Proper Care and Feeding of Mums

With fall having just begun- even if you haven’t felt it yet- the urge to decorate for all the holidays grows strong!

The most popular plant for fall decorating is the Mum.  With the happy little faces in an array of colors, its easy to see why. 

Mums are easy to get- but not easy to keep looking beautiful.

Here are four things you can do to keep your pretty plants looking their best.

  1. Consistent water.  This can be tricky because the plants dry out so fast.  One reason for this is because there may be as many as four plants in one pot.  The nurseries will pot up multiple plants to get the pots full and big fast.  So, one way to help with this is to put a tray under the plant and water every day.  Also, many times the posts are in full sun on concrete or a porch.  Heat is reflected from these surfaces so the plants will use the water faster.  Water in the morning to avoid fungus.
  2. Fungus- by using a fungicide on the plants you will keep them healthy.  Follow the directions on the bottle.  Most fungicides are a liquid and are sprayed on the plants. Choose an organic fungicide. A homemade fungicide is 1 tsp baking soda mixed in 1 gallon of water.
  3. Feed the plants.  As I mentioned, there are serval plants competing for moisture and nutrients in the pot.  By using a liquid fertilizer weekly, you will get more growth and more blooms. Organic fertilizer like compost tea is best.
  4. Dead head the plants.  Dead heading a plant is to remove the spent blossoms. Mums are no different than other blooming flowers.  They are working to make seeds.  To get more blooms, pinch or cut off the faded blooms.  This will encourage new growth and more blooms.
Pretty Yellow Mums

If you follow these tips, your mums can easily last October through November- maybe longer.  Once the season is over, you can plant the mums in the garden.  They are perennials.

A Little Kitchen Up-Do

Large pickle jars hold the flour and sugar.
Large pickle jars hold the flour and sugar.

We upgraded our refrigerator up to a large double unit set, this left a empty hole that the fridge once called home.  What to do?  I have always admired the baking areas set up in kitchens where all things related to baking would be organized together.  It seemed like a good time to give this some thought and a trip to IKEA really got me to thinking.

We had some table legs bought at the Habitat for Humanity Restore and some salvaged barn wood.  With a couple of shelf braces and some white paint to add some interest to the wood, and we had a great baking area coming along.  I am very pleased with the results.  This project was done in the summer so I have been using this for 6 months.  It is great.  We all love it.

Cast iron shelf bracket picked up at a flea market
Cast iron shelf bracket picked up at a flea market

This is the hole, the little shelf has been put in.
This is the hole, the little shelf has been put in.

All done with baking suplies and mixer
All done with baking suplies and mixer

Wall’s Family Farm- A Great Place for Family Fun

Our lovely tree for Christmas 2012
Our lovely tree for Christmas 2012

I am one of those who likes to give Thanksgiving its due.  I don’t take down the pumpkins or the garlands until Thanksgiving has arrived and we are stuffed full of good food.  But once that happens- we roll into Christmas with gusto.  First stop on the Christmas parade is the tree.

Each year it is a bit of a debate as what kind of tree and where it will come from- a pre-cut lot or a you cut it yourself farm.  Last year, due to the drought, I won out and got a Scotch Pine from up North.  We were concerned that a tree cut locally would dry out too quick considering the severe lack of rain and high heat we had during the summer.  I really enjoyed that tree.  Personally, I think the Scotch Pine is one of the prettiest trees for Christmas.

But this year, we all wanted to head out and cut down our own tree.  When we turned on the county road and the trees arched over the road with their golden and red leaves, I was smitten.  The beautiful drive ended at an old red barn with tractors coming and going taking families out to the fields on the hayrides.  The place is Wall’s Family Farm- run by the family.  We met several generations of the family.  We had a wonderful time.

My 4 Greatest Blessings

Riding the hayride back to the barn with our tree.

Not only did we get a lovely pine, but we also gathered pecans in the orchard.  This was a new thing for us and we had a ball.  The little two climbed trees to shake down the pecans- not that they were really effective but that was not the point.  There were smiles and laughter all around.  The weather was a bit warm but at least it wasn’t warm enough to break a sweat.   We have cut down Christmas trees in all kinds of weather even though that each year we get our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving

With the sun shinning and the leaves crunching beneath our feet we made some more memories.  Each memory adds up to what my children will remember of home and what I will remember of their childhoods.  On this day we made many more.  If you haven’t got your tree, this farm is a great place to get a tree and make a memory.

Life is Good!
Life is Good!

Vintage Farmhouse

Love this vintage table

When it comes to decorating inside or out, I love vintage farmhouse stuff.  Whether it be pails, buckets, doors, windows, farm implements, or tables, I love it and the more layers of chipped & peeling paint the better.

I first began using old doors in our garden center.  Everyday we had folks come in and ask to purchase the doors. At first I said no, after all, I was using them.  But then again, I knew were to get more. So, we began to sell the doors as well as plants.  I am amazed at the creativity that I see when people tell me how they are going to use the doors.  And every so often someone actually purchases one to use as a door- amazing! Truly, the subject of how to use old doors would be a blog post all in itself- and it probably will be.

Old buckets have so many uses

Obviously, pails & buckets lend themselves to be planters, whether inside or out. The buckets and pails are also great for holding extra toilet paper or extra towels in the bathroom or napkins in the kitchen. Windows have many uses such as message boards, simple decor, or picture frames.  Really, there are no rules just let you imagination take you there.  I guess if you have large enough room, you could use farm implements inside, but mainly I use those to accent flower beds.  I especially love to plant pole beans around the implements.  Once it gets really warm the beans start blooming and the display is beautiful.

Lately I have been smitten with old tables. Painted wood has had my eye for awhile, but the wood ones with the porcelain tops are awesome.  They are very durable and the little dings and worn spots give them character. The porcelain tops are just great in and of themselves.  When the wood in the table has seen its last days, the tops can live on as message boards and such.  Magnets stick to the metal, paint pens work great for adding a quote or Bible verse to them, and dry erase will wipe off of them.

Many of the older folks would say that these things belong in the trash heap, but I so disagree.  By re-using and re-purposing things from the past, we can create a unique style and reduce waste at the same time.  Not to mention the sentiment attached to many of these items.  The look and feel of a galvanized bucket reminds me of summer and my Great-Grandmother’s farm.  The old farm implements remind me of my earliest memories in the “fields”- that is what my family called the 5 acre garden where the produce was grown to take to the Dallas Farmer’s Market.  I loved running barefoot and feeling the sand between my toes and digging a hole and burying my feet in the cool soil.  I like having items around me that pull these sensations from my memories.