Category Archives: Gardening

How To Remember what you Planted the following year…

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Last year, I was really happy with the our selection of flowers. It was our “first rodeo” as gardeners and it turned out that Matt and I were pretty darn successful (and really enjoyed the process). Who knew?! It could’ve been the super amazing greenhouse we bought most of our plants from (thanks to a generous housewarming gift from Casey’s mom!! #bestideaever), it could have been the fact that we are both teachers and had a lot of extra time throughout the summer to give all of our plants some serious attention or maybe it was just a classic case of beginner’s luck. I guess this summer will tell…
Either way, I was happy (and actually surprisingly proud) with our flower selection and placement last year, but when I went to purchase the same flowers again this year… I realized I had a small problem. The problem: not remembering what type of flowers I loved so much from last year. I wanted to re-create last year’s look but had no clue where to start. What were the names of those flowers in our planter box? How many of each did we buy to fill the pot? How much soil did we need again? Am I an idiot or do normal people ask themselves these same questions every.single.year?!
While I aimlessly walked the aisles of every garden section around town, today’s project (and solution to this annoying problem) instantly climbed up the to-do list. I officially decided right then and there that I needed to be proactive about documenting exactly what I planted this year so I didn’t face this frustration again next spring. When I finally decided on what flowers to buy (hel-lo clueless shopper), I planted those suckers and made this for future reference:
A little something I like to call, “The mindless gardener’s guide to remembering what the heck to do each year”, a gardening essential if you ask me. It’s my cheat sheet of what I bought, how much of each I bought, and will also be a quick reference point if I forget the basics about caring for each flower. Like… which one needed to be watered every other day instead of every day? Or which one needed direct sunlight instead of shade? I mean seriously, how do rookie gardeners keep this straight? #rocketscience
Before we get into the how to guide for making your own cheat sheet, allow me to show you some of my favorites from this year’s shopping spree.

Pretty right? Exactly why I don’t want to forget what kinds of flowers I bought this year…next year. Or maybe I will want to ditch some of the ones I chose this year – – the cheat sheet will help with that too.

Alright, now let’s chat about this gardening must-have that will probably take you about 4 minutes to create. To begin, you’ll have to collect & clean all of the plant tags.
You don’t need much for this, but you will need:
  • Plant tags (duh)
  • Hole punch
  • Marker (optional)
  • String/twine/metal ring

To add a little extra information onto my gardening cheat sheet, I added a few notes onto the back of each plant. Totally optional, highly encouraged. I noted where I planted each, how many I planted there, where I bought the baskets, and even how much soil we bought.

As far as I’m concerned, the more information the better! Be as detailed as possible, you will thank yourself next year and save some serious shopping time.

Once you’ve noted everything on the back of each, hole punch each tag and string them through the twine, string or metal ring.

Now pat yourself on the back, because that will possibly be the best 5 minutes you’ve spent all spring! Your gardening tags are organized, easily accessible, and full of fun facts for next year’s planting season.

If I decide to add flowers as we go, I will definitely add the tags right onto this bunch. And if for some reason, a specific plant kicks the bucket… I’ll note that on the back and hopefully remember to skip over that kind next year. Now to the hardest part of this whole project — making sure you remember where the heck you put this cheat sheet when the time comes.

I’m super curious… am I the only crazy one that has this problem?! Be honest…
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Upcycled Planter Box

Remember that random old planter we had in our entryway?
We removed it from the half wall, but we were left with this random tin box that had no real purpose.

Until now! We decided to finally give the “old planter” what we think it deserves.
1. Real life, living Flowers
2. A place to shine, or at least soak up some sunshine

Here’s me trying to sell my idea to Matt. Once he approved my pitch, I worked hard to complete the project before he changed his mind. #hurrryyyy
I bought some flower box wall brackets (+The Home Depot) and some brown spray paint to finish the job. Because we already had the planter box, the entire project cost us less than $15!


I read the directions on the back of the brackets, did a tiny bit of drilling & hammering to secure the flower box, and added some orange gerber daisies.

Boy, does this old planter love the spotlight, I mean sunlight, well… maybe both.

Can you believe this planter used to be stuck in a half wall filled with spider webs and dust? 
Fast forward a month and a half- our upcycled planter now looks like this….
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Top 10 Tips for Flower Shopping

Before homeownership, spring meant something completely different to me than it does now. I used to look forward to spring break plans, new summer fashion trends filling the shelves of every local department store, and the tease of summer vacation just around the corner! 
As a new homeowner, my spring break plans are non-existent, a new summer wardrobe is not built into the budget, and there has been no time to think about summer plans just yet. 
Spring has transformed into a time of cleaning windows, installing screens, cutting the lawn, and breathing life into the sad excuse we call landscaping. Thanks to a small road trip to the AMAZING Sunrise Farms in Manteno, IL, Matt and I are officially excited to tackle the very new, very intimidating, very springtime task of…. planting flowers. (Dun, dun, dun)  
Menards flower pots
Because we are planning some major landscaping excavation, we decided not to plant anything into the ground just yet. All we really needed to buy were a few plants to fill some flower pots around our house. How hard could it be? 
Thanks to an amazingly generous and creative new homeowner’s gift from Casey’s mom (thanks Jan!), Matt and I were officially ready to splurge on flowers for our home. The only problem: we are completely clueless when it comes to any and all things garden. 
Still very new to the game, here’s what we have learned so far….
flower cart

1. Get a cart. Like any other successful shopping experiences, it’s definitely important to get a cart.

sunrise farms

2. Use a map. If the greenhouse offers a map… Take one!! The place we visited was HUGE, especially for two people that have no idea where to go, what to look at, or how to go about finding… well anything.

The map helped us navigate each greenhouse and helped identify where we could find specific plants (like ones that needed some shade, ones that needed extra sunlight, ones that needed space…). Who knew plants were so high maintenance? Not me.

sunrise farm signs

3. Read the signs. This greenhouse even had “street signs”… follow them! With the map and the street signs, even rookies like us were bound to stay on track.

sunrise farms

4. Enjoy the beauty! Of course you’re on a mission to buy what you need, but make sure you take time to stop and smell the roses. (#Punintended…Sorry, I couldn’t pass it up). I mean, how amazing is this? Matt and I had such a fabulous time walking around and enjoying the amazing scenery of this place. Partly because we had no idea what to do and partly because the beauty and uniqueness of this farm was incredible…. enjoy it.

sunrise farms selection
how to shop for flowers
How to flower shop
what flowers to buy

5. Ask questions (and lots of them) It’s okay to be a rookie! The more I asked questions, the more I figured out that there’s no right and wrong way when it comes to gardening. Much like decorating the interior of your home, if YOU love it and it works for you… that’s all that really matters. Once your questions are answered, you’ll be more confident to choose a plant combo that you love, rather than the one you think is “right”.

flower baskets

6. Read the labels, but buy what you LOVE. Pick flower baskets that you love and that fit your landscaping needs. There are little informative tags that are found in each basket. Once you find a basket that you l.o.v.e. read the tag to see if the plant’s “needs” fit your yard.

We picked a basket with a tag reading “partial shade”, because our baskets would be in a place with…. you guessed it, PARTIAL SHADE! We’re starting to get a “hang” of this gardening thing. Get it? Ha ha, again… couldn’t resist.

rose photography


7. Think outside of the box! These baskets were so unique, but so much fun! What a great conversation piece to add to your space. Why not try a little something sassy like these baskets o’ sass?

unique flower baskets

8. Bring a buddy! Preferably a stud-ly gentleman that can carry heavy objects, but any buddy will do I guess. Even if your man doesn’t love to garden, the farm trip was definitely something different that turned into a fun date for us. Surrounded by a farm of flowers, I like to think this was similar to a scene out of the Bachelor, minus the champagne of course. Romantic, right?

tips on how to shop for flowers

9. Get ideas by looking around. Use the baskets and surrounding plants to get ideas of what you would like to plant in your own flower pots. I loved the variety of the basket below, so I used this in an inspiration as I picked out my own flowers.

10. Accessorize! Who knew there were so many accessories available to add some decorating personality to the outdoors? These flower pots were only the tip of the garden accessory iceberg. Be creative, have fun, and as always… create a space that you can be proud of!!

buying flower pots
how to pick out a flower pot
If nothing else, I hope these ten tips make you realize that there is NO right and wrong way when it comes to your garden. Rather than focusing on how much you may not know about gardening, be confident in your rookie skills and enjoy the experience! Happy gardening my fellow rookies =)
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