A Guest At The Wallis House

Last week I was a guest at the Wallis House, which is the home of The Garden Club of Kentucky. I got to speak with a lovely group of ladies on how to attract birds to your landscape. Hopefully I inspired them to plant some new plants in their gardens that the birds will appreciate.

The Garden Club of Kentucky was incorporated in 1931. It is divided into districts, 5 total in Kentucky, and has over 50 local chapters. You can join any local garden club or you can join the Garden Club of Kentucky at large. You can check their map to see which clubs are local to you.

The Nannine Clay Wallis House & Arboretum in downtown Paris, Kentucky is their headquarters. The house was built in the 1850s on its 4 acres of land. The property was bequeathed to the Garden Club of Kentucky upon Wallis’s death in 1971, who was the second president of the club.

The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is rentable for weddings, meetings, and other special occasions. Definitely consider supporting this venue for your next special event! The home is open to tours by appointment, but the Arboretum is open to the public daily dawn to dusk. They have some neat trees, including the Kentucky Grand Champion Northern Red Oak.

I was partial to this Basswood.

While both in the genus Tilia, In America, we call the species Basswood (like Tilia americana), and in Europe, they’re called Lindens or even Limes.

After I spoke, we had some super cute sugar cookies and lemonade a lady made for us!

Before I left, I was then given something to take home with me. A Wallis Rabbit! This rabbit has an interesting story!

Before we left, we walked around the Arboretum grounds, which had a lot of nice spring color…

…some interesting garden nooks…

…and a goldfish pond.

If you’re around Paris, KY make sure to stop by the Wallis House for a walk around the gardens.

I put my ‘William Wallace” rabbit where I had seen the real rabbit who lives in my yard had been the day before, eating the phlox flowers…

Free Virtual Garden Tours

2020 was a tough year to get out and do anything, and it looks like the beginning of 2021 (at least) is going to be about the same. I know many parks and hiking trails have been closed, which has made it difficult to enjoy the outdoors beyond the backyard. Thankfully, many gardens have created virtual garden tours!!

On the positive, these digital excursions have been a blessing for someone like me. It’s extremely rarely I ever get to do anything besides work, chores, or a little shopping. I have enjoyed being able to go on these ‘tours’.

Below is a YouTube playlist I created with a roundup of garden tours from around the world. Visit the organization’s channel if you’d like to see more garden goodness!

My Virtual Garden Tour Youtube Playlist

Click the icon (3 lines with an arrow) in the top right corner of the video to see the full playlist.

The following is a list of garden tours that you can visit right on the garden’s website:

Birmingham Botanic Gardens (UK)

Highgrove: Home of Prince of Wales & Dutchess of Cornwall

Hicote National Trust Garden

US Botanical Garden

Lewis Ginter Garden

Denver Botanic Gardens

Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Past Annual Tours

Gardening new years resolutions

I recently heard on a news story that the biggest resolution Americans make is to get healthy. It was also noted, that of any country, American’s are the least likely to keep their resolutions!

They attributed this fault to creating too large of a goal. There are many ways to become healthy such as: exercising, eating whole foods, meditating, stretching, or drinking more water. It’s much better to focus on one aspect!

The other top New Year’s resolutions included getting organized, learning a new skill, saving more money, quitting smoking, and traveling more, which might not be a popular resolution for 2021!

I’m here to tell you, New Years resolutions can include goals for your garden!

Here are some Gardening New Year’s Resolution Ideas:

  1. I will plant more native plants
  2. I will plant a native tree
  3. I will reduce lawn and make more garden spaces
  4. I will remove an invasive species in my yard
  5. I will volunteer for a garden club, nature preserve, etc.
  6. I will eliminate pesticide and chemical use on my property like mosquito and lawn spraying
  7. I will leave my perennials standing through winter to provide habitat for overwintering pollinators.
  8. I will grow a vegetable or herb garden this year
  9. I will observe and appreciate nature more often
  10. I will learn about gardening through a book, class, or a professional garden coach

The Why

The most important step to a New Year’s resolution to create the ‘why’ since this will be the motivator. You may want to plant more native plants in your yard because:

  • They’re easier to take care of
  • Are hardy and can usually handle drought or tough weather better
  • They’ll attract beautiful butterflies
  • It’s better for the environment

Always write down your ‘why’s’ underneath your goal and refer back to them. Really think about each why and envision what that looks like in real life.

My Garden New Year’s Resolution

  • I’d like to add some more texture and contrasting foliage in my front yard.
  • Restructure my vegetable garden and add some irrigation
  • Successionally sow crop seeds for a more even harvest (I can only eat so much salad!)

Gardening resolutions are great because there’s plenty of time to plan for your garden escapade before spring arrives. However, it’s a good idea to start planning now in case you need any supplies. Visioning your goals also helps when it comes time to actually take action!

If you need help in your garden this year, contact EARTHeim soon to get on my schedule! January and February are the perfect times.

Your First Garden: The only 6 tools you’ll need

These are the basic 6 gardening tools I couldn’t live without. I’ve tested a lot of tools out there, and as a professional landscaper and avid home gardener, these are the ones that I recommend. Buying quality items up front will save money in the long run and reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill.

Tool #1: Hand Trowel

My Pick: Dewit Forged Garden Trowel

I had this trowel for years with constant use and it’s still in great condition. There are so many cheap trowels out there that’ll bend or rust with little use. For this trowel, it will cost 2 or 3 times the price as a cheap one, but this one should last many years longer and will be much easier to use.

Tool #2: Digging Shovel

My Pick: Corona All Steel Shovel

This shovel is a solid piece of steel. Many shovels have handles that are wood or fiberglass, which attach to the metal head. This one is a completely solid, which means it is not going to fall apart or bend. If you’re going to be doing some heavy digging or are hard on tools, this is the one you want!

For a less expensive option, I’ve used the Kobalt shovel from Lowes that works great too. It is not meant for heavy use. I’ve already broken one (which with the Kobalt guarantee, was replaced by Lowes for free!). I also know this shovel’s limits. I can tell when the wood handle has too much pressure on it. At that point, I know when I need to use the solid steel shovel. If you only want one tool, go for the solid steel.

Less Expensive Option: Kobalt Digging Shovel at Lowes

Tool #3: Bypass Pruners

My Pick: Okatsune Pruners

These are by far my favorite pruners. They are easy to close and open, are sharp, and comfortable to use. As with all tools, they must be cared for. You can buy replacement blades if you need to. They come in various sizes and smalls fit my female hands. These are meant for cutting stems 3/4″ or less in diameter.

Tool #4: Hand Saw

My Pick: Silky Pocketboy

Pruning Saw with Additional Blade

When I need to cut stems larger than 3/4″, I reach for my pocket saw. You can also use ‘loppers’, but I find them clumsy and don’t use them nearly as often as a folding hand saw. Silky is a professional brand and the blades come in different sizes. I like the larger tooth blade because it’s quicker to use. A finer saw blade is appropriate for some applications, but will take longer to saw through.

Replacement blades can be purchased.

Tool #5: Bucket

My Pick: 10 gallon TubTrug (Gorilla Tub)

These tubtrugs are fantastic! They have recently rebranded into Gorilla Tub. I use the large 10 gallon tub to collect debris as a I pull weeds. It’s large enough to hold quite a bit, but small enough to carry around or put into a garden cart. They can also hold water, tools, produce, rocks, plants, and soil. They’re also food safe! They are tough too. Mine get used consistently with abuse and still holding up 100%. Cheaper versions I’ve used do not last like these. They also have comfortable handles, are stackable, and are flexible so they won’t break. They’re also nice to hold groceries in the back of the car. I’ve even used one to rescue a turtle!

#6: Good Hose

My Pick: Waterright Hoses (drinking water safe!)

So many hoses are not functional. They usually leak, or kink. I’ve not had that issue with the water right hoses and I own several. Even better, they are drinking water safe! Many hoses have lead in them. This is good if you’re water edible plants, filling pet’s water, or the bird bath.

I also like these because they’re lightweight. I can’t go on enough about these hoses. A 25′ one is pretty short and good if you need one right on the back patio or front porch. A 50′ would probably be ok for a fairly small yard. A 100′ should go to the back of an average 1/3 acre lot, or around the side of a house. The coiled hose is nice, but I’d only get it if what I was watering was a straight shot away from the spigot. They’re impossible to maneuver through a garden or around stuff.

As a bonus, they come in pretty colors!

Tip: I’ve always needed a longer hose than I initially thought

One thing to note, these are slim hoses. Many pressure washers need a larger diameter hose. So do your research on this before purchasing any type of hose.

This post originally appeared on http://www.EARTHeim.comThere may be links to products in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases made through these links. This is at no cost to you and you don’t need to do anything. All opinions are my own.

Easy Christmas Decorating

Every year after Thanksgiving I trudge up the attic and get down a few boxes of Christmas decorations. Once I start getting everything out, I always say to myself,

“Surely I can have less of this stuff!”

I feel guilty if I don’t set it all out, which creates unneeded stress. By the end of the decorating endeavor, I’m worn out and dread packing it back up and hauling it back into the attic after the New Year.

The past couple years I’ve thought about ways to decorate for the holidays while…

  1. Getting the house into the holiday spirit for the least effort on my part.
  2. Using decorations that make the biggest statement without taking up much storage space.

If holiday decorating and having loads of decorations is fun for you, by all means do it!

I’ve just realized in the past couple years, Christmas decorating is the last thing that should stress me out. I’d rather be doing other things with my time and space in my home!

Here are my ideas for decorating for the holidays easily.

Image: Feedinspiration.com

Christmas Trees

I’m probably not going to give up my artificial Christmas tree I scored on clearance a few years ago. But here are some ideas on how to make putting up a tree easier.

  1. Purchase a small artificial tree so it’s not so cumbersome to deal with.
  2. Get a natural tree each year so you don’t have to store it.
  3. Consider a table top tree, or even a flat tree you hang on the wall.
  4. Only put up a Christmas tree and forget about anything else!
Image: tinypartments.com

Space Saver Decorations

  1. Ribbon

Ribbon is lightweight, packs small, and can be used year to year. It can be used a million ways, and there’s all sorts of styles to choose from. You can make bows or swags and adorn about anything for a festive look. It can eventually be downgraded to use for outdoor decor, gift wrapping, or cat toys if you tire of it.

Ribbons are also great decorations for Christmas trees. They make a tree look nice and you can get away with using less ornaments.

2. Garlands & Buntings

I love pom pom, felt, or beaded garlands. They can be strung across windows, mantles, doorways, the wall, bed, grumpy grandpa, or anything else that needs a little cheer. They’re lightweight and you don’t have to be too careful when putting them away in storage as long as it doesn’t tangle.

Fabric or paper buntings are easy to make and also pack flat for easy storage. Paper ones can easily be recycled!

Image: oneshetwoshe.com

3. Anything that stores flat

Any type of decoration that stores flat is a winner! Flags or outdoor signs are easy to store flat and stacked on top of each other.

4. Fabric pieces

  • Holiday pillow covers can be put over existing throw pillows for an easy swap.
  • Throw blankets easily add holiday color to the living room or bedroom.
  • Table runners, tablecloths, or placemats can be used throughout the house on tables or chairs.
  • Stockings can be strung up anywhere. They’re lightweight and store flat.
  • Kitchen towels, shower curtains, bath towels, or bed sheets can be easily be swapped out for the holiday. Linens can be used as rags or drop cloths when they’re worn out. Some animal shelters can also use them when you no longer need them.
Image: Apartment Therapy
Image: Littlevintagenest.com
Image: Sointovintage.blogspot.com

Design Tip: Focus on creating one nice focal point instead of scattering small things throughout a space.

Natural Decorations

Many natural decorations are only going to be good for one season, so there won’t be the need to store them.

  • Try growing paperwhites or amaryllis. Poinsettias as well. After they’ve reached their peak, compost them.
  • Natural evergreen swags and wreaths can be discarded after their use. No need to store anything! If you compost, just make sure all wire and decorations have been removed!
  • Garlands and ornaments can be made out of natural elements. It can be a fun craft day with the family. Popcorn garlands, walnut garlands, pomanders, dried orange and apple slices, paper snowflakes, sticks made into star shapes are all natural things that can be discarded after the holidays. Making these things each year can be a fun holiday activity. Plus, it adds to old-time charm.
Image: Feastandflowers.com
Image: Notonthehighstreet.com

Decorate With Food or Consumables

  • Gingerbread houses
  • Any kind of crafts made with peppermint sticks or candy. A simple clear jar filled with peppermints is an easy decoration and of course the peppermints can be eaten or used in recipes for the holiday.
  • Candles in holiday colors look nice as a decoration and can be burned and used.
  • Bird seed ornaments hung up in a tree.
Image: ciaonewportbeach.blogspot.com
Image: thegardenroofcoop.com

Dual Purpose Decor. Use Things You Already Use Year Round.

Transition decorations or items you already have into a holiday decoration. Simply adding ribbon, or placing red/green/white or silver/blue/gold items together makes it festive instantly.

  • Outdoor lanterns can be decorated with a holiday bow on top. Once the season is over, remove the bow and store the lantern for summer patio relaxing!
  • Instead of having holiday themed dishes, use clear or white dishes that you use all year instead.
  • Add Christmas floral elements (real or fake) to an existing vase or other decoration.
  • Certain kids toys or stuffed animals can be set out as a decoration. Add a red bow to a teddy bear and he suddenly looks festive!
  • If you’re wrapping gifts for under the tree anyway, wrap them up fancy and let them be a decoration in themselves.
Image: Better Homes & Gardens

Gift Wrap

I hate storing gift wrap! I much rather purchase it as I need it or wrap a present with things I already have. Here are some ideas to keep gift wrap to a minimum after the season is over.

  • Gift experiences instead of items
  • Everyone appreciates a white envelope with some green inside…
  • Only buy what you need for that season
  • Purchase ONE neutral or solid roll of gift paper. Individualize the presents with different color and styles of ribbons.
  • When I was little, many of my presents were wrapped with the comic section of the newspaper!
  • Wrap with decorative boxes or other items that are a gift in themselves.

Give gift bags or tissue paper a second life by using them to donate items in when we all declutter and organize in January. Or donate them to second hand stores, they could reuse them as shopping bags and to wrap breakables.

Winter Decor

When shopping or decorating for the holidays, think of items that can also serve as a winter decoration after the holidays are over. Items in neutral tones or blue colors do this well!

Image: lizmarie.com

Focus on the Best Things

Instead of spending so much time and worry decorating, just simply enjoy the holidays!

‘Hygge’: a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

  • Make crafts
  • Watch movies
  • Read fun books
  • Learn about the history of Christmas
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Eat good food
  • Sleep
  • Cozy up
  • Embrace the season
  • Be nice
  • Do charitable things
  • Holiday scents
  • Enjoy the borrowed scenery. Go look at other people’s Christmas lights and decor.
  • Take Christmas tours in historic homes or places.

Visit My Pinterest Page for Lots More Inspiration!