I’m Not a Big Fan of Springtime

Garden with some tulips and narcissus
Garden with some tulips and narcissus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a big fan of Spring. When I lived in Florida our “spring” was one of the best times of year. In Florida, “Spring” is really not much different than any other time of year, it’s just not as hot as summer. We knew that the heat was coming back again shortly, so we relished the last of the nicer weather while we could.
Now that I live in the northeast, I find Springtime to be one of the most dismal times of the year. Continue reading “I’m Not a Big Fan of Springtime”

The Post-Winter Hydrangea Inspection

spring hydrangea
Bent and Broken Hydrangea Under the Snow

Today it was close to 60 degrees and I got outside to view my gardens – at least the areas that are snow free. Until I can get to the perennials I will have to blog about other gardening things – like starting some vegetable seeds, and buying loam and grass seed!

This blog is forgotten for most of the winter months because I live in New England and there is certainly no gardening going on in my yard at that time of year. I spend my time organizing my online stores and creating new wedding designs for Spring. When my business picks up in Spring and Summer, so does this blog readership, but I get motivated to make time to take photos and write because it’s what I love to do – garden!

I just took this picture today and it shows how my hydrangeas are still weighed down in places by packed snow. I’m happy to see that they are not totally destroyed and I think I may look into a cover for them for next winter. I’d like the A-frame wooden type. I also need nets to put over my Rhododendrons that will not be blooming at all thanks to the many hungry deer that snacked on them.

Hydrangeas are quite hardy and the branches tend to bend under the weight instead of breaking. I may do some trimming once they are uncovered. Any hydrangeas that bloom on old and new wood can be trimmed if needed.

For the Handy Woman – Springtime Fixes, Part 1 – Advice

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-1-36-14-pmThe truth is that many older women are now living alone. After raising a family for years, the couple splits, for whatever reason. Men tend to need to immediately find someone else. I don’t know if it’s because they have been spoiled for years by a woman taking care of everything, or if they just can’t handle being by themselves. I’m speaking generally here, because there are some men who do remain by themselves, I guess. All I know is that I seldom meet or hear of a man living alone. But I personally know many women who do.

Women tend to be better at the homemaking thing, especially older women like myself. We grew up imagining our lives as homemakers. That is not to say we didn’t also work outside the home. Between a job and raising the kids, it didn’t leave time for learning about home repair. I had a husband to do that stuff, and he lucked out because we bought our home brand new! There was little to do but typical grass cutting.

The point is that no one ever taught me anything about taking care of a home.  And my home was in Florida.  When I bought my own house, I was living in New Hampshire.  It’s a whole different ball game in the northeast.  Wood stoves, furnaces and basements were new to me.  I had a lot to learn.

Once I was alone, and in charge of my own home, I had to begin doing little fixes on my own. I did not have family to rely on. The buck stops here, as they say. Luckily, I have access to the internet! Almost every type of “how to” help can be found online and most things also have a decent You Tube video in case you want to watch someone do the job. So my first bit of advice is to LOOK IT UP and find a reputable site or video to rely on for advice.  Look for videos that have had a lot of views.  They are probably the best.  People put out some really awful videos and unless you want to slog through a bunch, just pick one that seems to be popular.  Like the one below.

Here is an excellent video to help with hanging artwork, mirrors, or anything on the wall!  I love this video because it’s something I dread doing, but she makes it look …not so bad.

My next bit of advice is to consider hiring someone to do it for you.  Do NOT take on too much.  Even a job that looks manageable can be much more time consuming once you begin doing it.  And don’t try to do anything that could be dangerous.  If the thought of climbing up on the roof to clean the gutters gives you the creeps… don’t clean the gutters yourself!

Now, I was lacking financially, so hiring people had to be done in small increments.  That can be a problem too.  Most contractors and carpenters want a big job to do.  One that will be worth their while.  Simply replacing a rotted step is not worth their time.  Perhaps find a reputable “Handy Man” for jobs like that.  Ask around to find someone you can trust, don’t just pull a name out of the newspaper.   In my case, I had a LOT wrong with my house. I found a good contractor who could give me advice.   He repaired sections of my house one at a time… when I could afford it and when he wasn’t busy.

So here goes.  Spring is right around the corner, and wherever you live, it’s a good idea to get things in order with the house so you can enjoy the summer.

Read PART 2 , especially if you would like to learn how to replace a screen.

Bone Meal For The Spring Flower Garden

Get the ground ready for planting by adding bone meal to the soil.

tulips and daffodils
Bone meal helps grow strong roots

It sounds a bit gross to use crushed bones when fertilizing, but the fine, powdery substance works wonders for your plants. Bone meal is a great source of phosphorus which helps establish good roots, and without good roots, plants don’t grow as well.

Bulbs, like the ones in my photo here, will appreciate some bone meal mixed into the planting soil.  Your tulips and daffodils will produce more blooms, as will any flowers planted in spring.

Organic Bone Meal is the perfect addition to an organic garden. I add it to the bare garden soil in spring before it’s time to plant.  It helps make the soil better for everything you plan to grow, as long as you don’t overdo it.

Use it as a soil amendment around perennials too. I sprinkle it around the hydrangea shrub and other perennials in the yard once the snow is gone. Rake it into the soil and be careful around the shallow roots. Bone meal replaces depleted phosphorus and will get the plants off to a good start for summer growth.

I buy mine in 4.5 lb. bags and directions say to use 1 teaspoon mixed into the dirt for bulbs. For shrubs, such as the hydrangea, apply 1 to 2 pounds (2.25 cups of bone meal equals 1 pound). Directions are on the bag, or box and it can even be used in pots.

Blood meal is a different product and can be used to supply the nitrogen your garden needs. Nitrogen keeps plants looking green. Use it if the leaves on your plants begin to turn yellow.

Be careful when using fertilizer, even organic fertilizer (and make sure it is truly organic!) like bone meal and blood meal, because it is still possible to use too much and damage the plants.

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Annuals and Perennials will grow better with bone meal.

Above you can see the lush growth of my nasturtiums (annuals), and hydrangea (leaves) and coneflower (echinacea) which are perennials.

(All photos in this post are my own, and are not free to use.)