Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shinning Stars of the Winter Border...

The sun was out yesterday and I grabbed my camera.
We have been so lucky, but it feels like January today,
it rained hard most of the night.
But here is a few tough plants that still look really nice
here are three favorites to talk about...

First off is my Grandiflora  Magnolia ‘Blanchard’ , it is a new addition last summer.  But I love it’s glossy leaves and waxy cream blooms.  Plus the leaves are wonderful in arrangements and wreaths. It is about 8 ft. tall and narrow, but it will fill out nicely!

Can’t wait till mine gets a bit bigger and blooms!  It looks really healthy and has grown quite a bit in a few short months.

My next favorite plant is one I was talking about on Facebook this week.  Might just be in my top 5 shrubs to have, that is heavenly bamboo or Nandina.   I believe this variety is “Firepower.”  It is a dwarf that only gets 30’ tall and wide.  This one is known for it’s color, thus the name…. but it does not set flowers or berries.  Which is unfortunate.  There are several varieties of Nandina, and after seeing how well this has done, I will be adding many more.  Plus it is winter interest, this photo is from today, what a wonderful color to have in the garden in January! 

Here is a video from YouTube about this plant, it gives you a good idea what it looks like in the garden.

This one many of you will roll your eyes at, I know…. but I love it.  It is Manhattan Euonymus.  I know Euonymuses get a bad rap, but this one I really like this one.  I have found Manhattan to be like most Euonymus, super easy to root…. thus I have made several new starts of this beauty.  I love it’s glossy broad leaves and upright form.  I will admit, it will get pretty large, but it is easy to trim and I am a heavy pruner anyway, so it is well worth growing for this wonderful display.  I will cut this entire shrub down to 12 inches in spring once the plants have filled in.  It is now about 4 feet tall and it has put on that growth in 2 years.  This one has never been trimmed, this is it’s natural state.
I hope this gives you an idea or two for some winter interest in your own garden!  As you can see we’ll take all that we can get! 

(The videos are just from YouTube.
I have found it to be interesting to look up plants for videos,
you can see what they really look like and find some
very interesting gardeners on there.
A fun way to spend a winter afternoon!)
Thanks so much for stopping by and please consider becoming a follower.
-Happy Gardening-
All Photos From My Own Home and Garden ©Brooke Kroeger

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New pillows with Vintage Fabrics…


As I mentioned in my pervious post, I have been having fun learning to sew.  I had collected several vintage fabrics last summer.  They are so cherry and bright.


This is my favorite one so far, love this pattern and I have enough to do another one, but I may keep it for when this one fades.  My porch is shaded, but still the only last a few months.  But that is part of the fun, replacing them with something new.  Plus, if I use yard-sale finds it doesn’t cost me very much.  Love that!


While I was out on the porch the kittens were putting on a show.  We have 3 three month old Tom kittens, the tiger is Jacob or Jake, the grey and white is Toby and there is another one that didn’t want to be in the pictures an all black one named Bear.


This is our first litter of kittens, and hopefully our last.  I have kept all buys for a reason!  But they have been a bunch of fun to watch.  They are now outside all day and come in of an evening or if it is super cold.  Hopefully I will have some good hunters!  They are so sweet, very loved.

Okay, hope your day is going good.  Thanks for stopping by…. I am off to try to find more pillows to cover! 

Happy Gardening….Brooke

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thoughts on a Monday Morning…


(The photo above is by me… a peony from last Spring. I cannot wait for them to bloom again! I planted 20 peonies last summer, they may not bloom for a few years, but eventually I will have quite a show!!!)

Pretty deep for 7:30 in the morning huh?  But truth is, I’ve been awake since 3:30… Oh, tell me about it.  It’s going to be a long day… Or a good day.  That is what I am writing about, how to remember each day is a miracle….

How did I end up with this free time?  Here is the recap.  Night shift hubby who never sleeps well comes to bed at 3 am with 170 pound dog, make room for both in king size bed.  Both fall asleep breathing loudly.  3:30 I finally decide to get up and go downstairs.  3:45 husband and dog come down to see why I am up.  We continue to watch 2 different TVs in two different rooms, the dog goes back and forth.  4:30 I finish reading blogs on my tablet and go back to bed.  5:00 I give up, get dressed and start making breakfast…..  Then you get the picture from there…. the school bus comes at 7:30 and the girls are happy that I cooked this morning….  Even did a cute braid in little sisters hair.

So why is this a Miracle?  We’ll that is a bit of an overstatement, but I am trying to be thankful for all the little things lately.  We all should be.  We are able to decorate our homes, garden, travel…. so many are not that lucky.  I have been frustrated by the little things lately, and I have been trying to focus on the big picture.

As basically a stay at home mom, it is easy for one day to slip into the next.  Cook, clean, haul kids around, groceries, pay bills….repeat. 

I can remember people telling me the older you get the faster the days goMan where they right.  I feel like I can just sit still and watch the weeks fly by.  What am I so busy doing…. Good question, I am not gardening this time of year, but it is everything.  But good things, like actually cleaning after taking down Christmas.  I always feel better when this house is picked up.  )Even though in 12 hours you can hardly tell.)

Plus I have been making jewelry again.  I made several necklaces and earrings as presents and have been really inspired to do more this winter.  I make most of the things I wear, I love….love… love jewelry.  I will do some posts soon of the things I am making.

But the biggest thing I want to do is learn to sew.  My parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas and I am having a blast playing with it.  The first week I just fixed things like hems… but yesterday I made three pillows and I have the fever to make about 100 now.  I love pillows on my porch swing and for my bedroom….  I am so inspired by the things I see on blogs now and pinterest….

So I am not saying my life is perfect.  It is anything but.  I have been having headaches and my knee is still a mess.  I still haven’t found the perfect part-time job for extra spending money, but I substitute teach when the school needs me.  I think in the next few weeks it will pick up, but it is not reliable.  I would love to find a local job in horticulture, but  most of my favorite places are at least 35 miles away, a bit too far to drive unless the pay was more than I am thinking they will offer. 

I have been getting requests to lecture, but that too is more for fun.  I have been really active in garden activities around Indiana attending several conferences.  I will continue to do so this Spring and have met so many new friends.  Really enjoy seeing local/state gardens.  I hope to be in a few upcoming publications, I have been asked to do a few freelance pieces this winter.  It will be the first time I’d have anything in print, which is very exciting for me.

So what does all this rambling mean?  I am a happy, content wife…. mom…. gardener… writer… decorator…. friend…. teacher…. artist…. you name it.  I am thankful for this Monday morning and every day before and after.  And actually, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I hope you too are feeling the blessing in your life.  I am so thankful for your friendship and for your kind words.

Happy Gardening….Brooke

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I banished the Snowmen--- but Winter’s still welcome…


Since Tuesday I have been taking down the majority of the holiday décor.  But I leave quite a few things up for “winter” decorations.  Usually this includes my snowman collection, but I have to tell you, I was getting tired of looking at them…. And I completely re-did the kitchen.  Which is kind of silly, I should have just packed it all at once, but in my mind this is a “Winter Garden Theme”.  I brought back out my birdhouses, pots, eggs and all… I did the tree in just snowy pinecones and red berries.  I will look for some red cardinals to put in there soon…  Sorry this is a long post, but enjoy (another) tour of our country kitchen!
















I am quite proud of my birdhouse collection.  I use these all over the house and they will be ready to switch out to bunnies and spring blooms in a few weeks.  Thanks so much for joining me and if you are visiting please consider becoming a member.

Happy Gardening….Brooke

All Photos From My Own Home and Garden ©Brooke Kroeger

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter is for the BIRDS!

Oh what a JOY the sun is out today and I can wonder around in the yard for a bit!
Just the slightest bit of light makes the lake sparkle and shine…
I went around today refilling the treaties for our feathered friends….
You can usually see them down by the firepit against the bright blue sky.  But of course as soon as I have my camera there are none to be found.
But that is fine, they will find my gifts to them when they are ready!  Until then it looks really pretty here on the deck. 

Here is a quote from about feeding oranges to wild birds....

"Many people make the mistake of thinking that wild birds prefer to eat nothing but seeds. The fact is, seeds are just a small part of a wild bird's diet, as many also eat insects, grubs and plant nectar. One treat preferred by several wild birds is an orange. Loved by orioles, cardinals, cedar waxwings, tanagers, finches and woodpeckers, oranges are a quick bird treat that gives them lots of energy."
Thanks so much for stopping by and please consider becoming a follower.
-Happy Gardening-
All Photos From My Own Home and Garden ©Brooke Kroeger

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More kitchen blooms! The show goes on….

Hello dear readers!  Hope today is going well for you.  Wanted to share a few more pics of the beautiful blooms in my kitchen this week.  This is the first time I have ever tried paper whites and they could not be easier or prettier in bloom. I love white daffodils anyway, so these are perfect for me… But I have to tell you, my family hates them and the smell that drifts thru the kitchen….  I just laugh and remind them they will only be blooming a bit longer.  I don’t think it is that bad, but maybe that is just the plant geek in me….  lol….





My beautiful Amaryllis is still blooming, but just for a day or two… This is the last of the blooms, but all three bulbs had two huge blooms and it has been open since Dec 23, so I would call that a really nice show.  Will definitely do them again next year.




Are these not just fantastic?  I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed them.  So much that I have been planting more bulbs for another show….


Here is a hyacinth bulb grown in water in a beautiful glass jar I found this fall.  I will be looking for more of these, they are so pretty in the light.  My girls think it is pretty neat too to see the roots.


And a few more bulbs are popping up in an antique cream ware bowl I love.  Can’t wait for the show… it will be like Spring…. we’ll as close as I can get in January!

-Happy Gardening-
All Photos From My Own Home and Garden ©Brooke Kroeger