Entries Tagged as 'Planting'

Planting Paperwhites for Christmas

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13.11.12

Christmas is SIX Weeks away! This time of year is especially busy but fortunately paperwhites are simple to force indoors for beautiful white blossoms just in time for Christmas. They take approximately six weeks to be forced indoors so to give these beauties time to grow and flower for the holidays you’ll need to plant them now.

Paperwhites at Christmas Mary McDonald Veranda Feature

image via

I’m in love with this picture featured in Veranda of Mary McDonald’s dining room all decked out for the holidays.

Planting Paperwhites for Christmas 2

Luckily planting paperwhites is very simple. You’ll want to find a a pretty container, I painted and gilded mine from cheap terracotta pots. Paperwhite bulbs, usually readily available this time of at your local home improvement store (I bought mine in Home Depot) and potting soil.

You can plant paperwhites in water, rocks or soil but I find the soil method the easiest.

Southern Living has a great article on planting paperwhites. “Start with a small pot. Fill with potting soil mix. Add bulbs. Plant so that a 1/4 inch of the bulb is sticking out of the top of the soil. Water the soil and bulbs well and drain. Place pots in a cool room (around 55 to 60 degrees) for 7 to 10 days to stimulate roots. Then move to a warm spot (around 70 degrees) with bright light to encourage foliage and flowers. As leaves emerge, rotate your pot every few days to keep stalks straight. As buds swell and open, move the pot to a cooler spot out of direct light to extend the life of the flowers. Keep soil slightly moist”.

Watching these bulbs pop their head out of the soli and grow into white fragrant blossoms are a wonderful and surprisingly easy addition to your festive holiday decor. Soon your paperwhites will have matured throughout the holiday season and before you know it the delicate white blooms will have arrived just in time for Christmas

Enter the Hornbeams

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23.5.12

It’s time to fill you in a bit on what’s been happening around here on the garden front. Back in March I shared some of our Summer Yard Plans. We’ve been working slowly but surely filling in the gardens here and there; sprucing up our outdoor space. I’ve been waiting for things to bloom a bit so you can really see how it’s all coming together. With the tree’s finally in full bloom what better time to share what we’ve been up to than now.

Backyard plans with notes copy

But let’s quickly recap for a moment with a plan and a drawing. Because you know I love a good illustrated plan. Here’s a quick look at our long term plans for the yard. We were thinking about relocating the vegetable gardens and adding a garden in front of the above ground pool towards the lake side. One of the other things on the we really want to do someday list is to add a boardwalk type deck along the lake wall and a new floating dock. We also want to add some grass around the pool some hedges and finish it off with a path.

Hornbeam Image via

Of course one of the first things we decided to do wasn’t even on that list but it’s been something we’ve been talking about for a while. While browsing at the garden center of Home Depot in March my Mom spied a few Hornbeam trees. My mom and I talk about trees and shrubs just like we talk about the Pottery Barn catalog and the until now we haven’t been able to find them ANYWERE. These trees are pretty cool because you can let them grow naturally, like the image above. Or you can keep trimmed into to all different shapes, you can even keep them as a tall hedge.

Needless to say she snagged a few of them faster then you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. For a while now we’ve felt that the yard needed some vertical elements to break up the long horizontal line of the privacy fence while adding a smidge more privacy from the neighboring houses.

At the time they didn’t have any leaves on them but we planted them anyway knowing they’d soon be full and lush.

Hornbeam trees

That’s my Dad below, he is always digging and planting trees and shrubs, as long as I can remember my Dad has had a shovel in his hand digging up or moving something or other, usually under the direction of my Mom who happens to mysteriously absent from this shot.

Hornbeam Planting

Now just a few weeks later they’ve bloomed and have filled in nicely. Over time we plan to keep them trimmed to avoid them encroaching on the yard too much.

Garden

It’s certainly an improvement over how bare the fence was looking just a few short months ago.

Winter View

Now it’s lush and green and has filled in nicely.

Outdoor view 2

Hornbeam trees 2

So excited to see them fill in over time.

Summer Yard Plans

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21.3.12

Hi everyone, Happy Spring, we’ve had wonderful weather and it has prompted us to head outside and get to work.  The past weekend involved lots of time spent outside and a trip to Home Depot to buy some plants and trees. Early spring is a great time for tree planting right before the leaves bloom.

High View point Lake View

But before I share what we’ve been working on outside I want to share what we’ve had in mind for the yard this summer and beyond as it continues to evolve and grow into a backyard retreat. When last we left off on the yard I had promised to share some plans we have to finish off the area of the yard that’s closest to the lake. Right now we have large amounts of white stone blanketing the entire area down there.

On of the least pleasant aspect of living on the water is spiders. Can I just say ew, ew eeeew! We have all kinds, small ones, HUGE ones and lots in between. We have what are called Fishing Spiders they don’t bite and generally stay in the water but can scare the begeezus out of you when they pop up out of no where. I won’t post a picture of them here because they make me cringe just to see them, but if you’re brave you can check one out here.  They are creepy, crawly, generally gross and the white stones make perfect spots for them and other random insects to crawl and hide. Needless to say we’re a little anxious to move the stones and confine them to the paths and walkways instead of spread out near the water.

Backyard plans with notes copy

But enough about spiders let’s take a look at my little preliminary drawing of how we’re thinking it’s all going to lay out. Of course some things will likely change as we go along. We’ll probably do some additional tweaks in other areas as well and our plans tend to get adjust over time but we always like to begin with a general idea of where we’re going to get things rolling.

#1 in our annotated sketch above is to move the vegetable gardens, we built them the first summer we moved into the house. They were great there for a while but we think they’d be better located just beyond the fence as you can see below. It’s pretty much dead space down there and needs some love. It’s a good spot to keep the vegetables tucked out of sight but still maintaining relatively easy access to them.

Back Yard

Admittedly it’s looking a little rough right now, but it’s been coming along slowly but surely.

Back Yard 2

#2 on the list is to add a new garden in front of the pool area, where the little guy is playing, and moving the pedal boat of course. We’re all about snagging some additional “lake appeal” wherever we can.

Although we love having a pool it sort of looks like a can of tuna especially with the cover on and all closed up for the winter.  The garden in front should camouflage some of that it will be rounded to match the curve of the pool. We’ll plant some tall flowing grasses some perennials to add color and maybe a few bushes which should go a long way to break up the gray exterior walls of the pool.

Back Yard 3

#3 and #4 on the list, include adding some seating areas along the “sea wall” You can see dirt in the photo below since the lake is still low from the winter. But during the summer the water sits right against the wall.

Back Yard 5

We’re going for something like the image below, with an additional larger area off to the side for a possible fire pit and a walkway with a floating dock that will lead out to a platform for sitting right on thee water. Picture Adirondack chairs, fire pits and dipping your toes in the lake as you drink in a cool refreshing glass of ice tea while simultaneously drinking in the view.

image via

#5 is all about adding some additional greenery and lushness through some much needed grassy areas. We’re really looking forward to the natural cooling properties of some lush green grass over the hot spidery stone that we have now. It’s incredibly hot in the summer due to the lack of shade and the reflective properties of the water and the stones are not helping that fact. We’ll also probably need to add some shade from a combination of trees and umbrellas to make it more comfortable during the hot summer months

#6 and #7, are about rounding up the white stones and moving them into manageable pathways, because let’s face it there are far too many of them to remove them all and not to mention we’re always down for using what you’ve got to keep costs down.

Back Yard 4

Along the path we’ll probably have another garden to break up the expanse of the privacy fence, which is way over 100 feet long and in desperate need of some shrubs to soften it up.

Hopefully all that will go a long way to add to the use we get out of this space. We love being outside and during the warm summer month we probably spend about 90% of our free time outside enjoying the lake and working on projects which we actually like to do. We’re definitely not just about the indoor projects around here outdoor projects top our list of things we love to do as well.

So is anyone else enjoying some lovely early spring weather like we are? Are you itching to take your project time outside? Do you like gardening or do you prefer other kinds of outdoor activates? Do tell.

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