Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pay dirt

It's time.... when all the hard work and anticipation in the garden starts to pay off.
The Lilac is in full glory and it smells amazing. It's still young (just three years old). It's not even as tall as the  fence yet... but it packs a big punch. I just wish it stayed in bloom all summer long.
I'll soon find out what colour the Columbine I got on clearance last year is. It's kind of fun buying mystery plants.
Speaking of mysteries... remember that poppy that appeared in the Little Bee garden. I thought it was my Champagne Bubbles poppy. But a few days ago, I noticed that the buds were a lot different than the poppies I'm used to. It finally bloomed and I'm pretty sure it's a Wood Poppy. They are a native wildflower, but are endangered here. I'm guessing the birds brought it for me.
The Alium has finally bloomed. I had 30 of these bulbs and about 20 of them grew. So far only the white ones have bloomed, but it's suppose to be a mix of pink and yellow as well. They are small and sweet - and the bees love them.
My Red Bearded Iris has bloomed. I was hoping to get some new irises this year, but the garden centre only had the usual suspects, so I opted out.
 The first of my lilies have bloomed (though they ALL have buds, it's going to be quire the show this year).  As pretty as it is.... this particular lily was suppose to be a very dark, almost black purple. There are four more from the same batch, so it will be interesting to see if any of them are as advertised.
I picked up another Armeria when Mom and I were out as they provide a nice bit of late spring colour. This one is taller and darker than the other one I bought earlier.
And strawberry season is coming! I'm hoping as these plants age, that the berries get bigger. The last couple of years they've been laughably small.
The Bachelor Buttons will bloom soon. This was a clearance plant, and it's become one of my favourites. It's big, and bushy and a prolific bloomer. And the bees adore this one.

And in the department of coming soon....
I tried this one last year, but it got crowded out by the Blanket Flower and I didn't realize in time. I hope I can make it work this time.
I normally wouldn't have gotten this one because of the price (it was part of their "pollinator" series - all the plants were twice as much as usual), but since I was using my loyalty points, I "splurged". The Coneflowers really bring in the butterflies, so you can never have enough - plus, they bloom all summer long, right into fall.
I admit, I've fallen in love with Delphiniums. They do so well in my garden, and since I have blue, and white and pink... why not add mauve?
And remember how I was saying I wish the Pasque flower came in different colours? Looks like it does. It also comes in blue, white and pink... but for now the red will do!

I'm done with new plants this year... at least until the clearance sale starts!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rupert-i-versary

Can you believe it's been a year since I first brought this little scared thing home?
Since then, he's filled out a little (though he's not much bigger... only 6 lbs, 6 oz, which is teeny for a full-grown cat),  and he still gets spooked easy, though he's miles better than he was.
It really didn't take him long to make himself at home.
Or to win Peno over.
In fact, we couldn't have asked for a better cat to introduce to our senior girl. He's quite content to let her be top cat, and always backs off quickly when she tells him she's had enough of his childish antics.
He's not as much of a snuggler as I would like. If I was sitting down, Tux was almost always in my lap, so that absence has taken some getting used to.
But when Rupert does want attention, there's no ignoring him. And he does sleep at my feet almost every night.
He's a very vocal cat. And from his size and shape, I wouldn't be surprised to learn there's some Siamese in his background.
Like all young cats, he's playful and silly. Almost every night between 9 and 11, he goes into what we call "Ginger Nuts" mode. Running from one end of the house to the other, over and over, and over again - yelling at the top of his lungs as he does. (Sometimes he does it at 6 am, just to keep us on our toes).
And when he crashes, he's just the cutest thing ever.
 Way. Too. Cute.

Happy Adoptiversary Rupert. We're so glad you found your way to our home.

P.S. For those wondering.... he seems to be doing quite well on his meds. His stinky breath is gone (it's just normal cat breath now), and there's no drool. He's not really letting me look in his mouth, but the in the quick peek I did get, his tongue looked much better. He's still got a week of meds (and we are soooooooooooooooo enjoying that!), and a check up next weekend. But I think it's safe to say he's definitely on the mend.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday felines

Peno channels her inner Jabba the Hut.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The big picture

A few people have asked for a full view of the gardens... I'm always showing snippets, but it's hard to get a sense of how it all goes together. That's because it's not the easiest thing go photograph. The back yard is small (I estimate about 25' x 25'), and I've got a lot packed in there. But I did my best...
We've got a nice little patio for relaxing and bbqing, and every square inch of wall/fence possible has a garden along it.

The left side (Big Bee garden) is Blue Delphinium, White Columbine, Shasta Daisies, Black-Eyed Susans, Echinacea, Bachelor Buttons, Cupid's Dart and Sedum.
The garden in the middle  Little Bee garden) is Bleeding Heart, Sweet William, Blanket Flower, Pasque Flower, Bachelor Buttons, Fox Glove, Pink, White and Mauve Delphiniums, Cone Flower, Violas, Alpine Aster, Wood Poppy, White Creeping Baby's Breath, Black Lily and Chicago Peace and Crimson Glory roses.
The gardens under the window (Butterfly and Butterfly expansion gardens) is a whole mix of Asiatic and Oriental lilies (white, pink, orange and black) Bee Balm, Pincushion plant, Sea Holly, White and Purple Liatris, a mix of Siberian and Bearded Irises, Alium, Cone flower, Blanket Flower, Rudibeckia, poppies, Lupine, Hollyhocks, Columbine, Sage, Lavender, Sunflowers, and Blue Girl and Tournament roses.
The right side is Queen Elizabeth rose, raspberries, blackberries, butterfly bush and Lilac.


The side garden is smaller
But it's got a good mix... Sedum, Lily of the Valley, Oriental and Asiatic Lily, Purple Iris, Columbine, Speedwell and peonies. (Hoping the peonies bloom this year)

And out front...
The tree garden is a mix of mostly ground cover sedums, though there's a stone crop and lots of hens and chicks in there.
The front garden, as you know... just expanded, and is a wonderful mix of day lilies, bleeding heart, Jacob's ladder, Sedum and Toad Lilies. (and you can see the location of the side garden down the side of the house there.
There's also a shrub rose (Navy Lady) just to the left, behind the tree on the edge of the walkway.

Wow.. that's an awful lot when you write it all out... and it doesn't include all the potted plants! Apparently I believe in getting a big bang for my buck!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FO: Magpie

Lily's Graduation Magpie is done. Being a yarn dyer, and having access to literally hundreds of shades of colours, it's easy to forget how simple and elegant basic black can be.
I knit this one with a little more than one skein of Barn Cat (the Barn Cat has a smaller yardage with only 400 yards - the rest of the second skein is being used for my Tux socks). And it uses about 20 grams of size 6 beads. It doesn't photograph well, but the beads have a lovely pearl finish that sparkle nicely against the black yarn.
Magpie is fairly easy, as lace shawls go. It starts with garter short rows, and finishes with some easily memorized lace - the beads are totally optional, but I love the look, and the weight they add to a shawl, so I think they are worth the extra time.
Magpie is wide and shallow, making it the perfect little shoulder warmer. It also wraps nicely as a decadent scarf.
 And - I got it done well ahead of schedule (it's going in the mail this week). To celebrate, I'm going to offer you 50% off the pattern until June 23rd (Lily's graduation day). Just use the code Lily at checkout!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy feet

For all my love of shoes, there's nothing I love more than running around barefoot - especially in the dirt. Those happy, dirty feet are the result of an afternoon spend expanding the front garden.

When we moved in, there was already a little garden space at the front of the house, beside the front step. I filled it with orange day lilies as well as spring bulbs.
 While the day lilies have done well, the bulbs don't get much sun. They grow quite nicely, but just don't seem to bloom much. Which is a shame, because it's a mix of tulips, regular and mini daffodils, big hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and crocuses. If it all bloomed, it would be just lovely in the early spring.

A few weeks back, when Mom was visiting, I was lamenting the fact that I barely got any blooms once again.  I was talking about digging something closer to the end of the driveway. It was mid afternoon, and the sun was shining on the lawn just a few feet in front of the garden. "Why not just bring this garden out a few more feet..?" Mom suggested. And since she's such a smart woman, I decided to take her advice.
It's a tough area, because there's all kinds of tree roots running through it . But I managed to dig out enough to triple my area. I used one of the larger tree roots as a border on the one side, and had just enough beach rocks to border the front. While I was in there, I dug up as many spring bulbs as I could. They'll be replanted in the fall. When the lilies start to die back, I'll be able to get in and get some of the rest that are closer to the back.
All the new day lilies got planted (Stella de Oro already has buds), as well as the white Bleeding Heart. I relocated my double-bloom Campanula, the Jacob's Ladder, a couple pieces of Sedum and my Toad Lilies (so happy they survived!). It looks a little sparse now, but it won't take long to fill out. I may grab a few annuals to add some colour this year - next year I won't need it at all.

And if you're wondering about that strange salmon-coloured plant...
That's Mom's fault. It's a Begonia. Normally, I'm not really a fan of Begonias - but I have to admit, this one was kind of neat looking. I bought it for a hanging pot (along with a few other things) but once I got everything else in the pot, the Begonia just wasn't really working... so into the front garden it went.

The garden expansion was a lot of work... but it was well worth it - I'm so pleased with the final result. And I may still dig another one at the end of the drive... but I think we'll wait until fall.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A special sock for my special boy

We just recently passed the anniversaries of Rocky and Tux's deaths. I debated on bringing it up, because I try to  keep this blog a happy place. But naturally, I've been thinking about both of them a lot lately. I've long had a yarny tribute to Rocky planned (a special colourway), but I've been struggling with something special for Tux.

But finally, the other night it came to me....
... a new sock design in the perfect Tuxedo cat colours. Stay tuned for the pattern release!