shipping was quick and I received less than ten days. Filling the feeder was easy and the seed was held in the chamber and only dispensed when needed which ensured that the birds were fed fresh seeds.
Other Copper Bird Feeder Benefits
The perch on the side of the feeder allow for more than one bird to visit the same time. The feeder holds two pounds of food which mean I need to fill in the morning only. The copper does not rust and has been outdoors for over a year, looks new. Cleaning this feeder is easy, the remaining seeds fall off when shaken then I rinse it with dawn antibacterial dish soap and let it dry thoroughly before filling with seeds. The copper lid locks securely which keeps the seed inside the chamber. So far the bird feeder seems to be safe from the squirrels and has had no raccoon trying to forage the seed.
You may also like copper bird feeders at Walmart.com There is a nice selection and you may be able to pick up at the store.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring Gardening - Hosta Plants



After the spring rain and a few warm days, I noticed that my hosta plants were coming up. There are quite a few plants that have green leaves and seem to be growing fast. Since the plants have new growth I knew it was time to work in the garden.

Here is a photograph of my spring Hosta Garden.  It was taken after I completed my garden maintenance.
Spring Hosta Garden, with daffodils leaves and mulch


Today I did a hand pulling of the weeds and grasses that were growing in the hosta garden. There was also lilies that had spread into this garden. I dug them up and transplanted to another garden.  Since it is early spring the daffodils plants have green leaves.  I did not cut them back, they will die back naturally.

When the garden maintenance was completed I added some compost that was amended with top soil and mixed well before adding to the hosta garden. This compost and soil mixture is a good way to feed the plants naturally.

Where I reside we do get a lot of rain in the spring and this rain can cause soil erosion. I decided to add a two-inch layer of cypress mulch around the plants to prevent the compost from washing away. Garden plants do benefit from a mulch application because it helps to deter the growth of weeds, keeps the plant roots cooler in summer and aids in retaining moisture.

Here is a Zazzle.com photo card that I created from a photograph of my summer Hosta garden.
Hosta Garden Card


Monday, March 27, 2017

Love Butterflies Then Grown Echinacea

If you love butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds then grow Echinacea flowers in your garden. This daisy-like wildflower is actually a herb that has a pinkish-purple flower. Commonly called coneflowers this plant is easy to grow from seed in a sun garden with well-drained soil.
I grow echinacea in my herb garden and in my wildflower garden. If you have a large area then growing this flower is masses is wonderful especially if you grow with white Shasta Daises and yellow Black-eyed Susan flowers. Echinacea is also will grow to the height of 3 feet and it is best to grow it in the back with other flowers and grasses in front of it. 
Here is a photograph of Echinacea being grown with black-eyed Susan’s and ornamental grasses.

How to Grow
Plant your seeds indoors 6 weeks prior to last spring frost. I find the best way to plant the seed is in starter kits. You can shop for grow kits at Walmart.com in the garden center or make your own. A Small container with good drainage is needed to hold the potting soil or peat pellet. Then use a pencil with an eraser to press the seed into the center of the soil. Do not plant too deep, a half inch is fine. Cover the seed with soil and water.

Grow the seeds next to a sunny window or under an artificial grow light. Check the soil daily to make sure it is evenly moist but not wet. Never let the soil dry out as it is hard on the seedlings. Germination should occur in 7-10 days.
Transplanting Outdoors
When seedlings stems are 6 inches in height with leaves and the threat of spring frost has passed you would transplant Echinacea to an outdoor garden.

Plant in a garden that has full sun and well-drained soil. Space the plants 18-inches apart to prevent overcrowding.
Maintain your echinacea by watering daily with dripline soaker hose in the morning.

The flowers will bloom in the summer and continue to bloom throughout the warm months in fall. I recommend feeding them monthly with Miracle-Gro Liquafeed bloom booster flower food.
Remove spent blooms to encourage new flower buds.
Other garden articles that you may like

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Outdoor Decor for Your Deck





Decks come in a variety of sizes and people will decorate them with mix and match patio furniture, or they will use their deck as an outdoor living room and decorate with patio furniture and outdoor and accessories.



There are many ways to add decor to your decks. Simple modifications can be added to improve ambiance or you can go all out with an outdoor fireplace. When you add decor to your deck you will see it come alive. This area will be appealing to the eye and welcoming to your family and friends.


Lovely Rattan table but this deck needs some decor



Decorate the seating area on deck with outdoor pillows. Throw pillows with a color pattern that will compliment the cushions on my patio set. These pillows will make the outdoor space more comfortable and eye appealing.

Another way to decorate your deck is to set up a free standing or table top fountain (with or without lights) 
Adding outdoor throw pillow make chair more inviting


The background sound of water cascading down the rocks will help you to relax. When the nights are cool you may want to warm up next to an outdoor fireplace. I found an Outdoor Sonoma Gas Fireplace Surround at Walmart.com and it would look fantastic on a deck with cozy seating area close by.  

Another way to decorate your deck and add ambiance is to grow aromatic herbs in containers. A container garden on the deck is appealing, fragrant with pretty flowers. Choose a variety of aromatic herbs and also grow herbs that repel mosquito and other insects.


You do not have to spend a lot of money to change the look of your deck. Here are some decks that I designed. I hope that they inspire you to decorate.



Outdoor Living - Green Accent Pillows




Blue Theme Outdoor Decor and Furniture

Blue Theme Outdoor Decor and Furniture by sgolis featuring cotton throw pillows





Amazing Deck Decor

Amazing Deck Decor by sgolis featuring glass top end tables

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cottage Flower Garden Tips



Where I reside the yards are small and one has to make good with the space that they have for their garden. Many people in my neighborhood will grow cottage gardens in their front yard and these gardens if not planned tend to look messy.

The other day my neighbor stopped me to chat with me about her garden. She asked me what I thought and if I would give her some tips. I recommended that she choose 3 complimentary colors like (pink, purple red then add a contrast like white or yellow, use the contrast sparingly, just to add a splash of color)

Plant fragrant and wildlife flowers that would bloom all season in those colors. When you keep with a few flower colors the garden will look more eye appealing.

Here is a purple salvia flower poster that I designed from one of my photographs. This is a long blooming flower that attracts butterflies to your garden.


Other cottage garden tips would be to balance the colors by growing clumps of flowers, same color together, instead of tossing the seeds up in the air and letting the flowers grow where they land.

A cottage garden that has space in-between the flowers that are grown in clumps or masses will look inviting. Add rock,s a bird feeder, bird houses, fountain. pond, stepping stones a wheelbarrow planter, solar bird bath for interest. Also, add height to the garden with the usage of a trellis. I like to break up gardens with a garden bench, but that is optional.

Tiger lilies will add height to your cottage garden and the blooms are gorgeous.

Know that a cottage garden with a windy garden path in the center will add not only curb appeal but will also make the garden more inviting. The path can be gravel, mulch or stepping stones.

Here is a garden set that I created to show my neighbor my ideas for her cottage garden.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Early Spring Garden Activities

Winter is almost over and I find that I am thinking about the spring and summer season. There are many seasons in the year and I like them all, but spring is my favorite time of the year because of the yard and garden activities.


When the spring flowers break ground I know it is time to start getting my planters ready for growing flowers, and vegetables. I generally plant seeds and grow everything in my greenhouse. Then transplant outdoors after the threat of spring frost has passed.


Garden Activities


This week my husband is helping me to remove late fallen leaves from the garden beds. We are using the rakes and find it is a good way to work the soil for upcoming planting. I will also cut back the ornamental grasses, as the days are getting warm and this will encourage new growth.



When the garden cleanup is completed we will start new projects. My husband will make some raised garden beds for my strawberries and I will start working on garden plans. I like to draw out a diagram every year for my annual gardens. 

I am glad my husband is helping me to work in the gardens and do appreciate him making the raised garden beds.  

Here's a few article that I published about spring gardening and plants that I grow in my gardens.
1. Growing Carrots in Home Garden
2. Signs of Spring
3. Growing Lettuce from Seed
4.   Window Box Garden Tips

Working in your yard and garden is a great way to relieve stress. It is always fun to take a before and after photographs of your garden. Then you will really know what you accomplished.

Retaining wall and privacy fence, garden by driveway 

I recommend the following garden products from Walmart.com I found them to be quality made and they are priced right. 
Raised Garden Bed Kit
Greenhouse Kit



Monday, January 16, 2017

Cover Ground with Evergreen Vines

For yards that have a woodland setting or area where nothing else will grow, then I would recommend covering the ground with evergreen vines. When the vines grow in the erosion will be controlled, the area will look eye appealing and you husband will no longer have to cut back the brush or mow the lawn. All of your landscape problems will be solved.
My garden photo of spring blooming vinca minor vine
Baltic Ivy grown on rock wall 
Evergreen vines that are grown as ground cover
Vines are good for large areas where you plant and forget them. When they grow in you can use a grass trimmer to manicure them. This is a good way to keep the vines controlled. Vines are a low maintenance plant. 

My side yard back up the woods and I have planted periwinkle a common name for Vinca Minor along my garden path. This vine filled in quickly and I like it because it is evergreen and has a pretty purple flower in the spring.

Another vine that I like is Baltic ivy. Baltic is evergreen and does grow in quickly. Of course, it will also grow up trees and choke out weeds. The periwinkle is less invasive, in fact, I grow daffodils and other spring bulbs among the periwinkle vines.


Here is a video that will tell you more about vinca minor.















Wildflower Garden Ideas

There is a meadow located on the south side of my home and wildflowers and switch grass grows there. In the spring I will plant red clover and zinnias so that the wildlife will have food and flowers will bloom in late summer. 
Garden path designed by Sgolis

I love this wildflower garden but would like to update it with a rock wall and garden gate. I like the idea of creating a space that is secret or private as if it was a sanctuary for animals and people to rest and relax.


Garden Ideas


Growing the garden is not difficult. You would plan the location for wildflowers. Then till the area that provides the plants with proper growing recommendations. The wildflowers that I grow need full to part sun and well-drained soil. Before you buy flower seed read the growing requirements, then you will know what part of your yard is best for growing wildflowers.
Coneflowers and Daises a photo of my garden
Garden path created by cutting this area low to the ground with grass trimmer.
Transplants growing nicely in the garden



Amend the soil if needed I always like to mix compost because it will enrich the soil with nutrients. Plant seeds or seedling then add a thin layer of straw.

Then create a garden path. One way to create path is to use your grass trimmer or lawnmower to cut down the grass low to the ground. Then cover this are with landscape weed control fabric. Top this with mulch, or gravel.

I recommend a spring planting of flower seeds because of the rains that come during this season. Seedlings need to be watered and ground evenly moist but not wet. The rain will provide the wildflower plants with ample hydration and a good start at being healthy.

Buy wildflower seeds in bulk, shop for the flowers that will grow best in your growing zone. Shop for wildflower seeds at online at Walmart.com



Here is set that I designed of a wildflower garden.




Countryside Garden

Countryside Garden by sgolis featuring garden decor



Learn more about wildflowers and attracting wildlife by reading these articles.