Garden Update II

IMG_5089September all ready and the garden is going over to Autumn now with the Summer flowers fading and the Chrysanthemums coming into full bloom.  The Hydrangeas are also flowering very well just now with only a few blooms dying off.  It is important with Hydrangeas to leave the dead flower heads on the bush all Winter to protect the new buds for next Spring.  If you need to prune the bush now is the best time to do it but do try and leave some buds on for next year.

Now is the time to collect seeds for next year.  The Calendula have almost finished flowering and I had  left some of the flower heads on to go to seed so I can collect them for next year’s flowers.  You can collect seeds from Marigolds too and I have collected Pansy seeds and grown them on in previous years so they are being collected now too!

The growth of the grass on the lawn is slowing down now and I only need to cut it once a week now and not twice as I have been doing all Summer.  I will leave the length of the grass a little longer now for the Winter and I will try and keep people off it in wet weather and hope we do not have too much snow!IMG_5325

Despite the days drawing in now we still have quite a lot of colour in the garden and in the cut flower garden we have had an exceptional year with the Cosmos over 5 foot high and the sweet peas overtaking them at over six foot!  The solitary Sunflower in this garden was over eight foot, I planted 6 sunflowers but the slugs obviously liked them and only one survived to flower.  I kept another five in a pot and they have done well but, of course, do not have the height of the one in the ground.

IMG_5285The weeds are still growing so there is still weeding to be done in the borders and there is always a little tidying to do, dead heads to cut off and, now we have some leaves coming down from the trees, leaves to collect.  I keep the leaves each Autumn and let them rot down for a year and then put the resulting mulch on the garden before the Winter sets in, thus keeping the weeds down and the soil warmer for the Spring bulbs to grow in.  Now, of course, is the time to plant your Spring bulbs although it is always better to leave the Tulips for another month or two.  I have two big bags of daffodils to plant up this month so I had better make a start.  Will be writing again soon.





Garden Update!

IMG_4745We seem to be in the middle of a heatwave here in the UK, temperatures are soaring here and now after the damaging wind in Spring we have high temperature and no rain!  The weather is never right for us gardeners though is it?  No rain means I have to water most evenings!

Any way I managed to plant all the annuals and although they need watering still they are growing well.  The white Alyssum is planted with a blue Lobelia on either side and they are coming together well.  The Calendula further back is flowering well, fortunately they likes the dry conditions we have just now.  The slugs and snails are having a field day with the French Marigolds anyone would think they had not eaten all Winter!  I am hopeful that some will grow through without being devoured by slugs or snails.​


The Peonies have been spectacular this year, most of them have a wonderful scent, we have different colours but the white ones are the longest living ones.  Peonies are groIMG_4612wn from a tuber similar to a dahlia and you can take some of the tuber and grow on another plant if you know someone with a nice plant.​

The tall blue flowers in this photo are Campanula and I have them in blue and white here and elsewhere in the garden, June, of course, is the month of Roses but with the cold and windy Spring they are a little later this year.  The one on the right  in the photo is a chocolate rose which does smell of chocolate they other one has been in the garden a long time and was here before I came!

IMG_4752This month and next  there is not so much to do in the garden, hanging baskets and pots to water of course and there is always weeding to be done!   Today, however,  was the sort of day that one could sit out in the garden and admire all that work one put in earlier so I put some cushions out and did just that.


So, enjoy your Summer wherever you are and I will look forward to welcoming you back to my garden in the Autumn or as you call it the Fall.


Well I think the Summer is IMG_4531finally here in the UK, we have had a lot of wind recently and wind is not good for my garden, it dries the soil out, flattens the flowers and because it has been a cold wind it has stopped things growing!  Thankfully now we are getting warmer temperatures during the day and, hopefully, no more frosts I can think about putting in the bedding plants.  My rockery is still looking really colourful with the tulips still flowering well and the pansies too.​


My garden has a lot of established shrubs in and plenty of Spring bulbs but I always try and leave a small area at the front of the borders for some nice annuals, this space has primulas in now and they need to be transferred to another bed to die back over the Summer and then they can be re-planted back in the borders in the Autumn.

This year I have grown Calendula from seed and that will go at the back of the front bit, if you see what I mean!  The rest of the annuIMG_4570 (2)als I have bought from a small garden centre that acts as a day centre for adults with learning difficulties.  They have grown some wonderful plants and I had my pick early on in the Season.  The French Marigolds go in next and then the Alyssum and Lobelia are planted at the  front of the bed.  The Alyssum and Lobelia will hopefully knit together to form a small hedgerow right at the front of the border and the French Marigolds will stand up behind with the Calendula standing tall at the back.

I also bought some oxygenating plants recently to try and rid the pond of Spring slime, fortunately it is working and the slime is coming to the surface so I can scoop it out using a small fishing net.  The other day I was scooping and emptying when I came across a little smooth newt!  I popped him back in the pond but not before I managed a photo of him.​

We seem to have waited a long time for Summer to come this year but the garden will look wonderful soon if the wind stays away and the temperatures continue to rise.  I hope you all have a great Summer and can spend lots of time outdoors in your gardens.

I will be back soon.

Mowing Time in PA

20150426_135642…and I thought last year my cleated tennis shoes would do the job on my multi-acre hillside, especially with a new self-propelled push mower. Not so! Even the propellation (is that a word?!) wasn’t enough for this little girl. I used to watch my dad mow this entire yard, with seemingly little effort. Then he’d come in and take a drink of the sun tea he had made. I remember the first time I tried to tackle the job, after over an hour later with the upper hill still untouched, gritty and breathless, I thought, “he probably would have liked if one of us had made the tea and had it ready for him.” In later years he attached a piece of rope to the mower, to stand up a few feet and allow the mower to slide down on its own, then pull it back up with the rope, so he didn’t need to bend or walk so much. He did this the fall he had to have had the cancer, before we knew it. A dying “old man” still did a much better job than this relatively in-shape girl could.

I bit the bullet and put on my pristine pink Safety Girl boots, knowing the pretty toes would green up pretty quickly from grass. I was able to mow more of the hillside (all the way up to the second garden!) with these babies. I still can’t do the full job my dad did but I think he would have been proud of what I can accomplish.

Stairway Reveal


Before photo, hallway carpet


After photo, hallway carpet

So I took a bit of a weekend break from Andy to finish this project so I can move outside for the summer. I touched up the edges where the walls meet the ceilings, with white ceiling paint. I scrubbed and scraped the beautiful wood steps. I couldn’t bring myself to re-glue the stair post that had been loose since I was a toddler. I think it may have been a product of my sister or I getting our head wedged in there (I’d bet it was me).

I ordered some nice laminate plank flooring from BigBox because it was a superb price and debated laying it in the hallway, but the pine of the bedrooms would have been juxtapositioned against the Brazilian cherry all wrong. So I took the remnant from carpeting the new room and got to work. I removed the old carpeting, and was again glad I did, because my parents’ Yorkiepoo Tebow did indeed mark it in at least four places. As I rolled it and bundled it for the garbage men, I rolled my eyes at my mom’s insistence that her dog did not have accidents.  I remember telling her a year+ ago, as I cleaned up after him, “of course they’re not accidents. They are ‘on purposes.’ He doesn’t know he’s not supposed to use the house as his personal bathroom.” The last of all possible rugs and carpeting  have been removed. Good riddance!


Tracing the new carpet using the old carpet

For this I definitely used my Ironclad TuffChix gloves from SafetyGirl. They kept my hands clean, as well as kept them from getting chewed up by the rough carpet backing.

Before I tossed the old carpet, I used it as a template for my new piece. Since this pattern has sculptured squares, it was very important to keep it straight. I think I did a good job. I replaced the brass threshold trim pieces and tacked the end piece over the curve of the first step. Here are the before and after shots. I did keep to budget very well on this, using leftover paint, carpet, and padding from the other rooms. The only things new I used were some rollers and a brush.

For the rest of the summer I will be headed outside. I have a dilapidated chicken coop stuffed with junk, a shooting range, storage barns, a greenhouse, a mancave, old dog houses, gardening sheds, etc. to go through. Lucky for me I have men friends who are eager to look through these in exchange for taking off my hands the things I can’t use. I will be salvaging what I can at a local scrap dealer. I will also be listing a girlfriend to help with yardwork in exchange for helping her with her own.


Before photo, stairwell (looking up)


After photo, stairwell (looking down)

And I’ve been largely silent on Andy lately. He’s been super-busy with Lucy’s end-of-season hockey, and now both Lucy and Grace are involved in many spring events – softball, honors bands and concerts, track, you name it. Lucy is a viable driver now so buckle up! We were lucky to wrap the weekend up with a wonderful turkey dinner, with two sets of mashed potatoes – skins on for Grace, and skins off for Lucy. And because Andy broke the serving bowl full of veggies, no broccoli and carrots.

Hard Hat Hair

msavgft_-06_brown_v-gard-fas-trac-slotted-protective-capWe recently got a question from a reader on how to avoid hardhat hair. There are a few options, and none of them is difficult or expensive, but none of them is going to have  you looking like you just stepped out of a salon. Sorry! Consider it the cost of the job.

You can…

Wrap a bandana around the suspension unit to lessen the marks left behind by them.

Wear a natural-fiber hat under the hat in the winter – synthetic fibers will create static and fly-aways.

Never start with even damp hair. Wet hair will exacerbate the condition!

Style your hair while you wear the hat! If it’s long, wrap your hair into a loose bun or twisty pony shoved under the hat, and let the hat set the curl. If it’s short, carry a volumizing product with you and when you remove the hat, rub just a bit of the product between your hands and fluff your locks.

Don’t wear metal barettes, which can conduct electricity.

If you wear a ponytail down, make it low!

And here’s my personal favorite: if you part your hair on the side, start on the opposite side, and part low. When you take off the hat, flip the part to its typical position and the worst of the dented hair will be under smoother hair.

Stairway Risers


Before stairs

This weekend I had a decent chunk of time but it was too nice to spend most of it indoors. I had a nice lunch with a college friend Brit, and as we were eating Lebanese food at a new eatery, it wasn’t long before we each took out our phones to show each other our remodels. She mentioned that she has a pink tool belt – probably ours! I told her she can get a pair of workboots to match. Later I took advantage of the warm and sunny Saturday to get my mower out and make sure it was ready for the year. I also scrubbed out my kitties’ litter box. Both of these tasks were well-suited for my Safety Girl pink work boots. I was able to wash my sheets and hang them outside to dry. I love clothes dried on the line!


In progress stairs, carpet coming up and first coats of paint down.

Sunday my friend JD came and helped me go through the garage. We cleaned, cleaned out, and organized, and I sent him home with whatever he wanted that I didn’t need, for his help. In about an hour and a half, it was still cluttered, but it was cleaner and more organized clutter. This will be an ongoing summer project, and will definitely require Safety Girl’s Tough Chix gloves. And a tetanus shot.

After the sun went down both Saturday and Sunday I forced myself to paint the stairway. I am still working on the trim. I removed the runner because I love the look of the bare steps. Prying out the staples in the carpet again required the gloves. I will still need to put another coat on all the trim and clean the steps well. I am debating whether to shampoo the landing carpet, which is still in decent shape but isn’t the most contemporary, or replace it with a leftover piece of the sculptured gray carpeting from the music room. I’ll let you know.

One more weekend here (two if I do the carpeting) and I should be ready to reveal it.

Brit is going to come help me with the flooring someday this summer and I will buy her those pink work boots for her effort!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,836 other followers