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If you’re a plant lover, springtime is one of the most exciting times of year. So many new blooms and green colors to enjoy while you spend time outside in the nice weather. If you prefer to take a more active approach to nature, it also means it’s time to start gardening. Even if you don’t have a huge yard, you can still have a thriving garden. In addition to house plants inside, container gardening is a great option for small outdoor spaces like patios and balconies.

Container gardening basics

You don’t need large or heavy pots to have success with container gardening. Small pots, barrels, buckets, and more can be just as happy a growing home for plants as a flower bed or large garden. Make sure there’s enough room for the roots of the plant. (Learn more about finding the right size container here.) Remember that the smaller the pot, the easier it is for the soil to dry out, so keep that watering can handy.

Make sure your containers have sufficient holes for drainage. If a plant’s roots are too saturated with water it can lead to rot and eventually loss of the plant. You can drill more holes if you need, but it’s usually easier to buy a pot that’s already good to go. If you’re on an upper floor, you’ll need a pan under the container to make sure they don’t drip down on your neighbors!

Healthy plants start with healthy soil. If you buy your soil from a home and garden center, look for labels that specifically say “soilless potting mix.” This will steer you away from garden-specific soil or other products. Soilless mix is a good choice because it’s lighter and ideal for container plant drainage. For a more in-depth look at different soils, this is a good resource.

What to plant

You can plant lots of variety in containers, from vegetables to herbs to flowers. Peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, strawberries, basil, rosemary, and thyme are just a few edibles that will thrive on your patio. If you’re a less hungry gardener, try zinnias, marigolds, or geraniums for a pop of beautiful color. Succulents are attractive and low-maintenance options that do well both inside and out.

Knowing what garden zone you’re in will help you know when to plant certain things and what plants will do well in your region. This map will help you determine your zone and then you can check on the seed packages to see if the plant is cut out for the climate where you are. Cape Girardeau is in zone 6.

Make a list of which kinds of plants you’d like to try before you head to the seed or plant section of the garden department. This will help you determine how many containers and how much soil to get. Once you get all your supplies, it’s time to go home and get excited about everything you’re about to grow!

Join the gardening club

If you can’t get enough planting, The Chateau also has a gardening club full of other plant lovers. Make some new friends and pick their brains on how they keep their gardens lush and blooming. Club members also assist in keeping the greenery and flowers on the Nature Trail in tip top shape, so bring your green thumbs and join the fun.

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Downsizing 101

Moving to a retirement community like The Chateau will help you live a more hassle-free life. But for many people, the move will also require some downsizing. At the end of the downsizing road you’ll find more freedom and less stress, but the process itself can be a little daunting. What do you keep? And what do you do with all the stuff you don’t want to keep?

We all accumulate things over time, sometimes more things than you realize until you start sorting through it all. Here are a few tips to remember while working through the downsizing process.

Tackle one thing at a time

It didn’t take a few days to accumulate your whole household, so don’t try to complete the full downsizing job over one weekend. Try starting with a goal of working through one room or one closet so you don’t become overwhelmed. Starting earlier rather than later will help everyone feel less strain and keep things moving smoothly.

Establishing three piles for your things—keep, give away, and pitch—will also help the decision-making process. Leaving a “maybe” pile will make more work for you in the long run, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. If you have duplicates of anything, those are an easy place to start. A good rule of thumb is if an item doesn’t bring you joy when you hold it, toss it or give it away.

Giving Spirit

The downsizing process is a great time to start deciding who should keep special items, like family heirlooms or trinkets a particular person has always enjoyed. Making these decisions early can alleviate stress or confusion over who gets what down the road. Plus there’s the added bonus of seeing your family and friends enjoy these items!

Donating items is also a great way to pare down your stuff and help out someone in need at the same time. There are several places where you can donate in Cape Girardeau to support a variety of causes. The Safe House for Women’s Thrift Store, Teen Challenge Thrift Store, Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary Thrift Store, and Goodwill are some great options for household objects big and small.

Be patient

Going through a whole household of things can be draining for everyone, so be patient with yourself and your family. If the job gets too tough emotionally or physically, it’s okay to take a break.

Enjoy simplifying

One of the great things about maintenance-free living at The Chateau is that you won’t need as much stuff to keep your home in tip-top shape. We offer many amenities for our residents, so you’ll be able to simplify without having to sacrifice convenience or comfort.

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