Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Containing the Garden



Bringing some life to our otherwise dreary front door.  It's a little thing compared to some people's front walks but I love how these turned out.  I've never been much of a petunia person but this year the nursery was carrying the newest colour - Black Velvet.  Really, more of a deep, dark purple.  Some are deeper than others and others have these lovely pinstripes. In my quest to shake things up in the garden I went for it and decided to try out these black beauties.  Complemented with some lilac on purple dianthus, white lobelia and I especially love the lime coloured licorice plant that will trail down the front.

Tips for Container Gardening:
1.  Choose a great container - terracotta, ceramic,  fabulous new fibreglass that gives the look of cement but are light and easy to move around, salvaged pieces such as old buckets, watering cans, etc. - use your imagination just make sure that they have adequate drainage.

2.  Plan before you plant - choose plants that suit the location of the pot - sunny or shady.  Place taller plants in the middle of the pot and work your way out.

3. Fertilize - I tend to buy Miracle Gro but any fertilizer formulated for flowers should work.

4. Water, water and water - containers easily get dried out, especially if they are small like mine.  Of course, to counter this don't overwater or you'll drown those poor roots.  Once you see water coming out of the drainage holes stop.

5.  Use the best potting mix instead of just soil from your garden.  Often our garden soil is too heavy or contains too much clay.  Available now are some great soils for containers that are formulated to retain moisture.

6. Luck and a prayer.  Just saying from experience our hot summers and vacations away can interfere with the success of your containers but I'm determined this year!

P.S. Do you like my garden statue?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In the Garden

I love this time of year. After a long winter it's such a relief to be outside in the fresh air. I don't even mind working in between the intermittent showers of rain we've been having. It's so much fun planning and thinking about the garden.   I find myself at the garden centres oodling over the tables of flowers and imagining the scent of fresh herbs at my doorstep.  Pinks and purples and dainty little white flowers. 

Self control is not easy surrounded by all those beautiful flowers. If I don't go with some plan in mind I have been known to buy more flowers than our garden can accomodate.  That's probably why we're in the situation we are in.  It's time to reevaluate the garden.  Now that some of these perennials and shrubs have matured they just don't look quite right.  Cut back, move, divide...this is my quest for the week.  I shall be ruthless, but loving.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We have to stop meeting like this!

I am a sucker for little animals.  I have a real love-hate relationship going on with the little rabbit family from the neighbour's deck.  They can be so destructive to my garden but I can't resist these little guys!  I think they come over every afternoon not just for their garden meal but for the picture taking session.  They seem to be getting quite used to me!

 With all the rain that we've been having, and the grass seeds we've just applied, we haven't been able to cut the lawn for almost two weeks now. As you can see these little guys are quite pleased about this!

Yesterday, I finally had proof that there are two bunnies as they were visiting together.  But too quick for me to catch in a photo.  I'll just have to wait until our afternoon viewing today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Metamorphosis of a Banana

I'm not exactly sure when this happened to me but at one point in my life I began to feel my stress level rise over the fruit bowl and the vegetable drawer in the fridge. When carefully trying to decipher what is still good to eat, what's still ok for the guinea pig and what is definitely not good for consumption I'm washed with guilt for the waste.   Slimy peppers and wet bags of green goop that I believe once was lettuce.  Quite disgusting as I slop them into the compost.  For me though, it's not the veggies, or the bruised up apple, or even the dried up plum that makes me feel as guilty as an overripe banana does.  In terms of the fruit bowl what is sadder than seeing a bruised up dejected banana?

Truthfully in our family the banana has a very short edible life.  For me it has to be just past the green stage.  It's ripe, but it's still firm.  I can thoroughly enjoy this dear fruit at this moment, soaking up all its potassium and goodness.  But mere hours from now, as it softens and slightly browns I can barely think of it without causing a gag reflex. 

I can't eat it but I can't bear to throw it out at this stage.   I guess it's just knowing the potential of this little guy.  I mean I could save it and repurpose it at this stage.  With my help it could be something incredible again - a gorgeous, golden top muffin, a moist slice of banana bread or any number of baked goods.  This is where the guilt comes in.  I have the power to remedy the situation just by baking a batch of muffins...but I rarely do.   Banana cake?...occasionally.  Usually though it stays there in the bowl until the very last moment, no recipe could save it from it's inevitable trip to the composter.

 Recently, I can proudly say I did save a banana from it's impending doom.  I made this amazing banana cake with a thick cream cheese frosting. Delish!

P.S. I know you can freeze a banana to use at a later time but this hasn't worked out so well for me yet.  I've done this only months later finding some ice encrusted glob of indeterminable brown substance in a squashed ziploc bag.   Maybe one day, when the freezer and it's contents are sorted and day.