Wednesday, July 5, 2017

🌺🌼 The Garden of Life 🌷🌻

🌸
Life is a garden
Tend it with care
And plant lovely flowers
To bloom everywhere
Flowers of kindness
And warm thoughtfulness 
The kind that bring pleasure
And spread happiness
Cultivate friendship
The forever kind
Let love be the sunshine
 And surely you'll find
That your garden will flourish
And blessings impart
And the most beautiful flowers
Will bloom in your heart

💜

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I ♥️ Butterflies 🦋

I have always loved butterflies and frankly, there is a small one in flight tattooed on my right ankle. It serves as a pretty jewelry-like reminder of how special these 'flying flowers' are.
“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued is always beyond our grasp, 
but if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
~Nathaniel Hawthorne~
I have a few reference books on butterfly and caterpillar ID but when I was asked to review the book below on Butterflies, I was only too happy to do so.
As you can see by the cover, the author is Erin Gettler, a naturalist, writer, photographer and artist. A number of the photos in the book are her own.
There is an excellent 'Butterflies by Region' chart at the front of the book and thinking it would cover north America as I live in Ontario, Canada I was disappointed that the chart is for the US with a column for western provinces combined with Alaska. 
Colour photos feature specific butterflies and an occasional caterpillar instar stage. What was missing was an open wing, as well as closed wing photo for each butterfly to make identification easier. A written 'how do I identify' section was helpful but in the field most people would want a quick referral to photos. 
 From my files - Monarch (female)...
and a Viceroy. Similar but distinctive markings to tell them apart. 
From my files - If you look carefully at the eyes on the bottom of the partially opened wing you'll see four eyes that tell me this is a Painted Lady.
In a closed wing shot you can see the two eyes that tell this is an American Lady.
In the book host (for eggs and caterpillars) plants and nectar suggestions are listed under the section 'how to attract them'. A good example from my garden is the host plant pearly everlasting which American Lady butterflies reliably lay eggs on every spring. Above you can see in the top left the webbing and caterpillar frass on the plant identifying an egg has hatched. In the centre is the last instar stage of the caterpillar before it forms a chrysalis (bottom left).
The 'where to find them' section describes the habitat preferred by each butterfly and for the American Lady sunny natural spaces like meadows and roadsides are recommended.
Under 'lifecycle', generations, general caterpillar info and migration is covered. 
Overall the book is a fairly good guide but not for the experienced butterfly enthusiast. I feel the Latin name for each species could have been included as various regions call butterflies by different names which is true of flowers as well.
The book will be a great starter ID that I'll give my grandchildren and if they should want to become more involved, I have other books to recommend. 
The opinions in this review are solely my own and I thank Cool Springs Press for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Life in the Fast Lane

I've been absent from the blogging world; busy gardening and living life to the fullest. 
Baptisia 'Lemon Merengue'
Therefore, posts will be sporadic throughout summer and winding down by year end. Yes, I've decided this is it for me. The blog was an enhancement to my writing days of a newspaper column and magazine articles but I retired from all that, including teaching gardening seminars at the end of 2016. 
I've become a lazy blogger, reading, often not commenting and find the communication through FB and IG are quicker to fulfil my needs these days. (and both have a like button💙)
My woodland garden, woodland phlox, 'Lemon Lace' elderberry and a vibrant purple Siberian iris.
I've set in motion the cancellation of my extra Google storage and by December will terminate my .com address. My blog designer said I can still post periodically if I  do these things: "All your links in the navigation bar should be changed to reflect the blogspot address or they won't work anymore. The .com domain should be removed from the blog as well. Once that is done everything will function as as always, but with the old blogspot address, and if you should ever want to do a periodic post your followers will still be able to find you."
I've figured out how to remove the .com domain from the blog but does anyone know how to change the links in the navigation bar for when I need to do this? Never say never - just in case.
We attended a wonderful outdoor wedding last weekend at a country inn with background music supplied by the above harpist. Her music was on an iPad with a special pedal to turn the page - such is technology! 
Dinner was inside this huge tent with lots of twinkling lights strung above and heaters to take out the night air chill. The weather was perfect, food and company as well.
I made a lemon merengue pie from scratch this week, labour intensive but so delicious. The recipe came from a Canadian born woman now living in England who posts her recipes on The English Kitchen FB page.
Many of the bloggers I follow I'm already friends with on FB or IG and although there is a corresponding FB page to this blog, it will likely go at year end as well.  I'm now hosting a community gardening FB group and am one of the admins for our garden club page. I can't believe how much information and sharing is done in the community FB groups, including my church. 
I'll be back soon with a book review on gardening for butterflies and until then...
Take Time for Tea

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

With spring blossoms comes pink snow. Not really, but it sure looked like it had snowed on the ground and plants when a strong wind began to blow the petals from the dwarf crabapple tree.

Rather pretty at this stage until they turn brown and start to decompose but I won't show you that when it happens. Pretty things, happy thoughts...
New red maple leaves backlit by the sun caught my attention one morning - one of life's magic moments.
I took these photos with my phone while at our garden club plant sale at the arboretum.  I told hubby I wouldn't mind some of the wild lilacs from the bushes growing in the upper meadow. 
What a sweet guy, he brought home enough to fill two vases. Above is the one that ended up on the kitchen table.

You can imagine the fragrance throughout the house.
While parking my car for a class I busted this little beast, a pileated woodpecker, digging a huge hole in a beautifully carved tree. 
 We've had enough rain this spring that the backyard is starting to look like a jungle. This peony is about four feet tall, double what it was last year! My, it will be June 1 tomorrow already.
Happy Gardening everyone and...
Take time for tea

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Garden Blooms and Rhubarb Custard Pie

It's an exciting time in the garden with the trees taking turns showing off their pretty blooms. With all the rain we got in April, the display has been awesome. 
These pink tulips were sold as a fundraiser for the Ontario Horticultural Association a few years ago and I'm glad they're still coming back.
A small raised bed in the front, not hard to tell I favour pink tulips, is it? 
Now the red and white ones lining the front walkway were planted last fall so they'd bloom for Canada's 2017, 150th celebration.
For over a week viburnum 'Judii' on the left has been perfuming the backyard while the Virginia bluebells have been lighting up a corner of the rock garden.
Here's an interesting planter I just picked up, a concrete log. I've put 'Red Dragon' hens and chicks in it for now but any number of succulents would work well. There isn't a drainage hole so I may have to ask hubby drill one. 
It didn't take long for the cardinals to figure out there was wriggling meal worms in the aqua dish and they perch on the side and eat them all in one sitting. The poor chickadees aren't getting any now.
At our daughter's home she hung a small bird feeder on the wall and it immediately became a nest for  a mourning dove. When we saw her fly off I quickly took a photo of the eggs. 
I had been seeing comments by blogging sister Vee about rhubarb custard pie and when asked, she kindly pointed me to the recipe she uses. I compared it to the one in my Ms American Pie book and decided to go with it as there was less sugar used and a somewhat different method of preparation. I'm sure both of our pies tasted the same in the end. Vee made an inspiring lattice top for hers but I seldom use a crust on top of my pies and made the usual crumble topping which we like.  It was delicious and one I'll be sure to make again soon as more rhubarb is about ready to be pulled.
Is rhubarb custard pie one you've made before? 
Take time for tea

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Catching Up Over Tea

Thank you to all who read my previous post product review and agreed that a bucket has many uses!
Make yourself a cup of tea and we can catch up for a few minutes.
The weather has been perfect for doing outside work and our biggest project was fixing and rearranging the deck after selling our hot tub.
 The view through the kitchen grandma door with the hot tub.
The same area, opened up with the wooden privacy panels removed and glass like the rest of the deck added. I'm still working on setting things up.
It was even warm enough to  have afternoon tea outside one day.
Looking out the big window at the back of the kitchen I was taken by the tranquil scene of the pond and serviceberry in bloom, which will soon be followed by the crabapple. I'm still putting out mealworms and there is one chickadee who is not afraid to complain when the dish is empty. He looks in the dish, then in the window - back to the dish, window, and chatters the whole time. 
A couple of entries from my garden in the garden club spring flower show and tea, both award winners. It was nice that the weather this spring was accommodating so I could enter quite a few tulips and daffodils.
I am grateful for the tea and flower themed Mother's Day gifts I received. I hope everyone was able to spend time with family to celebrate. 
Speaking of family ... above is our SIL's windshield after a wild turkey flew into it on the highway. During mating season there are a number of vehicle collisions with them and luckily no-one was injured other that some glass spray here.
Granddaughter Emma prettied up for an outing with hair and makeup done by her older sister. With technology I erased the boo boo on her right knee because that's what Grandmas can do. :-)
Take time for tea.

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