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I hope you had a great week!

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Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms

It was a nutty week this week so let’s get right into it!

Chris and I headed to Vermont this weekend so we could drop the boat off for winter storage. It gets cold pretty quickly up there, so we try to wrap it up for the season before the end of September.

We’ve got a lot going on the next few weekends so we had to get it done this weekend in case we don’t get back up for a while.

It’s a sign that summer is truly over. *Sniff*

A beautiful day in wilmington, vermont overlooking river near Dot's Restaurant

Although we were only in Vermont for the night, we made the best of it. We went out to dinner, took the boat for one last cruise, and hit the outdoor flea market that I love.

We’d normally stay the weekend, but Chris and I are going to the NY Giant’s home opener today.

Chris is pretty excited to go as he’s been talking about it all week long so that’s where I’ll be!

stacy ling and christopher d. ling aia at NY giants game in metlife stadium -Bricks 'n Blooms Weekly

In the Garden

This week was not the most glamorous week in the garden as I spent some time repairing the lawn.

There was a lot of drought stress from the summer heat and lack of rain, but we also discovered a grub problem.

And to be honest, I’m not surprised. The prior owner had a grub control service and there were SO MANY Japanese beetles on the hardy hibiscus. So I knew there would be an issue.

I opted not to do the grub service because I prefer to use less pesticides on the lawn and wanted to go a more organic route in late summer/fall.

Where grubs are concerned it’s not necessary to do the harsh chemicals because there are two organic options that are long term and much more effective.

close up of monarch on a zinnia in the garden

I’ve chatted about lawn care and Japanese beetle control before. So I’ll sum up what I’m doing.

For starters, I’m changing the lawn over to tall fescue. There’s a lot of lawn to do here, so I’m going to start in the front and back yard first to keep costs down.

In addition to changing the lawn over, I’m applying milky spore down after some new grass sprouts to combat the grubs. Milky spore is an organic option for grub control that is effective for about 10 years.

And much like overseeding with tall fescue, I’m starting that in the front yard first. The back didn’t have much of an issue with grubs, so I’ll get to that next year.

It’s kind of pricey but it works really well. And I think doing both will signifcantly cut down on the Japanese beetle population overall long-term.

front yard of 1850 farmhouse with gardens

The Big Story of the Week!

So actually there are two.

I swear we have seen so much wildlife here at the new house. It’s been pretty neat! From hawks to deer, to muskrats and blue herons, we have seen quite a bit.

This week, we met the neighborhood bear!

My dog discovered him sauntering around the side yard the other morning and nearly lost her mind while looking out our bedroom window.

Chris screamed to me not to let the dogs out because there was a bear.

He ran downstairs, which is where I was, and we watched the bear head over to the garbage can that was full waiting for pick up.

As the bear climbed onto the can to knock it over, my husband opened the door (while I held my dogs back) and said, “Hey there bear.”

And just like that, the big black bear went on his merry way!

Very cool to see him up close but obviously would not want to meet him any closer.

black lab lounging by the pool

Some heroes wear capes and others wear garden gloves.

Since we are closing up the pool soon, I am spending every minute I can outside to enjoy the last licks of summer.

One day, I was outside setting up my vibe when I heard a huge splash in the pool.

I was like, What was that???

So I looked around and found a huge frog swimming around in the pool.

We’ve discovered a number of dead frogs in the pool filter, so I wanted to get this guy out of the pool ASAP.

I quickly grabbed the pool skimmer and with my incredible lacrosse skills, I scooped him out.

He wasn’t having it though, so he dove back in on the scoop after I had him over the concrete.

So off I went chasing him around the pool for like 10 minutes.

And let me tell you he was fast!!

I finally got him though. He must’ve been tired as I was able to carry him to the back pond.

Because he had chlorine all over him, I didn’t want to just drop him in. So I set him down on the red rocks to dry off and get his bearings.

After about an hour, I saw him a bit closer to the pond like he was ready to go in.

That frog was NOT happy with me, but little does he know, I saved his life. So there’s that.

senora zinnias

What I’m Shopping For This Week

I did a lot of shopping this week as I’ve decided to work on my sunroom. Wait until you see the cool things I bought and am still shopping for this week!

  • This area rug is perfect for the sunroom and is on sale now so I quickly snagged it in a 5×8. Check today’s price here.
  • I also bought these two accent chairs that look so comfy!
  • This area rug is still in my shopping cart. I’m thinking about getting it for the front entry hall. What do you think? It’s also on sale now! Check today’s price here.
  • I bought these aged candlesticks about a week ago and LOVE THEM. They are perfect for creating amazing tablescapes with lots of ambiance.
  • And with those candelsticks, I bought these battery-operated candles so I could enjoy them without the worry of watching them. With a remote and timer, it’s a great way to add ambiance and coziness without the fuss of watching a burning candle.
  • This bed is on serious markdown. It’s in my cart and I’m thinking about getting it for either my bedroom or the guest room. Check today’s price here.
Bee skep and Houseplants in my sunroom After the renovation - how to paint over faux finish in the sunroom renovation. Houseplants in the sunroom
Sunroom Before and After

What’s Happening at Bricks ‘n Blooms

It was a fun week on the blog! We covered a lot of ground and did a lot of cooking this week, so let’s go!

For starters, we made this cozy hug in bowl corn chowder recipe that is SO EASY to make.

It has a lot of amazing flavor and is perfect to enjoy year round.

Get my recipe for corn chowder here.

toppings for soup party idea with bowls of corn chowder recipe easy

I also broke out my Instant Pot to make this super delicious and healthy chicken tortilla soup recipe.

It’s a one-pot meal with minimal clean up making dinner prep much easier. And the whole family loves it so that’s a win in my book.

Wait until you try this one!

close up of instant pot chicken tortilla soup recipe

In addition to my soup kick this week, I also shared a DIY dining table topper for extra seating to help expand your dinner table for the holidays.

If you are handy, it’s a great weekend project that will help you ditch the folding tables for good.

We also spent some time in the garden, where I shared some indoor gardening ideas that you can prepare for this fall to enjoy during winter.

If you love houseplants but don’t always have success with them, you’ve got to check out this post where I share the secret to keeping houseplants alive.

It happens to the best of us, but this post explains what not to do and how to fix it.

close up of monstera plant in family room near large windoes and sofa with neutral throw pillows

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.

My good friend Rachel from the Ponds Farmhouse shared these DIY cornstalk topiaries that sound so easy to make!

I love the organic texture and fall vibe they add.

The ponds farmhouse diy corn stalk topiaries

My good friend Jennifer from Cottage on Bunker Hill is always up to making something cool for the season.

And this week she made these faux cement pumpkins.

Aren’t they so cool? I love the texture they add!

DIY faux cement pumpkins

And here is some more inspiration you’ve got to see!

This cozy glowing pumpkin table setting idea.

These mix and match bedding ideas.

I love these fall decorating ideas.

These DIY silverware pouches.

These tips for decoupaging a napkin on a pumpkin.

This fall harvest snack mix.

These sunflowers need to be cut back to harvest the seed heads! They are dont blooming for the season.
Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with wood picket fence in front of garden shed

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

stacy ling logo
The bricks \'n Blooms guide to a beautiful and easy-care flower garden book by stacy ling
The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy Care Flower Garden
  • Have you never met a plant you couldn’t kill?
  • Have you dug around in the dirt with nothing to show for it except a sunburn and a sore back?
  • Do you currently enjoy growing flowers, but are looking for more tips and ideas to level up your gardening game?

Then the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide is for YOU

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  1. Stacy,
    We just saw baby bears as we entered the grounds of Biltmore House. The were just running and playing but mama bear was close by so I didn’t get a pic. Lol. Thanks for sharing my topiaries!

    1. Arent they so cute? We have a family of bears that walk by our ring doorbell in VT every now and again. They are so adorable. Hope you had fun at Biltmore! Looked amazing!

  2. Like you, my new lawn of zoysia was really stressed from the heat and drought here in Texas. Being rural and on a well I drained the tank a couple of times trying to keep it all watered (well that, and forgetting to turn off the water not once but twice!). We have tons of June bugs every year. We have horses and cattle and I’m very careful about what I use for a pesticide. Each spring I sprinkle Tide powder on the lawn around the house. Water it in and it helps kill the grubs. It’s not a cure-all but it helps. Next spring I may try your milky spore idea. That for the grubs and Nolo bait for the grasshoppers ought to go a long way in saving my gardens and lawn.

    1. Hi Lynne! Let me know how you like the milky spore after trying it! The drought was really bad here in NJ too but I’m sure not like Texas though. We are on a well too and wanted to be judicious with the watering. We def lost some plants too.

  3. Stacy, I just about passed out when you posted that photo of the bear. My friend in CT is always sending me photos of bears in her back yard. Thank goodness, we don’t have any around here.

    That Corn Chowder Soup looks delicious. I have added it to my dinner list for this week.

    Thank you for sharing my fall harvest snack mix. It was so sweet of you.

  4. My gosh! A bear! I’m so glad you or your dogs weren’t outside! Looks like a fun time at the game. Thanks so much for the share and have a great week! 💛

  5. You have had a very busy week, but sounds like lots of fun.
    Love the wildlife, we too get them from time to time, but no frogs.

    Have a great week.