Monday, June 21, 2010


The first day of summer, and a lovely one it is too. If only all summer days could be as sunny with such a comfortable temperature as this one. In a lovely summer moment, I noticed the sun shining on the tenacious feverfew that had seeded itself between the patio stones under the bench and grown to such a size that it has poked its way through the slats.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lavender Water

What a beautiful colour this lavender water turned out to be. Lavender has been used throughout the centuries for cleaning and purifying, as anyone who has ever smelled the fresh scent of the blooms would be able to guess. This lavender water was made from this season’s first blooms. To learn a simple way of making lavender water, you can use the same method as I described in my Rose Water post of May 30, 2010. Besides all the lovely things you can do with the water, I’d want to make it just because it's so decorative when poured into a pretty container. But just to review, you can also use it to spray on linens, sheets, curtains, clothes or anything else you'd like to be ever so-lightly scented. Put into a spray bottle you can mist your hair with it or your face to refresh on a hot summer's day. Or wash your face in it at the end of a long day to cleanse and restore your spirits. The uses of lavender are endless. Stay tuned for more ideas over the coming days!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Filling Your Cart

Last year I wrote about attending Art in the Garden at Kiwi Gardens. Well, I went back again this year for the event. Kiwi Gardens is a lovely nursery with rambling grounds that lends a perfect setting for the featured artists. As you meander along the curving paths that lead visitors through the various areas, you come across the varied artwork on display for this one weekend in June. Many of the exhibitors were the same as last year's, but there were a few new participants.

If you manage to reach the end without buying any garden art, most gardeners aren't able to hold strong faced with all the plant stock lying in wait at the end. Just how can one resist buying some of the plants that are for sale? With so many interesting and healthy specimens, the only thing you can do is grab a cart and start loading!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At the Centre

It’s raining and rather gloomy out there. Time to inject a shot of colour into the day. You might remember the lovely iris that I talked about in my blog entry of June 9th. This iris is the perfect antidote to a grumpy grouchy day like today. As I have been doing a lot lately, I focused on the centre of this particular iris, rather than photographing it from the usual perspective. And the results, I think, are simply spectacular. Don’t you agree?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birthday Bliss

Today was my husband’s birthday and although I left work at 3:45, I still only had a short time to make a lasagna from scratch, assemble a salad and toast garlic bread, ice the cake, wrap the gifts and set the table before the guest of honour was due to arrive home. Sometimes fortune smiles on you and everything goes off without a hitch. But when you’re short on time, it can go either way. I knew I wanted to use some paper lanterns I had purchased a month or so ago, and was very pleased with the way they looked with a vintage tablecloth that I have. They looked like birthday balloons, and if it had been dark they would have looked great lit. As luck would have it, I had some gift bags in my stash in colours that also worked well. The whole thing just came together without a lot of fuss. It's so nice when that happens.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garden Panic

At this time of year it’s very easy to panic about all the work that needs to be done in the garden. For example, my little Zen garden that I planted a couple of years ago has not only filled in, but has become completely overgrown. As you can see from these "then and now" photos, it's time to move some plants.

When I look around I am quite overwhelmed. There is weeding and moving of plants, edging of borders and some bigger projects, like laying a patio of flat stones in the backyard and planting ground cover. There are roses to buy and plant and planters to pot up with annuals. There are bushes and shrubs and trees to trim, lilac suckers to dig out, and endless blooms to deadhead. And in the front yard, the median between our driveway and our neighbours’ is also undergoing an update. In an effort to create a low-maintenance area, we are vastly simplifying that space. As in my back garden, we will be laying flat stones and using ground cover, along with a few specimen plants for interest. No wonder I feel a sense of panic, it’s made me quite nervous just listing it all here!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pleasant Surprise

I am very happy to find that I have another variety of clematis climbing up the fence in my back yard. The very fence that badly needs a coat of paint, I might add. There’s only so long you can claim that you are going for a shabby chic look... but it’s not the fence I wish to talk about. It’s the clematis, yet another plant that I hadn’t seen in bloom before. It’s another pink one, but a different shade from my others. It’s so hard to know what you’re getting when all you’ve got to go on is the small photograph printed on the label that comes with the plants and there you are trying to decide which to buy in order to take advantage of the end of season special price. You just take the leap, and hope of the best, but it’s always a bit of a mystery until you get to see it in real life. And happily, in this case at least, the colour is quite lovely, very soft and pretty.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nature's Palette

No matter how often I remind myself to enjoy the season, to keep my eyes open and stay in the moment, I often do forget to take everything in. I almost did it again. I planted an iris last year and therefore have never really seen it in bloom. I looked out my bedroom window and realized that this particular iris had been blooming for the past week without me stopping to really study it. And now there was only one bloom left, the very last bloom of the season on this particular iris. I almost missed it! So I ran out with my camera before leaving for work to photograph it, the morning sun just catching the tip of some of its petals. It has such an unusual mix of colours... the faded dusty shade of pinky lavender of the bloom, along with the bright orange caterpillar-like beard. The two colours should clash horribly, but somehow they look just fine, beautiful in fact. Nature is a skilled artist, blending colours that either harmonize or contrast in the best possible ways.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Elephant Ears

The leaves on this particular hosta plant are humungous, the size of the ears on a baby elephant at least. So imagine the magnitude of the water droplets that have gathered here overnight. If you were dying of thirst you could save yourself by gathering the water that has collected on all these leaves in this corner of my garden.

Monday, June 7, 2010

High Style, Low Price

How do you like my bargain outfit? I dropped by the local Nearly New on my lunch hour and they had everything marked down to half price as want to clear everything out before they close for the summer. I found these capri pants ($3.00), a Rodier t-shirt ($1.00) and sandals ($1.50). Total cost was $5.50! And look how nicely everything coordinates.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Parade of Peonies

Peonies, so many varieties on display in the garden at the Experimental Farm. It was a day full of rain and I think there was moisture on my camera lens, creating a misty spot on the photos.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Planters Aplenty

I have this generous friend who, year after year, lets me and another friend use her front yard for the community’s great garage sale. It is a tremendous event, with thousands of people taking to the streets, so you just know that you’re going to do well. As a thank you we wanted to leave a planter on our friend’s doorstep. But when I went to look at this year’s offerings at the garden centres none of them seemed quite right. There was nothing else to do but hand pick the right shades from plants suited to part sun, part shade. In the end, there were too many plants to fit the planter, so the steps now have two planters to adorn them. They have that limp, just planted feel at the moment, but hopefully they’ll perk up soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Potted Table Top

I was looking at this large pot under my carport, thinking that I really didn’t want to plant it with flowers as I have so many other pots still to fill. The thought hit me that perhaps I could turn it into a side table to put drinks and snacks on next to our lounge chairs. I ran into the house to pull a round glass table top I had stored in the coat closet then back out to try it on top of the pot. It fit perfectly, and I mean as if it had been cut for the job. I added a little soil to the pot and planted a couple of small ferns from my ever-growing supply, watered it and then closed it off with the glass. I added a couple of rocks to weight the whole thing down and voilĂ  — an instant terrarium/side table. The final thing I did was paint the pot black to coordinate with the lounge chairs and planters already there.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the Inside

There I go, looking inside things again... going right to the heart of the matter so to speak. Seeing what is going on right in front of my nose without me being aware of it. These fox gloves are perhaps a timely reminder for me to do the same thing... to look inside myself now and then to see what is going on there. It’s good to stop and take stock from time to time. How are things going? Have there been any shifts I’m not conscious of? Where am I heading? Is it in the direction I want? All good questions.