Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-May 2015

It’s such a great time of year. I can’t help but take lots of photos in the garden. It seems like ages since I have seen my old friends in the garden.  Yes, that’s what they are. You would think I would remember them year after year but sometimes I will not notice how the speckling inside a Rhododendron bloom is so perfect. Its like discovering something I hadn’t seen before. It’s all about taking the time to notice.

Garden bloggers bloom day-May 2015

This Rhododendron has been open for a couple of weeks. Its soft pink is lovely in the shade garden.

Garden Bloggers Bloom day- May 2015

Remember the big arbor I showed you the other day? The Roses are out in bloom and the Clematis are starting to wind their way through the brambles. We must remember to tie some of the rose branches into place. They haven’t invented a hat to prevent thorns in the head yet. No, I am not wearing a helmet.

Garden Bloggers Bloom day-May 2015

The Irises keep on going. Next time I need to take a better look at the yellow markings inside this one. Doesn’t the yellow look fuzzy?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-May 2015

Hubby loves these two Rhododendrons. I think it’s the impact the two of them have when blooming together.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-May 2015

If I had to pick a favourite flower this week, it would be this peony. The outside petals open up like a water-lily with lots of ruffles on the inside.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-May 2015

I was in the garden after working on a class about pollination. Can you believe it? I was using the internet to look up flowers to attract the bees. What was I thinking?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day -May 2015

I have two large Weigela in the garden and both of them are loaded with bees. All I had to do was take a walk in the garden to see how busy the bees were in my flowers. I think I will cut a large bouquet for the class to see. Can you see the bee with it’s behind poking out?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-May 2015

The shrub roses are stunning this year. Petals adorn the lawn in a carpet of pink. As I look at the photos of the garden I realize there are a lot of pink flowers in bloom this month. I have to admit, I do love pastels in the garden so that may be why.

On the fifteenth of each month garden bloggers share their gardens. Today I am linking over at May Dreams Garden with other bloggers from all over the world.

Where are the Garden Fairies When You Need Them?

Today I am relaxing in preparation for a talk I am giving tonight. After going over my presentation I decided to take a break and walk the garden. I love my garden but it can be overwhelming at times. You see it sits on a half-acre. Most regular homes here are lucky if they are 5000 square feet so I am privileged to be able to enjoy this garden. Lets take a look at whats in bloom this week.

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

This is a shade garden full of Hostas with a Weigela and Mountain Ash tree as the large specimens in this garden. I love the Weigela with its masses of dainty pink blooms. There is lots of work to do in this garden as the bulbs die back. The Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ is getting swallowed by the plant next to it. My mound of glossy maple leaved foliage is my mystery plant just in front of the green Hosta. It looks like I may need to do some digging and dividing in this garden. I am still pondering placing a bamboo screen along the link fence for some privacy to block unsightly views.

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

I rarely photograph the north garden. This is full of Rhododendrons, Hostas and perennial Geraniums. Later the hardy Fuchsia will steal the show. The shrub Roses are in full bloom and as one of family member said, they smell lovely.

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

As I round the corner to the other side of the yard I can’t help but enjoy the flowers of the variegated dogwood. My daughter loved this plant so much, she asked us to plant a new one when we moved here. Below it is a cluster of Viburnum davidii that has just finished flowering.

 

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

On the far side of the garden is a huge framework, probably from a greenhouse. It was here when we moved in. It is covered with roses, clematis and honeysuckle. I love the fragrance when you walk under here. I had a family dinner last weekend and the kids loved this area. They kept calling it the tunnel and asking everyone if they had seen it. I aim to have a very cottage like garden under here with lots of perennials from Rudbeckia and Campanula to Alstromeria and Poppies. I let plants such as Nigella self sow here to fill in the gaps and recently added flowers to attract pollinators. I look forward to seeing them bloom. On the top left we seem to have one of the roses dying back. They are pretty old so we may have to train some of the lateral branches to fill in along the top.

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

The front garden is my favourite as I love shade gardening. As you can see it’s already dark here with the trees fully leafed out. This is where we are starting our Hosta collection. I am looking for plants that have gold, white and green tones in them for the shade garden. It’s so nice to have a plan for this area and the lighter colours make it brighter.

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

My tiny vegetable garden is growing well. You are probably wondering what the fabric is all about. I use a floating row cover over my newly planted vegetables so the cat doesn’t think I put all that fresh soil in for him. It has worked but as the plants grow and fill in I will be able to remove it. I have potatoes, beets, carrots, spinach, radishes and lettuce under there. A blueberry patch sits behind it. So far the ‘Duke’ blueberry is the most productive. The jury is still out on Pink Lemonade blueberry as it’s into its third year and no fruit. In my garden if plants don’t pay the rent they get the boot. There are always better plants.

Where are the garden fairies when you need them?

Remember the back forty I planted last year. Well it’s not planted yet. This is what overwhelms both of us now. The area is measured out, diagrams have been done and we are about to move ahead on this area. It’s the hardest clay soil in the world and its full of weeds including horsetail. I love new gardeners. The other day I was showing a new gardener the garden and she asked me what a plant was as she had seen lots of it. It was horsetail. I told her never plant it! You will never get rid of it. So back to the plan. We hope to build a kitchen garden with six raised beds. It will some day have a nice picket fence around it, maybe an arbor at the entrance. It will let me grow vegetables and herbs plus give me a work station for all the propagating I do. I also need some kind of roof to go over my tomato beds so we may use the car tent for that this year.

That’s about it this week. I have many weeds to pull but I will get there. I don’t worry about having the perfect garden. I think its natures way of teaching us patience. This weekend I will hopefully get some annual flowers in the garden. I have trays of Zinnias and Snapdragon to go out. Yes, the greenhouse is still full.

Today I am joining Heather over at New House New Home. Won’t you join the party and show us whats blooming in your gardens?

Garden-Party-button

 

Mays Flowers Bring Joy to the Garden

I love being in the garden like many of you but this time of year has to be my favourite. There are so many flowers in bloom and the birds are everywhere. This year we have resident eagles in the area. Each day they come to the neighbours large beech tree and snap a branch off to take to the nest they are building. It’s quite something to watch. We have yet to see the nest as it’s a few houses away.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

The Azaleas look like they are on fire in the garden. This deep orange provides a contrast to the bluebells and grape hyacinths planted below them.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

I love Hostas. Yes, I know. Havent we got enough of them? I can’t get enough of them so we decided to start a collection. Above is our newest addition, Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. A visitor to the garden looked at the plant tag and at me. He said, “You know this will get to six feet across.” I said yes. We took out the Choisya to make room for this one. There is something about large plants that add  boldness to the garden. I look forward to seeing this one grow.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

When we moved here eleven years ago, the previous owner had started growing Rhododendrons. Lets just say, forty Rhododendrons to be exact. We have the perfect climate and soil for them here on the southwest coast of BC. They need little care and with the right choices you can have them bloom from February to July. I love the way the leaves form a circle around the blooms on this one.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

This one is a standout this year. It never gets many blooms so I have to wonder about its hardiness. Don’t you love the splotch of yellow inside this Azalea bloom? I know Azalea or Rhododendron? If you take a close look at the bloom above it has just five stamens. If you go back and look at the Rhododendron above it, it has ten stamens.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

Here is a small part of our front garden. I am trying to use a palette of golds, whites and greens in this garden. It gets a lot of shade in the summer from the large trees and the hedge along the road. This can make the garden seem dark. Having a white Rhododendron in the back really shows up at night. I have added many Hostas to give the area some colour.This garden had no color but plain green when we moved in. An Aucuba was added to the far left of the hedge and a Pieris japonica to the far right. The Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’ has been the best plant ever. Its golden foliage stands out against the dark green of the hedge.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

There was a time when I used to pull out all the orange poppies out of the garden. It didn’t take long for me to start appreciating them as a good thing. When you garden on a large property, ground covers take on a whole new light. The same goes for the bluebells. They will soon finish blooming and the more stately plants like peonies will burst into bloom here.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

This is a small section of the shade garden in the backyard. I think its time to use one of these Japanese forest grasses or Hakonechloa  in the front yard to give some narrow leaf texture near the large leaves of Hostas. I have the Japanese forest grass placed near a Hosta and Solomon’s Seal in back and Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ to the side.
May flowers bring joy to the garden

I love how species tulips can grow so well in a shady corner. They get a couple of hours of morning light before the sun goes behind the house next door. I am still trying to figure out what the plant is on the right of the tulips. Its foliage resembles a perennial geranium but the leaves have a sheen to them. When picked this plant does not have the usual scent most geraniums give off.

 

May flowers bring joy to the garden

I will end this post with my favourite plant of the week. This pale lavender Iris just opened outside my kitchen window. The softness of this colour is stunning paired with other pastels in the garden.

May flowers bring joy to the garden

 

Above it is a large rose that just opened with peach coloured blooms. Every time I walk by this garden, the fragrance makes me stop and linger. Isn’t that how it should be?

 

 

 

Are You Crazy for Tomatoes?

Are you crazy for tomatoes?

 

I am having a plant sale tomorrow and I sure hope you will stop by. The greenhouse is bursting with thousands of plants that need homes.  From heirloom tomatoes to Zinnias, I will have a bit of everything. I find over the years I like to grow plants that are a bit different from the norm.

Are you crazy for tomatoes?

Last year it was Zinnias. I know Zinnias are pretty common but not here. People would look at my Zinnias and say, ” You can grow them here?” They are one of the easiest annual flowers to grow. Best part is they require little deadheading and this lazy gardener likes that. This year I am growing four different types of Zinnias. I have Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’ for sale tomorrow. The rest will most likely go in my garden. 

Are you crazy for tomatoes?

Of course, my life isn’t complete without organically grown tomatoes. I think what surprised me last year was people who would only buy a red tomato. I mean that’s their choice but there are so many unusual tomatoes that are amazing. The one above is Snow White and its skin is a light creamy yellow. Imagine this one in a salad with yellow and red tomatoes.

Are you crazy for tomatoes?

Or you may want to try my favourite tomato, Wapsipinicon Peach. This medium-sized tomato is one great tasting yellow tomato. So how did I get started growing so many tomatoes? I was asked by a gardening friend on twitter if I would grow out some tomatoes for a seed bank. It was a win win situation. Not only did I get seeds for free, I get to eat all the tomatoes. All I need to do is scoop the seeds out and save them. Now that’s led me to start breeding plants but that’s a whole other post.  This year I am growing a tomato called Giant Tree tomato. When I looked it up it says it will grow to 18’! I have visions of being smothered by a giant tomato plant in the greenhouse or the stems winding their way out the vents only to distress the neighbours. They already think I am a bit tomato crazy.

Are you crazy for tomatoes?

So come on by tomorrow and say hello. If I don’t have the tomato plant you are looking for my friends at West Coast Seeds will. I love talking tomatoes and want everyone to have success with my plants. It’s hard to see them go after months of watching them grow. Just think of all that yummy goodness we will have in a month or so. Yes, nearly all my tomatoes are in flower. It’s that warm winter and spring we had. They are so tall they wouldn’t fit in the mini greenhouse to harden off.  That’s never happened.

To find out how to take care of your new tomato plants, check out my post here.

 

21 Breathtaking Bathroom Makeovers

gorgeous-spa-like-bathrooms

Is it all the home renovation shows we watch that has us thinking we can redo any room in our house? I have to admit I do watch a lot of those before and after renovation shows and they make it look so easy. Guess again, there is a lot of hard work that goes into renovating any room. It certainly isn’t done overnight like so many we watch on television. So when we decided to renovate the bathrooms in our home, I scoured the internet for ideas. You see hiring a designer was over our budget. That $6000 would buy a lot of extras. One of my favourite places for inspiration was looking over the do-it-yourself projects over on Hometalk. There I could see what others had done and what I liked and didn’t like.

21 Breathtaking Bathroom Makeovers

I knew I wanted a nice bathroom and wanted to stay with the style of our home. You see, we live in what is a Georgian style home and its the only one of its kind in Delta. That meant all those ultra modern bathrooms were ruled out. I knew I didn’t want the shabby chic look either. What was I looking for? I wanted a wow factor. I wanted to walk in my new master bathroom and not want to leave. I wanted it to feel like a spa but still have all the safety features as well. We hunted all over for cabinets, plumbing fixtures, paint colours and the like. It took months before we were ready to begin. We hired a contractor as walls had to be moved. You know I am a gardener and I can redo gardens but when it comes to inside I leave it to the pros. I must admit having a blank landscape inside was just as much fun to design as outside. It’s just easier to dig a hole and plant than to build.

21 Breathtaking Bathroom Makeovers

This week I was asked to curate a Hometalk board with some inspiring ideas for you. I like a bathroom with a feel of elegance. I even found a kids bathroom on Hometalk that any young person would love. Check this one out. I love the huge sink for three children. Can you not see all the boys wanting their space in there? Adding a sliding glass door to the bath in hopes of keeping water from getting all over the floor was a great idea. A mom can hope, right?

I love any bathroom with a chandelier. It gives it glam and makes the room shimmer with romance. I think I like this next one for its choice of neutral colours as well. Being able to change the decor colours using accessories makes this girl happy. Who wants the same colour? I like to change things up with the seasons. So how do you like this bathroom? I think my favourite spa like bathroom on the board is this one. I love the idea of a walk in shower without a lip. I also love the bathtub. Isn’t it dreamy?

Best decisions made for our bathrooms were:

1. Adding heated floors to the rooms.  I melt with delight when my feet walk on a warm floor.

2. Buying comfort height toilets. I no longer feel like I am sitting on a  kiddie toilet.

3. Buying designer safety bars. I mean we really don’t need those ugly cheap ones. You can have safety and beauty at the same time.

4. Knocking out a wall to gain extra space. I now have my own sink!

So click on the board at the top of the page and it will take you to 21 different styles of spa like bathrooms. There is something for every taste whether your space is large or small. So which room is next for us? The kitchen is the last room to be done in our home. We have been here ten years and every inch has been painted by us. Yes, we did everything except the bathrooms. I am excited to start planning my kitchen but its a lot more expensive to redo than the bathrooms and our ceiling needs replacing. So I am off to the garden to pot up more plants. You see, I figure if I sell 5,000 plants at $4 each I may be able to afford that kitchen. Like they say money doesn’t grow on trees. Oh wait, are there seeds for that?

 

 

Plant Sale Alert in Ladner

Calling all gardeners, are you ready to shop for summer? This weekend there are four plant sales going on in Ladner. I can’t wait to share them with you.
Plant sale alert in LadnerIf you are a regular reader you know I am growing lots of plants. I am one crazy tomato lady so I will have lots of tomato plants for sale this weekend. Please come and take some home so I can get into my greenhouse. I need room! The tomato plants are starting to flower so fruit is not far behind. Its been cool at night so most plants you buy this week will need to be hardened off. That means protecting them for a few days until the nights are a comfortable 10C on a regular basis. Don’t even think about placing basil outside yet. Remember the plants can’t put a coat on when the nights are chilly. Placed outside too early, plants just sit and sulk. Plant sale alert in LadnerI am not the only one having a plant sale. The South Delta Evergreen Garden Club is holding their annual sale over at the Delta Hospital Extended Care Unit. The best place to park is at the school board office parking lot and walk across the street from there. Do not enter the front hospital entrance as you won’t be able to access the sale from there. The garden club has a huge array of outstanding perennials just waiting for a new home. Be sure to check out some of the new vendors at their sale. If you have tools that need sharpening, the Repair Man will be there with their new mobile unit.

Plant sale alert in Ladner

If you are looking for more tomato plants, West Coast Seeds retail store is the place you need to go. I will have a list of their tomato plants at my sale so if I don’t have what you are looking for they will. Check out their retail store for some amazing gift ideas for Mom. Remember Mothers day is just over a week away.

The Ladner Lawn Bowling Club is also having their annual plant and bake sale on May 2. So check them out as well. Just think you can pick up some home baking to fortify your big plant shopping excursion. You can find the Ladner Lawn Bowling Club at 5128 47 Avenue in Ladner.

So bring your plant trays, wagons and reusable bags as you will need them. We are all offering something different this weekend. Its going to be so much fun and I look forward to seeing you.

April’s Flowers- A Walk in the Garden

It’s a busy time in the garden as we plan our summer gardens, dust off the barbecue and get ready to enjoy the back yard. Our sidewalks had to be cleared this weekend to pressure wash the two years of dirt and grime from them. It’s a messy job and meant moving a few zillion plants. Well, not quite that many but it seemed like a lot.  The goal is to get the yard looking nice for the summer. It’s already shaping up as the lounge chairs come out beckoning one to come and sit awhile. I only wish. There is plenty to be done and the list doesn’t get any shorter. Those black poppies still need planting, and the dahlias are potted up but where do you plant twenty-five dahlias? Yes, I have gone a bit overboard as plants tend to grow and need dividing. The closest I get to relaxing is walking through the garden so join me won’t you?

April's Flowers- a Walk in the Garden

I have to admit this Primula isn’t mine. When we moved my mom to a condo a few years ago, it sat in her garden waiting to be planted. It didn’t look very good so I had to rescue it. Look at it now. I love this double flowering Primula with its soft yellow flowers. Its called Primula ‘Belarina Buttercup’. This is definitely one plant I will divide and share.

April's Flowers- a walk in the garden

The garden is full of English bluebells. For some they are like weeds as they spread rapidly. I love them as they give my garden that cottage garden look and hide any dying back foliage from earlier spring bulbs. They make nice fillers for bouquets in the home. I have pink and white as well so I may actually have some Spanish bluebells. I love pastels in the garden as it creates such a calming effect.

April's Flowers- A walk in the garden

The first of the Clematis is out. We welcome the arrival of Clematis montana. It sadly disappeared for two years until one day I found a piece growing back from the root. We had almost given up hope on this one. It has now climbed over the rose arbor. If we are lucky the roses will open before this finishes to add even more pink flowers.

April's Flowers- A walk in the garden

I love blue flowers in the garden but some of them are real thugs. These two look great together, don’t they? In my early gardening days I couldn’t get enough of Centaurea montana with its spidery blue flowers. If I had only known I would be digging it out every year. A few are okay but their roots spread underground sending baby shoots up everywhere. Then there is Ajuga with its spiky blue flowers. It’s a great ground cover, oh yes, until it invades your lawn. Okay I actually don’t mind large patches of purple Ajuga leaves in the lawn as they never get a chance to bloom. But left there I have noticed that some have travelled via lawnmower to another part of the lawn. Sigh. It’s interesting to inherit someone else’s plants when you move to a new home. You just never know what you will get.

April's Flowers- A walk in the Garden

Lets move on to the front garden where some of my favourite plants grow. I can’t get enough of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’. I love great foliage in the garden and this plant has it all. Its tiny blue flowers are a sure sign of spring. Once the flowers finish I cut them back and the leaves start to get larger. I like planting this with ferns and Hostas. It likes a home where its protected from the hot afternoon sun. I have it growing under my large oak tree which provides a shady spot in the summer.

April's Flowers_ A walk in the garden

I keep staring out the window at the leaves of this Dicentra commonly known as bleeding heart. Look how well it goes with the native fern and dark leaves of Ligularia in behind. This could be Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’ but I am not entirely sure. I often buy plants that are not labelled. Place this bleeding heart in a shady spot in front of some dark green plants for good contrast. I have this one planted in front of a large cedar hedge.

April's flowers- A walk in the garden

That’s about it for today. Its time to get out there and think about where all my summer plants will go. Where will I plant Snapdragon ‘Black Prince’ or the Zinnias this year? Do I have enough soil for the containers? What will I do with the Dahlias? As my trees grow I have more and more shade so the garden changes. Sun seeking plants are delegated to the side yard out of view. That just means I need to take a garden walk more often or create a new sitting area. Like I will sit down, not. Well, maybe for a few minutes.