Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Going South

This past weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend for Canadians. Lots of fireworks have been booming in my neighbourhood for the past two evenings. Typically this is also the big gardening weekend for gardeners. It's the cut-off date when frost is no longer a danger to the plants. But two of the three days were not spent gardening ...

My family took advantage of the three-day weekend and headed south .... to Leamington, Ontario. Leamington is the southern-most point of Ontario. The purpose for our trip was to visit my husband's parents as his mom wanted to give my son his quilt. She has made a quilt for her four grandchildren, and my son's is the final quilt. We hopped into the truck and headed down the highway. Once we get past Toronto (ugh!) the drive is easy, if not a tad boring

The weather couldn't have been better. It did rain a bit on the four-hour drive down, but it had moved off by the time we arrived in Leamington. Leamington is the tomato capital of Canada, and this is where the Heinz factory is situated. I didn't take any photos in town, and really the only 'exciting' thing is the big tomato. But on Sunday morning we took a walk down to the pier on Lake Erie and enjoyed walking along there in the early morning mist.

It's a nice area down by the water, and the town has put in a huge garden with lots of park benches along the way. You can sit and watch those more fortunate as they leave the harbour for a day of fun on the waves.

There are private homes with property that comes right to the back of the town gardens (on the right of the photo below). Most of them look quite nice, but not my idea of having a home "on" the waterfront. They don't have any direct access to the water.

I liked this little tin boat with the promise of a garden to be planted inside it. I think it would have looked even better if the boat was wooden, but I guess the tin won't rot.

And beside this little boat is a very special red maple that was planted three years ago in May. We came down for the planting ceremony. It was planted to commemorate the 70th wedding anniversary of my husband's great aunt and uncle. Yes ... 70th!!

The plaque at the base of the tree.

Uncle Reid passed away in February of this year. I believe he was 99, and had been looking forward to celebrating his 100th birthday, but it was not to be. His wife Wilda is still living, but is not doing well with some form of dementia. But the day of this tree planting, they were both present and so happy! There was a big party for them afterwards.

Back at my in-laws' house, my son received his beautiful quilt made by his grandma.

Reading the embroidered panel on the back.

My affectionate son giving his surprised grandma a hug ;)

Grandma discussing the pattern and also how to care for his quilt.
 And here's the quilt! Isn't it beautiful! 
I just love the pattern, and it's going to look perfect on his bed. 
My son was really happy with it, and the colours suit him well.

This is the quilt that was on the guest room bed. Such a pretty quilt, also made by my mother-in-law.

We came home on Sunday, and I was able to spend a long day on Monday in the garden. It was hard work involving ripping out weeds, pulling out dead plants etc. etc. All of that continued today, but now it has clouded over and the wind is chilly so we're back indoors. I made great progress out there, but will show all of that another time. 

My son received his Japanese maple for his birthday yesterday, and that has been planted at the top of his pond. I think it'll be good in this spot. I'll show that another time too. I just don't have any photos of the garden stuff from the weekend.

Well, I have to run now, but thanks so much for stopping by! I'll be doing catch-up visits with everyone in the next few days.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, May 15, 2015

Five on Friday

I'm linking up with Amy of Love Made My Home for her Five on Friday this evening. Amy is unable to get a post up for today, but has very kindly set up the link for everyone to still join.

Here are five areas in my garden that I've been improving over the past couple of years:

1. The garden alongside the patio. I ripped out quite a few bushes last summer. I finally had to admit that there were a lot of bushes in my gardens that took a long time to trim, and I didn't love any of them. This garden had two such bushes, and I'm really pleased that the bleeding heart, hosta, ferns and astilbe have filled in so well. There's a really nice lily peeking up behind the hosta too, but it doesn't bloom till later in the summer. I still have a bit more space to fill up, but haven't decided on any plants for there just yet. 

I've spent many years collecting rocks from all over, and I line my gardens with the rocks. Sometimes, when no one is looking, I'll take the garden hose and water the rocks so that all their pretty colours suddenly come to life!! Such fun, but keep this to yourself so I don't sound like a nut ;)

The ferns have sprouted up new shoots this year, so I know they like this spot!

2.  The pond garden. Sigh. This is my son's pond, and he tells me not to do anything with 'his' garden. But he neglects the garden himself. For quite a few summers now, I've not been very happy with the way this area looks. I've put some annuals around, some grasses, hens and chicks, but nothing ever really survives here. This spot gets really hot all through the summer, so any plant that goes in here needs to be able to tolerate the heat. And I'm tired of waiting for my son to do something with it. This summer the gardens here are going to be kicked into shape!! 

My son is celebrating his birthday this weekend, and since he never reads my blog, I can tell you that one improvement here will be our gift to him of a Japanese maple to plant beside the pond. I think it will be OK in this garden because the stinky bush (more on that in No. 3) will shade the spot where the tree will go (where that log & pond electric box can be seen in the lower right corner). The maple is hiding beside my garden shed right now :)

Since this garden surrounds the patio, it needs to look better!

3. The stinky bush. I don't know what kind of bush this really is. I've sometimes looked for it in the garden centres, but have never seen another. The flowers really have an obnoxious odour to them, and in the fall the leaves have the same horrid smell. But despite all that, the flowers are in bloom for only a short time, and this bush has a nice shape. Most importantly it hides my neighbour's dining room window which looks directly onto our patio (we also put up some lattice boards to block their window ... see first photo in No. 1). It's now up as high as the roof, and I've noticed that where I have trimmed it back, the leaves are bigger and bushier. I've considered trimming the centre of it, but can't reach it very well. I have to keep trimming it so that people coming in the back gate don't walk into the branches.

All the white blossoms you see are part of the stinky bush.

4. Bleeding hearts do really well in my yard in the springtime. Some of them were in gardens that got too much sun, and they were dying off half-way through the hot summer. Finally, I tore them all up from the areas that were too hot and transplanted them to shady areas. This spot is in a north corner outside our kitchen window. Nothing much will grow here, and when I moved the bleeding hearts to this spot, I just let them alone and allowed them to spread. They've done fantastic here, and I really like how well they have filled up this once vacant garden. The low green ground cover beneath them was transplanted as well. I can't remember what it's called, but it has a purple flower. I'm quite happy that both the transplants continue to get better every year.

Below is another bleeding heart that was transplanted and doing great. It gets a little bit of sun in the morning, then shade for the rest of the day. It's under the canopy of the pine tree, so it gets a lot of needles dumped around (and on) it. More of the ground cover and hosta was transplanted here too.

5. This is the north garden beside the patio. This area needs some revamping. I used to have lambs ear in this space together with the hosta, but my husband hates lambs ear, and I finally tore it all out (although it was doing well, it was actually growing out into the patio stones). Lambs ear never quits. I'm finding tiny little sprouts every spring even though I ripped it all out a couple of years ago now. I have Solomon's seal here now, but it doesn't like this spot very well, and I'm going to move it. There's a mock orange bush here on the left too ... you can just see a tiny branch in the top left corner. It's going to be chopped because every year it gets aphids and looks horrendous. There's a lilac a little further to the left and that will fill in this space eventually. So I need to come up with new plants for this garden too. The lenten rose is in the bottom right corner. I don't know if this plant is supposed to spread, but it's looked the same for about four years now.

This is another group of Solomon's seal alongside the fence ... you can see how well it does there! I thought this plant did well in shade, but here along the fence it gets sun almost all day long. Perhaps I'll move the other bunch over here too. I love this plant, it's so sturdy and it never looks ragged.

... and since No. 3 wasn't really an improvement, but just a bush, I'm adding No. 6!

6. This is a little corner of the yard that used to have my compost box. I moved the box out of here since it was too shady. Then I filled in the corner with some good earth, some ferns and hosta. There's a Virginia bluebell that got transplanted here too (but I didn't transplant it, and I had originally planted it about 15 feet over). Weird. I don't know if this is the best spot for the bluebell ... but it's mostly shady here. I had a bucket of rocks that were just dug up in the gardens here. I kept throwing them into a bucket and then thought they would make a nice addition to this garden. The pile needs cleaning up again (I see a fern has sprouted up there so I'll move that), but the rocks looked a little like the dry creek beds that people add to their gardens. I'll work a bit more on this space this summer. My large lilac overhangs this area, but it's not shown in the photo.

And that's it! Well, that's all I'm showing you today ;) The more I look at my gardens, the more I see that needs "fixing". There are iris to move, dead bushes to chop out, lavender hedge to revive ... sigh ... and only three and a half months to get it all sorted!!

Thanks for stopping by today!


up close and stinky ... yes, stinky bush blossoms!

a beautiful pink geranium that I kept in my kitchen all winter :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

This Week in the Garden

The pretty things are starting to show up in my gardens now ...


bleeding hearts

bleeding hearts ... drained of blood

"stinky bush" ... each of these little buds holds a powerful stink!

astilbe ... scented!

ferns ... ahhhhh

miniature yellow rose ;)
Virginia bluebells (mom's)


lenten rose

lilacs ... can't wait!

Solomon's seal


 Every day is bringing changes ... don't you just love Spring!

Thanks for stopping by today,