Home & Garden

April Showers, Bring May Flowers…

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful and enjoyable weekend! Although it was a rainy Saturday, Sunday was absolutely gorgeous out, and I hope that you did something that made you feel happy and put a smile on your face!

After debating back and forth about attending the Penn State Master Gardeners, Garden Marketplace at the ice rink at Shady Side Academy, located in Fox Chapel, I decided to go by myself and check it out. Let me tell you, that I am so glad that I went! Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. I, by no means, am a professional gardener, but I get so much enjoyment while I’m outside planting things and watching them grow! I was completely overwhelmed not only by all of the gorgeous plants, flowers, and herbs, but by the friendliness, kindness, and knowledgeable gardeners and vendors that were there. There were native plants, unique varieties, perennials, annuals, and herbs galore! I was so excited walking down each aisle, imagining how I could landscape these beauties of nature into my own secret garden one day.

When I first walked into the Marketplace, I noticed the local daffodil society’s annual show and competition. I never realized how many different types of daffodils existed. There were some really pretty varieties that I have never seen before.

After walking through the aisles two times, I went back around and made a few purchases. I loved the idea of them having a plant check, (similar to a wine check, only instead of wine, it is for your purchased plants.) This was such a great idea, because it isn’t always easy carrying around a bunch of plants of different shapes and sizes. This Marketplace, really put me in a wonderful mood!  (All that beauty and the wonderful smells!)

On Sunday, I woke up knowing that I needed to plant what I purchased on Saturday. That required adding additional dirt/soil in my flower beds so that I could begin planting. Instead of making things easy on myself and just buying an already prepared soil mix, I tried to make a more organic mix on my own. I mixed organic topsoil, mushroom compost, and organic gardening soil. I will say this process took a lot longer than anticipated, but hopefully in the end, it will be worth it, and my perennials will grow back year after year. Knowing that May is here, I wanted to hang up my hummingbird feeder. I made my homemade hummingbird food and hung up the feeder.  Now, the waiting begins in hopes that the two hummingbirds from last year return again soon! I’ve always wanted a space that I could create with flowers that would attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Today, I planted a butterfly bush, bee balm, bearded tongue penstemon, two types of salvia, english daisies, and blonde platinum lavender. Also, pineapple sage, mint julep mint, pesto basil, and rosemary to start off my herb garden. After the outdoor gardening, I spent some more time planting several seeds that I had from packets. I’ll be anxious to see what grows, since I tried planting many things that I’ve never tried before. You can never have too many plants or flowers, and I can’t wait to add more beauty to my garden throughout summer! Have a great 1st day of May everyone!

Here is just the initial start of my garden…

My Secret Garden

As summer comes to an end, one thing that I was quite passionate about was my garden and my flowers.  This is a place where I would not think, but just take in the beauty of each delicate plant.  I found a sense of peace and pride watching the beautifully colored blooms, vegetables, and herbs grow throughout the summer.  Their vibrant colors could brighten any dull day.  The gentle breeze brushing through the air brought a sense of calmness, and watching the bees pollinate the flowers provided me with happiness and left me with a smile.

Throughout the summer, I had two loyal hummingbirds that would make an appearance daily.  Seeing them fluttering around the feeder was an added bonus to the day!  I will share my hummingbird sugar water recipe with you that I used in my hummingbird feeder to attract them.

In addition to the beauty of my plants, hanging birdfeeders and windchimes were the perfect accents to create some fun to my backyard environment.  The animals can be quite entertaining.  We were fortunate here in PA to have a beautiful summer, but I am more than ready to move on to my favorite season fall!

Sugar Water Recipe for Hummingbirds

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. In a pot, add 4 cups of water.
  2. Heat the water to a slight boil.
  3. Take the pot off of the burner and add the 1 cup of sugar.
  4. Stir the sugar and let the sugar water cool before pouring it into the hummingbird feeder.


(Look very closely to see the hummingbird!)