More Ways to Help Veterans Ahead of the Holidays

If you didn’t get the chance to celebrate Veterans Day before the weekend, now is a great time to visit a nearby veterans cemetery to put flowers, a wreath or a miniature flag on a grave — or help volunteer to tend to some of the graves before winter sets in. You can also adopt a veteran family for the holidays or make a donation to the Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org to help veterans in need during the holidays. They will appreciate your thoughts any time of year.

It’s Time to Plant Flowering Bulbs for Spring

October is the perfect time to plant the bulbs that will bring your garden color next spring and throughout the year, says the Dodge City Daily Globe. Most flowering bulbs perform well in conditions with full sun to part shade, and sandy loam or ameliorated garden soils with a pH of 6.0–7.0. Planting depths vary — large bulbs such as tulips should be planted about 6″ deep, while smaller bulbs need as little as 2″ of soil cover. Plant bulbs in clumps for best results in display; they are not “row” flowers like many annuals. Keep the soil moist, add a layer of mulch, and wait for the spring thaw and colorful blooms!

Easy Plantings for the Patio

Your backyard or patio can be a great place to relax and entertain in the warmer months with a few well-placed plantings, a little bit of mood lighting, and a comfortable place to sit. You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow many climbing vines and hardy plants such as Russian sage, according to LoveYourLandscape.org; you can even use some of the junk you clear out of your closets while spring cleaning creatively as planters and outdoor accents.

Make Your Garden Grow

Over the Easter holiday or spring break, you may have noticed that things have started to bloom. Trees are budding, and spring flowers are popping up from the ground. And now that the threat of a frost has finally passed for most locations in the United States, it’s time to plant a garden you can enjoy throughout the year.

First, you’ll need to spring-clean your yard and garden plots. Clip any dead foliage or withered tree branches, and rake the thatch from your lawn. Doing so gives new branches and shoots the room to grow and flourish, according to the EarthEasy sustainable living blog, and you need to clear a path before things can start to grow in earnest.

Then comes the fun part: planting seeds and seedlings. Depending on your space, climate and needs, you might plant containers for a balcony, a sculptured perennial garden that has new blooms every month, or a raised vegetable garden—or all of the above! Better Homes & Gardens offers a plan for virtually every situation, space and skill level.

If you’re new to gardening and on a budget, there’s no better place to shop than at the local thrift. Donations to ClothingDonations.org include lightly-used trowels and other tools, decorative clay pots and containers, and other garden items. When they’re resold, the money goes toward helping fund veterans’ programs throughout the country.

Early spring is the best time to plant new trees and shrubs. It’s also a great time to see hardy flowers such as pansies, irises, daffodils, tulips and hydrangeas come up. If you missed the window to plant early-spring flowers, get summery perennials such as day lilies, black-eyed Susans and roses into the ground, and start preparing your pots for herbs and annuals.

If you want to eat fresh produce from your own victory garden (as many older veterans might remember their families doing during WWII), plant crops such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, raspberries and peas early in the season. RealFarmacy offers a zone-by-zone list of late-April garden to-dos that can help establish a productive vegetable garden.

As with spring cleaning, the keys to a good garden are organization and elbow grease. When you figure what you want your outdoor space to look like, it will be easy to make the time and space needed to plant and cultivate the flowers, shrubs and vegetables you want. Get started now, and you’ll be able to enjoy your garden all summer long.

Roses Are Red (And Other Colors)

When roses are red, Reader’s Digest says, they indicate love and romance. But did you know that other colors can relay other messages? Yellow roses convey friendship, while white roses indicate purity, so they may not be the best options for Valentine’s Day. Lavender roses indicate love at first sight, though, and orange roses indicate passion and desire. The final word, however, is whichever the recipient likes best.