Jane’s Sculptural Vegetable Garden Year 2

15 Oct Janes garden year 2

I loved my Aunt Janes front yard vegetable garden last year and she was back at it this year making it bigger and better than ever! Jane has kindly agreed to let me share these photos with you all again.  Her garden is so inspiring and creative.  It’s no surprise that she has cleaned up at the fair again this year.  I don’t think any of my veggies would be worthy of the fair– I feel that there are some secrets that need to be shared here  –  Is there a magic vegetable wax? Or a magical skunk deterrent? ha! Janes garden year 2 In Jane’s front yard: (Click on any photo to view as a slide show)

Jane planted 300 onion sets, garlic, yellow and green beans, snow peas, reg. peas, beets, carrots, kale, red cabbage, and 6 types of peppers and about 6 varieties of tomatoes.  Her plans for the future include trying a cold frame for winter gardening out of old windows.  Even with Jane being the pro that she is, is still experimenting.  Isn’t that great? In the Back Yard: Janes garden year 2Janes garden year 2 Janes garden year 2  This setting seems so pleasing and relaxing to me. Bye-bye stress.

First Prize Vegetables

The Result: 1st Place!  WOW! A job well done again Jane.

Let me know when you write the handbook on how to get first prize at the fair. I want to read it! Have you ever seen such shiny delicious vegetables?  I think I can see my own reflection in this photograph. What one looks the most beautiful? If you could be any vegetable what would you be? And wouldn’t you want to be cared for in Jane’s garden?  I would- she always took good care of me when I was a kid! Can’t wait to see what you do next year Jane and thanks for sharing your successes with us. Perhaps I will get a chance to come and see it in person next year. Happy Gardening! Diane Jane’s Garden Last Year

Rocking Hot Pink

24 Sep pink rocking chair

We all need a little colour in our lives! Am I right? The safest place to put it is outside where you don’t have to ask permission. If you want to paint something bright pink- you can. No rules!

This might be considered a family heirloom, I am not sure… Well I don’t want to to admit it if is.  hahah

photo

It was for a while in my living room, but I don’t find rocking chairs all that practical for the day to day.  But on the front porch… now that seems like a lovely place to put it, and for a while I did.  The finish began to wear and it wasn’t much to look at.  

But if you want to stand out, you should be rocking hot pink.  And that simply goes for anybody! :)

It took three cans of Krylon (paint + primer) Watermelon Pink spray paint to cover this rocking chair.

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And now it’s a luscious glossy pink show stopper!

Anything hanging around your place that could use a bright show stopping colour?

The Strange and Wonderful

19 Sep

I brought up the wild cucumber vine in a previous post and I thought that I would share some pictures on its strange and wonderful fruit.   Now that I see how many ‘blooms’ chock full of seeds that I have let go rampant in the front garden I now wonder if that was really such a brilliant idea? haha!

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 12.06.56 PMThe fruits on wild cucumber vines look like fat little cucumbers with harmless but prickly thorns. 

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There are just a few hundred pods of seeds waiting to fall! gasp! 

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The insides are soft and squishy, smelling just like a cucumber with seeds that resemble cucumber or mellon seeds. It is native to Ontario and to some it is a weed, to others a wild flower.  The pods are especially neat when they dry out- I think anyways!

Another strange and wonderful fruit around here are ground cherries. This is the first time I have grown them in the vegetable garden and they have such a neat flavour. They taste like a cherry one minute and the next a tomato. To me they are marvel.

ground cherries

ground cherry

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My first experience with a ground cherry was at a wedding this summer. It was a garnish on a creme brullee.  I was so proud of myself for even knowing what it was.  Surely they have been around for a long long time. 

Something else that is more on the STRANGE side is this cute raccoon (and I never think racoons are cute) who on a rainy saturday morning was laying on our front mat.  She wanted to come into the house and looked at us like ‘come on… What are you waiting for? Just open the door and let me in’.friendly raccoon

I have never seen such a presumptuous raccoon. 

Anything strange but wonderful in your neck of the woods?

Moving the Rose Garden-Redesign

15 Sep pink rose

The weather is cooling off here and it is just simply perfect! I have spent the last week moving the rose garden in front of the soon to be demolished addition out of the way- trying to save them before it’s too late.   I also didn’t want to waste any time giving myself a beautiful view from the new kitchen window this winter and next year.   I had quite a few roses in this area next to vegetable garden and they were spaced out too far and in between, and it definitely needed beefing up. The only thing that needs to happen now is for the rose bushes to live through the winter and for me to stay on top of the Japanese beetles next summer.  Sounds easy right? ha!

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This area in front of the kitchen is known to me as the rose garden- some years it looks better than others.

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The rose garden is always a thorny work in progress, but it is was worth trying to save these pretty things!

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The photo above shows an extension of the roses beside the vegetable garden that I am going to make better (and Bigger!) Currently it’s beyond pathetic.

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Marking out the area of sod to remove with a garden hose.

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I added many many wheelbarrow loads of top soil and then the plants, it’s a bit of a low spot and needed to be raised.  I divided a few clumps of lambs ears to make a nice edging.

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I pulled about 30 small strawberry plants from my existing mature plants to fill an area.  I will have to probably net these to get them before the birds next year. The only thing I bought was this globe cedar, Blue indigo and a tall grass with white plumes. I love looking at tall grasses in the winter!

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The last step was to add LOTS of wood chip (my favourite part).

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View toward the house.

I will have to wait until next year to see the tall grass and blue indigo.

rough sketch

My original quick sketch is nothing like what I actually planted.

Sometimes you just have to get the ideas out of your system and then deal with reality. :)

rose garden sketchWhat was planted where.

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And that’s the beginning of a great new garden view from this direction! (fingers crossed!)

 What is your favourite all season plant, tree or shrub to view from inside?

Haphazard and Fun- Container Planting

3 Sep

Good morning!  A few colourful photos today showing the less fussy containers around the yard.  I just had fun with these and used what ever annuals were left over, threw in some nasturtium seeds that just kind of took over. I hope we have a late frost this year… I hate to be thinking about that already!

Purple Aztec Verbena is planted on the ground in front of Silver Falls Dichondra, double wave Pink Petunia and of course some Nasturtium. 

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 12.57.56 PMI always have lots of Impatiens on the front porch.

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The copper icebox planter was quickly planted with some mothers day flowers this year (a variety of coleus and Impatiens) to add colour.

What’s the most haphazard and fun thing you’ve planted this summer… or done? Cliff diving anyone? :)

House Painting Finish

29 Aug

The house is finished being painted!  I am so glad that we like it! I think if the porches were painted first I would have had a cow, but they were last and I had liked everything as it was put on up until then. Even the garage cladding and maintenance free mouldings were painted.  That is a little sad, since we were hoping that the garage would be one less thing to look after on this big old house but the truth is that vinyl fades. It fades a lot and it just wouldn’t have tied in to the rest of the house as well. Although we will have to wait and see how the paint holds up, we are told that it will stand up very well.

century home in painted progress

(in progress)painting the corbels

 

1897 yellow brick houseBEFORE (WAY BEFORE!) ABOVE:

AFTER BELOW:

house painted

house before repaintingBEFORE ABOVE:

AFTER BELOW:

house with ugly additionThe yellow vinyl sided addition will be taken off and redone shortly.  It’s exterior will be the same grey that was just painted on the house.  It will also have a flat roof with a walkout and will be made too look more in keeping with this style of older home.  

back yard

BEFORE ABOVE:

AFTER BELOW:

back of garage paintedrear of house painted

 There are only two paint colours on the main house now instead of four.

SW 7047 Porpoise and HC-31 Waterbury Cream.

The porch ceiling is BM Wedgewood Greyporch painted

Even the ugly porch railings were painted black which we never ever bothered with before.  So now I am kicking myself for not doing that years ago instead of waiting a decade for something new!

house painted but not garage

 

So now for the front of the garage… I think the garage doors need to be painted grey.  In fact I know they do.  What do you think? 

 

120 Days in the Vegetable Garden (week 16)

27 Aug

Well, that’s almost a wrap for this year.  It could have been beautiful, it wasn’t a waste but the skunks and groundhogs sure spoiled the party.  Next year they are not on the invite list that’s for sure!

Mulching the garden made a huge difference in moisture retention and weeding.  It rained so often this summer that I actually had to stop watering because the leaves were turning yellow, but even after not watering for weeks everything is still very wet.  Vegetables like Green Peppers which love extra moisture have done better than ever.  I have never had so many at once to eat before.
green peppers

 I also used mulch to cover my potatoes several inches as they grew.  That too seemed to do the trick. I am very surprised to see I have many big potatoes!  These are what grew in only 2 or 3 square feet.  I have many more baskets like this coming.  There are 30 Square feet of Potatoes! Now I am wondering why so many.

potatoes

I also planted yellow and green zucchini, cucumber, yellow roma tomatoes and ground cherries from seed.  I have collected all of these in small quantities.  There should be several more weeks to come of many of them.  But the tomatoes plants do not look very healthy.  The fruits and leaves are small so there is definitely a nutrient that is missing or low.  

ground cherries

 

The Ground cherries are beginning.  They are ready once the husks are dry.  I AM VERY EXCITED about this!
tomatoes and potatoes

More Tomatoes and Potatoes.
candy roaster squashThe Giant Candy Roaster squash is coming, although it should be much larger at this point I bet.  One of my vines died already leaving behind squash the size of gourds.  I think that everything I started from seed would have had a great advantaged started just a tad earlier and repotted into a larger pot before being planted outside.  Still several weeks till frost. I hope this squash gets bigger.cucumber

Armenian Cucumberground hog ruins bean plantsGroundhog bean devastation.  It also ate almost all of the beans I succession sowed too.  Cripes!

leekThere is a lot of leek and Potato soup in my future.  Looking forward to it!

late august gardenThe garden in late august.  It is loosing its colour now.

The big take away from this year is to not wait until the garden is destroyed to try and catch cute groundhogs and skunks.  Take action straight away!

I also still need to test my soil-something that needs to be done later in the growing season (like now)

Next year I will make compost tea continuously.

www.SmartGardener.com was very helpful and succession sowing with a timeline is a big help, but it was still hard to keep up with all of their to-dos.

What’s your big take away from this summer?- in the garden or otherwise?

Oh! I almost forgot… Something else I grew because of all of you… Sweet peas… particularly Miss BoomDee herself mentioned how it is her most favourite flower and I had never known it.  They are really very beautiful.  I hope to grow them again.

sweet peas

Faux Sophistication – Container Planting

25 Aug

These are the containers that I attempted to over winter some tulips in to have beautiful spring blooms.  That didn’t work out so well- at all!  But I don’t blame the containers, I still love them!  

They have a very formal feel about them which called for sophisticated plantings with a muted palette. I sound so sophisticated myself.  haha!Sophisticated Container Plantings

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garden tags

The annuals that I chose for them are Persian Shield, Joey Ptilotus, Hedera Ivy, Limelight Liquorice Plant, Yellow Pansy, Euphorbia Blush, Wonderland Copper Alyssum and something lacy with miniature purple flowers that I cannot remember what it is! Do you know?

Happy Accidents

22 Aug

Isn’t it nice when your garden surprises you? In a good way no less! 

There have been a few interesting combinations of blooms in the perennial garden.  

Most were not intentional and I would like to try to remember some of them so that I can be more intentional with these surprises in the future.  

bee balm, globe thistle

Bee Balm, Globe Thistle & some form of Rudbeckia (I think? I am not sure exactly what it is)  This is a garden where there is no plan for the future and anything goes.

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Purple Geranium (which spreads everywhere I don’t want it) & Black eyed Susan

yellow and red and tall

Rudbeckia Laciniata ‘Goldball’ & Canna Lilly reach for the sky together.

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A wild cucumber vine popped up in the middle of the front garden so I added support for it.

 I am very partial to these white flowering wild vines.  The seed pods look like dried cucumbers and are very cool.

tiny alum with shasta daisies

Miniature Alum with Shasta Daisies that spread from a neighbouring bed. 

dragon snaps and black eyed susan

My favourite surprise are the snapdragons which Claire insisted our garden needed because you can pinch the blooms like a mouth and make it talk.  

I love these paired with the Black Eyed Susans right now.  

I think surprises might be better than cake.  What do you think?

House Painting Fun

20 Aug

 

The house is being repainted!! YAY! And this time its not me (and the oodles of friends and family who helped us) who are doing it, which is even better!!

 

We are changing the colours quite a bit and this has me actually really nervous. I find myself looking at houses as we drive by them trying to pinpoint what I like and don’t like about their exteriors. It hasn’t been helpful in the least really.  No two houses are identical, and there are so many things that I like about every house I see. I could look at houses on a long drive all day long.

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Here is the original paint job well worn out- 12 years ago this is the house as it looked.

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Front Porch

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The Primer is starting to go on.

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The Front porch freshly painted, but without accent colours.

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Freshly painted 11 years ago. When we first painted the house it was in terrible shape- but our paint job lasted the 7-10 years it was supposed to and now we have stretched it to 11.  (it really should have been done a few years ago)

This was the pallet I used

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Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.55.10 PMAnd now the paint is faded and peeling in many placesScreen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.54.30 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.54.08 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-18 at 4.25.16 PM

Back then I chose a multitude of colours and referenced the book “Painted Ladies” to help figure out how to paint a victorian home.  Now we are going in a different direction and trying to simplify the house by narrowing the colours down to two. The yellow is staying (HC-31) and all the white/green plus all of the porches and window sills will be Sherwin Wiliams Porpoise. I really felt that these key areas needed to pop. It might not make complete sense all at once because we are redoing the exterior of a 1980’s addition in the next little while (see left side of house exterior) as well and the colour of it will tie in to the new paint scheme. (Note: I had a designers assistance and encouragement with this colour choice)

I guess I will be holding my breath until this is done and I pray to heaven above that this was a good decision. EEEK!

It’s going to be dramatic!

What’s the last thing you were stressed about painting?

 

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