How to: Start Begonias Indoors

Gardening, Weekend DIY

begonia-how-to
Begonias are wonderful plants for shaded areas and can give you a lush, full plant with huge blooms if grown correctly. Since they require a lot of warmth and some patience to get to this full state, many gardeners prefer to begin their begonia tubers indoors during the late winter months. Starting your begonias indoors is a fairly simple process and means fuller plants later in the summer season!

begonia-instructions1Follow these simple steps:

Plant tubers in later winter, hollow side up, just below the soil level in a moist peat compost mixture. Use shallow seed trays or small pots with good drainage and place on a window sill or other location that receives indirect sunlight. Be sure the temperatures for this location does not fall below 60 degrees F. Cover tray or pot with paper or plastic wrap to promote sprouting. Watering sparingly until growth begins.

Once the tubers begin to sprout (approx. 4 to 6 weeks), development becomes more rapid. Remove the plastic wrap or covering and give them maximum light but still shaded from strong direct midday sun. Water regularly, never allowing the soil to dry out completely but being sure not to let them sit wet as this can cause rotting. An application of good liquid plant food will improve and quicken growth.

When the threat of frost has passed, move the plants outdoors. The tubers can be left to remain and grow in the pots or transferred to an outdoor garden bed. Begonias thrive in semi-shade and do not do well in hot mid-day sun. They dislike dry conditions so be sure to provide them with ample water, especially in periods of hot weather. Remove all the wilted leaves and flowers during the growing season to encourage flowering throughout the summer months.

Brilliantly-colored begonia blooms in a unique hanging basket or watering can will add a splash of color on the deck, under the overhang, or even on a shepherd’s hook in the backyard! Check out our Begonia Gardening Kits which include a planter (hanging basket or watering can), begonia tubers, and a soil disk!

Happy gardening and enjoy your begonias this summer!
team-signature

 

Tropical Oasis

Beautiful Outdoors, Garden Spaces, Pin Inspiration

A warm front is coming! Though it’s not in the actual physical form, more like a virtual warm front is heading your way with these tropical oasis photos. What else is there to do on a blistery cold day other than look at pictures of warm destinations and their gorgeous tropical plants.

Here’s what we’ve been daydreaming of…

trop 90fb05cb3c01d0f6eb512001a3a24646 93e7991e6bd4e3814450627ae1da8499 4f9450dd7f4a4c575eb72051106d884c

Planting a tropical plant such as a Fiddle Leaf Tree or Elephant Ear are a sure way to bring the tropical oasis inside during the cold winter months. 56d64eb9fae20afc7e40f0458683e1cc

Want to go tropical too? Check out our Pinterest board filled with these and more tropical ideas to temporarily escape the winter blues.

tropicalplantspinterest

team-signature

 

Warm Welcome

Curb Appeal, Gifts

Sometimes it may seem as if winter will never, ever end, is that how you feel too? We’ve had a pretty mild winter, compared to some of you out east with 8 feet of snow (we can’t even imagine!) and we aren’t complaining over here.

With winter comes the snow/slushy/salty mix that everyone seems to track in on their shoes, and we hear ya, it’s a pain to clean up too! So for all that floor clean-up you have been doing, reward yourself with a cheery, warm welcome mat. If not for the bright colors, get it to save yourself some sanity!

wm_rug-spotlight_04

Here are a few other decor items we’ve put together to help warm up your entryway and create a warm welcome!

team-signature

Lantern Fairy Garden

Gardening, Outdoor Decor, Weekend DIY

Lantern3

The Vintage Hanging Lantern is a staff favorite here at Willard&May. Its whimsical qualities add an extra dynamic to any fairy garden. Make your fairies fly when you hang this lantern!

For this example: we added river rocks for a foundation. To add a soft quality, we put some moss over the rocks. We then arranged some mushrooms and a friendly gnome.

Lantern1

The Classic Wood Lantern makes a great starting point for a portable fairy garden. It comes in three different sizes, so you can pick which one will work best for your project!

For this example: We started with a simple, shallow blue pot for the base. We added river rocks for a nice contrast. To top it off, we placed some fun fairy garden accessories in the center of the pot. Continue reading for some awesome suggestions on what plants you can get from your local garden center for your fairy garden!

Lantern2

Above are the different sizes the wood lantern comes in. You can create a simple garden with a fairy or two or add a classic look to your outdoor living space. These lanterns have doors to allow ease of use.

If you are looking for some greenery to add to your garden, below are a couple of suggestions from our resident horticulturist:

  • Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
  • Golden Clubmoss
  • Air Plant
  • Miniature Ferns
  • Baby Tears (Soleirolia)

Let your creativity flow with these fun DIY fairy garden lanterns!

team-signature

 

Read and Relax

Uncategorized

blog

Summer is the perfect time for lounging outside with your favorite book, and what is more relaxing than reading in a hammock? Luckily our Relaxation Hammock is available to you for only $29.00! To help you get out of your reading slump, our staff has come up with a list of great reads. Enjoy!

a-game-thrones-george-r-r-martin-paperback-cover-art

George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series has become a big hit on TV and in our office. Be prepared to get lost in a complex world that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of landscape plants, then Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants is the book for you!

Paw-Tracks-in-the-Moonlight

For the tenderhearted person in your life, Paw Prints in the Moonlight by Denis O’Connor is the purrfect book to curl up with. It is a whimsical tale of a man and his pet cat who form a heartwarming friendship.

The-Hobbit-Cover

We also would suggest a great classic; The Hobbit  by J. R. R. Tolkein. Recently made into a blockbuster film, this book follows a timid hobbit on his quest to help restore the homeland of a clan of dwarves.

These next two suggestions come from our co-worker, Nick:

91c4ZDFCn1L._SL1500_

“I just read The Martian by Andy Weir the other day. It’s about an astronaut who is accidentally left on Mars without any functioning communication equipment, figuring out how to survive with the resources and equipment he still has. It’s a fun book that hangs on to your attention, and fits right in with any classic marooned on a desert island story….except the desert island is IN SPACE.

142440

Earlier this year I read Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and its sequel Blandings’ Way. These are about a 1940s New York advertising executive who decides he wants to escape the city and build his dream house out in the peaceful countryside. Unfortunately for him, building a house is much more involved (and expensive) than he ever anticipated. I grew up watching the Cary Grant movie, so it was a lot of fun to finally read the book, especially because I did so while my parents were building their new house.”

 

shadow_bone_sketch_both3

If you’re interested in YA reads, the final installment of the Shadow and Bone (The Grisha) trilogy by Leigh Bardugo was recently released. Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising take you through an epic journey of a teen orphan who discovers a gift she never knew she had. There is plenty of action and adventure packed into these novels, and they are definitely page-turners.

71sliNs0ilL

Finally, if you’re looking for a book that holds a historical feel, mystery and romance; check out one of Milwaukee’s own authors. Jenny Benjamin’s book This Most Amazing tells the tale of a young woman who is about to leave to teach writing in Italy. It is an excellent story of love and enlightenment.

Take some time for yourself this weekend! Pick up a good book and enter a different world.  Happy reading!

team-signature

The Birds and The Bees

Uncategorized

Header In order to get the beautiful blooms we do each year, flowers need to be pollinated by our friendly neighborhood bees. Contrary to popular opinions, bees are very important in our ecosystems and are not a pest. There are over 4,000 different species of bees in the United States, but we are mainly going to focus on the Mason Bee and the benefits of bees everywhere. Mason Bees do not live in a hive and work for themselves. Male Mason Bees do not sting and female Mason Bees only sting if they’re threatened. This is what makes them a good neighbor to have in your garden; they will pollinate your flowers but not pose any threats. A good way to attract and keep these friendly pollinators is to keep a Mason Bee Home close to your garden. MasonBee Another important pollinator is the hummingbird. These small, beautiful birds are so smart that they will remember every flower and how long it will take to get a full meal from it again. Most plants depend on hummingbirds to pollinate them. Hummingbirds pollinate flowers by brushing their forehead and face on each flower while drinking nectar. A hummingbird will, on average, visit around 1,000 flowers a day. The most popular way to attract these fast-moving beauties are hummingbird feeders. Check out our cute hummingbird feeders and add one to your yard! Hummingbird   Let us know what your favorite type of pollinator is!

team-signature

Entertaining with the Perfect Spritzer

Outdoor Party, Store

With the winter that some of us have had, it’s hard to believe Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner! As long as the weather continues to cooperate and you have off work, it’ll be the perfect opportunity to kick off the season of outdoor entertaining.

What’s better than a warm sunny day filled with outdoor games, grilling and relaxing? A fizzy drink to sip all day long! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite refreshing spritzer recipes and thought we’d share… just in case you wanted to try something new at your next get together this summer.

(Source Tasty Kitchen)

Watermelon Spritzer from Tasty Kitchen
This one is great for when you have that watermelon, fruity craving!

  • 2.5 pounds Fresh Watermelon (seedless If You Can Find It), Rind Removed And Cut Into Cubes
  • 3 whole Lemons (seedless If You Can Find It), Juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 cups Chilled Seltzer Water (more Or Less)
  • 6 sprigs Lemon Balm Or Mint, For Garnish (optional!)

  1. Place the watermelon, lemon juice and honey into a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Strain the mixture into a large bowl, pressing the juice out of any seeds or pulp that remains in the strainer.
  3. Pour the juice into a large pitcher and chill until you’re ready to drink.
  4. Serve with a splash of seltzer water and lemon balm or mint, if using.

Green Tea & Ginger Spritzer from Newport Natural Health
Green tea and ginger are always a great duo, plus they are both so healthy for you!

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey (you may substitute a bit of the herbal sweetener stevia, if you prefer)
  • 6 green tea bags or 6 ounces of green tea leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bottle of your favorite unflavored sparkling mineral water
  1. Combine water, honey or stevia, ginger, and grated lemon peel in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a slow boil. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat. Add the green tea bags or tea leaves (inside a tea ball), cover, and allow to steep for another ten minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove tea bags or tea ball. Add lemon juice and stir. Pour into a container with a lid (preferably glass rather than plastic) and place in the refrigerator to chill.
  4. When tea mixture has cooled, pour about 1/2 cup into a glass of ice. Fill the glass with sparkling mineral water, and enjoy a refreshing, healthy drink!

Star Spangled Spritzer from Apron Strings Blog
Why not carry the patriotic spirit into the drinks with this red, white and blue deliciousness.

  1. Place a few strawberries, blueberries and chunks of pineapple in a glass.
  2. Muddle the fruit by mashing it with a wooden spoon or muddler (if you have fancy barkeep type equipment).
  3. Toss in some ice cubes and bits of the aforementioned fruits.
  4. Pour in a favorite ginger ale or lemon lime soda.
  5. Sip on your veranda whilst lounging in a swing or Adirondack chair, fanning yourself with a paper fan southern belle style. Ok, that last step is optional. But so fun.

Let us know which one is your favorite, or if you have a great spritzer recipe of your own to share! PS – Need a few outdoor living accessories to spruce up your outdoor space before you invite people over? Check out our firepits, grilling accessories, lighting decor and more on Willard and May!

Happy Memorial Day!

team-signature

Spring is Almost Here!

Birds, Gardening, Gifts, Store

Most of us are extremely sick of this winter, but don’t worry, winter can’t last forever! The cold is just grasping on and sticking around longer than normal, but fear not, Spring is almost here… you can already tell since daylight seems to stick around a little longer each night!

Everyone here at Willard & May is really excited about spring coming up! Here are our top reasons why we enjoy Spring:

1. The weather is warming up, finally! Be sure to watch the temperatures rise with these cute & stylish thermometers.

1066

Herb Pattern Thermometer – $10.00

1067

Blue Blossom Ceramic Thermometer – $24.24

1172Froggy Thermometer – $11.00

2. The birds are returning to the yard, so get out your bird feeders and bird houses! Use this modern bird feeder; a great addition to your yard. Bring back the song of the birds!

1174

Modern Bird Feeder - Only $20.00

3. You can scratch that garden itch by starting your seeds indoors or by planting herbs or annuals. Check out these small leaf-patterned pots on a tray, there is nothing quite like the vibrancy of new spring leaves. A great way to cheer you up after this long harsh winter we have had!

1099

3 Elm Pots on Tray – $13.00

There are so many great reasons to love Spring! Tell us what you love about spring – we’d love to hear.

team-signature

It’s Not Too Late!

Gifts, Store

So it is officially last minute shopping for Valentine’s Day! Don’t worry we’ve got you covered! Check out our Willard & May gift cards that are sent directly to your email (or your sweeties email) for that perfect surprise! You don’t even have to wait for shipping or anything! How great is that? You can thank us later when you won’t be sent to the dog house this year! giftcard

WHOOO Loves you? (whooo doesn’t love a great pun?) 1161

Don’t worry we won’t tell your Valentine you shopped last minute!

team-signature

Perfect Entryway

Curb Appeal, Outdoor Decor, Pin Inspiration, Store

Looking for some change in your home, but don’t know where to start? Well how about your entryway – inside and outside! This is the perfect way to impress your guests and family as it is the first thing they see when first stepping foot into your home. It doesn’t take much to turn your front door and entryway from a stark and dull space to an inviting place for everyone who comes to your home!

Here are some great ideas and items you can use to spruce up your entryway, making that great and lasting impression on your guests!

lights Light the way – As people walk up to your entrance you want to be sure that they can visibly get to it so make sure to light up your walkway as well as your entryway! You have several options: chandeliers, sconces, lanterns, etc. Willard and May has a great selection of different lanterns and lighting options to help brighten up your entryway!

knock Knock Away – When people arrive at your front door give them something fun to knock on your door with! Willard and May have some great door knockers! Go check them out!

doormats Stomp the Ground – To keep all the dirt from tracking into your house, make sure to have a doormat to catch all the debris keeping your house tiding and clean! Check out some of the Willard & May Doormats!

bootrack Keep it Clean _ It’s a great idea to have storage for shoes so be sure to have a shoe rack to keep everything organized! Check out Willard & May’s Boot Rack and Scraper!

star-hook Hook it Up – It’s a great idea to have hooks for your guests coats so be sure to have plenty! Check out Willard & May’s Star Iron Hooks! (Source: Pinterest)

stool-chair Set it Down – Make sure you have a stool, table, bench, or chair to have nearby making the space look cozier and lets taking off those boots so much easier! Check out Willard & May’s Stool/Table! (Source: Kapstok)

chalkboard To Do List – Use Willard & May’s Organization Chalkboard to write down whatever you may need to remember! This great chalkboard is great indoors and outdoors!

key-hider Locked Out, Keep it Hidden – Hide your house key in a fun way with these great Animal Key Holders from Willard & May!

By creating a functional entryway, you will make your life less chaotic and become organized with style! Check out the rest of our great items to create the perfect entryway at Willard & May! We’d love to hear what you think or what you’ve done to spruce up your entryway or let us know your ideas in the comments below!

team-signature1