Winter Just Won’t Go Away

Wow!  We had a good storm here a few days ago, at least 40cm of .  Below you can see what the last week of February look like to what we had in the second week of March.  I think mother nature had her months mixed up this year.  Well thinking of spring,  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer for Canada Blooms with Enterprise Canada (Public Relations Firm) last week before the snow hit us.  There is no feeling better then walking around and looking at backyard landscapes to inspire the creative juices.

     

First floral design I saw was the City of Toronto, it was beautiful          

As you can see in the pictures below, all the different landscapes have given me and hopefully you  some new ideas to make your backyard an oasis that you can be proud of.

I am making several water features this year for my backyard.  The first one is taking a bath tub and turning it into a pond.  I got this idea when my brother redid his bathroom.  I have some slate from when I dug up my front step that i will attached to it and will have the tub in the ground so only half will stick out.  I will flowers and shrubs around to fill it in. I have had a gargoyle fountain spout for about 15 years that I will finally use.  I will post a picture of it good or bad when its finished. Below is before I start.

 

 

 

What to plant this year

Every year the seed books come out before Christmas and I never look at them until the new year. When I do I never know what to order because I want EVERYTHING.  I usually go through them and marked everything I like.  Then wait and go through them again and try to be realistic about it.  You have to look at what you have already planted, move what you think would do better and get what you want.  Below is a picture of my front garden as of today.  Looks pretty sad, but in just a few months the first flowers of the season will be blooming.  You want flowers in your garden from May to October.  Careful planning is needed and even then is not guaranteed it will turn out.  The wrong temperature, water, nutrients, can make flowers grow faster, slower or not at all, and every year it is different.  My garden plants are constantly being moved around. thought needs to be given to where the sun reaches throughout the growing season and how long.  you also need to look at what type of garden you want.  Wild, neat, English, spring, summer gardens are different types. then you need to consider what you can grow in containers.  Container growing is fun and you can be very imaginative what to use a container. I have seen old work boots, bike basket (on a bike), wheel barrel and even a toilet. to get inspiration go to Pinterest for great ideas. Later this year I will talk more about container growing.  For online ordering search ordering seeds, gardening Canada or plants Canada.  Next post I will be setting up my indoor lights to start growing seeds for this year.

front garden

 

 

front garden

front garden

front garden

Make it a Stew Sunday with Bay Laurel

It’s a rainy day(sometimes freezing), on days like this, it’s good to curl up with a good book or a good movie.  But what to cook for Sunday supper?  My favorite on days like this is stew.  Stew easy to put together and it fills your house with memories of childhood. My favourite is Jamie Oliver’s Steak, Guinness, and cheese pie with a puff pastry lid (recipe here). It calls for fresh rosemary, you can pick it up in the produce section of any supermarket. I like adding a bay leaf while it’s in the oven, it gives the stew more depth.  Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog, Bay Leaves. The Bay Laural Tree(Laurus nobilisan) is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region The laurel can vary greatly in size and height, sometimes reaching 7–18 (metres 23–59 ft) tall. (Wikipedia). Can you grow it inside during winter? Yes, you can.   Make sure you have a bright, even sometimes direct sun(east, west, south, window).  Make sure from about November to March you don’t water it a lot.  Most plants need what I call a time to sleep.  A rest between growing, most plants in their natural surroundings need a time of rest.  Make sure you do not give any fertilizer during this time, you don’t want it to grow.  Whenever you are pinching out (means trimming)  to make a fuller tree, save the leaves and dry (Click here for full instructions)them away from any heat or the sun.  Either lay them on paper towels or hang the branch you cut.  Make sure they are fully dry before storing them in a container (picture below)

         

I have had about 4 plants over the time I have been growing herbs(latest picture above). Yes, I know it doesn’t look great, most of the time they have died because I forgot about them during winter(like this time) or in the heat of the summer.  When you grow them make sure the pot is big enough and transplant starts to get root bound. They are not hard to grow and the rewards will have your food tasting great. I will start another one in the spring time, fingers crossed!

What to Grow in the Winter

Some people might think gardeners have an offseason.  Some may, but not the Goddess.  I have found ways to keep up with gardening by trying to grow different things in the winter months.  The last few years my curiosity has gone to Fruit trees.  If anyone has seen the movie Red(stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous), it stars Bruce Willis as a retired agent.  He starts a phone relationship with Sarah Ross a worker at the General Services Administration’s Pension Office played by Mary-Lousie Parker, please check it out, it has a sequel, best movie.  Anyways to get back to the point. In one the scenes, they are talking on the phone and you see Bruce’s character has started to grow an avocado tree from seed.  Yes, that got me thinking.  I started to researched how to grow an avocado tree.(click here for instructions). It can take 3 to 7 years for a tree to produce fruit, some might never. I have started two and they are in the third year, I am hoping I will have fruit this year. So in the interest of this blog, I have decided to start another and give weekly updates. The Goddess in me knows mine will produce fruit, before seven years.  When I went to started it (picture above) the first one I split in half.  I had to go outside and dumpster dive for the other avocado, then I realized I had just thrown it out and it was inside the house in the garbage.  The lengths I will go to for this blog. Back to growing the avocado.  As in the picture above put 2 to 3 toothpicks, in my case I used bamboo skewers(probably why it split) have them slightly down;  Make sure you have the root part facing down. The seed is not as hard as you might think. Place in a glass filled with water, making sure the water covers the bottom half.  Place in a bright but not direct sun location. And now we wait…