Fireplaces and Things That Bug Me

Burning memories

Consider extending the season in your garden by building a fireplace or fire pit.


Last winter we were invited to dinner. Our friends had an outdoor fireplace, crowning a high point off the patio, overlooking their gardens. It was a reasonably mild night, no snow. After dinner, our host stoked a roaring fire, we took our blankets out and sipped wine and shared stories for hours around the warmth of the flames. It was delightful. It reminds me of this snippet from a book I featured on “Fussy Finds” a while back. Janice Wells from the “Gin & Tonic Gardener”, Chapter 26 / Before You Hibernate… (She’s talking about garden magazines and more specifically an article on fire pits in gardens.)




“I don’t need the article to convince me of the joys of having a fire pit in your garden. I guess I don’t really need it to help me build one, but I always like to read as much as I can about other people’s experiences with something that interests me.


And fire pits interest me. Before next fall, I want to have one! Given the number of cool nights we have, even in the midst of the growing season, a fire pit should get more use, and give more comfort, than any swimming pool… Autumn nights are different altogether from summer nights. Crisper, clearer, even smells are different. In my childhood, burning leaves was one of the smells of autumn.”


Check out this link on Houzz for ideas on outdoor fireplaces.


To trap or not to trap?

Japanese Beetles are becoming a big nuisance to me. Last year at the beginning of the season, I purchased two beetle traps, which some of you will remember was featured on my blog. I have established the traps inconspicuously on the fence in different areas where the pesky creatures are ravaging my Wisteria and Virginia Creeper.




The trap has a fragrance cell embedded at the top that attracts the beetles. They fly around it, slide down the opening into the container and get “trapped”. It doesn’t kill them, it just traps them. I then dip them like lobsters in a bucket of steaming hot water and that’s that! I then dispose of their little carcasses and set up for a reload. A lot of work and this year there were twice as many as last year.


A friend of mine who is an avid gardener swears by Safer’s Insecticidal Soap – you simply spray it on your plants and it seems to be effective in curbing their appetites permanently. Their products are organic, but not bug friendly. It’s on my agenda for next year.


Choreographing disruptive

Having a game plan for tasks that may cause a big mess on your property is very important to one’s sanity. For example, in the fall there are lots of disruptive activities, such as leaf blowing, cleaning off roofs and eavestroughs, tree pruning and removal, as well as other garden tidy up projects before the winter settles in. Making a list of those things can help to determine which you should do first and last and is very important to ensuring your work has lasting impact. For example, if you’re going to have all your windows cleaned, it’s best to wait until the leaves have fallen, the roof and eaves are cleaned out and all the leaf blowing is pretty much over. Otherwise your window cleaning efforts will be rendered null and void.


We need some big pruning done this fall (yes, again). The garden still look pretty good, although fatigued from summer. I’m still enjoying it. So, I’m waiting until the leaves start to fall and frost before I let the crew come in and take out some dead trees and branches. The mess will be less obvious and disruptive. Always smart to think ahead, as much as you can.