Friday, June 03, 2016

Five on Friday .... June Garden

Joining up with Amy of Love Made My Home for Five on Friday today. I didn't take any photos of my garden in May when the flowers started coming up, so missed the opportunity for some lovely shots of tulips and my lilacs in their prime. These photos were taken this morning ...

One ... Iris!
A new iris that I picked up last spring ...

The only variety of iris blooming this year from my mom's plants ...

Last August I transplanted all my mom's iris into my front gardens to give them better sun exposure and drainage. I was losing them to some kind of rot. This year the leaves are much larger and healthier looking, but none of them have bloomed. I hope they will continue to improve and next spring I will hopefully see them blooming again. For now I have only two varieties in bloom.

The spiky leaves above and below the wall are Mom's iris
(you can see my suffering lavender to the right as well!)

Two ... Columbine!

This is my favourite combination of columbine colours. I used to have a larger variety of this flower, but over the years it died out. Now I have only dwarf varieties of columbine, which aren't as nice because you can't see that pretty flower shape as well. 

Apparently, if you let columbine self seed, they will continue to come up for many years. If you dead head them, however, the plant will last only about three years. Mine usually self-seed, but I do cut off the ugly dried up stalks when the flowers are finished and shake the seeds out of the flower heads onto the ground for next year.

dwarf columbine

Three ... Flowering Shrubs!

My backyard is still filled with the scent of lilacs. I have one enormous purple lilac and then two smaller bushes from Mom. This white lilac is really growing up beautifully and it smells amazing. I planted this to replace a mock orange bush which always gets consumed by aphids. I think this summer will be the last year for the mock orange as the aphids are already on it. I'm just waiting for it to bloom one last time (the scent is heavenly!) and then that will be it :(  Oh well, this lilac will be a happy substitute.

the last blooms of my enormous lilac
Korean Lilac that I purchased a couple of years ago. A very sharp scent. I hope it grows taller before it grows any wider!

Korean Lilac

I can't remember the name of this pretty flowering shrub, but it blooms well although there is no scent.

The weigela has only just come into bloom this week. A delicate pink/white bloom.

Four ... Ferns!

My ferns come back bigger and fuller each year. I love the smell of ferns, and these beauties are beside my patio and around the little pond. The sun looks so nice on them in the morning. When it gets really hot and dry in the summertime I have to water them a bit and the tops of the fronds get a bit burnt.

This year I found some Japanese ferns at my gardening centre. I couldn't resist. I have wanted one of these for a long time. I may have bit off more than I can chew with this monster though. It's called "Godzilla" and is expected to grow up to 3 feet and 4 - 6 feet wide! We'll see what happens. I don't have a lot of shade for the ferns, so squeezed it in with my other ferns alongside the house. It looks great now that I've got it into the soil ... it was pretty sad looking when I brought it home.

Five ... Miscellaneous!

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

Solomon's Seal

Solomon's Seal

New "Blue Hawaii" hostas :)

Clematis just unfurling this morning

Potted Pansies
Have a great weekend ;)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rouge River Paddle

Last weekend was a long weekend here in Ontario, and my husband and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and took our canoe up the Rouge River in Pickering. We were quite surprised at how nice it was!

The trees are still sorting themselves out and some were still not in full leaf, but they created a springtime gentleness to the landscape.

Along the way was saw this old chimney made from field stones. I imagine at one time someone had a small cabin or cottage on the shore here. There are massive modern homes overlooking parts of the river, but for the most part the area is just left wild.

I was concerned that there would be a lot of garbage along the water and shores, but it was surprisingly clean! The water itself was very murky, and there was no way I was going to step into it to get into the canoe. I distrust that murk ... leeches creep me out. We paddled along for about an hour up the river and when we encountered very shallow water and small rapids (and no visible portage around them), we turned around and had an easy paddle down river (downhill all the way back).

There were lots of birds flitting through the trees, and we saw an abundance of Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and small shore birds.

Male Oriole

Female Oriole


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Spotted Sandpiper

The tiny sandpipers were my favourites. I'm not familiar with a lot of water birds, and I looked these up when I got home. These tiny birds are classified as the "Peeps" of sandpipers. They were so sweet, about the size of a sparrow with long beaks and legs. So delicate and dainty as they stepped quickly and lightly through the shallow water on the shore to pick out treats from the water. They weren't shy at all and we were able to get very close to them.

Least Sandpiper

The Rouge River empties into Lake Ontario, so we paddled right out to the lake and then stopped to stretch our legs on the beach. As you can see, there are nuclear silos in the distance. I live sandwiched between two nuclear power plants ... a comforting thought :[

Lake Ontario with Pickering Nuclear Power Station in distance.

Have a great day!


Monday, May 09, 2016

Crafting with the Kids

Thank you for all your comments on my post for Mother's Day! I should have mentioned in that post that my mother passed away five years ago, but I still like to wish her a Happy Mother's Day as well. She will forever be in my heart, and it was so kind of some of you to say she looked nice. She was about 82 in the photo, and it was one of the last spring times that she was able to spend at their country property before she and my dad moved into town a couple of years later.

I myself had a wonderful day yesterday, although it is never celebrated as "Mother's Day" here. I guess I've had a few words to say about this to my family in the past, and my very sweet 18 year old son gave me this lovely ink print of a loon for Mother's Day. He knows loons are very special to me.

He had picked it up at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) in Toronto during a school field trip last week. He often is the only one who recognizes the day for me with a card or a gift, which I very much appreciate. My husband and I went for another short walk through Thickson Wood in the morning, and then we took a sandwich down to the lake and sat watching the waterbirds as we ate our lunch. This is often how we spend a nice weekend, but even so, it was a nice day.

Last week I assisted my daycare kids in making a gift for their own mothers. This idea is all over Pinterest, and I was happy for the inspiration!

We used some pre-framed canvas from the dollar store (such a great price compared to the big craft store chain here). These frames are I believe 11 x 15 (can't quite remember now). I used really wide masking tape to tape the letters "L" and "E" directly onto the canvas. To make them a little more rough and juvenile looking, I carefully ripped a thin strip off all the edges of the tape. I got it started by snipping in a little bit on the edges. I think it looked much better than perfectly straight lines. 

We took these outdoors and with small paint sponges I let the kids paint the canvas with just a few colours. We set them aside to dry in the sun for a bit (I used acrylic paints, so they dry in about 10 minutes in the sun). Then the "fun part" came (ugh!!) with painting their very ticklish little feet and hands and getting the imprint on top of the painted canvas. I used white paint to get it to match the letters. I found after the first attempt that it is best to load the paint quite heavily on the child's hand or foot to get a thick coverage stamped on the painting. I also had a bucket of warm water, a soft cloth and a towel ready to get those painted hands and feet cleaned right away before they got paint everywhere! It went fairly well, but there were a lot of orders being issued by me to prevent painting disaster. These kids are both two years old and extremely energetic! Once it had all dried again, I carefully peeled up the masking tape to reveal the white letters. I haven't heard yet if they were a success with the mom's, but I personally would have loved to have a set of these with my kids' little hands and feet! My son now has a size 11 shoe, so I'm not sure how cute that would look anymore ;)

Enjoy your day folks
and thanks for stopping by!