Friday, August 19, 2016

Life's Little Quirks

It makes me chuckle, but I'm one of those people who falls I through the cracks. For example, last year when I went to the hospital for an MRI before meniscal knee repair surgery I checked in at the proper desk and went down to the area where one waits their turn. Well, I waited and waited and finally asked if there was a problem with my appointment. The woman checked her clipboard for my name and told me I was marked down as a 'no show'. How could this be, when I was there half an hour early and had waited almost two hours in the waiting room? It seems the girl on the check in desk didn't send my information along that I'd arrived. Luckily the line was halted and I was ushered in right away with utmost apologies.
Is it just me? 
Last week an on-line magazine I've submitted to for the first four issues since it began last year had the summer issue released which was a surprise because I'd not even received the topic selections or deadline. Needless to say I was hurt and disappointed for not being included .... the editor's reply was she'd forgotten all about me! So if anyone was looking for me in Rural, I'm not writing for it any more.
See what I mean? There are more stories like this but we don't need to go there.
My husband had his knee replacement on Tuesday and I brought him home from the hospital this morning. We've had great family support and I can confirm that bloggers who've had this surgery and say how painful it is are being truthful.
Not much to bring up about the gardens other than cooler weather is on the way and I can get outside again.
We have quite a large murder of crows in our neighbourhood and this morning I watched as one was running down the street alongside the curb in hot pursuit of a mouse. The mouse was jumping in the air and running as fast as it could go but alas, it became lunch on the go in a nearby tree.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Long Hot Summer

As Canadians tend to do, I'm still talking about the weather. A long hot summer this year, hardly any rain and plants unused to extreme heat for days on end, succumbing to it.
What's a girl to do? I've been doing a lot of reading:
The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope police inspector series)
The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad
The Girl in the Ice by Robert Brendza
The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne
The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier
As you can see I like a good mystery and these titles are only a few on my Kobo ereader. The Lost Sisterhood was about the the fictional legendary history and present day Amazon women which has intrigued me to do research on their folklore.
I've also been working on a few cards, usually they're sealed in an envelope and ready to mail before I realize I've not taken a picture of them.
Here is one that I am sending to a special friend and the bow was created with a new bow maker a fellow crafter's husband made for me.
I've also been baking, using big and juicy peaches for pies and a crisp. 
This dish of decadence is a no bake cherry cheesecake shared by fellow blogging sister Kitty and it was so easy to make. I put together my own graham cracker crust as suggested.  You can find the recipe here.
Fresh picked corn has been at the farmers market for a couple of weeks now and this week I bought our favourite from the Simpson farm - 'White Lightening' which is a sweet variety.
Morning coffee is on the back deck and sometimes if it's not too hot I'll have my afternoon tea here as well while reading. Topaz likes to snooze in hubby's chair.
I subscribed to the digital version of Tea Time magazine to read on my iPad and really like it. Recipes can be clipped and saved with past issues readily at hand.
You may notice I've removed the bean counter 'Follow Me' gadget on the sidebar. Another blogger removed hers and I made mention I'd like to do the same but continued to look at it until I was sure and yup, it's gone now!
A plea to the 'no reply' bloggers that ask a question in the comments - please change this status so I can link to your email and answer or carry on a conversation.
I'll be linking with Maggie for Mosaic Monday.
Happy Gardening, take time for tea.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How Are You Communicating?

Once upon a time I was simply a blogger.
Above is the banner I created and used until a more professional look was designed for me to build a better rapport with readers of my newspaper gardening column.
But then one day a speaker addressing our group of garden writers, who are now known as garden communicators, said we should be on social media platforms to be more effective. So to keep up with the times I signed up for Twitter and FaceBook, not entirely understanding how to use them, however eventually getting the hang of things.
Google + was added to show ownership of my blog when complete posts were being scraped - which means copied and pasted onto another person's blog. (legal proceedings removed said person)

When the paper was terminated by a new buyer I retired from writing and gave up my Garden Writers membership but still like to communicate about gardening on my blog. The cute little pink hydrangea in the heart collage is 'Tiny Tuff Stuff' and above 'Bobo' two of the Proven Winner trial shrubs I received as a GWA member.
 Cup plant, a tall and stately native which attracts lots of birds when it goes to seed.
Joe Pye weed that has a spicy vanilla scent and a great pollinator plant beside the cup plant. These are two plants that have had no supplemental watering and look how well they're doing.
Someone else's way of communicating ...the family dog was hit and killed by a passing car and a pot of sunflowers sits by the roadside as a memoriam to remember it, and remind drivers to slow down.
I mentioned in a previous post that a weekly afternoon class at our library called 'Appy Hour' has been fun to learn about apps for our iPads and phone, many which I've never heard of. Instagram was discussed one week and since I'd been thinking about it after taking a Kim Klaassen on-line photography course, knowing how it worked made it easier  to understand. It appears to be a good social media place to connect with like minded bloggers and oh yes, all of our grandchildren. (no age limit whereas one must be 18 to have a FB account)
This week our library instructor was away so she commissioned a young gal to show us all about the new phenomenal Pokemon Go game.  (seen on the screen above) The communication from the makers is to get out and move - this game takes a lot of walking to be good at it. Also, some of the levels can only be achieved by a phone GPS registering 10, 15 or more kilometres walked.
I think I'll stick to walking the dog and relaxing with a good book thanks.
I am happy, along with millions of others that PicMonkey recently released an app for phones and iPads. A favourite for creating mosaics and adding textures to photos on my laptop, many of the same features are available through the app.
 And finally, nature's way of communicating that although there is a pretty flower, keep your distance for there are many sharp prickles to deal a nasty puncture wound. The thistles popping up in lawns are a sign of drought and compacted soil such as we're experiencing this summer.
Are you posting, tweeting and generally communicating through social media? It can be overwhelming and as our instructor says, choose what you like best and just use them. 
Happy Gardening, take time for tea.
Linking with Mosaic Monday at Normandy Life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Intelligence of Butterflies and Plants

Recently we took a trip to North Bay to visit family and one night we went to the local golf club for dinner.
It's not often that liver, bacon and onions is on a menu but it was the special that night and so delicious! 
While our daughter went for a run, her youngest daughter and I walked along the waterfront. A heritage garden club was tidying up beds and a patch of milkweed was attracting many monarchs. It just goes to show, put in the right plants and the butterflies will come.
A couple of the butterfly nectar gardens that were full and lush thanks to a sprinkler system.
Our dog Topaz had a perch on the end of the sofa to see the activities out the front window.
At home, some daylilies in bloom. Many have not put out many flowers, a few - none at all. Plants are smarter than we think, they know to conserve energy when there's not much rain and it's hot out.
A reminder that the lovely Maggie at Normandy Life who graciously agreed to take over Mosaic Monday will begin the party on August 1.
This is the new Mosaic Monday button 
which you can download at Normandy Life.
Linking to Amy's last Five on Friday (until September) and Maggie's first Mosaic Monday Thank you ladies for hosting!
Happy Gardening, take time for tea.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Garden Journal - Summer Breezes

Summer is flying by, so it seems. Busy with gardening, family and outings like most of you, my days are filled. Summer breezes keep us cool.
I harvested the garlic this week, 'Music', 'Killarney Red', and 'Puganski' - the latter two new varieties I wanted to try. The bundles are colour coded with ribbon and after a couple of weeks I'll brush the dirt from the bulbs, cut off the tops and roots and store in mesh bags in the basement. The final bulb from last summer's crop was used for dinner recently and since we love garlic in most anything, my little veggie patch will now only be planted with it.
If you're like me and know that crops should be rotated because of nematodes or viruses in the soil, a garlic grower told us at a seminar in the spring that you can use the same place each year. Remove the top third of soil if possible and condition with manure, digging it in well for autumn planting.
 Daisies in the moon garden.
'Inniswood' hosta that commands attention in the shady Japanese garden.
A homemade concrete bird bath gifted me from a friend that came for tea. The slices of birch were by the side of the road after a neighbour cut down a tree and I carried a couple home for rustic decor.
A few favourite pinks; the centre leaves are persian shield, a good shade plant for the garden and it's also a pretty houseplant.
My library classes continue and I'm enjoying learning about apps, computer issue solving and last week, social media. I am already on Pinterest and was undecided about Instagram. Well, I opened an account and think it will be fun for photography shares. 
@lavendercottagegardening can be found here if you want to see my few photos so far. 
I'd like to direct readers to Linda at Stitch Lines in New Brunswick for an eye opener about her home break-in and some advice she offers.
Happy Gardening, take time for tea.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Crazy Weather Gardening

Our crazy summer weather continues with alternating hot and humid days that require the AC to be on followed by a few cooler days. A lack of sufficient rain has produced many plants smaller in size and it's a struggle for those with shallow roots.
Here's the butterfly garden with quite a few bare spots which are usually filled by the branches of the butterfly bushes. Some bloggers find these shrubs invasive but this far north they don't reseed and grow back from the roots each spring. I cut the previous year's dead branches back to 6-8 inches when new growth starts and they're worthwhile for the nectar provided.
Photographed through the living room window on the left and from the sidewalk on the right, the New Dawn rose is quite robust but does get a deep watering from a rain barrel every other week.
The pink Invincibelle hydrangea is full of dainty pink flowers.
In the shade acanthus (Hungarian bear's breeches) is flowering while the plant in the sun only has leaves. I like to experiment with plant location because various factors sometimes allow a plant to be hardy where it shouldn't be.
Clematis 'Queen Mother' is a petite showstopper on a pergola in the front garden.
Taking the path on the south side of the house to the backyard are plants that can take the baking sun, many natives which can survive on their own are in here.
Blue vervain, (Verbena hastate) the flower spikes open from the bottom to the top and this year it has appeared in a few other places around the garden.
 Daylily 'Barbara Mitchell' has large frilly peach flowers.
Astrantia is a plant that needs consistent moisture to produce pretty clusters of flowers.
From the kitchen...I baked a Kentucky Derby pie which is pecan with mini chocolate chips. Our grandson came for dinner the day I made this and he, and hubby have a sweet tooth but only a small piece is needed of this rich dessert.
I've been helping our daughter create a hosta garden in a shady corner under trees where grass won't grow. A few divisions from my plants, some pots from the local nursery, a birdbath and birdhouse are bringing it together. A couple of varieties of Japanese painted fern have been added for texture contrast.
Next year more pieces of my hosta collection will be added. 
How are your gardens this year? I know the unpredictable weather patterns are being experienced in many countries.
Happy Gardening, take time for tea!
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