Keeping cheerful.

How does Spring know that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic? How come the weather is so nice and mild. The snow has been gone a while now. There’s non of that mucky stuff that stays around for ages. It’s usually gloomy, grey and damp. But not this year. We’ve already been in our gardens ‘carefully’ tidying for a few weeks now. So why now? Why do we get Spring this year?

I think it’s Mother Nature. She’s a powerful lady. She’s showing us all whose the boss…it’s her of course. She’s had enough of our nonsense.

A friend said it’s rather like the world is being reset! It does feel that way doesn’t it? I just wish all the nice people would be saved and…

Anyway! Cheerful. That’s what I said right? So I decided to redo Gwendolyn my mannequin for spring. I’m not completely happy with her yet. I need to fiddle a bit more and I have the time. But here she is from start to…nearly finished…

I actually really like the skeletal view with just Gwendolyns skirt finished. (Second pic). But I didn’t think you’d be able to see from the street. And the idea was to cheer people up as they walk by.

It’s another beautiful day. Another day in the garden. I’ve never had the time at this time of year to do my own garden. Im usually doing other people’s or making spring containers. Anyway. I’m really enjoying the time.

I’m going to leave you with this beautiful piece from Liesel Graham…

Stay safe. Keep well. 🤗

Spring is here. No matter what!

It doesn’t look quite like this…not yet. The snow has melted. It’s so mild…it’s been a mild winter in Ontario…much more than usual and so many signs to say Spring is here.

The Cardinals and Robins are so busy…as are the rabbits…good job they are cute…although I never catch them feasting on my Freshly emerging spring bulbs. Here’s evidence that they do.

So with all the crazy scariness of Coronavirus and the need for staying home. Now is a great time to get out in the garden. Fresh air, exercise and therapy…all at the same time. But where should you start? Well. It’s so tempting. But best not to dive in too early. You could do more harm than good at this point.

Kate’s Garden in Markham just sent a note out to remind us not to rake up all the twigs, damp leaves and last years fallen perennials (or duff as she calls it)! 😃 just yet as Butterflies and other pollinators are still in there overwintering!! Don’t go tramping about in the soil too much either.

Pruning Hydrangeas. The Annabel type can be cut back now. You can go quite low with these. About 10 cms above ground if you want. This encourages new growth and helps develop a more robust plant. They have a tendency to flop if left too tall. Hybrid Hydrangeas should be lightly pruned. I usually go just a little way under the dried flower head. To the next node.

Prune Roses. If you mounded your Roses in the fall. you can remove that soil and cut the Roses back a bit. Maybe 30 cms high. Always use clean sharp pruners.

Ornamental grasses and perennials. If you left your perennials standing in winter…for the birds to munch on. Now is the time to cut those back. You can take those to ground level.

Winter containers. Ahhhh! Now. If you’re anything like me and get your knickers in a knot about how horrid your winter containers look by the end of March. But you can’t do anything with them yet as they are still frozen in place. Well this year. I could not wait. I needed to cheer things up. I’m sure it’s frowned upon in the custom design world…but I improvised! I was able to remove the Red berries…nothing else would move for some reason? So I stuck some pussy willow in and forsythia (faux) and bound it all up so it wouldn’t move…well. Not until I want it to!!! So unfortunately, it’s a mixture of winter and Spring! 😬 I will show you, but I’m half afraid to. Promise… I’ll get rid of the dead ‘greens’ as soon as I possibly can.

Let’s hope this virus goes away very quickly so we can get on with life. Take Care. Be kind. Stay home.

Patiently waiting…

Sitting amongst the motor bikes and tool boxes are mounds of evergreen and decorative winter branches. Once again the Canadian weather has thrown a curve ball into me getting on with my job.

I can’t wait to get started!

I have so many ideas and creations bubbling inside my head…just waiting…all the while I’m asking myself ‘might this be it until spring time’??…

I did my first winter pots on November 6th!!! Earliest EVER! I heard the forecast and it didn’t sound good. 😏 And it wasn’t….and it still isn’t!

We had record breaking temperatures for this time of year. -17 one morning when we woke up!!! 😳

Everything has been frozen solid and it may not warm up sufficiently for things to thaw out to plant winter containers.

To look on the bright side of all this snow and cold.

I have managed to organize and colour code my winter container adornments.

Red balls on sticks. Pine cones on sticks. Silver baubles. Gold baubles. Natural seeds pods on sticks…etc…etc…

This weeks forecast is promising. Fingers crossed.

Stay warm!

Fall planters.

It’s always sad to take apart planters when the plantings still look good…a little tired for sure. But look at the alyssum, petunias and salvia.

But the season has changed for sure and it’s time!

I Love playing in these planters. You can really let your imagination go wild in these. These puppies are 38″ cubes.

They belong to Janet.

Janet has an keen eye for style and more often than not, when the seasons change and it’s time for a new ‘do’, we have a discussion on a rough design idea and colour scheme. This season. She said she was ‘digging Purple’.

Bring in the purple and pink Asters, the pinky purple kale and the…Burgundy??? Mums. To fill in the gaps, I used a Watermelon coral bells. The Ivy has been in the pots since I planted it for Spring…way back in April. And don’t forget the Birch…it’s more a less a staple in Janet’s pots.

The house is grand and demands attention…and it certainly gets it. People passing like to throw out compliments. Commenting that this is their ‘favourite house’. They can’t wait to see what happens in the planters each season and they want to know the names of the plants I’m using or how do I get it to look a certain way. For a quick little second, I refrain from telling them this isn’t actually my house!!!

And even though these pots do belong to Janet. I find myself calling them ‘our pots’!!

Most of the product in the pots is from Tree Valley or Kennedy Greenhouse. Both great nurseries here in Stouffville.

I’m also digging the Purple-y colour combo’.

Another day at the office

This is one of those jobs where you feel guilty for getting paid!!!

Love my job! 😊…I’ll let you know if I still love it in November when the snows flying, the winds howling and the soil is going to freeze hard any day!! 😖

I haven’t been able to snap the butterflies, birds and hummingbirds. They are Way to quick for me. But these fellas. They just took their own sweet time!

Painted Turtles and…maybe a tree frog??

I love my work mates too!! 😃😃😃

A summary of summer 2019…so far!

Wet. Wet. Wet! It’s not just the name of an 80’s pop group. It was the weather for May and most of June.

I got a lot of planters done by the end of May….

Only to be thrown a very nasty curve ball of cold and very windy weather for the beginning of June! How cold was it?

Cold enough for me to be dressed like winter on the 4 th of June! Not even kidding! We got frost.

I had to move all remaining plants into the garage for a few days until temperatures rose sufficiently and I could resume planting.

I lost a few begonias and sunshine impatiens as all the wet weather before the cold snap ruined the succulent stems of these types of annuals.

It’s gone from wet to consistently HOT…30+ degrees for the last 3 or 4 weeks now. No happy medium. Cold wet and windy or sweltering hot! 🥵 My poor hydrangeas are suffering. They have looked wilted for the most of July!…so tired!!

Trying to keep the containers watered is a challenge. I have water barrels but they are both empty now. We could do with a nice steady full day of gentle rain!!

We also had death and destruction in the garden…

The bloody Japanese beetle…am I allowed to swear?? In this case it’s necessary!

Aaaarrrrggghhhh!! Why didn’t I read that they LOVE Roses and Crabapple trees…amoung many other things…before I bought my new purchases!!!

How do we get rid of them??? Well it’s not easy. I have pulled up 2 Potentilla shrubs and a Virginia creeper as they were covered and there really isn’t a fool proof way to get rid of them.

You can spray your lawn with nematodes in the spring. I have too much lawn so that’s not happening. There are traps but not very effective. So I wear gloves constantly in the garden and have so far managed to keep the numbers down (after removing said shrubs) by squeezing the living day lights out of the ravaging marauders!! 🤨😖

AND THEN THIS…(WARNING! could cause distress to viewer)….

Sssooo sad. A little pilfering chipmunk got trapped in my tomato plant and died there…I found him just like that. No. He didn’t die hungry. He ate bites out of 3 tomatoes before he met his demise!!!

Sometimes gardening isn’t so relaxing. 👹 But I still love it!!

Look what we got!!

I had a plan that my very long overdue blog…the first one of 2019, would begin with beautiful spring flowers and nice blue sky and sunshine. But alas…I have admitted before to being a procrastinator, and this week was no exception.

Instead of the nice backdrop to Spring and feelings of rejuvenation and renewal of all things nature. I waited a little too long and overnight we plunged into winter again!

It’s ok. Don’t worry. This will not last long. It will all be gone in a few days. This is what happens at this time of year. So instead of leaving you with winter. I’ll leave you some spring.

Yes. I know it looks as though I’ve made a bunny shape with the positioning of the basket. Unfortunately. It was such a dull day. This was the brightest place In the whole house to take the photo and the door knobs got in the way!!! 🙄 It looked much prettier without the door knobs!!!

My first Spring basket of the year. Made with donations from my singing sisters. To one of our other singing sisters, who has undergone surgery for breast cancer.

I’m sure the basket cheered her up. But she got the best news a few days ago to say that all the cancer has been removed and other cells sent for testing are cancer free!! 😃😃😃🥳🤩🥰. Talk about renewal and rejuvenation. Such good news for such a wonderful lady.

Another Spring basket was for our house. I just needed something fresh.

The little pale Pink hydrangea was from Metro. So pretty.

The little pot of bushy, overflowing, beautiful blue campanula was from Village Grocer. The hyacinth gave the whole house a fragrant smell and what is Spring without some daffy’s…and my Mum loves painting the little bird houses, so I try and have a stash of them on hand.

And Ruby. Just because!! 🥰

Welcome to Winter!!

We should not be shocked. It’s Ontario Canada and we can expect any kind of weather at any time. BUT! That does not mean we have to like it…and right now…I do not like it.

It’s very early and I have orders for 39 winter planters to fill. It’s November 24 and Wednesday and Thursday of this week was -18. The soil in the planters is frozen solid.

Lucky for me I have the best customers ever!!! They are all on my side. Where possible, They have taken their planters into their homes and garages to defrost them…if the garage isn’t heated. The planters are as solid as they would be if they were outside!!! I have had to go to Plan B and in some cases, it will be plan C.

I can manage to make up a couple of smaller planters in the garage…try not to look at the mess…focus on the lush greens and beautiful magnolia!!

I have been able to get a few done. The list is getting shorter. 14 more that I have to do…and then my own. Of course. There is nothing Christmassy about our house yet. Dare I even say I have a couple of sun loungers still on the back patio!!! 🤦‍♀️ I will put them away before real winter arrives!!!

All packed up for Janet’s. Thank goodness we got this done before the big freeze.

Stay warm!

Halloween season

Creepy eh?

It was time to dress up Marks front porch for Halloween. I wanted to incorporate the chair and have ‘something’ sitting in it but didn’t know what. Several visits to several stores, I came up empty! That’s why I should always start in my basement!!! The bag that was supposed to go to the thrift store before the summer, never got there and look what happens with my procrastination!!! 😃

Guess what else was in the thrift store pile? Old pillows. Perfect for a body and cut one in half for the legs. This guy came together with very little effort. It was all right there…and everyone tells me I have too much ‘stuff’…but look what happens to it. I need that stuff…for something!

For the head, I mounted a bamboo cane on a polystyrene skull head, put a mask over it and creepy guy was finished…oh. The arm. Could only find one. It was a dollar store find.

I have to admit. I had an assistant. It was my assistant, Cole, that suggested putting the mask over the skull on creepy guy. It was way more creepy with the mask rather than just the skull.

Because this is Coles house and a PA day and he wanted to help so badly…but he also wanted to watch Lion king in his Pyjamas…I gave him artistic licence to work on a few areas. He did a fantastic job and he was such good company…he kept popping in to watch Lion king every now and again and probably warm up a bit too. It was a chilly day to be working in your pyjamas but he was way too excited to go and get dressed. 😊

I don’t know what that little skeleton animal is. But I really like him!

Turns out it wasn’t scary enough for Cole. He wanted more monsters and spiders. We’ll work on it for next year. Let’s say they have a growing collection.

Happy Halloween!

Oh what a beautiful…

Wait! WHAT. NOOOO! Too early for snow!!! 😖

I still have way too much gardening to do for the snow to start flying. But it’s just a sprinkling!!

Watching the sun come up this morning. S’no problem!

Yeah. It’s early. But it’s still pretty!! Hopefully it’s gone before I have to go to my garden tidy job. Now. Where did I put my winter pants?