Kentucky Plants And Wildlife – A Day In The Kentucky Woods

Kentucky Plants And Wildlife – A Day In The Kentucky Woods
April 23, 2017
 

   Kentucky Plants And Wildlife – Since the weather was gorgeous this year during spring break, we took the grandkids for a day of adventure in the Kentucky woods.  (You know this has to be better than having them sit in front of some video game.)

    Middle Creek Park in Boone County Kentucky is a really nice place to just enjoy a walk in the woods.  The kids discovered lots of surprises in the woods.  You’d be surprised at how observant they really are.

    We found yellow trillium and purple trillium.

 

    We found ‘Blue-Eyed Mary’s’!  I had never seen these before and guessed they were probably some type of viola.  Wrong!  These wildflowers, apparently, thrive in low moist areas in woodland; and that is exactly where we found these.  There was just a beautiful blue and green carpet of these covering the woodland floor.

 

    We found a ladybug resting on a dried brown leaf.

    Aidan found a box turtle and wanted to take him home.  He probably would have changed his mind after carrying him around for while, but I explained that the woods was a really good home for him.  I suggested that saving one of those little turtles from a pet store was perhaps a better idea.  He agreed.

   As Aidan and Will walked along the creek, Will commented that Aidan was walking a little too close to the edge and might slide down into the creek.  A few seconds later, he was in water up to his knees.

  Then, there was Will’s nonchalant comment, “See, I told you.”

    After pushing his wet pants up to his knees, he felt he was already wet, might as well enjoy it.

   Aidan found these fossils and told us how he had learned about what they are on a school field trip.

 

   We found a fiddlehead fern.  The new growth of most ferns is called a fiddlehead.  The name fiddlehead is simply because the new fronds look like the decorative scrolled end on a fiddle.

 

    We saw wild blue phlox growing on the woodland floor.  Wild blue phlox grow in woodlands, wetlands, and along the edges of fields by the woods.  The petals are usually a blue or blue-violet color.

    The Virginia Bluebells,(Mertensia virginica), were blooming. They are easily recognizable because the little individual flowers have five petals that are fused together onto a long tube and they bloom in clusters.

   We saw bleeding hearts and these tiny white flowers, which we’ve identified as’Cleavers (Balium Aparine)‘, also known as Goosegras.  I love the leaves on this plant.

 

    These are some of the cutest little flowers!  They are called Dutchman’s Breeches, (Dicentra cucullaria).  These flowers resemble old-fashioned pantaloons hanging upside down.

 

   Star Chickweed, (Stellaria pubera), grow 6 – 12 inches high.  What appears to be ten petals on these are actually five petals, which are deeply partially divided into two.  The stamens are tipped with dark anthers that almost look like colored polka dots against the white flowers.

 

    And, of course, we saw May apples.  When the May apples are up, so are the morel mushrooms but we didn’t see any of those in this woods, unfortunately.

    

   The kids could not resist crossing the creek on this moss covered fallen log.  

    Aidan’s observant eye caught sight of several snails.  He was mesmerized by the tiny little creatures.  It’s amazing what you can find in the woods, isn’t it?

 

   The kids enjoyed fresh air, a long walk through the woods, and learned a thing or two on the way.  Frankly, I learned about some unfamiliar wildflowers, too.  Kentucky Native Plants And Wildlife – A Day In The Kentucky Woods and it was a memorable time for all.

 

 

 

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

March 7, 2017

    Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated.  Perhaps that is my mantra – ‘understated’.  If it is yours, too,  you’ve come to the right place.  If not, you can always embellish with more.  These ideas will give you a good foundation upon which to embellish.

 

   Last year, I found this adorable bunny at Hobby Lobby.  I loved it so much, I decided to go back and buy another one.  Wrong.  They were all gone by the time I got there!   Don’t you hate when that happens?

 

   This year, when I saw these bunnies back again at Hobby Lobby, I purchased another and a smaller version, too.  Aren’t these the cutest bunnies?   I could just imagine them on the fireplace mantel.

    Contemplating removing the clock again, I decided against it.  I love that it is black and loving those little black touches throughout the house, I couldn’t…   (Rationalizing.)  Besides, the tips of the bunny ears show up nicely in front of it.

    After placing the two larger bunnies on the mantel, it seemed something was missing.   They needed something nestled between them.  The thought of a little nest with the antique-looking eggs I made earlier this week came to mind.  A trip to Michael’s and the Dollar Tree was necessary.  Michael’s had the little 7-inch nest and Dollar Tree had inexpensive moss.

    Have you ever heard of ‘reindeer moss’?   Turns out reindeer moss is actually a lichen of the genus Cladonia, which the reindeer eat.  Who knew?   Regardless, I liked the green color of it and picked up a bag for a dollar!

 

    Although the reindeer moss-lined nest with the eggs looked okay, it seemed to need a little something more.

   So, a couple of pieces cut from a spring floral bouquet were gently bent to curve around the nest.    While that looked nice, the thought to add a little ivy to this to give it a little more interest came to mind.

    You see the workings of my simple mind.  While the flowers added a different color and texture, there was still something missing.  The little pieces of ivy added that little extra understated touch.   Subtle, but isn’t it perfect?

 

   A few weeks ago, the two orchids in the picture were purchased at the local grocery.  Although they are still blooming, it seemed replacement flowers a little more indicative of the season were needed to welcome spring.

    So at Sam’s Club, there were more orchids but as I was reaching for a white one to put in the cart, the thought of spring tulips popped into my head.  Yes, white or ivory spring tulips just seemed right at that moment.  

   Stopping at two local Kroger stores on the way home and searching in the floral departments, I couldn’t find an appropriate pair of tulip plants.  Where are the tulips now when I need them?  

    Totally disappointed, I headed home.  Looking at the mantel again, I contemplated using a different set of vases.  Setting one on the mantel, the idea of using some of the silk floral stems leftover from the nest came to mind.  

     Isn’t the big vase on the right beautiful?  Yes, but you know what?  I think the smaller vase actually looks a little more delicate and spring-like.  Don’t you?  

 

   Using little wire cutters, the stems were cut from the bouquet and placed in the vase.  When the stems were first placed in the vase, they were too short.  Wine corks do come in handy.  I just piled some in the vase and voila!  Perfect height!

    Notice that I also switched the birds around.  With the smaller vases, it seemed the one on the right would now draw the eye back to the mantel.  I like the negative space all around the elements.   You can definitely see the triangular composition in this one, which is always pleasing to the eye.

    Notice that in this triangular composition there are multiple secondary triangular compositions, as indicated by the blue and red lines in the picture below.  Although each of these triangular compositions has almost identical items, you could create a similar triangulation with completely different items.

   Typically, liking something a little understated, this is very appealing to yours truly.  More elements could be added but sometimes restraint is a good thing. Don’t you agree?

    Hope this has helped motivate and inspire you to create your own spring mantel decor!  Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated.

 

 

 

 

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden

February 3, 2017

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com    
   Spring is just around the corner. Soon, the weather will be a bit warmer, and we’ll get that renewed feeling we’ve so desperately craved for after months of nothing but the coldness of winter. Part of this so-called rebirth also entails having the inspiration to clean up, become invigorated, and, finally, get organized. Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done at home – spring-cleaning to be exact.

   Ronique Wilson of Freshome even teaches us ways on how to be more efficient when doing this. However, we still need to put extra focus on one particular part of our home: the garden. With that in mind, here’s a rundown on how to get our outdoor living spaces ready for the spring season.

Make an Inventory

   Way before going online to shop, visiting stores, or hitting the inspiration boards, we should first make an inventory of what we have in-house. Take note of the tools and/or furniture that needs replacing or repairing.  Note that stores – land-based and digital – often promote pre-season sales, which is why it’s better to purchase weeks before the actual start of spring.

Construct a Fire Pit

   Creating an outdoor fire pit is easy, especially if we have tons of extra materials hanging around the garden. This is ideal for entertaining friends and/or hanging out with family. In addition to providing a place to gather around, it gives your backyard a viable conversation piece.

Consider Adding More Shade

   Obviously, the attraction of being outside during the warmer months is the sunshine. With this, having shades – such as a gazebo – becomes almost a necessity. According to Screwfix, a gazebo creates “a striking focal point to your garden.” What’s more, you have a lot of stylish options when it comes to shades. You can either go for a pergola for the dining or sitting area, or you can buy a Sun Sail for a more modern look, or even opt for a simple umbrella under a treetop.

Add More Lights

   Since a contemporary lighting plan is expensive and requires professionals to install them, you should consider a plethora of practical alternatives out there. You can wrap string lights around trees for an enchanted forest effect, or place them inside a hanging lantern for a strong burst of rustic illumination. Your creative options are limitless, whether in terms of the light you use or where you put them in the backyard.
 

Five Backyard Ideas for Your Spring Garden on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.comn
5 Backyard Ideas For Your Garden

Incorporate a Bit of Zen

   To cap everything off, it’s recommended to incorporate a little Zen to your garden. You can do this by adding wind chimes or water features. Based on early weather forecasts on Farmer’s Almanac, it’ll be generally cloudy in most parts of the United States come spring, so these features will come in handy. Furthermore, if you want to go grander, you can incorporate a combination of plants and garden sculptures to invite butterflies and hummingbirds.

   Hope these “5 Backyard Ideas For Your Spring Garden” inspire you!

 

 

Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide

Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide

April 12, 2016

    Caroline Gilbert recently helped create a beautiful guide about spring flowers for FTD.  It matches 42 spring flowers to the 10 spring Pantone colors, so you can find the flowers that are right for your own home and garden.

   If you are not familiar with Pantone, it is a system for locating, matching, and referring to specific colors.  It is ‘the global authority’ on color.  It was originally designed for graphic arts but is now used by designers of floral, fashion, and home industries.

 Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

   I hope you enjoy her introduction, which follows, and all of her beautiful pictures.  They leave me wanting all of them!  What a helpful guide this will be in choosing flowers for your very own garden!  Be sure you read about the flowers and see the rest of the pictures from the guide here. ►spring-flowers

   Spring is such an exciting time! The weather gets warmer and colorful flowers are all around. One of the best things about spring is all of the different flowers that are in season. To help inspire you to plant or decorate with something new this spring, FTD created a spring flower and Pantone color guide. It takes the ten colors from Pantone’s spring 2016 color palette and matches them to popular spring flowers.

 Spring Flowers  Pantone Color Guide

   This color palette is a great mix of soft and vivid colors. If you’re a fan of light pink Rose Quartz, grow peonies, cherry blossoms, or dogwoods. If you prefer vibrant colors like the bright yellow Buttercup, try daffodils, freesias, of pansies. For more inspiration, check out the mood boards below.

Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

 

Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

    As you know, most of the floral posts on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.comare of flowers from my own garden, but these mood boards were so breathtaking, I wanted to share them with you.  These will make you anxious to look at your garden, and visit the garden center, with a new perspective!  Enjoy this Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide!

 Spring Flowers and Pantone Color Guide on MyHumbleHomeandGarden.com

Hallelujah! It’s Spring – Spring Flowers

April 3, 2016

    Hallelujah!  It’s Spring!   The cherry tree was in full bloom this week.  Today, the wind is blowing so hard that most of the petals have been blown away.  Sometimes, the white petals almost look like snow flying through the air.

 

    The hyacinth’s are still in bloom and the daffodils are, too, but near the end of their blooming season.  Last year, the miniature daffodils were just beginning to bloom on March 30th.  This year, they have already bloomed and gone.  

 

   The forsythia is really gorgeous this year with cascades of bright yellow flowers on the branches.  (It’s actually our neighbor’s forsythia, but it faces our garage door and we get to enjoy it.)

   Remember we planted butterfly weed early last fall?  Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on this plant, a North American milkweed.  I have been checking daily since everything has been coming up and had almost lost hope, but there it is!  It is planted just a few feet from the butterfly bush.  The lavender butterfly bush alongside the butterfly weed, which has flowers that are flat-topped clusters of bright golden yellow petals, should be a striking combination.  

 

   I am pretty excited about this new plant and the thought of more Monarch butterflies.  This Monarch butterfly was on the butterfly bush a couple of years ago.

    The bad thing about the butterfly weed is that the caterpillar eats the leaves.  The plant will be chewed up some, but that seems a small price to pay.  Hopefully, the grandkids will be able to see the life cycle from the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, to the butterfly.  They will be in awe.

 

   The tiny violets are blooming right now, too.  This is really early for some of these plants to be coming up in Northern Kentucky.  I want to cut a bunch of these and make candied violets before they are gone.  

A recipe for candied violets can be found here. ►Candied violets.

   This ‘Pink Champagne’ Clematis has been growing here since May of 2014.  It is only the first week in April and there is a multitude of buds on this plant! 

 

   Never having had any clematis before, I had no idea how to grow these or what to expect.  The stems at the top of this plant looked dead and I had considered trimming it off, but refrained.  Thank heaven I did!  Look at all the growth in the past two weeks!  There are a lot of stems coming up from the bottom, too.

 

    This is a picture of a blossom from last year.  The blooms are a bright fuschia color and the blossoms can be six to eight inches across.  Last year they were about six inches.  They seemed small in comparison to a lot of the clematis I have seen before.  This early start has me anticipating a big pop of color soon.

 

   This has to be my favorite season of the year.  Watching all of the beautiful flowers and anticipating waves of colorful blooms for the nest few months is exciting.  Hallelujah!  It’s Spring!