Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mosaic Monday #2 I ♥ Hydrangeas

Thank you to all who participated in Mosaic Monday last week and shared their creative collages. I recognized names from when Mary hosted and was excited to see some of my blogging sisters trying their hand at a mosaic and participating for the first time.
One never knows what to expect when hosting a blog party and I feel a disclaimer is in order:
If your link does not contain a mosaic and/or your sole purpose for linking is for personal recognition, I feel obligated to remove your link out of fairness to the other participants.
The link will be up around 2pm EST on each Sunday and not Monday as I had announced. I was a little nervous and had Monday on the brain but I've got that all sorted out in my mind now. And, Sunday afternoon is convenient for most of us.
I have a favour to ask. Many participants link up on Sunday and do their visiting and commenting that day. However, some bloggers for whatever reason do not link until Monday and are forgotten as people have moved on to other parties or their work week. Will you kindly take some time later on Monday and see if there are some wonderful contributions you've missed please?
And now, let's party! I decided to use Pizap this week, another software that is free to download and has lots of unusual templates to play with. 
Hydrangea paniculata is the variety that I like best and it survives robustly through our cold and snowy winters. A few featured from our gardens.
My absolute favourite is 'Limelight' that transforms in colour through the seasons as you can see above.
An older mosaic I made of 'Limelight.' Does anyone recognize this software? I'm wondering if it was the one that PicMonkey replaced? I like this layering format and would use it again if I can locate it.
Thank you for participating in Mosaic Monday, without you there would be no party.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Blueberry Tea

Welcome friends for tea this week. I picked blueberries, baked a scrumptious coffee cake with them and we ate it all before I realized I didn't save a piece to set up my tea table for this week. Not to worry, into the archives as I've baked this cake many times and shared it previously too. I found a few other blueberry treats so we'll imagine all these yummy things set out for you with the bonus of no calories. :-)
The cake smells heavenly as it bakes with brown sugar and pecans on top. (the recipe is in the recipe section at the top of my page if you want it)
I know many people like whipped cream or ice cream on the side but we like our dessert plain.
A slice of blueberry cornbread spread with lemon curd is delicious with a cup of tea.
Blueberry muffins are perfect for breakfast, or any time.
Fresh picked blueberries make a great snack.
Since we have to imagine the goodies, why not imagine this blue willow teapot and teacup are mine. Sadly they're not, they are from a high tea enjoyed at the Blue Willow Tea Room a couple of years ago.
I'm linking with these ladies for tea:
Thank you for hosting and I hope you'll visit them and their guests for tea.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mosaic Monday #1 Gardens of Ireland: Mount Stewart, Mount Usher and the National Garden Exhibition


The last few gardens I visited in Ireland and they're as fabulous as the others I've already shared.
 A beautiful sunny day as we wandered around Mount Stewart Gardens, part of the National Trust and a World Heritage Site.

Mount Usher Gardens follow the banks of the River Vartry and I am proud to say I stood out on some rocks in the middle to get the shots on the L and R.
Whimsy and mythology can be found in the stone works and carvings.
 The National Garden Exhibition, County Wicklow.
An elegant garden green house and gothic stone structure.
Illusions created with mirrors. The big round circle is a mirror reflecting plant material in front of it and you can see the square mirror on a stone wall making one wonder where the stream is actually flowing.
Welcome to old and new friends that like to create mosaics and share them through the meme Mosaic Monday.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August Photo Challenge - Animals

Topaz, our cockapoo and hunter of chipmunks. Notice the alert look and stubby tail straight up. Don't worry, he never catches one!
A bit of cropping and a slide of the detail button in iPhoto. I like this option, it makes my photos that much clearer.
Henry, our daughter's cockapoo and fondly known as 'The Muppet.' I remember this shot well - "no Henry, you can't go in the house until Grandma gets a nice picture of your snowy face."
Topaz and Henry play well together, unless it's the same toy they want and then it's a tug of war.
Not the clearest photo with the toy dragged one way, and then the other. Cropped to get the background distraction out of the way and that lovely detail tool used again.
I'm linking with Donna from Cottage Days and Journeys for our monthly photo challenge of animals and Saturday's Critters. Who better to share than a couple of furbabies.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Host for Mosaic Monday

Mary Carroll who blogs at Little Red House has hosted Mosaic Monday for a number of years and for personal reasons and time constraints has decided to pass the torch. As this was my first link party to participate in when I began blogging, it has special meaning for me and creating collages/mosaics is definitely addictive!
Right away I offered to take over as I know many other bloggers like the theme too - create a mosaic on any topic to flaunt your photography or share memorable events. The possibilities are limitless for content, and there are lots of free templates available to make a mosaic. I like PicMonkey but have used piZap, Fotor and Be Funky.
I invite everyone to participate on Mondays; the link will be up around 2 pm EST and bring your friends. If you have any questions, email me from the little envelope at the top of the sidebar and I'll try to answer them.
If you forget and head over to Mary's, she has posted that the party has moved over to Lavender Cottage.  I know I won't be the only one to miss Mary's phenomenal photos and join blogging sisters  around the world in wishing her well in her continued journey.
See you Monday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gardening Myths

'Coffee for Roses' is a new book by C.L. Fornari on misleading myths about backyard gardening.  The book title alone is one you may have to think about. Do you put eggshells, banana peels or spent coffee grounds around your rosebushes? #25 If so, why? Banana skins are high in potassium, eggshells contain calcium and coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen. Guilty on all accounts, but in the book it is suggested that a balanced organic fertilizer will feed the plants quicker and more efficiently.  This I do as well, and will confess that in early summer I cut a banana peel into strips and pushed them under the climbing 'New Dawn' rose on the arbour out the front. Wouldn't you know it, every morning there they were, pulled out to look like a passerby had tossed the peels on the ground.
It doesn't hurt to place these things under your roses, but you'd be better off to add them to the compost bin to break down and combine with other nutrients.
You can leave the burlap around the roots of a balled tree when planted. #29 This really is an old wives' tale, because years ago you likely could leave the burlap on as it was made of a different material than today. I can attest to what happens when you don't remove the burlap when a Japanese maple in our garden finally succumbed to extreme cold weather one winter. We had at least loosened and pulled the burlap away but after three years of supposedly breaking down, it looked as good as the day we planted it.  When diagnosing a dying shrub for someone, Fornari declared it had died from RBD: residual burlap disorder. (love this!)
You can't grow a female holly without a male holly close by. #36 To grow the shrub only, of course you can, but for berries you need a male and female plant so that the male's pollen will fertilize the flowers for fruit. Many nurseries sell a pot with a male and female together in it.
I won't go on to share any other of the myths but will comment that there is interesting reading with the 'Did you Know' sections as well.
Many of the myths I read about take common sense to figure out if they're true or not. However if your mother and grandmother did particular things in the garden, you likely carry on the tradition.  Why else would they pass down these gems of wisdom?
The myths and folklore contained in the book will educate the new gardener, and perhaps amuse the experienced but I can guarantee everyone will find something in the book they've done, believing it to be true.
There are a number of pleasing quotes throughout the book and my favourite is:
"It is only when you start a garden - probably after age fifty- that you realize something important happens every day." ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth~
The book from St. Lynn's press ISBN 978-0-9892688-3-7 is readily available at book stores.
Thank you to Danielle Ernest for the opportunity to review Coffee for Roses.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Joining Kindred Spirits for Tea

Welcome friends for tea this week. I've been absent from blogging as the gardens called to me when I returned from Ireland at the beginning of July. I've since found out I tore the meniscus in my right knee which has me hobbling around until it repairs with the help of physio. Then there was last week when we spent the time at a rented cottage and a tornado tore through Grand Bend. We were lucky there was no damage but all around us huge trees were uprooted and we were without power for two and a half days.
On a cheery note, I have met some of the nicest and thoughtful women through the weekly tea parties, all with a passion for tea and pretties.
I thought of Bernideen when I was in Ireland at a nursery and saw this painting on the side of a building.
Bernideen has a Beatrix Potter garden which contains lots of dainty Queen Anne's lace.
After enjoying hers for a couple of years I decided to add them to my butterfly garden and...
the seedhead 'birdcage' stage is as fascinating as when the flowers are in full bloom.
A tea friend recently sent me her new business card with a packet of Stash mango passionfruit herbal tea enclosed which I'm enjoying today on the back deck.
I'm using a bone china teacup called 'Rosina'.
Shortbread fingers from a Scottish bakery in Grand Bend where we vacationed.
A bouquet of white hydrangeas, pink roses and gerberas is from our oldest daughter.  The little table is set against the glass that surrounds the deck with a turquoise dinner napkin for a tablecloth and one of my vintage lacy cocktail napkins.
Thanks for visiting, I hope everyone is having a great summer so far. Please join my hosts and their guests for tea.
I'm linking with:
Tea Time Tuesday
Tuesday Cuppa Tea
Tea in the Garden

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