Confessions of a Garden “Gone Wild”

True story: I let our gardens go a little wild this summer.

We were really lucky at the beginning of this summer. It rained every few days, and other than pulling out the occasional weeds, I didn’t spend much time in our gardens after Mother’s Day. As the summer went on, it rained less and less until we entered a drought. Even in a drought, the weeds kept growing and I didn’t stay on top of pulling them.

Last year’s drought was brutal. I spent every day hand watering our potted plants and flower beds just to keep them alive. By late summer, we lost the battle to keep our grass green, our potted plants were dying and I was exhausted. This year, I wasn’t in to spending that much time in the gardens.

Along with the drought and the weeds this year, our hibiscus plants decided they were going to take over. They not only looked overgrown, they covered up one of our sprinklers and it could no longer water the garden and yard effectively.

Instead of ripping the plants out, I wanted to transplant at least one hibiscus in the garden on the other side of the garage. However, I abandoned that idea when the plants put up one heck of a fight.

The hibiscus eventually lost the battle when I cut their roots in several pieces.IMG_7406

After I removed the hibiscus plants and the weeds, our gardens looked dramatically different.

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I also trimmed our cherry blossom bushes and dead-headed a few of the plants that were finished blooming for the summer.

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Lastly, I needed to split the bulbs for our gladiolus. Since I failed at transplanting the hibiscus, I planted the split gladiolus bulbs in the garden on the other side of our garage. Next, I’m going to plant a few spring bulbs in this garden and put down some fresh mulch.

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After I finished the gardens, the pots on our front porch needed some TLC, so I replanted them with mums and aster.

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The outside of our house is ready for fall!

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Until next time! Enjoy your home improvement projects.

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Summer Time and the Decorating is Easy

I love great clearance finds at Target. With back to school season right around the corner, that means summer seasonal items are now on clearance. I love perusing Target for clearance items during these seasonal switches.

Tip: for those who are not familiar with where you can find Target clearance sales, they are sometimes found in the aisles, but they are also on the back side of the aisles. Below is a diagram of what I mean by the “back side of the aisles.”

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My latest Target clearance find is this tall teal vase. It was originally $29.99 and I bought it for $14.98.

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Sometimes you can hold out on these finds and come back a few days later when the prices are marked down even lower. However, you take the risk that the item might not be there when you return.

As soon as I saw this vase, I thought it would look great on our dining room table. I really enjoy decorating the dining room table for each season and I thought this vase would look great with some late summer decor.

I picked out the vase filler below to put in our Crate and Barrel glass vases to compliment the teal vase. The filler is a mixture of floral, greenery and seashells.

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After I added the filler, our Crate and Barrel clear glass vases looked like this:
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For the teal vase, I chose a simple flower arrangement of three sunflowers, two yellow and one white. Because the vase is so tall, if you use big thick flowers you can go simple and let the flowers lean on the edge of the vase. If you want a fuller look, you could add more sunflowers and some additional greenery or filler. You could even leave the vase empty because the color will let it stand on it’s own.

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Our completed table is bright and colorful. I’m really enjoying the color combination of teal, orange, yellow gold, white and green. I love this color combination.

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Have you ever found a great item on clearance and couldn’t wait to bring it home? What’s been your favorite find?

Hello, Hyacinths. Hello, Spring.

Spring has finally arrived! It may be nearly a month since the official start of spring, but with the trees blooming, flowers blossoming and warmer weather, it finally feels like spring.

And with spring weather, comes spring flowers! Our hyacinths are back and in full bloom.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that our hyacinths were starting to peek out of the ground. I was really worried they wouldn’t survive the late winter snow storm we had in March, but they persevered. Last week, the hyacinths’ buds were starting to pop open for the first time.

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Now they are in full bloom!
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This is the third season for our hyacinths. Two years ago, I planted them as full-grown flowers and each year they’ve come back. This fall, I might add a few more bulbs so next year we have a full row of hyacinths and tulips. I planted a few tulips when I planted the hyacinths, but I’ve only had luck with one tulip coming back each year. Time to add a few more bulbs and see if they make it through winter.
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It’s almost time to plant annuals for the summer. Here is my late spring/early summer gardening to do list:

1. Plant more petunias.

I had great success with the petunias I planted last year. Despite the severe drought, they spread across the garden and were really beautiful.

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2. Mulch

Last year we added a layer of mulch to our garden, but after several rain storms, it’s time to mulch again.

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3. Plant a vegetable and herb garden in the backyard.

I’ve got big plans for a vegetable and herb garden this year.

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I picked up these seeds at Target and it’s almost time to start planting them! BJ and I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs and we’re hoping that if all goes well, we will have many homegrown veggies and herbs to choose from!

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There are a few more items that BJ and I thinking about adding to our garden list for the year, such as edging the gardens with stone, but for now, we are going to focus on our first three items and add more as we go. Do you have any big plans for your garden(s) this year?

Signs of Spring

It may not look or feel like spring outside, but inside our home, signs of spring are all around.

Even with the snow falling outside our window, these daffodils on our kitchen island make it feel like spring is finally here. Daffodils are often signs of new beginnings and that Easter is right around the corner.

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It will be a few more days before we see spring-like temperatures outside, but in the meantime we’ll keep celebrating the start of spring inside.
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Welcome spring!

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!

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!