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:



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. 

The Liebster Award

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

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:

 

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.

 

Easy Container Gardening

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

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:

 


 

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.

Movie Review: Avengers Endgame

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

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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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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Find Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

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Thank you to KeySmart for sending products for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

How often have you misplaced your keys? It’s something I do occasionally, especially if I’m distracted or on the phone coming into the house. Rather than dropping them into their allocated place…in a pocket in my purse…I lay them aside. Later when I’m headed out the door I realize I don’t have my keys and the search begins. If I’m already short on time, finding keys becomes a major annoyance.

KeySmart sent me a very cool device that makes finding missing keys a snap. The company also included two handy multi-tools to try out as well.

Findy Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

The KeySmart Pro with Tile Smart Location

KeySmart’s goal to save the world from bulky, annoying key rings full of jangling keys resulted in a trim, lightweight design that’s easy to carry. The company offers a variety of KeySmart designs that keep keys organized and tucked with the frame.

The KeySmart Pro is the ultimate key organizer that features a Tile Smart locator.  That technology offers convenience and peace of mind. A lost set of keys is never a problem. With the free Tile app installed on a phone, keys can be tracked on a map. Or if the missing keys are within earshot, you can hear a song play to guide you in finding them.

With the app, a missing phone can be located as well, by double tapping a button on the KeySmart Pro. How handy is that? Even if my phone is on silent, it rings so I can track it down.

Find Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

 The AllTul Multi-tools

Opening the package, I found the KeySmart Pro, a micro USB charger, step by step instructions and the AllTuls. While the KeySmart device charged, I read through the instructions and opened one of the multi-tools. These handy gadgets come in several fun designs, each with a variety of tools built in.

I opened the Dino AllTul, which is shaped like a dinosaur. The Dino features a letter opener, wrench, bottle opener and flat head screwdriver tip and a Phillips head. I also received a Raptor AllTul featuring six tools including a carabiner and steel cutter.

These small, flat tools are easy to carry on a key ring or in a wallet or purse. I intend to keep one in the car. They make great little gifts for the guys and girls in your life who are old enough to occasionally need a screwdriver or simple tool.

Find Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

Trying Out KeySmart Pro

Once the device was charged, as indicated by the little light turning green, I used the AllTul to unscrew the two screws holding the KeySmart Pro together. The kit comes with 12 spacers, making it easy to add keys to either end of the device.

I added five keys, two on one end and three on the other, to keep the device balanced. Finally I added the bottle opener, which is important I discovered, as it has a metal loop to secure my car key fob to. The five keys tuck neatly into the holder.

After downloading the Tile app, I was ready to activate my KeySmart Pro and have some fun.

Find Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

Find Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

Lost Keys, No Problem

Leaving my KeySmart Pro in the bedroom, I stepped into the other room and opened the app. Tapping the Find button on the screen, I listened for the alert. The key holder played a little tune. I laughed. That’s such an easy and stress free way to locate keys. What’s really great is the app pinpoints the location of the KeySmart Pro on a map. If I dropped my keys while out for a walk, I could find them even if I can’t hear the song playing.

Next I left my iPhone in the bedroom, and used the KeySmart to locate my phone. Double clicking the button on the device activated my phone and it rang, even though I had it on silent. This is so helpful. Although I rarely lose my phone, I’ve misplaced it a few times, creating mild panic. I love that I can easily locate it, using KeySmart Pro.

One other feature I like is the flashlight included with the device. Pressing a tiny button sends out a beam of light to illuminate a pathway in the dark or find the keyhole on the front door!

Check Out KeySmart Online

I highly recommend KeySmart Pro. It’s a smart way indeed to keep track of a couple of very important items. The company offers other wonderful products through GetKeySmart.com. Check out all their accessories, urban wallets and the totally awesome Urban 21 Commuter Backpack.

I can see one of the backpacks in my future, accompanying me on my travels! In the meantime, I am enjoying my new key holder and the multi-tools.

Find Your Keys with KeySmart Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

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Over the past week, I created new vignettes throughout the house, celebrating the arrival of spring. I love the creative process of decorating with what I have, combined in fresh new ways.

The front porch patiently waited its turn for a new look. This afternoon, on a balmy, breezy day, I completed a front porch reset, using vintage metals.

I knew I desired a very different look on the covered front porch. The spring décor I’d used for several years no longer “sparked joy”. A collection of vintage metal pieces DID spark joy and piqued my interest as well. My daughter Elissa gifted me recently with a vintage metal tray and two old toolboxes, that she no longer wanted. These new-to-me items became the focus of the front porch reset.

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

Start with a Blank Canvas

Here is my step by step process, for creating an interesting new look on the front porch. I did not purchase any new items, preferring instead to use what I already own. It’s a game I play, a creative form of having fun while accomplishing a necessary task.

Play along with me!

I cleared the entry way table near the front door. Greg brought home this table from a job site. The owner no longer wanted it and the table sat forlornly, waiting for trash pickup. Greg added a brace at the bottom, for stability. This free piece began as a red table, moved to my daughter’s house for a time, then returned to me, and became yellow.

This afternoon I wiped it down and added a woven table runner, to break up the surface. Above the table I hung a gardening sign painted in the colors I wanted to feature.

Front Porch Reset with Vintage Metals

Create Central Vignette

Here’s how the creative process works for me. I look at the item I’m working with, and allow ideas to pop up. It’s actually more of a mental download. I “see” what the finished project looks like, then move step by step toward the outcome I desire.

The metal tray, with bits of scruffy blue paint still intact, became the focal point.

In my mental image, I could see the tray filled with a variety of metal and glass containers, suitable for holding tealight candles. After gathering containers and playing with arrangement, I wrapped a rusty metal star garland around the tray.

Front Porch Reset with Vintage Metals

Add Additional Elements

Once I completed the central vignette, I looked through my vintage metals for additional elements to add. Typically I use the “rule of three” for groupings. In this case, I added an old blue toolbox at one end of the table and partnered it with a stone bird candle holder.

On the other end of the table, I grouped three metal items together: a vintage gas can, a small decorative bucket and a mesh candle holder. These items anchored either end of the table and completed the table top.

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

Let There Be Light

Pleased with this unconventional display, I stepped back to get the overall effect. I realized opening the lid of the blue toolbox would allow me to accomplish two things: the open box created height at that end of the table, and I could drop candles inside the interior.

Light is an important element in all of my vignettes. I find ways to include unscented tealights primarily. Lighting the candles as twilight falls brings a coziness to my home. That’s the hygge element that I love. Read about the Scandinavian custom of hygge here. And get spring hygge ideas here.

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

Bench Vignettes

My daughter also gave me a rustic wooden bench. I’m excited to cluster potted plants on it and around it,  in a couple of weeks. This afternoon I created simple vignettes on either end of the bench.

The old copper container, repurposed into a flower pot, is empty now. Soon it will cradle flowering plants. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the pot, so water can drain. The old southwestern style flower pot, a special piece from my childhood, came out onto the porch today. I placed it near the bench, in a sheltered spot to protect it.

The metal scoop belonged to Greg’s grandparents. Grandma Ruby painted it, making it perfect for this grouping. And next to the old green toolbox is an antique bulb planter that I still use.

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

Steps to Creating with What You Have

To create your own unique vignettes follow these simple steps:

  • Make creation a playful game. Whatever you create is perfect and an expression of who you are.
  • If you so desire, only use items that you already own. I find this challenge to be fun. The process causes me to think outside the box, and use pieces in fresh new ways. There’s nothing wrong with buying items. Watch for after season sales, flea market finds or visit yard sales to pick up amazing pieces at low prices. Here’s a great buy on Bell mason jars, which I use for many purposes.
  • Pick a theme based on colors, elements such as wood, metal or glass, or a season such as spring. I typically start with color. Every item I choose, as I add pieces, supports the theme or complements it.
  • Look through all your items and collections, with the theme in mind. I wander around my house, thinking. I have a closet full of small items that I rotate in my décor. However, I’m not limited to using those pieces. I may “borrow” a piece from the living room, the creative studio or even the backyard garden. Think big!
  • Gather all items that might work and play with arrangements. Let your imagination guide you. What you create is an extension of your wonderful creativity. No vignette is wrong. All that matters is that you enjoy it!
  • Once items are placed to your satisfaction, congratulate yourself, take a photo of your creation, and enjoy the fruits of your efforts!

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

I’m happy with this front porch reset. As darkness fell, I lit the candles and smiled.

My front porch looks fresh, whimsical and fun. This is a totally different look, one I’ve never done before. And doing something new, as often as I can, is one of my things.

I love going beyond the ordinary. How about you?

Front Porch Reset Using Vintage Metals

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