Thursday, 17 December 2009

Leaves and Snow

Walking in the park adjacent to us this afternoon, wonder of wonders, the sound of leaves underfoot was a first. Still very little snow, hence not enough to offer any cover for the fallen leaves. We had some very cold temps, in the minus 20's celsius, and I am quite concerned for some of my perennials. Or rather those that I am pushing the envelope on, such as Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', which I have covered with flax straw and Epimedium rubrum, which I have not covered. Tomorrow I will be gathering up some of those oak leaves and blanketing the Epimedium. I would dearly miss those bobbing little Bishops Hats in the spring.

We have 'warmed up' by our standards to a very pleasant -8c today with still no sign of snow. Every year my husband and I build a snowman in our backyard but not this year. The only one to look at will be in this message of Happy Wishes to All!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Gardening under the Full Moon

This was a December 1st to remember! I have never gardened at night and enjoyed doing it so much. If anyone knows what our 'typical' winter weather is like I would have been bundled up and working in mid-day under sunshine. But I couldn't resist having just arrived home with my fresh seasonal greens for my outdoor containers. The moon was brilliant and along with our Christmas lights, plenty of light shone on my gardening areas. What pleasure at zero degrees celsius as I was relishing working in my light garden gloves, not shivering and having to come inside to warm up the frozen fingers from winter gloves. Plus wearing no winter boots as no snow has arrived. I remained outside for 2 hours relishing how beautiful and our was. November broke all time high records with it being the warmest November in history.

And I was blessed to take advantage of this special first day of December, doing what I love to matter where or when.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pruning in Arizona

From my previous blog about my stay in France to now being in Arizona. Yes, I am very blessed. Son, daughter in law and two young grandsons to visit in a new home and a wonderful newly planted yard.

It is a requirement in their area to plant native plants in the front yard. There I was this morning pruning desert plants and being somewhat ruthless as I was shown by a local landscape worker. One pruning when the temperature reaches 28f. No problem here with that very often. At this time of year the temps. are glorious....not so in the summer months. They live in summer as we do in winter in Winnipeg.....inside. Air conditioning versus heating.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Gardening in France

Lost a long time from blogging here and I have missed doing so. Since my previous message I have put a lot of miles on viewing many different gardens in Europe. This trip was planned 6 months previous to my Mom's passing away. In the big picture I felt this was all meant to be, visiting far away family not seen very often. Our daughter lives in Villefranche sur Mer which is just east of Nice right on the Mediterranean. How great is that?!

Hence, very special to spend 7 weeks living with her in the non-vehicular village. Anyone who wants to lose weight or become very fit, this is the place.....many steep steps. I loved it! Plus the spectacular views, wonderful food, little shops, friendly people, markets and just enjoying walking the grand dog meandering along the narrow sidewalks and streets with a destination of a quaint coffee bar or patisserie.

No vehicles allowed? That does not stop these residents from gardening. As I watched them trudge in soil, huge containers and plants, I realized how easy our gardening is in comparison. Then the watering. Good if they live on the ground floor but if not more steps or the water fountain in the 'place'. The wonders of their hard work is shown in the pictures. The balcony one is the village winner with the most beautiful balcony.

Over our time away we travelled to the many cities along the Cote d'Azur---Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Juan les Pins, St. Tropez, Menton, Ventimiglia and also some in Provence. Further afield we went on a driving trip to northern Italy and Austria. What absolutely spectacular scenery and history! Throughout all these travels many gardens fit into our tour schedule of which I will continue to share.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Dedication to Mom

Maybe some of the fellow gardeners who follow my blog have been wondering where I have been. As the previous message told you I was visiting family.

Since my return sadness has visited me as my Mom passed away two weeks ago. She was the first gardener I knew in my life. For 63 years she lived in the North End of Winnipeg where all yards had large gardens, and hers was no exception. Although she was born in Winnipeg, this area was largely composed of immigrants and of course they brought their gardening knowledge and traits of sustaining themselves with them. Mom's garden flourished with tomatoes, peas, yellow and green beans, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, rhubarb, garlic, green onion and annually was seasoned with self- seeded dill. Being Ukrainian flowers abounded. Sprinkled from saved seed zinnias and marigolds coloured the summer. Batchelor buttons, bells of Ireland and poppies annually scattered their colour with only the aid of the wind. Along her house one always found snapdragons to play with by opening and closing their 'mouths'.

She moved into an apartment two years ago and I planted two containers for her on her with flowers dominated by red ones, her favourite colour and the other planted with green onions. Guess which one she favoured? She loved her green onion sandwiches. Maybe we can all learn from this, she died 3 days after she turned 93 and very good her entire path. She will always be missed and loved.

Chihuly in Phoenix Arizona

A month ago I returned from a vacation to Scottsdale, AZ where my son, daughter in law and grandson live. Always a wonderful time! This is like a second home to us now as we visit them twice a year. They are building a house and I have been helping them with their landscape plan. Wow! what a change for my plant knowledge from my Zone 3 garden. Love exercising the brain! We all came away with an extreme amount of knowledge. Have you ever seen an Ironwood tree, a native to the Sonoran desert? Unbelievable thorns covering all parts of it and to think that it was recommended for the yard with a toddler. Not to mention this said gardener who helps them with the gardening while I am visiting. Bougainvillea thorns are nothing compared to this tree.

To see some of these native desert plants we toured the Desert Botanical Garden in second visit to it. But this time we were treated to 'Chihuly: The Nature of Glass'. Dale Chihuly is a glass artist and very influential within the Studio Glass movement. He is continually revolutionizing the art of handblown glass. A spectacular exhibit! Don't miss it if you are in the area.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Bunnies and Bran

What do rabbits eat in the dead of winter when there is lots of snow cover? There my 'pet' neighbourhood rabbit was munching on the dead crisp frozen leaves of my 'winter interest' plant.....Eupatorium! Now these plants grew ginormous this summer, close to 7 feet. Bunnie would have lots of food if only he was taller. And there I was having my breakfast watching this while munching on my bran buds.....hmmmmm similar crunchy dry food......except mine lasts all year! Lucky rabbit when the new shoots of grass.....who am I kidding?!....noses of tulips is more likely......begin to sprout for his change of diet.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Spring rain in February.

Unbelievable weather we are experiencing! Rain in February occurs approximately once every 20 years and this is one of them. Not so good for us humans as the rain has now frozen and the sidewalks, driveways and streets are skating rinks. But the beaver in our creek must have known spring was arriving. He/she was out of its hut....which is in the creek bank unlike a mounded up hut.....and walking about trimming branches and carrying them back in for its dinner. Something I have never seen. I went for a walk today along the creek and it is now filled with street drainage water on top of the ice. I am hoping the beaver is alright and has built its 'living room' high enough to withstand this very unusual occurence.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Gardens of Australia

Yesterday was a perfect evening to give a presentation on the Gardens of Australia to the Friends of the Conservatory here in Winnipeg. Going to the event my car temperature was -23c! It was a wonderful 'escape' for all the hardy souls who attended. My pictures included ones from community, private, Royal Botanical and my ultimate favourite one Cloudehill Gardens. It is in the Arts and Crafts style as those gardens of Sissinghurst or Hidcote in England. This style of garden has been also influenced by the Italian Renaissance gardens. Cloudehill is on 5 acres and comprised of 22 garden rooms. Wherever one walks or turns there is another beautiful vista to embrace. Any gardener who visits Melbourne should definitely put this one on their to do list. It compares with if not better than those gardens of England and Europe.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Strong Winds

Very strong winds ...up to 100km/hr yesterday so lots of oak branches and twigs waiting to be cleaned up in the spring....maybe two more months?! What I was really hoping for was that a few of the large squirrel nests would be blown down....oops did I say that? .....the nature lover I am! Truly I like to watch their antics but I could do with less of them to eat my Christmas lights....have to buy new ones every year....or to dig out and fling the soil out of my large patio containers. Mesh on top of the soil just does not add to the beauty. Although I found I do rather like the look of large flat stones on top too heavy for said critters to disturb.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Northern Prairie Gardener

Hopefully, I can become as dedicated a blogger as I am gardener. Recently, I have been reading some gardener blogs and they are truly amazing and wonderful. As this title says, I garden in the prairies of Canada. While it is challenging, I know that there are always challenges for gardeners wherever we garden. We, in the north always want to 'push the envelope' and try growing plants in warmer zones. But, then those gardeners in hot regions cannot grow what we can....amazing peonies, lilacs, etc. Our snow covering is a blessing for us at this time of year. Right now my perennials are snuggled down under a foot and a half of this insulation. It is a quiet time of the year where we look out at the winter garden in its beauty with snow artistically piled on the tops of the obelisks or the snow falling like a ribbon on the tree branches or fences....truly a beautiful sight!