Making it Rain Up In Here

So this crazy thing happened in August: it started raining again! In the past two weeks, we’ve seen more rain than we saw in the past two months combined. The watering bans starting lifting, the burn bans started lifting, and we finally have green grass again.

We are so blessed to have rain again. It’s been a rough summer for most of the United States.

Our grass might be a little patchy after baking in the sun for two months, but we’ll take it. It’s been a long drought and I’m so glad to see green grass and bright colorful flowers again. I was starting to wonder if we were going to stay brown until Autumn. I finally heard the sound of lawn mowers the other day. It was great. It was also wonderful to smell fresh-cut grass again.

Although I was diligent about watering my plants throughout the drought, I started to tire out in the end and fell a little behind once it started raining. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain enough in the first week to keep our potted plants really moist. I’m afraid they might not last much longer. I think it’s almost time to change the petunias for mums.

Despite our pitiful potted plants, the petunias in our garden are still growing strong. With a little mulch and some rain, they are getting just what they need.

It’s been a very hot and dry summer, but now that things are turning around, I’m looking forward to the start of Autumn and some crisp air and cooler temperatures.

How are your gardens doing this summer? Did you have to contend with drought conditions and  hand water your plants every day or every other day? Or did you let them go in hopes that it would rain again soon?

Dry Spell

It has been extremely dry in the Midwest and we’ve also been experiencing record high heat for this time of year. So you might be wondering how have we kept our grass green and our gardens bright and colorful. It’s required a lot of watering and a little but of TLC to keep our plants from drying out. We have an in-ground sprinkler system in the front yard and we’ve set out a sprinkler in the backyard. And every other day, I’ve been out watering our potted plants.

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Two years ago, I wasn’t as diligent with watering our potted plants and as a result, they dried up and I spent several weeks trying to revive them. This year, I’m trying to stay on top of watering them. I even set a reminder on my phone to go off everyday. Its also been scary dry out, so we are watering our grass to keep it from acting like kindling with the impending Fourth of July fireworks set off by our neighbors. Thanks to the watering, our grass feels nice and plush so I think we are good to go.

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I still haven’t mulched, but that’s okay. It’s been a little to hot outside and I’m going to wait for a cooler morning when I can get l and get the mulch down before it warms up.

I hope everyone stays cool for the next few days!

Giving the gladiolus a little lift

Do you remember the V8 commercials with the people walking around leaning to the side? Then everyone would drink a V8 and stand up straight again. Our gladiolus reminded me of that last night when I saw it leaning in our garden. It looked like it needed a V8. I also discovered that we had two gladiolus growing this year. However, after we came home from running errands this morning, one leaned over so much that it snapped and it is now in a vase in our kitchen.

But the other gladiolus got a little lift after we ran to Home Depot to get a stake to tie it to. We decided to get a shepherd’s crook and hang a plant basket to add something more to that area of the garden.

We couldn’t find any string, so we used a small piece of wire to tie the long stem to the shepherd’s crook.

Meanwhile, the other flower that snapped is hanging out in our kitchen. I love the way it looks in the bright green vase! BJ got me flowers for our two-year anniversary and they came in this vase. It looks perfect with the bright green we have in our kitchen.

While we were at Home Depot today, we also bought two new Adirondack chairs so we could move the teal chairs to the back patio. And we bought some fun contrasting pillows to make the chairs pop.

So no mulching yet, but I better get to it soon! I spotted some weeds trying to take over our garden. Not cool!

Dear weeds, I’m coming for you. Love, Jessica.

Have  a great weekend everyone! Stay cool!

Best Laid Plans

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t always go the way you expect. The goal this week was to mulch the front gardens. But on Sunday, I came home with a pretty intense sunburn on the back of my legs and it’s a little painful to bend down… so mulching is out for at least a few days.

But the good news is, our gardens are doing really well despite the dry weather. We’ve been watering regularly and our efforts are paying off. We have one of the most colorful gardens in the neighborhood! The petunias are doing great. My brother gave me some really great advice when I first planted them. He told me that I will need to make sure I water them every day for the first two weeks and not to water them in full sun because it will burn the leaves. I followed his advice and now our petunias look like this:

Thanks, big brother! 🙂

And now that our tropical and stargazer lilies are finished blooming, our day lily is taking its turn.


And the bee balm is blooming as well.

And our gladiolus starting peeking out. Last year it was red and this year it is white. I planted several bulbs and only one has come up a year since I planted them. Maybe this year we will get two!

Once my sunburn heals, I will be out there mulching. It’s supposed to cool down as the week goes on so maybe by the weekend it will be cooler and I will have some pictures of our mulched gardens to post!

Have a great week!

Backyard Bistro

We’ve lived in our house for two years now and ever since we moved in, I’ve longed to enjoy meals outside on our patio. This week, I decided to wander by the seasonal section while I was at Target to buy groceries, and I found a fun bistro set. And it was on sale! Score!

So after I managed to get the new (heavy) bistro set into my cart, then into my car, and home, I assembled it all by myself. Who says married girls can’t put together their own furniture? Bam. Done.

Unfortunately, it was dark by the time I finished assembling all the pieces on Wednesday.

And it rained on Thursday…

And  because it was too chilly and overcast Friday evening, I waited until today to sit outside and enjoy the new bistro set.

Remember what our backyard looked like before? After I added the bistro set, our backyard went from this:

To this:

Did you notice the new flower-pot? I think it adds a little something to our backyard bistro theme.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Lilies Galore!

I’ve posted a lot of flowers and our gardens lately, but with all of this beautiful weather, it’s been hard to stay inside! With that said, here are a few more beautiful flowers from our gardens! Our lilies are doing wonderful and the petunias I planted over a week ago, are still going strong!

Since I’ve taken a bunch of flower photos lately, I’ve been thinking about putting together another photo collage for our wall. This one will include some of our travel (last weekend we paid a visit to Philadelphia, but more on that later…) as well as some of the photos from our garden, or maybe I will put together two collages!

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! Ours was great! I will post more later this week on our fantastic Memorial Day weekend trip to Philly!

Pretty Petunias

I was very ambitious today when I made a trip to Home Depot to buy plants for our front porch flower pots. Instead of just coming home with flowers for the pots, I came home with all of this:


When I got home, I started arranging the flowers by the garage door to see how they would look. I’ve been wanting to add more flowers over there for a long time, so today was finally the day!

Once the flowers by the garage were arranged, I started working on the flower pots on the front porch. It was really warm out and by starting on the porch, I could hide in the shade until the sun dropped behind the house.

Once I was finished with the flower pots, I had a few extra petunias left over, so I planted them in the beds right in front of the porch.

Then it was on to the flower bed by the garage. I found a beautiful yellow/orange hibiscus bush at Home Depot. I debated between a rhododendron and the hibiscus bush but finally settled on the hibiscus. I really like the color and think it will look nice with our other tropical perennials.

Once I was finished digging out the clay (which took FOREVER) and planting the flowers, the final product looked like this:

Also, while I was at Home Depot today, I found new path lights! Our old path lights are faded and several of them do not light up anymore. We got them for pretty cheap, so I figured it was time to replace them. I also love that you can change the new lights from color changing to white light, not to mention that they look cool during the day.

After I planted all of the petunias and the hibiscus bush and installed the new lights. I took break to see how it all turned out.

I’m very pleased with the results of my gardening day! Every year, we add a little more to our gardens. I love how they are looking this year. I can’t wait to see everything in bloom! Our lilies already have buds, so it’s only a matter of time!

Up next for our gardens: new mulch!

The lawn boy

BJ got a new yard toy.

And I must admit, it’s pretty sweet. It really cleans up the yard well. it is a trimmer, blower and weed whip all in one. So in just a matter of a week, our yard went from this:

You can see the grass is coming over the edge of the concrete.

And now the yard looks like this. Notice how nice the edges by the sidewalk look. Not to mention that there isn’t grass all over the place.

I could actually walk outside and grab a few pictures without coming back in with gobs of grass everywhere!! Success!

This will also make edging the garden a lot easier too. I had a heck of a time pulling all the grass out of the garden bed just to get it to look like this.

We’re slowly building our lawn tool box. We have a nice mower and our blower, whip, edger combo to go along with your more common, yard rake, trowel, shovel, etc.

Every now and then I consider hiring landscapers, but I do enjoy working in the yard when I can.

So what’s next for us? Well, it’s been a busy spring so far, but I’m looking into finding some hearty houseplants, getting some organizing projects completed (closets, pantries, the laundry room) and of course, the little decorating projects that spring up here and there. Stay tuned!

Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow…

Do you know the song?

“Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row, Someone bless the seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below, ’til the rain comes tumbling down.”

I remember hearing the Garden Song as a kid. There are versions by Peter, Paul and Mary and John Denver so you can take your pick on which you prefer. I’m a little partial to John Denver, mostly because he wrote a song that is very near and dear to my heart.

You know the words…

“Country roads
take me home
to the place I belong
West Virginia, Mountain Mama
take me home country roads”

Okay, I digress. Back to the garden. The weather was beautiful on Sunday, so I took advantage of it and started working on reviving our flower beds out front.

If you remember my post on Saturday, the flower beds were fighting back. The grass was moving in and the weeds were taking over. It wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, but I wasn’t going to let it get any worse.

It took a few hours but after I tamed the grass and got rid of the weeds, the garden looked like this:

And while I was at it, I trimmed the bushes…

Removed some of the bee balm… (This plant unfortunately is a member of the mint family. I wish I would’ve known that when I bought it. It is pretty when it blooms, but it grows like crazy and that was not my intention for this location. Each year I’m going to have to pull a lot of it out in the spring to keep it from taking over the entire right side of the garden. Its root bed is intense. It’s going to be interesting to keep this plant at bay… a good lesson learned.)

Cleaned up the pots on the front porch so that I can plant new plants in them…

And after I cleaned up the mess I made on the porch, I stood back and admired my hard work.

And today, my thighs are still burning! But it was worth it. I can cross a few things off my garden to do list sooner than I planned!

  1. Remove the weeds and grass.
  2. Add a stone wall around the perimeter of the garden to keep the grass out
  3. Mulch
  4. Replant our potted porch plants  (this is halfway complete. I still need to plant new plants)
  5. Add some flowers to the flower bed on the right side of our garage door

I’m making progress!