Create a Personal Manifesto

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Recently, the idea for a personal manifesto popped into my head. I scribbled some notes….and tucked them away.

This is one of the things I love about my life. When something is important, it cycles back around. I receive gentle nudges to pay attention to what’s important.

Such is the case with this project. A couple of nudges in the last couple of days reminded me of my intention to create this visual representation of my life. As always, it’s up to me whether I turn my attention toward that which calls to me. I’ve learned from past experiences that it’s to my benefit to do so. I returned to my notes.

You might want to create a personal manifesto too.

Create a Personal Manifesto

What is a Personal Manifesto?

A manifesto is a statement of intentions and ideals that sometimes includes a call to action. Think of it as a mission statement or a declaration of beliefs and desires.

A personal manifesto helps us to evaluate where we are in life, and provides clarity on where we want to go. It can provoke change, encourage shifts and inspire forward momentum.

I like to look at the development of words and check out their origins.

Manifesto originates from the Latin word manifestus, which means “make obvious”.  It later become the Latin word manifesto, meaning “make public”.

I love that. Manifesto carries the meaning of making the obvious public or known. In the case of a personal manifesto, it’s making what is obvious to me, in my life, public, for the purpose of inspiration and guidance.

Each person’s manifesto is uniquely his or her own. They reflect journeys, beliefs, desires and wisdom.

However, here are general suggestions to create a personal manifesto of your own.

Create a Personal Manifesto

How to Create a Personal Manifesto

Get inspired

Discover what you love. Collect quotes, memes, art, photos and objects that help to clarify beliefs and where you are in the journey. Pinterest is a great online site to create boards where ideas can be “pinned” for inspiration. Boards can be set to private so only you can see what’s pinned there.

Pinterest is more a search engine than a social media site. Use the search bar to type in key words such as travel or gardening or dogs or art quotes, to find meaningful photos and posts.

Add quotes, colors and photos that capture your heart and make you smile. If you don’t connect with it deeply, don’t pin it to your board. I named mine Mood Board.

Create a Personal ManifestoOne of my favorite inspirational quotes.

Make Notes

Grab a notebook and a pen, type on a computer or use the notes app on your phone to make notes in several categories.

Write out…and Ask Yourself

  1. I believe…. (What are my views toward life?)
  2. I desire…  (How do I desire to live?)
  3. This is true for me… (What words of wisdom have I adopted?)

Use your notes to create a personal manifesto that expresses your beliefs, your desires and your wisdom. This is a framework for your life, a compass pointing to your true north.

Write in the present tense. Use descriptive language and keep the words uplifting and positive. Don’t make the manifesto so long that you can’t read it in a few minutes.

See my example at the end of the post.

Display Your Personal Manifesto

Once it is created, place the manifesto in an easily accessible place, for daily reading.

Print it out. Write it in calligraphy. Create art with it. Frame it. Hang the manifesto on the refrigerator, above a workspace, or place it on the table next to the bed. This is your current Owner’s Manual. Don’t tuck it into a drawer and forget about it. Read your personal manifesto, every day.

Create a Personal ManifestoThis quote from Alan Rickman inspired a whole year of my life and continues to have an influence. Of course it made it into my manifesto.

My Personal Manifesto

For the purposes of the blog, I’m presenting my own manifesto grouped into the above mentioned categories:

I Believe…

  • in Divine guidance  and having a personal relationship with God
  • in a daily, ongoing conversation with the Divine
  • I am created to live an extraordinary life, beyond the edges, free from fear and playing small
  • it’s important to love myself deeply and completely so that I can offer unconditional love to others
  • life is big, mysterious and enchanted
  • all people are children of God
  • in making life a little more tender and art a little more robust (thank you Alan)
  • I can do anything that I desire to do
  • everything is energy
  • nature laughs in flowers

Create a Personal Manifesto

I Desire to…

  • follow curiosity
  • surrender to the flow of life
  • embrace my gifts and my quirks
  • allow passion to fuel my life
  • engage in new experiences
  • travel, both inwardly and around the world
  • offer to others while walking alongside them
  • express creativity in a multitude of ways
  • see the good in people and situations
  • live a healthy, vibrant life by adopting a plant based lifestyle

Create a Personal Manifesto

My Life Wisdom…

  • I accept that for me, the veil between this world and the Spirit world is thin
  • I’m 100% responsible for my life
  • happiness starts within
  • I am open to everything and attached to nothing
  • others have the freedom to be exactly who they are
  • I create change in my life by shifting my thoughts and beliefs
  • my outer world is a reflection of my inner one
  • I am the Queen of my own kingdom
  • life is art (thank you Helena Bonham Carter)
  • be who I am created to be, no matter what

Create a Personal ManifestoGet a similar mug here.

This Owner’s Manual Changes as We Do

As we grow and learn and shift, our personal manifestos change as well.

One of the values of reading the manifesto daily is to see if it is still in alignment with who we are. When something feels out of sync, it is time to update the manifesto so that it continues to reflect current beliefs, desires and words of wisdom.

My intention is to create a work of art with my personal manifesto, after I’ve pondered on it for a few more days. I’m drawn to paint a watercolor and add the words. Or perhaps I’ll print out the words and then create a colored pencil sketch over them. Whatever I create, I’ll share it!

What would your manifesto look like? What beliefs, desires and words of wisdom belong on your document or work of art? I’d love to see it.

Create a Personal Manifesto

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Create a Bee & Butterfly Garden

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Today, May 20, happens to be World Bee Day. Founded to bring awareness to one of the world’s most important pollinators, World Bee Day seems perfect for a post that offers tips to create a bee and butterfly garden.

More than half of the world’s flowering plants require a pollinator to reproduce. Pollinators include butterflies, birds, beetles, wasps, bats, flies and bees. When a bee, for example, lands on a flower the sticky hairs on its body and legs collect pollen. As the bee flits from flower to flower, it transfers pollen, as it collects more, which is crucial for the plants’ reproduction.

Without pollinators, our whole eco-system is in danger. And, unfortunately, pollinators, especially bees, are declining in numbers.

We can help by creating bee and butterfly gardens, to attract and nourish these important species.

Create a Bee & Butterfly Garden

Create a Bee and Butterfly Garden

The best way to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden is to offer a variety of flowering plants and herbs. As the pollinators do their important work of gathering pollen, they feed on nectar from the flowers.

A great suggestion, from The Honeybee Conservancy, is to feed them throughout the growing season, by including plants that flower in spring, summer and fall.

 

Create a Bee & Butterfly Garden

Spring Blooming Plants

These early bloomers are crucial as food sources at the beginning of the growing season:

  • crocus
  • hyacinth
  • calendula
  • lilac
  • pansy
  • sweet violet
  • spiderwort
  • dianthus (mini carnation)s

Create a Bee & Butterfly GardenLilac bush

Summer Blooming Plants

Many plants bloom during the warm summer months, providing ample food sources for pollinators. Add any of these flowers and herbs to a bee and butterfly garden:

  • bee balm
  • cone flower (echinacea)
  • snapdragon
  • hosta
  • lavender
  • marigold
  • chives
  • basil
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • lemon balm
  • black eyed Susan

Create a Bee & Butterfly GardenHostas in bloom

Fall Blooming Plants

These late bloomers will keep pollinators coming to the garden after summer flowers fade away. Include a couple of these:

  • zinnia
  • sedum (live forevers)
  • aster
  • witch hazel
  • chrysanthemum
  • pineapple sage
  • Russian sage

Create a Bee & Butterfly GardenPineapple sage

Additional Tips to Create a Bee and Butterfly Garden

Try to include flowering plants from all three groups, to offer a continuous feast for bees and butterflies, hummingbirds and wasps. The plants can be grouped together, in a dedicated space. Or spread the plants throughout the garden space. The pollinators will find them.

No yard? No problem. The flowers and herbs listed do well in containers, turning a small balcony or patio into a bee and butterfly garden that will attract and nourish as well as a large space.

Bees and butterflies need a water source. Place shallow containers filled with water throughout the garden. Add twigs for insects to rest upon while they drink, or place containers near ornamental grasses or other upright plants. A bird bath works as well.

Butterflies and wasps enjoy mud puddles. They need the salts and minerals found in the mud.

Do not use pesticides or herbicides in the garden, as they kill pollinators. See Ecological Garden Hacks for natural ways of dealing with pests.

Create a Bee & Butterfly GardenCone Flowers

A Home for Many Creatures

One of the things that I most enjoy about my garden is that it is full of life. The plants grow and bloom and multiply. They not only bring me joy and provide healing for me, they offer sanctuary for many creatures.

Along with the plants, I provide natural elements so that beneficial insects and allies make my garden their home. Tree stumps serve as cute, natural containers for flowers, and they allow insects to take up residence there too. Ornamental grasses offer hiding places and blades of grass to rest upon. I have toad and spider houses tucked into my garden and shallow discs that I fill daily with water.

Bees, butterflies, lady bugs, praying mantis, wasps, dragonflies, frogs, toads, spiders, ants, earthworms and many other little critters co-exist in this backyard paradise. They are important to the health and wellbeing of my garden, and to the earth.

I do all that I can to welcome them and create a supportive environment in which they can thrive.

Won’t you join me, for the good and wellbeing of all, and create a bee and butterfly garden?

Create a Bee & Butterfly GardenThis amazing painting featured at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

Backyard Garden Series

Check out these other posts, in this gardening series:

 

Click on photos below, to order packages of flower seeds that are perfect for creating a bee and butterfly garden:



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The Liebster Award

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I am honored to receive the Liebster Award, for my blog!

This award, from blogger Amy Braun, of Ai Love Music, encourages people to discover new blogs. Liebster, in German, means “sweetest, kindest, dearest beloved”. The word is an endearment. Taken in context with the blogging community, the Liebster Award encourages us to support and applaud each other.

I appreciate Amy. She shares her knowledge and her passion for music on her blog. I learn so much about different genres and artists, reading her posts.

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award Rules

As with all the blogger awards, this one has rules. They are:

  • Thank the nominator and link to his or her blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked.
  • Come up with 11 new questions for the new nominees.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award.

My Answers to Amy’s Questions

  1. What is your favorite song, and why? This changes all the time! Currently I’m still enjoying Queen’s music, largely due to the recent film Bohemian Rhapsody. I purchased the soundtrack after watching the movie.
  2. What does music mean to you? Music is the beat of my heart and the utterances of my soul. It inspires me, encourages me and often guides me in Divine ways.
  3. Have you met someone famous before? Musically, I’ve met various Christian artists and bands. I have met other celebrities. Most recently my grandson and I had the pleasure of meeting David Tennent and Matt Smith from Doctor Who.
  4. Have you ever had a life changing moment involving music? Music is vital to me. Every year I am given a song that represents my upcoming journey for the year. My song for this year is Ever, Ever After.
  5. What are you listening to right now? The song I woke up with this morning is More Than Words, by Extreme. I’ve been listening to it all day.
  6. if you could tell about your life in a song, what song would it be and why? I consider the song, Where My Heart Will Take Me to be my life song.
  7. Is there a musical genre you don’t listen to? I don’t care much for rap.
  8. Have you ever been to a concert? I’ve been to several. My favorite was a Michael Bolton concert. I love that man’s voice.
  9. Who do you want to meet in the future? Musically, I’d love to meet the remaining Queen members.
  10. Are you musical? Do you play an instrument or sing? I sing, privately, all the time. I used to play the piano and the drums.
  11. What’s your favorite lyric? Right now I’m loving the lyrics from Ever, Ever After.

The Liebster Award Concert

The Liebster Award

Questions for My Liebster Award Nominees

  1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  2. How long have been blogging?
  3. What’s currently the biggest challenge with your blog?
  4. Who most inspires you?
  5. How did you come up with your blog name?
  6. What is your favorite go to drink?
  7. If you have a free afternoon, what do you love to do?
  8. What’s your favorite movie?
  9. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  10. What’s your favorite meal?
  11. If you could travel to any destination, where would you go?

The Liebster Award

My Liebster Award Nominees

Nicole with Souloving is a holistic self-care coach who loves encouraging women to be the best they can be.

Pauline shares traveling tips and helps with itineraries from a home based travel agency in her blog Little Frog Blogger.

Erin from Lullaby Lark helps discouraged mommas find hope and healing in Jesus.

Maria has the awesome motto: be more, want less, gain quality. Check out her blog Literally Simple.

In Queen’s Domania, Mary empowers women to achieve financial independence and a queen consciousness.

In his blog The Side Hustle, Hensel offers financial tips and ways to make money online.

Andrea provides fun accelerated learning methods for kids in her blog, Simply Outrageous Youth.

DeShena shares ways to improve the self, build wealth and live an extravagantly best life in Extravagantly Broke.

In the blog Wednesday Morning Whispers, Wendy shares life experiences and celebrates simple joys.

LeTisha helps women live a simple life through tips on budgeting, cleaning and parenting in her blog Mommas Simple Life.

Kevin teaches personal protection techniques, inside and outside the home, and ways to make the home secure in Pew Pew Guru.

Please check out these fine blogs and show them some love!

The Liebster AwardAppreciation

I’ve come to deeply appreciate the  blogging community. There is such support within this group of journeyers who happen to share their perspectives and experiences through the written word.

However, our writing is for naught without our dear readers. I also deeply appreciate those who take the time to read our blogs, leave comments and share posts that resonate with them.

From a full heart I say, “Thank you”, to Amy for this Liebster Award nomination, to my colleagues and to my readers and followers. You all bring such incredible joy to my life.

The Liebster Award

Other Blogging Awards

Check out the other awards Cindy Goes Beyond has won:

 

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Easy Container Gardening

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Container gardening is a great way to add color and interest to the garden. For apartment dwellers, containers create a space to grow flowers, herbs or veggies on a balcony or patio. Although I have a large backyard garden full of perennials and herbs, and a raised bed veggie garden, I love including containers. I can change the annuals in the containers each year. And I can use a variety of interesting and often repurposed items in my garden space.

Use these easy container gardening tips, to create your own unique containers.

Easy Container Gardening

Choose a Container

I have more than 30 containers on my front porch and scattered throughout my garden. A few of those are classic clay pots or traditional plastic flowerpots, however most of them are repurposed containers. For container gardening, I love finding new uses for objects, in my house and in my garden.

Here are possibilities that can be converted to garden use:

  • metal containers of all kinds, including toolboxes, buckets, colanders, deep trays, boxes, water troughs, wash tubs and watering cans. If it can hold dirt, it can serve as a container for flowers. Metal baskets, attached to fences or walls can hold containers.
  • plastic containers including boxes, tubs, and bowls
  • wheelbarrows
  • wagons
  • wooden objects such as boxes, drawers, chests, and for holding containers, chairs and tables
  • Natural objects such as tree stumps

Drill drainage holes in the bottom of metal, plastic or wooden containers so that the dirt doesn’t stay water logged, which is bad for the plants. If the container is deep, this isn’t necessary.

If the container is very porous, add a coconut liner to hold the dirt in and allow water to drain more slowly. Purchase a roll of liner and cut to fit the container.

For less porous containers, add a layer of pebbles to the bottom or line with coffee filters, to slow drainage. Fill with potting soil. The container is ready to plant.

Easy Container GardeningA variety of clay pots grouped with maple tree stumps, all holding colorful vinca.

Easy Container GardeningThis grouping is composed primarily of metal containers, including buckets, colanders and a metal shelf holding three containers. They hold tobacco plants, portulaca and polka dot plants. The old chair serves as a holder for a bucket. A minnow bucket, hanging above the chair, becomes a candle holder.

Easy Container GardeningA copper watering can holds a Trailing Mazus. I hang this container from a shepherd’s hook, in the hosta garden.

Choosing Plants

There are many easy to grow and maintain plants to choose from for containers. Check out 10 Low Maintenance Annuals and 13 Easy Herbs to Grow for ideas. Or visit Lowe’s Garden Center for inspiration.

In addition to those, other great container plants are:

  • coleus
  • polka dot plant
  • tobacco plant
  • salvia (low growing)
  • verbena
  • lobelia
  • sweet potato vine
  • African daisy
  • succulents
  • ivy

There’s no right or wrong way to plant a container! Group different colors of the same plant or create a monochromatic grouping. Plant two or three flowers in small containers and group them together on a baker’s rack, bench or in a wire basket. Or combine a variety of plants together in the same container.

One idea is to plant a taller plant, such as Miscanthus, a small ornamental grass, in the center of a large container. Add mid height plants such as coleus or geraniums around the taller plant. Fill in along the edge of the container with a vining plant or one that spills over such ivy or lobelia.

Have fun creating the look that suits your container and your space.

Easy Container Gardening Begonias and coleus in clay pots, within a vintage box and on a bench. These shade loving plants thrive on a covered porch.

Easy Container GardeningRed pentas are surrounded by white and purple lobelia in a large oval metal container.

Easy Container GardeningSucculents in a metal colander.

Caring for Container Gardens

Once they are planted, container gardening truly is easy. Know whether the plants require sunshine or shade and place them accordingly. My lists of plants indicate this.

Water as needed. My well established perennials need very little watering during the summer. As long as it rains once a week or so, they are fine. However, containers dry out quickly. During the hottest part of the summer watering containers is a daily chore. Choose mornings or evenings so that temperatures are cooler and the plants can enjoy a long drink of water.

Even plants in shady areas need to be checked frequently, although they may not have to be watered daily.

Remove spent blooms on flowering plants, to encourage continued flowering. And some plants benefit from an occasional light application of fertilizer or plant food. Watch for some DIY plant care products in an upcoming Summer Gardening Tips.

With very simple, basic care, you can enjoy the rewards of container gardening! Those traditional or repurposed containers will provide color and scents throughout the summer until the first frost.

Backyard Garden Series

Check out the rest of the posts, in this informative series:

Spring Garden Tips

Ecological Garden Hacks

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

Growing Clematis Babies

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Easy Container Gardening

Here’s an assortment of fun containers, to get you started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

When my children were young, I loved to surprise them with scavenger hunts. While they played outside, I wrote creative clues and hid them. Each clue led to the next clue and the next, until at last they discovered the hidden prize.

It was fun to hand the kids the first folded slip of paper and then watch, with delight, as they searched and reasoned their way through the clues to the prize.

A few days ago, I enjoyed figuring things out as I realized I was on a unique scavenger hunt of my own, arranged by the Divine, a scavenger hunt for a queen.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

The Scavenger Hunt for a Queen Begins

Preparing to leave the house to run errands, I picked up a store catalog that arrived the day before in the mail. I intended to toss it in the trash, since I had no intention of shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond that day. On a whim, or perhaps because of a Divine nudge, I opened the catalog at random and glanced at a page.

An image immediately caught my eye. The cute mug featured a gold crown with a pink heart and the words, “Queen of Everything”.

I smiled. Queen is my symbol this year, specifically the queen chess piece. Anytime the chess piece or a crown or the word queen pops up, it’s a gentle soul reminder for me. Since I’d be near Bed Bath & Beyond, I made a mental note to stop by and check out that mug, IF I had time.

I didn’t yet realize that the scavenger hunt for a queen had begun.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

An Enchanted Clue

One of my errands involved exchanging a shirt at JC Penney. Customer service is located upstairs, meaning I got to ride the escalator to the second floor. Parked near the base of the escalator, a large poster type sign snagged my attention. The words read:

Enchanted

Disney Fine Jewelry

Let your happily ever after begin at JC PENNEY

I walked past, with a laugh, and then circled back around. Enchantment is my word for this year. Ever, Ever After is my song. My awareness raised, I paused to consider the meaning of these synchronicities. I believe everything happens for a reason, even turning to a random page in a catalog and walking right by a large “sign”.

Within 30 minutes I’d seen a representation of my symbol, my word and my song for this year. Enchantment was underway.

I browsed for a moment, at the fine jewelry counter. Not surprisingly, the jewelry in the Enchanted line sparkled with silver, gold and diamonds, in lavish fairy tale themes. I felt the stirring within that let me know something bigger than running errands was unfolding.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

Do What You Love

Upstairs, as I quickly made the exchange, I allowed wonder and curiosity to expand. Thoughtful, I almost missed the next clue, as I walked to the down escalator. Arranged on a narrow table, next to the low wall overlooking the escalators, the framed print caught my eye.

The gold and silver words, within the simple gold frame, read:

Do What You Love

Is it crazy to get teary eyed, while on the top floor of JC PENNEY? Oh, I knew now that something magical was happening. Standing there, snapping a quick photo of this clue, I first thought the words, “scavenger hunt”. Clues were leading me to an as yet unknown prize. I opened wide to Divine guidance. Did I want to play? Yes! Yes I did.

The kingdom I am building this year has as its foundation that very desire expressed on the print. Doing what I love is central to my being at this point on my journey. I am shifting and growing as what I love shapes me and guides me, step by step. I didn’t need to purchase this little framed print. Clue received, I excitedly acknowledged the scavenger hunt for a queen.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

The Rest of the Clues

In rapid succession, the rest of the clues arrived. Purchasing that Queen of Everything mug now became a priority.

Pulling into the parking lot, at Bed Bath & Beyond, the last word in the company name suddenly struck me. Beyond carries much meaning for me. My life is lived on the edges, beyond fear, beyond limiting beliefs and beyond playing small. This blog is called Cindy Goes Beyond to remind me of my daily intention to live an extraordinary life. How appropriate to discover the queen mug in this store.

At home, as I brewed a cup of peppermint tea, I checked Instagram. Two posts popped up in my feed. One featured a single image, without words. The second one featured words only. Both resonated with me, encouraged me, made me smile.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

These two clues suggested that the scavenger hunt for a queen truly was intended for me. The simple crown graphic signaled “pay attention”. The post following it contained words I needed to receive. Good things are coming. All that I am doing, all that I am building, all that I am dreaming of, felt blessed with those words. Keeping going, Queen, good things are coming.

The Prize

The clues in all scavenger hunts lead to a prize. For my children, simple treasures such as a favorite snack or a small toy like silly putty or a dollar bill were their rewards for unraveling the clues and searching diligently.

What was my reward, in this scavenger hunt for a queen?

I sipped my tea, in my new mug, and allowed the answer to my question to arrive as a string of thoughts. I felt watchful anticipation and the warmth of Divine delight, as I reasoned things out.

Is the life I desire the prize? No, that’s not it. The “prize” is deeper than that, bigger than that, and not easily defined. I am the prize, or rather, who I am, who I am becoming, is the prize. The clues given to me, on this enchanting scavenger hunt, all point to me recognizing who I am and what I am here to do. Remember who you are, they seem to say.

I am the Queen of my own life, the Queen of Everything that I touch, the Queen of the Kingdom I am building.

The region near my heart expanded as I received this prize, the gift of knowing absolutely who I am.

One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes came to mind, as a final confirmation that I interpreted the clues correctly. On this scavenger hunt for a queen, I am well on my way to my throne. I held my head high, took a deep breath and adjusted my invisible crown.

Scavenger Hunt for a Queen

Pick up the soundtrack to Enchanted, featuring the song Ever, Ever After HERE. Or watch the charming music video HERE.

And check the JC Penney Enchanted Fine Jewelry line.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

While perennials form the foundation of a garden, low maintenance annuals provide the pops of color that create interest all summer long. These plants bloom and shine for a single season, rather than returning year after year.

There are advantages to adding annuals to the garden. They fill in gaps among perennials. Annuals add variety as the plants can be changed every year. Cost wise, they are cheaper than perennials. And they are perfect for containers.

Try out the following low maintenance annuals. They can be tucked into the ground. Or use them to create a container garden on a balcony or patio.

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

Marigolds

For many gardeners, the brightly colored marigold was the first flower they ever planted. Available in warms shades of yellow, gold, orange and red-orange, dependable marigolds have a distinctive aroma that helps to repel insects. They range in height from 4 to 24 inches, making them perfect in a flower border. Scatter seeds or plant marigolds in well drained soil, in a sunny location.

Geraniums

In warmer climates, the geranium is actually a perennial. For most of the US, however, it is grown as an annual. Planted in containers, geraniums thrive when moved indoors to winter. Colors range from red to pink to white and they grow up to 18 inches tall. Place geraniums where they can receive morning or late afternoon sun and shade during the hottest part of the day.

Zinnias

This easy care flower comes in a broad range of colors and varieties and grows to a height of 3 feet. Zinnias appreciate full sun and well drained soil. They can tolerate some drought making them a great annual for hot summers. To encourage continual blooms, pinch off the flowers as they fade. This plant is easily grown from seeds.

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to GrowZinnias in metal containers near my brick patio.

Petunias

Another very common flower, petunias are perennials in zones 9 – 11 and considered annuals in the rest of the US. (Find your zone here.) These colorful flowers do extremely well in containers, tolerating heat and blooming all summer. Keep them in full sun. Some varieties of petunias vine while others mound. Remove flowers as they fade to keep them blooming until fall.

Calibrachoas

These flowers resemble little petunias. Like petunias, they are perennials in zones 9 – 11 and annuals elsewhere. Calibrachoas come in a variety of colors and do especially well in hanging baskets and containers. They prefer sunny locations although light shade, such as on a covered porch, is tolerable as well. Water regularly to keep the soil damp for the best performance and remove faded flowers. If the vines get too straggly, pinch them back to encourage fuller growth.

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to GrowPurple and yellow calibrachoas growing in a wash tub.

Vincas

These low maintenance annuals bloom profusely throughout the summer, adding pops of color to borders and containers. Hues range from reds to pinks to lilacs to whites. Vincas grow up to 12 inches tall and attract bees and butterflies to the garden. Plant in well drained soil, in full sun. These flowers don’t have to be removed as they fade. Vinca blooms drop on their own.

Portulacas

Also known as moss roses or purslane, this annual thrives in hot dry conditions. Their trailing stems make them ideal for containers and hanging baskets. They also work well as ground cover. Portulacas come in a broad variety of colors and can easily be started from seeds. Although considered an annual in most of the US, they often self seed, producing new plants the following summer.

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to GrowVincas, portulacas and petunias in containers on my potting bench.

Pentas

These sun loving flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Reaching a height of 12 inches, pentas bloom in shades of red, pink, white and purple. They prefer well drained soil. Plant them in containers or flower borders.

Impatiens

Colorful impatiens come in a variety of bright or pastel hues. These low growing plants prefer lightly shaded to full shade locations and damp soil, making them perfect for hanging baskets or containers on a porch or covered patio. The blooms do not need to be removed as they fade. This favorite will flower until first frost.

Begonias

One of the easiest of the low maintenance annuals, begonias come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. They grow 8 to 10 inches tall and bloom in shades of red, pink and white. Foliage can be green or bronze in color. Although they can thrive in full sun, most begonias do best in light shade. Keep the soil damp by watering frequently. The hardy plants do well in containers or borders and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Begonias bloom throughout the summer, until it frosts.

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to GrowWhite and red begonias fill containers on my covered front porch.

Backyard Garden Series

If perennials seem too daunting, I hope this list of low maintenance annuals gives you ideas for your own garden. The beauty of these easy care plants is that they can occupy a variety of containers, bringing color and delightful scents to small spaces.

Or have fun mixing perennials and annuals together. In my outdoor spaces, most of my annuals fill containers scattered throughout my garden. I change the annuals each year, trying out new varieties and different colors, which adds to the fun and keeps things interesting.

For more garden ideas, check out the other posts in the Backyard Garden Series. And, happy gardening!

Spring Garden Tips

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

Ecological Garden Hacks

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Growing Clematis Babies

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to GrowPentas growing in a vintage metal bucket, next to an old minnow bucket repurposed into a candleholder.

 

Order packets of low maintenance annual seeds by clicking on photo below:

 


 

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Movie Review: Avengers Endgame

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This is a SPOILER FREE review.

After waiting a year, to see what happened in the aftermath of the snap in Avengers Infinity War, I joined a record number of people this weekend, to see Avengers Endgame.

My sister Linda joined me. We arrived at the theater an hour before showtime, and good thing we did. The line of eager Avenger fans stretched around the interior of the lobby, by the time the doors to our theater room opened. We watched this epic film with a lively and responsive crowd.

Highly anticipated, Avengers Endgame broke box office records this weekend. I understand that. This movie, number 22 in the series, is the conclusion to a story that began with Iron Man in 2008.

Captivated by Iron Man 11 years ago, and then the rest of the movies in the Marvel Universe, I’ve followed this story as it’s unfolded, film by film. How exciting to be present for the endgame.

The studio kept the storyline a closely guarded secret, so that movie goers could experience the film without preformed opinions. I appreciated that. To honor their intention, this review reveals very little about the plot and certainly nothing about the ending.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Avengers Endgame Cast and Crew

This sci-fi, adventure film has a large ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson and Karen Gillan. Josh Brolin, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel provide voice work.

There are many other actors involved in the movie and poignant cameos. For a full list, go HERE.

Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo returned to direct. Avengers Endgame carries a PG-13 rating, for mild language, moderate violence and sequences of intense action, and has a run time of 3 hours and 1 minute. Realistically, by the time you watch the previews and stay through the end credits, you’ve invested more like 3 hours and 30 minutes in this film.

As the start time grew closer, there was an exodus to the nearby restrooms. No one wanted to leave during the movie!

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Life After the Snap

Endgame begins 22 days after the highly emotional ending portrayed in Infinity War. Using the Infinity Stones set within the gauntlet, Thanos (voiced by Brolin) snapped his fingers and half of the population, across the universe, dissolved away. Family and friends were separated in the snap. More than half of the Avengers disappeared too.

After the snap, the remaining heroes gather together:  Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Cooper) and War Machine (Cheadle). Iron Man (Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Gillan) are rescued by Captain Marvel (Larson), after being stranded in space, and returned to Earth.

From various locations throughout the galaxy, the stragglers appear: Thor (Hemsworth), Hulk ( Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Renner) and Ant-Man (Rudd). It’s a somber group that gathers. The world has changed. The universe has changed. A sense of failure hangs over each Avenger. However, determination fuels their plans.

Black Widow, who also goes by the name Natasha, states the Avengers’ intention well.

“Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to everybody who’s not in this room.”

This group, united by purpose and ingenuity and various abilities, goes all in to undo what Thanos has done and bring back those they have lost.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

My Reactions to Avengers Endgame

This movie did not disappoint.

I avoided reading anything about the film or storyline, prior to watching the movie, and you should too. Additionally, it feels right not to share any more about the plot, than what I have. This is a movie that needs to be experienced, on the big screen in a darkened theater. There the real world slips away and the story unfolds scene by scene.

As one who has watched the films leading to this conclusion, I felt all the powerful emotions that accompany an ending. It’s a grand finale though, and thoroughly satisfying.

I loved being part of the crowd that watched with me. People cheered and laughed and clapped. They cried as well, for all their own reasons. At the end we all applauded again, together, and then sat quietly through the credits.

Marvel is well known for including additional scenes during the end credits, typically at the midway point and then at the very end. Not so for Avengers Endgame. However, for the ardent fan there is reason enough to stay. I enjoyed the mid credit extras, and I’m still thinking about the audio clip at the very end.

I found it a fitting final moment.

The Endgame

Well done, all those involved in this monumental story. I’ve learned about courage, sacrifice, acceptance, love and being exactly who I am meant to be.

And so ends Phase III in the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Phase IV. Every ending signals a new beginning.

Movie Review Avengers Endgame

If you need a refresher before watching Avengers Endgame, you can rent Avengers Infinity War.

 

 

 

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DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

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As much as I love being outside, working in my garden, there’s one thing I don’t like. Mosquitos.

hate feeling a sting and looking down to see a mosquito on my wrist or arm. Worse is seeing them flitting about my head or hearing their high pitched whine and knowing what’s about to happen. They have their place on the earth, but I don’t have to like mosquitos.

For years I kept cans of insect repellent near the back door, to use as I headed outdoors. However, it always caused an internal struggle. Get bitten by mosquitos? Or douse myself with chemicals?

It’s no longer a struggle. After spending three years diligently cleansing my body and liver from toxins, I don’t want to spray them back onto my skin.

It’s easy, I’ve discovered, to create my own DIY natural mosquito repellent.

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitos Can Smell You

Did you know mosquitos use their senses to find you?

The insects are attracted to the carbon dioxide humans and animals exhale. They vaguely see us as they dart our way. And once they get close enough, the warmth from our bodies helps them zero in on our location.

There is also some indication that mosquitos use their antennae to detect sweat, a common human occurrence on a muggy summer evening.

Why do mosquitos like to bite us anyway?

It’s only the female mosquito that bites. She uses protein and iron rich blood in the formation of her eggs. The bites itch because the body creates histamine as a reactive response to the mosquito saliva injected to slow blood clotting.

Are there smells mosquitos don’t like?

Yes! And we can use their dislike of certain scents to our advantage.

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Scents Mosquitos Hate

These aromatic herbs are natural mosquito repellents:

  • lavender
  • citronella
  • peppermint
  • basil
  • lemon balm
  • marigold
  • catnip
  • rosemary
  • eucalyptus

I’ve grabbed a handful of lemon balm leaves, as I weeded in the garden, crushed them, and rubbed them on my arms to deter mosquitos. It helps!

Better still is to make a DIY natural mosquito repellent, using a combination of herbal scents that keep the little pests away.

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipe

For this easy to make spray, combine:

  • 1 cup lavender water
  • 30 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 20 drops citronella essential oil

To make lavender water, boil one cup of water. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh or dried lavender flowers and 2 dried cloves. Let steep until water cools. Strain liquid into a dark glass bottle with a spritz top.

Add lemon eucalyptus and citronella essential oils. Shake well before each use. Apply to exposed skin every two hours while outdoors. Use within six months.

Lavender is near the top of the list for scents mosquitos dislike. Lemon eucalyptus and citronella both have strong citrusy scents that mosquitos avoid. In fact, lemon eucalyptus is very effective in repelling mosquitos, right behind DEET and picaridin, and it’s not toxic.

Vary the recipe if desired by creating basil water or lemon balm water as the base, instead of lavender water. Other essential oils that are effective in repelling mosquitos include peppermint, thyme, geranium and cedar.

You can create your own DIY natural mosquito repellent based on personal preference for scents by combining the herbs and essential oils in different ways.

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Enjoying Spring and Summer Evenings, Mosquito Free

Mosquitos are certainly pests. And their bites create itchy bumps that can be maddening. The little biters can pose a health concern as well.

While it’s rare, mosquitos are known to carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika, malaria, encephalitis and various fevers. Protecting ourselves from bites, while protecting our bodies from the toxins found in commercial insect repellents is possible, happily.

The end result of DIY natural mosquito repellent?

Backyard parties, quiet times in the garden, kids playing, walks in nature, all without the distraction of wondering when that dang mosquito is going to land and bite.

Do you have a favorite homemade mosquito repellent? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Backyard Garden Series

Other posts in the Backyard Garden Series:

You can pick up dark glass spritz bottles and lemon eucalyptus and citronella essential oils by clicking on the images below.

 

 


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10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

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As the month of April draws to a close, one thing stand outs to me. It’s planting season! Here in Missouri, which is zone 7 on the hardiness zone map, the beginning of May marks the end of temperatures that can dip below freezing at night. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the first part of May to plant in the ground. See what zone your region is in with this map.

Speaking of thumbs, not everyone has a green one. However, don’t let that perceived belief stop you from creating a garden. Whether you desire an expansive backyard paradise or a tiny butterfly garden, these 10 super easy perennials to grow will survive and thrive with little care.

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

Perennials are plants that return year after year. They are the foundation of a lasting garden, as they only have to be planted once.

The following plants provide riotous colors along with interesting textures and amazing scents to your garden. Check out this post, Spring Garden Tips, for suggestions on prepping the soil and cleaning up your area before planting.

If you are creating a flower bed or border for the first time, remove grass, turn the soil to a depth of one foot and work in nutrients such as compost before tucking in plants.

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow
My southern border with Shasta daisies, coneflowers, garden phlox, Russian sage, black eyed Susan and coreopsis.

Coneflowers

Also known as echinacea, these plants prefer a sunny location and produce purple, white or rose colored blooms from early summer until fall. Coneflowers tolerate the heat well and grow up to three free tall, making them ideal for a southern border. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds. As a bonus, you can create health boosting echinacea tea from the blooms.

Garden Phlox

Related to but not to be confused with creeping phlox, this plant stands tall in the garden, growing to a height of three to five feet. Garden phlox loves the sun and blooms in shades of pinks and purples.

Coreopsis

These sun loving yellow flowers bring cheer to the garden. Growing up to 18 inches in height, the flowers appear on bright green delicate foliage. Extend the blooming time by removing flowers as they fade, a practice known as dead heading.

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow
Sunny yellow coreopsis with coneflowers blooming in the background.

Russian Sage

This plant, which is closely related to the sage family, thrives during hot weather. Its woody stems grow up to four feet tall and produce small purple flowers and tiny leaves with a distinctive aromatic scent.

Black Eyed Susan

Producing masses of cheerful yellow flowers with dark brown centers, these plants prefer full sun and tolerate heat and drought well. They grow up to three feet tall. Cut back the plants after flowering to produce another round of blooms.

Bearded Iris

Irises put up tall stalks amid a fan of spiky leaves. The plants bloom in a wide variety of colors . Growing up to three feet tall, irises need a sunny spot in the garden. The leaves continue to show off after the spring flowers fade.

Day Lily

On the list of super easy perennials, the day lily ranks high. Extremely easy to grow, these plants thrive in a sunny location and do well in partial shade also. Their flowers vary from bright yellow to golden to orange. Although not absolutely necessary, day lilies respond well to a layer of mulch around them.

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow
Clusters of day lilies near my ornamental grasses.

Sedum

Sedum, also known as Live Forevers and Stonecrop, ranges from hugging the ground to growing up to three feet tall. The beautiful foliage is gift enough. However in late summer this hardy plant offers clusters of tiny flowers in white, pink, yellow or rusty red.

Hosta

This well known perennial is great for the shady areas in the garden. Growing up to four feet tall and equally wide, this plant produces showy leaves in a variety of greens. Many hostas have variegated leaves. In late summer they send up tall stalks covered with white, lavender or pink flowers.

Coral Bells

Another shade loving plant, coral bells pair well with hostas. Their gorgeous leaves vary from shades of green to purple to reddish brown. The delicate flowers may be white or pink. Because my backyard doesn’t have trees, and therefore no shade, my hostas and coral bells thrive in a garden strip on the north side of the house.

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow
Hosta and coral bells share space with a hydrangea.

Backyard Garden Series

I hope this 10 super easy perennials to grow post gives you ideas about what plants might do well in your own garden spaces.

I’m excited to present a series of posts over the next few weeks, offering gardening tips and ideas. Take a look at this post in the Backyard Garden Series, 13 Easy Herbs to Grow. And watch for upcoming posts about growing annuals, container gardens, creating a butterfly garden and easy vegetables to grow. I’ll have some fun gardening freebies for you too and ways to make your garden space uniquely yours. If you have questions about gardening, drop me a comment below. The answer might just become a featured post!

As my perennials push up through the ground, I’m excited as well to welcome them back. I’m ready to pick up new annuals and tuck them into place. It’s time to get my hands dirty.

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow
Russian sage with its wonderfully aromatic leaves.

Backyard Garden Series

Check the rest of the posts in this gardening series:

Spring Garden Tips

Ecological Garden Hacks

Growing Clematis Babies

13 Easy Herbs to Grow

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

 

Check out these cool gardening supplies!

 

 


 

 

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13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

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Last month I shared a post titled 13 Easy Herbs to Grow. I’ve enjoyed fun conversations with other gardeners about growing herbs. One question I’ve had repeatedly from those new to gardening is:

“What can I do with those herbs?”

It’s a good question. I use herbs primarily for tea, potpourri and cooking. However, there are many other ways to benefit from growing and harvesting herbs.

Using last month’s post as a guide, here are 13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs.

13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

Using each of the easy to grow herbs from last month’s post, here are additional ways to benefit from these medicinal plants.

Basil

A favorite herb in Italian dishes, basil has powerful antibacterial properties that help to heal acne. Steep basil leaves in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove leaves and allow liquid to cool. Use a cotton square to dab basil water on acne.

Dill

This fragrant herb does more than flavor potato salad. Chew on the flowers or prepare a weak tea to use as a mouth wash for bad breath. Drink dill tea to relieve indigestion.

Mint

People love the distinctive aroma of mint. However, mice hate it. Keep mice out of the house by drying mint leaves, crushing them and sprinkling them along baseboards.

13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

Thyme

With its antibacterial properties, thyme makes an excellent household cleaner.  Steep sprigs of thyme in very hot water for 30 minutes. Remove herb and allow liquid to cool. Pour into a spray bottle and add a small amount of plant based soap, such as Castile Pure Organic Liquid Soap. Use to clean hard surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms.

Chives

Pour boiling water over chive flowers and leaves and allow to steep until liquid cools. Strain and pour into a spray bottle. Spray plants in the garden to prevent mildew and mold.

Lavender

This versatile plant has so many uses. Steep lavender flowers and leaves in hot water. After liquid cools use lavender water to soothe skin irritations such as burns, scrapes and cuts. Lavender’s antiseptic qualities relieves itchy bug bites as well. Store leftover water in refrigerator for additional cooling effect.

13 Estraordinary Uses for Herbs

Chamomile

The anti-inflammatory properties in this soothing herb makes it great for skin irritations as well. Pour boiling water over chamomile flowers. Allow to steep as water cools down. Remove flowers. Use chamomile water to wash wounds and rashes and heal pink eye.  Use chamomile water as a mouth wash for gum irritation.

Lemon Balm

Create lemon balm tea by steeping fresh leaves in hot water. Use tea as a mouthwash to heal canker sores and ease the pain of toothaches.

Bee Balm

The antiseptic qualities in bee balm heal mouth and throat infections, including gingivitis. Brew a strong bee balm tea by steeping leaves and flowers in hot water. Gargle with tea and rinse mouth with it several times a day.

13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

Lemongrass

This lemon scented herb makes a great rinse for dogs, after a bath. The compound that gives lemongrass its citrusy scent repels lice and ticks. Steep lemongrass leaves in hot water. Strain after cooling and pour over dog’s fur as a final rinse.

Sage

This aromatic herb has powerful antiseptic properties as well. Pour boiling water over sage leaves and let liquid cool. Strain and use sage water to bathe wounds, skin irritations and scrapes.

Fennell

Chew fennel seeds after a meal to freshen breath. Or prepare a weak fennel tea and use as a mouthwash.

Rosemary

For shiny healthy hair, free from dandruff, prepare a rosemary hair rinse. Pour boiling water over sprigs of fresh rosemary and steep for at least 30 minutes. Remove sprigs and allow rosemary water to cool. Pour over hair after shampooing.

13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

Extraordinarily Helpful Herbs

There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate herbs into daily life. I’ll be posting a series of articles with DIY recipes and ideas as the growing season gets underway.

Herbal essential oils are available and they are excellent to use. However, growing your own herbs is fun and the health benefits and household uses make them so beneficial. I am grateful for nature’s bounty and the goodness that grows in my herb garden.

13 Extraordinary Uses for Herbs

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