4 Must-See Botanical Gardens in America

Summer is the season to get out in your garden and work your hands in the soil. While most of the dirty work is done in the spring, there’s plenty of maintenance to do throughout the summer to keep plants and veggies perfect, and flowers in bloom. Whether gardening is a pastime or your passion, it’s important to take a break from all your hard work and step into an expert oasis for leisure and inspiration. No matter what region of the country you call home, you’re never too far away from the fresh experience of world class botanical gardens.

Washington-botanical-garden

United States Botanic Garden, Washington D.C.
George Washington is cited as the inspiration for the botanical garden in our nation’s capital. Established by Congress in 1820, it is officially recognized as a museum. With a focus on educating the public about plants and fostering botanical knowledge, it’s a must-see for gardening enthusiasts and environmentalists.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dallas
If you’re looking to surround yourself with the beauty of nature while enjoying an entertaining event, Dallas might be the garden destination for you. One of the top arboretums in the world, it’s dedicated to getting the community involved with events and family activities. It’s newer than most top gardens, but always growing.

chicago-botanic-garden

Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago
Though it’s only been around since the 1970s, the Chicago Botanical Garden is already one of the world’s leading horticultural museums and conservation centers. The garden is born of the city’s rich horticultural history, dating back to the 1893 World’s Fair, and has one of the largest memberships of any U.S. garden.

New York Botanic Garden, New York City
This diverse landscape in bustling New York city is spread over 250 acres and boasts over a million plants. Located right next to the Bronx Zoo, it’s one of the most popular botanical gardens in the country, hosting a healthy 300,000 people every year. It’s also home to one of the world’s largest plant conservation programs.

Spring Sprouts: 5 Vegetables You Can Regrow in Your Garden

When you see a crokus popping up from the soil every few steps, you know spring has arrived! At The Lakeside Collection, those little flowers put us in the mood for planting — but not just the pretty stuff. This year we’re putting the idea of upcycling into our gardens. That means we’re re-growing a few plants that are already full grown. To give you an idea of what we mean, here are 5 vegetables you can regrow in your garden.

Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes Potatoes are a staple in just about any culture. It’s a hardy vegetable that is eaten year-round, so you’ll be doing your meals and your wallet a favor by planting a few in your garden. When you see a potato sprouting eyes, it’s ready to grow. Cut the potato up and let it dry out for a day or two (like onions) before you put it in the ground. Holes should be about 6” deep and the pieces of potatoes should be planted with the eyes (sprouts) facing up. They love lots of sun and require a good amount of water to produce healthy spuds.

Basil Right now is the perfect time to start basil cuttings indoors to transplant in your garden. When you have your package of basil, make sure there are leaf nodes (they look like branches will sprout from them). With kitchen shears, cut just below the node and remove any leaves from the bottom two inches. Stick this in a clear glass of water and put it in a sunny window. Make sure to change the water every other day and it should be ready to plant in soil in about four weeks.

GarlicGarlic You need it for everything! In your salads, pizza, pasta, sauce — just about every type of culinary challenge requires garlic. Planting a clove or two is a sensible and money-saving project. Garlic can be planted in the fall or spring, but if you’re planting in the spring, put it in the ground as soon as the soil is warm and soft enough to be worked. They’re easy to plant — one clove produces a bulb and they should be planted about 2” down with plenty of organic matter mixed in with the soil. The only thing you need to be really careful of is drainage — too much water will cause rot.

Onions Just like garlic, you can never have too many of them — and they taste so much sweeter when they’re free! They’re pretty easy to grow — when you’ve cut up an onion, save the root part that you usually toss. It should be a little bit dry (calloused) before you plant it. When it’s ready, bury it in a sunny spot in your garden under an inch or two of soil and let it sprout.

Red romaine lettuceRomaine When we eat in the summer, we eat salad — and growing the lettuce in the backyard is a great way to cut costs at the grocery store! Romaine is not only easy to re-grow, but it’s also the most nutritious. Saving your stumps is a win-win-win!  To get it going, let the stump soak in about a half-inch of water that you should change frequently (every 1 to 2 days). Put it in a sunny spot and in just a few days you’ll start seeing growth. You can keep growing it just like this, but it’s better grown in soil and you can transplant it in your garden after a week.

At The Lakeside Collection, we’re all about saving you money. From ideas for growing a great garden on a budget to brightening your home with products at discount prices, shop Lakeside for all your home improvement essentials.

National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month: What to Eat Right Now

berriesWe’re just a few days away from June and with all the sunshine bringing life to our gardens and lawns, that means there’s an abundance of farm fresh produce to add to our daily menus. June has been appropriately designated as National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month and to help you figure out what you want to put in your farmer’s market basket, here’s what to eat right now.

Blackberries/Blueberries/Boysenberries Jellies, jams, pies and muffins — dessert is in the garden! Berries have a relatively short growing season, but fresh berries have a flavor you’ll be thinking about all year long. Sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar and whipped cream, and you have a refreshing dessert, but make them part of your pastries and you’ll get a little taste of heaven.

Apricots We’re just about half-way through the apricot growing season, so if you want to try a recipe using apricots, now’s the time to do it. An upside down cake, a tart, a cobbler– put them on your list for your next summer picnic.

Rhubarb June and July are your last months to try something fabulous with rhubarb. Most people are familiar with strawberry-rhubarb pie — it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart (and goes really well with vanilla ice cream!) but rhubarb can be transformed into a sauce for chicken or pork chops — you just have to make sure to add a sweet seasonal fruit — like cherries — to it to temper the tartness.   asparagus

Asparagus Get your asparagus while you can! We’re winding down the growing season for these green spears. They’re perfect for grilling so you don’t have to heat up the house roasting them or sauteing them on your stove top. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt before putting them on the hot grill. Leave them on just long enough to make grill marks and they’re ready to serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Corn We’re just starting the sweet corn season — start pinning your favorite corn recipes because for the next months, you’ll have corn coming out your ears! That’s not a bad thing — who doesn’t love a good roasted corn salad or eating it straight off the cob slathered in butter?

tomatoesTomatoes There’s no other time of year that you can find such red, plump and juicy tomatoes. Whether you’re slicing them up for a caprese salad or skewering them for a veggie kebab, you’ll have plenty of delightful dishes that can be brightened with a few tomatoes. And if you don’t get to them all, you can always can them for sauce in the winter.

Summer sunshine gives us so much more than just outdoor fun to take advantage of — make sure to take advantage of all of nature’s bounty and make fresh fruits and veggies part of your summer cookouts, entertaining or just dinner at home with the family.

National Stress Awareness Day: 4 Ways Gardening Relieves Stress

GardeningApril 16 is National Stress Awareness Day — we’re all victims of stress and there are many ways to manage but, since we’re in the middle of spring, we’re looking toward the garden for stress relief. Here are 4 ways gardening relieves stress.

Exercise Gardening isn’t quite like running a marathon, but it’s an activity that gets you moving. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise reduces tension, stabilizes mood, reduces fatigue, as well as improves alertness and concentration. Pruning and weeding makes your garden look nice, but the up and down motions and repetitive actions require your muscles to have a range of movement that gets your blood pumping through your body and brain. If you look at gardening as something you get to do rather than something you have to do, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free summer.

Garden-ScooterQuiet When we think of gardens we think of a quiet place where nature rules. Leaving behind your smartphone to tend to your plants and flowers gives your brain space and peace. It makes sense, but researchers in The Netherlands have facts to back up the claim. They found that spending just 30 minutes a day in the garden doing chores actually reduces the amount of stress hormones your body creates. If you’re feeling stressed, maybe it’s time to take a break from daily stimulus and get in the garden for a few hours a week to relax.

Sunshine Plants need sunshine to survive and working outdoors alongside your precious plants exposes you to the same sunny goodness. While we know that sunshine gives us vitamin D to help strengthen our bones, it also boosts serotonin — the neurotransmitter that helps us feel good. We need bright light that we get from summer sunshine (brighter than anything we can get indoors) to get adequate amounts of vitamin D to improve serotonin levels (which is why we see so many cases of seasonal affective disorder during dark winter months). Working in the garden to spruce it up for as little as ten minutes a day can give you a good amount of sunshine to help with your vitamin D and serotonin production to make you feel relaxed.

gardeningThe Right Plants While some budding shrubs and flowering plants are easy on the eye, some are also easy on the brain. Plants like lavender are known to relieve stress through their scents. Lavender can relieve stress just by being next to it and inhaling its fragrance, but lavender, along with other herbs like chamomile and lemon balm can be used as tea to relieve stress. Whether you’re pruning your lavender or harvesting chamomile for tea, your garden can have the calming effect your brain and body craves.


Daily stress can get in the way of good moods, so if you’re playing with the idea of starting a garden, let stress relief tip the scale in favor of getting it growing! The Lakeside Collection can help you get started — we have ideas and products for a lush garden this spring that will thrive all summer long.

Gadgets To Keep Pests Out of Your Garden

Spring is here and our garden prep is well underway! Making our gardens bloom is one of the more satisfying summer activities, but it does require work. Some of that work includes keeping pests out of our flower beds and yards to help our plants thrive. But there are a few gadgets to make pest control a little bit easier. Here are 5 gadgets to keep pests out of your garden.solar-animal-repeller

Buzz Off Pests don’t have to be bugs to bug you — they sometimes have four legs and fur! The Solar Animal Repeller keeps critters like rabbits and woodchucks from wrecking your grass and plants without having to resort to cruel traps and poisons, plus it’s easy to install. Just stake it in the ground and it charges in sunlight to activate a built-in infrared motion detector. When pests come within its 20-foot detection range, it triggers powerful, ultrasonic waves that turn animals away. It only activates when motion is detected, so it can run around the clock when it’s charged.pest-diffuser

Good Scents The Patio Egg Pest Diffuser slows down the menacing whir of mosquitoes with good scents! The egg uses a DEET-free formula of essential oils that mosquitoes and other pests steer clear of. Fragrance diffuses through the porous egg and into the surrounding area, darkening the egg as it absorbs oil. The pleasant floral scent will “hatch” within 24 hours and be effective continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Protects up to 200 sq. ft. for up to 4 months. Hang it with the included plant-fiber net or set it on a flat surface.citronella-streamers

Double-Duty Decor Don’t let bug spray ruin your next cookout! Repel bugs with style with this Set of 8 Citronella Streamers! The streamers add whimsy to your outdoor decor as well as fight off bugs —  each colorful streamer is coated with lemongrass oils and natural citronella that mosquitoes and pests don’t like. The scent lasts up to 48 hours so you’ll have protection from the start of the party all the way through cleanup!wasp-traps

Nature’s Bug Bait Don’t let wasps ruin your day in the garden with this Set of 2 Wasp Traps. They use all natural ingredients you mix up at home — just sugar and water! It lures wasps to three spots where they can get in, but they can’t get out. You can hang them from a tree branch or put them on the porch where there’s a flat surface. They’re long-lasting and durable so you can use them day after day.fly-pistol

For the Kids Lock and load a Fly Pistol and get rid of pesky bugs with a pull of the trigger. Just take aim and pull! The hands clap together, squashing the flying pest. The  target on the inside of the hands turns bug swatting into a game. Check your accuracy and aim as you go.

The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Garden Items

Spring has sprung! We’re celebrating the first day of spring by planning our gardens and we are looking for fun ideas to make our outdoor space lively. We came up with a few things we want to put in our own gardens and thing we think you’d like, too. Here’s this week’s The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Garden Items.

gnome-tree-house

Put a smile on the faces of passersby with a Solar Gnome Tree House in your yard. This whimsical garden accent features windows that light up using the power of the sun.

humming-bird-feeder

Hummingbird Feeders will encourage these delightful birds to hang around so you can enjoy watching and listening to them. Completely functional and decidedly decorative, these feeders come ready for use–just fill them with sugar water and hang. Put them near a window or porch to attract hummingbirds for an up close and personal look!

rail-mount-planter

Dress up your deck or add color to your front porch or balcony with this Coco-Lined Rail Mount Planter. The metal hanger slips right over the railing and adjusts by hand without tools to fit rail widths up to 2-1/4″. Won’t blow away or fall off!

garden-bells

Add colorful decor to your landscape with a Set of 4 Beaded Garden Bells. The dainty bells provide a touch of melodious embellishment to your shrubbery. Each piece features bronze toned bells and colored beads and tassels.

cooks-vertical-garden

Enhance your meals using fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables you’ve grown yourself with this Cook’s Vertical Garden. You can add zest to pasta, make homemade salsa or eat fresh strawberries right from the vine.

5 Garden DIY Walkway Ideas

garden-walkWith spring nearing, we’re looking for all sorts of ways to make our gardens unique. We have ideas of what we want to plant, now we’re moving on to how to showcase our vegetables and flowers. A DIY garden walkway is one way we can make our garden one-of-a-kind. Here are 5 garden DIY walkway ideas we’ve come across we think you might like.

Pallet Path Wooden pallets can be upcycled into many useful items around the house. In the garden, a dismantled pallet gives you the slabs to lay down for a flat and sturdy path. You don’t have to be a master woodworker, but you should know how to use a saw at the very least. The wood can be cut so it’s all a uniform length or you can get creative and stagger planks at different lengths to give it a unique style.

wood-slice-walkWood Walk Laying down little slices of wood can turn an unused bit of land into an adorable path. Celebration Generation takes you through each step of the process — clearing out the space, lining it properly and then placing each of the slices of wood along the path. It actually looks nice as a regular dirt path, but the wood makes it look classy.

wine-bottle-garden-edgingWine Bottle Way Upcycling wine bottles to make a path is one of the more popular ways to add character to your garden. VertAustin does a quick tutorial on using wine bottles as garden edging, but the idea could easily be expanded to line a garden path. If you’re good at cutting glass, the bottoms of wine bottles can also be transformed into tiles to smoothe out a dirt path.

Pop Bottle Cap Passage A more labor-intensive way to give your garden walkway character is to apply bottle caps (plastic or metal work) to the tiling idea. It would take quite a while to collect them and lay them all out, but if bottle caps are something you happen to set aside for no good reason, this may be a way to put them to good use.

stepping-stoneUncommon Concrete DIY stepping stones are surprisingly easy to make. You can use just about anything as a mold for your ready-to-mix concrete. A cake pan, pizza box, shoe box — you can make it any shape you want and you can make it as fancy as you want, too! Break old dishes to make a mosaic or use glass craft beads to add color and character. The hardest part about making the stones yourself is waiting for the concrete to dry.

However you decide to build your garden, The Lakeside Collection has more products and ideas to make your garden just right. From garden stakes to bird feeders, we have what you need to make your garden brighter.