29 September 2011

hiatus




I've had a crazy week between school and work and a best friend being in the hospital.  So please forgive me for my blogging break; I will be back soon with more nonsensical blather!

23 September 2011

another time waster


So I jumped on the bandwagon and joined Pinterest today.  I can see it being a very practical tool for easily corralling any inspirational pics in one place.  I tried to do this in an iPhoto album but found myself getting lazy and not wanting to take the extra 4.28 seconds to right click, save, name the file, and choose the appropriate folder.  Also, if I ever wanted to use any of these pics on the ol' blog, of course I could never find any photo credit or source info to include.




I didn't quite understand how this whole thing worked until I just started using it (much like everything else in my life).  Basically you can install a button called "Pin It" that shows up on your internet browser's bookmark bar.  This allows you to 'pin' any image you happen to come across in your web-surfing adventures, but without the annoying part of having to login to anything or interrupt your surfing activities, whatever those may be!

You can create different 'boards' for different interests or categories like house, garden, cooking, flooring ideas, table lamps, textile patterns, etc, etc.  Then you can follow other users and 're-pin' any of their images and vice-versa.  Plus it automatically grabs the source link so it becomes much easier to credit the people that created the image in the first place.

Kinda handy when you're scratching your head trying to remember just where the heck you found that photo of the stone pathway idea or which blog showed images of a great combination of hosta varieties.

Soo, in conclusion, just another really great procrastination tool!  You're welcome.  Click on the red button on the top right to check out what I 'pinned' today.



22 September 2011

end of summer to-do list


  • have exterior drainage checked and/or cleaned
  • arrange for new gutter and downspout installation
  • finish painting shed
  • sand and stain front and back wood doors
  • get quotes for adding to rock retaining wall in back yard
  • clean out birdfeeders
  • order new drapery and hardware for both sliding glass doors
  • fix wood trim around new staircase

Okay so by 'end of summer' I suppose I'm realistically meaning the beginning of fall, which will probably drag onto after Christmas.  Always so much to do.

Last weekend I had a really good start to the back garden makeover and moved the large sword fern (which took about 4 hours with three people), the japanese maple, spanish lavender, and transplanted a whole bunch of goodies from my mom's garden.  I still have some space to fill though, especially when the dahlias are finished and cut back for the year.  I'm not in a huge rush to finish filling these sparse areas because a lot of the plants I still want are best planted in early spring.

I added a limelight hydrangea, some japanese blood grass, a purple hebe, daylilies, and some other (temporary) grasses and fillers.  I still have to remove the eucalyptus, dahlias, carex grasses, and hostas before I decide what else to add!  This rain is definitely hampering the motivation levels, but it's also been good to slow down and think about placement before rushing into anything!

What I've planted so far doesn't have much winter interest, which is also something to keep in mind.  They nursery owner was really pushing for heathers and dwarf conifers, because of the year-round interest and ease of maintenance they provide.  I wasn't really sold on this idea, until I found this image below of a frosty January border filled with heathers, Mexican feather grass, and a variety of conifers.  Different heathers have a variety of different blooming times, so all year round you can have some rotating bursts of color. 


Looks great here, but not sure about taking it to this extent in my garden (for right now, at least!).  It's a really different look from the lush plantings I have now.  But always good to have some inspirational images of different ideas for future use. 




20 September 2011

9/20 top ten


  1. this garden shovel from Lee Valley
  2. thomas paul octopus pillow
  3. kate and pippen
  4. hemerocallis 'sweet hot chocolate'
  5. baby alpaca 'nixon throw' by jonathan adler
  6. rain chains / 'Kusari Doi'
  7. melissa trapunto frye co. boots
  8. chicken enchiladas
  9. webcam 101 for seniors
  10. the bedroom below.  need i say more?



19 September 2011

suckers for punishment


It's just the way she goes sometimes, isn't it.  It seems that the plants that I pay the most attention to give me the least in return, and the ones that I could care less about continue to thrive in less than optimal conditions year after year.

Case in point;




Last year I pruned my peach tree perfectly, fertilized and watered deeply once a week, and got maybe 4 questionably looking fruits.  This year, I hacked off a couple of branches way too late into the season, never watered once and didn't give the tree any time of day whenever I passed it.  And low and behold it thrived under my neglectful selfishness.


16 September 2011

tulipa


I signed up for a bulbs class yesterday.  I say type this gingerly because I've come to a realization since turning 24 that my Saturday mornings are rarely filled with hungover breakfasts, sleeping in or clothes shopping anymore.  I am officially an adult!  And I love gardening!  And I'd be happy if every Saturday morning for the rest of my life was filled with gardening and birdwatching classes!

With fall just around the corner, it's hard to believe it's already time to start thinking about and planning for spring-flowering bulbs.  I planted masses of daffodils and tulips last year but with no particular plan in place.  They looked great, but there's always room for improvement each year.  I have my eye on a few different varieties, all cool tones, that should work well in mass plantings and borders alike.



above photos here

With the striking effect I'm going for, I'll need tons and tons of bulbs. I'm trying to decide if I should be ordering wholesale through an online distributor, or just stick with the local nurseries. Either way, it will likely be expensive.  But hopefully well worth it (if I don't go too overboard!).

One dilemma that I experienced this year is what to do in that awkward stage between the end of tulips and the start of annuals.  I hate to dig up the bulbs but in some prime areas I just have no other choice.  I did read an interesting tip this morning on a nursery website about what to do in this precarious stage;

Areas in the garden usually dedicated to annuals are good spots for bulbs, but it gets tricky when it's time to put the annuals in and the bulbs haven't died down.  Get around this by planting bulbs in plastic pots and  then planting the pots into the ground.  Put compost and sand at the bottom of the pot and plant about 5 bulbs per one gallon pot.  Fill with soil and sink the entire pot into the ground.  It can then be moved when flowering is over, leaving a hole to be filled with something for summer colour.  Use the same trick if you're planting bulbs in a fancy pot or container--it makes it easy to do a quick switch and to keep your containers looking great all the time.

Interesting, right?  Not that I would have the patience to do it, but if you have a smaller garden I can see this working great.  


If you love tulips as much as I do (or any kind of gardens for that matter), check out this post on Ben Pentreath's blog for some more great visual inspiration.  His garden makes me wish I lived in the English Countryside, and his success with tulips this year is palpable.

This is a great shot of a small fraction of the 10 billion bulbs that the Netherlands produces each year.  I guess I'll stop complaining about the aching work of planting only a hundred in my own yard.

 Photo here



15 September 2011

cowhide patchwork


I picked up a great pillow yesterday from Homesense (thanks to my lovely and stylish aunts for the bday gift card).  I was trying to find a second one to make a pair, but someone must have sniped it already.  It's a cream coloured down-filled patchwork cowhide fabric, and I just love it!


I'm trying it on one of my dark velvet chairs for now to lighten it up a bit in there. 

 

I'm not so sure how I feel about cowhide patchwork in a larger format like a rug, though.



Photo: Destination BCN 

 Photo: Clayton Gray Home


Hmm all that patchwork is maybe a little too busy for my taste.  I'd rather just stick with the tried and true full cowhide rug.   And you know the greatest thing about them?  Impossible to stain (which is good news in my house).  Think about it; if you spilled a glass of red wine on your pet cow, do you think she would be permanently rouge?  Obviously not.  So if you spill anything it's just wiped clean very easily. 
 

I would own 10 of them if only that wouldn't make me look like an enthusiastic taxidermist.  So I'll just have to make do with one rug and one pillow, which is fine for now! 




14 September 2011

spotted! great horned owl


Owls are just the coolest creatures.  Sometimes I forget that they're even birds.  Great Horned Owls are probably the most widespread owl throughout North America, and they are easily identified by their ear tufts (horns).  Although these aren't actually ears or horns, but tufts of feathers likely used to convey body language much like a dog or cat.  I usually start to notice them around this time of year, and they're around through to January or February when mating occurs.  If you hear an owl at night, it is almost certainly this guy.


Great Horned owls are the only predators of skunks, interestingly enough.  They also prey on other owls, juvenile osprey, crows, and mostly small mammals like squirrels and mice.   Do you remember dissecting owl pellets in grade 3?  Yes, those nuggets were compliments of this fellow.  They eat their prey whole, and then regurgitate the unwanted bones and fur about 6 hours later, hence the abundance of pellets for young children to inspect.

This guy was perching on our tree for a good couple of hours staring intently at a small patch of grass beneath.  He didn't seem to mind my hyperventilating excitement for getting so close. 




Pairs are monogamous throughout their entire lives, and each year they use abandoned nests of other large birds instead of constructing their own.  And they are fiercely protective of their young.  Wouldn't you be too, if your babies looked like this?






13 September 2011

ferries, trains & automobiles


Isn't it fab having a birthday that falls on a weekend?  They always seem to turn out the best.  We visited the big city and had some fun visits with friends as family, as well as taking in a CFL game and a train to Whistler.  Here are a few shots...































It was my first time in Whistler and I was amazed at all the summer gardens and just the sheer number of tourists that visit this time of year.  The train trip getting there was beautiful...a lot of sights that we wouldn't have seen if we were just driving up.

Also I was glad to see what the village looked like after the 2010 Olympics...we should be proud of such an amazing place!  Did you know that Whistler gets its name from the shrill whistling noise that Marmots make as an alarm sound, indicating danger?  Neat.




10 September 2011

how did this happen?


24 today. Off on a little birthday excursion which I will share with you next week.  xo



9 September 2011

totes magotes


Although I'm only taking two classes this semester, the texts are a little cumbersome to say the least. 



Especially when getting in and out of my car while trying to appear somewhat graceful.  This routine usually consists of rummaging around in my back seat for the proper books, setting my current shoulder bag on the ground next to my car, and organizing everything on the pavement for the long trek to class. I'd really love to upgrade to a high quality leather tote that will hold everything in its place, including heavy books and occasionally the new camera.  Something that will look just as good to and from the office as it will getting groceries or walking to class.

So lately I have my eye on this puppy:





The 'Sorority Tote' is 100% Italian leather and hand-rubbed to give it that lovely vintage patina look.  I've never owned a Roots bag but hear great things about them.

Photos here



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