How to Get Your Outdoors Ready for Spring

KBB_plantpot_watering_canEvery spring there is always, always, always someone who- without fail- will bust out the shorts way too early. In Canada, that’s always a sure sign of spring- our winters are stereotypically long and cold and once the snow melts, we’re craving warm and sunny weather the same way we crave poutine.

Inevitably, this means as soon as the ground thaws we’re chomping at the bit to clean up our patios and yards and here we have this down to a strategy. It’s hard to know for sure when winter had decided to have its last blast (once, I saw it snow in May) so we’re cautious, and we watch, and wait, and plan. (I talk a little bit more about my own personal outdoor strategy here.)

For me, this usually means taking an inventory of all of my gardening supplies, and making lists as to what I need, and the projects that I need to get done. From here, it’s easy to create a budget and an estimated timeline for getting the space ready for the outdoor season. I like to coordinate this with a big clean-up of my outdoor space, although you might want to break up this task over several days or weeks depending on the size and nature of your space. It might be best to wait for drier, warmer weather to start on any big building or gardening projects.

I’m known around the office as having a little bit of a green thumb, and I honestly think it’s because if I don’t know something about a plant, I’ll look it up. Knowledge is power, and when it comes to gardening you can save a lot of time and effort by keeping yourself informed about the nature of your climate zone, the type of soil you have, and how much light and water your garden receives. It’s easy then to choose flowers and plants that you know will thrive in your garden’s natural conditions, and then takes a lot of the guesswork out for you.

When buying plants I make sure to take notes on the type of care the plant requires and I keep these notes updated throughout the season so next year I look at what worked for me, and what I could improve on. Unless you love experimenting with plants like I do, you might want to skip this step but it’s a practice that I hope will help with my future gardening skills. Part of the fun is learning something new about it every day, and watching the beautiful results.

Last but not least, make sure you’ve replaced, repaired or cleaned all of your doormats or indoor/outdoor rugs. Even though the weather might not be warm enough yet for planting, it creates a sense of excitement to get your transition spaces (like doorways, porches, decks, walkways and mud rooms) prepped and ready for the season.

Once the prep work is done all you have to do it wait, and watch, and dream, and get ready. Even more buds will start appearing on the trees and the grass will get greener. Soon it will be time to start gardening and cleaning the patio furniture and before you know it we’ll be laughing our way through long summer evenings with friends, enjoying the results of long, hard work with beautiful plants and outdoor spaces.

Soon. Soon.

KBwB-BFlower-50Got any plans for your garden that you’d love to share? Drop me a line at or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Maybe I’ll get some more inspiration for my porch!

I’ve been feeling all spring-y and talking a lot about gardening lately. For my current favorite gardening reads, click here. If you want to see this awesome porch o’ mine (and I am in no way biased) click here.


Spring 2016 Reading List


When I get book recommendations, I often get the feeling that I’m undergoing some kind of social experiment. Are people recommending books to me based on what they love, or what they think I would like? What do they think captures my interest? What do their book choices say about me?

I’m pretty easy to please, but I started pondering these questions after my boss’ daughter dropped by the office with two big bags of books for me. She was downsizing apartments and needed to unload a bunch of stuff, so she hoped I would find something interesting to read among the collection she had dropped off.

Well. I can always find something that interests me, and it was fun to finally root through that bag this past week while doing some spring cleaning. The fresh air makes me feel like a fresh start, like exploring a genre I don’t often dip my toes into (like current events) or (re)discovering a famous author (like Toni Morrison). Or maybe it gives me the cheerful confidence to read something fun and frothy once in awhile. (A lot of my reading choices lately have been so good, but so heavy.)

Here’s some of my discoveries in my bag o’books that I’m planning on reading this spring:

  1. You Have to Kiss A Lot of Frogs by Laurie Graff
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  3. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
  4. The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
  5. Born Under A Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield

Happy spring and happy reading!

Love, B

KBwB-BFlower-50I love to read and I love sharing my favourite books with you. (For more reading inspiration, click here.) These lists are totally my own creation and I was not paid or perked to share my opinions with you by any author or publishing company. Full disclosure: I do receive a small commission from Amazon when you choose to buy a book from my site. It keeps this blog running and food in my dog’s bowl, but rest assured I’d never suggest you buy something I wouldn’t buy for myself. Enjoy!

Spring 2015 Reading List

Spring 2015 Reading ListOver the winter a lot of my friends and neighbors go into hiding but as soon as that sun starts peaking out from behind those wintry clouds, we do whatever it takes to get out there and absorb the outdoors as soon as humanly possible.

Getting reacquainted with the people in my neighborhood has given me more incentive to try and finish up my reading list from this winter (let’s not even talk about how far behind I am on that one) because I’m getting so many good book recommendations! My lovely dad, purveyor of all things witty has donated his copy of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson to my bookshelves. I’m looking forward to having a good laugh. You Suck by Christopher Moore promises to put a smile on my face as well- I’m a sucker for unlikely love stories. (Too much?)

I have to confess that I’ve already started Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I wanted to read the book before I watched the movie, but I got out-voted one movie night and had to skip some of the titles still on my winter reading list to make sure I could compare notes while the movie was still fresh in my mind.

It’s a good thing the weather is getting nicer every day. It’ll be perfect for getting through some of the last titles from the giant stack of books my sister loaned me this past winter. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland are oldies but supposedly goodies, and The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper is all the rage right now. (I always like jumping on the bandwagon, even if its only to see what all the fuss is about.) All of three of them look like they could be kind of dark though, so sunny afternoons here I come! You’ll find me sitting outside reading and working on my T-shirt tan.


Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.