April Flowers In Season Garden

April flowers…in season…in my garden.

I am not a gardener by any stretch but I interviewed a gardener for an article coming out next month and it inspired me to write a little more about the topic.

April flowers at my place

Purple Pansies

I love spring. Sigh. And the rain stopped for one day here in southwestern Canada so I feel hopeful again. Even if it lasts a mere moment before the rain comes back for more.

One of the things I love doing when I get home from a long day at work is walk around my flower beds and visit my flower friends. It’s remarkable how much they change in a day. Watching them grow before your eyes is an experience I can’t put into words but it fills me with wonder and awe and I feel my stress and anxiety melt away.

I found these pansies last summer, blooming in the middle of the front yard. My husband was mowing so I grabbed my shovel and rescued the plant, transplanting it in a front flowerbed where it was safe from the mower’s blade. What began as two flowers is now…quite something to behold!

April Flowers Hyacinth

For some reason I always forget these flowers are called grape hyacinths. Hyacinths, hyacinths. These are perfect flowers for me because they come up every year, low maintenance and have such a nice fragrance! They attract a lot of happy bees as well, which I’m glad for.

April Flowers Yellow Pansy

This is my newest yard rescue, found in March—again in the front yard—and is now safe from the lawn mower in my flower garden. I keep calling these plants pansies but you know, I’m not quite certain I’m right. When I Google it similarish flowers come up but not similar enough to remove all doubt. Perhaps this is my summertime quest.

April Flowers Daffodil

And this is my daffodil. What’s funny though, is I didn’t know I had a daffodil because I’ve never seen it before. This will be my third summer at my home and I’ve never had a daffodil. And I’ve never planted a daffodil. And yet, there it sits. Regal and daffodilly. And right smack in the middle of my flower bed. So. There we go. I have a daffodil.

My yard has a lot of shade so many of my flowers don’t show up until closer to summer. But right around the corner I’ll have tulips, lilacs and lilies so I may have to do this again.

Other times I wrote about gardening (but not April flowers)

Indoor Gardening Herb Tips for Non-Green Thumbs

Take it from me. Growing herbs isn’t as easy as the Internet tells you. So here are some indoor gardening herb tips from someone who has tried, failed, tried again, failed some more, and is now a successful herb grower. With a little help from the Internet.

indoor gardening herb tips

The sad story

Living in the country is wonderful but it turns out I’m a terrible at most of the things that make country living look quaint and picturesque on Pinterest. Like gardening.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Last year I grew loads of things all over the place. And then…there were bunnies and deer and rats and all sorts of bugs. All of a sudden. And they enjoyed my beautiful garden.

So I thought perhaps I should become an indoor gardener until we can build a fence or a greenhouse. I salvaged the plants I could, potted them, and moved them indoors. But…it wasn’t so simple. In fact, they didn’t like the indoors much.

The happy discovery

In my front garden I have a small planter with chives and mint. All summer I enjoyed cutting the herbs as I was cooking, running back and forth between the garden and the stove. But by autumn they had withered so I left the container out over the winter and remembered my little herbs with fondness.

But then! The snow melted…the sun came out…and my little herbs are growing back!

It gave me hope. Maybe I can’t do a full garden yet, but what about herbs? I’ve tried them in the past to various degrees of success. But what if I gave it another go?

The next step

I did a bit of searching to come up with a great little herb garden but wasn’t sure what would work best. There are so many options! And then we found the big kahuna of herb gardens—AeroGarden Sprout LED with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit. Like, what? Gourmet herb seed pods?

We found it on Amazon and I thought it was both silly and amazing. Going with the three-herb version for the first time around I set up the little machine and set it up in the kitchen window.

And I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

A week or so later the waiting was over. I have kitchen herbs! I’m thrilled with it and can’t believe how well the little system works. I’m thinking I can use the AeroGarden for the herbs I’m not sure how to grow, or haven’t had good luck with. And then the ones I feel more confident with I can keep out on in the front garden.

One herb at a time.

indoor gardening herbs

Indoor Gardening Herb Tips

  • Herb roots like growing away from light so if you’re growing in jars or bottles, go for a colour rather than clear
  • Many herbs can grow in just water—cut a five-inch stem, strip off the bottom leaves, and place the stem in water to root. Once the roots develop you can plant into pots
  • Using a grow light supplements lighting for herbs. This is good if you don’t have a south-facing window or don’t get 6+ hours of sunlight per day
  • The herb varieties that do best indoors: cilantro, basil, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme, and sage
  • Take it from me. Growing herbs isn't as easy as the Internet tells you. So here are some indoor gardening herb tips from someone who has tried, failed, tried again, failed some more, and is now a successful herb grower. With a little help from the Internet.

    This is such a random topic but I’m so happy with my AeroGarden herb garden system. It’s a bit pricey but I have herbs now! So many herbs! It’s giving me my gardening confidence back!

    And if you were wondering if I ever used my garden encouragement signs the answer is YES. And they’re awesome.

Easy DIY Garden Signs for the Non-Artistic [tutorial]

Here’s a quick and dirty tutorial for easy DIY garden signs even when you have zero artistic skills. I know because I did it.

DIY Garden Signs

DIY Garden Signs

What you need

  • Reclaimed wood (pallet, bed frame, etc.) upcycled into a sign-like form
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge/paint brushes (various sizes)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Containers for water/paint (Solo cups will do)
  • Stencils or craft letters
  • Mod Podge or glue that dries clear
  • Sealer/finish spray/wax
Please Grow

DIY Garden Signs: What you do

  • Using staples, nails, etc. create sign-like shapes from old pallets or bed frames
  • Once you’re happy with your sign shapes, sand, sand, sand. Serious here—if there’s any kind of finish on the wood the paint won’t absorb. If you’re going for the distressed/weathered look (pre-actual weathering) sand extra! In fact, sand extra anyway. You’re welcome
  • Paint your pallet sign however you want. If you’re going for the washed-out look mix paint with a bit of water in a separate container and wash over wood with a sponge brush. This is an easy process and dries fast. Allow paint to dry before adding layers
  • Once your undercoat is dry, stencil letters/images with a pencil and paint in as desired. If you have zero artistic skill like me then glue craft letters to your sign using a clear-drying glue. Allow to dry again
  • Add any further embellishments and allow to dry
  • Seal using finish spray or clear wax and allow to dry

It’s a straightforward craft but adds so much character to your garden. In my case, future garden. I don’t have a lot of experience with vegetables so I thought I should go the route of encouraging my seeds along plus reminders (#pleasegrow #intaflowers #lettuceeat #wtf (water the flowers)). That said I’m also planning a sign saying “I didn’t plant this” because I’m quite certain I will grow many mystery plants. It’s just how things go for me.

DIY Garden Signs tutorial

I still have some finishing touches to put on my signs but this is the general idea if you’re looking for a fun project on a cold winter’s night. Watch my Instagram for the finished products in all their glory. Or however they turn out.

Other DIY Articles

Project: Drying Parsley

Drying parsley is a great way to preserve garden-grown parsley when you have too much. And as far as I can tell, there’s no “best” way to do it—you just have to get it dried out.

Drying Parsley

Drying Parsley

Although I am a first-time gardener and failed at most of the crops I attempted, I did have success with parsley. But now I have a different problem: too much parsley.

It was a bit overwhelming to be honest. I had a lot and I didn’t know what to do with it. I did consider transplanting it from my garden plot into a pot on my balcony but it’s just so full already with chives, mint, and tomato plants. Like, full. So I decided to dry it.

Online I looked up a few recipes and how-to achieve dried parsley. What I learned was there is no one right way to do it. So I took advice from the web page I I trusted the most and tried it out.

Update: The dried parsley recipe I used no longer exists but this one from One Good Thing is close.

For all of the recipes using the oven the drying instructions follow three basic steps.

  1. Wash parsley and pat dry
  2. Cut off stems
  3. Put on baking tray and put in oven at lowest possible temperature for 30 minutes or until leaves crumble into tiny bits

Dried parsley sounds easy peasy!

Project Drying Parsley

Here’s how dried parsley went for me

In hindsight, I realize I needed to keep the oven door propped open a tiny bit to allow the moisture from the herbs to release. I had been cooking tater tots at a low temperature prior to this dried parsley attempt so “cooling” wasn’t a long process. That said it made virtually zero impact on the damp parsley. OK so I didn’t quite pat dry it enough. Should I also mention I skipped the cutting the stems part because it seemed like too much work?

Anyway, so I ended up turning the oven on to the lowest setting and spread the parsley out quite thin on cookie sheets. It worked but it took two hours at least. Ages.

I am happy with the dried parsley, but for the past couple weeks while I’ve crushed it up I’ve been picking the stems out of the mess.

So there we go. Just another PSA to follow the instructions.

Top Five Uses for Mint

There are some great uses for mint, although many people consider it a weed. And they’re not wrong. If left untended (or uncontained) it can take over. So don’t let it! And enjoy it!

Top Five Uses for Mint

It’s no secret that I’m new to gardening and that my experience up until this point has been less than green. Meaning I kill plants. However, this year although my garden is not exactly keeping up with the Joneses at least things aren’t dead. Yet.

That was the introduction because this story isn’t very long. Basically I just wanted to highlight the fact that I’m not a natural gardener and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I bought a little mint plant in which to plant in my garden (I heard it’s a good companion plant and chases the bad bugs away) and then promptly forgot to plant it.

Now it’s planted on my balcony. It just so happened someone (who must be crazy) put a bunch of vertical horizontal trough-like deck planters behind our communal dumpster (which is where all the best stuff goes) so I grabbed one (OK fine. Two) and planted the mint in there.

And would you believe the only thing I had thought of to do with the mint was make tzatziki?

Since I don’t want anyone else to suffer from the same lack of inspiration, here are my top five uses for mint. Not counting the tzatziki (that was a freebie).

Top Five Uses for Mint

  1. Room Deodorizer. This is, like, the original Febreze. The easy way to use mint as a room freshener is to use essential oils. However, if you want to be herby you can break up the mint around the house. The friction releases the aroma. Mmmmm. Smelly. But I actually don’t think I would do this in my house because scents kind of make me sneeze. But perhaps if it’s a light scent it would be OK. Or if my house was SUPER stinky. Anyway, it’s really good to know about because I will no longer wonder how to naturally freshen my house.
  2. Mint Sauce. Actually this is super easy to make—no really! You take chopped mint, one tablespoon of sugar, four tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. You beat it up a bit and then serve it on lamb! Yeah!
  3. Mint Tea. OK so I’m a COFFEE drinker, not a TEA drinker. But I know mint is good for a stomachache (along with other digestive ailments) so if you have a queasy stomach, just throw some mint leaves into your tea and voila. Or something. I think it will work, and even if it doesn’t it will be tasty.
  4. Insect Repellent. This is one of the most interesting uses for mint I’ve seen. Basically you just have the mint around and the aroma keeps mosquitoes away. And if you have it down by your door, it should keep ants out. Brilliant! Or, you can purchase those nice little mint candles for 12 bucks a pop. Or you can buy a $2 mint plant at the greenhouse. Whatever, your call.
  5. MOJITOS! I am so embarrassed. How did I not think of this sooner? Well, except for the fact that we haven’t had a summer and stuff and junk. But seriously. In case you want to make your own mojito here are the five ingredients: white rum, sparkling water, sugar cane juice, lime juice, and of course mint leaves. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm refreshing.
  6. Did I miss anything?

    There are some great uses for mint, although many people consider it a weed. And they're not wrong. If left untended (or uncontained) it can take over. So don't let it! And enjoy it!

    Other gardening posts