31 January 2013

Kiss My Aster, a book review

 When I heard about Amanda Thomsen's new book coming out, I was very excited. After all, Amanda is a horticultural whizkid, who makes gardening look easy while also having fun and helping gardeners have even more fun. Whether you follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website, you know what I mean. She describes herself as being 'bad to the phloem', which is a delightful play on words and gives you some sense of what's coming.

As per her websites and various personae, Amanda's new book is called Kiss My Aster. Originally, the promo materials called it an Interactive Guide, but my own copy says 'A graphic Guide'. Anyway, this is a book for all levels of gardeners, from the very beginning purple-thumbed to the hardcore type like me, who has lots of experience but also knows there is always something more to learn. In this, Amanda delivers in spadefuls.

24 January 2013

Blooming where we're planted...however we want!

It's not an earth-shattering secret to declare that I don't like garden gnomes. 

I resisted the temptation, some years ago when I was stuck at an awful bed and breakfast locale in Newfoundland and Labrador, to swipe the two ugly garden gnomes out in the 'garden' as I was leaving, and ensconce them on the top of Gros Morne. I did bump them with my suitcase and knock them over, but didn't hurt them in any way. Whew. I feel better for having 'fessed up to that. 

My dislike of garden gnomes, however, is purely personal and really rather good-humoured. I LOVED the whimsical book "How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack", which might not be high lit-er-ah-chure, but is darn funny, and hey, I can even enjoy a whimsically placed gnome or three. I'm not a zombie-fan but I've seen zombie gnomes and they reduced me to chortles of glee. 

The reason for this confession comes as a result of a discussion that happened on Twitter and on the blog of my friend and fellow gardening addict, Colleen Vanderlinden of In the Garden Online. Colleen took umbrage, rightfully so in my opinion, at some negative and critical posts and comments about 'crimes against gardening' posted by another writer. She didn't like the idea of being critical of other gardeners just because we don't share similar tastes. 

12 January 2013

The gardener indoors

This time of year, there are two types of gardening going on in Nova Scotia (and most of eastern North America): the planning of next spring's garden's, and gardening with houseplants. 
When I was a student at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, my residence room was always chockful of plants, ranging in size from tiny succulents like lithops (living stones) to large hanging plants and tough tropicals like rubber and fig trees. (No, there were no illegal plants in my room, thanks for asking). There were a few flowering plants like African violets, but nothing like the choice for flowering options we have these days.

Winter is not my strong suit, but some years ago I began an earnest attempt to get through it in an easier manner than I formerly did. I tend to purchase fresh flowers every couple of weeks, and have those around the house, but I also focus on plenty of flowering plants. Some of my favourites are included in this post.

05 January 2013

A New Year, a new garden, a soon to be new me?

Finally, it's 2013, a year I never dreamed I would be so glad to see. As many of you know, 2012 was my very own personal "annis horribilis", in which I not only lost my beloved partner, but also was uprooted from the home we made together and lived and gardened in for 13 years. I am well and truly grateful to be almost through that terrible "year of firsts" that comes after losing a loved one.

 So many of my friends, near and far, have gone through illness, death of a loved one, job losses and relocations, in the past year or two. Through my own experiences, I really, REALLY know how they feel and can say my mantra for life now is "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone we meet is fighting some kind of battle." It doesn't cost us anything to be kind to one another, although events in the world can often make us wonder. I have been so blessed by the kindness of my family and friends, and am determined to pay it forward in whatever ways possible.

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