Tag: colorful cottage living

Plant Marking – Gardening Tips

We’ve got just over an acre and a half here at Arthurized Home. About 1/3 of that land is wooded. The property was very overgrown when we bought it 15 years ago, and some areas (okay, most areas) still need a good clean-out. Along the way we’ve discovered surprises hidden in the woods, a Nikko Blue hydrangea, Annabelle hydrangeas and Bridal Veil to name a few. We don’t want to go in and clear it without a plan.

Nikko Blue Hydrangea

This year, as our plants bud and bloom, we’re flagging everything we want to spare from the loppers. We’ll be able to identify and prune them at the proper time in their growth cycle.

Annabelle Hydrangea found growing in the woods. We transplanted it by the house.
It’s more convenient for the deer to mow it down out here in the open.

Materials needed:

  • Flagging tape – Don’t be concerned by the word “tape”, this product has no adhesive. Find it at a home improvement or hardware store. Cost: $4
  • Permanent Marker
  • Scissors

I chose obnoxious, neon tape. Although difficult to photograph, (who knew?) it will be easy to spot in the woods later in the growing season.
Also, because pink is the best color.

Cut 12” – 18” sections of flagging tape and write the name of the plant on one end.

Fold the tape in half and double the loop over a sturdy branch and pull the ends through.

There’s no need to label every piece of tape. Hang blanks on plants that you’ve already identified. Later on, you can compare leaves if you’re unsure of the type of plant. Make sure that you place the tape so you can easily spot it when you return to prune the plant or trim back its overgrown neighbors.

This fall, I want to plant hyacinth and crocus in front of my daffodils. But, because they die back every year, I won’t know exactly where to plant without marking it. I placed a circle of rocks around each clump of daffys and I’ll know to plant in front of the rocks later in the year.

I hope these simple tips are helpful to you. Happy gardening!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Amending Garden Soil

Judging by the heavy, clay soil and the copious amounts of debris here, this area of our property has never been gardened. Our first job is to improve the soil by adding rich, new garden soil and compost.

Materials List:

  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow or heavy, plastic tarp
  • Gloves – I prefer leather gloves for this job
  • Strong Back
  • Soil Amendments (depending on your garden’s needs – new garden soil, compost, manure, sand, peat, etc.)

Here’s how to amend the soil:
Dig the first row about 12″ deep (or the depth of a shovel head), and place the soil in a wheel barrow, or on a heavy, plastic tarp. Pour the soil amendments down into the row.

As you dig the second row, shovel the soil from row two over row one and mix it in. You’ve just finished amending row one.

Now, pour soil amendments along your newly dug row two.

Row Three: Dig and place soil amendments over row two, mixing as you did before.

Rows 4 – Last: Repeat the above process until you reach the final garden row. Once you have added the amendments to the last row, pour the soil from row one on top and mix it in.

Rake the bed smooth and pick up any rocks or clumps of soil. Your garden is ready for planting!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Hiking The Sunrise Carriage Trail in Charleston, WV

I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I love this trail because it is more about history and scenic views than serious hiking. We’ve already established that I’m not a hiker. Carriage Trail (as the locals call it) is an urban stroll along the old drive to Sunrise; the mansion home of West Virginia’s 9th Governor, William A. MacCorkle.

Don’t expect a typical rocky, rooty, woodland trail. This 1.3 mile out and back is a wide, gravel drive bordered by impressive stonework, beautiful plantings and lush woods. There are several places to rest, and interesting, historical monuments along the way. With just over 200′ of elevation gain/loss it’s a fairly easy hike, and makes an enjoyable, family outing.

In the second year of the Civil War two women convicted as spies by drum head court martial, were brought to this spot, shot, and here buried. In 1905, when building this road to Sunrise, their remains were disinterred and re-buried opposite this stone. W.A.M.

We parked at the lot by the Kanawha River and began our ascent to Sunrise. The sounds of the city mostly died away as we walked further into the woods. Well behaved dogs on a leash are welcome here and we explored with our local guides, my sister-in-law, Wanda, and her adorable dog, Alice.

Some online reviews of Carriage Trail said that it gets very crowded, but we only saw a few people on the trail. Workers in downtown Charleston could hike this on their lunch break. I can imagine this trail is popular with locals because it is short and picturesque with convenient parking just below Bridge Road.

Governor MacCorkle was injured in an auto accident along with his 35 year old daughter, Isabelle, who died from her injuries. He erected this memorial to her. A few years later, MacCorkle died of pneumonia. His ashes were buried at Sunrise and then later moved to a cemetery across the Kanawha River.

At the top of the trail, we found ourselves in a beautiful neighborhood of older homes, with Sunrise mansion on a bluff overlooking the city. Sunrise is privately owned and not open to the public, but you can stroll the grounds and get a sense of the property’s grandeur.

This is the rear entrance of Sunrise, the ‘back porch’ if you will! The front of the mansion overlooks downtown Charleston with sweeping views of the city.

Governor MacCorkle collected some of the stones for Sunrise during his travels and they are engraved with their place of origin. He named Sunrise after his boyhood home in Rockbridge County, VA; so you know we had to find the Virginia stone!

This trail has something for everyone: history, wildlife, natural beauty and even a ghost story if you’re up for that!

We loved our time on Carriage Trail and highly recommend it. It’s fairly convenient to I-77, I-64 and other major routes through Charleston. If you are just traveling through the area, stop nearby for a bite to eat (we recommend The Market or Lola’s on Bridge Road), visit the trail and recharge a little. Or stay, and explore all that Charleston has to offer.

For more on Sunrise Mansion and The Carriage Trail:
http://www.nrtdatabase.org/trailDocuments/3793_65_Brochureelectronicversionwithcolorphoto.pdf

This is not a sponsored post. I’m simply linking to businesses that I have visited and enjoyed. They’ve been Arthurized, and I hope you will like them too.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

How I Repaired Wood Rot and Saved Over $1,000

Arthurized Home has french doors that developed some wood rot along the threshold. The folks at a big box home improvement center told us it couldn’t be repaired and that we should replace the entire door unit; to the tune of well over $1,000.

My sister had just successfully repaired a wooden column on her front porch using Abatron’s LiquidWood and WoodEpox, so we decided to give it a try. We ordered a kit from Amazon that was about $40.

The first step is to scrape away all of the rotten wood. Really dig in there and make sure you get it all. Remove anything that comes off easily. We were horrified to see the true extent of the damage, especially on that center support.

Tape off the area where you will be working in case there are epoxy drips. Use plastic sheeting if necessary. This product is meant to last, and drips or spills will not clean off easily.

The next step is to stabilize the adjoining area using LiquidWood. It’s an epoxy mixture that soaks into the wood and hardens it, preventing it from future rot. I probably went a little overboard drilling holes here, but I wanted to be extra thorough. I drilled slightly downward so the epoxy would flow down into the holes, not right back out of them. Mix the LiquidWood according to the package directions and paint onto your project, completely covering any exposed wood.

Let the epoxy dry completely.

Now comes the fun part! Mix the two-part WoodEpox together according to the package directions. It’s like playing with putty! Make sure the colors blend completely to solid white. That’s how you’ll know it is thoroughly mixed. Work quickly and in small batches; this starts to set up shortly after mixing.

Smoosh (yes, that’s the technical term! Smoosh!) it into and onto the areas you’re repairing. This product sands easily, so don’t be shy about piling on the WoodEpox. Apply enough product so that when you sand, you don’t end up with dimples or valleys.

Let that dry completely and start sanding. I used a triangular detail sander to get into those corners.

Yep, I realize there is a spider on the trim. This is country living; and I don’t mind them as long as they stay outside of the house.

So much better!

Once the repair is complete you can paint the WoodEpox. This repair is almost four years old now, and still looks (and functions) as good as new.

For more information on the products that I used to repair my door frame:
https://www.abatron.com/product/wood-restoration-kit/

This post is not sponsored; I’m simply sharing my honest experience with this product.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Ground Cover for Steeply Sloped Banks

We’ve got two driveways and the banks next to the first one are steeply sloped, shaded and have horrible, clay soil. When we moved in 15 years ago, we planted several flats of variegated ivy on one bank hoping that it would scramble up the bank and cover it quickly. The ivy proved to be slow growing and while it has spread, it’s not doing the job.

Ivy going nowhere.

We’ve planted vinca minor on a third bank and discovered vinca major growing wild at the other end of that same bank. It has mostly filled in, and is beautiful when covered in periwinkle blooms. Vinca has glossy, evergreen leaves and looks great year round. It is on the Virginia invasive plants list, but we haven’t found it difficult to control.

Bank covered in vinca minor. This is such an easy care plant and forms a good weed barrier.
Vinca major in bloom.

In an effort to cover the other two banks, I’ve been researching evergreen ground covers. The banks are steep enough that withstanding foot traffic is not a concern. This will likely be a multi-year project because both banks are large. The first one is 52′ x 10′ and is under an ancient, oak tree. We’ve successfully grown Solomon’s Seal there, but it dies back in the winter. The second bank is 125′ x 22′ (yes, that’s 2,750 square feet!) and has the slow-growing ivy on it.

Solomon’s Seal is perennial and gorgeous during the spring and summer.

With such a large area to cover, we need a plant that is inexpensive and will quickly spread to fill in. Last fall, we transplanted about a dozen plugs of liriope as a test to see if it would tolerate the deep shade, extremely poor soil and root competition from the oak tree. Surprisingly, they survived and are thriving this spring.

Test liriope.

This spring, we’re transplanting liriope from two other areas in our yard; an unruly border and the bed of black-eyed Susans. Aside from lots of sweat equity, this project is free. My favorite price!

Liriope marching out into the lawn from a border planting.

Because the test plants grew well in our poor soil, we’re not amending the planting holes with garden soil or compost. With thousands of holes to dig, it would only increase the time needed to complete this project. And I don’t think the extra expense is necessary.

We’re transplanting the liriope bare root so that we do not have to move a lot of soil. This enables us to dig smaller planting holes, and to tuck the liriope in next to the tree roots without damaging them. We started by using a trowel, but switched to a hand weeder to dig the holes.

Until they are settled in to their new home, we’re watering the transplants daily. We’ll mulch the banks once the transplants are established. This project is slow-going, but we’re hopeful that this is the tough-as-nails ground cover these banks need.

New transplants!

To read more on vinca:
https://www.thespruce.com/vinca-minor-vines-2132217

For more information on liriope:
https://www.thespruce.com/liriope-plants-popular-varieties-of-border-grass-2132483

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Coffee Card Gift with Quick and Easy Cheater Bow

I like to come up with creative ways to present gift cards and one of my favorites is giving a coffee card wrapped in a coffee cup. There’s no element of surprise about the contents, but it’s super easy and fun to do!

When buying a coffee card, I ask for a tall cup with a lid. The gift card fits down inside it perfectly.

For package filler, sometimes I use wrapped candies but today I’m using paper shreds. If you’re using candy, Lindt truffles are a pretty (and tasty!) option.

You can stop right here and you’ve got a clean, minimalist look to your gift wrap; or you can decorate the cup with messages and designs. Sharpie markers in bright colors work well for this. Another option is to add a reusable cup sleeve.

I’m going to make a cheater bow using two coordinating wire edge ribbons. I call it “cheating” because I’m not doing all the twisting and looping of traditional bow making. I’m using a striped “bow” ribbon and a sheer “tie” ribbon.

Start by laying the bow ribbon in a serpentine shape. The folds will become the loops of your bow, so make sure you have the same number of them on each side. I like to do two or three, depending on the length of the ribbon.

Cut the tie ribbon long enough that you can tie two knots and have plenty left over to drape nicely on the gift. Mine is two lengths of 15″ each.

Pinch the folded bow ribbon together in the center.

Using the tie ribbon, make a tight knot around the bow to secure it.

Then using the same tie ribbon, tie a second, loose knot to make the center loop of the bow. Fluff the center loop up slightly.

Trim the ends of the ribbon at an angle. I trim the bow ends pointing downward and the tie ends pointing inward, like the arrows below.

Adhere the bow to the top of the cup and you’re done!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Grow Free Hydrangeas Through Layering

We have five large Nikko Blue hydrangeas, and I’d love to create a long sweep of them in our yard. They’re planted just opposite my kitchen window and bloom from June through the first frost. Last fall, I layered them in the hopes of gaining loads of baby plants (layers) for free. I layered 20 branches and 16 of them have taken root.

The layering process is super simple and I hope you will give it a try. A note about timing: I do this at the end of summer, while the branches are flexible enough to bend to the ground without breaking. In Virginia, this means mid-late October. I’ve read that you can layer plants in the spring, but I haven’t tried it.

You will need:

  • An established, healthy “mother” hydrangea – ask a friend if you can layer theirs if you don’t have one
  • Rocks, bricks, small children or other heavy object(s) for weight
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Wintertime and patience

Find a healthy, lower branch of the plant. I select branches that are leafy, with no flowers. Without disturbing the leaves at the tip, break off the next lower set of leaves down to the branch. The place where you removed the leaves is the node.

Gently lower the node to the ground, loosen the soil under it and then pile at least an inch of soil on top of the node. Place a rock or brick on top to weight it down securely. Water the mother plant occasionally if needed.

Wait until Spring and check on your plants. New growth at the tip of the branch indicates that your baby plant has taken root.

Leaving the rock or brick in place, snip the branch between the weight and the mother plant as below and give the baby a few weeks of living on its own before transplanting. Be sure to water the layer baby daily until it is established, more often in hot weather. If the baby is very small, you might wish to delay transplanting for an entire growing season.

When transplanting small plants like these, I dig a hole about 12″ deep and 12″ across. Make sure the roots have plenty of loose soil to grow into. I like to mix in a little garden soil to lighten up our heavy clay soil. Once you’ve transplanted the babies, they will need some TLC. Water them each morning for a few weeks and then as needed until they are established.

I’ve only done this with hydrangeas, but I understand this works for other plants such as forsythia, rhododendron, azalea. I would love to know if you try it and how the process works for you.

Happy gardening!

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

PJM Rhododendrons – A tale of massacre and despair

My husband is crazy about rhododendrons. He loves them because they are showy, easy care and grow well in deep shade; which we’ve got in spades. I suspect he also loves them because in order to really see them in their splendor, you must be in the woods; his happy place. Last fall, we planted four PJMs and carefully tended them while they were settling in to their new home.

A few months later, we noticed the leaves turning yellow and falling off. It was an extremely rainy fall; did they get too much water? Maybe we planted them in the wrong area? Were they getting too much sun? We had no idea.

Shortly after that, we saw to our horror, that the neighborhood thugs (also known as deer) had come through and eaten the ends off every single branch of all four plants! They’d shown no mercy. It looked like we had wandered through the yard picking up sticks after a wind storm and decided to shove them into the ground instead of the burn pile.

Deerscouraged – Yes, it’s a word. I just invented it.
deers·cour·aged/dirˈskərijd/adjective
having lost confidence or enthusiasm for gardening in deer country; disheartened. “she must be feeling pretty deerscouraged”

Dejected, we paid a visit to the nursery where we purchased the rhododendrons, looking for a glimmer of hope for these little guys. The owner guessed that the wet weather had contributed to the leaves falling off. She encouraged us to leave them alone and wait until spring to see if they came back.

Well, this story has a happy ending (or middle?) because the plants have budded out and are blooming today. We’re hopeful that healthy leaves will return this year.

UPDATE:
A few weeks later, the leaves have returned to the PJMs, they’re growing like crazy and seem to be very healthy!

If you’d like to try PJMs in your landscape, you can read more about them here:
https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/280/pjm-rhododendron/

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Lighten your Load – A simple tip for container gardening

I love this time of year because I get to select flowers for the planters around our yard and on the porch. If you’re filling planters too, I’ve got a plant-saving, back-saving, money-saving and waste-reducing tip for you. One simple tip that has four different benefits and might not even cost you a penny? That’s a gardening win!

Save your aluminum beverage cans or ask family and friends to save them for you. For gallon size planters you will only need 3-4 cans. For really large planters, you could use 30+ cans.

Using my coffee filter tip; cover the drainage hole in your planter.

Then without disturbing the filter(s), start filling the planter about halfway with empty aluminum cans. Make sure that the cans are laying on their sides or upside down so that they don’t fill with water over time.

Carefully place potting soil on top of the cans, tuck your plants in and fill the planter with soil to about an inch from the rim. This is a great tip for people like me who tend to over-water plants. The cans provide excellent drainage so the roots don’t sit in water. The planters are easier to move because they weigh less than they would if they were filled with soil. You’ll save money because you won’t need as much potting soil to fill the planter. And it keeps the cans out of the landfill.

I’m attempting to rescue these lavender plants from our shady garden area.

Note: I have used this tip very successfully with annual and perennial flowers; I haven’t tried it with herbs or vegetables. If you try it with foods, use fewer cans and plant shallow – medium rooted crops. Hmm. Maybe I’ll experiment with lettuces and herbs?

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Tips for Displaying Your Collectibles – Decorating the Hoosier for Spring

This Hoosier cabinet is a kitchen workhorse. It’s been a pantry, storage for extra dishes and large pots but most often it has been a display area for seasonal decorations and collectibles.

Several of the items in here have sentimental value; a memory tied to an experience, found or given to us by family, starting with the Hoosier itself. A gift from my sister.

This bird nest was part of the decor at my Indiana grandma’s 90th birthday party. The china belonged to my grandma in California and was lovingly shipped here by my aunt and uncle. Other items were collected over time from the flea market, thrift stores and yard sales. Some pieces are new, purchased at a discount.

The bunnies are new pieces, the leaf plates are a gift from my mom. The vintage table linens below were collected over time, mostly gifts from my sister-in-law.

“Chocolate” bunny found at TJ Maxx.

This apron was sewn by another sister. She chose cherry fabric for me because at the time we had nine cherry trees on our property.

The Fiestaware is a reminder of my Indiana Grandma and her colorful kitchen. She used Fiesta as her everyday dishes and had a glass front cabinet in her kitchen chock full of it.

These chick vases were found on a shopping trip to Dixie Pottery in Abingdon, VA with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. They are new pieces with a vintage look.

This cookbook holder with illustrations cracks me up! If you need an infographic for how to hold a cookbook open; perhaps the cooking is best left to someone else?

My husband bought this little teacup for me. It’s hard to read the message, but it says “Be always happy”. I imagine the original owner drank her tea from it and her thumb resting on the cup wore off the word “always”.

The lemonade pitcher and glasses were a birthday gift from my sister-in-law.

Here are some tips for displaying your collectibles:

  • Decide on a color scheme/theme. In this case, I’ve used all pastel and Spring/Easter items. You could go with brights, all white, monochromatic, etc.
  • Group like items together. Odd numbered groupings look best.
  • Vary the height of the pieces on each shelf. Try to arrange vignettes of triangles and inverted triangles. This creates movement and helps to guide the eye through your display.
  • When decorating shelves or bookcases, group colors and stagger them from right to left in a vertical zig-zag pattern.
  • Most importantly, use what you love! From the outside looking in, this may seem like a strange group of unrelated pieces, but nearly every item reminds me of an experience or someone I love. And that is the real story of my home and yours.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019-2020 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.