Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year! (& a wishlist)

Good-bye 2009, Hello 2010!

Anna, over at greentapestry wrote a beautiful New Year's post, and included a "New plants wishlist for 2010". I think it's a wonderful idea, and I've decided to do the same. This way, I can refer back here and add as needed. We wouldn't want to forget anyone, would we? ;)

Here's my list to date, only the must haves (supplier in brackets for future reference):

Blue Himalayan Poppy Meconopsis 'sheldonii' (Holes, order seeds too)
Dianthus 'king of blacks'(Holes or local)

Lilac 'wonderblue' (Holes or local)
Hydrangea 'Incrediball' and maybe 'endless summer'. local
Peonies: Bowl of Beauty and Festiva Maxima (both local - confirmed :) ), space permitting.

Cool Splash Dwarf Honeysuckle (Diervilla sessilifolia 'LPDC Podaras') local
Roses: 2-3, with blended colurs (such as yellow/pink, inspired by the beautiful 'Durban' rose)
possibilies inculde: Morden Sunrise, Prairie Sunrise, & Sunrise Sunset

Oriental Lilies, possibly white with pink centres.

Dahlia 'Mystery Day' or the stunning 'Edinburgh' (I have to make sure they can grow here) local -bought!

Tiny Tim Tomatoes (& 2 other cherry tomatoes) in a pot.

Strawberry plants, for the hedge corner

Possibly Green Onions

Plan for around Mme Lemoine Treeform:

Russian Sage x2

Astillbe (white? 2-4)

Shasta Daisy, Becky? NOT Snowcap x2

Festiva Maxima Peony

More Dwarf Blue Balloon Flowers for the base of the clematis.

Annuals: Blue Star Petunias, Blue/White Lobelia, Yellow Snapdragons, Tigereye Gold Rudbeckia

I also plan to add a few new sculptoral elements, starting with this guy.

And to have more plants and blooms indoors, here is narcissus 'tete a tete':

What's on your wishlist for 2010?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gardening Gifts.

*Just added a new banner, a few gifts to self. The frog king was inspired by Kiki's 'Dreams' post, and the pots were lovely (and 75% off!). Can you see the 'In The Garden' words along the top of the pot on the right?

I hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing holiday season. I'd like to share some pictures of garden gifts that I was very happy to receive.

From afar...

From my family, some tools of the trade, which is great since mine are in horrible condition.

As well as a lovely set of garden tiles. I especially like the one on the bottom right, since I had a grand battle with slugs all summer. It's debatable as to who won. I will install it near my shady hosta bed, and hope it acts as a warning.

Also, a subscription to
Canadian Gardening Magazine (thank you CV!). Which should be a good source of information and inspiration.

Do you have any garden gifts you'd like to share?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice and Gardeners

Have you noticed something lately? There are so many garden blog posts on the wonderful topic of Winter Solstice, and yet out in the 'real world' it is hardly mentioned. Do you think gardeners are more in tune with natures cycles? I find Winter Solstice to be such a strong and significant day of the year. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I am always a little sad during Summer Soltice, the very start of the days shortening leaves me a touch blue. But the lengthening days brings so much hope & relief. To me, the Solstices and Equinoxes feel like mid-season, and yet they signal the start. This has always been confusing to me, but alas, I have adjusted.

Here are a few gifts, one I've received and one I'm giving out.

The first is a lovely little arrangement given to me by my garden centre guru & friend. She is my go to person for all things perennial and is a joy to chat with about gardening in general. We have become friends over the years, and exchange small items on occasion.

The second is a picture I took this summer, and I'm very fond of it. I have an 18"x24" enlargement in my house, and framed some 5"x7"s/8"x10"s for friends and family. I call it 'Maple Sky'.

Happy Solstice, Chrismas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa & of course, Festivus.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Deer in the Snow.

I was pleasantly surprised to see these beauties right across the street from my house when driving home the other day. I parked, grabbed the camera, and ran outside. I kept a good distance (which is unfortuante for my little point & shoot), but they were still a little suspicious, so slowly moved on. Aren't they lovely?

And here are the permanent residents.

These recent photographs of birds & deer have made me long for the relative ease of photographing plants, they allow you to approach and stay reasonably still.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful....

...but the birds were so delightful.

(I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos, they were taken from indoors and through a not so clean window)

It has been very cold here lately, the poor little birds were freezing yesterday, but are so incredibly cute when puffed up to stay warm.

Growing up in Eastern Canada, I still find magpies beautiful and eye-catching, even though they are considered a nuisance.

Here is one in flight, doesn't really show the markings but I still like the picture.

I have always been crazy about blue jays, when I was a child I considered them to bring good luck. I love when they visit.

I don't know very much about bird identification, and am not sure what this little fellow is. It made me think of a finch, but could be something else. Can anyone help out?

These little ones were all over the birch...

There was lots of activity at the birdfeeder...

..and below.

I could sit and watch them all day.

One late addition, a flock of starlings arrived today, it was like a scene out of the movie 'The Birds'.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

(Wordless) Wednesday: Proud as a Peacock

Here are a few pictures taken in the Dorothy Harvie Gardens of the Calgary Zoo. I think of the peacock as HRH, he emerged onto the rock 'platform' through the foliage like a King stepping onto a balcony through velvet drapes to address his subjects.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let it Snow! (aka The Blizzard vs The Bus)

It's official, winter is here. We have been under a weather warning for the last 24+ hours, and it isn't going to be ending any time soon.

I thought this was a very pretty, snow laden bough.

Bits of snow are stuck all over the house and windows. It reminded me of the faux snow painted store fronts.

The snow was blowing in from the NE, and produced this odd drift, usually snow blows away from this shed, but now it is piling up high.

Even Mister Golden Sun was unable to shine today.

My Garden Frog is hardly visible, and may disappear soon. There was no sign of the turtle.

As I was watching the blowing snow in front of my house, I saw a city bus slowly sliding sideways, trying to get out of a drift. It was unsuccessful, and required a tow truck to come to the rescue. I think the blizzard won.

But always remeber to Have a Nice Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Plant Obsession, Hydrangea paniculata 'Kyushu'

I am completely obsessed. I first saw this beautiful and interesting Hydrangea in the book 'Lois Hole's Favorite Trees and Shrubs'. I started browsing the Hydrangea aisles more carefully, but never came across one.

During a quick trip through the garden centre of a hardware store, I spotted 2, in amongst some Limelight and Little Lamb. I bought one for myself, and one for a friend (well I couldn't just leave it there, could I?).

Since planting it mid-summer, I've been crazy about it. It is my first Hydrangea, and I have since added 2 Uniques. I'm also considering a Limelight, and possibly an Endless Summer, if I can manage to keep the soil acidified enought to maintain the beautiful blue colour.

'Kyushu' is hardy to zone 3, when grown in a sheltered location, and grows to 8-10ft tall and wide, It is often trained (or grafted?) to a treeform, and then makes a wonderful focal point in a formal setting. There are lots of images of the treeform variety online if anyone is interested in seeing one.

The panicles are around 8 inches long, and have only 10% showy sterile florets. This gives them a very open and airy shape, and they are easily held up by the branches.

This beautiful plant is named after the Japanese island where it comes from. For those of you who love Hydrangeas, there is a wealth of information (& photos) on many varieties in the Royal Horticultural Society 'Hydrangea paniculata Trials Bulletin', available here.

What is your plant obsession?

Monday, November 23, 2009

One Post, Two Awards, Geese, Horses & Muffins.

I am absolutely honoured to have been selected for not one, but two wonderful awards. The "Honest Scrap Award", from Deborah at Green Theatre, and the "Best Blog Award" from Noelle (aka azplantlady) at Plant Tips and Guidelines for the Desert Garden. Both of Deborah and Noelle are very special to me. I truly hope I haven't offended either of you by combining both awards into one post, it just seemed to make sense to me.

Deborah (a fellow Canadian) with her wonderful comments & insight, and watching her Kilbourne Grove develop is just enthralling. Living in a somewhat similar zone, I am able to gain lots of useful information, and ideas that I can try to incoporate in my garden. She's also brilliant ;).

Noelle, in Arizona is a breath of fresh air. I am introduced to plants I've never seen before, and a landscape that is vastly different and beautiful. I'm counting on her beautiful blooms to carry me through the cold, dark winter days ahead.

As I was walking today, I saw a large flock of geese, gathering together before heading south. They were spread out across a lake, with numbers in the hundreds. They made me think of all of the bloggers out there, and so I'll include a picture of them:

Just a note, I realize that many of the blogs I mention will have already received one or both awards, but I will re-award them regardless, since they are a cherished part of my blogging community.

I'll start with the Honest Scrap Award:

The rules are:

A. Brag about the award.


'Dance of Joy, Dance of Joy, my very first blogging award, I'm surprised and honoured that someone thinks so highly of me, I must be great (is that enough?).

B. Link back to the person who gave it to you.

Thank You to Deborah at Green Theatre.

C. Share 10 honest things about yourself.

1) I don't eat blue food. As established in Kiki's post, I have a true blue essence, but not when it comes to food.
2) I have lived in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
3) I worked in plant genetics research before becoming a stay at home mom.
4) I love nature and wilderness, but am absolutely terrified of bears. Not a great combo living near the Rockies.
5) I really love to cook, I find it as relaxing and rewarding as gardening. I could slice and dice vegetables all day. I sometimes photograph food, and may blog about it one day. I've been tempted to add a recipe here and there but want to stick to one topic. Except today ;).
6) A major passion in my life is horses. I've been smitten since childhood and have been actively involved for decades. For other equestrians out there, Dressage is my discipline of choice.
7) I get a lot of enjoyment out of a quiet cup of coffee with a close friend.
8) I am a big fan of anything that Christopher Guest is involved in.
9) I miss the glorious fall colours of Eastern Canada.
10) Eggplants are perfect.

D. Give the award to 7 more bloggers who inspire you.

Northern Shade is the inspiration for my blogging, I wandered into the blog looking for information on the Mockorange 'blizzard', and was Wowed by the beautiful pictures and knowledgable information. We are both in Alberta, so much of the information is directly applicable to my garden. I had started taking pictures as a record of my garden, and around the same time I started exploring other garden blogs. So I decided to give it a try.

The Garden MsS at Gardening with Lattitude. A beautiful, kind gardener with an adorable youngster. Her blog is lovely and her comments are always appreciated.

Kiki, at Awake with Charm and Spirit. She is a wonderful and enchanted soul. Her blog always gives me a boost of positive energy.

Tatyana from My Secret Garden. Her garden is out of this world gorgeous, she is pleasant and delightful and a joy to correspond with.

Lona, at A Hocking Hills Garden. Her posts always tell a beautiful story and are loaded with stunning pictures.

The Informal Gardener, miss m. Her garden in the Laurentian Mountains takes me back to my childhood. Her fall pictures were wonderful and her posts are always a delight.

Jan, at Thanks for 2day. Her blog name says it all, a wonderful, positive attitude and lovely pictures & collages.

Pravesh, at Whatever. Her garden fairy captured my heart, and her blog in South Africa is filled with pictures of tropical plants.

And now for The Best Blog Award:

Post the award on your blog along with the name of the person who passed it on to you and link to their blog. Then be sure to leave them a comment to let them know that they have been chosen. Choose blogs which you have recently discovered and you think are great and pass it on to them.

Thank you Noelle aka azplantlady @ Plant Tips and Guidelines for the Desert Garden

Here is my list, in no particular order. I'm very sorry if I've forgotten anyone, it was not intentional.

Northern Shade

Green Theatre

Gardening with Lattitude

Awake with Charm and Spirit

Informal Gardener

The Galloping Gardener


The Urban Gardener

My Secret Garden

Garden Joy 4 Me

A Gardener in Progress

Dung Hoe

Thanks for 2 day

Does Everything Grow Better in My Neighbours Yard

Jocko's Plot

The Urban Balcony

A Hocking Hills Garden

This list makes me realize how very boring my blog name is, but I really had intended it for personal use only, otherwise I may have come up with something much more clever.

And since this a completely wacky and self indulgant post, I am going to add the following.

I think this video is gorgeous, anyone who appreciates gardens and/or horses will enjoy it. I prefer to watch it with the volume off, I find the narration doesn't add anything and may detract a little.

And here's recipe for you,

Pumpkin Muffins

Blend together:
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted butter or margerine
1/4 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)

Combine the following, and add to above.
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger

The batter is quite thin, so it's easy to mix by hand with a whisk. Grease 18 muffin cups and fill ~3/4. Bake 25-30 mins at 350C.

Enjoy! And it's been a pleasure meeting all of you. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Summer pictures that didn't make the first cut.

I was going through pictures from this summer, and for some reason I passed these over. I didn't like them enough at the time, or they didn't seem to fit anywhere. Seeing them again, I think they are lovely. Here they are, a last summer hurrah.

This is my first Stella D'Oro Daylily, isn't she pretty?

Here is the little peony that I rescued, I hope it flourishes in it's new home.

I think this Obedient Plant is very attractive.

Here's a picture of my Midnight Wine Weigela, the new foliage is green and it matures to a dark purple. I like the combination of colours.

This lovely tree is a white lilac. It's location is horrible, squeezed between 2 houses, a big spruce and a fence. It does well and has gorgeous blooms despite the challenges it faces.

I'm very fond of this flower on my False Sunflower, it was twice as big as the others, and much lighter in colour. It almost shouted 'look at me' every time I walked by.

I can't believe how well these grow, they started off so small and took a few years to look like anything, but 3-4 years later they are enormous.

Another picture of my Blue Star Petunias & Lobelia, I think they are so pretty, cascading over the wall.

Pretty berries on my Cotoneaster Hedge. I forgot how light they were now that they've matured to a much darker colour.

I planted a Snowdrop Anemone, it's a lovely happy flower that grows well in the shade. I've heard the spread well, I hope it does.

I hope all of the summer beauties come back next year.