Five August gap-fillers

Article by Sally Sharrett

Mind the gap! Amateur Gardening reveals five reliable pick-me-ups to bridge the gaps in your August garden, taking you from high summer into autumn…

Fill that flowerless hole in the border with something that’s going to keep the colour coming right through to autumn. You should be able to pick these plants up from garden centres, or see individual suppliers listed.



Sunlight is vital to the performance of osteospermum. They’ll survive most winters as long as you can ensure they’re grown in gritty, free-draining soil. These low-growers are best at the front of borders.
Recommended varieties: ‘Buttermilk’, ‘Hopleys’, ‘Falling Stars’.

Black-eyed Susan doesn’t do much until late summer, so either add individual plants to borders or plant in containers that can be moved into key positions at the right time. Plants tolerate some shade and hate drying out. Divide perennials in late autumn or spring.
Recommended varieties: ‘Indian Summer’ (annual), ‘Herbstonne’ (perennial) ‘Goldsturm’ (perennial)

Leave in their pots and plunge into the border, planting singly or in threes. Tall plants may need support from carefully placed bamboo canes. Dead-head regularly. Lift plants before the frosts strike, storing the tubers somewhere dark and dry for the winter.
Recommended varieties: ‘Blackberry Ripple’, ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, ‘Jescot Julie’, ‘Marston Velvet’

The heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) is really quite special. The species has the most attractive leaves, but bear in mind that it’ll reach 5ft (1.5m) after 10 years. Nandina prefers a sheltered spot in full sun and may need some protection in hard winters.

Like dahlias, cannas need to be lifted before the first frosts, or the fleshy stems stand no chance of surviving. However, cannas are best treated as annuals as their performance wanes after the first year. They need rich, moist soil – water well during dry spells.
Recommended: ‘Alaska’ (white), ‘Brilliant’ (red), ‘Lenape’ red spots on yellow, ‘Lucifer’ (yellow-edged red)

See the U.S.A.


Slide 8 of 100: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches across the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, and has been the subject of country songs, the star of movies and the muse for many a painting. Mountains, old-growth forest, wildflower meadows and waterfalls make up the preserve's great expanse, where American black bears, elk and bobcats roam free.

© sean pavone / shutterstock

Slide 12 of 100: It's easy to see how this stunning state park earned its name. Fiery sandstone formations, spread out across more than 40,000 acres, are colored orange-red and splashed with bands of pink, creamy white and gray. Evidence of settlement here dates back millennia and the park contains striking petroglyphs from more than 2,000 years ago.
©Filip Fuxa Shutterstock
Slide 3 of 100: The Mars-like landscape of Monument Valley is one of the most famous images of the USA. Sitting astride the Utah-Arizona border, the desert area, part of the Navajo Nation reservation, is studded with towering buttes and shard-like pinnacles. The most famous formations are the East and West Mitten Buttes, which both rise to more than 6,000 feet (1,829m).
©corumov shutterstock
Slide 5 of 100: This fabled natural wonder needs little introduction. The canyon, carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years, plunges a mile (1.6km) deep and stretches on for some 277 river miles (446km). It's a picture of burnt red bluffs, broken up with bands of green, pink and orange. Bighorn sheep, mountain lions and elk call this rocky expanse home.
©Erik Harrison Shutterstock
Great photo’s right ?  To see many more American scenes, click on:

The Habits of Highly Successful Women

What are the daily habits of successful women. You know the women we emulate and envy? what do they do diffferently on ther day to day, from the time they wake up to the time they go o sleep?  What are their thought processess. how do teh  handle difficulty, limiting beliefs and  how do they empower themselves? I divulge these secrets to whata a successful woman does #successful #woman #success #habits #habitsof #dailyhabits

Article from

I have found that successful people and specifically successful women have certain defining characteristics.

Let’s take a look at some of these telltale signs of successful women.

Successful  women are self-aware

Successful women are self-aware.  They are in tune with the inner workings of their minds, their strengths, and weaknesses.  They know what they are capable of.

Success women have goals

Success requires goals. How else would you know what you are working towards?  Successful women set up goals that drive well-placed actions. They implement  SMART GOALS. Success requires well-thought action plans. Goals help you forge a path toward something. A successful woman formulates her goals and works on them. She sees them through.

Successful women write things down

Think for example how many times you go to the store without your list and you come home with a basket full of things you didn’t mean to buy? But you forgot the one thing you were going to buy. Okay, maybe  I am the only one. 

They keep distractions to a minimum

We are living in one of the most distracting times in human history. While technology has opened up the world of communication, distractions have also become part of our daily lives.

They are always learning

Successful women never stop learning. They are life long learners. They know they need for learning because life is not static. Business practices are not static.


Do you see these habits in you ?  Read all 21 habits that make some women more successful than other women.  You might be surprised to learn that’s it not rocket science, not being lucky, or not being born with a silver spoon.  These are realistically possible habits to start that can define what success means to you, and help you achieve it.   Check it out:


Plants Best for Shady Backyards

Gorgeous plants that love the shade! Add some of these beautiful varieties of annuals and perennials to your yard this year to bring color to the shady areas! #shadelovingplants #plantsthatloveshade #gardening #flowers #plants




These are perfect for those areas that only get a few morning rays of sun.  Keep them watered (but not soggy) and you’ll have another perennial plant that will come back year after year.   Varieties of pink, white, and purple flowers will add some gorgeous color to your shady yard.



Easy care (especially if you live in a warm climate), Caladiums have bright, big, showy leaves and they thrive in shade.  These are a good choice for inexperienced gardeners (or black thumb peeps like me).  If you start them when the soil is warm, you’ll have a perfect shade plant year after year.

They have vibrant hues of pink, green, white and mixed varieties.  And for all you hot climate living gardeners, these are perfect for you!

best plants to grow in shade caladium

Caladium Facts

  • Ideal for hot weather climates (perennials in zones 9 or higher)
  • Prefers shade and humidity
  • Does not like soggy soil
  • Can be grown as houseplants
  • Prefers and thrives in soil temps over 70 degrees



These are part shade perennials that can thrive in warmer climates year after year.  I’ve never actually grown these so I don’t have any personal experience, but it appears that you can buy seed packets of varying colors and have a brilliant display of color in your garden for years!

On my to do list for sure!  You can grow them from seed or purchase plants from a garden center.

And one other plus about these is they are deer resistant.  Nothing worse than walking outside to discover the deer feasted on all your gorgeous flowers all night.

plants that grow in shade primrose

Primrose Facts

  • Perennials
  • Zones 4-9
  • Doesn’t grow large, so ideal for borders – they grow about 4-18 inches wide and 6-12 inches high
  • They can thrive in the heat as long as you keep them watered
  • Primrose do best in soil that is enriched with organic matter



If you’ve ever been hiking through the woods or in a shady park, no doubt you’ve seen ferns hanging around.  There are tons of varieties of ferns that will love your shady areas in the yard!  Holly ferns are one variety in particular that love full shade but will also thrive in partial sun.

It can tolerate some cold temps and will be evergreen throughout the year.  If you’ve ever seen a big front porch in the South, you’ve probably seen hanging baskets of ferns!  These are very popular for their showy green color.

ferns - plants that grow in shade

Fern Facts

  • Prefers shade/filtered sunlight
  • There are several thousand varieties of ferns and can be annuals or perennials depending on your zone
  • Must be kept watered and ferns like organic soil

Thanks to Melissa of for this article.  Read more at:


Yellow Flowers for the Garden

Article by Laurren Welch for Country Living

The beauty of yellow flowers is that there are so many different shades, ranging from the more mellow to the downright vibrant. While the color is often a bit softer and more inviting than, say. orange or red, it still manages to pack a bold punch. Read on for our top picks for the prettiest plants (perennial or annual!) with yellow flowers to add to your garden this season.


Slide 3 of 26: Dahlias come in a host of different colors, and while they don't love long, hot summers, they do like full sun and well draining soil in more moderate climates. Shop Now

Slide 6 of 26: These full-sun lovers can grow up to 7 feet tall—so they're great for to plant along a fence. Not only will they add a splash of color to your garden, they also have a lovely scent, which will attract bees and butterflies!Shop Now

These full-sun lovers can grow up to 7 feet tall—so they’re great for to plant along a fence. Not only will they add a splash of color to your garden, they also have a lovely scent, which will attract bees and butterflies!

Slide 9 of 26: Cheerful and trumpet-like, the daffodil signals spring's arrival. Shop Now

Cheerful and trumpet-like, the daffodil signals spring’s arrival.


Slide 14 of 26: With its sweet scent and buttery hue, the Graham Thomas Rose is one of the most widely grown yellow roses—and it's also a flower with a hidden meaning.Shop Now

Photo credit:

  • © Moelyn Photos
  • © skymoon 13
  • © Westend61 Getty Images
  • © agnieszka Waszak Getty Images

Check out more yellows at:

5 Flowers You Should Grow in the Vegetable Garden

5 Flowers You Should Grow in the Vegetable Garden

There are many flowers that can be beneficial to your garden. The ones below were selected for ease of growing and the multiple benefits that each provides. This is definitely not an exhaustive list – there are so many more beneficial flower varieties out there! Without further ado, here are the 5 flowers you should grow in the vegetable garden.


The bright blossoms of marigolds and the strong scent are what make these flowers a great addition to vegetable gardens. These are very popular flowers among vegetable gardeners. The bright colors of marigolds vary from yellow, orange, and red. The colors attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, while the scent is said to deter pests. Interplanting marigolds with your vegetables like beans, tomatoes, and squash can help deter pests and small rodents. The roots of marigolds are also very beneficial. Planting marigolds in your garden during a down season and tilling your marigolds into your bed can help with nematodes.

Marigolds also make excellent borders. In the past, I’ve alternated between the big, bright blossoms of marigolds with the delicate, purple flowers of Mexican heather around my raised garden beds. They both deterred pests and attracted beneficial insects. When planting marigolds you can start them from seeds or transplants. I’ve used transplants for years but recently started planting marigolds from seeds to save money. Check out these marigold seed varieties for inspiration.


Sunflowers are bright, cheery flowers. They can also be mammoth is size. Sunflower varieties range from 2 feet in height all the way up to 12 feet in height (though the tallest recorded was actually 30 feet!). Sunflowers can be any shade in between a light yellow to a deep burgundy. They attract beneficial insects, and can also be used as a trap crop for stinkbugs and aphids. Small blossoms make beautiful cut flowers for bouquets and large blossoms can provide healthy edible seeds. Sunflowers can also help detox your soil. Sunflowers are “phytoremediators” which means they can remove toxic heavy metals and poisonous chemicals in the soil. Check out these sunflower seed varieties for inspiration.


Borage produces a striking, vibrant blue flower that is also edible. The bright blue flowers attract bees. The flowers fade to a soft pink with age which is also quite beautiful. Borage is a bit gangly and wild and can reseed where it’s planted by the seeds that fall, so keep that in mind when you plant it. Borage is an herb where both flowers and leaves can be eaten. The leaves have a velvety feel and taste lightly of cucumber. Leaves are better eaten when they’re small and tender.

Borage is great if you have an area dedicated for flowers or as a companion plant among your vegetables. When planting with vegetables it may need to be maintained a bit, but it is known for deterring tomato hornworms, cabbage worms, and can even add trace minerals to the soil. Borage can be used in compost or as a fertilizer tea, similar to comfrey.

Mexican Heather

If I could give one flower a gold star for bee attraction in my garden, it would be the hedge of Mexican heather that I keep around my garden beds. It’s not uncommon during the spring to count 50+ honey bees stopping by for a quick meal.

Bee attraction is actually what originally attracted me to this plant. While at a nursery looking at flowers, I decided to go with what attracted the most bees while I was there. That’s when I spotted some Mexican heather plants that were covered in bees. Without knowing anything else about the plant I decided to purchase some.

Luckily for me, not only did it attract beneficial insects, but it was also a good match for my location. Mexican heather, also known as false heather, can be grown in the south where temperatures are warm. They can be grown as a perennial in hardiness zones 9 and above (when covered during frosts), and as an annual in cooler climates. It’s also a hardy plant, despite the delicate looking flowers. It’s heat and drought tolerant. Mexican heather is great in a pot or used as a border. They grow anywhere from one to two feet tall and can be trimmed to size and shaped as desired.


Zinnias are an easy flower to grow from seeds. These beautiful, cheery flowers attract bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds! Their long stems make them nice cut flowers that you can make a bouquet from. They’re a great flower to grow with children and come in a variety of colors (some even two-toned). They’re great for warmer climates (like Florida) and can take the summer heat. Zinnias are also low maintenance and do alright if you forget to water them. Depending on the variety that you grow, they can get anywhere from 1 foot tall to 4 feet tall. Taller varieties do well planted in clusters or staked with single stem support stakes. Check out these zinnia seed varieties for inspiration.

Easy Mother’s Day Crafts to Make With Your Kids

By Country Living

Any mom would rather receive something meaningful and from the heart as opposed to an expensive present. After you serve her a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed or even bake up a delicious Mother’s Day cake, it’s time to give Mom a special keepsake to remind her how much she is loved. These easy Mother’s Day crafts will make for the best Mother’s Day gifts—because they’re simple for even the littlest ones to put together. Mom will happily display these crafty creations around the home. From homemade picture frames to our instructions on how to make paper flowers, these beautiful ideas will look stunning in any room.

Photo Coaster

photos by Brian Woodcock

Photo Coasters

Mom will enjoy her morning cup of tea even more when she looks down and sees her child’s smiling face. Start by printing a photo (either in black & white or color) on card stock paper that is 1/4-inch smaller than a glazed white tile. Brush the back of the photo with glossy Mod Podge and place on the tile, making sure it’s centered. Brush the top of the photo with Mod Podge to seal. Allow to dry completely.


handmade lavender pouches

Lavender Pouches

Cut a 2-by-4-inch rectangle from a handkerchief or piece of fabric. Fold in half crosswise with the pattern facing inward. Stitch two sides closed; turn pouch right-side out. Fill with dried lavender. Hand-stitch opening closed.

popsicle stick frame mothers day craft kids

Photo by a few shortcuts

Craft Stick Picture Frame

Once the kids have picked out their favorite photo with Mom, they can proudly display it against a handmade frame. The brighter, the better!

Get the tutorial at A Few Shortcuts.


Many more craft ideas at:

Spring’s Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week—Here’s How to Watch It

Enjoy one of nature’s most breathtaking sights, all while staying safely away from others.

Cavan Images Getty Images

  • The annual Lyrid meteor shower officially started up last Thursday and will be visible until Saturday, April 25.
  • The Lyrid meteor shower will be visible each night from 10 p.m. to 4:45 a.m., with a peak viewing period from 3:45 to 4:45 a.m.
  • Lyrid’s peak viewing time will take place Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

Tired of watching TV, staying cooped up inside, or staring at a computer screen? You’re in luck: For the next few days, all you need to do is look up. The annual Lyrid meteor shower, spring’s only such visible event and one of the oldest known meteor showers, officially started up last Thursday and will be visible each night until Saturday, April 25. Over the course of their 10-day appearance, thousands of shooting stars will dart across the sky.

Lyrid’s peak viewing time will take place Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, according to NASA. (A peak at dawn on Earth Day is a wonderful cosmic coincidence, right?)

The Lyrid meteor shower will be visible each night from 10 p.m. to 4:45 a.m., with a peak viewing period from 3:45 to 4:45 a.m., according to the Griffith Observatory. Early risers, you’re in luck—that’s the hour right before dawn. Sharp observers should be able to spot about 10 to 20 meteors per hour in optimal viewing conditions. With a new moon on Tuesday night, expect the perfect amount of darkness.

Cleaning Mistakes Making Your Home Dirtier

Readers Digest article by Caroline Stanko

Cleaning w rag

Photo by © VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

I know.  I skipped a few.  To see the whole story (and you should), click below: