Saturday, May 18, 2019



Three foxgloves have been planted in the bed by the front steps.  I had some here the first summer we were in this house, but they didn't come back so I will try again.


In the bed by the driveway, there are quite a lot of plants but none have grown very big so far.  So it doesn't look like much, but it should do soon. This bed has 3 peonies, a goat's beard, a hydrangea, lady's mantle, aronia, two painted daisies, some johnny-jump-ups. 




Today,  I planted two  lupins. These are considered a "cottage plant" in this neck of the woods. In Nova Scotia, they are weeds that grow along the highways on the hillsides.  The leaf formation reminds me of scheffleras.  They are tough, so they are perfect for this zone 3 garden.


I also planted a reblooming dwarf lilac in the back yard. It should have pink flowers. I don't know if it will get any this year, probably not, but something to look forward to.







Thursday, May 16, 2019

Signs of spring


The forsythia in full bloom.



Some daffodils are up, but many haven't blossomed.  Wonder what's up with that?

Also tulips coming in the back yard, if they can survive the dog's running around after squirrels.

Glad to see the climbing hydrangea is looking good after the winter. It was buried underneath 5 feet of snow, it seems to have fared better than a lot of other plants.


The turquoise chips around the plant are shavings of Irish Mist soap. It is said to be a deterrent to dear, in this case I am using it to deter the dog.

They say "first year, they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap."  This is the second year for the climbing hydrangea, so I can expect slow steady growth.  It won't produce blossoms for at least another 2 years.







Saturday, May 4, 2019

Spring has sprung

At last, a warm day, warm enough to dig in the garden and get some beds ready for new plants.


Pansies, the first sign of spring - 3 containers on the front deck. These bloom in Texas in January.


Today I worked on the bed beside the driveway, it gets full morning sun until about 1 pm, then it gets a little afternoon sun that peeks through between the house and the garage in the late afternoon. 


Last year, I planted 3 peonies in this bed, 1 goat's beard, 1 perennial geranium, some irises, a lady's mantle, a daylily, and the year before I planted a hydrangea that was trying to root along one branch to form another plant. Also an aronia that has nice red shoots all over. 


Not sure what I will put in this bed, I just know that I want some pink flowers clambering up over that rock.


My constant companion Tekla. She is full grown now and still up to mischief. This afternoon, I found a tulip bulb with green stalk on the back lawn, I don't know where she got that from.


I've forgotten what these are called,  but they are pretty.


And some crocuses in the front bed.

At last, signs of life returning to the garden!
















Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Birds at the feeders



This is a female house finch.  They are coming by the dozens every day to the feeders on the back porch. 

We have also seen an evening grosbeak, very colourful.  And a white-throated sparrow.  The sparrows are bullies when it comes to the finches; they simply swoop in and push the finches aside.

We have also seen an American goldfinch. The Sibley Guide to Birds is invaluable in identifying these birds.

Home Hardware got their first shipment of nursery stuff yesterday; as I drove by to check, I could  see they were unloading trees from the truck. I will go over today and check them out, even though this morning we are getting freezing rain!  I am on the lookout for a ginkgo tree.





Saturday, April 20, 2019

Bird Activity


Lots of finches at the bird feeders this past week. 


The above is a male house finch. They have pinky-red on their chest and top of their head. The females are mottled brown all over.


Their preference is definitely for the black sunflower seeds. But they also peck at the feeder with the smaller seeds.


The bird below is a purple finch. They look as if they have had a dip in red wine. The chest is also pinky-red. Apparently they have a lovely warble, but I haven't identified it yet from the other bird song.


These are so cute, a little bigger than chickadees. We have them by the dozens on the back deck.




Sunday, April 14, 2019

Deer Sighting


On Friday night, just around 6:30 pm, I noticed something move in the front yard. First one deer, then a second, walked slowly across the end of the yard and stopped.  My husband and I moved slowly to the living room window to watch, we didn't want to spook them away.


They saw our movement and stood still, watching us in return. The four of us just stood still and watched for several minutes. Nick got a closeup of their faces. We figured that the slightly bigger one was the male and the smaller one was his doe.  She looked as if she had come through a rough time, her coat was bedraggled and rough; perhaps she is shedding it for spring. I could see tits so we knew she had given birth recently. Which makes me wonder if deer have extended family, because they had left the fawn(s) somewhere for safety as they came looking for food.


After watching us for several minutes, the male began to stamp his foot. I googled this later and read that they do this when they sense imminent danger, it is a warning to the others. He did this for quite some time. The advice to hunters is to get their rifle lined up for a good shot, because the deer will soon flee.


Which it then did, flying off through the brush that surrounds our property.  Off to the woods up close to the seniors' manor, which is where they hang out apparently. The staff at the manor have set up a feeding station outside large picture windows; this is to bring the deer in close so that the residents can watch them. 


Personally I am glad that hunting season is only two weeks of the year.  They are lovely creatures and may they successfully flee the shots of the hunters.









Monday, February 18, 2019

February in Ontario


I read garden blogs and so many folks live in warmer zones. I don't think they have any idea what it is like to get winter for four to five months each year.  Even once the snow goes, it takes a long time for the soil to warm up. In fact, I was told not to plant runner beans until after June 14th as the soil is just too cold for them to germinate. So what we do plant in this climate has to be a very fast grower and has to reach its peak in about 60 days if we want to enjoy either the fruit or the flower.


View out the back door onto the back deck. We can't even clear off the snow now because there is no place to put it. The snowbanks right beside the deck are 5-6 feet tall. 


Tekla as she comes up the ramp from her lair in the garage (where the darkened door is).  She has a bed in there and she spends many hours keeping watch on the outdoors. If a squirrel decides to visit the bird feeders, he has to deal with a dog in full chase.

Actually today is a little warmer and we have had sunshine for 3 days now. This means the roads have actually melted down to the asphalt and you can see black roads for the first time in over a month. Today's temperature was -12 Celsius at 8 am, and is now up to -2.5 Celsius at noontime.