Author: Louise Hogan

Well-Read Intentions For Gardening in the New Year

Now that we’re well into the new year, we’ve all had plenty of time to think about our New Year Resolution. I don’t know what your dictionary says, but mine says the meaning of resolution is to resolve something. How many of us have actually done that? Now…intention, consideration, contemplation? Those are better ”tion” words to use after the words “New Year.” As for what my New Year “Intention” is, I want to, well…read more. Taking into consideration I have hundreds of books (all of which my mother has read!) that I’ve been contemplating reading, if only I put my smartphone down more often! With that said, when searching for well-read gardening books, I require not only to be entertained, but to learn from it, and, to be visually inspired…and dream! So here are a few books (that I would like to add to my already bulging bookcases) that fit my requirements: For Entertainment: The Botanical Treasury: Celebrating 40 of The Worlds most Fascinating Plants through Historical Art and Manuscripts by Christopher Mills. If you’re a …

Take a Bough!

If you haven’t noticed already, Christmas trees are being sold at every lot, corner, and Christmas tree farm as far as the eye can see! And…little did you know, those are the best places to….’take a bough’! Evergreen bough that is…let me explain…

Halloween Hoopla!

Ghosts and goblins, spiders and bats,
Witches and skeletons, pumpkins or cats…

Whether you make elaborate or simple choices when decorating for Halloween, there are so many options it’s rather spooky. It always amazes me the amount of effort some people put into this bewitching day. I, for one, lean toward the simple side. But I must admit, to this day, I’m the elaborate one when it comes to the candy! What’s Halloween without the treats, right? I always manage to end up with 2 months supply, for that 1 day event, even though I know I’ll only get a handful of trick or treaters showing up on my door step. But I digress…

My Halloween requires only pumpkins, gourds, and Mums (one of the few fall flowers that actually likes the cooler weather)…and a seasonal wreath for my door. Oh, and a talking witch stirring her cauldron and a dancing, singing skeleton (I do that for my grandson and husband). Although, it does crack me up when listening to the witch list the ingredients that she’s stirring in the pot, and the skeleton’s ‘super freaky’ song!

Here are some ideas for your Halloween decor:

Prep ‘n’ Check for Spring!

Looking back on those mid-winter days, I thought about how winter in my area had been kind to us. But even so, the view out my window was colorless and dull, except for a few patches of green grass holding out, taunting winter to be it’s final demise until Spring. Well, taunt no more, it did happen! We had the worst cold streak, which definitely got me hunkered down with hot tea in hand. I figured if there was ever a good time to prepare a checklist for Spring, it was now…..

The Easter Lily!

As the saying goes…”To gild a lily is to attempt, foolishly, to improve on perfection.” Easter Day is a time for sunrise and church services, and families gathering to rejoice and celebrate a cherished tradition of life and hope on that glorious day of resurrection. The one floral symbol decorating homes and churches in abundance on that spectacular day is the Easter Lily! The pure white, trumpet-shaped flowers of the Easter Lily symbolize purity, and the fragrance is heavenly! bit.ly/1VnGB9z When buying the Easter Lily for your home, or giving as a gift, look for an average sized plant (not too tall or short) with healthy, green foliage from top to bottom. To extend the bloom time, make sure the buds are in various bloom, from unopened buds, to half-opened, to full bloom. Easter Lilies prefer bright, indirect light, and cooler temperatures away from drafts, heat, and drying air. Water when the soil feels dry, but don’t over water or let it set in water. Also, remove flowers as they lose their luster. When all the …

There’s a Little Bit of Irish in All of Us!

As luck would have it, with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I found a Shamrock plant, (Oxalis, the lucky clover). The lucky part about it? I found it at my local grocery store, and it’s easy to care for!     As a house plant, it loves bright, indirect light, cooler temperatures, and kept evenly moist and well drained.    This Shamrock plant has delicate, white flowers that set above a generous mound of dark olive green, 3-leaf clovers (leaves)! In the evening, the flowers close and the leaves droop down, but in the daylight hours, it perks right up again!    It will have a dormant period in winter, so don’t worry when it looks a little under the weather. Set it aside for 2 to 3 months until it’s ready to grow again. Link to bulbs (not grown plant): bit.ly/1QKeMVC   Not all clovers are alike, and this Shamrock plant is different from the clover I find on my lawn. I, along with my grandson, search for the elusive 4-leaf clover all the time, and although he has found a few, I have yet to be lucky enough to find one…..or is it patient …

Spring Ahead Before It’s Time!

The English proverb “good things come to those who wait” must have been penned by someone who lived in the tropics and never had to go through a winter. We all know it’s not quite time to turn our clocks ahead, but let’s face it, we all want something before it’s time. And for me, that would be Spring! If patience eludes you too, and you need to spring ahead right now, here’s some insight and direction on how to jump start the season by forcing flower bulbs indoors. No, you don’t literally force bulbs to go inside….you force them to bloom inside! The easiest bulbs to force are the Paperwhites (Narcissus). Since they are tropical bulbs they don’t need a freezing period in order to bloom. amzn.to/1T6nVeF This is so easy you’re going to think you’ve missed a step! 1. You’ll need a tall, wide mouth, clear glass cylinder or hurricane vase. The taller the better, since Paperwhites tend to flop over from being top heavy when flowering. amzn.to/1QqjoBp  or  amzn.to/1oPOIPr 2. Place polished river stones on …

Love in Bloom!

How do I love thee, let me count the ways…. When I hear that quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I can’t help but think of plucking petals off a daisy and thinking….he loves me, he loves me not, or, she loves me, she loves me not, as the poem goes. You probably won’t be picking petals off of a daisy to come to that conclusion, but instead, trying to figure out what flowers to give your loved one or endearing other to show your love. Seriously though, there is nothing better than a vase filled with a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers or roses….I know because I’ve been on the receiving end, and they are truly beautiful! But if you’re looking for something with longevity, there are plenty of other options with potted flowers and plants! This Valentine’s Day, I hope everyone is feeling the love, so here’s my take! Let’s face it, a bouquet of Red Roses are the epitome of Valentine’s Day, but as a potted plant, Red Roses will continue to bloom …

Going Green with Natural Air Purifiers!  

I was sitting on my porch swing, breathing in the fresh air and basking in the warmth of the sun, soaking up as much of it as I could before winter realizes that it was supposed to be a happening thing at this time of year! (It was Christmas Eve day and 72 degrees in upstate New York!). Then my mind drifted off to the inevitable….it will come!   Bitter cold, that cringe-worthy weather that will force us to spend most of our time cooped up inside, breathing in toxic, stale air in our poorly ventilated, airtight homes and windowless work places.   Research shows that toxic chemicals called VOCs, volatile organic compounds, can be harmful to our health at high levels. One of these toxins is formaldehyde, which is found in everything from new carpets to paints.    But research also shows that “going green” with potted plants, can help improve indoor air quality. They filter and refresh, by reducing and absorbing these toxic pollutants.     Here’s a proven list of some of those hardworking, air purifying plants. And don’t worry about having a green thumb, these are …