Sunday, December 11, 2016

Decking the Halls

I finished the tree yesterday and today I set our Christmas table. 
 I love leaving the dining table set during the Christmas season as it encourages us to eat more of our meals in the dining room.

I purchased this set of dishes years ago at Target and they are some of my very favorites.   Designed by Tracey Porter these dishes are heavy and great for my family.

A Tartan tablecloth cozies up the table and I placed some silks and a candle in my dough bowl for an easy centerpiece. 

The red goblets are my go to stemware this time of year.  We purchased them at an antique shop in Grapevine, although the goblets are not vintage. 

I still have a few more things to decorate but I was able to get so much done this weekend.
How's your decorating going?

Wishing you all a very
Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

Critter Proofing

 I love fall!  
The colors and flowers of fall just make me happy. 
 I planted a fall pot for the patio and purchased a few pumpkins for the porch but needed to critter proof them before setting them outside.  

We have squirrels, skunks and opossums that love to 
come by for a meal.   I have found that a coat of Mop & Glo makes my pumpkins not only pretty but less attractive
 to all those fall critters.
When the wax dries I follow it up with a coat of bug spray that I reapply if it rains. 

The critters don't like the smell of the spray and 
don't bother the pumpkins.
Thought I'd pass along my method of critter proofing pumpkins.

Happy Fall Y'all  !! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monarch Migration

The monarchs are starting their fall migration and my little pollinator garden is doing it's job.  I was so excited this morning to find the first caterpillar on the milkweed I planted this spring.

This is a variety of swamp milkweed.  In previous years I've only planted tropical milkweed but I prefer the swamp milkweed since it's a perennial.  It's all about making the garden low maintenance and low cost.

 The pollinator garden 
 is behind our home on the neighborhood greenbelt across the street from the lake.   
We have lots of wildlife and we do not use any chemicals in this area. 

This orange trumpet vine is a favorite of bees and hummingbirds.

Sedum Autumn Joy 
is almost in full bloom and a 
monarch favorite during fall migration. 

Sweet clematis vine is just starting to bloom and the bees love this vigorous plant.  It's very easy to grow and can be somewhat invasive but can be kept under control 
with a few early spring prunings.

The blooms are so pretty and smell 
so good!

Hyacinth Bean Vine is another easy to grow vine from seed.  I love the color of the blooms and the hummingbirds do too.  They have been visiting this plant almost daily since it bloomed.  Although this is planted next to my patio so I can enjoy it, I do have one planted on the greenbelt and it's doing 
well in full sun. 

The plants I choose to grow there have to take hot summers and be drought tolerant. 
I do hand water the plants a couple times a week when the temperature is above
 90 degrees and I use leftover grass clippings and mulch to keep the plants 
from drying out too fast.   

Monarch on my privet in the spring.  
They do like privet blooms in May as they
 are migrating north. 

I am hoping to see more monarchs as the migration gets in full swing however the reports this year say the count is low again.

I hope everyone will plant a few milkweeds in the garden each year and eliminate the use of chemicals.  
We all need to do our part to help these wonderful butterflies!   

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Signature Flower

Do you have a favorite flower that just makes 
your heart sing?
My 'Stargazer' lilies are in full bloom and I have shared before that they have to be my all time favorite and "signature" flower. My love of this flower goes back 30 years when my husband bought me a pot of stargazers from the grocery store because he thought they were so beautiful.  

After they finished blooming I read the plant tag and discovered they could be planted in the garden so I plunked  that first pot of Stargazers in the ground and forgot about them.  To my amazement they came back the following year!  I was forever hooked and each year I've added more to my garden and have shared this wonderful flower with friends.  

I guess I was amazed because of their tropical and exotic  appearance.  Something I would expect to grow in Florida, Hawaii or the Philippines where I grew up,  so I couldn't believe they could survive the winters here in Oklahoma.  Since they are bulbs they do very well here and 
usually bloom around the 4th of July.  
This year they are blooming early due to the 
mild winter we had and I'm okay with that! 

Last year I decided to purchase large pots and planted about 40 bulbs in pots and near my patio so we could enjoy not only the beauty but the scent.   I do have lilies out in the garden too but find I can really enjoy them having so many 
right off the patio.
They have a very strong fragrance which some people find overpowering.  I happen to love how they perfume a room or the patio.  

I have found after 4-5 years they need to be replaced but what joy they give me for a small investment!
I encourage everyone to plant them because you can grow them in a small space on a patio even if you don't have a yard or 
garden area. 

I love cutting them and making bouquets to bring in the house and share with friends.   

 Mother's Day bouquet from my son.

If you're not growing them you really should try adding them to your garden.  Bulbs are available in spring and fall.  

I'm linking with Thoughts of Home on Thursday
Bernideen's Tea in the Garden 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hydrangea Love

This has truly been the year for hydrangeas in my garden!

'Frau Reiko'

Violet Mophead

I've been adding a few different varieties 
the past few years and wish I had room 
for more!

Newly planted 'Forever'  White Mophead.
I add lots of peat moss to the planting hole and around the plant to help with 
moisture retention.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

'Nikko Blue'

Hortensia Merritt's Supreme

I have 'Little Limelight' in my front border that is a late blooming panicle variety
and blooms in full sun.
I'll share it next month when it blooms. 

There are so many new varieties 
available now and I am trying to figure out where I can squeeze in a few more.
It's hard not to fall in love with hydrangeas!

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Garden Walk

This week brings more bloomers in the garden.   May has brought wonderful weather this year.   The temperatures have been a bit cooler and everything has gotten off to a great start!

On my garden walk today, the morning glories have started putting on a show.   I love these purple flowers and although the vine can get out of hand I still grow them. They reseed easily and I just pull out any volunteers that I don't want. 
A package of morning glory seeds is the gift that
 keeps on giving!


White flowers are so pretty in the shade.  I really need to add more white in my garden.  These 'Forever' hydrangeas really make a beautiful statement and brighten up the space under our redbud tree.   I think some hostas would be great as companion plants and I have them on my list for garden additions this year.  

The white lavender in the background is 'Alba' and is planted in a sunny location.  It's now in it's  fourth growing season and is producing lots of stems for cutting.   'Alba' doesn't have a strong scent but is pretty in a mixed border with other flowers and I mix the flower buds with other lavender to make sachets.   I grow my lavender in raised beds with other drought tolerant plants that 
need good drainage.

The tropical milkweek and 'Provence' lavender are
 so pretty together and I'm still waiting for more Monarchs to arrive in my pollinator garden.  I am seeing many more bees and other butterflies this year which is a very
 positive sign.  This year as soon as I see a caterpillar I will cover the milkweed with a small screened enclosure to insure their survival.  

You can help the Monarchs too by planting milkweed in 
pots or in your garden. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Garden Walk

May is my favorite gardening month.  The temperatures are cool, so much is blooming and by the end of May I have 
all my annuals planted.   
I don't plant again until fall, so during the summertime
 I sit back and just enjoy the
 hard work 
we put into the garden in the spring.  

I do weed the beds and deadhead my flowers each week.   
My sweet husband keeps the lawn green and mowed and we use the bare minimum of fertilizers and no pesticides since we live next to a lake. 

I usually start cleaning out my flower beds around the first of April and start planting soon after depending
 on the weather forecasts.  I can't wait to get a few spring flowers in the ground but by the end of May my gardening muscles are sore and I'm ready to be done with planting. 
The older I get the harder it is getting up and down to 
plant annuals!

We had such a mild winter that everything seemed to get a jump start on growing and is looking really good.    However we did  have a horrendous ice storm at Thanksgiving that damaged our majestic oaks and some of our shrubs. 

What a mess it was to clean up!  The entire state was littered with broken tree limbs and it took the city almost two months to pick up all the yard debris.  

The bright side is there is so much more  sunlight coming into our garden now.
The downside was that having our eight mature oak trees professionally pruned was very expensive!  The trees had huge limbs that had broken off high in the canopy that made it unsafe for us and our pets to walk outside.  Huge limbs would just randomly fall and one of our largest trees eventually lost almost half of it's limbs.  We had to wait  several weeks before our tree company could work us into their schedule.  

We are fortunate that we have had the same arborist for many years and he was able to make our trees look 
amazing after the storm damage.  
Never skimp on hiring an certified arborist because safety is a huge concern and the asthetics of a poorly pruned tree can take years to correct... if ever.   Our neighbors hired a company that "topped" their trees.  If you've never seen a topped tree, here is an example:

The new growth after topping will look like suckers sprouting from the trunk.

  I share this only because of neighbors are most certainly going to have to spend a great deal more to have their  trees removed in the future as the trees will eventually 
weaken and die.  

She is heartsick about their appearance, but not much can be done now.    Bottom line : if a tree company says they top trees ...stay away!  That is a sure sign they don't know
 what they are doing.  
Well enough of Tree Pruning 101, but I always like to share information that might be of help to someone else.
Now on to the pretty stuff!

I love roses and the majority of roses in my garden are  knockout roses.   The red doubles are right off my patio so I can enjoy them from the kitchen and family room windows.   We were recently traveling past Tyler, Texas on our way back from Florida.  I have long wanted to stop and "smell the roses" in Tyler and purchase a few too!  
 Mr. Bloomers was nice enough to detour off the interstate so I could visit one of the rose growers in Tyler.  
It was heavenly with so many varieties to choose from and I did manage to bring home only five roses.  (mostly because that is all we could fit in the car) 

This gorgeous buttery yellow rose is  named 
for 'Julia Child' 
the color is just gorgeous and I loved watching Julia
 when I was a young bride.  

The apricot rose is 'Loretta Lynn'
 I just fell in love with the pretty color and scent. 

This sweet single pink rose with yellow center is
 'Home Run'  

I love the fuchsia color and the label indicates it to be very hardy with little disease problems. 

The stars of my garden right now though are my hydrangeas!  After three years of late frosts they haven't bloomed well but this year because of  the mild temperatures they are full of blooms.   

I have so much shade that hydrangeas seemed a great choice for my garden and I have always loved those big
 mophead blooms! 

Even in the rain they look wonderful!  

The above hydrangeas are all 'Nikko Blue' however some
 are pink due to the soil ph.

The oakleaf hydrangeas are white and the ph does not affect the bloom color.  
I really love these large panicle blooms!   They will also grow well in more sunny locations. 

'Merritt's Supreme' is a mophead that takes more sunny spots too.  I have several plants and even the leaves are thicker and hardier.  The colors are so pretty too. 

My favorite hydrangea is 'Frau Reiko' and for some reason the plant died back last year and is just now getting re-established.   The local nursery where I purchased it has closed and I've not seen another for sale in my area.
This lacecap has beautiful frilly edges. 

The blue-violet color of this mophead is one of my 
favorites too! 

The past two years I've been working and adding a butterfly/pollinator garden on the greenbelt behind our home.  This area gets a lot of direct sunlight and is a perfect for sun loving plants that don't like our sprinkler system.
I have to hand water this area so I only plant flowers that are drought resistant back there.

Lavender and milkweed are great companion plants along with yarrow, autumn sedum joy and petunias. 

  I've added the Monarch's host plants as well as some nectar plants.  Milkweed is vital for the Monarch life cycle as the caterpillars can only eat milkweek.  
I had my first Monarch yesterday and  she went right 
to the milkweed.  I'm hoping she laid some eggs! 

This has been a fun area to watch grow.  I've learned a lot too about attracting butterflies and plan on adding more plants to help the Monarchs on their journey.  I have added a few more raised beds for veggies and lavender.

Hope you enjoyed our garden walk and I'm excited to visit lots of blogs today with 

Thoughts of Home and
 Share Your Cup

and Bernideen's Tea Time, Cottage and Garden

Happy Gardening!

My garden helpers!