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?

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you had a chance to spend time with friends and family this weekend and to kick back and relax. We had a great time seeing family this weekend during a family reunion at a city park

As we take a break from home decor projects today, I thought it would be fun to share a picture I captured during our family picnic this weekend. It made me smile. I love the beautiful swans, but the duck in the background is too funny. He was obviously on a mission to find some food. I hope he was successful!

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Pinterest Picks: Fall into Fall

With Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer just a few days away, I’ve been dreaming of crisp air, fall festivals and beautifully colored leaves on the trees. I’ve also been thinking about incorporating fall decor into our home.

Here are a few fun fall decor ideas I found on Pinterest:

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To view more of my fall decor inspiration visit my Autumn board on Pinterest.

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?

Hooray for Rain!

It rained here today, and I am so happy to see the damp soil in my plants’ pots. It’s been extremely dry for over a month now. During the drought, I’ve been patiently watering our flower pots by hand and since our voluntary watering ban was put in place a few weeks ago, I added hand watering our gardens to the list as well. We finally decided to call it quits on watering our lawn and its starting to suffer. Hopefully more rain is on its way soon.

Thankfully, our gardens are still going strong. Last week, it cooled down enough to mulch and the layer of mulch is helping keep the moisture in the flower beds.

Our Black-eyed Susan’s are also doing really well despite the drought. I think they are getting a decent amount of shade from the tree in our yard.

Stay cool everyone and if you are in a drought area, I hope it rains soon!

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! We hope you have a great day barbecuing, spending time with family and friends, as well as celebrating our great country!

Not only is today the birth of our country, it is also a special day for us for another reason. Today is Zoey’s birthday! She is our independent girl. Happy Birthday to America and Zoey!


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!

Raising the Bar

The patio looks a little different now than it did a few weeks ago. We went from this:

To this:

So how did we get here? It took a bit of work to put up the gazebo, especially since we ran into an issue pretty early on. The side post weren’t tall enough ro raise the top bar above our sliding glass door. It didn’t seem like that big of an issue at first, but we thought about how it would look with the canvas top on, and how it would look inside. So after we deliberated on how we would raise the gazebo, we landed on the idea of paver and off to Menards we went.

The selection of pavers was daunting, but after we narrowed down a few choices, we decided on the red Belgium rock pavers.

Before we could mount the post, we had to glue the pavers to the patio. That required some glue and some elbow grease (provided by BJ).

Another snag we ran into is our patio, which is supposed to be a 10 x 10, is actually more like 9 1/2 x 11. The gazebo is 10 x 10. Eventually, we will build some brick pedestals around the pavers to finish the look and not have pavers hanging off the edge of our deck.

Once the pavers were glued down and had 24 hours to set up, BJ drilled holes in the top pavers to mount the gazebo posts.

Then he used these crazy screws to anchor everything down.

After the posts were anchored down, we attached the canvas roof and the next night, we added lights.

And now we are finished!

And here is our view from the kitchen. A shady deck, calling for us to come sit outside and enjoy the summer days.

Have a great weekend!