Archive for the 'Garden & Yard' Category

How Do You Prevent Ants and Bugs at Picnics? 29Jul14

When planning a picnic, you probably have a vision of you and your loved ones
sitting by a refreshing stream underneath a large willow tree laughing the day away. What you don’t think about is the swarm of bugs headed your way once you pull the grapes and cheese out of the cooler. Preparing for nature’s pests is an essential part of packing for picnics.

Put It Away Now

Insects love anything sugary or sweet-smelling; this includes soft drinks, fruit and scented lotions or sprays. If your picnic is a lunch date, you may want to spray on a nice perfume or cologne, but this will only attract pests. It’s difficult to envision a picnic without fruit, but this is also like a welcome sign to bugs. If you do plan on bringing fruit, keep it in a closed container until you are ready to eat. This also goes for any food you eat outside—stow snacks in sealed packages in an insulated cooler and your perishables will neither spoil nor invite animals. Our outdoor accessories include plenty of coolers, baskets totes that come with a lid.


Smelly Stuff

Deter pests by incorporating smells that they find unsavory. Mint, garlic and lemon will keep most bugs at bay and there are several creative ways to include these items into your picnic. Add garlic to your dishes and drink lemon and mint sparkling water out of a closed cup with a straw. (Clear cups are best—if a wasp flies into your drink, you’ll want to shoo him away before you unknowingly take a sip!)


You may also put sprigs of mint and a few marigold flowers on the serving table to discourage bees from making a pit stop on your plate. To keep mosquitoes at bay, light a citronella candle for ambiance and added protection, or if you are planning a kid’s outing, put flameless citronella candles around your picnic setting.


Don’t Cross the Line

Simply sprinkling talcum powder or corn starch around your tablecloth will prevent ants from joining the party. This is especially helpful for picnics spread out on a cloth. Ants hate the feeling of powder and will be very discouraged to ruin your food. Be sure to complete this step before you lay out the sumptuous spread. You don’t want the wind to blow powder in your food while you are lining the area.


Remember that many flying insects feed from brightly-colored flowers, so donning vivid, summery clothing is not going to help you avoid them. Blend into the other part of the countryside and instead opt for crisp neutrals. Neutral clothing will also keep you cool in the sun, because you shouldn’t be sitting under a tree or by a pool of water, anyway; this will only attract mosquitoes to you. Those pests love damp shade and will be waiting for you under that beautiful, sprawling tree. Instead, choose an open patch of grass to set up camp in. Ultimately, the best al fresco outing is a well-thought out one. Spontaneity is wonderful, but bug bites aren’t!


For additional products that will keep unwanted visitors away from your outdoor meals, check out our outdoor pest control products.


3 Must Have Gardening Tools 24Jun14

You know spring has arrived when all you can do is think about getting out into your garden. Your hands itch to till the soil and manipulate the plants as
you create the landscape you dream of. Building your ideal garden is easier said than done, but with these three must have gardening tools, you’re sure to
be off to the best start possible:


Gloves.
The most pleasant and productive gardening stints begin with the proper hand covering. You must protect your hands from the items in your yard that can
cause damage to your skin, and you also want to protect them from the sun. WomansWork.com has a pair of gardening gloves that not only allow you to move your hands as much as you need to, but they also help keep your hands dry from the sweat of your labor.



Shovel.
Every experienced gardener knows you must have a strong and sharp shovel for the heavier digging that comes along with gardening projects. If you want to
move plants around or dig out ones that need to be thrown out, a shovel is your tool of choice. Make sure the blade is sharp every spring so it’s ready for
whatever jobs you throw it into. Also look for handles made of ash, which is a durable wood that can withstand many elements and pressures.

Hoe.
No matter how diligent you are, there are bound to be weeds lurking around your garden waiting to spring out and make their presence known. A hoe is the tool you’ll need to remove these weeds. You also want to use it for breaking down the soil in your garden and clear out areas for planting seeds.

With these three tools, you’ll be ready for whatever your garden brings you each spring season. The masterpiece garden you’ve always dreamed about can
become a reality in your landscape. If you find that you need more than these three tools, check out our Lawn and Garden section.


Sources:



http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/gardening/outdoor/garden-tools-00100000101174/page2.html

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/tools/top-tools-for-garden-maintenance/

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/garden-tools-and-equipment?page=0,1

What Are Some Good Gardening Tips? 29Apr14

If you want your family to eat healthy without heading to the grocery store three or four times a week, consider keeping organically grown produce on their plates with foods that you have grown yourself. Homegrown, organic produce is more delicious and nutritious than the produce you can find at the store. In order to get the most from your garden, you may wish to implement positive and creative gardening tips.


Start your planting early and end it late in the season. Using tunnels and cold frames will allow you to stretch the growing season in your area. You can start your spring planting season earlier, and use row covers in the fall to protect late crops from deer and frost.


Growing high-value crops means planting the produce that would cost you the most to purchase at the produce stand. Mother Earth News states that value can also refer to flavor temptations, which can mean making room for your favorite herbs and tomatoes. Consider, too, other foods that you didn’t grow last year, and see if you can save money by growing them at home this year.


Choosing the crops that have grown well for you year after year just makes good sense. Repeat the successes you have had in the past. If they are not favorites with your family, trade for foods that someone else grows that your family does like. If you have better luck with carrots than with beets, for example, keep your beet planting small and plant as many carrots as your family will eat. If your neighbors are also growers, arrange to trade veggies so that everyone will have what they like.


Growing crops that you can freeze or store makes good sense for your year-round, healthy diet. Early raspberries and strawberries that are ready in June can be stashed in the freezer, and ready for snacking or meals, while you turn your attention to veggies. Plant the foods that grow most easily, so that you can supply your family table year round.


Source:


http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-tips-zm0z11zsto.aspx


Top 10 Flowers to Plant in Springtime 15Apr14

Spring is the season in which nature starts to “warm up” for summer’s big act, teasing us in the meantime with cherry blossoms, friendly breezes and fresh buds on the trees. Of course, we all become wildly excited for the end of winter; suddenly, people are out and about on the sidewalks and smiles are plentiful.


Welcome spring with open arms and a readied garden. Playing around in the dirt is a gratifying way of spending a weekend afternoon. Taylor Gifts’ garden accessories and hoses will make the process both easier and more fruitful. Plus, you’ll light up as you see flowers poke through the soil. To learn what plants to nurture this time of the year, consider the following:


1. Peruvian Lily. These flowers only require a little amount of care and are absolutely beautiful. Originating in South America, they are perennials that feature uniquely speckled insides.


2. Dianthus. These old-fashioned favorite flowers provide bright colors along with a noteworthy, pleasant fragrance. This purple-pinkish bloom is accompanied by lusciously green leaves, adding a gorgeous contrast to your garden. There are various plants that fall into the category of “dianthus”; some breeds will last years, while others have a lesser life span.


3. Gardenia. If you are looking for an elegant, perfect flower to plant in your garden with an incredible scent that anyone will be able to enjoy, gardenia’s may be the best addition to your garden. Though the plant often resembles a small shrub more than a traditional flower, it has plenty of white blooms to enchant those passing by your garden.


4. Nicotiana. These are also very elegant flowers and are absolutely gorgeous to admire. They are best when planted outside your bedroom window, as their scent is stronger throughout the night and can naturally provide your home with a calming aroma. Yes, it is associated with cigarettes, but the plant itself does not threaten your health to plant it inside your garden your home.


5. Phlox. This type of flower grows in full clusters of candy-colored shades and can fluctuate in heights; some species climb to be four feet tall! They can come in a wide variety of hues like baby blue, lilac, blush and reds. The phox’s incredible scent is most evident on a warm, sunny day.


6. Roses. Of course, roses are one of the best plants to plant in the springtime because they tend to be deemed America’s favorite flower. Their colors range from pure white to deep red and the scent is intoxicating. A perennial, a healthy form of this plant can live for years. Be aware that they often have prickles on the stem that may jab young children who may reach for the bloom.


7. Sweet pea. Sweet peas are known as one of the most pleasant smelling flowers of all time. Their vines can grow between four to six feet tall, and it comes in a myriad of rich pigments. It responds well to sunlight and, if properly cared for, can last you a lifetime.


8. Lily-of-the-valley. This plant is perhaps one of the easier ones to take care of and, conveniently, it need minimal light. The lily-of-the-valley can spread aggressively (especially in moist conditions), so consider positioning it near physical barriers like pavement. Be mindful that this white or pink bulb can be poisonous to small animals that might be inclined to take a mouthful.


9. Lilac. The lilac flowers are favored among millions of people around the world because of their vivacious scent and easy upkeep. As long as they are not completely in the shade, they will never disappoint you; they’re durable and require little attention, though be careful of excessive powdery mildew damaging the appearance. An added bonus is that lilacs attract butterflies!


10. Lavender. Lavender flowers are not only known for their beautiful appearance, they are known for their scrumptious scent. Many aromatherapy products even harness its aroma for its relaxing properties. Made up of dozens of different subspecies, lavender can be cultivated in both gardens and flower beds.


This list is plenty to take your yard and turn it into a flower heaven that you can enjoy day in and day out! Soon, you can take out your patio furniture and enjoy nature’s wonder as your precious blooms surround you.


What Are Some April Flowers & Veggies to Plant? 10Apr14

There are numerous flowers and vegetables that are best planted in April. At least two types of flowers will bloom well when planted in cool weather.


Roses may be transplanted when you can work the ground, in the early days of April. If you purchase bare-root roses, they will do best if you plant them as soon as you get them home.


Pansies are hardy and can overcome late spring frost. They like cool weather and seem to thrive better in cool weather than they do when it becomes much warmer.


Vegetables including peas, lettuce and cabbage grow well in cooler temperatures. Onions need a long season for growing, so they are also often planted early in the spring.


Radishes are a cooler season crop, as well. They can be planted as soon as the ground may be broken. High temperatures will lead to flowering, and the roots may become soft.


Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli do well in cool seasons. Iowa State University says that they will grow best in mild temperatures between 60F and 70F. Mid-April is a good time to plant cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli in many areas.


Kale, spinach and lettuce do not do well in hot weather, so they prosper when planted in the cool temperatures of early April.


Onion plants, sets and seeds are usually planted as soon as you can work the ground in late March or early in April.


Snap, snow and garden peas are also best planted as soon as you can work the ground. The crops will mature in 60 or 70 days.


You can sow carrots from the early spring days until early August. Sowing the seeds in early or mid-April will give you an early crop.


Potatoes, as long as they have been certified to be disease free, may be planted when the ground is workable in April.


Taking advantage of the early spring days gives you a head start on your planting. Early planting may bring out hungry critters, so be sure you have the proper equipment to keep them at bay.


Source:


http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2003/3-21-2003/earlyplant.html

What Are Some New Outdoor Tools and Equipment for Spring and Even Summer? 25Mar14

As the cold grip of winter releases its hold on the country, you’ll enjoy spending more time outdoors. Warmer weather beckons you outdoors, and tending a garden is a perfect reason to spend time outside.


A garden beautifies the area around your home and gives it more curb appeal. It gives you a stress-free place to relax and let the troubles of the day fade away. If you want your garden to prosper, there are some spring and summer tools and equipment that will help.


A wheelbarrow is helpful for transporting soil and plants with less effort. You can find them in light-duty to heavy-duty models, depending on how much hauling you do in your garden area.


Shovels are essential for all gardeners. They allow you to dig up weeds, plant or relocate plants and turn soil.
Kneepads are helpful if you tend your garden kneeling down. Dense foam relieves any discomfort. If you have trouble kneeling for long periods of time, you can use a gardening seat, instead.


You can cultivate, shape and trim many plants with hand pruners. If you have larger plants, you can select pruners of greater size. Hand trowels are a lot like shovels, except that they are sized to fit the hand. They help you dig in small areas of soil like container gardens and flowerpots. If you need a small hole for planting flowers or bulbs, a hand trowel is the tool of choice.


Garden hoses are essential if your garden isn’t getting enough rain. It makes things a lot easier for gardeners who have large expanses of gardens or landscaping. A sprayer attachment will allow you to change the amount of water you’re using. A battery powered sprayer will let you get to places your hose might not be able to reach.


If you have young plants, hosing them to water them may be too hard on the new plants. For these, it’s helpful to use a watering can. In this way, the water won’t hit the tender leaves and buds as hard.


What Are Some End of Winter Tips to Bring Your Home & Yard Back to Life? 18Mar14

This winter has been extreme in almost all areas. All of the freezing temperatures, along with wind, snow and sleet take their toll on your house, garage and yard or acreage. Using simple maintenance tips, you will be able to return your home to proper condition, so it will look better this spring.


It’s hard this winter to believe that spring is on its way. As the weather finally begins to warm up and the ice and snow start to thaw, there are things you can to do help your home and yard recover from the winter past.


Use a shovel to make paths so that water can run off your property and into a storm drain or the street. This will make it easier to walk to your door on those late season cold nights when water in your driveway freezes back up.


Once it’s fairly safe to assume that the snow and ice are gone for the season, clean up excess salt or kitty litter on your sidewalks and driveway. If the freezing and thawing of the ground has left your driveway with potholes such as those found on many roads, patch them before someone trips in them.


Check your roof for loose shingles. Strong winds and heavy snow are quite capable of damaging shingles. When it is safe to go up on your roof, check for missing or damaged shingles. If you don’t feel comfortable checking your roof yourself, contact an inspector who will identify and correct any problem areas.


Cleaning up the lawn after a rough winter will be easier if you thoroughly raked your leaves in the fall. Otherwise, your grass may be suffering from “snow mold”. You’ll want to rake your lawn in the spring anyway, to remove any build-up of thatch. This will allow your lawn to green up sooner, and frame your spring-cleaned house nicely. If your lawn needs a little extra help, throwing down some grass seed will help.


How To Light Your Home for the Holidays 05Nov13

One of the best ways to create a festive home interior is with decorative holiday lights. You don’t need a lot of lights to make a cheerful room but choosing the right style and placement is important in making a wonderful look. Lights can transform your room into a winter wonderland. String some star garland around the perimeter to instantly give the room a warm glow. For some soft color, add a string of lighted sisal balls or bells in gold or white. They add a natural look to your display. Cordless lights are best because you can place them wherever you like and they don’t have to be near an electrical outlet.


Adorn your tables and staircases with small battery operated lights. Take a strand of lights and place them in a small pile for an instant bright centerpiece. Place small lights along the top of your fireplace mantle. Cordless flicker candles make the perfect finishing touch. Place them on every windowsill and on your side tables to make a beautiful display that looks good from both the inside and outside. Set luminary walkway lights around the inside of your home to add a blush of light that will radiate from the floor.


For the holidays, remove some of your regular wall décor and hang holiday themed lighted canvas signs. Choose brightly colored designs to brighten your walls and make sure they have cordless lights so they can be placed anywhere. Complete your indoor lighting décor by adding some wreaths. A cordless lighted wreath adds warm appeal to your door and also looks great when placed on the inside of a large window or sliding glass door. Use suction hangers to place them on any glass window or door you like. Place a cordless wreath above your fireplace to make a pretty focal point for the room.


Sources:


http://www.examiner.com/article/50-bedrooms-decorated-with-christmas-lights
http://www.bhg.com/christmas/indoor-decorating/super-simple-holiday-decor/


Summer Grilling 04Jun12

Summer grilling is one of my favorite pastimes. I regularly center my time spent around food all year, but during the summer it’s just so perfect. Food is light and healthy and grilled (not fried). Food is fresh, crunchy, juicy, and hydrating. While I generally eat a lot of vegetables throughout the year, I really gravitate to lots of fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables in the summer.


outdoor cooking and grillingIt is so hot in the summer that hot, rich, heavy, deep fried, oven roasted food just is not what I crave. But, because it is so hot I find myself wanting fruits and vegetables that are full of water and nutrients to rehydrate my body; because even though it can be ridiculously hot outside I like to take full advantage of the warm sun, and I’d rather be hot than cold. So, with all of that said, I try to do what I can to research different summer grilling veggie recipes to make eating fun. I recently came across this recipe for Grilled Vegetable Focaccia and I cannot wait to give this a try. It’s nice to eat raw vegetables, but veggies on the grill are unbelievable! If you haven’t tried vegetables on the grill, you have got to either do it yourself, or if you live in an apartment which grills are not allowed, please befriend someone with a grill – you will not regret this decision. It has always been my belief that everything tastes better if it is grilled (this includes romaine lettuce).


So basically, in a nutshell, I love summer grilling and the food that goes along with it. I love grilling outside, eating fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables, and eating it outside as I continue to sit in the heat of the summer. What do I recommend? Well, if you have the means, I suggest picking up a portable grill, BBQ set, BBQ cover or other grilling accessories:


Grilling Accessories at Taylor Gifts


Make the most of this awesome summertime grilling season. You won’t regret cooking on the grill, and your family will love you for it.

Solar Rain Gauge by Garden Delights 24May12

A solar rain gauge is the perfect way to light up your back yard and measure how much it has rained. During the day the gauge absorbs the power of the sun so that at night it can illuminate your yard or garden. The solar charged LED lights alternate from red to amber to blue adding style and function to your home.


solar rain gaugeMeasuring the rain is perfect for all you scientists out there and is a great activity and learning experience for children. Simply place the solar rain gauge in your yard or garden making sure it is not covered by any trees, shrubs, gazebos or umbrellas and let mother nature do the work. The sun will provide all the power needed to light up the lights and the rain will fill up the gauge allowing you to measure how much you get in any given day, week or month.


The solar rain gauge by Garden Delights makes the perfect Father’s Day gift and is also perfect for Mothers, Grandmothers or Grandfathers. It’s about 29 inches tall and you can find out more & purchase one by clicking here:


Solar Rain Gauge by Garden Delights at Taylor Gifts



Our customers rate this Solar Rain Gauge:

5.0 out of 5 Stars (based on 1 review as of May 24, 2012).