Free Garden Notebook

Have you ever dreamed of planting a garden? You could dream for years. But a garden notebook can make dreams come true, and here is a FREE, Garden Notebook Planner, courtesy of Erin Huffstetler, writer for Frugal Living, that is printable.

The pages include seasonal and monthly planners, plant and seed trackers, square foot grids and more.

Good luck, and please let me know how this works for you in the comments.

Happy Gardening!

Resource:, a web site for the frugal.

Photo by Ed Yourdon, “Photo of the Day” license restrictions.



7 Tips to Protect Your Garden from Flood Damage

Bloom where Planted


Rain Gardens Protect Flooded AreasFlooding can wreck havoc with your garden plants. Roots suffocate in standing water and, if submerged long enough, will die. Large, healthy plants or bog loving plants have a better chance of surviving flood damage than do young or ornamental plants.

Although it is unlikely plants will survive a flood, there are precautions a homeowner can take to protect plants before and after flooding occurs.

After a flood, be patient and let plants heal. Once the water recedes, check for broken limbs and remove them. Leaves may be lightly sprayed to remove any debris.

Not all flood damage is immediate. It can take years for stress or rot to kill a plant. Look for curled, wilted leaves with yellow edges. This indicates water stress. Also, notice any new fungi or cankers that emerge on plants or mushrooms that sprout at the base of a plant. These are signs of rot. Insect damage may also arise. Herbicides and fungicides, used as directed, may be applied to limit further damage.

Take a soil test before adding fertilizer near the plants. Soil composition and nutrient levels may have changed significantly after flooding, and a test will reveal the right amount of fertilizer needed. Applying to much fertilizer to a stressed plant could harm it further.

Tips to protect gardens in flood-prone areas:

  • Amend clay soils with mulches, sticks or rocks to improve drainage.
  • Create berms to divert water away from tender perennials.
  • Build ditches, swales or furrows to divert runoff water away from yards. Contact the local utility or road department for advice. They may even build a ditch if property is donated.
  • Make rain gardens or ponds to slow runoff and act as a water filter.
  • Plant water-loving plants: willows, bald cypress, flag Iris, elephant ears, elderberries and red or silver maples. Contact the County Extension Agent or local Master Gardener Program for a list of water-loving plants that are native to the area.
  • Use raised beds or moveable containers to keep flood waters away from plants.
  • Wherever possible, create permeable landscapes to slow runoff.

Careful landscape planning, use of appropriate plants, and gentle care after a flood, will protect gardens and help plants survive in flood-prone areas.

Happy Gardening!


Landscape Design and Management, Mississippi State University, Extension Services

Flood Damage Cleanup,, by Nikki Tilly


Fall Gardening Tips

– Bloom where planted –

2014-08-16 09.38.01With Labor Day rapidly approaching, I’m ready to say goodbye to summer’s heat. Especially this year. It’s been stubbornly hot on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But now, with cooler weather insight, it’s time to clean the annual beds and thin the overgrown perennials. So here’s my to-do list of fall garden projects to get you in the mood for fall gardening.

Know your First Frost dates. Timing your projects is critical. For instance, fall planting in northern zones 1 or 2, where first frost comes early, may not even be possible. Succession planting may be the best alternative.

*Farmer’s Almanac has a handy Frost Date Calculator that let’s you test by state. click here

Plant cool weather vegetables such as lettuce, greens, collards, broccoli, sweet peas, for late fall harvesting.

Plant cool weather flowers such as pansies, violets, snapdragons and mums to add a pop of color until the first frost.

Bring in the house plants. Hibiscus and palms can die back at 40 degrees.

Trim trees and shrubs of dead branches and leaves and inspect them for disease or insect damage. If apparent, contact your county extension agent or Master Gardeners for advice.

Plant trees and shrubs. You’ll be happy come springs.

Divide plants and bulbs. Store tender bulbs in a cool area.

Clean garden tools. Sharpen the lawn mower blades. Restring the edge-trimmer. Discard any old or worn-out tools. Yes, it may be difficult, but there’s nothing worse than having your favorite tool break-down when your creating a new spring project.

Start a compost bin, since you’re cleaning. Use only disease free litter.

Put the annual beds to rest. Pull out all the plants and harvest the seeds for next years gardens.

Get out the Green Manure: Yep, plant clover, alfalfa or winter wheat to fertilize your soil.

Happy Gardening

Share a Good Story: Pay it Forward

powder-snow in the rockiesRecently, I suffered a loss that left me feeling blue until the night my neighbor, a jovial man, stopped me in the yard. He was eager to talk and told me a heart-warming tale that I’d like to share. It goes like this.

The Little Bear

I was at the Little Bear, you know, that rustic tavern in the Colorado Rockies that everybody’s been to at least once? Even Wille Nelson’s made a few surprise visits. I was there years ago when I was in my twenties. It was January. The snow was falling. The fire was crackling in the fireplace. You get the picture?

I looked across the bar and  saw the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I mean, I got this big  smile on my face, so big I could almost feel it stretching up to my ears. I couldn’t stop grinning. I couldn’t stop looking at her.

She saw me, walked over and said, “I see you’re in love.”

I told her, yes, I was in love and she said, “So am I.”

We had a wonderful relationship for some time. But I was to young, to immature, to make it last.

Yet to this day I can still  see her smiling, and I wish her all the happiness and love in the world. I know she is somewhere, happy and content, because that is who she is and I am blessed for having known her. 

He was smiling from ear to ear and I could feel what he was feeling. So share your good stories because you never know whose heart you might heal.