My $300 rustic picket garden shed


Build a Cute and Unique Garden Shed with Pickets for #300This is my cute rustic shed in the suburbs. It is my secret shed because in my subdivision the sheds are supposed to look like the house, be placed where the HOA says you can put it, and it is preferred to be designed and built by professionals.

The $1000 price tag on a shed from the home stores were outrageous plus I had a big problem…

A shed would have to built in the back yard and where my HOA would tell me to put it…well, I have a pond, beds of flowers, trees, and shrubs, and the biggest reason — I would see a shed from my window and not my beautiful plants. Continue reading

Will my spring blooming tree bloom again in the spring if it bloomed in the fall?

Will my spring blooming tree bloom again in the spring if it bloomed in the fallWill my spring blooming tree bloom again in the spring if it bloomed in the fall? 

Yes it should.

Nature is resilient and many times the weather plays tricks on the flowers, shrubs, and trees when the weather turns like spring with above average temps both during the day and at night. The dramatic temperature changes from fall weather of frosty nights and chillier days to warm nights and even warmer days sends the signal to the plant that spring is here (when it’s not) all because the leaves had fallen off and the plant was dormant (resting) for the season.

I know from my experience that the trees will bloom again here in zone 7. Many times the fall blooming is sporadic and only a few branches. However, I tried to get pictures of this beautiful cherry tree in full FALL bloom. It is probably 20 years old and gorgeous with its white blooms filling each branch and stem. It has been blooming for a couple weeks now. Why? Because back in early fall we had a light frost and a few nights of below average temps (and the leaves fell off and it went dormant) and then we had a week of above average 80 degree days and 60 degree nights. Will my spring blooming tree bloom again in the spring if it bloomed in the fall?

Since a couple of my neighbors asked me if something was wrong with the trees and other shrubs blooming around our subdivision, I realized that writing about on the blog would help answer the question to anyone afraid to ask. Nature has a way of adapting and overcoming so do not worry and never be afraid to ask questions.

I am going to do more of these question and answer posts because I know there are many people out there who are beginner gardeners or homeowners who may be afraid to ask questions. I know there are those out there who already know the scientific explanation and may cringe at my simplistic answers- but hey this is not for you. I am writing for anyone who just wants a simple answer.

Do you have a spring bloomer blooming now?

Thanks for stopping by and contact me with any questions so we can garden together learning and making mistakes one season at a time.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!



2016 copyrighted material C Renee

Why are the inner leaves of my Arborvitae turning brown?

Why are the inner leaves of my Arborvitae turning brown?Why are the inner leaves (foliage) of my Arborvitae turning brown? 

Simply put, and in my experience, it is just a shedding process that helps the plant shed its old leaves just as any deciduous tree loses its leaves in the fall. Unless the whole bush is turning brown, this inside browning and shedding is very common in the late summer and fall months.

In my pictures here you can see the process of this shedding and this is normal. However, if the whole Arborvitae is browning and losing its leaves, then you have a bigger problem which I will address in other posts.

Arborvitae are very hardy shrubs and once established can be drought tolerant. However, browning leaves on the outside and inside of the shrub can indicate the plant is dying from a lack of water. If the leaves are turning a darker brown or even black, this can be a blight or fungal disease problem and needs further investigation. You also have to watch for bagworms and insect infestations but most plants in any landscape or garden can attract diseases and insects. Either way, you may be able to save the plant in the early stages of decline. Why are the inner leaves of my Arborvitae turning brown?

In my years of experience growing Arborvitae, I have found them to grow in the red clay soil of Virginia and grow during the bouts of drought and unrelentless downpours of springtime rains. I grow them in pots too and find them to give winter interest in the landscape with minimal care and watering.

Thank you for stopping by and if you have a question, contact me and I will try to help you!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

2016 copyrighted material C ReneeWhy are the inner leaves of my Arborvitae turning brown?





Dreaming of my new garden

Dreaming of a new garden


I have not written much on this blog and realized that I need to fill you all in on what has been happening in my life and garden. This year (2016) will go down in my memories as one of the toughest times in my life. Why? Because my youngest son graduated from high school last June, my husband and I separated, and I had to dig up my flower beds to create a simple mulched landscape for a new family.

Dreaming of a new garden

2016 view from the 2nd story window after I dug up the flower bed

I am dreaming of my new garden because it is the one thing I can do to keep me from crying. For anyone who is a gardener, you know that feeling of happy- the happy when you walk out to the garden and see a new bloom beckoning you to wander over to admire its color, the aroma, and the beauty…Dreaming of my new garden

Gardening is not just about blooms- it is the circus of bees, birds, and butterflies that flitter and buzz around chirping and tweeting the songs of nature. The beauty unfolds as the flowers open in the morning to unveil a smorgasboard of yellow pollen for hoards of pollinators to visit and devour.

I am a gardener without a garden right now.

Dreaming of a new garden

Sea of Black eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers, and Gaillardia

I am dreaming of my new garden beds filled with the blooms of my favorite flower- Iris and the sea of Black eyed Susans, Salvia, Confeflowers, and Daylilies that color my world in the heat of summer. I fill with the excitement of watching the finches land on the seed heads and swaying to and fro as they enjoy the bounty of their find and spilling and sowing the seeds for next years blooms.

Dreaming of a new garden

Finches love Black

I have not sold the house yet and continue to scour the internet sites morning, noon, and night for a new home with lots of space for flowers. I am staying in Virginia, zone 7, where the seasons change and where I do not need a winter coat very often. I will be buying a fixer upper on my very small budget and I have to have room for 2 dogs, 3 cats, and the hundred plus perennials I have stashed in the back yard hidden from a buyer’s view.

Dreaming of a new garden

as of November 2016

Dreaming of my new garden after digging up my flower beds has kept me going at times when I wanted to cry. Cry? Yes because as a gardener I am lost without digging in dirt and cultivating my green thumb. I am lost without my blooms, without the birds, and without all the bees flitting about my garden. I cannot buy plants. I cannot plant. I can only check on my stash of Iris, hosta, ferns, and hydrangeas that fill an area under the canopies of the mighty

I am a gardener without a garden. I am a woman lost without the color of nature. I am worried that I will not be able to find a new home where I belong and where I can grow along with my garden. I cannot put in to words the feeling of euphoria when a plant fourishes in the soil that I tended with my hands.

Dreaming of a new garden

Attracting the birds

How many of you have purchased a wilted plant that struggled to survive on the racks of the garden center?

Then you know the feeling that wells up inside when it blooms for the first time. The excitement that makes you explode and tell everyone and anyone who will listen how you saved a plant from the dumpster.That is the feeling that I have experienced over and over for many years. As I post the pictures here, I could tell you a story about how it came to be (and one day I should share?) That is what gardening is about- the memories of working with nature to create your own slice of heaven in this chaotic world.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my story. And do not forget to visit my other blog- The Garden Frog Boutique. 

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!Dreaming of my new garden

2016 copyrighted material C Renee



Rose Rosette Disease in the Knockout Rose

Rose Rosette DiseaseRose Rosette disease in the Knockout Rose is very common viral disease here in SE Virginia now (and I know it is common in other states as well). It is a disease that affects many other roses such as the multifloral, climbing, and even hybrid roses. I have had first hand experience with this rose disease and its spread and I can tell you – THERE IS NO CURE OR SAVING THE PLANTS.

I tried. Many young roses will die within a season or two. My climbing rose started to decline rapidly and the rose buds shriveled up as the disease took over. Knockouts, however, will live for at least 3-4 years blooming and growing and displaying the beautiful burgundy new growth and witches broom (thorns).Rose Rosette Disease witches broom

I dug up and removed the diseases roses, however, I have neighbors who refuse to remove their diseases Knockouts because they still grow and bloom. I tried to explain to them that this disease affects the soil and is transmitted to other roses in the vicinity and not just in their yard. What you are going to be shocked at is that a few of these homeowners received them FREE from our Homeowners Association and the maintenance team who was digging them up because I had told them months before the roses were diseased!

Ironic, huh?

The supervisor or manager of the maintenance team has been a landscaper for years and he and I have butted heads. I simply tell him I am not a landscaper – I am a naturescaper and I work with nature. I no longer go to my Homeowners Association or to the maintenance department any more because they do not care that the deer eat the native plants to survive, that Round UP should not be sprayed in native areas, and that diseased roses and plants should not be given away!Rose Rosette Disease

Oh shoot I digressed, sorry.

In these videos, I share with you what to look for and how to spot Rose Rosette disease. Knockouts are very hardy plants and even when consumed by this disease they will bloom and grow. The new growth of deep burgundy on Knockouts is gorgeous but it is deadly to other roses and to the soil. Wherever the diseased roses grow, the soil is no longer viable for roses in the future. So you will have to find a new location for any rose bushes in the future.

If you Google Rose Rosette Disease you will find information about the very small Eriophyid Mite that spreads this viral disease. This disease can wipe out a row of roses in one season so if you see the signs early you may be able to save other roses before it spreads. The female Eriophyid mites will be hard to see and they hide near new growth shoots and in the bud at the end of the stem (or terminal bud/apex) where they lay one egg per day for a month. It is interesting to note that the male Eriophyid mites do not have wings but are carried throughout the garden by the wind, garden tools, and even your clothes.

You can use organic horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps in May- July on non affected roses to try and stop the spread. However, once a rose has the disease you must take immediate action to removed them and dispose of them properly (as seen in this video)  Knockout Rose, Rose Rosette Disease

A tip if you want to grow roses, do not plant them too close together. This can be a precaution to help you keep Rose Rosette disease from spreading in the garden.

Good luck and I hope this post help. I know it is sad when you have to dig up and destroy a plant. However, it must be done to avoid any future spread and destruction of nature’s beauty. Thanks for stopping by!

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

and visit me over at The Garden Frog Boutique too

2016 copyrighted material C Renee