Gardening – Where to Start

Gardening season is getting a late start here in the Midwest due to the unseasonably cool weather and rain. I have already lost a month of the season and now it is catch up time. When things don’t go as planned it is so easy to get overwhelmed.

This weekend I will take paper and pen and walk all around the outside of my house. I will write down what needs to be done, both maintenance and fun things. The front, back, and each side of the house will be a separate zone.

As I examine each zone I will write down what needs to be done with the house itself. Does the house need painting or a gutter fixed? Do the windows need fresh caulk or a crack in the foundation filled? Then I will write down what needs to be done with the landscaping in that zone. Does it need more mulch, shrubs pruned, or flowers purchased and planted? What are the growing conditions in that area? If you take that information to the garden center you will be able to buy plants that match that environment, thus making your gardening easier all summer long.


After I finish writing down what is needed and what I would like to do (the fun stuff), I will prioritize the list for each zone. This way I have a clearer idea of what needs be done first and what can wait.

This technique helps me get rid of that overwhelmed feeling so I can start taking action to accomplish my gardening tasks.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Share your techniques in the comment section.

Janice Scissors

P.S. If you would like to receive weekly decluttering tips then sign up for my “free” newsletters.

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Attacking the Spring Weeds

With all the rain and cool weather in the Midwest this spring the weeds have had a field day in my landscape beds. Since I don’t like using chemical weed killers that leaves only two other methods to fight the weeds. There is good old elbow grease and there is the use of a thick layer of mulch.

Well, I use a thick layer of hardwood mulch. The only problem I have with the mulch is the weeds in my yard love it! They don’t grow from beneath it but sprout on top and then send their roots down deep into the cool, moist soil underneath. So much for mulching cutting down the work.

That leaves good old elbow grease. So to prevent myself from getting overwhelmed I have devised an easy plan of babysteps. I have a five gallon paint bucket that I got from my painter. You can buy these buckets at the hardware store but I like to reuse and recycle as much as possible.

I take this cleaned out bucket along with my gloves, weeder, and a small tarp to sit on and go out to weed. When the bucket is full I am done for the day. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to fill the bucket. It is amazing how many small weeds can fit in a 5 gallon bucket.

I do this as many days as possible, weather permitting. I usually get the weeds under control by the time the warmer weather hits and their rapid growth slows down.

It’s a constant battle every year and makes moving to a condo very inviting.

If anyone has suggestions or a better idea I would love to hear it.

I’m starting a weekly newsletter with tips on decluttering and organizing. You can sign up to the right of this post. I do not like spam or email clutter and will use you email address only for these newsletters and other emails from me.

I have also set up my website. It is in the infant stage right now but please go check it out at; If there is specific information about decluttering you would like to know more about, please leave a comment here or email me at



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Gardening has started!

Now that the weather has finally decided it really is spring time I am able to get out into the garden and plant some Hostas. I bought the box of ten roots a few weeks ago at Sam’s. Due to the cold and rain I couldn’t get them in the ground. Now that they are planted, we will see how they grow.

It’s funny how when the weather doesn’t seem appropriate for planting perennials or annuals, the weeds sprout overnight. I use hardwood mulch in the beds around my house but I have come to the conclusion that the weeds love this mulch! It doesn’t matter how thick it is they just grow right through it.

I try to use as few chemicals as possible so it is a constant battle every year. Oh well, I may not have the best looking yard but at least I am not poisoning the earth or my dog or cat that play in it.


I’m sure many areas of the country are farther along with the planting season and some areas aren’t there yet. When the spring weather comes late like this year all the plans written in January seem to go out the window. Now I’m playing catch-up and the weather forecast is calling for more rain this week.

If I’m lucky I may have the flowers, shrubs, and vegetables in the ground by Memorial Day. Then I can go in maintenance mode and enjoy the summer.

How is your gardening going so far this year?


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April Holidays

April has a lot of holidays and event weeks ranging from Earth Day, to Administrative Week, to Turn Off TV Week, to the Jewish holiday of Passover. I have included the dates and links for more information on the these holidays and more in my April 15th newsletter. I have posted it below.

If you would like to have the newsletter sent to your email on the 1st and 15th of every month then please sign up for it. The sign up form is on the sidebar to the right. Since this newsletter has timely information you will receive it in time to plan ahead and mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on the events.


April 15, 2008 Newsletter

The second half of April has a few National holidays and many minor holidays that you may or may not be familiar with. The latter part of April also brings the warmer weather to most areas of the country. Little league baseball has started and the garden centers a filled with blooming flowers.

April 13-19 is Environmental Education Week. If you have children in grades K-12 then you are probably aware of this week.

April 19 is the first night of Passover. The Seder or festive meal is where Jews read the story of how they escaped from slavery in Egypt. Special foods are served at the Seder and for the whole week. Most foods symbolize different areas of the story. If you celebrate Passover it is time to plan out your shopping, cooking, changing dishes, and all the other things you need to do to prepare for the holiday.

April 20-26 is Administrative Professionals Week. This week came out of National Secretaries Week starting back in 1952. Administrative Professionals Day is Weds., April 23. If you have any Administrative Professionals working for you please don’t forget about them. These people are the backbone of most businesses and deserve to be recognized for it.

April 22 is Earth Day this year. There are lots of activities plan in most communities through out the country. If you have children then this site will give you ideas of what you can do to get them involved in Earth Day. Check out your local city website or newspaper for events taking place in your town. I know my city is having a recycling day including hazardous waste drop off. This is a good time to clear out those items laying around because you couldn’t put them in the trash.

April 25 is National Arbor Day. Most states have different days according to the best tree planting time. Check out your state to see when it celebrates Arbor Day. Planting a tree with your children teaches them to plan for the future of the earth.

April 21-27 is TV turn off week. This week is geared toward schools and children. It’s a chance for families to do other things together besides watching TV. With the weather better late in April and it being light later this would be a good time to take some family walks around your neighborhood.

April 24 is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day. This is a chance for a child to see what their parents really do at work. In most cases children will have a better understanding about what you do and why you may be so tired after work when they are expecting your attention.

April 27-May 3 is National Volunteer Week. If you’re a volunteer you are probably aware of this week. If you are not a volunteer then it may be time to recognize the volunteers you know and thank them for giving of their time. Whether it is the room parents at school, the volunteers at the local hospital, or all the fundraiser’s and event workers, they all help make our world a better place. Thank you.

There are a lot of holidays and events taking place this month. Check out the links to all the sites and learn more about them. Get involved whether you have children or not. These events can enrich your life. Just remember to mark your calendars for the ones you want to partake in.


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Allergy Season Starting

Spring brings April showers, blooming daffodils, flowering dogwood and cherry trees, and allergies. Most people think that pollen is what causes the sniffles and sneezing but it could also be due to weather changes. Here is another allergy site to look up more information. Different causes require different treatments. If you are not sure of the exact cause it is best to check with your doctor.

IMGP0108_edited-1This picture was taken last year on April 1st at a local park. With all the cold and rainy weather we’ve had here in St. Louis all I’ve seen so far are a few daffodils blooming. It is going to be a late spring, which may make allergy season a little later than usual in the Midwest. As I hear the thunder sounding another impending storm, I hope you are enjoying nice spring-like weather.


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