Wildlife

Mosquito Repelling Plants – Keep Those Bugs Away!

Mosquito on a leaf

With summer comes lots of outdoor living.  Sadly, that can mean lots of mosquitoes. I don’t like to use chemical products but, thankfully, Mother Nature has the perfect answer – Mosquito Repelling Plants! We can grow annuals and perennials that will keep the bugs away naturally. With all the hype about West Nile Virus, it…

How to Keep Ants Out of the House

It is ant season again! As soon as the weather starts to heat up, and particularly after a warm rainy day, ants decide that indoors is a good place to be. Sure, you can kill ants with various home remedies, but are there are lots of other things that you can do to keep ants…

Start Seeing Monarchs the First Saturday in May

Colorful Monarch Butterflies

The first Saturday in May is marked as the day to Start Seeing Monarchs. What an appropriate national day for this time of the year!  Have you seen any monarch butterflies in your yard this year?  I’ve been seeing them in my garden for a few weeks This day was chosen to raise people’s awareness…

Growing Sunflowers – How to Grow and Care for Sunflower Plants

Sunflowers come in many colors

Growing Sunflowers is one of the really fun parts of summer time gardening.  These big annuals are very easy to grow, which makes them a very popular plant to introduce children to gardening.  Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are a member of the Aster family. The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas.  It is native to…

Natural Ant Killer Remedies

Effective, Natural Ant Killer Remedies

I am so looking forward to the return of warm weather. With the sunny days come flowers, gardening and time spent outdoors.  Unfortunately, with the warm weather also come ants!  These natural ant killer remedies will help to control the ants in your home in a non toxic way. It is fun for kids to…

Winter Garden Views in January

These winter garden views, from the USA, Canada and the UK show that there are some stark differences and lots of similarities when you look outside your window in winter. These photos are shared by readers of my blog. Why not share your photo too?

The weather outside does not lend itself to gardening right now. We recently had a snow storm that dumped about three inches here in North Carolina.  Looking over my snow soaked garden gave me the idea to have a share day on my Facebook page. I asked my Facebook fans to share their Winter Garden Views and…

Tips for Dealing with Invasive Pests

Do your share to help fight invasive pests

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The opinions and text are all mine.  It is time for some tips for dealing with invasive pests. Anyone who spends time in the garden knows how disheartening it can be…

25 tips to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring

Garden Tips for Sping

Many areas of the country are still under a blanket of snow, but it won’t be long for most of us to do things to get your garden ready for spring.  Here in NC, depending on how late our winter lasts, that time is almost here!  It is time to start thinking about ways to…

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Tips to attract hummingbirds to your garden

Plants and Color are the Key if you want to Attract Hummingbirds. There is nothing quite like the sight of hummingbirds around a feeder, flittering their wings the way only hummingbirds seem to do. For me, it is sort of a sign that summer is really here.  If you want to attract hummingbirds to your…

Early Spring Garden Projects

18 tips for early spring gardening

I know that in most parts of the country, the ground is still covered with snow, but as any good gardener will tell you, “it’s never to early to start thinking about spring gardening!”  There are lots of things that you can do to get ready.  These early spring garden projects will get a jump…

Window Bird Feeder – Easy to use

Window Bird Feeder

Enjoy Wildlife with an Acrylic Window Bird Feeder One of the things I often do as part of writing for my blog is to review products from various sponsors of mine.  I especially love it when I am offered the chance to review a product that really fits into the gardening aspect of my blog. …

The Importance of Bees in Nature

How important are bees?

Bees Help us Feed the World With all the talk of GMOs, pesticides and large scale farming, one has to ask the question “How important are bees to our Food Supply and to nature in general?”  I, for one, and many of my gardening friends have noted how few bees came into our yards this…

The Benefits of Bird Houses

the benefits of having a bird house are many.

Why Have Bird Houses? The birds that visit your backyard are a part of the whole ecosystem. Having a home for your feathered friends adds some interest to your yard and makes sure they will keep visiting.  If you attract them to your yard by having bird friendly bird houses, and adding fresh clean water…

50+ Tried and Tested Uses for Vinegar

50+ Creative, reader tested uses for household vineagar: thegardeningcook.com/

I recently had to deal with ants in my kitchen and tested some home made ant killers. All of them worked to some degree, but what I ended up being most impressed with was the way that vinegar and water repelled the ants (at least temporarily) when used as a cleaner for my counters. Vinegar…

My Garden In June

My Garden in June is a fabulous display of perennials, annuals, bulbs and vegetables. See all the photos at thegardeningcook.com/garden-june

It’s been a long spring with a ton of work put into my gardens.  So many of them were overgrown, and neglected last year when I spent most of my energy on my vegetable garden. Months of tilling, planting and transplanting have gone into my garden beds this year.  I enlarged my test garden by…

Testing 5 Borax Ant Killer Remedies – Which ones Work?

Testing 4 Homemade ant killers against Terro. Which one works best? Find out at http://thegardeningcook.com/testing-borax-ant-killer-remedies/

Do you have a problem with ants in your home as soon as the warm weather arrives?  I know that I do and I don’t like it at all. I decided to test 5 different Borax Ant Killers against the more toxic retail version of Terro to see which one works the best for me.…

Nectar plants for Swallowtail Butterflies

If you want to attract swallowtail butterflies to your yard this year, plants some of these nectar bearing plants. #swallowtail #butterfly

Nothing makes me smile more than going out into my garden and seeing Swallowtail butterflies feasting on the nectar of plants in my garden beds. Swallowtail butterflies are very large, and colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae.  The family is large and includes over 500 species.  The majority of the butterflies are tropical but you…

The Garden Charmers Share their Favorite Facebook Pages

The Garden Charmers Favorite Facebook pages

Facebook has so many great pages devoted to gardening, but the way the site now shows the content of pages, it is sometimes hard for them to get seen on news feeds. I thought it would be fun for the Garden Charmers (a GREAT Facebook page) to each share their own favorite Gardening page on…

Boxwood Wreath Bird Feeder DIY Project

DIY Bird Feeder Wreath. Repurpose and old Christmas wreath to feed the birds!

Some of you may remember that I made a dogwood wreath for the first time in December last year for Christmas.   I’ve long since removed the Christmas decorations but left it hanging and it has started to dry out.  I decided to re-purpose it into a bird feeder for my backyard test garden. My husband…

Today’s Featured Fan – Tamara Martin

Pretties and Uglies in the Garden

Gardening Cook Fan Tamara Martin’s Photos The fans of my Facebook page are always submitting photos of their gardens and projects for me to consider for this website and The Facebook page – The Gardening Cook. Normally, I include a photo or two in specific articles, such as vegetable harvests, or garden flowers. But every…

Butterflies, Bugs, Bees and Other Garden Critters

It's lunch time!

Garden Critters add to the appeal of any garden. There is nothing like wandering around in my garden and seeing the wildlife in the form of insects buzzing around.  We all know that gardens need bees for pollination but so many other critters will find their way into a garden too.  Just provide them with…

How To Clean A Cement Bird Bath

How To Clean A Cement Birdbath

Keep your Bird Baths Clean to Encourage the Birds in your Garden. I admit it.  I am not the best housekeeper in the world.  I’d rather spend time in my garden. But even normal gardening chores have piled up on me this summer.  My only child made a move across the country and there have…

Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta)

Tobacco hornworm caterpillar

The tobacco hornworm is a voracious eater that can do a great deal of damage in a flower or vegetable garden. I decided to prune the dead flowers from my Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) the other day.  It is attracting butterflies like crazy, but most of the flowers were long dead.  I thought pruning it would…

Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Victoria crowned pigeon

Victoria crowned-pigeon – Goura victoria We had visitors from the UK recently and spent a day at the North Carolina Zoo, in Ashville, NC.   The zoo is divided into two parts – North America and African animals.  We spent our time at the African animal exhibits since we all wanted to see the large wild…

Squirrel Damage in a Vegetable Garden.

I am an animal lover.  I don’t like to see any creature being hurt in any way.  I remember sitting at my computer desk last year and watching a squirrel run along my fence line with a whole corn cob that he had retrieved from my compost pile, and thinking “how cute!” It didn’t take…

Butterflies in my Front Garden and Test Garden

Spoicebush Swallowtail Papillo troillus

Butterfly bushes attract butterflies like no one’s business! Here are some photos of butterflies in my garden beds.  They are swarming around my Butterfly bush right now because it is full bloom. Spicebush Swallowtail Papillo troilus feeding on some nectar.  He seems to be enjoying himself! My zinnias are so popular with swallowtails right now!…