Monthly Archives: April 2017

What four years can do for a garden

When we first moved into our KY home four years ago the landscape was in dire need of some love. The house had been rented for the last three years and there was a LOT of weed overgrowth in the very back borders, barren borders and weedy lawn… the homeowner did have a landscape company come in and trim, weed and mulch next to the house before listing it for sale though so that was something.

So this is what the backyard borders looked like then… they were all lined in ugly pink cement pavers… YUCK! In general I am not a fan of lined borders, there are exceptions to this though like for stacked stone or metal edging.

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One of the first things we did was remove the overgrown shrubs from the corner of the house, expand the border slightly and plant 6 (5 ft. tall) Arborvitae’s “Thuja” for privacy on our patio, you see the neighbors had 3 Great Dane’s that were prone to staring and drooling… (I think he wants to eat my little Chewy)

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We also built this planter box for vines etc. to add additional privacy while the shrubs were growing…

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This is what that area looks like today! Very private and lush and as a bonus I can plant plants in the planter that I can’t plant on the ground because of those rascally rabbits!

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This is the view from the neighbor’s side (taken in Feb.), the Arborvitae’s are about 15 ft tall today!

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By the way I listed the pavers on Craig’s List for free and a guy came and pulled them up and hauled away all of them… man am I so glad that he did the work for me!

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We got rid of the Euonymus, mainly because I hate them but also because the deer eat them which would bring them up to the patio to search out other plants as well. We relocated the Princess Spirea to the end of the border and planted lots of herbs, Lambs Ear, Bleeding Heart, Russian Sage and one of my favorite trees a River Birch.

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We also extended the border and removed the “sandbox” (that square thing with all of the weeds in it) and we relocated the rock from the “firepit” (the round thing with all of the weeds in it) to the backside and shaded area of the property.

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The border extension was just done 2 years ago so most of the plants in this area are only a year or two old, except for the Princess Spirea of course.

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They’re Butterfly bushes at the very tip along with Grey Owl Junipers in the background which helps disguise manhole cover.

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We are very proud of what we accomplished in our garden in four years! We love seeing the plants grow and thrive especially as a lot of our plants were started from seed… So now we have to start all over in a new home, with a lot of empty borders… Hubby installed 16 yards of mulch all by himself last Saturday!

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So glad I was not there to help, which sounds awful of me I know, but I also know what a job this was!

Our new borders will eventually be full of plants, the fuller they are the less mulch we will need because I’m sure I won’t be let off the hook next time we need to mulch!

Thanks so much as always for stopping by…

Until next time!

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Gardening with Pests

Our home in Louisville, KY sits on 1.25 unfenced acres and I can tell you that there have been numerous times I wished it was fenced like my neighbor’s with a 5 ft. tall fence. Now a 5 ft. tall fence is not meant to keep deer out, but the deer have yet to hop their fence to get at any of the “goodies” inside. So even though the fence will not stop the moles, voles or rabbits it does seem to deter the deer which seem to be a bane of my existence here! Now don’t get me wrong I love to look at deer and I love seeing the babies coming through in the spring, but they annoy the sh*t out of the dogs who love to stalk the backyard and bark whine and cry to go get them…

Cute right? Yes, but these are in my yard, I’d much rather see them somewhere else…

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Over the past four years here (we’re in zone 6 by the way) I have found quite a few great plants that no critter seems to want to partake of… most of them are herbs, that’s right just your basic garden herbs!

Mint in the background (kept in check, but you need to be aware that it can spread like wildfire) so maybe don’t do as I do in this case… but I have plenty for my Mojitos all summer long!

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I love my Chives, they are about 14″ tall and the purple blooms stay for weeks… I think people sometimes use the blooms in salads… I just look at them and every once in a while snip off some fresh chives for a recipe. They will go dormant and brown in the winter, but you just remove the dead and they come back beautifully in the Spring.

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I also have a bunch of purple Salvia that I grew from seed and is really starting to take off this year… I think they smell like BAD body odor (or maybe cat urine) when you touch them but they have a very pretty flowing display… and I don’t touch them unless I’m deadheading them.

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One of my all time favorite plants (and super easy to propagate or grow from seed ) is Lamb’s Ear. This particular variety is a Giant Lambs ear, which will clump more than the smaller variety of Lamb’s Ear, I have a smaller variety in the front borders which really fills up the boarder and cuts down dramatically the need for mulch.

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A new favorite of mine is Lemon Balm, it looks similar to mint, but it grows in clumps and as a bonus when the dogs walk through it they pick up a nice lemony scent! This will be a plant I will use over and over again in my landscape plan, below is all new Spring growth as it will get about 24″ or so tall.

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I think the garden pests don’t care for the aroma of the herbs as they do not touch my oregano, rosemary, chives, lavender, mint, catmint or lemon balm all of which come back year after year in our yard. These herbs can be an inexpensive alternative to other perennials and as a bonus you have fresh herbs for cooking or crafting with, I think it’s a win-win to fill your borders up with as many herbs as possible! The critters also never touch my Lamb’s Ear or Russian Sage, but the rabbit nibbles my Phlox down to a nub, he’s such an ass! Sometimes “something” will nibble on my Bleeding Hearts as well, but I’m not sure who the culprit is yet…

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I also want to put a plug in for one of my favorite vines of all time, The Chocolate vine… it has the prettiest foliage and tiny, delicate blooms in spring, this vine has always been a healthy grower for me.

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We planted 2 vines in our patio planter last spring and while they were slow to take off they seem to be growing like crazy now… just in time for their new owners.

It truly is a joy for me to watch all of our plants grow and flourish in spite of the critters!

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!

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PS My mom turned me onto this product which we both swear by for deterring deer, does nothing for rabbits, but the deer don’t like it and it’s cheap! I apply every few weeks or so, as bonus it’s a natural fertilizer…

First Things First

Pretty much without fail when we move into a “new” home we generally start with replacing lighting. I know that may seem strange as it would make most sense to start with paint, but for me sourcing the right lighting is one of the more difficult tasks. It would seem like it would be fairly simple as my taste runs more toward the traditional side (in general) but finding the right light at the right price just tends elude me (especially vanity lighting)!

Even before I walked into our new home in Virginia Beach I had started the search for new lighting, specifically dining room, family room and eat in kitchen lighting. I found this light at World Market. Antique Whitewash Wood Bead Chandelier

It looks perfectly suited for a causal coastal vibe and at $200 it wasn’t going to break the bank. Plus I have plans to modify it by wrapping the metal rim in either sisal or leather lacing, basically making it look more upscale for very little money and effort! The other thing about this light I love is that it has 4 bulbs (40 watt each) which since I’m using LED lights I can use a higher wattage and add a dimmer to adjust brightness as necessary.

The other light I found that I’m totally excited about is for the family room. It’s from Ballard Designs and at $400 it’s not exactly cheap but I totally think that it is priced very nicely!

Bamboo 6-Light Chandelier

Unfortunately the light is backordered until July, but I plan on it setting the tone for the whole room. I’ve also decided that if for some strange reason we LOVE utilizing the fan/light combination that’s currently in the family room I can use this in the dining room, bedroom or the foyer I think it’s that versatile.

There were some other options I considered for the dining room, but I want to wait to get the bamboo light installed before I pull any triggers.

How cool is this one though? Very masculine I know, but I’m totally digging the feel of the leather and brass! It’s by Savoy House and it’ll cost about $600 depending on where you source it, but it’s pretty bad ass looking and my Hubby totally loved it of course!

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I also saw this bad boy at Lowe’s and while I like style a lot it wouldn’t jive with our dining room furniture and that furniture is not going anywhere…

Kichler Lighting Basford 21-in 6-Light Distressed Antique Gray Rustic Cage Chandelier

My hubby installed the beaded chandelier already and I’m thrilled with how it looks even if there’s no table there yet…

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We also installed these Lutron motion sensor lighting in the two master closets, it is just so convenient (or lazy) to be able to walk into the closet and not have to turn on the light. We set them to turn off after 1 minute of no movement or we can manually turn it off ourselves, which for some reason is no problem for me to turn them off but I do want them to come on automatically… go figure! Super easy to install by the way…

Another item we just “had to install” was this Lutron remote control dimmer for the master bedroom and media room. We love being able to remotely control the lights and we were used to it as we installed two of them in our KY home in the master and the media room as well. They are super easy to install as well, but if you have little kids (or maybe just irresponsible teens) you may want to find a place to store the remote so you always can find it, but I did find out that you can buy a new remote if the old one is “misplaced”…

So I have a crap ton of lights to replace, but it may be that I get to the painting before I buy more lights… we’ll have to see as I am still living in Louisville until June 1st (last day of school) and Hubby is already living in the new home like a nomad without any permanent furniture, so I don’t have a lot to do but pack and daydream about our new spaces!

While I was at the new house for Spring Break I needed a place to set my coffee etc. down while I was watching TV (this is how Hubby is living for 8 weeks!) so I found a cool antique store with lots of goodies and found this TINY table for $20! I just love it and I plan on using it in a bathroom after the “real” furniture arrives, but it is so dang cute I smile every time I see it! I mean it’s SUPER tiny!

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So I’m off to pack a few more boxes, I did a little calculation and determined that if I pack just 2 boxes a day I will be done by the time the movers come, I hope that is the case as I’m pretty much sticking to that number!

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time…

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PS Have you ever tried this Grapefruit Vodka? If not you might want to it’s delicious, I enjoy it mixed with La Croix Grapefruit Sparkling Water… they have other flavors too if you’re just not into grapefruit…

 

 

 

Good news and bad news…

Well the good news is we sold our home (officially closed and everything), the bad news is we sold our home…

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The short version of this is that we listed our home for sale and after showing it 6 times the first day we received 4 very good offers! So we accepted an offer that allowed us to rent back until the end of the school year, which is June 1st, which was a huge deal so I didn’t have to try to find temporary housing for 2 months!

On the flip side my hubby has already started his new job in Virginia and he found us this house in Virginia Beach! (Man does this house need some shutters and contrasting paint or what!!)

Exterior

We closed on our new home last week while I was in Virginia Beach for spring break with our youngest daughter. Now I will tell you that Hubby did all of the house hunting, we had put together a list of potential homes prior to him starting this process, but he went with the realtor and viewed them all, so he was a little nervous as to whether or not I would like our new home… which of course I do, but having said that it is pretty much is a blank canvas, lots of creamy white walls and off white carpet, but you know we’re up for the challenge!

The house was built in 2015 by the previous owners, the floor plan below shows the layout.

Floor Plans

I know a lot of people really like open foyers, but having built our last 2 homes with high open spaces I really do prefer a nice 9 to 10 foot high ceiling and no 2 story ceilings. You also may be able to see the textured walls, not what I was anticipating at all, but for whatever reason it’s the thing to do in the Virginia Beach area. The weird thing about it is that there is texture on all the walls and ceilings except for the walls in the dining room, kitchen and all of the bathrooms…. is that because these areas are most in need of cleanable walls? Do you have a clue as to why they would do it this way?

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(FYI, the house was staged by a professional staging company as the homeowners had already moved out.)

OK, so why oh why did these homeowners choose to install carpet in their dining room, ugh…. almost as bad as carpet in the bathroom but not quite…

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Nice office off the foyer with french doors.

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Oh the kitchen, I almost cried, not because it’s ugly but it literally looks almost identical to the kitchen we just remodeled… 😩

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See what I mean…

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I’m not sure I have another kitchen cabinet painting bone in my body (as this would be the 3rd) but I may…. the cabinets are very well-built quality cabinets so replacing them would probably be out of the question…

There is a great little eat-in space off of the kitchen and the whole downstairs gets a TON of indirect natural light throughout the day…

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While I think this setup in the family room looks nice, having the TV mounted over the fireplace is just not our thing, I found a great inspiration photo on HOUZZ that I’m hoping we can emulate to make this focal wall work for us.

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The master bedroom is spacious with a tray ceiling, but again are you seeing all of this non-color? It’s not white either, it’s more like a french vanilla and I really detest yellows… I see a ton of painting in my future…

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The master bathroom is also very spacious but has its drawbacks as well… like a tub built for a 4 ft. tall person sunk into the largest tub deck EVAH, but at least it has a tub and it is super deep!

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We do have very nice sized his & hers closets off of the master bath and big bonus NO WIRE SHELVING ANYWHERE in this house! Not in the pantry, laundry room or anywhere which is totally awesome to me!

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The upstairs media room is a new thing for us, but there are no basements in this area so they have to put them somewhere!

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A view of the back of the house…

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Looking out from the deck is hugely different than our KY view… hello neighbors! This is a pretty new neighborhood so mature plantings are pretty non-existent.

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KY home backyard view… hello mature landscaping!

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But I’ve decided to make the best of it just crossing my figures that our neighbor’s are awesome! We also will start planting some evergreens for privacy as soon as possible, I’m sure as soon as they are big enough to actually afford us some privacy we’ll move again… UGH!!

 Or maybe we will spend more of our time here…

(please ignore our hair, it was SUPER windy that day)

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Being 3.6 mile from Sandbridge Beach will certainly have its benefits… now if I can only figure out how to tan without freckling or burning 😎

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!

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