January 2018
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  • house at christmas
  • Another Gardening Season is Over

    It’s kind of sad and yet kind of fun. Well, that’s the way it is with us gardeners. We have to be the most optimistic people in the world. Even if this year was a disappointment what with too little or too much rain, insects, critters etc. making our lives miserable, we plan and dream of the perfect garden we will have next year.

    Charlie will have to do one more mowing before cleaning the mower and putting it up for the winter. Then we will have to fertilize the shrubs and trees. We’re trying it this year in the hope of having less work next Spring. We’ll see.

    This year I planted asparagus, rhubarb, 2 types of blueberries, several strawberry plants and tomatoes. The asparagus and blueberries won’t be ready for eating for another couple of years, the rhubarb should give us a crop next Spring. The tomatoes failed miserably so I’m giving up on them. 

    I’ve planted much more for the shade garden such as goatsbeard, astilbe, lady’s mantle, bleeding heart, ferns etc. I’d like to build some kind of trellis for climbing plants. Oh, I have so many dreams. I transplanted the Tiger Eye Sumac suckers in a couple of the beds. I love that shrub/tree because it is beautiful from Spring to late Fall. The foliage is so vibrant and changes colour throughout the year from chartreuse to yellow to orange and red before dropping its leaves. 

    The Golden Elder I bought as a little bare-root plant has grown into a nice little tree. In Spring it was covered with lovely white blossoms which turned into berries. Late summer when the berries had turned a very dark purple, I harvested them and make Elderberry Syrup. It is fabulous over ice cream or pancakes. As well, it is highly nutritious and has been used forever by native people to ward off colds and flu.

    The rose hips were disappointing this year whereas last year they were wonderful. So, you can never tell with nature. What’s awesome this year could be a dud next year. But 2017 was the year of the elderberry. It was also the year of the cones. Every conifer sent out cones of every shape and size. It was like Mother Nature having multiple births. It was weird. 

    The autumn colors were very disappointing. Normally we’d have a burst of colour – a feast for the eyes – everybody’s favourite time of year. Not this year. It was so strange – maybe just 25% of the color we have been accustomed to. Nobody talked about it much but we all noticed it. And I just saw that we’re expecting snow Thursday night and Sunday. I don’t mind. Less work. I can stay inside guilt-free enjoying just being and watching endless movies.

    And that pretty much is my year in revue, the garden edition. Next, the Christmas Season – always a fun time. Thank you for reading my little blog.


    A Lovely Day for a Mow

    Winter Has Begun

    Believe it or not, I’m glad. I hope we get mountains of snow. Anything is better than that terrible drought we had last summer. 

    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

    I never thought I’d be so glad to see white again

    Last Visit to the Lower Garden

    Since virtually nobody ever reads my blog, I am posting these pictures I took only yesterday. We felt it would probably be the last time this season we’ll be able to go down the hill before the snow and ice take over.
    It is my all-time favourite place. I feel so peaceful when I’m down there. The world and all its cares just disappear.
    Next Spring, once the frost is out of the ground we can start creating that rain garden, take some chairs and tables down, plant out some new trees and shrubs.
    Some day I’d like to build a Japanese tea house somewhere on this enchanted plot of land.


    Two large burn piles. Charlie and Ralph will be doing this once there is a layer of snow . That way the burn is safe and won’t spread.


    Two piles ready to be burned.


    Over the last 7 1/2 years, Charlie cleared the entire acre of huge ugly Manitoba trees, bushes and scrub singlehandedly. He is in such great shape, he’d put men 20 years younger to shame. Make that 30. I think it’s all that back-breaking work that put him in this shape. Now the trick is to stay in shape over the long winter. Well, there is shoveling snow but that’s not nearly enough.

    img_4888 img_4889 img_4891 img_4893 img_4894 img_4895

    More Misty Mornings in October

    I wish this time of year could last for at least a couple more months. It is so wonderful outside. I don’t have to go far – just step out the front door and there it is.

    rose hips

    rose hips

    fallen tree, lilacs and maple

    fallen tree, lilacs and maple


    Burning Bush

    Burning Bush


    birch, spruce and maples

    birch, spruce and maples


    Maples in the Morning Mist


    Thanksgiving is Almost Here

    This is always the most beautiful time of year. Summers here are usually way too hot, especially this last summer. I hate being sweaty and uncomfortable. Working in the garden can only be done for a short time since the heat just drains you.

    Ah, but autumn is here. I look forward to this time of year – all year long. It’s a pity it isn’t longer. The leaves are turning those magnificent colors – everything from gold to orange and vivid red. It’s a feast for the eyes. The temperatures are so comfortable, it’s good to be alive.

    The second Monday in October is Thanksgiving Day. It is so appropriately named. The harvest is in, the colors of the trees are eye candy, the temperatures are ideal and there isn’t any of that crazy present buying. In fact, we don’t exchange gifts except maybe something small and fun. We buy what we need for each other during the year.

    This year I made rose hip jelly from the hips growing on my rosebush. It’s labor intensive but worth it and in the rush you get all this terrific vitamin C. I also made elderberry syrup. It was my first time but it won’t be my last. I like it a lot. Maybe I’ll try making elderberry wine next year. It’s just that I don’t care for the fermenting berries or grapes or anything fermenting.  Well, I’ll think about that next year. Meanwhile, here are a few photos from my garden. More will come, I’m sure.

    Steps and bench

    Steps and bench

    Maples and lilac

    Maples and lilac

    Hydrangeas and Coleus

    Hydrangeas and Coleus

    Elms and Maples

    Elms and Maples

    Coniferous and Deciduous

    Coniferous and Deciduous



    A Little Good News Despite Drought

    It’s been a very disappointing season. There are people who say this is the new normal. I hope not. However, I am taking a different stance on gardening. Since I have to depend on rain water for the garden, I have to get a lot smarter with the way we use it. OK, the cistern is very large but it gets fed by rainwater gathered on the roof and funneled into the tank. No rain, eventually the tank will be empty.

    So, plants that need very little water or have deep roots and therefore able to fend for themselves in time. Trees and evergreens come to mind. For annuals, keep them in pots and planters. So, now I will hunt for perfect planters.

    Also, anything in the Sedum family. They are succulents and are great at absorbing water and retaining it in their leaves.

    Also, plants with silver foliage. I have no idea why but they tend to hold up much better in a drought. For example, lamb’s ears and Artemisia to name two. They won’t necessarily thrive in a drought but they will stay alive until the next rainfall.

    For shade gardening I love ferns, coral bells, hostas, Solomon’s Seal, bleeding heart, forget-me-not, etc. It’s easier to water these as they don’t dry up as quickly as those in full sun.

    For the window boxes, the coleus really shone. They have such brilliant foliage, you never miss the flowers. I bought them at a nursery. I will overwinter these to replant in Spring. They put on such a great show and don’t need special treatment to make a wonderful display.coleus coleus2 coleus3 coleus4

    The Summer of the Drought

    I just looked and discovered I hadn’t posted anything for exactly two months. Since my last post we have had the worst heat and drought that I can remember. All my plants are looking worse for wear. Some of them are on life support. My youngest trees look really bad and have lost most of their leaves. One of them is in danger of dying.

    It has been a vicious summer with endless blistering heat and very little rain. Although I have a large tank, it needs to be refilled occasionally. Since there was so little rain, I had to carefully distribute that wonderful liquid over all my beds and window boxes. I started to worry about my well. What will happen if that runs dry?

    Last Saturday, it rained all day for at least 12 hours. Yes, I am somewhat relieved. Still, we need more – much more of the wet stuff to put the drought behind us. “No Fire” posters are all over the area. That means no open flames of any kind.

    We are expecting more rain tomorrow, so they say. We’ll see.

    A Walk in my Garden


    Back porch in the early morning

    Not much to say today. It’s quite warm – in the 80’s F. Took a few pictures and here they are:

    Native to mountain areas in central and southern Europe, Rosa glauca is a species rose that is grown in gardens today for its attractive glaucous purple foliage and its tiny, soft pink flowers

    Native to mountain areas in central and southern Europe, Rosa glauca is a species rose that is grown in gardens today for its attractive glaucous purple foliage and its tiny, soft pink flowers


    Peonies in full bloom

    Fabulous, dramatic white fleeceflower great for back of border. Meant for northern gardens. Mine is Zone 4a.

    Fabulous, dramatic white fleeceflower great for back of border. Meant for northern gardens. Mine is Zone 4a.


    Chipmunk on Elm

    A beautiful large shrub or small tree. Can grow to 12 feet.

    Sutherland Gold Elderberry. A beautiful large shrub or small tree. Can grow to 12 feet.

    Fabulous, dramatic white fleeceflower great for back of border

    Giant White Fleeceflower. Fabulous, dramatic white fleeceflower great for back of border

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