Thursday, February 27, 2014


I don't care if it 'snowed' for a few hours this week.  The daffodils are blooming, so as far as I'm concerned, spring is officially on its way.

I had a nice little surprise Monday when I came home, a crocus.

I didn't plant it, and it hasn't bloomed in the 2 previous springs at my house.  I suspected there were some close to this location, but they have yet to bloom, so I was unsure.  I'm not sure *why* this crocus decided to bloom this year, but I like it, and I may plant more next fall.

Seed update:

I've stayed true to my word, and started seeds this year.  The first batch of seeds I started on the 15th were the ones that said plant 6-8 weeks before last frost.  (Our frost date is typically around April 15th) These include Malva, Foxglove, Strawberry Foxglove, Lilliput Asters.

Lilliput Aster

Strawberry Foxglove

They're all doing well so far, and all have germinated & my asters have even graduated from 2 leaves to real leaves.  They're doing so well, that I'm going to continue to leave them alone for a while. I have a feeling that the more I mess with them, the worse off they'll be.

I'm using rope lights instead of a heat mat.

I also got out my handy dandy Park's Seeds book, and read that my columbine seeds needed to chill in the refrigerator for 3 weeks before being moved to a sunny spot.  So that's where they are right now.  Who knew?

When I looked at the backs of my seed packets,  it turns out that I'll do plantings in 3 waves, the first wave was 2/15/14, the next wave is 3/1/14, and the last wave will be 3/15/14. 


Thank you all for not buying up all of the Buff Beauties at Rose Petals Nursery.  After talking with the wonderful people at Rose Petals Nursery, we decided my front yard may not be the perfect place for Buff Beauty.  They pointed me in the direction of China & Noisette roses for my front yard, and I selected the beautiful Cramoisi Superieur.  So come April I will be the proud owner of both roses, and I can't wait!

Buff Beauty
Cramoisi Superieur

Garden Maintenance
It's still too cold for me to really want to work in the yard, but I have started taking advantage of the warm moments, and I'm always thinking and planning.  The only thing I've really done so far is trim back the dead leaves on my hellebores.  I don't usually have to do this, but we don't usually get as much snow as we've had either.  The plants look unusually small now that they're trimmed up, but they're still blooming up a storm.  Here's a look at what else is on my list:
  • Move plants outside.  I kept a few plants in a cold room inside this winter, and I need to start moving them out so they will wake up. (completed 3/7/14)
  • Pick up sticks.  Sounds like a small task, but it's not.  I live in the woods, and we've had quite a few storms lately. (completed 3/9/14)
  • Fertilize.  It's time to start thinking about compost and mulch. (roses & boxwoods 3/11/14)
  • Pull up grass.  I'm slowly but surely moving to an all moss lawn.  I just work one section at a time.
  • Trim out dead blackberries, & mow over blackberries outside the fence line.

Spring Projects
  • Build 2 window boxes.
  • Add lattice for my confederate jasmine.
  • Build structure for my morning glories to climb.  I want to do two fixed posts with a twine spiderweb in between.  This will make it easy to just cut down the vines when they die in the fall.
  • A raised bed for vines around a tree.
This post turned into more than just a few pictures of flowers, but if you live in the Chattanooga area, it's a good gauge of what you can be doing to get your garden ready for spring.  :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

february bloom day 2014

Happy Bloom Day Everyone!  The snow is almost gone, and although I don't have any full flowers yet, I do did see signs of springs when I walked around my yard today. The surest sign of spring are the daffodils, and yes, the very first bulbs have popped up through the much.  So yes, spring is just around the corner.

Before spring gets here, the hellebores will bloom, and they are getting very close.  I had to lift up the leaves, but the first of the hellebore buds are almost ready to go.

I was happy to see that the  Oak Leaf hydrangea sticks that I planted this fall have buds as well. I'm hoping they'll bloom this year, but I'll be happy if they grow from sticks into bushes.

The rhododendron has new leaves forming, and my azalea has managed to keep its buds.

All in all, this is about what I expected my yard to look like.  It's been a lot colder this year, so things are going to be a little slower to wake up from the winter nap.  I'm getting ready for spring though, I have seeds soaking tonight, and they will go into my mini greenhouses tomorrow!

To see what is blooming around the world, take a look at all the links posted at May Dreams Gardens!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

obligatory snow pictures - round two, take 2

If you live in the south, it is required to celebrate every snowflake that falls from the sky...because it could be 3 years before you see another one.  Today in Chattanooga it snowed, sleeted, rained, and is now snowing again, and I couldn't be happier.  It's warm enough that the roads aren't a mess, but cold enough that the snow is sticking on the grass.  Yay!!

Edit 2/14/14:
It's really hard to pick which pictures to post when you have 8 snow covered acres, and you explored half of it.  I was like a kid in a candy store (or better yet, me in a liquor store).  Do you know how many times I said to myself 'look, that tree is so pretty!' on my walk yesterday??  A LOT.

Since I originally posted snow pictures, we got a  TON of snow, and my first pictures now look pathetic.


Yay for snow!!! My freshly painted house looks so good in the snow.  Yes I'm bragging. Getting my house painted was a drawn out disaster I have decided not to blog about.  It's done and we're moving on, and it looks so good :)

I was fascinated with the drooping evergreens.  When I showed these pictures to my grandmother, she made up stories about each of the trees.  Some of them looked like old women, some men standing tall, and some looked dressed up to go to a party.  It was really cute.

With so much snow in the trees, all the pathways caught my eye too. 

And of course, I can't dump a bunch of snow pictures without posting pictures of the pond.  It didn't freeze, but hey, neither did the roads!

Yes, the best hing about this snow, was that the temperatures pretty much stayed just above freezing, so the roads were slushy in spots, but there was no ice! As such, I only ended up with a 2.5 hour delay into work (and just one day), but it was just enough time for me to get out and enjoy the snow.

I have to admit, snow like this, once every 3 years or so, is one of the many reasons I love being back in Chattanooga.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

kitchen progress - step 1 complete

Ladies and gentlemen, I now have a functioning ice maker.  I feel like an idiot for not fixing it sooner, but oh well.  I HAVE AN ICE MAKER!

The first part of my kitchen project is complete.  In addition to my amazing functioning ice maker I have a new pull out, under sink trash can, a vintage-inspired bread box for my spices, freshly painted cabinets, and a valance and some pillows & a valance made from the Chattanooga Toile.

Chattanooga Toile y'all

The biggest part of step one was the cabinets.  I thought the hardest part of this job was going to be painting the insides of the top cabinets.  It was time consuming, but not as time consuming as trying to paint both sides of my 1700kazillion cabinet doors.  Even with all 3 leaves in my dining room table, I only had room for 4 large doors and 3 skinny doors at a time.  It takes a lot of time for paint to dry when it's 12 degrees outside.  Even my dehumidifier was like, sorry, I'm not going to be able to help you.  None of the work was hard, per se, but waiting for paint to dry on the doors was the most time consuming part.  One coat of primer, and two coats of paint on both sides of the doors = a lot of time, when you can only do a handful of doors at a time. What I thought was going to take a week, ended up taking the better part of 3 weekends, lesson learned, but it was worth it!


I'd say this is an improvement.  I love my little bread box, and my milk glass lamps from Chattanooga Auction House are perfect. (More about the Auction House)  I had debated changing the knobs on the cabinet doors, but the contrast has grown on me, and I really do like the painted flowers, and mirrored outline. 

The next part of the kitchen project is the wall opposite my kitchen sink.  This is where I'm going to put floor-to-ceiling built in cabinets.  The pictures below show where we've been and where we're going.  There is an IKEA run in my future, and another weekend or two of working in my kitchen.

Side note:
I did learn a trick to painting around hinges.  Use two pieces of tape, and fold the edges like you're wrapping a present so that things stick and lay flat.  Wrap the flat part first, and the round part second.  Simple, and effective.  I was quite proud of myself for figuring that out.
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