I hope you had a great week!
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Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms
What a week it was!
We hit the ground running here with Christmas decorating. The inside of my home is almost finished.
But I love how the inside of my home is coming along. We moved here just about two years ago and it’s starting to come along and feel more like our home.
A Weekend Getaway
Since it’s been a bit hectic the last few weeks with Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas, we decided to get away for the weekend to our Vermont cabin.
It rained quite a bit but it was nice to slow things down, shop, and dine out. While there, we set up a Christmas tree and did a small amount of decorating but I don’t go crazy with ornaments and stuff.
Tragedy in the Back Pond
I can’t believe I’m saying this but our fish all died in the zen garden back pond. We think we lost two just before netting the pond. A blue heron was hanging around just after netting it so we think it got to two of them.
At the time, I wanted to believe they were starting to hibernate in their tunnel, but I was wrong. Here’s how we know.
Over the last two weeks, the last three were out and about and slowly dropped off floating on the bottom of the pond. Last year, we saw none of them during the colder months so this was concerning.
When I found the third fish floating the other day, I immediately called our pond guy and asked him to come over.
Unfortunately, the 3 fish got hit with a parasite called costia that infects their lungs. It’s in the pond and sometimes affects fish this time of year. We spoke at length about the fish and how it could happen and I learned something I’d like to share.
We bought our fish from a local koi fish shop that gets them in from Japan. Our pond guy recommended going with domestically raised koi as they are more resistant to this type of parasite and do better in our climate.
After we took the three dead fish out of the pond, we looked around for the other two and there’s no sign of them. So the only thing we can surmise, is they got eaten by that heron. When the pond was netted he came back and looked like he was trying to figure out how to fish through the netting but didn’t get to anything and there was no damage to the netting.
So…next year, we’ve decided to net that pond much earlier when the leaves start to fall. It’s pretty well covered by foliage before so we think they’ll be ok until then when we restock.
And we will restock in May with domestically raised koi fish. Let’s hope they do better.
It was so sad too because they were getting so big and were so fun to care for. We love them and were pretty upset they didn’t make it.
What I’m Shopping For This Week
This week was all about Christmas shopping for friends, family, and a few extras I’m thinking about.
Here’s what I bought this week!
- I bought Chris a train set for Christmas. He told me he’s always wanted one so of course I got right on it and we have it all set up. Yes, I gave it to him early because Christmas will come down shortly after and I’d like for him to be able to enjoy it. So Merry Christmas to him!
- Do you remember when I cut my finger not too long ago on a can after opening it? Well, I cut myself twice since then on cans. So Chris bought me a new can opener and IT IS THE COOLEST gadget! If you need to update yours or are looking for a Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for someone, this is a good one. It removes the whole top smoothly so for me, I can remove them safely now.
- These leggings are on sale and were so marked down I had to get them! I have a different pair of leggings from them and they are super comfortable, very slimming, and look great dressed up or down.
- While I was shopping on the site I also bought these to wear for the holidays.
- This cozy blanket is perfect for the white elephant party we are going to. But it also comes in this color too.
- I LOVE these Christmas ornaments and these ones too. I am adding them to my front entry hall flocked Christmas tree.
- This fresh Christmas wreath is beyond gorgeous! It’s my inspiration for this year’s front entry.
- These rustic grapevine Christmas trees with lights are GORGEOUS! I have something similar and get lots of compliments on them.
What’s Happening at Bricks ‘n Blooms
It was a fun week on the blog!
I shared my Christmas home tour this week where we toured the front entry hall, dining room, living room, family room AND sunroom this year! Wait until you see how pretty the house looks!
Did you buy or receive a poinsettia this year? Learn how to keep them thriving through the holidays and beyond with these simple poinsettia care tips.
I also shared how to celebrate the spirit and meaning of Christmas with this easy tutorial to make a beautiful advent wreath DIY using fresh or faux winter greens. Are you making one this year?
If you are looking for an easy-care indoor plant that flowers, look no further than the Christmas cactus. It is my favorite houseplant to grow and I know you’ll love growing it too. Learn all about Christmas cactus care and how to get a few sets of blooms throughout the year in today’s post.
I also shared some 5-minute quick mantel decorating ideas for Christmas.
Craving a dip that’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-addictive? This hot spinach artichoke dip is the perfect party appetizer or game-day snack.
Amazing Inspiration from Around the Web
I love finding cool inspiration from around the web and wanted to share some of what I’m loving right now.
- These greenery decorating ideas.
- These budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas.
- Love this rustic Christmas ornament DIY.
- This 2023 Christmas Home Tour
- This rustic Christmas home tour.
If you enjoy these posts, you can find past Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly posts here.
And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.
Want to Give the Gift of Flower Gardening This Year for the Holidays?
If you or someone you know has always wanted to grow flowers with ease, I got you. I wrote a book that shares all the things you need to know to grow a beautiful and easy-care flower garden. And it would make the perfect gift for Christmas!
What’s In the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide?
- Gardening basics to set you up for success
- Great garden design ideas with ready-made plans for you to follow
- Easy-care instructions for a wide variety of flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs
- Helpful how-tos for container and cut flower gardening
- Graphs, charts, and lists to help you stay organized
My book publishes on February 6, 2024, but you can preorder now and get a special pre-order bonus chapter you can’t get when the preorder period closes.
Preorder your copy here and get a free, downloadable guide that shares bonus information with tips and unique garden designs to get year-round color in your landscape. Offer ends 2/5/24.
- I like to use a good-quality, potting soil, garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting. While I make my own compost, you can easily buy it ready-made for use.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad. If you want to minimize the work and not use repellents, choose plants that are deer-resistant from this list.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use it to get underneath roots and loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I use this organic fertilizer for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- And I use this organic fertilizer for my vegetables and herbs in the potager garden.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- I use these garden snips to deadhead and cut flowers from my gardens.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, if I need to, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue. When using, only apply when pollinators are less active.
- This is my go-to bait for slug and snail problems with my hostas and dahlias.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow-through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
- I use this collapsible bin ALL THE TIME. It is invaluable when working in the beds as it’s light to carry around and folds flat for easy storage.
- Drip irrigation set on a timer is your friend! I love these for my planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets.
- And this four way hose bib allows you to split one spicket into four!
Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!
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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo
Want to learn more about me?
I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.