Another view of the completed slate walk project from my second level deck.

Just completed my latest garden project: the Slate Walkway Project! Reused some slate pieces from a previous garden project that I removed recently. Built a nice walkway in an area that was a muddy mess! Voila!

The Slate Walkway and the extension of the Gravel Path.  The slate will be set in a bluestone dust base.

The Slate Walkway and the extension of the Gravel Path. The slate will be set in a bluestone dust base.

Take a look at the installation process on the Slate Walkway Project page underneath the Garden Projects tab.

And as always, leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

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This winter has been pretty harsh here in Virginia. We’ve had quite a bit of snow and cold weather which really isn’t normal for our area. I keep seeing small signs that Spring is coming soon. But Where IS Spring, Mother Nature???

This past week, we had temperatures ranging from a high of 70 degrees to a low of 20 degrees. I chose one of the warmer days to replace the pump in my front pond. The manufacturer, Tetra Pond, sent me a whole new pump and filter system when I’d asked for just a few connection pieces that had broken over the winter. Talk about great customer service!

The pump that I received is larger with a bit more power. That’s a good thing, considering my little waterfall is running at a much quicker pace now. However, that new pump required a trip to Home Depot to find slightly larger tubing to fit.

As I was replacing the pump, I woke up this little leopard frog that had been overwintering in the pond with three goldfish.

A little leopard frog in my front pond!

A little leopard frog in my front pond!

A couple of days later, the temperatures dropped to highs of 30 degrees and lows in the 20s with wind chills in the teens. And Mother Nature brought along some strong winds with the front that passed through.

Yesterday brought warmer temperatures and a special surprise! My crocuses were up and blooming. Based on my Gardening Journal entries from last year, we are about 2.5 weeks behind the 2013 growing season.

Pretty crocuses in bloom in my backyard.

Pretty crocuses in bloom in my backyard.

The backyard ponds are going gangbusters. The pumps were left on all winter, which allowed the birds to “bathe” in the waterfalls. I’ve found that leaving the pumps on during the winter will result in a much healthier pond environment. Yesterday, a bullfrog was croaking, pleased that the weather was warmer. The mesh is still on the ponds and I will usually wait until late April or early May to remove it — usually after the Spring flowers have dropped from the trees.

Several of my de-icers stopped working — all the same brand. I don’t recommend those ones. They’re black with a hole in the middle. I do recommend the green ones that look like a flying saucer.

I DON’T recommend this one if you will use it for more than one winter season:

I DO recommend this one as my three have lasted several years each. It’s a higher wattage than the black one, but seems to work better:

I’m working on a new “walkway” project in the backyard. We have a muddy area that won’t grow grass or much of anything other than moss as it’s underneath a tall oak tree canopy.

My newest gardening project: A Slate Path

My newest gardening project: A Slate Path

In order to reuse materials, I pulled up some slate squares from an unused and awkward walkway path that’s been overgrown by pachysandra. I’ll use some bluestone dust as a base in the back for this new slate path.

Just laying out the stones and will add a bluestone dust base to complete the project

Just laying out the stones and will add a bluestone dust base to complete the project

And I will add some other slate pieces here and there to complete the look. We’ll add some more gray and red gravel in the empty dirt area to tie in with the existing gravel pathways for a consistent look. Now for the weather to cooperate!

This new slate path, when completed, will offer an alternative to a muddy area

This new slate path, when completed, will offer an alternative to a muddy area

Tonight, we’re expecting a few inches of snow. I usually like the snow, as it’s pretty…yet we’re all tired of it by now.

So, Mother Nature, where IS Spring?

What’s going on in YOUR garden? Leave me a comment!

The view through our front Bloodgood maple tree on a snowy day (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

We don’t get a lot of snow usually in Northern Virginia. Located about 20 miles outside of Washington, DC, my home is in a wooded area but not as far west as the Blue Ridge Mountains. Late 2013 and early 2014 have brought a few snow and ice storm events to our area. I would like to share some lovely photos of snowy winter photos from my garden.

Some of the photos are from a recent snow storm. And others were taken following an ice storm earlier in the season. The tree branches, covered in either snow or ice, show a lovely pattern as well as winter interest in the garden. Bushes and their leaves, laden with snow or ice, paint a pretty picture, too. A plant’s silhouette certainly stands out when covered in snow or ice.

The back yard sitting area next to the ponds all pretty and white with snow (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The back yard sitting area next to the ponds all pretty and white with snow (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Small trees provide ample winter interest in the garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Small trees provide ample winter interest in the garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snow-covered Japanese Holly bush looks pretty in the winter (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snow-covered Japanese Holly bush looks pretty in the winter (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The view through our front Bloodgood maple tree on a snowy day (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The view through our front Bloodgood maple tree on a snowy day (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The backyard garden in a snowy setting (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The backyard garden in a snowy setting (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snow-laden evergreen branches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snow-laden evergreen branches (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pretty branches after the ice storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Pretty branches after the ice storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A wild dogwood branch is heavily laden with ice from a storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A wild dogwood branch is heavily laden with ice from a storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Nature's Frozen Landscape after an ice storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Nature’s Frozen Landscape after an ice storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Tree branches covered in ice during an ice storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Tree branches covered in ice during an ice storm (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Our front property all pretty with snow.  See how the branches stand out.  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Our front property all pretty with snow. See how the branches stand out. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snow on my weather station in the backyard (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snow on my weather station in the backyard (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snowy Night (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Snowy Night (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Powdery Snow on a Holly Bush (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Powdery Snow on a Holly Bush (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Even a nice wrought iron Monet bench can add winter interest in the garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Even a nice wrought iron Monet bench can add winter interest in the garden (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos. Please let me know what are your suggestions for winter interest in the garden!