I’m Back! (I think!)

4 Nov colourful fall leaf

I am not sure what has happened to blogging over the summer. The blog has died! Can it be revived?? I guess we have been busy, that is the only thing I can think of… Lots has changed around here that is for sure.  I am so happy with how everything is looking and I will post about that soon.

The vegetable garden was a bit of a tough go. Right now it’s November 4th and 21 degrees out It’s the never ending summer and I am in a bit of a panic thinking of everything I could get a head start on for next year to make spring easy… it would be easier if it would just snow already! hah. Of course I don’t REALLY want that to happen. I am taking out gardens and putting new ones in. And of course mulching like crazy.

This summer I grew the worlds smallest tomato.

mini tomato

I grew one zucchini out of 5 plants which is unheard of!! I tried to phone in for more, but there was no answer.

I harvested the rest of the garden yesterday.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 11.56.41 AM

I did however manage to trap the groundhog that ate EVERYTHING in my garden from June- September.  It was amazing to see things actually grow once he was gone.  (this fella, or lady, likes tomatoes and peas. Thats how I got her).

groundhogThe kale is still going strong out there though, I even see signs of broccoli returning. The groundhog had a real hay day with that too.  We did get lots of peas, leeks, potatoes. Everything else was just a golden buffet for that fat groundhog.

ground hogNext year, I am setting two traps – one at each end of the garden with these treats from the get go! I mean why the heck didn’t I think of that sooner?

The rest of my summer consisted of bribing my children to spread 40 yards of wood chip.  Turns out they will do anything for computer time- another thing I wish I knew at the beginning of the summer.   It was a productive summer none the less.  I am going to enjoy the last few days of heat while I can.  :)

harvest corn They are harvesting the corn in the field across from our house right now!   That officially ends the summer and fall in my books. ….Be back soon!

cute kitties P.S. the kitties are still cute!

Take Away My Pruners

30 Jun

Sometimes not even the know-it-all internet knows all the answers. This spring I googled how to prune hydrangea bushes and found conflicting advice.  globe hydrangea

Advice 1: Cut them down to the ground because it’s the roots of the globe hydrangea that overwinter and you want strong thick stems to support the flower.

Advice#2: Do not cut them down they will still re-bloom.hydrangea hedge

So what did I do? I followed both of them. I have a section of 4 plants and I did not cut them down and will compare them at the end of the season. The hedge below I did cut them back.  I wish however that I didn’t cut them down because I want the hedge to get tall.  But does cutting them back make them fuller and happier in the long run?  Still I do not know what I should have done.  The old fashioned hydrangea in the front garden gets cut to the ground every year and it still manages to get out of control.

hydrangea hedgeThese are growing slowly under the walnut trees at the edge of the woods.

What is the right answer? Or What is the BEST answer?


Get out There!

17 Jun

mossy rock

Giving Up the Hedged Bet

12 Jun

Just after the 10th anniversary of planting the dreadful hedge and having an internal debate for a full decade — we have given up.  

It’s about time I guess.Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.47.10 AM


Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.46.34 AM


From Black Cedars to Emerald Cedars. Already I am happier. Look at how funny and sad they looked before at the beginning of the driveway!Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.49.47 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.50.14 AM

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.51.12 AM Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.51.47 AM

Just before Christmas we changed the lane way to add a curve which in turn gave us the space to plant the new 10ft cedars and a few deciduous trees like maple and flowering pear.   Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.56.23 AM


 Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.55.45 AM

On the end of the right side of the driveway we added in a berm and another 25+ trees.  The change is dramatic and I look forward to watching everything grow. Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.54.55 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.44.04 AM

The yard was more enjoyable and pretty this winter. 

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.44.13 AM   Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.45.12 AM

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.52.17 AM

Here the black Cedars are shown beside the Emerald Cedars.  The black cedars look like a joke don’t they?  Black cedars are not a very good hedge choice because they stay very compact and cone shaped.  We moved the ones that were in good shape to new spots around the house.

 Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.55.59 AM   

We debated the hedge and berm a few years ago, we should have just done it from the beginning. But It was a job that was and still is overwhelming.  There is lot to fix up and even more to mulch. I spend most of my days keeping everything watered. 

Admitting defeat is hard but change is good!

You KALE Rule The World

10 Jun

I love Kale

Hello I am Miss Super Kale.

I am very very late to the Kale bandwagon, the superfood that has taken the world by storm.  But nonetheless my middle son sees me as a kale loving super freak.  This was the mothers day card that he gave me this year. I laughed my butt off! I love it!  Yes that bobble head is me wearing an I love Kale shirt.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.42.29 AMThe entire family groaned when I came home with three cookbooks this winter.  Oh She Glows, 50 Shades of Kale and Kale, Glorious Kale. 

Kale glorious Kale

I have been shoving kale into everyone as often as I can.  Its easy enough to stuff into smoothies but there have been many Kale focused meals of late.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.40.11 AM  Kale chips really are as good and addictive as everyone says. 

I have planted three varieties in the garden this year.  A Dwarf Blue Curled, Dwarf Green Curled and something else that I cannot name at the moment- if you wait around long enough it might come to me.Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.38.54 AMDid you know that Kale is the healthiest with the number one ranking out of 83 vegetables. Using a point system based on the overall percentage of vitamins, mineral, phytochemicals and fiber, kale easily has the top spot with 1381 points surpassing all other vegetables.

How many points does that broccoli have that your mother used to make you eat? Only 263 points! Even brussels sprouts came in with only 243 points.

Can you believe it?

That is why if you eat Kale you could… rule the world!

The Self Taught Gardener

5 Jun

I recently read a fabulous book. A book that made me want to go out and garden like MAD!

The self Taught GardenerThe Self Taught Gardner by Sydney Eddison (1997) is like reading all of your grandmothers secrets to stress free gardening.  Can’t make sense of what works even in your own yard?  The Self Taught Gardener is like having someone very gently tell you what to do, what to notice and most of all what to give up while not giving up. It reflects on how you gradually build skills and ambitions while helping to avoid common mistakes. I found myself shaking my head YES many times!  Sydney also teaches you to follow your gut and experiment while learning from others.  Most of all this book gave me hope after all the screwing up I continue to do- yes… I think I have an unusually good knack for it this year!

Some of the main points from The Self Taught Gardener:

The edges of the garden when kept sharp and clean edged can have an unruly mass planting in them – it will still look purposeful and contained.

Have 10 or so favourite plants.  You don’t need to grow everything. There are some plants that are just not worth it.

There is no guilt for cutting down trees.  If you don’t like it get rid of it.  It is your piece of land and it’s natural to want to do something with it.

Do not be put off by scale.  A garden can be added to by up to 10ft a year.Perennial  boarder with Evergreen

You only need half a dozen of four season plants, a handsome edger and an evergreen for geometry.

Your lawn is really just a grass garden and can be just as much work as a garden especially if you are striving for perfect rich green grass.

Accept the fact that a garden is never finished.

If you find yourself thinking about next year – you’re hooked!

I am thinking about 2 years from now and more!

Any of this resonate with you?  I think I have recently cut my list of favourite plants down close to 10.  I realized a while ago that trying to grow everything doesn’t work in my soil type or look cohesive.

What’s your best piece of gardening advice, from yourself or that you’ve been given? 

Location is Everything

3 Jun

When looking for a place to live what do you consider?

nest in a bird feederWhat about shade? Or a decent roof, high terrain, great view, close to shops and food?

We had to laugh when a robin made a nest in the bird feeder.  We tried to stop them but they just rebuilt their nest the next day.  It has been fun to watch the progress of big pregnant mamma robin to baby birds leaving the nest. baby robins
And we think our kids grow up too fast!

Birds are smart aren’t they?

Who Beat the Sheet Mulch?

1 Jun

new sheet garden making

Who beat the sheet mulch?
The lilies beat the sheet mulch!lilies win

Of course they did, they beat everything! Come up exactly where you don’t want them and are impossible to pull out.

I don’t know how I thought that cardboard and mulch would just go right over them.

This has put a real damper on my plans and now I don’t know what to do or if I should just go with it.  They are basically a ditch weed these ‘orange’ kind… *sigh*

Kitties & Chicks

29 May

Cats LOVE chicks! Maybe they want to eat them, but maybe -just maybe! they want to cuddle them too. It’s hard to say.  Our indoor cats are two years old and this is their first experience with having chicks in the house.  I keep the chicks in the bathroom under a heat lamp where the room stays warmer.  EVERYTIME I open the door to check on the chicks all of the cats come running in as fast as possible trying to trip and kill me so they cat get a good seat to watch.

It’s pretty funny.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 10.21.45 AM   cats and chicks cat checking out chicken

Awe… kitties and chicks!

Spring Vegetable Garden

27 May upstar tulips

It seems like a slow start to the gardening  year. The weather has been unpredictable- nothing new I guess but certainly not the head start that my seasonal disorder personality needed.  Seriously. Winter ruins me- and yet I love it and the idea of hibernating from everything and everyone- but then why does it make us/me so SAD?

Who cares now eh?! The sun is shining and I have fudgecicles in my freezer! haha

 May GardenI have a few things in the veggie garden this spring. I have been following the http://www.smartgardener.com plan once again. It did want to me plant my tomatoes in early may but the greenhouse I like didn’t even have them out yet. Plus it tried to frost again this past week. I was willing to do the extra work to give them a head start but alas that never happened.Tulips in raised beds

costco bulk tulips

In the fall I planted late season blooming tulips in two of the beds just for the pleasure of cutting them.  You know how hard it is to cut tulips sometimes, but these were exactly for that reason. Still – hard to cut of course. But they lasted such a long time inside ….AND BONUS the cats didn’t even eat them!

The garlic from last year is trying to do something (YAY- cause I mulched the dickens out of it so they would over winter) and there are some onions left from last year that I missed.  In the last week of April I planted spinach, peas, turnip, kale, radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, beets and shallots.

The 2015 Garden Layout!

2015 Square foot garden plan

Well, Nothing cures Seasonal Affect Disorder like watching the tulips open. Am I right?




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