Pennsylvania Gardens and Arboretums

Pennsylvania Gardens and Arboretums

http://visitpa.com/articles/gardens-and-arboretums-pennsylvania

One of my hobbies is gardening.  Some days, all I need to make me feel better is to put my hands in dirt and plant something.  I love to watch what I plant grow and bloom as time moves along.  Flowers and plants just have a way of brightening up a day.  An enjoyable way to spend a day would be taking a walk through some of PA’s best gardens and arboretums.  The link above will give you a list to gardens and arboretums near you in PA.

Here are some of the ones closest to where I live.

Laurel Highlands

  • Laurel Hill State Park

This park is beautiful and peaceful.  I was here a few years ago.  We camped out (RV Style-More Glamping than Camping). It was such a wonderful time!  Thankfully, I was with an experienced camper, since I am not, haha.  It was such an enjoyable weekend!  Now, I’m in the mood for a campfire, some hobo pies, wine (yes, a glass of wine) and s’mores!!!  I’d love to go back!  The park was clean and well kept.

  • Ohiopyle State Park

Although this was not listed on the webpage, this park hits close to home.  I recently drove up here since this park is very close to where I live.  I had the windows down, and the drive to Ohiopyle was just absolutely gorgeous!  There are bike trails, restaurants and pubs, white water rafting, and so much more.  There are natural water slides.  Cucumber Falls is a must see! I recommend getting some ice cream or eating at Firefly Grill or Falls City Pub!  If you are spending some time up there, a few other attractions to visit would be Kentuck Knob, Fallingwater, and Nemacolin Woodlands.  An intimate, beautiful, peaceful cafe that I suggest would be Bittersweet Cafe. It’s so important to take in the beauty so close around us! If you live in the Pittsburgh area, take a day or weekend and take a ride south, and explore the Laurel Highlands!

Pittsburgh and its Countryside

  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Inc.

I love Phipps! It is beautiful to visit in any season.  They have everything imaginable.  Butterflies, palms, orchids, herbs, children’s discovery garden, bonsai, a Japanese garden, and more!  They offer classes and have events throughout year.  One of my favorite times to visit is during the Christmas season.

  • Botanic Garden of Western PA

I have not been here yet.  It is also known as the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.  This is on my bucket list!  I really hope to explore it before summer ends.  It looks like there are a variety of trails to walk on. It is only 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.  There are adult workshops, geocaching challenges, and events.

  • Chatham Arboretum

There are many varieties of tree species. It is said to be a wonderful place to relax and meditate.  The arboretum provides an outdoor classroom for students.  The grounds are perfect for a stroll.

The Alleghenies

  • Arboretum at Penn State

While this may be a bit of a drive from Pittsburgh, I had to put it on the list.  I’m adding this to my bucket list as well!  I’ve never toured the Arboretum at Penn State, but I am a PSU grad, so anything in State College, holds a special place in my heart!  The last time I was up there visiting my cousins and celebrating my cousin, Caleigh’s 21st birthday, I noticed the arboretum.  The weekend flew by and I didn’t have time to stop by.  I love how their mission strives to achieve beauty and renewal.  A venue for art, enrichment, and discovery.  It is said they have gardens and groves, sculptures and special attractions, as well as a children’s garden.  Another bonus is that there is no admission fee and free parking!

I am looking forward to visiting some of these local gardens and arboretums this summer.  Have you been to any of these? What are some of your favorite garden and arboretums to visit?

 

National Pollinator Week

National Pollinator Week

If I’m not working, reading, or writing, then you can most likely find me outside. I’ll be pruning and dead heading plants or flowers, pulling weeds or tilling soil, planting new plants and flowers, or feeding and watering the ones that I have.

How have I never heard of National Pollinator Week? It is an International celebration! As I researched to learn more, I found out that it started in 2006 by the US State Senate to bring awareness and recognition of how important pollinators are to our world and how valuable they are to our ecosystem. This year it was celebrated June 19-25, 2017.

You may be thinking to yourself, “What are pollinators?” Birds, butterflies, beetles, bats, and bees are all pollinators. These pollinators sustain our ecosystems, help plants reproduce, and help with our food supply. Did you know that our landscapes could collapse if it wasn’t for these pollinators? They are very important for us and our environment. The website pollinator.org has tons of information and promotes “National Pollinator Week.”

We need pollinators and pollinators need us! Many pollinator populations are declining due to loss of nesting habitats and feeding. We can help pollinators by providing them with proper plants. Planting and placing plants in home gardens, schools, farms, and near highways will help supply pollinators. Other ways to help them would be to buy locally, shop at farmer’s markets, spread the word and create awareness.

There are Eco-regional planting guides available online and there is even an app for your phone to help you determine and decide what plants will attract pollinators.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about the importance of native and heirloom plants. It is a good idea to incorporate these types of plants into your gardens. Bees have been, and still are on a decline, and now I’m beginning to hear that monarch butterflies are on a decline as well. Monarchs love milkweed. This plant in your yard will provide monarch butterflies with food.

If you are asking yourself how to create an environment for pollinators, you can plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the seasons of spring through fall. Also, limit the use of pesticides. Make sure to provide shelter and water for pollinators. Just as we need water, water is important for wildlife and nature as well.

It can be quite enjoyable watching pollinators connect with nature. You can watch them by going for a walk, or just sitting outside and paying attention to your surroundings. Look at the plants, flowers, animals, and pollinators around you. Take it all in, and in no time at all, you will be connecting yourself back to nature as well!

The website pollinator.org suggests some great ways to create awareness to others by providing ways to show the importance of pollinators. Some of their suggestions were using a symbol or pictures of pollinators next to the foods that they pollinate. Another idea was hosting a cooking class or creating a menu that showcases the food we eat to bring awareness to people as they sample and taste foods that we enjoy. Pollinators are important in that they help produce what we need to be able to have foods, spices, beverages, and even some medicines. This makes the situation more realistic knowing that if pollinators keep declining, we will have less of these foods, spices, and medicines in our daily lives.

It is important to bring awareness not only one week out of the year, but throughout the year. We need to educate not only adults, but children as well, because they are our future!

What are some of your ideas to bring awareness to others about the decline and importance of pollinators to others? How do you celebrate National Pollinator Week?

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Wow, can you believe it is the middle of June already? I can’t! This Sunday is Father’s Day. In case you haven’t found the perfect gift for your dad yet, don’t worry…I have come up with a few fun gift ideas.

Here are a few ideas that I have found online that I thought would make nice gifts. What are some of your plans or Father’s Day gift suggestions?

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Growing up, this was just another holiday to me. I always knew that it was a holiday to remember the people that died that had served in our country’s armed forces. Although to me, it was a sign that school was almost out and that summer was right around the corner. Red, White, and Blue, family gatherings, grilling, and picnics. That was how I used to think of Memorial Day as a child.

As I became older, it started to mean a whole lot more. Both of my grandfathers fought in the war and made it back home safely. Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to fight in a war? I can’t even imagine it really. I do think that those who fight are the most brave individuals. I’m sure they have life changing and unforgettable memories. Some chose to speak about it, some do not. I never really heard any graphic or detailed stories from either of my grandfathers, but I know both had faith and were grateful that they returned home. Not all that fight are that lucky to make it back home.

Many people will walk through cemeteries and attend memorial day services over Memorial Day weekend. I plan on attending one myself.  There will be American flags placed on the graves of our veterans. When I was younger, I would attend one of these ceremonies near my house, then for many years I stopped going. The last few years it became a tradition that I would go again to these ceremonies with my dad and grandpap. My grandpap is no longer with us, but as I was older, I was truly honored to be sitting next to a veteran. Every Memorial Day now, I look back at photos and a video of the last year when I spent the holiday with my grandpap by my side. I get tears in my eyes. One for being blessed that both of my grandfathers made it home, and how I was lucky enough to know them and have them in my life for so many years. Another reason, is watching the tribute and hearing the veterans play songs and shoot the guns in honor of those gone, hearing the shells hit the ground gives me chills every time. Also, I think back to seeing both of the flags that my grandfathers had, and I remember seeing them when they both passed away. That is when I think it hit me the hardest. These two men were beyond wonderful and great in my eyes. I don’t have enough words to explain how much they both meant to me and how they both added such special meaning to my life. Looking at those flags, brings their greatness to a whole other level.

We need to remember those that fought for our freedom.  Many leave to fight and protect us and many don’t return home.  It’s a true sacrifice on their end.  In today’s world, we have a lot of problems. It is important to always keep in mind that people risked and sacrificed their lives for us, so we could have freedom. Make sure when you are celebrating this weekend, have fun, be thankful for our freedom, and remember the real meaning of the holiday.

 

#GIRLBOSS

#GIRLBOSS

By: Sophia Amoruso

girlboss

I loved this book! I recommend it to all women! It was a very easy read, and as I read it, I felt inspired. At the start of each chapter there were quotes that were meaningful. It was really nice to read a book that could turn my doubts about myself into positive thinking. Sophia’s words of wisdom made me feel (I usually doubt almost every decision I make) like I could go out there and create and follow my dreams-no problem. In reality though, it takes a lot more than powerful words that prevents me from going after some of my dreams…

Many of her chapters gave me inspiration. I learned that it’s okay to not be perfect, and it is okay to be unique and different. You can succeed whether you are an introvert or extrovert. If you are feeling down, or want to feel empowered, I suggest you read this book.  This book is one that you could read multiple times if you need a reminder that you are good enough.  You can get ahead in life just by being the unique, wonderful person that you are. Believing in yourself is important.

I also love her podcast Girlboss Radio on Spotify. I enjoy listening to the stories of so many successful women and how they got to be where they are today.  One of Sophia’s questions is always, “What was your “GIRLBOSS” moment?  It is always interesting to hear what they have to say.  It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, or that they have reached some almost unattainable goal.  It’s often nice to hear some of the most down to earth answers.  Netflix is supposed to air the #GIRLBOSS series, which I have not watched yet, but one day when I find time, I’m sure I will take a day and binge watch the series.

Have any of you read #GIRLBOSS or watched the series? Tell me what your thoughts are on either the book or the series.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day weekend is almost here! The older I get, the more I appreciate my mom each day. She is my best friend, and is always there for me. We don’t always see things the same way, but she is always there when I need someone to talk to or need a shoulder to cry on. Life changes, and there are many challenges. My mother has always been there to try and help glue the broken pieces together.

I can’t even find the right words right now to explain what I want to say about my mom. She has made holidays, birthdays, and special occasions memorable for our family. She keeps traditions alive as best as she can. She is continuously trying to always make things right and perfect, to keep everyone happy. She has a heart of gold and loves unconditionally. I hope one day that I will be fortunate enough to have children and be a mother. I can only hope that I will come close to being a wonderful mother, like the one I have!

I know many women who have been blessed for awhile now, and many recently, that have found out that they are pregnant. I wish you the best! As years pass by, I’ve seen how motherhood is not always delightful. One day, I want to be able have the feeling that everyone says, that they never knew they could love someone so much before meeting them. To those of you that are lucky enough to have the gift of being a mother, make sure to cherish it!

Here are a few Mother’s Day gift ideas:

  • Going Out to Dinner

  • Having Brunch

  • Flowers

  • A New Outfit

  • Jewelry

  • Spa Day

  • New Set of Pajamas

I saw some of these items and thought that they would be cute personal touches as well! What are some of your Mother’s Day ideas, and what are your plans for Mother’s Day?

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                   (My mom and I)     (The “Best” Mothers and “hopefully” Mothers in the Future)