Make Your Own Spring

Spring has arrived! But, we live in the Midwest which means that spring won’t really feel like it’s here for several more weeks. It’s not uncommon for Illinois to get snow in April. This week we may have 70 degree temperatures….and then the forecast has mentioned a chance of snow for the weekend. It’s hard to keep waiting when you are really really ready for sunshine, warmer temperatures, and gardens. I have some suggestions of things that you can do to make your own spring when spring seems so very far away…..

Check out an Indoor Garden!

The spring show at Garfield Park Conservatory is always a great way to gear up for spring sights and smells. This year’s theme “Understory”, has the visitor viewing the plants and flowers that grow beneath the forest canopy. The entire Conservatory has long been a favorite place for our family to escape the cold, rain and/or snow (all of which we might have on the same day in Illinois spring). You can check out the spring show until it closes May 12th.

Start Planning Your Garden!

So many different home improvement stores are full of flowers and plants right now. Lily and I went to Home Depot over the weekend and checked out the many annuals that they have in stock right now. They also had a few perennials. I already have some ideas for my container gardens.

Get outside as often as you can!

When those really nice days arrive, take full advantage of them! Get outside. Go to a playground. The weather can change very quickly so it’s important to take advantage of the sunshine while it’s here. I feel the same way during the summer months. If it’s nice out, we should get outside (for at least some of the day). Save the movie marathons for the rainy days!

Eat Warm Weather Foods!

Sure, I’ll eat ice cream year round. But once the snow has melted, it just seems to taste better. Do you agree? Being able to eat an ice cream cone without my fingers freezing…yea…the ice cream just tastes better. And once the temperatures start to inch above freezing and stay there, that’s when I want one of my favorite warmer weather meals – a Superdawg with everything, onion chips, and a strawberry soda. Yummmmm! Just thinking about it makes me feel a little bit warmer. 🙂

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Check out a professional garden!

The Chicago Botanic Garden has a useful chart here that lets you know what will be in bloom and when. Yes, this one is really more for days when it’s a little warmer….and hopefully not snowing. But, this lets you plan for what dates you want  to try to check out their gardens. (Especially if you know you really want to see the tulips in bloom!)

If you were lucky enough to check out the orchid show (which sadly has closed already) you were treated to some absolutely beautiful flowers and arrangements. I loved it! It was like a mini tropical vacation! I mean, just look at these flowers! Beautiful!

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The Container Garden

Remember when I wrote this blog post about starting the container garden? (You can find it here.) Well, one of the most important things involved in gardening is time. The plants need time to grow and grow. It takes time. But it’s worth it.

Our container garden has, of course, grown.

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I am really loving the different colors. The varieties of pinks!

How are your gardens looking so far?

Container Gardening

I will say, that as much as I love our front yard garden – and it’s a lot – there is something very enjoyable about a little container garden. Since it is filled with annuals, you can change it up every year. You can make your container garden as large or as small as you want. And it’s a great way to experiment with new plants.

When planning my container gardens, I choose 1) one type of tall grass for height, 2) something with fun color, and 3) something that will drape or fall over the front. This gives the garden some interesting depth.

Once you choose out the plants that you will use, experiment within the pot. Where do they look best. Don’t plant them until you are sure about their placement. (It’s much easier to move them around now, than after you’ve already planted them in their new homes.)

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After you are sure of your placement, go ahead and plant. Honestly, I don’t think that there is a wrong way to do this. I add lots of small pots (because we have so many!) and that gives the whole garden some interesting impact. Even one plant in one small pot can add some fun color to your garden.

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I have two larger pots and those are the ones that I really try to play around with using different heights. I found some cool grasses this year that I used toward the back of the pot.

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The final step? Water your plants every day (unless you’ve been getting as much rain as we have…..) and enjoy your garden all summer long!

Springtime in the Front Yard

We’ve had some rain recently and it has done wonders in our front yard.

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The daffodils are pretty much done for the season but the tulips are beautiful, the new irises that we planted last year are coming up nicely, and the phlox looks great. Well, at least the purple phlox looks great. (And is expanding like crazy!)

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The phlox plants that I got last year are still looking pretty small but there are several new blooms on each plant. I’m optimistic that these ones will eventually look as great as the purple one. (Pay no attention to the dandelions growing in the middle of the garden…..)

But what I’m most excited about?

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Look how tall the peonies are already!!! The peonies are always my favorite.

 

What’s coming up in your garden?

Garden Update

Finally! Spring has arrived! Our daffodils, in the front yard, are blooming and they look beautiful. The tulips have not shown much growth yet and are still pretty short, and definitely not blooming yet, but the bright yellow of the daffodils definitely looks like spring has arrived.

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What is growing in your garden? What plants are you looking forward to seeing soon?

Spring is Springing….Sort of….

So, it’s snowing. Yep. Snowing. It seems as though winter did not get the memo that spring had started. Or, maybe spring did not get the email that it was supposed to get started.

But, even with the snow and the cold temperatures….and the lack of anything resembling blue skies….spring is here. And there are noticeable changes if you take the time to look.

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Greenery is starting to emerge from the earth. Starting.

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I’m hoping that in a few weeks, we’ll be able to enjoy some more colors in addition to the greenery.

Have you seen some signs of spring around your house? Is your garden beginning to emerge?

 

Morton Arboretum – One of our favorite must-do items on the checklist

We love going to the Morton Arboretum any time of year but it is even more fun during the summer because the Children’s Garden is full of water! Water table – check. Water full of tadpoles that you can try to see up close – check. Water in the stream that you can walk in – check. Yes, the Children’s Garden is a lot of fun in any season but it’s definitely our favorite in the summer.

And once you are done playing in the Children’s Garden, there are a lot of beautiful pathways through the gardens and trees for you to explore.

 

The checklist thus far:

  • Make lemonade.
  • Eat at Big Bowl.
  • Go to Millennium Park.
  • Go to Adler Planetarium.
  • Get space ice cream.
  • Go to zoo.
  • Go to Shedd Aquarium.
  • Go bowling.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Play at Maggie Daley playground.
  • Go to Field Museum.
  • Go to Art Institute and do a JourneyMaker tour.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the Children’s Museum.
  • Play at playground.
  • Have a pajama day (with daddy.)
  • See a movie at the movie theater.
  • See a movie outside.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the Family Festival downtown Chicago.
  • Make cookies.
  • Read books at home.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Draw pictures and cut them out.
  • Play with legos.
  • Make muffins.
  • Make pasta salad.
  • Play with toys.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Try to go to a water park.
  • Go to the Disney store downtown Chicago.
  • Eat at Rainforest Cafe.
  • Eat at Labriola Cafe.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Play games on the iPad.
  • Play Mario game with daddy.
  • Go to the Morton Arboretum.
  • Go to Mimi and Pa’s house.
  • Go to Granny and Pa’s house.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the Museum of Science and Industry.