Garden roses in a simple vase placed atop a crochet doily, a stemmed compote dish waiting to be filled with the pear preserves, and family recipes handwritten on timeworn index cards and scratch pieces of paper spring to mind memories of Easter week travels over to Texas to visit my great-grandparents.
My mother came across a handwritten letter from my great-grandmother while spring cleaning. I’ve asked my mother many times if she remembered the address of their house, but she couldn’t recall what it was.
It’s time once again to ready, plan and plant spring flower, vegetable, and herb gardens. Warmer weather and longer days naturally entice us to spend more time outdoors, and gardening is the outdoor activity many enjoy come spring. Now is the time to get your garden growing ready with these spring gardening tips.
Good soil is the foundation of a good grow, and a good spring cleaning of sorts prepares the soil for proper growth. With a garden fork, gently work the soil with a soft dig to loosen the soil. You’ll only need to loosen the soil in a vegetable or flower garden one time in the spring.
Consult a weather app, Farmers Almanac, or give your local extension service a call to find out when the threat of Jack Frost is past before planting your vegetable or flower garden.
Most vegetables and flowers require approximately six hours of full sun each day. Choose the area of your yard, deck, patio, porch, terrace, or windowsill that gets the most sun during the day and plant accordingly.
No sun? No problem.
Sam Stokes Nursery offers expert tips and options for flowers that grow in full and partial shade.
Mid to late March through May is a good time to get your spring vegetable and herb garden going and growing with tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, squash, eggplant, okra, basil, oregano, sage, thyme, dill, chives, rosemary, and mint.
Lilacs grow best when planted in fertile soil and placed in full sun. Lilacs will not fully bloom if overwatered. A layer of compost followed by a layer of mulch helps to retain moisture and combat weeds.
Hummingbirds and butterflies are fascinating little creatures to watch. Southern Living offers spring gardening tips for almost everything gardening under the sun and shade. Ragin’ Cajun Ruellia gives a shout out to my Louisiana roots.
Bells of Fire™ Tecoma is another perennials tubular flower that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies. Click here to learn more plants to spring plant that will attract hummingbirds.
I love the Cameo Japanese flowering quince in my brother’s courtyard.
A day trip to Forest Hill, Louisiana, better known as the nursery capital, to purchase a Cameo Japanese flowering quince is on the spring gardening agenda.
Azaleas in full color and full bloom means beauty and the beast I call pollen is all around as evidenced by this hot pink azalea bouquet and the pollen streams in the driveway.
Weeds are a thorn in the side, front, and back of any vegetable or flower garden. Mulch cuts down on weeds, adds a layer of insulation, and keeps plant roots moist.
Dave the Builder used his new Craftsman Handheld Gas Leaf Blower to blow the pine needles off the roof and into the flower bed where it will be used as mulch.
Excuse our work in progress mess.
Fresh from the produce department tomatoes will do for now, but there is no substitute for fresh home garden tomatoes.
To give your tomato plants a good grow, feed the soil with a small amount of fertilizer and compost at planting time.
Jobes Organic Vegetable and Tomato Plant Food Fertilizer
Plant the roots as deep as possible.
Freshly planted tomato plants will require a daily healthy watering for a couple of weeks after planting to properly seep into the soil and moisten the area. Garden tomatoes require at least 1-2 inches of water a week.
Low and slow applies to watering tomatoes. Water the plants low at the stem and water slowly.
Tomato plants are slow drinkers. Flooding the area is not what we’re going for here.
Water your tomato crop once every two or three days at the height of summer. Early morning is the best time to water.
As summer temps soar, you may want to water the plants both in the early morning and early evening on the days you water.
Bacon sandwiches, homemade hamburgers, fresh from the garden salads, and spring to summer dishes deliciously begin and end with the homegrown tomato.
As I typed fresh from the garden salads, it reminded me of the story a friend shared with me about a dinner menu conversation she had with her husband. The friend asked her husband what he wanted for dinner. The husband answered in perfect course order beginning with, his words not hers nor mine, a little house salad.
Curious about what exactly the husband thought a little house salad was, the friend asked the husband to expound.
“Well, you know, it’s a little salad you make at the house.”
All I know is the husband’s vegetable garden produced the best tomatoes, cucumbers, banana peppers, squash, and radishes that went into many a fresh spring to summer salad mixed and enjoyed at their house.
Leafy greens and vegetables star in the latest entertaining trend, the edible table runner.
I’m learning more and more the best way to go in spring and summer entertaining is to set a casual and inviting table, keep the menu, ingredients, music, and conversation fresh and simple, and have plenty of homemade buttermilk dressing on hand.
I bought two Dove Nourishing Care Intensive-Creams on at Dollar Tree, and am so glad I did. The formula is rich, smells divine, and has good staying power without being greasy. I like it so much I bought five more last week.
It gets my perfect for gardening hands seal of approval.
I almost feel guilty in my time for spring celebration when I get an email from the Canadian snowbird with the following image attached.
A jaunt to the Home Depot garden center tops the time for spring planting to-do list. Curb appeal begins with spring cleaning, planting, updating and exterior decorating.
In order to achieve optimum spring curb appeal you gotta have the proper tools to get the job done.
A recent time for spring inventory of the tools and toys needed for the upcoming lawn and garden season resulted in the Places In The Home gang becoming proud owners of a new riding mower. This bad boy is 15.5HP of get the job done in no time power. In all the new lawn and garden toy excitement, Dave the Builder set the cutting height a tad too low. Let’s just say our front yard has that freshly scalped mowed look.
That’s one way to eliminate the need to mow for a week or two.
Purple Diamond Loropetalum is good for an early blast of bloom and color. I won’t go so far as to say it basically grows itself, but once established it is low maintenance.
Every time I say Loropetalum I think of sayings you only hear in the South and one I consider a classic- going by Laura’s house. Going by Laura’s house is the term my mother’s best friend’s mother coined years ago for when she would have to go out of her way to get to her intended destination. Miss Melba called that going by Laura’s house. It wasn’t until recently that my mother discovered the truth about going by Laura’s house, and now we say it all the time. How I love the sayings you only hear in the South.
HGTV inspiration strikes again. Add a dollar store drop in to the time for spring lawn and garden list.
Sightings of buds and blooms in spring fling color usher in spring and Easter parade palettes.
You know it’s time for spring by the scents and sights of spring in full bloom. I would love to be able to bottle the the fragrance of freshly picked wisteria to use as a linen spray on crisp cotton sheets.
Fresh flowers, delightful fragrances, visually stunning table settings, and the scent and sight of it’s time for spring in the late afternoon or evening gorgeously set the scene, mood and table for spring entertaining.
The “I Love a Charade” episode of Sex and the City is my garden party touchstone.
That crazy blue jay has the right idea about spring activities. A refreshing dip in the pool was just the ticket to recharge his battery, and a spring road trip will be just the ticket to recharge mine.
“Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink”
I was referencing violets and pansies in a yet to be published blog post. Walking past the kitchen table on the way to afternoon coffee, I glanced down to see the April issue of Better Homes & Gardens opened to the feature In Praise of Violas. How’s that for happenstance?
I’m not a practicing member of the ladies that lunch club, but I love the idea of it and the Southern Living feature The New Ladies Lunch. Planning the Mother’s Day menu is soon to be the task at hand, and the Neiman Marcus Cheddar Cheese Biscuits look to be a Southern scrumptious must make.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup (4 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk
Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas and dough is crumbly; stir in cheese. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 to 4 times. Place dough in a bowl; cover and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll dough to 1-inch thickness; cut with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter, and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
Unbaked biscuits may be frozen up to 1 month. Bake frozen biscuits as directed for 26 to 28 minutes or until golden brown.
Spring is all about the new, the fresh, the green. There is something so classic, Southern chic, and spring front porch perfect about a Boston fern hanging basket. My brand new, full to the spring green Boston fern basket is the curb appeal accent piece hanging around the front porch creating a spring scene.
Storm clouds are hanging heavy over our part of the world this week. What’s up with this weather pattern? Houston, we have a problem took on a whole new meaning and a whole lot of water Monday morning. Everything is bigger in Texas, including this most recent flooding event. My mother, channeling her inner Jim Cantore, kept me informed of the worsening weather conditions and rescue situations in the Greater Houston area throughout the day.
Funky weather conditions can dampen even the sunniest of dispositions. We’ve had just about all the sadness we can take around here lately, making the distract and deflect act I have become abnormally good at a necessary part of a cloudy day. Lighting plays such a significant role in our moods and energy levels. The right amount of the right kind of lighting can promote a calming, serene and pleasing atmosphere. Sunny days and the pristine natural lighting are favored, but not a 365 day reality.
What to do, what to do with the cloudy one at hand?
I know. Let’s take a gander at what’s going on with our feathered friends on a cloudy afternoon.
Dave the Builder put out bread and filled the chandelier bird feeder pots with seed late Sunday afternoon. We kept watch to see how well the birds would respond to this first feeding of the spring season.
Robins, blue jays, doves, cardinals, mockingbirds, sparrows –
You would think a rainy, cloudy day would keep them away, but it seems the weather was just right to entice these creatures to turn out to feed and frolic.
See the tilted and empty clay pots?
Meet the culprit.
Never underestimate the will of an alpha squirrel and the king of the yard swagger that goes along with it. This greedy gut and his partner in squirrel crime worked in tandem to tip each of the full clay pot feed holders over. This was one seedy ground game. A determined blue jay with expert aim dive-bombed the spotter squirrel and it was game on from there. Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal and the sparrows circled the wagons, and the doves noshed in couldn’t care less fashion. Victory was declared by the feathered finishers, and a pair of crestfallen squirrels cried “fowl” and retreated to the neighbors yard.
Paging Friday, March 20th. I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb here when I say most of us are more than ready for the first day of spring 2015 to make an appearance in weather reports, gardens, flower beds and home decor accessories. Gloomy days and frozen nights of late make a very good argument for the hurried anticipation of spring’s arrival. North, south, east and west- it’s time for spring to get to springing. I’m for less of this…
and much, much more of this. Blooming trees, color on parade flowers and budding plants, warm temps, sunny afternoons and swing time works for me!
This silly rednecks on a road trip resonates with our crowd in a we know people exactly like that kind of way. One particular dialogue exchange between Billy Bob Thornton (as Lonnie Earl Dodd) and Patrick Swayze (as Roy Kirkendall) in regards to the customized Chevrolet Suburban they would be traveling in hilariously hit home.
Lonnie Earl: Nothing’s too good for my friends. We’re gonna be ridin’ and stylin’ and profilin’.
Roy: It smells loud.
Lonnie Earl: That’s probably that Corinthian leather, is what that is.”
My uncle, a Southern gentleman of few words and good taste, was in the carpet and flooring business for years before embarking on his career as the cinnamon bun king of central Florida. Loud was his word of choice when describing busy colors, bold fabrics and pungent foods.
The MacKenzie-Childs Flower Market Outdoor Butterfly Chair is exactly that, loud. Subdued in its statement it’s not, but then again, neither is the beauty of spring. This chair captures the iconic look of the brand with the perfect amount of funky fun, live out loud color flair, and unique interpretation.
I love the Alice Walker quote from The Color Purple that states, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”