Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Marigold Blooming Frenzy

The petunias have been laid to rest but the marigolds are still hanging on. Nothing so far has disturbed them. No matter what type of day they face (sunny, cloudy, dry, rainy, warm or cold), they keep growing and flowering in spite of it.

It’s hard to believe that all of the marigolds under my kitchen window all began as tiny little plants that looked like this:

And now look like this:

It’s astonishing how much they’ve grown.

I know that it’s a matter of time before the temperature drops to a level that will put an abrupt end to these amazing plants, but for now I’m enjoying this wonderful blooming frenzy.

I’m looking forward to growing these amazing plants again next year. They’ll always have a place in my garden.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Look What The Debit Card Dragged In

People like me should not take along a debit card when heading out to places that sell plants or plant-type merchandise or anything remotely relating to plants or gardening. Better yet, people like me shouldn’t even have a debit card. Or a credit card. Or even cash.

Because if people like me end up in a place that sells plants or plant-type merchandise or anything remotely relating to plants or gardening and we have a debit card or a credit card of cash in our possession at that very moment, BAM, we end up taking home a plant or plant-type merchandise or something relating to plants or gardening.

Like spring bulbs!

Yes folks, I did it. I went out yesterday, like I said I would, and picked up some spring bulbs. And for those of you who are curious, this is what I got:

And despite the fact that I had a debit card and some cash on me, I wasn’t that bad. I managed to stick to only two types of spring flowers, give or take ten bulbs. The daffodils went without saying; I was definitely going to pick some up. But the tulips are a different story. I had no intention on buying tulip bulbs. In fact, tulips are not even on my list of favourites. I mean they’re really nice and all. And I don’t dislike them or anything. They just don’t do much for me. Whenever I see them, I always think “Meh. They’re okay” I think they’re overused and overrated. Of course, that’s just my personal opinion. In any case, I prefer daffodils, as common as they may be.

“So then why did you buy some tulip bulbs, water roots lady?”

Because I’ve never grown tulips. Yes, that’s the reason. It’s not a very good reason to pick up bulbs, especially when they’re not even favourites, but I’m really curious to try my hand at them.

Look at the bright side; I may learn to appreciate tulips a lot more when they thrive under my care. If they fail, well, that’s a different story.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I’ve Got Bulbs On The Brain

Damn it! I’ve caught spring bulb fever.

I swore I wasn’t going to consider planting them. I promised myself I’d wait until the garden is planned and settled before I even thought about them. Like maybe next year. Yeah, next year would be the best time because I’d be better prepared for them.

And, you know, I was certain that I could fight the temptation that I knew was coming, even believed I could shrug it off.

But then they began to appear everywhere. I mean everywhere. At the garden centers, supermarkets, department stores, even convenience shops (okay, I’m exaggerating with the convenience stores but only slightly). At first I was doing fine; I was able to walk right by them. But how much temptation can one garden-loving individual handle? I can’t go anywhere without a package of them staring me right in the face. Oh, all those colours...

Photo from SXC

I’m weak, I tell you. Weak.

So today I’m going to go out and pick up some spring bulbs because I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I have to get some. Have to. I will try to pick up a small amount, oh, let’s say about 20 bulbs or so. Hopefully less than that. That’s it. No more. I swear. And just one type, perhaps daffodils. Yes, just daffodils. Okay, maybe just one other one. Maybe. BUT THAT’S IT! I mean it.

We’ll just have to see what happens when I get out there...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Time For Those Undesirable Garden Jobs

This week I’m going to concentrate on one of the things I hate most about the fall season: the shutting down of the garden. Even though I don’t intend on removing the flowers under my kitchen window that are still going strong until the cold weather kicks in and knocks them out, I will be cleaning out the annuals growing in containers that are pretty much done.

Here’s a sad autumn look:

It’s hard to believe that these containers were filled with thriving petunias not too long ago.


I’m already counting the days until next spring.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Delightful Miniature Roses

Even though I was reluctant at first to try my hand at miniature roses (because I’d never grown them in the past and never cared all that much for them), I went ahead and planted some pretty yellow ones (that I just couldn’t resist at the garden centre) under my kitchen window. And hoped for the best.


It’s been almost two months since that ‘what-the-heck;-let’s-try-our-hand-at-growing-mini-roses’ day and I only have one thing to say:

What in the world was I waiting for?

Not only have my miniature roses survived under my care; they have thrived. I am flattered. And thrilled. And so tempted to run out and buy a dozen of them. Just to stroke my gardening ego.

But despite the temptation (for the ego stroking), I will not be adding any more miniature roses to the garden because I’d like to leave room for (many) other plants. For now, I will enjoy (until the harsh weather kicks in) the two lovely plants that are blooming almost daily under my kitchen window.

Here are some photos of the happy campers:

Aren’t they just delightful?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On The First Day Of Autumn... oven baked for me...
An awe-some
Fall re-ci-pe

Okay, technically it’s not the first day of autumn (right?) and I’m not the best poet. But it is the beginning of the fall season and I’ve caught the autumn baking bug, which, lucky for you, means that I’m eager to share a recipe of one of the season’s most delightful treats that I made recently.

So hold on to your oven mitts folks because I’m just about to post a recipe that will make your taste buds explode with satisfaction. One warning though: make sure to keep your windows closed when you’re preparing this scrumptious treat because if the aroma drifts outside your home you’ll have the entire neighbourhood (strays included) salivating at your front door, begging to be let in!

Drum roll please...

Presenting the one and only delicious, mouthwatering, divine, heavenly, lip smacking, delectable, to die for PUMPKIN BREAD!

”Oh, my! And how do you make this delicious, mouthwatering, divine, heavenly, lip smacking, delectable, to die for pumpkin bread, water roots lady?”

Well, I’m gonna tell you that right now...

HOW TO MAKE (delicious, mouthwatering, divine, heavenly, lip smacking, delectable, to die for) PUMPKIN BREAD


3 ½ cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup corn oil (I use canola)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup water
1 15 oz can pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not the pie filling type)

1) Preheat oven to 350ยบ.

2) In an extra large bowl beat sugar & oil on medium speed. Add eggs; beat well.

3) Add pumpkin. Beat until everything is well mixed.

3) In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. Add dry mixture and water alternately to sugar mixture, beating on low speed.

4) Spoon batter into greased loaf pans.

(Optional: Lick whatever batter is left in the mixing bowl while the bread is baking to help prevent self-combustion. The aroma may just kill you while you wait.)

5) Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7) Cool in pans for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from pans, let cool completely. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, then cut into slices and serve.



And just for the record:

I will not take credit for this recipe. My daughter brought it home from school about 2 years ago. A mother of one of her classmates sent her child to school with a few slices of pumpkin bread that she (or was it he?) shared with everyone. The kids loved it so much that she wrote out the recipe, made lots of photocopies and gave each child (and some teachers) a copy to take home.

That cool mom shared this awesome recipe with me and now I’m sharing it with all of you.


And pass it on.

Monday, September 21, 2009

They Call Him Mr. Inski

Until I moved here and got a daily glimpse of one, I never realized how much of a busybody a chipmunk can be. Of all the animals that come into my backyard, this furry little rodent is possibly the snoopiest. Whenever I fill up the basket hanging from the tree trunk, POOF, he appears within minutes of my walking away. When I finish watering or working on the flowers under the kitchen window, POOF, he comes over to investigate as soon as I’m at a safe distance. If I’m filling up the bird feeders, POOF, he’s sitting on the fence watching me. Even if I’m just sitting on the deck reading a book or having a coffee, POOF, he will climb up the stairs, get as close to me as he dares and check me out. I can just hear those wheels turning in his little head: “What’s she doing? Any goodies around? Has she added anything new?” I swear he must be watching my house with binoculars from his place, just waiting for me to step outside.

I enjoy watching this ball of energy that is highly entertaining and overly inquisitive. He darts through the birds as they’re eating and scares them to death. He runs across the fence at an impressive speed to get to the goodies I offer. He dashes across the lawn to reach the feeding areas first. He sniffs everything. Investigates everything. And eats everything. This frenzied critter is in constant motion, always in search of food, all over the place and into everything. There’s no doubt that he’s a nuisance to all the other backyard visitors by constantly getting in their way or under their feet (or wings).

And because of all that, my husband announced during one of our evening walks that he’d decided to name our chipmunk “Mr. Inski”

“Mr. Inski?” I asked.

“Yeah” He said with a smile. “First name butt”

Mr. Butt Inski. :~)

Har har har... You gotta love a man with this type of sense of humour.

And for those of you unfamiliar with this term, here’s an explanation:

(Definition of buttinski: a person (or in this case animal) that is constantly butting in or meddling in the affairs of other people (or in this case animals).

Yup, that sounds just like our backyard buttinski.

That's Mr. Butt Inski

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Black-capped Visitor

One of the things I enjoy the most in my backyard is the furry and feathery critters that drop in. This is something that I will never get tired of. Just the other day, I had the pleasure of taking a photo of this little fella:

This pretty little bird is known as the black-capped chickadee; an energetic and curious little cutie that quickly discovers bird feeders and hangs around the garden regularly. Although it will visit feeders for sunflower and other types of seed, a chickadee eats mostly pesky insects, which makes it a welcome visitor to your garden.

Apparently, chickadees, being curious as they are, will investigate everything in their surroundings, including humans, so I’m not surprised that the one in the picture above wanted to take a closer look at me – at only about three feet away! All I kept thinking was “Thank heavens I have my camera on hand!” and “Load you stupid camera, load!” (I have an older camera and sometimes it takes its sweet time loading up, which has cost me some great pictures. Lucky for me, the little chickadee hung around for awhile.)


Lesson of the day: Never leave home without your camera! You never know what will land next to you!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happiness is…

...a hammock of one’s own...

Isn’t our sweet Bailey the cutest? And what’s especially great about her is that she sleeps about 18 hours a day. Talk about a low-maintenance pet...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Under The Maple Tree (cont’d)

Okay, so awhile back I wrote about the cleanup under the maple tree that went from this:

To this:

Well, what I failed to include on my blog is what happened after that. That’s what I’m going to write about today.

First, we (my other half and I) added some grass seed:

Then we topped it off with some soil so the birds wouldn’t eat the seed before it sprouted (are we smart or what?):

It ended up looking like this:

A few days later, baby grass began to grow and the area under the maple tree (after a few weeks) now looks like this:

Not bad, eh?

We will be adding some more grass seed to fill up the remaining bare patches, but we might not get to that until the spring. In any case, at least the major part of the job is finished.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Interrogation

Nagging Voice: “Do you remember what your garden looked like when you first bought your house?”

Self: “Uhuh”

Nagging Voice: “It required some cleaning up, didn’t it?”

Self [eyes wide]:Some cleaning up? Now there’s an understatement. It was a holy mess! I don’t know how many yard waste bags I filled up. I thought I’d never finish removing unwanted and overgrown bushes, trees and plants”

Nagging Voice: “What about weeds?”

Self [cringing]: “Don’t even go there. It was like a war. By the time I was finished battling with the weeds, I was ready to drop”

Nagging Voice [getting louder]: “And after you were finally done weeding, did we discuss mulching?”

Self [squinted eyes; suspicious now]: “Why are you asking me all these questions?”

Nagging Voice: “Just answer the question. Did we or did we not discuss mulching?”

Self: “Yes, we did. So what?”

Nagging Voice: “And did you decide you would mulch this year or not?”

Self [realizing this is a trap]: “I don’t remember”

Nagging Voice: “You’re lying!”

Self [upset]: “Alright, alright. I decided I would not mulch this year; that I’d remove the weeds by hand regularly to keep them at bay”

Nagging Voice: “And did you?”

Self: “Of course I did! Hey, what are you implying? That I don’t take care of my garden? I’ll have you know that I’m out there every single day removing weeds and taking care of garden business”

Nagging Voice [produces photo]: “Do you recognize these photos?”

Self: “Absolutely. These are the ‘before pictures’ of one of the most difficult areas in the backyard that I had to clean up. Quite a mess, huh?”

Nagging Voice [shows another set of photos]: “What about these two pictures?”

Self [looking pleased]: “These photos depict the transition of the area as I cleaned up. Pretty impressive, huh?”

Nagging Voice: “And you kept up with the weeding in this area?”

Self [annoyed]: “Yeah, I did”

Nagging Voice [whips out one last set of photos dramatically]: “So how do you explain all THIS?”

Self [gasps]: “Where did you get these?”

Nagging Voice [shines a bright, blinding strobe light on self's face]: “Let me ask you again? Did you keep up with the weeding in this area?”

Self [mumbles]: “Sometimes”

Nagging Voice: “What? I can’t hear you”

Self: “I said sometimes”

Nagging Voice: “How often? Every 2 days? Three days? Once a week?”

Self: “I don’t know. Maybe every three days”

Nagging Voice: “Three days, huh? And it became this weed-infested in three days?”

Self [sweating]: “Hey, I don’t know okay. I did what I had to do. Maybe it was the backyard critters that did something to sabotage my work. Yeah, that’s it. It was probably the squirrels. They like to bury things and whatever they buried probably sprouted”

Nagging Voice: “The squirrels? Maybe I should bring the squirrels in to be interviewed”

Self: “What? No, don’t do that! They didn’t mean any harm; they didn’t know what they were doing. You know, they’re just trying to stash food for the winter”

Nagging Voice [pounds the table with fist]: “Why don’t you just tell the truth instead of blaming innocent squirrels?”

Self [cracks under pressure]: “Okay, you caught me! I confess! I got lazy and didn’t bother with that area for a couple of weeks. Maybe more”

Self drops head in hands and sobs hysterically.

Nagging Voice: “You know that you’re going to have to go out there and clean it up all over again”

Self [still sobbing]: “I know. It’s going to take hours...”

Nagging Voice: “So what do you think about mulching now?”

Self [swallows hard because pride is tough to swallow]: “I should have listened to you the first time and mulched after the initial cleanup”

Nagging Voice [sounding smug]: “Well, I hate to say it but I told you so

Self [sighs]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Pretty Surprise In My Garden

Yesterday, I spent a considerable amount of time in the backyard catching up on some outdoor chores. My bird feeders needed seed, the birdbaths needed cleaning, the flowers needed deadheading and all the greenery - be it in the ground or in containers - needed watering. This was especially true of the grass that was extremely dry due to lack of rain.

The outdoor responsibilities took longer than I anticipated because I’d neglected them for a few days. I’m usually on top of things, indoors and out, but, for many reasons that I don’t feel like listing right now, I’d fallen behind. The flowers beneath the kitchen window were the last thing I tended to, which was nice because I was surprised by this:

This is Anemone sylvestris, a plant that goes by the common name of ‘snowdrop anemone’, that Joy from ”Garden Joy 4 Me” had given me, amongst other things, in a ‘welcome to Kingston’ gift package when I met her for the first time back in July.

I planted the lovely snowdrop a couple of days after meeting with Joy and, aside from it growing a little bigger, I didn’t expect much else from it. After all, it’s expected to bloom in late spring and early summer. So imagine my surprise – and delight – yesterday when I found flowers on it. Hey, I’m not complaining; I’ll take whatever I can get before the cold season kicks in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Delightful Visit To Joy’s Garden

One of the greatest things about living in Kingston, Ontario is that I’m in the same city as one of the most talented gardeners who also happens to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. Lucky me.

And who is this cool garden dudette, you ask?

Well, if you haven’t guessed already, I’ll tell you. Her name is Joy and she is the author of the blog "Canadian Garden Joy".

For those of you who follow her blog and have wondered what her garden is like in real time, I’m here to tell you that it’s beautiful. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; I had the pleasure of seeing it in person. I went over to her house last week and saw ‘the garden’ with my own two eyes. And to top it all off, I even got to meet ‘the girls’.

Now I know you’re probably green with envy, so I took some pictures to share my privileged visit with you.

Beautiful flowers:

Gorgeous displays:

Stunning foliage:

Recognize these fellas?

How about this playhouse?

Let’s not forget the girls. Emma always stared straight at the camera. I found her to be quite bold. Sophie never once looked at the camera. She seemed a little more reserved. Both furry girls followed Joy around the house and plunked themselves down right next to her every time. I could swear they were acting as bodyguards. And both furry girls have the most amazingly soft fur. (What the heck are you feeding them Joy?)

Joy’s garden even attracts cute little critters:

While walking around her backyard, Joy stressed to me that I was visiting when her garden is at its worst. Huh? If this is what it looks like at its worst, which looks pretty darn good to me, I can’t image how awesome it must be at its best.

Joy’s garden is beautiful and I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to visit it!