Monday, May 25, 2015

Mosaic Monday #42 - Spring Blooms

Spring is evolving in leaps and bounds in the garden and a walk around in the morning with my camera produced some worthy blooms to share.
The unopened flowers of solomon's seal look like long toes dangling on an arching stem and the tiny flowers of viburnum lantana mimic a pincushion full of tiny yellow pin heads.
Forget-me-nots on the left and the similar blue flowers of a brunnera on the right.
The common lilac on the left is from a neighbour's yard but on the right is the result of 5 years of waiting for 'Beauty of Moscow' to finally flower. It was a catalogue order so you can imagine how small the shrub was when it arrived in the mail and each year the rabbits have pruned off the flowers until a few branches became too tall for them to reach.
There are a lot of pinks in the garden from the pelargonium on the top to the fading apple blossoms and a new tulip I planted last year.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tea on Thursday and My Garden Journal

This past winter with extremely cold temperatures day after day took its toll on my gardens. A couple of perennials have not returned, there are many dead branches in the trees and shrubs have died back considerably.
I was told the beauty berry could die back to the ground each winter but it usually did all right, it had to be cut back to a foot or so where leaves are now budding out.
The oak leaf mountain ash (seen here in autumn splendour with the berries) has so many dead branches that it looked quite sparse once leafed out.
  It's in bloom right now with big fluffy white flowers.
The crabapple in the backyard pulled through but there were a couple of years when it was in decline.  Since I've started fertilizing it with an organic granular feed, it's done much better.
It doesn't take long after strong winds for the ground to be covered in pink confetti.
A big disappointment is that both 'New Dawn' climbing roses have died back to the ground and will have to do their best to produce an abundance of flowers this summer. A good dose of sheep manure is good encouragement!
 The rhubarb is ready to be picked but I still had a couple of bags in the freezer so with strawberries on sale at the grocery store, I baked a strawberry rhubarb pie.
I should have brought out this teacup to use last week when I assembled my fairy gardens. It's 'Fairy Dell' from Spode. In my previous post I wrote about the Queen Victoria tea from Murchie's I recently purchased and I can see why it is a highly favoured tea.  
We went from hot and humid over the Victoria Day weekend to cool and windy with the gardens badly needing rain. I've been using the rain barrels for newly planted perennials but once they establish, they better put down deep roots to find moisture on their own. It's surprising how tough love can create self sufficient plants. 
How are your gardens faring? Any new and exciting plants this year?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mosaic Monday #41 - Queen Victoria's Birthday

Let me say first, you're not seeing things...last week's MM was numbered 41 as well which was an error on my part that I've now corrected. It was actually #40...must have been a senior's moment. :-)
The portrait of a young queen I photographed at a castle in Ireland.
In Canada we celebrate Victoria Day to honour Queen Victoria's birthday which is May 24. The holiday was first declared by the Province of Canada in 1845 to celebrate the queen's birthday and when she died in 1901, the day was named Victoria Day. The actual date can vary as it is legislated to be the Monday before May 24 occurs to create a long weekend. This year it's early.
Queen Victoria was Canada's sovereign during the confederation of 1867 and she had to consent to the creation of a new country. She is also credited for choosing Ottawa as our nation's capital.
Web source
Above is the way most of us remember Queen Victoria from photos. Since 1953, Victoria Day is also registered as the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. (her actual date is in April)
On the left is a Queen Victoria sponge cake that I'll be making again as soon as the strawberries are in next month. It can double for the perfect strawberry shortcake!
On the right is another new tea I've tried from Murchie's in BC. The description from their website reads: First blended in honour of Queen Victoria, this is one of Murchie's oldest blends: rich Darjeeling and Ceylon, smoky Lapsang Souchong and sweet Jasmine. I wasn't sure I'd like the smoky aspect but the reviews were promising and although it's different from the black blends I might normally drink, it is another fabulous tea.
If you're a Canadian blogger, have a happy Victoria Day weekend!
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tea on Thursday and my Garden Journal

Although it's turned cooler and we're getting much needed rain, last week we had summer temperatures. It was great for gardening and sipping tea by the pond in the tea house.
I've been working on creating my fairy gardens which have to be dismantled for winter and they take on a new look when being redone.
The dish fairy garden sits just outside the back door on the deck. It has to be rain proof and is kept close because these fairies and the tea set were expensive.
Under the apple tree isn't as elaborate this time for squirrels (or fairies) had a grand time moving things about and thieving shiny polished stones last year. The two tall aqua girls are from the Mary Cicely Barker flower fairy series.
Under the magnolia is a new garden using the teapot fairy house purchased at a garden seminar. While pruning dead branches from the oak leaf mountain ash an idea came to me so quite a few were stuck in the ground to create a magic forest. The forest is leafless as you can see but will hopefully  deter the squirrels from running through and knocking things over. So far, so good. 
The sweetest gal in the garden, viburnum 'Judii' begins with pink buds that fade to blush pink flowers and her fragrance can be smelled in a good deal of the back yard. I always look forward to her sweet scent each spring.
Back in the fall I ordered the Christmas blend of tea from Murchie's in Vancouver B.C.  It was superb in quality and taste so I tried another 3 flavoured teas recently and the Lavender black blend is very good. It tastes similar to an Earl Grey with only a subtle hint of lavender so I'm taking it on as my signature tea. :-) I'll show the other two over the next couple of weeks. I haven't been compensated for featuring Murchie's tea, I simply like it and highly recommend what I've tried so far.
When I brewed a pot of the lavender tea, I had leftover apple fritters from where we went for lunch that day and they were perfect for my afternoon tea by the pond in the tea house.
A view of the tea house in summer, a shady place to sip and chat with a friend.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mosaic Monday #40 - Precious Moments


I hope Mother's Day was a pleasant one for blogging sisters being honoured or celebrating your own mother.
I chose a few photos at random that show precious moments over the years with our two daughters and 6 grandchildren.


Each week I get a number of people thanking me for hosting Mosaic Monday. It is a pleasurable experience and I wish to throw out a big thank you to all who put their thinking caps on to create fascinating mosaics to share with myself and the other participants on Mondays.
Without you, there wouldn't be a party and I hope you'll visit someone new each week to say hello and leave a comment about their effort. 

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tea on Thursday and my Garden Journal

On Monday my friend Marilyn and I attended a Mother's Day Tea at Holly's Sweets and Treats. We signed up for the 3pm sitting and although Holly's is not a tea room, they put on a lovely afternoon tea.
This is our table with a tiered tray of sweets and savouries along with the teacup I used. Not shown is a smoked salmon on herbed cream cheese sandwich served separately and a lemon parfait at the end to cleanse the palate.
Marilyn and I posing and some of the items for sale at Holly's.
This is National Wildflower Week so I'm sharing what I have in bloom so far.
Geum triflorum (prairie smoke) on the left with Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh - oops put the berries in by mistake) on the top and Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot) on the bottom.
Uvularia grandiflora on the left and Trillium luteum on the right.
I put the oriole feeder out one afternoon and the very next morning there was one eating the grape jelly that sits in the well.
The garden is changing every day now, some things in better shape after such a cold winter while others have not fared so well. I never mourn a plant that dies or plain disappears, it leaves a spot for something new.
Happy Gardening!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mosaic Monday #39 - Signs of Spring



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