Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Garden Journal - Return of the Fairies

We have just had the most glorious long Victoria Day weekend of sun and warm temperatures. I've fluffed and repainted my garden art and can now say I'm ready for the garden tour on June 12. The local paper is sending someone around this week to take photographs and if he sees any weeds, he's welcome to pluck them out. I have actually bent down and pulled weeds while at someone else's garden and then looked rather sheepish because it's a natural habit for gardeners.
 Brunnera 'Jack Frost' with bleeding heart 'Valentine' in the background.
 I'm using osteospermum in a couple of pots this year.
 If I had to pick a favourite hosta it would be 'June' who never gets chewed by the slugs.
 A new mini hosta and this year I'm using a paint pen from Michael's' to mark my labels. I've read they won't fade or rub off with it.
Not a particularly appealing cement background but a nice pairing of allium with a white mullein in the south garden. I added a blue weave background texture.
The fairies have returned and they're ready for summer.

A (hopefully) squirrel proof box that hubby built me for my deck fairy garden. The little lights are battery operated.
I finally made a teacup fairy garden.
Happy Gardening, Take Time for Tea

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Garden Journal - Goodbye to the Lavender Hedge

I've been busy gardening, when it wasn't snowing as it did earlier this week.
Big fluffy flakes, little dancing ones and occasionally a white out effect. Crazy weather!
As I continue to work my way through the gardens and assess winter damage I find that a few shrubs didn't make it, a couple with help from the bunnies. 
My biggest disappointment is the die back of the lavender hedge at the front of our house. This is the first time almost the whole hedge needed replacing and I decided against it. Instead of being a feature point, lavender will have the role of accent plants between the carpet roses that line the walkway. Much less to trim back twice a year.
Our home is on a garden tour next month so it's important that there is nothing to trip over along the paths, or anywhere for that matter. Our oldest grandson came over on the weekend to level brick borders and dig the rhubarb leaf stepping stones in deeper as the frost had pushed them up.
The serviceberries are in bloom now with the flowering crab ready to burst into colour when a warm sunny day arrives.
I haven't always been leaving comments when visiting other blogs but it's nice to take a quick peek and carry on outside to garden. 
Happy Gardening, Take Time for Tea.

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Garden Journal and Introducing Fotojet

Our weather has been in the 50s of late with a frost advisory last night.
This is a species tulip blooming in the butterfly garden; I've always liked the pink with purple and white centres.
A small variety that rarely gets to bloom because of being eaten by the rabbits and the day after I took the photo, squirrels had lopped their heads off.
'Leonard Messel' a stellata magnolia full of blooms despite cold temperates after a warm spell in March.
A new and much anticipated container garden for herbs on the deck just outside the back door. I love the fact that there will be no bending down to harvest them!
 A couple of new doilies I ordered from a FB friend who also loves purple.
Judy makes all kinds of patterns and if you're interested in ordering for yourself, email me and I'll put you together.
Many thanks for this gift from tea blogging sister Angela McRae at Tea with Friends with a kind shout out in the acknowledgements for introducing her to the app Waterlogue. Angela's book is available from from the link on her blog.
I've been playing with a new and free software program called Fotojet that is pretty close to PicMonkey. Sign up for a membership and all the upgrades are free at this time. The above collage was made from a template and there are many others to choose from, great editing tools as well. 
I'll use if for Mosaic Monday that will be up on the 30th of this month to give it a good test run and would love you to try it as well and see what you think.
Happy Gardening, Take Time for Tea

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Garden Musings, Solving a Mystery

For years as a garden writer and Master Gardener I attended annual seminars to keep up to date and learn about new plant introductions. These days I am considered a garden communicator, still going to a few seminars and couldn't be happier when a mystery is solved.
HGTV used to be the weekly highlight for many gardeners with programs on plants, how to's, garden tours and overall great ideas of inspiration. But then they dropped the 'G' and the shows became home renovations mostly. A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Carson Arthur, an outdoor design and lifestyle expert explain what has changed.
Plants are losing the focal point in gardens, particularly perennials with the interest in garden rooms and landscape gardens that have mass plantings. My boomer generation of plant collecting with one or two of everything has evolved to less varieties and more of them.
There is more hardscaping than ever before which includes stone walls, use of different sizes of gravel, brick walkways, stamped concrete and pavers for patios.

Patio furniture to create an extension of the indoor entertaining  area sells very well. Outdoor kitchens are a big trend and decks and patios are getting bigger while the gardens are getting smaller. 
Here's an interesting tidbit; the usable space in a backyard can raise the selling price of a house by 10-15%.
Container plants appear to be the solution to messy, needy gardens and they are portable for filling in corners, empty spots or where some colour is needed.
Baby boomers have been the core of gardening but now they want less to care for and are investing in outdoor rooms for socializing. No surprise that many houses are having a sunroom added!
Generation X are those in their 40s-50s and they don't want a lifestyle of commuting to a cottage so are creating outdoor escapes with little to no lawn.
Another tidbit; for every $1 spent on landscaping a $1 comes back upon resale. 
Now we come to the young people in their 20s and 30s, the Millennials. Guess what? They want to garden; grow their own vegetables and herbs that will be fresh from soil to table and without pesticides. 
They're even turning to the boomers for advice and want their heirloom seeds.
Garden books and gardening television shows are not utilized because they use apps on their phone to help them plant their vegetable gardens. 
Vegetable Tree App
Most do not even watch television, they've become bloggers and use other social media to learn and share. Plants are sold on Kijiji.
The 'aha' moment that Carson Arthur shared for solving the mystery was that the 'G' from HGTV has become 'Google' the learning place of future gardening.
Are you changing the way you garden and possibly lean more on Google too than gardening books and magazines for knowhow and ideas?

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Garden Journal - Feed Your Soul

It's May and the mystery of the stones under my plants continues this year with many in the front affected as well.  This started last year with a large handful under each hosta, the pea gravel coming from the path. However, in the front it's a long way from that path in the backyard. We figure it must be an animal carrying the stones in its mouth and I can think of one little busy body who can stuff his cheeks quite full.
Spring bulbs are a welcome sight and the bees have been visiting them in earnest.
Peonies are pushing up towards the sun (this one is a yellow Itoh)  and the green leaves behind are a hardy white verbascum, the only one I've grown that is a true perennial.
In the backyard the hummingbird feeder is up and I recently put the oriole feeder in a tree.
Marsh marigold in the pond has been glowing during the last overcast couple of days. The spring frog count is 3, way down from last year's 12 and I hope one of them is female to lay eggs and increase the family.
Patio furniture has been brought out of the garden shed, washed and ready for use so I took advantage of a sunny break and had afternoon tea outside in my new baltimore oriole mug.
Happy Gardening, Take Time For Tea.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Garden Musings, Rabbit Tales

Bloggers that have followed me for some time know that Lavender Cottage is a certified wildlife habit with the CWF and the NWF. We have no grass in the front or back of our property but have planted trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses - most of them native varieties.
 Although we live in a pocket village in a rural area, there are no longer predators to keep the rabbits in check and they eat my shrubs over winter and emerging plants in the spring.
Even when it means getting on those back legs to reach tasty young leaves on the weeping pussy willow.
This big gal starting hanging around the backyard quite a bit so we'd let the dog out to chase her off, she was wreaking havoc on emerging tulips and hostas. Next door has a large green lawn, perfect for nibbling.
I had no idea there was a nest of 5 babies camouflaged by grasses and rabbit fur in one of the back gardens until our dog sniffed it out one day and they ran out squealing. Hubby grabbed the dog and I captured the babies and put them back in the nest. Poor Topaz had to be tied up while in the back for a couple of weeks so as not to disturb them again.
To honour the commitment of the wildlife habitat certification one has to be lenient with plants being eaten, blue herons eating the goldfish and frogs and tolerant of skunks, raccoons and opossums. 
Babies are something to be protected and I checked these little ones every morning.
 Sunday evening mother rabbit came and fed her babies for the last time. Freedom from the nest which was not very big meant they scampered round and round the area, chasing each other and kicking up their heels. It was endearing to watch from the house.
Before the mother left she tamped down the top of the nest with her paw, a signal I assume that they were not to go in there any more and had to fend for themselves.
 The photos are not too crisp after cropping but the cuteness is evident.
In all the running about these two came from different directions and crashed into each other with one rolling across the stones.
I've not seen any of the babies since Sunday when they left the nest but there is still a presence of bunnies throughout the gardens in concrete and iron, as well as this resin piece that hangs on the privacy fence of our deck sitting area.
~The best ending to a wildlife story is a mystery~
John and Janet Foster
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