Notes From the Garden: Signs of Spring

We are starting to see more and more signs of spring around here. All kinds of birds have returned, which is wonderful to hear in the early mornings and at dusk, a chorus of robins, grackles and mourning doves.


buds on magnolia shrub

buds on apple tree

tiny crocuses

spring bulbs

It’s such a fun time of year to start exploring our backyard again!

exploring the backyardspring in the backyard spring in the backyardspring in the backyardI’m anxious to look for more signs of spring, to find more buds opening and bulbs popping up and blooming. This week’s yard chores include raking the lawn, getting fresh mulch for all of the garden beds, and planting pansies.



Spring Fever

A trip to the local greenhouse is always a great cure for the Winter blues and Spring fever!IMG_9004

I love walking through the greenhouse, soaking up all the green plants and smelling the wet soil from a recent watering.

fern at greenhouse green arrangement at greenhouse

It’s exciting to see the bright colors of pansies and other flowers starting to show up when things are still brown and gray outside.pansies at greenhouse

orange flowers at greenhousepink flowers at greenhouse

IMG_9008Hope you are finding ways to get inspired these days to get through spring fever!



Field Trip to Botanical Gardens

Speaking of being on the trails, another one of my favorite things to do is make a field trip to the botanical gardens. There are so many wonderful nooks and crannies to investigate.

Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich GardensOlbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens swamp at Olbrich Gardens alpine garden at Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens

Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens

There are always so many unique and unusual plants and flowers to see.

frog at Olbrich Gardenswater lily at Olbrich Gardens rose at Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens tiger lily at Olbrich Gardens monarch at Olbrich Gardens globe thistle at Olbrich Gardens huge leaves at Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens coreopsis at Olbrich Gardens glowing at Olbrich Gardens

I’ve decided to make this a regular field trip by going every few weeks to see what’s new as the seasons change.



Green is one of my two favorite colors. (the other is sky blue) These pictures of our backyard in June are great examples of why I love green so much.backyard in June

Backyard in June

backyard in June

backyard in June

green backyard in june

green backyard in juneGreen in nature comes in so many tints and shades, textures and smells.

We’ve spent the past nine years making our backyard look like a park with the addition of new trees, a variety of flowers, new shrubs, bird houses and feeders, a raspberry patch, a strawberry patch, a butterfly garden, and stray benches we found on the curb before trash day. By mid-summer things get wild-looking; we love the informal (jungle) look everything grows into as it spreads out over the course of the summer growing season.

It’s one of my favorite places to be this time of year, whether I’m doing chores, eating lunch, grilling out or just watching the squirrels, birds and rabbits search for food. Do you have a favorite place to be in summer?



Inspiration Wednesday: Mother Nature

Instead of sharing one of my latest art crushes on an inspiring artist, I decided to share some of my pictures of flowers that are inspiring me lately. This is the time of year when Mother Nature inspires me more than anything or anyone else, since everything is back in full bloom in this part of the world.

yellow daisy





pink gerbera daisy

Some of my favorite things to draw are flowers and leaves, so this set of photos will provide reference for some great doodling and brainstorming future projects. Their petals all have similar shapes but their structures and centers are quite different.

What or who is inspiring you these days?


DIY Basket Liners

Every year, we fill baskets hanging on our backyard fence with a coco moss liner and a few plants. They look so welcoming on the gates to get into our backyard.

September gate basket

IMG_1045After a rough winter and birds picking away at the moss liners for supplies to build their nests, the liners from last summer were falling apart. We couldn’t find the right size liners at the garden stores this spring, so we decided to make our own. We found burlaps sacks for $1.00 at the home improvement store.

burlap sackWe pressed the sack inside the basket and poured dirt inside to help the sack form the shape of the basket. Then we filled the baskets with geraniums, climbing petunias and a fine fern.

new Garden gate basket

We trimmed up the burlap sack so there wasn’t so much excess hanging down, and tucked in a few corners.

new garden gate basket

It was fun to figure out a new way to fill these hanging baskets on a budget by repurposing burlap sacks. Coco moss liners can be expensive so we are loving these new liners.

Happy gardening!



Signs of Spring: Tulips and More

On my weekend treasure-hunting excursions throughout our gardens, I found a few tulips in bloom that the rabbits haven’t eaten.

pink and orange tulip

Some of the tulips came up in places different than where we planted them. I think the squirrels have been busy rearranging things for us.


I love looking at our neighbors’s gardens which are chock-full of colorful tulips. Since I didn’t have time to plant more bulbs last fall, I am cherishing the few tulips we do have. And making a note to self to plant more bulbs in fall. I think I’ll try to plant late-blooming tulips since the rabbits love to eat the early-blooming tulips which are some of the first plants to come back to life after a dormant winter.

ruffly pink tulip

ruffly purple tulip


It’s always exciting when our bleeding heart shrubs start to bloom. They are such a delicate, dainty plant. They grow right next to our front porch, making it so inviting and fresh. We like that they spread because we find more new shrubs in different places each year.

bleeding hearts

Happy treasure hunting!




Signs of Spring: Buds on the Trees

It’s always fascinating to watch buds on the trees open in spring and transform from tiny buds to looking like flowers to unfurling into leaves.

willow buds

forsythia buds

maple buds

crabapple buds

buds on maple tree

buds on shrubs

Our trees have been a little slow this year to awaken to spring, so I’ve been anxiously watching for the buds to start to open. Hope you’re out looking for signs of spring!


Garden Update: Lilies Everywhere

It’s lily season, and we have lilies blooming in all corners of our yard.

purple lily

peach lily

burgundy lily

white lily

red and yellow lily

pink lily

We are lucky to have so many sizes, shapes and colors throughout our yard. They are quite hardy and bloom a lot in July, which can be our harshest, warmest, driest summer month. The best part? they are the lowest maintenance perennial you could ask for.

Thanks for stopping by!