22 March 2016

Prayers for Brussels

12 March 2016

It's begining to look like Spring

My Fairy Garden
It is beginning to look like Spring here and my little fairies could not be happier!

Today I removed the Christmas tree and the melting snowman from my little fairy garden out front. I removed the dead annuals and cleaned up the garden. To my delight my Silver Mound was green!

I picked up a new little house, two flowers, a cat on a stool, and a little white bench. I bought the items at Stauffers of Kissel Hill, the local home and garden shop where I work.

All the items are new items this year. The cat is called "Merriment Collection Mini Cat On Stool," it costs $8.99. The two flowers are also from the Merriment Collection. The mini potted geranium was $8.99, while the mini potted trellis is $7.99. The mini fairy garden dragonfly chair with table is $9.99.

SKH Photo
The house - that adorable house -  is actually called a mini garden fairy workshop with hinged door. The sunflowers are what drew my attention to it. I love that the door opens too, though I have to admit I am not sure how to fully utilize that feature. It measures 5.5" tall, 4" wide and 3.25" deep.

The house was a splurge for me, as it costs $24.99. Why do fairy garden accessories costs so much money?

We - Stauffers that is - have so many new and adorable fairy garden items this season. There is so many ideas I want to try with my fairy garden this year!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

08 March 2016

Flower of the Month: Daffodils

Daffodils are the flower most associated with March and it really it is a perfect choice. It is generally in March that daffodils first peek out through the winter soil. Their bright yellow coloring simply adds to their appeal. It is no wonder why daffodils symbolize rebirth and rejuvenation.

This perennial is a great addition between shrubs or in a border. The flowers are also excellent for cutting.

As the flowers fade, you can deadhead the plants to maintain a neater appearance. Once these fragrant plants are done blooming, let the plant grow until they die off naturally. This allows the plant time to store energy in the bulbs to bloom again the following year. Once dead, snip them at the base of the stem and apply bonemeal to the soil.

Being of the Narcissus family, daffodils are more resistant to deer, squirrels, and rabbits.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

06 March 2016

Gardening Tip: When should you mulch?

For every thing, there is a season … a time to plant and a time to sow. Spring is just around the corner. We can almost feel it. It is almost time to plant and mulch. Almost.

Today’s Tip:
When should you mulch?

Mulch is a great method to control weeds and retain moisture. It is also very aesthetically pleasing when done correctly. When though is the right time to mulch?

The soil needs a chance to warm before you layer on the mulch. Generally speaking, mid to late spring is the preferred time to mulch. Also, do not layer the mulch too thick if you want seedlings to grow there. Extra mulching can always be applied later in the season.

So, what do you do if your flowerbed – like mine – still has last year’s mulch around them? Pull the mulch away gradually. This protects any new growth underneath from being shocked by a late cold snap.

Remember, as a general rule of thumb, Mother’s Day is the easiest way to remember when to start planting.  

A final related tip: most nurseries and garden centers will let you pre-order and schedule deliveries in advance. This is especially important to note during the busy seasons, as only so many deliveries can be scheduled each day. If you need a specific day, call ahead.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

04 March 2016

Gardening Tip: Frost Free Date Explained

Spring is almost here! Garden centers are getting new plants and trees and products in every day.

Today’s Tip:
Know you Frost Free Date

A Frost Free Date is the average date in spring when your area no longer experiences frost. This date is important for knowing when to plant in spring. It is also the average date in fall for when your area experiences the first frost.  Knowing both spring and fall frost dates will help you determine the length of your growing season. 

What is your date? Well, Dave’s Garden offers a great webpage where you can look it up by zipcode. So, for example, I live in Lancaster and my zipcode is 17601. The site informs me that my average “risk of frost” is between 11 October and 28 April.

The site also notes that I am “almost guaranteed” not to have frost between 10 May and 26 September. Hence this time period – 10 May through 26 September – is my Frost Free Dates.

That said, as a general rule of thumb, Mother’s Day is the easiest way to remember when to start planting. However, now is the time to plan your garden. Lay it out like you would any other project.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016