29 December 2011
the five kittens of various sizes that have taken up living here since the summer. They are unable to knock the tree down, it being fastened securely to two walls as well as being in a durable stand. But they've enjoyed removing unbreakable ornaments from the bottom of it, batting at garland, climbing into bags and boxes, and otherwise being quite charmingly cute.
publication of my book, Plants for Atlantic Gardens, earlier in the year, I was really busy with book promotion work, touring, signings, garden talks, research for articles and potentially other books, and so on. Then there was my brainwave to have an open garden fundraiser for the Captain Dick Steele memorial scholarship at my alma mater, the NSAC. Then there was the arrival of the itty bitty kitty committee, which grew from 3 to five very quickly, and seemed to octuple the amount of work to be done around here. Then of course I had my knees scoped, and although they're still sore and limiting me somewhat, they're improving, thanks, and the first one will be replaced next year.
So not only did I not blog nearly as much as I normally do, I didn't visit blogs as often as I should. But I answered an awful lot of email, many of them asking questions that could be answered somewhere as a collecting site, so I wouldn't have to answer them over and over again, right? Hmmmm....
It's called bloominganswers.com and it's written for gardeners, by gardeners. It's all about gardening. There are no posts to like, no popularity contests to play with--it's a forum, a garden table, where people can share their experiences, their wisdom, their challenges and their solutions on all things pertaining to gardening. And while it's based here in Atlantic Canada, it doesn't matter where you live--you're welcome to join.
Bloominganswers is free to join. I bought the domain and signed up with a company for a paid service, and there will be advertisers coming on board in the coming days and weeks. For now, there are some Google adsense ads, but if you use an adblocking service you won't even see those.
This is, of course, a work in progress. I'm chattering about it on Twitter, on Facebook, and anywhere else I can think of. It's early days yet, but we're throwing open the door to all comers. The wallpaper isn't all hung, the curtains aren't all up, but we're here, and we hope you'll find this site useful.
Here's wishing everyone a very Happy, Blooming New Year!
14 December 2011
The other good news is, even if you're challenged by mobility, time or other issues, you can still do some effective and wonderful Christmas decorating without a huge amount of effort.
13 November 2011
09 November 2011
Happily, I've long found that a relief for the NO-vember blahs is to surround myself with colourful tropical plants. One of my all-time favourites is the hibiscus, which makes a great patio plant in the warm months, and is well suited for a bright indoor location in many homes.
20 October 2011
Next week calls for fairer weather, so I should be able to get some weeding, thinning, and cleanup done in the garden before I start with bulbs. What about you--are you finished planting for this year, or just getting into the next phase of 4-season gardening?
05 October 2011
02 October 2011
21 August 2011
My mantra in these dog days of August, as many people know, is that we CAN have plenty of colour as we go through late summer and into autumn. The photos in this blog post were all taken today, in my gardens. Above is part of the coneflower garden, but all of the garden is looking pretty enthusiastic. Perhaps there are a few weeds, but we'll declare those pollinator plants and carry on.
Astrantia 'Lola' is in the background of this photo, and I did cut back all the dried flowers, the better to encourage more bloom and show off the richly coloured 'Beaujolais Bonnets' scabiosa and 'Jade Frost' eryngium.
So Tuesday morning I head out first thing to catch the Digby-Saint John Ferry, which is always a great trip. I love taking the ferry every chance possible; the ship is lovely, the crew knowledgable and pleasant (I've been up on the bridge on one crossing, and had a great time). After landing in Saint John, I will hustle off to Fredericton, or more accurately, Lincoln, to visit Scott's Nursery, which I profiled in the most recent issue of Saltscapes magazine. I'll be at Scott's from 130-330, and hope to see some of my New Brunswick gardening friends there. Plus of course we ALL know there will be plants I can't live without, won't there? I'd better sell some books so I can afford plants without dipping into the grocery fund. Tee hee.
15 August 2011
The next two weeks are busy, and I do mean busy, as I combine book sales with garden talks and article research. This week, Thursday sees me doing a morning Talk, Tea, and Walk at the Carmichael Stewart Museum in New Glasgow, 11 am-130 pm. I'm looking forward to this especially because it's a fundraiser for the Museum, so I hope we have a good turnout.
After I leave New Glasgow, I'm off to the Other Island, Cape Breton Island. Hugely looking forward to that as well, because I'll be doing two events at The Bayside Garden Centre and Farmer's Market in beautiful Whycocomagh. (If you don't know how to say that name, you should come visit and we'll teach you). Friday, I'll be at the Farmers Market with several other authors, and we'll all be reading from (or talking from, in my case) our books and doing sales and signings to coincide with the grand opening of the Market. Saturday, I'm scheduled to do one or two seminars on "Never too late to plant!" and hopefully doing more book sales and signings.
Scotts Nursery in Fredericton on Tuesday; Kingsbrae Garden on Thursday, and Corn Hill Nursery near Petitcodiac on Friday. I'll have more to say about these this coming weekend.
So, now what's all this about when yellow isn't? Well, we all know what yellow looks like, right? It's not a colour that's easily mistaken for another colour. That soft yellow rose in the top photo is definitely yellow, whereas you might find it more challenging to describe the Rudbeckia in the photo above. (It's called 'Cherry Brandy', by the way, but that doesn't help you to determine the shade it is.)
Now, if you've been a reader of Bloomingwriter for a couple of years or so, you know there are certain things that thwart me. One of them of course is goutweed, which we should just all say no to. The other is my inability to get yellow hollyhocks in my garden. The only way so far I've succeeded is to plant a metal sculpture of one. Even that isn't quite yellow.
People take pity on me, send me seeds, give me plants. Last year, my friend Lee Dickie at Briar Patch Nursery in Berwick took pity on me and gave me two plants, one supposed to be yellow, the other red. She had them labeled, and I planted them carefully, marked where I planted them, and waited for this year to arrive. I anticipated finally, FINALLY having a yellow flowered hollyhock in the garden.
This spring, one of them had succumbed to the weather. The label said it was the red one. I was okay with that. The other was healthy and vigourous. I started to hope. Until today, when I went out and discovered THIS...
Not even close.
I know when I'm defeated. I'd better not see ONE yellow hollyhock on my travels over the next two weeks. Not one. :-)
31 July 2011
Long ago, when I was a student at NSAC, the greenhouse lab technician wrote a poem for me. Ken and I were always bantering back and forth, playing little tricks on each other, and as I was going into exam time I spent even more time in the greenhouses, either playing with plants or actually studying. The last couple of lines of the poem, which I still have somewhere, went thusly:
"As she runs to the greenhouse we still hear her chanting,
No time for degree, I am too busy planting!"
Some might think "I'm not finished planting yet!" will be my epitaph. They're probably correct. But you know what? This is the perfect time of year to do planting, at least in our climate. Warm days, cool (ish) nights, adequate rainfall...all these things are highly welcoming to new plants whether they be annual transplants that you just had to save, or container grown trees and shrubs!
And the happiest of things I can share? I am back riding my horse after more than two years of not riding! This is pretty important to me, especially as I'm going to be getting new knees within the next year, which will make all things easier to do. After losing a number of cherished friends in recent months, I decided that what I'm dealing with is only pain, and no matter what I do I hurt. So I might as well do what I love, and to heck with the pain. Leggo, my faithful Morgan horse, seems to approve too.
I'll try to post more regularly in coming weeks, but if not, you'll know why...I'm still too busy planting!
06 July 2011
There was plenty to see, from the drifts of perennials like 'Lola' astrantia,