Backyard Snow Drops

Our Snow Drops are in full bloom in our backyard right now! Here are some photos of how they look. 

What Is The Best Type of Manure?

In order to have a healthy, flourishing garden- you need to take good care of it. One way to ensure your garden grows big and strong is the addition of fertilizer. Fertilizer (or manure) is a way to return nutrients into the soil that may not be present; such as nitrogen. Different types of animal manures provide different types of nutrients, so how do you know which one is right for you? How do you distinguish what is too much of a good thing, from just the right amount for your soil? 

First, let’s start by learning what manure is, and what the different types of it are. Manure is a waste product made by animals (both domestic and livestock,) that have undergone the composting process to remove any harmful pathogens and to break it down even further for quick absorption by plants. You are able to purchase un-composted manures; However, they must be used with caution because they take longer to break down and be absorbed, and they may also contain weed seeds or pathogens that can seep into the surrounding landscape. Since the early days of cultivation, people have been using manure as a fertilizer. It is no surprise that manure has been used for this long, it is a rich source of nitrogen and other beneficial nutrients that plants need to survive.

While using raw manure has its benefits, it also has its downfalls. There is a stagnant odor associated with the unbroken down waste, which also attracts flies. Sometimes the manure can be too ‘hot,’ which is when there is too high of a concentration of nutrients present- this burns or kills plants. Raw manure can also lead to plants growing too quickly, not allowing proper stem growth to occur. This will leave you with thin and stringy looking plants. If you choose to use raw manure, apply it to the garden late in the season. This way it has time to break down before the next planting season.

Manure can come from any animal, but not all manures are equal. For example, cat or dog manure must be composted for a minimum of two years before it can be used (however, it cannot be applied on any food crops.) Human manure, should never be used. There are too many drugs, pathogens and other potential problems sitting in our waste that cannot be safely composted (unless you have very specific knowledge and tools.) Traditional domestic livestock all contain different levels of nutrients such as nitrogen. The most common types of livestock manure used in gardening is:

  • Chicken – Chicken manure is ideal for most gardens. It has a very high nitrogen concentration, but must be composted and aged well to prevent burning from occurring. It is best applied during the spring and fall.
  • Cow
  • Goat
  • Horse – Horse manure takes a long time to compost due to its large size, with the addition of weed seeds that the animal digests this adds more time to compost.
  • Pig
  • Sheep – Sheep Manure has a high level of nitrogen, but low levels in most other nutrients. Its small pellet size allows for a quick compost.

To find the best manure, it depends on your specific soil type. Any common variety of manure is beneficial to all soils, because it has the basics that all plants need. If you are composting your own manure, remember that it has to compost for at least 6 months (or longer.) Or you can add it raw, tilling it into the soil at least 1 season prior to planting.

Thank you to Gardening Know How for the original information. You can read more here.


April 14th, 2017

Spring is in full effect around the yard, here is some photos of what is growing around the yard! Flowers include Daffodils (both white and yellow), our beautiful Callory Pear Tree, Red Tulips, Lentin Rose, Cowslip Primrose, Mini Grape Hyacinths, our snowdrops are beginning to fade out and powder blue Chionodoxa is coming in nicely. 

2017 Spring Garden and Flower Show at Hick’s Nursery

Here are some photos from the 2017 Spring Garden and Flower Show at Hick’s Nursery in Westbury, NY. There were so many bright colors and beautiful displays. My favorite display was the “Under the Sea.” The waterfall, and all the hanging jellyfish from the ceiling really captured the feeling of being underwater. All of the flowers were incorporated beautifully, they didn’t seem like an afterthought. 

Best U-Pick Farms on Long Island

Spring is coming- which means warm weather, sun and picking your own fruit as a family. Long Island has the best farms on the east end to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of some of the best.

U-Pick Strawberries

  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Wickham Fruit Farm – 28700 Main Road, Cutchogue (phone: 734-6441)
  • Fox Hollow Farm – 2287 Sound Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-1786)
  • Anderson Farms – 1890 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead (phone: 727-1129 or 727-2559)
  • Hank Kraszewski – 324 Co Road 39, Southampton Bypass, Southampton (phone: 726-4667)
  • Patty’s Berries and Bunches – 410 Sound Avenue, Mattituck (phone: 655-7996)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)

U-Pick Vegetables

  • F & W Schmitt Farms – 26 Pinelawn Road, Melville (phone: 271-3276)
  • Krupski Farms – Route 25, Peconic (phone: 734-6847)
  • Doug Cooper Farms – Breakwater Road, Mattituck (phone: 298-5195)
  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Fritz Lewin Farms – Corner of Sound and Edwards Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-3346)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)
  • John Condzella – Route 25A, Wading River (phone: 929-5058)
  • Seven Ponds Orchard – 65 Seven Ponds Road, Water Mill (phone: 726-8015)

U-Pick Fruit

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) for the original information. Click here to read more.

How to Plant Bulbs in the Yard for a Colorful Spring!

It’s almost time to plant bulbs for the spring, which means figuring out a design plan for where all your flowers will grow. Neat rows and clusters are most popularly envisioned. But have you ever thought about naturalizing them? To naturalize bulbs, means to plant them in such a way that they appear to have grown without any rx-dk-lgc05602_plant-bulb-hole_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-966-725human intervention. (Which means
neat rows and clusters- you’re out!) You can accomplish naturalizing in already established beds and borders, barren sections of the yard, and if done correctly even in the lawn. The overall goal is to keep the illusion that it was unplanned. If growing bulbs in the lawn sounds like fun, there is important information to be aware of. Only select bulbs that bloom early, their foliage must not be just down until it withers and browns on it’s own. This is because leaves serve a great purpose, working hard to synthesize or produce food for energy in the following year. Cutting back too early will starve your plants. (Since you don’t want to be that neighbor on the block with foot-tall grass waiting foryour plants to die back, it is best to avoid growing plants that will grow into lawn season.) The best plants to naturalize, are the ones that will multiply and gradually spread out over the years. Some great options include snowdrops, white squill, crocus, grape hyacinth, glory of the snow, blue squill and early daffodils. The most fun way to “plan” your unplanned garden if to toss bulbs in the air and plant them where they land. If a little re-adjustment is needed, thats okay. The goal is to create drifts instead of rows or clusters. If you crocus4want a bit more control of the operation, you can outline an area with a garden hose or rope and toss your bulbs in that general area. If mixing bulbs sounds like fun, throw the larger bulbs first, and work down in size until they all are on the ground. To ensure some extra informality, place a few bulbs outside of the boundary for good measure. When all the bulbs are in place, dig them in the ground. You should add a teaspoon of fertilizer to each planting hole, along with a small handful of crushed oyster shell. This discourages squirrels and other critters from digging up the bulbs. They find the texture of shells to be irritating and unpleasant when digging, and as a bonus the shells will release nutrients into the ground that will help nourish the bulbs! Happy planting!



Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

September Annuals

We grew many annuals and perennials in our yard this year. Here is photos of the annuals that we grew. Some of the plants include Tomatoes, Dusty Miller, Coleus, Gerber Daisies and Marigolds. All of the colors are so vibrant and beautiful! The Marigolds are so bright and the yellow color is so nice! 

May Blooms 2016

Here are the spring bulbs and perennials growing around our yard for the month of May. Flowers include Johnny Jump Up’s, Yellow Tulips, Red Double Tulips, Flowering Quince, Thyme (in our Thyme Pathway), Callery Pear Tree, Daffodils, Purple Tulips, Weeping Cherry Tree, Orange Frittalaria, Japanese Andromeda, Creeping Phlox and Bleeding Hearts. All the colors are so nice to look at.

Cherry Blossoms and Sakura Matsuri

On Saturday April 30th, I went to see the Cherry Blossoms and Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It was such a beautiful and sunny day, it was no surprise that I was not the only one who thought to go that day. Most of the trees were at peak bloom at this time. The smell on the air was sweet, and the scenery was breath taking. In the front of the garden, was what I like to refer as the Cherry Blossom Alley. Planted here was large rows of Cherry Blossom trees, that created an alley down the center of grass. Everyone was sat under the trees, taking in the sights and smelling the sweet air. You could faintly hear the Sakura Matsuri festival going on within the garden from the alley. Past the Cherry Blossom Alley, was a pathway that went through giant bushes of Lilac. It was definitely a photo-op spot and I even captured three different shades of Lilac in the same bushel! The pathway led to the heart of the Botanical Garden, where the festival was being held. There was a long piece of grass where pop-up shops selling books, candy, pillows, and kimonos (to name a few) resided. There was music being played over speakers, and there was even performances from J-pop groups and drummers. Everyone was happy to be there, many people were dressed up in cosplay of their favorite Japanese characters and celebrities. It was a fabulous day out in the beautiful weather, and the flowers were such a sight to see!

New Bulbs Coming Soon!

We recently just ordered a bunch of new bulbs for the fall and spring season! Some were bought as an anniversary gift to ourselves! For Bob’s koi pond, we purchased 3 water lilies, 1 water lettuce and 1 water hyacinth. The water lilies were bottom of the barrel bulbs, so we are not entirely sure what color they will turn out to be– I think they may turn out to be yellow. For the front garden, we bought 3 French Lavender Grosso. These Lavenders are much bigger than the English variety of Hidcote we usually plant. I am so excited for these to grow. We also purchased 25 Anemone Blanda Blue Star, 175 Crocus Speciosus, 25 Iris Reticulata, 100 Species Crocus Mix and 50 Species Crocus Romance (Chrysanthus.) All the colors are going to be beautiful, and I cannot wait for the fall and spring to see them bloom!

Project Bloom Update Late May 2015

These photos were taken on May 20th at Project Bloom’s gardens at Brookwood Hall, in East Islip. The vegetable beds are nearly completed and most are planted for the season. We’ve added a Kid’s Garden and a fun fence from reclaimed wood. Once the vegetable garden is done, our focus will be the memorial garden. We will continue to meet throughout the summer on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at 9:30 to plant perennials and to maintain our new garden beds.

May 7th, 2015

Beautiful flowers are in bloom in our yard at the moment! We have many different types of flowers including English Daisy (Bellis), Our Spring Bed which has Betty Boo Dwarf Iris, Inky Dink Iris, Double Cowslip Primrose, Basket of Gold which is a perennial allysum, Spice Bush Vibernum, Tulips, Daffodils and Creeping Phlox. In our Mailbox Bed we have hostas. In our yard we also have Asiatic Lilies, Tulips, Iris, more Daffodils, Chierianthus (Wallflowers), Foxglove (from last year seedlings), a cool variety of daffodil which is white with an orange center, and we also have Chinese Dunce Caps (Orostachys iwarenge.)

What’s in bloom for May

Take a look at what’s growing in our yard at the moment. All the colors are so beautiful and vibrant. The flowers blooming this month include Johnny Jump Ups, Yellow Tulips, Red Double Tulips, Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles), A pathway made of Thyme, A Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Callery Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana), Purple Tulips, Weeping Cherry Tree, Orange frittalaria, Japanese Andromeda (pieris) and Creeping Phlox. I said it last month, and I will say it again– this is by far my favorite time of the year!

What’s in bloom for late April

Here’s what is blooming in our yard during late April. I love this time of the year– every day something new is coming up from the ground! Some of the flowers blooming include Daffodils, Flowering Quince, Yellow Epimedium, White Rock Cress, Small Spirea, Coral Bells (Heuchera) and Creeping Sedum, Bleeding Hearts, Forsytheia and Vinca Vine. The Bleeding Hearts are so cute! 

Crocus Flowers

Our Crocus flowers were in full bloom on Monday (April 13th) , and now they’re starting to fade. Here are a few closeups of them while they were in their prime. Crocus are awesome plants to have, because they come back every year and the colors are bright and beautiful no matter what strain of plant you are growing. 

Cherry Trees in Bloom in D.C.

These photos were taken last weekend on April 10th by my friend Gail Griffin. She writes “I lucked out this year and hit the cherry blossoms at the exact hour of peak (the National Park Service really does time this!) It was just gorgeous… weather wasn’t great so no blue sky but beautiful flowers. Today all the little and pink and white petals are carpeting the ground. As I’m sure you know they don’t last long but they sure are gorgeous. People describe them as marshmallows on branches.”


first day of spring

Spring has sprung!

The first day of Spring has arrived with a blast of snow, and with it took (hopefully) the last of winter! It snowed all morning and a bit of the afternoon, but once the sun came out it all cleared up quickly. We can finally see the snowdrops and crocus blooming though the last of the snow.

Red Finch Egg

Red Finch Egg

Normal sized egg for this finch is small, but this egg was extra tiny. I had to photograph it on a dime to show just how small and perfect this one was.

Red Finch Egg