Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday's Woodland Walk - Join Me!

Shooting Star - Dodecatheon meadia

Welcome to my wednesday woodland walk!
This week the weather
couldn't seem to make up its mind! One day it felt like summer, 
 the next day, I was trying to find my favorite warm sweater to put on! After a bit of a dry spell for the past several months, we had rain all weekend. We really needed rain and I'm very thankful for it - - - - -but do we really need that cold raw weather with it?

 Today, its still cold and a bit gloomy. The sun has been playing peek-a-boo with me all morning. On the bright side, the rain and cool temperatures will prolong my beautiful spring flowers much longer than if it stayed hot and dry!

White Shooting Stars and Pink Bleeding Hearts

My white Shooting Stars are blooming right now. They have beautiful spring green colored leaves that just seem to pop against the darker foliage around them.  Their amazing white flowers bloom above the leaves on tall stems allowing the flowers to hang down in white clusters, their petals grow upwards and pushed back, making them look like little shooting stars. A definite favorite of mine!

There is also a pink shooting star which is gorgeous.  I actually have one, but something seems to always happen to the flower stalk before it blooms. Last year I sadly watched my dog step on it before I could shoo her away! I guess I need to protect it somehow! 

White Bleeding Hearts

White Bleeding Hearts are just as pretty as my pink ones, they aren't as striking a color as the beautiful pink bleeding hearts but they will brighten up any shady spot in your garden. Like many of the other spring empherals, they will eventually finish blooming and their foliage will quietly die back leaving no trace of it ever being there until next year.


  White Trilliums, Yellow Celandine Poppies, Red Trillium,
 and Pink Bleeding Hearts snuggle around a rock
 in my sitting area along my woodland path.

My Sitting Area is one of my favorite places along my woodland path. It was inspired by two towering black walnut trees standing side by side, calling out for a bench! Across from them, sat the rock in the picture above. It was covered in virginia creeper, and other plants when I discovered it. I also created a very rustic little stone patio with the rocks I uncovered around our property while digging  other gardens, linking the bench between the black walnut trees and the large rock.  For years its been evolving as I add or change plants when necessary.


Oakleaf Foamflower - 
Tirella cordifolia var. collina 'Oakleaf'

I have two types of foamflower growing along my path.
 Last week the Allegany Foamflower (Tirella cordifolia) began blooming and this week the Oakleaf Foamflower has begun flowering. Don't tell them - but this one is my favorite. Their leaves are oakleaf shaped with a tinge of red and their flower buds are a deep pink opening into a pale white/pink flower, giving it that two-toned effect. They are so pretty!

Red Trilliums and violets happily growing near this protective
 rock along the path.
This is a closeup of a Red Trillium-Trillium erectum

I adore Trilliums!
 One of my goals was to establish them along 
my woodland path. I've since been successful and have white, red, and yellow trilliums. Starting with one or two plants they have finally established themselves and are multiplying very slowly, but surely. Ants are one of the chief ways seeds are dispersed. Trilliums generally take 5 years to flower from seed, which is one reason mine are multiplying so slow!

My Woodland path is so gorgeous, new wildflowers are blooming every day.
I hope you join me next week!

Tracey :-)

I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment, or share the type of wildflowers that are blooming in your part of the world!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Yellow Sea of Poppies! -Woodland Walk Wednesday

Yellow Celandine Poppies & Virginia Blues have filled
 my little patch of Heaven with a golden yellow glow!

It's hard to capture how magical
my woodland garden path looks at this moment!  
During this time of year, in my little patch of Heaven,
 the woods are aglow with hundreds of Celandine Poppies!
These beautiful yellow wildflowers are in full bloom!

While the poppies are dominating the woods
right now, there are many other native wildflowers mixed in and gorgeous in their own right. 

 Bleeding Hearts, White Foamflowers, and Blue Violets

Pink Bleeding Hearts

 Allegany Foamflower

Some of the flowers along the path aren't so obvious!
They make you search to find their flowers!  Right now, its the Wild Ginger plants, and soon it will be the Mayapples!

Wild Ginger patch along the path.
Their heart shaped leaves hide little maroon flowers. 

This is the maroon flower of the wild ginger plant.
 There is only one flower per plant, 
it is small and close to the ground.....
 very hard to find unless you know where to look for it!

Although I like to plant new wildflowers where I think they will thrive and be happy, I often find they will eventually move
 where they want through seeds or roots!! 

Mayapples pushing up through the mulch along the woodland path.
Notorious for spreading aggressively by roots, these will have to be moved
 or they will be trampled.

The beauty of the natural garden
 is finding a balance between keeping some structure, but also allowing the plants to find new places to settle -
like nature itself. 

Surprised by a yellow violet nestled in between the rocks
 at the top of a wall. Violets are the free spirits of the native garden!
They can pop up anywhere- but I love them and happy
 to see them most anywhere. They are a host plant and source
 of food to many butterflies and insects. There are
 certain varieties that are much less invasive
 than the common purple and white varieties.

White Trillium- It's taken me years to finally have a variety of Trilliums
growing through out my woodland garden.
The deer love to eat these!

Jacob's Ladder 

I'll end this walk with a picture of the Red-Bellied
 Woodpecker. He was busy hammering away on the tree limb above me while I was busy taking pictures for this weeks walk.  I'm so fortunate to have many different woodpeckers take up residence in our woods! I've learned through the years how to tell them apart by their call. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker has a loud chu-urr, chu-urr, chu-urro. You can find out more about this bird by clicking on  the link Red-Bellied Woodpecker below.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker - He's about 10", has a barred
 black and white back and upper wings, with a striking red crown,
 nape and lores. This little drummer is a male.
  If you look closely, they have pale red-bellies!
Until next week!!
Tracey :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recycled to Sit & Relax!

Finding a place to sit in your garden
can be just as important as creating your garden!  It's so rewarding to be able to finally sit back and enjoy all the outdoor work you've done.

   In my garden. I have numerous places to sit and enjoy watching or listening to the nature around me. I just love grabbing a cup of coffee or tea and taking a breather from the kids or just life in general.

Finding that perfect seat for relaxing outdoors can sometimes be a challenge. In search for my own comfortable outdoor chair, I thought I would share a few that caught my eye!

These beautiful, colorful, and very practical folding chairs
come in a variety of beautiful colors to choose from.
This gorgeous color, is Paradise Paprika Orange, and the chair above is Blue Fish! Be creative and purchase several chairs in a rainbow of colors, such as Asparagus Green, Tuscan Yellow, Paradise Paprika Orange, or Cranberry, just to name a few colors available.

I love the idea that they can be closed up and easily stored away for the winter months or put in your car to bring with you anywhere. They seem to have a lot of versatility which I like in a piece of outdoor furniture.  All the wood used to create these clever handcrafted chairs is made with strong recycled cedar decking lumber. They also offer a nice assortment of garden furniture and art.
 Great for the environment!

If you would like to visit any of these shops on Etsy,
 just click on the link below each picture.

Barn Wood Adirondack Chairs created by newberry on Etsy

These beautiful Adirondack Chairs
 would be relaxing in any yard! They have been created from old growth cypress and recycled barn wood.  Their contoured backs, and curved fronts, add comfort for your back and behind your knees!
  I think I hear them calling my name!!

Their shop also handcrafts other pieces of outdoor furniture and
beautiful kitchen accessories that would complement any outdoor gathering.

Adirondack Chair created by maineskichairs on Etsy

  I know a lot of skiers that would just love to bring their favorite winter sport, right on to their summer lawns or porches with these creative chairs! 

 Old skis from the 1970's to current, are recycled into these fun outdoor chairs. Their frames are made from red cedar with a protective finish - perfect for years of enjoyment! They also create these adorable ski chairs for children (I think they would be great even to put in their rooms!) - what an awesome gift!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks selection of garden items!
Have a great weekend!
Tracey :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Woodland Path Walk!

Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells.
Virginia Bluebell is a showy, early spring
wildflower found through most of the
 eastern United States. They have dense
 clusters of pink flower buds that open
up to blue flowers!

Virginia Bluebells are so pretty!
 Like many of the woodland plants I am sharing with you today, they remind me of my spring hikes through the woods of New England where I grew up. When I started my path, my goal was to create an experience similiar to the hikes I would take. Since I tended to spend most of the time with my head looking down so I wouldn't trip, I discovered many of my favorite wildflowers! I loved nothing more than to turn a corner and be greeted with a tiny wildflower next to a rock or at the base of a tree!
That's how I tried to plant along my path, planting a little pocket of plants here and there next to rocks, trees and other little natural features I found in my little patch of woods!

 Uvularia sessilifolia - Sessileleaf Bellwort,
 Wild Oats
.Blooms Early- to mid-spring

I like to call these little plants Wild Oats, the color of their hanging bells are a light yellow reminding of the color of oats. I believe these were native to my woods and I just transplanted them around different areas.
Now they have grown into large patches, showing off their delicate little bells. One might miss them since they are so slender and their bells hang below their leaf, but as a patch of them they are very charming!

Wild Cherry Blossoms
My Husband and I buy native seedlings
every year from our County Agricultural Extension Agency.
They offer a variety of native flowering trees and evergreens to choose from each year. I believe this is one of the wild cherry seedlings that is now 8' tall! They are pretty and provide fruit for the birds later in the season.

Erythronium americanum - Trout Lily; Dogtooth Violet.
Trout lily is one of the early spring wildflowers.

Dog Tooth Violet or Trout Lily

Yellow Dog Tooth Violets bring me back to my childhood backyard where they grew in abundance along a stream we had flowing through our woods. I would sit along the stream in my teenage years and watch their beautiful flowers blow in the breeze. Their spotted green and brown leaves tightly covered this little mound along the bank and engulfed a large boulder that I would sit on and think about life. It was a nice place to escape the crazy life of a teen!!

 So I had to have them along my path too! However, after 26 years they are only now beginning to bloom! For several years I was surprised by one single flower amongst a sea of leaves! This year I was surprised to actually have four beautiful yellow flowers blooming! Woodland gardening takes a lot of patience - but like I have said before, it is so worth the wait!

Stylophorum diphyllum - Wood Poppy, Celandine Poppy.
A beautiful, yellow, early spring wildflower.

This gorgeous Celandine Poppy is only one of hundreds
 that bloom along my path.
I had purchased one little plant from Bowman Gardens
in PA, and thought it had died.
A year or two later, the foliage emerged, but no flower.
 However, once it began flowering in the coming years, it has spread to the point that I am passing plants along to neighbors or to who ever would like one!!
They do create beautiful drifts of yellow flowers, are native, and bloom for along time!  So, I think I'll let them stay!:-)

  Claytonia virginica - Virginia Spring Beau nty,
 Narrow-leaved Spring Beauty.
 Early spring wildflower that can be 4 to 12 inches tall. Very similar to
 Carolina Spring Beauty - C. caroliniana - with the primary differentiator
being the leaf shape. It is protected in Massachusetts, New Jersey,
and Rhode Island as an endangered or historical species,
according to the USDA Plants Database.

While writing this, I actually learned something
 I didn't know about Spring Beauties. I have to make a correction on last weeks walk when I showed a picture of Spring Beauties. I knew that the two patches of spring beauties I had along my path had the same flower but different leaves, however, I never took the time to look into why! Now I know that the picture above is the true Virginia Spring Beauties and the picture last week is actually the Carolina Spring Beauties! They are both beautiful, very delicate, very similar flower, but the difference in leaves was the give away!! I also didn't know that it is an endangered species. I am thrilled my little plants are happily spreading along my path! I don't know if they were endangered years ago when I first planted them but I always stress to everyone how important it is to buy wildflowers from a reputable source that grows them and doesn't take them from the wild! 

This is a picture of the Carolina Spring Beauties and White Common
Violets that happily grow this large rock.

Mourning Doves

As I was strolling along taking pictures I had two mourning doves keeping an eye on me. I love hearing their owl type sounds that they make, in fact when we first moved into this house I thought I was hearing an owl!! The joke was on me, when I put up my bird feeders and realized that the sound was coming from them!  I couldn't believe I was fooled!! I still love them anyway and enjoy having them around to keep me company!

There was also a lot of commotion going on briefly in my neighbors tree that is close to our property. I think some mating was going on!!  It was hard for me to identify what type of hawks they were but my guess was either cooper hawks or possibly the broad shouldered hawks that have recently nested nearby for the last two years! So, I will probably be seeing a few more of them later in the spring!

A section of my woodland path filling in with spring plants. 

The squirrels have been chasing each other around the trees and the male cardinals have been sweetly feeding their female sweethearts from the bird feeders. It's spring!
Love is in the air!!!

See you next week!
Tracey :-)


Monday, April 9, 2012

Time For New Items To Watch For at My Studio!

It was time to create something new this spring to add to my studios on Etsy and Artfire. After creating a new beaded watch bracelet for myself, it quickly became a passion, and then a new section in my Studio! 


What I love about watch bracelets is the convenience
 they offer. Maybe its me, but I don't like having
 to dig into my pocket book looking for my cell phone
every time I want to know the time.
Yes, cell phones are great, and I couldn't live
 my hectic lifestyle without it. But, its so nice to just
 take a peek at the time when its right on your wrist.

Watch bracelets can also become a beautiful accessory
 to your outfit, like a bracelet. They don't scream watch!

Harmony - Silver and Black Beaded Watch Bracelet by TKDesigns on Etsy.

 I look forward to offering more watches in the
future. Some will even stretch, making it easier for people
 that have difficulty in closing their watch bracelets with
 a lobster claw or toggle closure.

After searching for a watch bracelet myself,
 I know size and color can sometimes be a problem.
 Create the perfect bracelet watch for you by contacting
 me through my etsy shop.

 Have a wonderful day!
Tracey :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Garden Favorites

I stumbled upon these wonderful solar lights for your garden by Treasureagain on Etsy.
 I thought they were so clever and
  adore the idea of upcycling vintage mason jars into useful items for your garden!

 I was hooked!
 As I pictured how wonderful they would look in my garden, I decided to buy them!
 I can't wait for them to arrive!!

Take a peek at some of the other great items they offer at their Etsy Shop,
 I think you will be hooked like I was!

 These would  make such charming center pieces at any garden
 wedding or party, especially paired up with the solar hanging lights!

I look forward to sharing more great garden items in the weeks to come. If you have any favorite garden items you'd like to share let me know!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Woodland Walk Wednesday - Come Take a Walk With Me!

Common Blue Violet in the white form- My first violet of the spring just bloomed today
! I just love them! I have collected quite a few different varieties that
  I will share with you as they bloom. Shortly they will all be
 filling my woodland path with beautiful drifts of whites,
 purples, yellow and deep magenta pink!

 I'm so glad you were able to join me this week!
I've been busy working in my yard, trying to get my fertilizers down before it rained. Having a shady yard and woodland path, I have alot of rhododendrons, azaleas, and many other acid loving plants, so I give them a fertilizer that is specially formulated for acid loving plants. I like to give them a boost of nutrients for the growing season!

Persian Pearl Tulip(Tulipa humilis persian pearl)- This striking little tulip
 has naturalized itself along the woodland path.
 When I first planted them, our dog was just a puppy.
 As I dug the holes and dropped the bulba into them,
 our puppy was right behind me digging them up and chewing on them!
 Needless to say, I would have had a lot more of these!

  For the first time since I created my woodland path, I decided to also add a little tiny bit of fertilizer to my woodland garden. After rejuvenating the paths, and mulching the beds, I thought, why not rejuvenate the plants that live there too!  Hopefully, there will be alot more blooms to enjoy this year!

Kaufmanniana Tulip (Variety-Ice Stick) - Beautiful species tulip that grows about 12"HT.

I love to always add a selection of bulbs to my plantings.
  Little by little through the years, I have added species tulips and a variety of other bulbs to my woodland path. Unlike the hybrid tulips in your flower garden, they don't need to be replaced each year or two, instead they will come up every year and naturalize into colonies if they are happy where they've been planted. However,The squirrels seem to like my crocus bulbs,
so I have given up on growing them!

 Bleeding Hearts are beautiful when in bloom, but I think they are
 so graceful and colorful when they are coming up too!
Every day there are new plants popping up through the mulch. I find they can be just as beautiful on their own. Many new shoots start out one color and then mature into another color. Here are a few that are coming up now.

 Spiderworts are grasslike plants with beautiful flowers.  I love the
striking colors of the chartreuse green and deep crimson color sprouts.

Saving the best for last, are the fiddle heads that poke up and begin to
 unfurl into beautiful ferns. I have many different types of ferns along my path each
one with its own unique looking fiddle heads and later fronds.

My  Hummingbird feeder in red is hanging off a garden hook that has a
 kiwi plant growing up it. The green birdfeeder I temporarily put into the stump
 of the tulip tree we just took down until I decide what to replace it with!
 This bird feeder is supposed to be squirrel proof,,
 but they quickly figured out how to adjust their weight
so they can quickly grab a seed or two!! They're so clever!!

Walking along the woodland path I can always hear a variety of birds happily chirping! The chipping sparrow, junco, nuthatch, tufted titmouse, downy woodpecker and the carolina wren are a few of the regular birds I see along my path and at my feeders. Today there was a large Turkey Vulture circling above our property.  I have to wonder if it is looking for lunch - my yard is like a buffet for the hawks and larger birds of prey. I have many bird feeders, a small fish pond, and lots of bluestone walls filled with chipmunks--- what more could they ask for?! 

Yesterday, our local Wild Birds Unlimited newsletter mentioned that the hummingbirds are back in NJ.  They reccommended putting out our hummingbird feeders now, since after their long migration they are hungry and looking for food.

 I decided to finish our walk
at the hummingbird feeder I just put up today! I can't wait to greet them back with one of their favorite treats. Usually, when they first arrive back to our area, they will fly up to my kitchen window and look in as if to say- I'm back, where's my treat?  This year I will surprise them and have it waiting for them! If you would like to track the hummingbirds in your area, click on this website and find out when you should put out your feeders!

Hope you enjoyed our walk! Come back next Wednesday to see what else is going on along the path.
I would love to hear from you !

Tomorrow I will be showing a few of my favorite garden items found on Etsy and Artfire!

Have a great week!