Tag Archives: nature

Instagram Friday

Happy Friday!

Hope you all have a fun weekend planned! I’m treating myself to a little belated birthday mani-pedi tomorrow!

Our new “Aphrodite” Rose of Sharon tree recently began blooming. The flowers are a beautiful deep, rich pink. This Rose of Sharon is a relative of the Hibiscus – and I love how the blooms add a bit of a tropical feel to our front yard.


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Vegging Out

My dream garden includes an enormous kitchen garden full of every fresh veggie, herb and fruit imaginable, so that I’d never have to buy produce from the grocery store again. When we picked out plants with our landscaper last month, I even tried to include a honeycrisp apple tree (I was out-voted, though. Boo).

The only problem? I fear I have a slightly less-than-green thumb, especially when it comes to herbs and veggies. My past includes a few failed attempts at homegrown basil, a zucchini plant that was never meant to be, and what was a promising collection of tomatoes and herbs fell victim to a massive aphid attack. But, this all happened during our Condo Years, when we had but a 3rd story deck with barely 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

I am determined that this year is going to be different, and better. At the very end of March, I eagerly started seedlings indoors using a Burpee Growing Kit. It was easy to set up – the kit comes with little peat pellets, each in their own cell. Then you simply add water to expand the pellets, add your seeds, set the greenhouse cover on top & place near light.

*not actual image! This is how the kit is shown on Burpee’s website.

My seeds sprouted within a few days to a week. I figured they’d need about 7-8 weeks before going in the ground. But some of them, the zucchini squash especially, took off so quickly that they were falling over the sides of the container. Then everything started looking a little sickly. Some of my zucchini seedlings even died (which my father called “remarkable” b/c apparently it takes a lot to kill a zucchini plant. Guess I’m just skilled that way). So, I transplanted the few seedlings I could salvage into larger 4-inch pots leftover from planting the gerberas last weekend.

Little transplanted seedlings. I hope they make it!

I’m still trying to figure out the best location in our yard for these little guys. I’m hoping they’ll make it in the ground by the 2nd weekend in June. Tom & I would like to build a semi-raised bed, but they’re most likely going alongside the house somewhere, so not sure if the timbers would be necessary or not. I welcome any advice, tips, and personal experiences on how to tackle this!

One of my friends, who has a massive kitchen garden that I am totally jealous of, graciously gifted me some of his tomato “seedlings” this weekend (I put seedlings in quotes b/c these things are already about a foot tall). So at least those should last through the summer.

Happy Gardening!

Flower Power

Happy Wednesday! We’re mid-way through the week, heading for a loooong holiday weekend. Oh yeah! (it’s more fun if you say that in Kool-Aid man voice)

This weekend we are hosting a little housewarming party for our friends and family, so we’ve been squeezing in outdoor “decorating” wherever we can. The forecast is 95° and sunny, so we’re expecting to “warm” our outdoor space as much as our indoor space. We’ve spent a lot of time and money lately on “outdoor living” items, including a dining set with umbrella, a grill, and, most importantly, plenty of flowers for our pots and window boxes!

When we lived in our condo, we didn’t have a yard. We did, however, have 2 decks. So I went all-out on container gardens to keep our small outdoor spaces cheery. One of my favorite rites of spring is our annual nursery trip to pick out flowers. I love to mix and match, play with color palettes and different varieties of plants. I could probably stand to be even more adventurous, but I’m still getting my feet wet in the whole “green thumb” area. Just ask my husband about 1) my track record with growing basil (sigh) and 2) the orchid that I’m pretty sure is never going to bloom again but isn’t dead (don’t ask).

This year, we hit up a local nursery to check out their selection. We came home with gerbera daisies, dahlias, and calibrachoa in a range of pinks and orange-y corals, gorgeous hanging baskets, and a couple of things that look like a type of dracaena (they were missing tags).

First, I lay out all of my containers and plants, then try out combinations before committing to a specific pot, much like you might play experiment with a collage of framed photos on the floor before putting nail holes in the wall. But flowers are much easier to re-do if you change your mind 🙂

laying out my flowers before planting

gerberas waiting their turn

This is the first year I’ve tried gerberas and dahlias. I absolutely love these flowers, but I’ve always been afraid of using them in containers. The plant tags and signage around the nursery  claimed they’re great for containers. Plus, if for some reason they don’t work out, I finally have a yard that I can plant them in!

boxes on railings

ta-da! window boxes planted & installed on our deck railings

A view of the front:

the front, complete with hanging baskets! can you see the wreath from my earlier post?

And lastly, the containers by our front door:

cheery flowers greet you at the door

The large yellow flowers are asiatic lilies. I think I’ve had this plant for 3 years. When I first bought it, it had about 8 buds/blooms on it. I counted about 35 open blooms last night, with at least 20-30 more buds to go! I think I’m going to need to re-pot it next year! The small container has a few leftover gerbs 🙂

Do you look forward to spring planting? What favorite flower or plant do you rely on to brighten up your yard/patio/deck each spring?