Embellish Your Space - Benefit The Planet


Some Ideas to Cure the Blahs of Late

Some Ideas to Cure the Blahs of Late 0

With the shortening of the days ahead of us and Covid restrictions ramping up yet again one might start to feel a bit discouraged and less enthusiastic towards the near future.  I do agree that I feel on occasion some fatigue from the year overall and watching the sun go down at 4:30 does drain me and make me just want to watch Seinfeld reruns for a week or so. I love Seinfeld, but that might be a bit much. SO ….what to do?  My love of nature and gardening keeps me going throughout the growing season, but the rabbits have eaten the last of my lettuce and most of the leaves have fallen.  Ok then. By the way there is a coupon code at the end for 25% off any items at TulipandTable.com

Well, we can still enjoy the positive benefits of gardening in winter.  Can’t we? First off we can plan what we would like to do next year in the spring. That may include buying some bulbs to plant now in anticipation of their spring color fest.  For me, thinking about the crocus pushing through the frosted ground or the kaleidoscope of tulips making themselves known is a good start.  Another possibility might be creating layout plans for an added bed or additions to an existing one already in place.  Maybe the thought of the bright white blooms of the Snow Queen Hydrangea gracing the corner of your garage bed might be the ticket. George may say eh...it’s just a bush.  But Kramer would definitely reply with, now George!.... this is no ordinary shrub!  This is a Snow Queen. She’s a queen indeed!

Another up lifter could be grabbing that dusty vase from the cabinet or buying a new one if you are looking for something different and creating a winter arrangement. You can grab a bunch of flowers at the market and let your inner artist appear or there are a plethora of options from nature itself.  Some berry laden Holly and tall leafless branches could add some pop to your table. If that is not up your alley maybe the variegated foliage of Accuba and some tall Coneflower seed heads from your garden would give that new vase what it needs.

A third possibility for a winter gardening uplift might be to fill up that bird feeder and watch nature from inside.  There are lots of birds that stick around for the winter; such as Cardinals, various Finches, Blue Jays, Chickadees, etc...Not only are they fun to watch they also most likely will appreciate the offering. If all else fails flipping through the pages of a gardening magazine or catalog either in hand or online for some inspiration might do the trick.  One never knows what may come to mind and bring some sunlight to your winter days.

If you have any special activities that you do to cheer up those short winter days please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Coupon Code: Sunshine25

  • Thomas McTaggart
Springtime in the era of …….

Springtime in the era of ……. 0

I'm sick of saying it. Yup, Covid, Corona, Lockdown, quarantine….whatev.  So I am sure I am not the only one who’s ass might be getting a bit chapped from all the facets revolving around the current situation.  I’m not saying that I don’t understand and have respect for the needed precautions. Nor am I going to strap my massive Super Soaker around my neck in protest(Hey….it’s the biggest piece of firepower that I own). But I am feeling a bit tired and stressed from life in current form.  So what are we to do?  I for one am spending more time in the garden.  It serves many purposes. I can get some of my frustrations out pulling nasty weeds from where they are not supposed to be. I can get my cardio in chasing furry bucked toothed squirrels away from my tulips and azaleas. God knows my cat is laying down on the job. Literally. I can build up some serious muscle mass lugging heavy bags of soil and planting bushes. And once the day is done I can cut some of those beauties, bring them inside, put them in a vase and pat myself on the back for some much needed spirit uplifting. 

So,  all in all gardening is the way to go during these unforeseen times!  Happy planting.

  • Thomas McTaggart
The Dreaded Spotted Lanternfly

The Dreaded Spotted Lanternfly 0

Just the other day I lost my virginity. NO, It’s not what your thinking. Rather, I am speaking of becoming a card carrying member of the Spotted Lanternfly killing club.  No longer do I have to wonder what it might be like to squash that broad winged invader into a pile of bright wings and bug splat. Yes, it’s true...even the quiet ones score eventually. How did this monumentus event take place you ask?  Well, I was on a second story roof checking on a rogue tree that happened to be growing out of the chimney and out of the corner of my eye there it was. Flaunting its colors while warming itself in the afternoon sun it sat. My eyes lit up as I thought to myself of all the others doing their environmental duty and that I might be able to alleviate my own desire. I raised my foot high with extra might and slammed it down on the warm asphalt only to see the winged target jump just out of reach as the sole of my sneaker hit. Dang it! Them buggers be fast! They happen to jump more than they actually fly and they are quite good at it too.

My pulse quickened as I leapt myself and raised my foot once again in hopes that it would not get away and that I would miss my chance.  Once again the sole of my shoe came down with a thud. It was just on the late side for the second time. A few feet away the wings slightly fluttered in a can’t catch me manner. I can only imagine what this looked like from a distance. A guy two stories up running around on the roof and foot stomping most likely looks like a not the smartest thing in the world to do. I remind you that I have a Master’s degree, so let me be in my conquest. Haha.

As they say, the third time's the charm.  Kablaamm!!! Contact has been made and the nuisance pest has made its last getway. I must say that in all the humor that there is quite a bit of seriousness.  The Spotted Lanternfly is a true invader from China, India, Vietnam, and eastern Asia and very destructive. Invasive species such as this whether they be plant, animal or insect cause much environmental damage and cost billions of dollars in damages. There seems to be an extra large awareness of the Spotted Lanternfly. Rightfully so as agriculture is a large part of our economy. My hopes are that this also brings a larger awareness of all the others as well.The negative consequences of invasive species are far-reaching, costing the United States billions of dollars in damages every year.

Compounding the problem is that these harmful invaders spread at astonishing rates. Usually non native species have no predators or environmental controls to keep them in check. Just use the Burmese Python’s devastation of the Florida Everglades as proof of that. Such infestations of invasive plants and animals can negatively affect property values, agricultural productivity, public utility operations, native fisheries, tourism, outdoor recreation, and the overall health of an ecosystem. All in all there is no joking concerning the Spotted Lanternfly or any other invasive species. 

#invasive species

  • Thomas McTaggart
Watering- To Be or not To Be

Watering- To Be or not To Be 0

Although the Spring rains have been plentiful as of late we gardeners need to always keep in mind the watering of our plants in order for optimal success.  Seems simple right? Have a plant or two or a bazillion and just sprinkle them a bit every now and then. Things will be fine. Well, not exactly, having owned a landscape design firm I came across my fair share of issues regarding the correct way to water and the amount of water that plants need to succeed.

Unintentionally we tend to inflict abuse on our plants whether they be indoors or outdoors.  I have been asked countless times by both clients and friends, “What is wrong with my plants?” Only to witness time and time again droopy leaves and rock hard soil. “Looks like it needs water” I would respond only to be told that the plants were watered.  Sometimes we forget and sometimes we just take for granted that it is 95 degrees outside and that wetting the top of the soil four or five days ago is not sufficient. Now of course there are different requirements for certain types of plants , but even “drought tolerant” plants do not like to be bone dry. Remember that plants don’t have the ability to stop off at the local mini mart to get Gatorade when it is crazy hot out and they feel parched. When it’s hot out we adjust ourselves accordingly.  We need to keep that in mind regarding our plants as well.

It is best to water plants very well and deeply less often than it is to just spritz the top of the soil fast and frequently. The top of the soil dries quickly and the moisture at the top draws the roots up instead of downward. A good rule of thumb is to stick a finger in the soil around the base of the plant. If it feels dry then a good watering is needed. Of course as we mentioned earlier that different plants can have varied requirements and we can get much more specific regarding that, but this is a good general guide for better success and happier plants:)

  • Thomas McTaggart