Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Best buds

Everything in the yard is really gearing up, with lots of buds appearing. All the roses are in bud, so in a few weeks expect to get flooded with pictures (I adore my roses!!!) but for now...

The dollar store Glads are doing well. I've got stakes in and ready for tying when they get too heavy to hold themselves up.
Both the white and the blue Delphinum are putting up flower heads. It will still be a few weeks for them - they are slow bloomers.
The dollar store Anemone finally made an appearance. I planted it all in a clump this time. I think it will be more impressive when it blooms.

The mystery Columbine has bloomed. It's a pretty pale yellow with subtle pink highlights. A nice surprise!
I love Morning Glories, so this year I planted seeds some in a big, long planter. They are growing fast. I've also planted some Moon Flowers in the same planter, but they are slower to show.
The Peach Dalmatian Foxglove is starting to bud. This surprised me - I've always bought the Foxglove a little later in the year, and didn't expect to see blooms for a month or two.
 The catnip didn't survive Ollie, so I got another plant and put it in a pot, up on the window sill where he can't molest it. I'll mete out a leaf or two when he comes to visit.
And that planter beside it has some yellow beans I started from seed. These are for Dave and so far they are growing quite nicely - though I've not had great luck with beans in the past. Hopefully I get it right this time.
I've also got tomatoes going for him... this year's variety is Tiny Tim. I didn't have much luck with my potted tomato last year - but it was bought on clearance and I don't think the soil was great. These ones should do much better.

And my favourite... the raspberries... are covered in itty bitty berries. It won't be long now!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Golden roses

With Lily's shawl off the needles, it's time to focus on my coworker's wedding shawl
I've finished the centre medallion and have a few rows done on the first side. Since I'm now only working a quarter of the stitches, this should feel like it's flying... but you know how it goes.

The wedding is on July 29th, but I'd like to have the shawl off the needles and blocked by the end of June.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Just some random things going on...

Random thing one:
This is Buddy.
Buddy lives next door, but his leash is long enough that he can cross the common area between our houses and peek around my fence.
He's about five years old and an absolute sweetheart.
And an absolute fool.

Random thing two:

On Saturday, my Sister-in-Law and nieces picked me up for a day of shopping. Miss Pee is also in Grade 8 and graduating this year. She doesn't want a shawl, but she did want my help to pick out a dress.

Four malls, six hours, and seven km of walking later, we finally found it.
It's not a dress I would have expected her to pick, but she is absolutely thrilled with it! They grow up way too fast (thankfully, Miss Rowan still has a couple years before she hits highschool).

Random thing three:
While dress searching, I accidentally bought one for myself too.
It was on a mannequin in the window of a new shop called Torrid (well, new to Canada, apparently it's been around the U.S. for a while). Move over Old Navy... I think I'm in love.

I also think this dress needs a new cardigan and that big skein of handspun Mom just gave me will be just perfect...

Random thing four:
We're going to have some new neighbours soon
 This utility box thingy (it has something to do with the phones) blew open in a storm last year. I closed it, but couldn't quite get it closed all the way. There was still a gap at the top. And some enterprising Starlings have taken full advantage.

 I've been checking on them almost every day...
But we're still at the egg stage. I'll keep you posted.

Random thing five:

Property management has asked that we not feed the birds over the summer, so I got a hanging basket to hang on the hook where the feeder normally resides
I found a nice big Gerbera plant to fill the center and surrounded it with trailing Petunias and a couple marigolds. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I think I need more hanging baskets...

What's a random thing happening in your world?

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


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!