Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 8

Today was all about presents!

A few weeks back, I'd ordered mom a couple pair of Croc sandals for Mother's Day... and of course I had to put a pair on the order for myself. I had them shipped right to Mom, so today I stopped by to pick up my pair.
Because who doesn't need hot pink shoes for summer?. Though seriously - if you've never tried a pair of Crocs (traditional clogs or otherwise) do it - you'll love them! This is my third pair of Crocs and I love them all.

I also picked up a pair of socks Mom made me...
This is a new self-striping colourway Mom and I came up with - and these socks were the test pair.
(I tried to get a picture of them on my feet, but someone thought that giving him attention was more important than sock photos.)
The colourway is called "Sock it to your Monkey" and it's in the shop now. There are also mini-skeins of natural available for heel and toe so you don't mess up the striping.

On the way home, I stopped at another garden center in search of pansies. They didn't have any, but their annuals were such a good price....
... I bought a whole tray.

Since the lack of returning perennials, as well at the monster dianthans, messed up my plans for that garden, I gave up any pretense of a colour scheme and just went crazy.
So now the tree garden has alyssum, marigolds, verbenas, celosias, petunias, lobelias, portulacas, violas, snap dragons, campanula, and four hens and chicks.
 I even added another dianthan because I loved the deep rich red. (I put a few in the bee garden too... watch these ones not come back!).

The front garden got a little bit of alyssum too, just to fill in where the forget-me-nots haven't spread yet.

And now I'm done with the new plants... least until something else tickles my fancy.....

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 7

Today was grocery day.. and since the garden center I go to is part of the grocery store... yep - back to the gardens!

I wanted to get some mulch for the roses and the bush garden
I thought it needed something to make it look more finished. Not to mention it would help keep the weeds down, and the water in.
It certainly helps, but I think it needs a border of beach rocks to make it look truly finished. I'll have to make a stop on the way home when I get back to work next week.

And no - you're not seeing things... there is a little something new....
That circle of rocks is not containing evil spirits... but sunflowers! I loved the ones I grew last year, but there's just no room left in the bee garden this year.  But there was a space between the Queen Elizabeth Rose and the raspberries. I marked where I planted them with the stones so I don't accidentally pull them out thinking they are weeds.

And speaking of the Bee Garden...
I might have managed to squeeze one more plant in there... The poppies I started from seed last year didn't take, and this beauty was sitting at the garden center all alone - I just had to bring her home. There are several more buds on it, so I can expect blooms for months!

Also in the bee garden... there's a bit of a mystery.
It turns out this plant is the
Alpine Aster.... (and the blooms are almost open!)

Not this plant, as I thought
Whatever it is - it's huge and has lots of buds which are very similar to my Cupid's Dart. But Cupid's Dart has very different leaves... any ideas what it could be???

While at the garden center, I also picked up somethings for the food garden.
One of my strawberry plants didn't make it, but I got four more and another bag of black earth to make all the plants happy.

 As you can see, the new strawberries are much bigger than the old ones... but they will get there. And look...
 Itty bitty berries!

I was also hoping to get some annuals for the tree garden
If I'm honest, the tree garden has me quite vexed! When I first moved here, my intention was to keep it as an annual garden. But least year, I got seduced by Campanula, English Daisies and Violas and bought some perennials. But the only thing that survived and came back this year was the black clover
Which is coming back very slowly.
And one poor little hens and chick.
And the dianthans I planted that WERE annuals... came back with gusto!
 There are about seven plants in three different colours
And I'm not upset that they came back...
But they are so darn tall! If I'd known the were going to come back, I'd have planted them closer to the tree trunk, leaving room for shorter plants in front of them. But C'est la vie.... I'll move them when they die off this winter. 

In the mean time, I got some snap dragons
They will get tall enough to stand their ground. 
And a few yellow violas.

Honestly, the garden center didn't have a great selection of annuals - unless I wanted to buy 10 of the same plant in one tray...  so I'm going to check out a couple by  Mom's on the weekend... hopefully they will have some better choices... I'd really like some giant pansies!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 6

Today was a photoshoot day for Cygnus! But I'm going to save those pics for later... instead, I'll show you the location.

The backdrop of our session was Dundurn Castle...
Not actually my photo - we kinda forgot to take an
outside shot of the front of the main house!
 ... a beautiful country manor house built in the 1830s. Though the house isn't actually in the country any more - it's almost in downtown Hamilton! But the grounds and the buildings are a national historic site, museum and public park.

Pretty much every school child in Hamilton goes to Dundurn at some point in their school life, and the last time I was there, I was probably about nine years old.
It's still very much as I remember. The main house has 40 rooms, though only a few are as large at this parlour (though almost every bedroom has it's own sitting room).
Because so much of the furniture and fabrics are original, you can't use a flash on your camera - so my pictures are limited to the rooms with decent lighting...
...and even then I had to play with them - thank goodness for photoshop!
All the tours are guided by costumed interpreters, which is pretty cool (and makes me a little envious! I want that job! Well... really -  I just want the dress!)

There are several buildings on the grounds, and also a very large Kitchen Garden
Very large! I can't imagine weeding that thing!
There were also these beautiful white irises, with just a touch of pale blue (Mom wouldn't let me steal any for my garden.... spoil-sport!)

While we explored the grounds, we did our photos for Cygnus
 ... and goofed around quite a bit... but more on that on another day. Vacation is slipping away and I don't want to waste a minute of it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 5

There's something I've wanted to tackle for a while, and after getting my chores done today, I set to it!
Yup. Bread! Growing up, Mom made bread frequently. My brother makes bread and buns all the time. There really is nothing better than fresh bread - and with the price of loaves at the grocery store lately, making my own has been looking better and better.

I found a simple recipe online, and in no time, my dough was set aside to rise
 And not long after!
and then just 40 minutes after that!
Two nice warm loaves! (one with cinnamon and raisins!) And they taste like bread too. I think this will be a nice surprise for Dave when he gets home from work.

And there's other things a-rising around here!
Looks like my garlic was a success - I've got three cloves sprouting now, and I suspect there will be more to come. (And yes, I'm totally thinking about the garlic bread I can make now!)
And this is either Gladiolus or Lily..... there are about nine coming up in the side garden (and don't worry - they got watered right after I took this picture.)

Rocky, however, is not rising
 In fact, he's completely out.... seriously - you should hear him snore!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 4

Nothing too exciting today. It's cool and cloudy so I've mostly sat around in my pajamas watching movies with the cats.

And that meant knitting....
The first Sagittarius sock is off the needles. I think the only thing I love more than the stitch pattern on these socks
Is the subtle shades in the yarn. This it was makes yarn dyeing so fun!

Missandei is also growing, albeit slower than I'd like.
But she's too big to spread out on the needle (and I'm still on the first skein) so I've had to get creative with photos
Here's a closer look at the second chart...
And now a closer look at that lilac....
Isn't she just the prettiest lilac ever?

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Great Spring Staycation: Day 3

It's Victoria Day here in Canada, and I think most of my neighbors we're up late partying, because it was pretty darn quiet when I headed out to the yard to enjoy my breakfast (and Dave and I are by no means early birds) and get to re-potting some plants.
When I was up at Mom's she'd given me a piece of her Snake Plant, but it was only in a temporary container. And I wanted the pot from  Ella, my Elephant Ear plant, for something else.
That done... the fun really began. While I was buying roses, and berries and such, I'd also gathered up a few bits and bobs for a special project.
In that pile there are Hens and Chicks, Scotch Moss, Wooly Thyme, Brass Buttons (a miniature fern), Fire Spinner and some Alyssum.
I already had one broken terra cotta pot (it got knocked over in a wind storm) and it was short work to make Ella's old pot into something I could use.
About 10-15 minute later...
The first fairy garden was done! I have a little ceramic fairy who can make her home here - I just have to go dig her out.

The smaller one went even faster....
This one is for Mom. The little stone house is an aquarium ornament (my fish weren't using it anyway!)

Now... I need some more plants! And some more pots to break!