Gilbert Mural

I got this message last year on Facebook….

12/2/19, 11:25 PM   Misty Willis
Hi! I am a 6th grade teacher in Gilbert, Arizona. I would like to have my students create a sunflower mural on our garden wall and I’m hoping you can give me some advice. Wondering how you superimposed the design onto the wall. Also, do you have a recommendation for the process? I’m assuming clean the wall, put the blue paint on using either brushes or rollers, and then add the sunflowers on the bottom with sponges? Also, do you have a suggestion for what type/colors of paint? Any words of wisdom you can offer would be so appreciated. I am no artist but I do have a passion for inspiring my students to love learning, nature, and themselves. Thanks so much. Misty

12/13/19, 10:43 AM   VanDyke Gardens
Hi Misty
I just found your request. Sorry, I don’t go on Facebook much. I am glad you like the mural. This was created over about 7 days last February (in Tempe!)  I will put up a post on my website on how this was done, step by step, and share that with you.  I will try to get it done over the weekend.


12/15/19, 9:47 PM   Misty Willis
Oh my goodness! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am excited to tell you that I have partnered with the leader of our SPICE program (kids with autism) to turn the mural into a sensory garden. The circle center of each flower will have tactile items her kids can touch (buttons, bottle caps, carpet scraps, etc.) I GREATLY appreciate your advice and will send you a picture when ours is done. As excited as my 6th graders are about the painting and the gardening, they are even more excited about service to our SPICE kids and that fills my heart beyond description. 🙂


12/25/19, 12:20 PM   VanDyke Gardens
Hi Misty, Here’s the blog post with the description of how I painted the sunflower mural. Hope you have a Merry Christmas. Good luck with your project with your students. I would love to see a photo of your mural.

12/26/19, 11:16 PM    Misty Willis
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you also! You are a Godsend! Thank you SO much for taking the time to create this detailed explanation. We are back to school January 6th and will begin work on our project shortly thereafter. I will send you a picture of the completed project. Wish me luck! 🙂


12/27/19, 12:34 PM   VanDyke Gardens
I hope my photos help.  I applaud all beautification efforts. Happy for your students!!!


11/14/20  12:08 PM   Misty Willis
Hello again! My 6th graders last year started our garden mural. They painted the wall blue and added flowers and stems. Then we left for spring break and never came back because of covid. 😢 My 6th graders this year just finished painting the grass, clouds, sun, and butterflies. We still have to add the sensory touch items but I wanted to share the finished painting with you. It’s so cool to have a vision and then see it come to fruition. Thank you again for taking the time to help and inspire me.

11/18/20    8:30 AM   VanDyke Gardens
Hi Misty. I wanted to write and tell you how beautiful your mural is. I was very moved by your note when I got it the other night. Now that I can see the photos big on my computer and not just my phone, I can’t stop looking at them! The kids did a great job and it’s truly a beautiful and cheerful wall. It looks massive! How long is the painting? I love all the variety of fantastic and imaginative flowers and the butterflies are wonderful. All of your students should be very proud every time they see it. I love the idea of making the walls tactile, and I am sure the kids in the SPICE program will be grateful too. It makes me so happy to think I helped you in any way to accomplish this beautiful wall. I hope everyone who sees it feels happy too. Thank you so much for sharing this story with me. Would you mind if I shared our conversation on my website and facebook?

11/18/20  10:30 PM    Misty Willis
Thank you so much! And, of course you may share! Warmest regards, Misty


Painting the Sunflower Mural

How I painted the Sunflower Mural

I was recently contacted by a 6th grade teacher in Gilbert, AZ, who wanted to paint a sunflower mural with her students.
I offered to try to explain my process step-by-step.
I am not a professional painter, and I have no idea if this is the best way to do this or not. But it worked for this project.

Here's a photo explanation of the process to paint this sunflower mural.  This is about 22 feet long and about 6 feet high. 


STEP ONE: Get inspiration.

 I found this image online of a sunflower field, and I liked the idea of a few big flowers in the front with smaller "blurry" sunflowers in the background.

Next I found this image that I liked for the field of sunflowers in the background.

Basically the idea was a mix of light and dark green for the background leaves, and bigger sunflowers in the front, with smaller circles of sunflowers in the back.

Then I searched google for images of individual sunflowers, until I found a bunch of images I liked.
I used these as the inspiration for the individual large sunflowers:

I wanted my mural to have a cardinal, so I chose this image as inspiration:

I liked the leaves on this drawing above, and also used this photo below as inspiration for painting the leaves.



I am a web designer/graphic designer, so I use Photoshop at work.
To plan the mural design, I used Photoshop to create layers of images which I could superimpose over a photo of the blank wall. 

First I took a photo of the blank wall, and cropped out the background, to focus on the mural area and remove any obstructions.

Then I took my inspirational images of sunflowers, and cropped or edited them to rotate them, and add stems and leaves, etc. 
Then I placed the images of the sunflowers and the cardinal in the approximate locations, and adjusted them for size. 
I wanted this to look good from far away, so I made the sunflowers pretty big.

Then I planned the background of the mural. Using spray paint, I would add light blue to the already dark blue wall,  to brighten the sky, and white to make fluffy clouds. 
Next, I figured out about how high the background flowers would go: About 2 blocks of the wall, so that the background didn't interfere with the big flowers.

With all image and background layers turned on, I decided to paint a tan color onto the two vertical block sections at the ends of the mural, add add brown accent lines, to make it look more like an opening in the wall to the sunflower field. 

  So this was my final design plan.

I printed out several copies of this design and taped them to the wall while I was working.
I also printed out blown up images of the individual flowers, so I could look at the details for the images as I painted.

The bottom background field of flowers was painted by two friends, while I focused on the larger flowers and the cardinal.
The entire project took about a week with the three of us working for several hours each day.
It was painted on a cinder block wall in Tempe, AZ, so the paint dried VERY quickly, and we could keep going without waiting for paint to dry. 




I started out by using white paint and a large brush to quickly sketch out the general area where each big flower would go.

The next step was to spray paint the light blue color over most of the background to color the sky. I also used the light blue swirls to define the area for the clouds, then used white, spraying in a circular pattern to make the clouds. 

Note about paint: Except for the spray paint used on the background, for all the other paints, I used plain old exterior house paint, or interior/exterior acrylic paint. I didn't use that many colors in total. I mixed them in old plastic take-out containers and just covered them at night. I got some of the small "sample" cans at Ace for most of the colors. We got quarts for the most used colors like yellow.

I painted brown circles over the white outlines, to define where the center of each large flower would go. Once the centers were defined, I began creating the basic outline of the flower petals using a single color of medium yellow. I used the printouts of the inspirational sunflowers to give me a general shape for each. It's completely okay if the petals or flower shapes don't match the plan exactly, because as long as it looks like a flower, it's perfect. 

For the background field of flowers, we started with two dark shades of green, a pine green and a more olive green. and painted the colors on in blotches over the bottom rows of cinder blocks. We stayed to mostly the bottom two rows of blocks for the background greens, and we let some of the blue background show through.

The next photo shows the basic shape of each flower is put in place with just the brown center and yellow petals. I also put in the red shape for the cardinal. Then we added two more shades of blotchy color to the bottom background field, using a lighter greenish blue and a lighter olive green. The next step for the bottom field of flowers is to add the yellow circles for the sunflowers. We put smaller yellow circles near the top and the larger yellow circles near the bottom.

In the next photo, the flowers are starting to get more details. For the larger flowers, once the basic shapes were put into place, I added stems by drawing dark green straight lines down from the center of the brown circles, then added dark green outlines and filled in for the shape of the leaves and the green on the back of the flower heads. Then I added a pale orange color to the yellow flowers to create more depth, using the printouts of inspirational flowers as a guide. Below, Maria adds brown centers to the background field of flowers, with the help of Poppy who has her back.

In the next photo, the large flowers all have the pale orange color added.  The background field of yellow flowers are mostly in place now, and most of the light brown centers have already been aded too. The cardinal has an orange beak.

In the following photo, more details were added. The next steps were to put red paint on the sunflowers to show off the darker highlights. I used white and brown to put in details on the unopened sunflower (third from left). The background field of sunflowers is now complete, with darker brown centers added to create more depth

The next step was to detail the leaves. The leaves have dark and light green areas added to show folds and depth, and light green veins added. I printed the leaf inspirational printouts in black and white, so I could focus on the veins and dark and light areas more easily. 

The last step was to add details to the brown sunflower centers to look more like seeds. And to add details to the cardinal to give him a face and some feathers. 

That's it! I hope this tutorial is helpful and it inspires someone to paint something fun on their walls!  


We painted the blocks on each end of the mural in a creamy white shade, and added brown lines to create the "opening" in the wall looking out at the field of sunflowers.

The mural was completed in February of 2018 and still looks good almost 2 years later. 


Here's some photos of the individual flowers, so you can see the details. 


Don't forget to sign it!!


Early May 2018

Many flowers are currently in bloom around the yard. Flowers growing include: Alyssum, Anemone, Primrose, Double Cowslip Primrose, Basket of Gold, Betty Boop Iris, Inky Dink Iris, Many varieties of Daffodils in yellow and white, Muscari and Valerie Finnis. We also had geese visit our yard with their new cute babies. Spring is finally here and we are very excited for more blooms! 

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Backyard Snow Drops

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

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Morning Glory Mural

Here is a mural of Morning Glory flowers I painted on the side of our shed in the backyard. I love how it came out! The blue is so vibrant against the green background. 

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Swallowtail Caterpillar

A Swallowtail Caterpillar makes breakfast out of the parsley seedlings still in cell packs in the backyard. It’s worth the sacrifice to get a Swallowtail butterfly!!

July 26, 2017

Here is what’s currently growing around the yard, all of the colors are so wonderful. The first photo is all the plants that we bought to transfer into the ground. I love the orange lilies, the way they hang and the speckling on the petals is so interesting. We also have coleus growing inside of an old water fountain towards the back of the house. 

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July 2017 Garden Events

This July there are many gardening events happening around Long Island. Here’s a list of things you can do this month and get outdoors! 

Farmers Markets – There are many farmers markets happening around the Island, click here to read our article on where you can find them! 

Tai Chi & Yoga – Throughout the Spring and Summer, at Old Westbury Gardens. For more information, click here. 

Bayard Cutting Arboretum Guided Tours – Free guided tours around the gardens every Saturday starting at 11AM. For more information, click here.

Talk and Tour at Old Westbury Gardens – Every Sunday and Wednesday throughout July, “Experience Art in the Landscape at Old Westbury Gardens.” For more information, click here.

The Lawn Expert! – Free lawn care advice in person or via email, Tuesdays through the end of October at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton. For more information, click here.

Botanicals with Watercolor and Colored Pencil – Thursday mornings throughout July and August, sponsored by the Peconic Land Trust. Class size is limited ($20/ class.) For more information, click here.

Visit Madoo Garden! – Open every Friday and Saturday from Noon to 4PM through September 15th. For more information, click here.

Seasonal Highlights at BBG – Throughout July, enjoy a free garden wide walk at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. For more information, click here.

Visit Longhouse Reserve – Come visit Longhouse Reserve Gardens in East Hampton on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information, click here.

Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies tour at NYBG – Saturdays through August 26th, visit New York Botanical Gardens for a colorful tour watching butterflies, birds and dragonflies in their natural habitats. For more information, click here.

Recycle the Rain – Open to North Hempstead Residents ONLY. For more information, click here.

Learn How to Compost – Open to North Hempstead Residents ONLY. For more information, click here.

CHIHULY – Through October 29th, World-Renowed Sculptor Dale Chihuly will be featured in NYBG. For more information, click here.

LI Dahlia Society – Saturday Mornings through November, LI Dahlia Society volunteers will meet at Bayard Cutting Arboretum. For more information, click here.

Smart Garden Exhibit – Through January 2018, visit the smart garden exhibit at BBG. For more information, click here.

Thank you to Long Island Garden Events for the original information. To read more,  click here.

May 23, 2017

Here are some of the plants that are currently growing around the yard. All of the colors are so beautiful and vibrant. I love how the hanging plants colors all mix together. Look at how large the hosta in the front plant pot grew! The red daisies against the lush green of the leaves is a sight to see. There are many seedlings also growing in the greenhouse. I can’t wait to plant them all! 

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State Parks in Your Backyard!

Did you know that out of the 180 state parks in New York, 24 of them are located on Long Island? State Parks are a great way to get out with the family or friends and have a day surrounded by nature and taking in the natural beauty of the great outdoors. How many of these parks have you visited?

Bethpage State Park
99 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, Farmingdale
Fee: $8 per car

Hempstead Lake State Park
Off the Southern State Parkway in West Hempstead
Fee: $8 per car

Jones Beach State Park
2400 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh
Fee: $10 per car during the week, $8 weekends and holidays

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay
Fee: $8 per car

Trail View State Park
Jericho Turnpike (Route 25), 1/4 mile west of Woodbury Road, Woodbury
Fee: No Fee 

Valley Stream State Park
Exit 15A, Southern State Parkway, Valley Stream
Fee: $8 per car

Belmont Lake State Park
Exit 38, Southern State Parkway, North Babylon
Fee: $8 per car

Brentwood State Park
375 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood 
Fee: No Fee

Caleb Smith State Park Reserve
Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown
Fee: No Fee

Camp Hero State Park
1898 Montauk Highway east to the end, Montauk
Fee: $8 per car

Captree State Park
Off Robert Moses Causeway, West Islip Captree Boat Basin
Fee: $8 per car

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
25 Lloyd Harbor Road, West Neck Road north from Huntington Village, Lloyd Neck
Fee: $8 per car

Cold Spring Harbor State Park
Route 25A across from the harbor, Cold Spring Harbor
Fee: No Fee

Connetquot River State Park Preserve
Sunrise Highway, Oakdale
Fee: No Fee

Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park
North End of the Sunken Meadow State Parkway, Kings Park
Fee: $10 per car, $8 weekends and holidays

Heckscher State Park
Southern State Parkway east to south end of Heckscher Parkway, East Islip
Fee: $8 per car

Hither Hills State Park
164 Old Montauk Highway (Route 27), 4 miles west of hamlet of Montauk
Fee: $10 per car

Montauk Downs State Park
50 S. Fairview Avenue, North of Route 27, Montauk
Fee: No Fee

Montauk Point State Park
2000 Montauk Highway, Route 27 East to end, Montauk
Fee: $8 per car

Nissequogue River State Park
799 Saint Johnland Road, Kingspark
Fee: $8 per car 

Orient Beach State Park
40000 Main Road, (Route 25), Orient
Fee: $10 per car

Robert Moses State Park
Sagtikos Parkway South to Robert Moses Causeway to western Fire Island
Fee: $10 per car

Shadmoor State Park
900 Montauk Highway, Montauk
Fee: No Fee

Wildwood State Park
790 Hulse Landing Road, north of Sound Avenue, Wading River
Fee: $10 per car

Thank you to Newsday 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. 

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April 11th, 2017

Spring is here, which means flowers are popping up all over the yard! Here is what is currently growing in our yard. The flowers include Chionodoxa, Pink and Purple Hyacinth, Crocus, Flowering Quince, Dark Purple Hyacinth, Lots and lots of Daffodils, and Mini Grape Hyacinths. This is gonna be a good spring for growing flowers! 

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Thanksgiving 2016

This Thanksgiving, Bob and I took a walk at the Arboretum; we walked the Greenbelt Trail. Look at this cool tree we came upon! Later that day Bob made a centerpiece from flowers he found in our yard. Our friend Margie also sent us a photo of a similar idea for a centerpiece that she made from flowers in her yard. 

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Fall Perennials

Here are the perennials growing for fall right now. We managed to capture a photo of a bumble bee perched on one of the flowers along the shed. He must have been in the process of pollinating! I love when plants bloom during the fall, its a beautiful mix of summer plants with the new winter plants. 

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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! 

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This year we had a few annuals grow back up for us. The reason the plants came back up is because they re-seeded themselves. This phenomenon can happen with both annuals and biennials. We like to call these reseeding plants,  Our Volunteers. I wish all my annuals would do that every year! I especially love the deep color of the purple Oxalis. 

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New Shed in the backyard

Bob is working on building us a new shed in the back corner to put all the crap that doesn’t fit in the other shed. Our friend Cindy had a new patio poured at her condo and Bob and I collected up the 1000 old pavers in many trips in the truck! And a couple of years ago, when we had the driveway installed to replace the pea gravel that was there, we had the guys scrape off the old gravel and dump it in a pile in the back. We wheelbarrowed in the gravel and laid the pavers over it for the floor of the new shed. Looks great. Bob cut down our original Christmas tree because it would have had to come down eventually, and this way it doesn’t crush the new shed. It was from our first year in the house – and was 35 feet tall! There will be 2 entrances with glass doors and 3 windows, all salvaged from our house or someone else’s trash. Photos of the progress are attached below!

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Wasp Nests!

A couple of days ago, I noticed a large almost bee-hive looking ball in my front yard Dogwood. Upon closer examination- it turns out to be a giant wasps nest! Not only was there one wasp nest- there was two. Right above where I park my car to boot! We have called an exterminator to help us deal with this problem and remove the nests, but for now they stay. You can capture wasps just like yellow-jackets, if you are worried about them flying in your backyard and potentially stinging someone. You can read our article on How To Make A Yellow-Jacket Trap to help guide you through building a trap. Heres what the nests look like in our tree.

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Our Garden Update 8/3/16

Here is a few photographs of what is growing in our garden. Last season we planted black beans, and only got around 16 to grow. But this year, we got at least 40! I was so thrilled! Look how the contrast of the black beans against the blue bowl made it seem white in the picture, how strange! We also planted a Lemon Cucumber. In every sense of the word, it is a cucumber- it just looks like a lemon. There was no difference in taste. 

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What’s in Bloom, July 7th 2016

There are many flowers blooming in our yard right now. The flowers growing include beautiful Pink Geraniums, yellow and orange Marigolds, Portulaca, Petunia, Small Polka Dot Plant, Coleus, Euphorbia, Hostas, Creeping Jenny, Knockout Rose, Tomato Plant, Rainbow Swiss Chard, White Asiatic Lilies and Day Lilies. All the colors and scents are so amazing. I just love the summer! 

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Ireland Itinerary

Ireland Plan: September 7 to 17th.

To see the Trip Advisor reviews for each B&B, click on a date (number) on the map, or click on the B&B name in the text below.

Once at Trip Advisor, click on the link to “See Traveler Photos” of each inn.

Ireland Plan: September 7 to 17th.

To see the Trip Advisor reviews for each B&B, click on a date (number) on the map, or click on the B&B name in the text below.

Once at Trip Advisor, click on the link to "See Traveler Photos" of each inn.

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.

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Shrubs around the Yard

Here are some beautiful photos of the assorted shrubs and plants growing in our yard at the moment. Plants growing include Service Berry, Pussy Willow, Spice Bush, Lenten Rose, Mohican Viburnum, Leather Leaf Viburnum, Plum Tree, Forsythia (I just love the color!), Pieris Andromeda, Spirea, Eastern Red Bud and our Magnolia Flower is starting to bloom as well!  

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Painted Daisy Seedlings

We planted these Painted Daisy seeds last year, and transplanted them into the garden in early fall. I wanted to share these photos of the painted daisy seedlings from this week.

We gave a lot of these perennials out at Project Bloom last year, and now that they are coming up, I want to help prevent them from being accidentally weeded!

The Latin name is Chrysanthemum coccineum. The flowers are great, showy and cheerful. The foliage is feathery and ferny.

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Crocus in March

Most of these bulbs have been blooming for dozens of years. There was a large crocus field in the corner of the yard when we moved in 22 years ago. We’ve moved them around as new beds were added. I keep trying to naturalize them in the front strip of grass by the street, but I think it’s too shady… Some of these crocus bulbs were planted last fall, especially the yellow, orange, and dwarf white ones.

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Spring Blooms – March 17, 2016

This week is all about the crocus in bloom, but there are other things popping up in the garden too. Flowers include Snowdrops, Daffodils, Vinca Vine, Crocus, Reticulated Iris, Tulips, Day Lilies, Lily of the Valley and Lenten Rose. The Reticulated Iris is such a deep royal purple, its just lovely to look at. 

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Our Garden – November 12, 2015

Come see what is in bloom for the month of November in our garden right now! We have been doing a lot of work in the yard recently as well. We have put down a foundation for the new greenhouse in the backyard, we have started to form a rock garden, and we put down new stepping stones in the front yard. Some of the flowers growing include Gerber Daisies, Hydrangeas and Atrium. 

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Rose Colors and Meanings

Each variety of rose has its own meaning. Here is a chart of each color and meaning, so you don’t give the wrong color (or impression) next time you hand out these faithful flowers.


























Thank you ProFlowers for the original information. You can read more here. 

Christmas Tree Safety

Throughout the month of December, it is important to check your Christmas tree for watering daily (if you always have a live tree.) According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Here are some tips to remember during the christmas season, to ensure your house doesn’t go up in flames.

  1. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  2. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1″ – 2″ from the base of the trunk.
  3. If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.Be sure to keep it at least three feet away from radiators or any heat source and to always turn off the lights before going to sleep.
  4. When decorating the tree, make sure there is no broken, worn, or loose bulbs on a string of lights.
  5. Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  6. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  7. Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  8. The holiday season is over, get rid of your tree when it begins to drop needles. Dried-out trees are just as much of a fire hazard than you think. Never keep it in a garage or placed outside against the home.

Thank you to the National Fire Protection Association for the original information. You can read more here. 

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!

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Whats In Bloom: Mid-July

Here are some photos of what is currently blooming in our yard. The plants that are blooming include daisies, hydrangeas, Asiatic lilies, Thyme, Our flowering Quince is growing back with vengeance, Tomatoes, and many different types of annuals in our containers. There is so much color and new plants growing in this warm summer heat. Love it! 

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What’s In Bloom for Early July

There are many plants blooming in our yard right now. We also had a visit from a woodpecker that flew into our back door, he took some time after impact to collect his bearings on the back steps. The large flowering quince from the corner of the yard was chopped down, it made room for many small plants and now we can see the street from that side of the yard! And we also found a nest in the Dwarf Alberta Spruce in the center of the front yard, there was 5 tiny eggs inside. Some of the plants in bloom are Asiatic Lilies, Black Eyed Susans, Blue eyed Mist and Thyme in the pathway.

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What’s Growing in our Containers

Here’s currently what is in bloom in our myriad of planters and containers. We are growing Rosemary Begonia, Hypoestis, Clivia, Orchids, Assorted Annuals, Snake Plant, Jenny Salvia, Dusty Miller, Marigold, Petunia, Dianthus, Coleus and Rubber Tree Plants.  The large blue pots were refurbished, we painted them over in blue house paint to make them look as good as new! 

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New Dianthus

Take a look at all the new Dianthus growing in our garden at the moment! Dianthus is so pretty and small. Varieties we are growing include Raspberry Parfait and Clove Scented. Raspberry Parfait is definitely one of my favorite strains, the pink against the white is so vibrant and brings a breath of fresh air to any garden.  

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Our Ferns

Ferns are a great way to get foliage coverage around the yard. Here are the some varieties of ferns that are growing in our yard. Varieties include Lady, Ostrich and Japanese Painted. The green color is so bright and eye-catching. Ferns are a beautiful foliage to grow in the garden and around the yard, everyone should have some!   

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Our New Beds

Here are some photos of the newly planted beds that are in our garden. Hopefully they stay like they are before the squirrels get to them! We have planted Lilac, Gerber Daisies, Lobelia, Hypoestis, Balloon Flower, Coleus, Dianthus, Dobule Petunias, Rosie O’Day Alyssum, Snapdragons, Pulmonaria, and Primrose. We have pulled out the large Threadleaf Cyprus in the front yard to make room as well. 

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Aftermath of our Squirrels

Here are some photos of what the squirrels that live by us are doing. They keep chewing up some of our plants and the fruits we are growing in our garden! So far, we have lost some strawberries, one of our sweet potatoes, and some bulbs. Squirrels are the worst during the Spring. Curse these pests! 

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What’s In Bloom Early June 2015

Here’s currently what is in bloom in our garden. There are many plants including: Columbine, Snapdragons, Rhododendron, Lupine, Tree Peonies, Geum, Blueberries, Thyme, Strawberries, Spiderwort, Rose Campion, Snigle Mock Orange Shrubs, Foxglove, Lavender, Kousa Dogwood Tree, Irises, Houttania, Hens and Chicks, Euonymous Lilac, Painted Daisies, Double Mock Orange, Knockout Rose, Our Vegetable Garden, Marigolds, Gerber Daisies, Dusty Millar Hosta, Blue Mist Hydrangea Shrub, Snowmound Spirea and Azalea. 

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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.)

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Blue and Gold Spring Bed

This bed located in our backyard, right by the back door where I can see these bulbs all the time.. Some of the flowers include Cowslip Primrose, Basket of Gold Allysum, Powder Blue Mini Hyacinths (Valerie Finnis) Muscari, and dwarf iris. I love how the colors look next to each other. So cheerful this time of year.

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Our Bleeding Hearts

Here is a collection of photos of our Bleeding Heart plants from this season. I love the bright pink color at the top of the flower. I think they are so pretty and quaint. Bleeding hearts are such a great plant to have around the garden for pops of color, there is also varietals that come in white. 

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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!

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Our Flowering Quince

Here’s a few photos of the flowering quince on the corner of our property. It was here when we bought the house, and has been growing ever since! I think it’s got to be at least 75 years old, maybe as old as 90. It’s a painful plant however, from its long sharp thorns. Also it does not produce the quince fruit, it just flowers– which isn’t a bad thing! I have hacked it down many times, but it always come back with a vengence.

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Our Daffodil Beds for April

Here are the beds in the front and on the side of the house that contain our beautiful Daffodils. We have so many Daffodils that our yard is a sea of yellow in the springtime. The only downside to having so many of these flowers, is fighting off the squirrels from stealing our bulbs.

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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! 

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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. 

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Lilacs are a favorite of mine. I love the way they smell, the way they look, I love everything about them. We have 5 different varieties of lilacs in our yard. They include Sensation lilacs, Primrose lilacs, Giant White lilacs, Josee lilac, and the Big Standard lilac. I was amazed that all of these different varieties were in bloom at the same time. All these photos were taken on the same day: May 16, 2014.

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From Snowfall to Snowdrops

All the snow that we had this season finally melted to reveal beautiful mounds of snowdrops under the hickory tree. It was refreshing seeing these small plants pop up after all the snow we had. Large clumps of sweet smelling flowers peaking through the underbrush was a great way to end the long, cold winter. 

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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.

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Peanut Plant Seedlings

Peanut Plant Seedlings

Bob has been growing Peanuts the last few years from some seeds we got while away on vacation. I started them very early this year! Bob bought two peanut seeds on a trip back home from Georgia, that was a few years ago. Every year we manage to get maybe 2 or three little peanuts from these plants and keep growing them! 

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Basement Crocus

At the end of December, I bought some bulbs that were too great a deal to miss. Unfortunately the ground froze for good right after that. So I stuck them in pots on the floor in the basement. Once they started to pop up, they got moved to the basement window. Here are pictures of the Crocus bulbs blooming in our basement. Look at how cheerful it looks in front of the mounds of snow in the backyard!

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