Monday, December 19, 2011

Garden Blogging Can Be Dangerous!

A couple of mornings ago, I threw a couple of slices in the toaster and decided to returned to my computer screen while it toasted. I don't recall wether I was reading a blog post about a garden in a far off place or admiring someone's Christmas decorations, but I do remember wondering why I hadn't heard the bell on the toaster oven letting me know my toast was done. 

When I finally finished leaving my comment and got up to investigate, there was thick, grey smoke billowing up from the toaster!

Now, what is the one thing that they tell you never to do with a fire? Give it a fresh supply of oxygen. 

So what did I do?

I opened the toaster. The blackened toast burst into flames!

I stood there for what seemed like hours, but was probably mere seconds, amazed that a couple of pieces of toast could produce such an impressive bonfire.

Though alarmed, I did have the wherewithal to I call my son, who was getting dressed for work, to come down and help me. Then I fished out a pair of tongs from one of the kitchen drawers. I had one flaming piece of bread in the sink, when my son pushed his way in, grabbed the kitchen sink sprayer and extinguished the both pieces of toast.

By this point, the whole lower floor of the house was filled with smoke. We opened all the doors to clear it out, but the burnt smell lingered for days.

Two things failed me that morning. First, the kitchen fire alarm, which had a dead battery and second, the Black and Decker toaster oven that is, in my estimation, poorly designed. It is way too easy to turn the dial to "on" instead of "toast."

It wasn't a serious fire, but rather a good warning. I thought I would write about this little brush with disaster, because this is the time of year when there things like candles and tree lights around. 

So do yourself a favour and go check those smoke detectors! We all want you to have a safe holiday season.

On a lighter note, the mild weather has meant that I have been able to leave a few things out in the garden. I planted my vegetables rather late is the season. I was worried that my carrots might never amount to much, but here they are!

They short and stubby, the kind of carrots that only the gardener who grew them could love, but I am thrilled when them. I cooked a few last night and they tasted pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!

This will be my final post of the year. I want to take a break to have more time for family. I also want to organize and backup my image files, so while I will return visits, I won't be posting until after the holidays. 

Fingers crossed, we will have a white Christmas!

From my three dogs in a garden

and their newest little friend

we wish you the happiest of holidays and all the best for the coming new year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Year in Bloom

This will be one of my last posts of the year. I thought that for this month's GBBD I would take a look back at the gardening year that was. I will start in May, because that is when spring finally arrived.


Here in Ontario, it seemed that winter dragged on forever. Usually, I like to get out in the garden in April, but the cold weather made it impossible. There was still snow flying when my husband and I stood in the back garden and marked out a layout for the new vegetable garden I envisioned.

Warmer days didn't arrive until May. Spring lasted about two weeks into the month and then the temperatures began to soar. Here are a few pictorial highlights:

Double Flowering Almond.

Korean Lilac

White Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis alba. I was so "in love" with my existing white and pink Bleeding Hearts that I added 3 new plants.  

A former birdbath in the back garden.

Oriental Poppy, Papaver orientale

Pasque flower 'Pulsatilla'


Peonies fill the front garden.

With the sudden heat, the garden made up for lost time. The peonies in the front garden actually bloomed right on time.

Meadow Sage Salvia, Nemerosa 'Caradonna' and a common Spirea in the background.

Deep blue 'Baptisia' and light blue 'Blue Star'.

Evening Primrose in the front garden.

A mix of June roses.

An iris that I inherited from the home's previous owner and self-seeding purple 
Rocket in the background.

The last of June's flowers.


Hosta and Daylilies

In July there was very little rain. I don't usually have to drag the hose out to water until August. This year it was so hot and dry, that I had to water every few days.

The garden in June had been all about peonies and roses. In July, the hosta, daylilies and spirea came into the forefront. Toward the end of the month, the phlox and brown-eyed susan began to flower.

The front garden. Roses are slowly giving way to Phlox and Brown-eyed Susan.

 Daylilies are a July staple. I have hybrid orange, pinks and reds.

In July, baby bunnies started feasting on my new vegetable garden. Japanese beetles mysteriously appeared and began to eat up my roses.

The back garden.


Phlox and Brown-eyed Susan has taken over in front of the white picket fence. Phlox paniculata 'Eva Cullum' and Phlox paniculata 'Laura Bright Eyes'

August started off with some much needed rain, and then the weather went dry again. The Japanese beetles moved from my roses to the Porcelain Vine in the back garden. 

In the vegetable garden, the tomatoes and herbs were doing great, but the beans and peas were bunny food.


A Tiger lily in the front garden. 

Pee Gee Hydrangea in the front garden.

Try to spot one of the dog's in the back garden.


Stonecrop 'Matrona' 

September was fair and warm, possibly my favourite month in the garden. I rescued some of my roses, which had become overcrowded with brown-eyed susan and did some front garden renovations to better space other plants. Aren't we gardeners always moving things?

Mixed phlox in the front garden.

Echinacea in the front garden is a favourite with the butterflies.


Sedum spectabile 'Stardust' was a new addition to my growing collection of sedum.

 October was all about finsihing-off half-completed projects, picking black walnuts 
up off the lawn, and raking leaves.

By mid-month, we several morning with light frost.

Thanks to the mild weather the Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' bloomed well into the month.


November was unseasonably mild; great for those of us still planing spring bulbs.


December continues to be mild. We have had only had a light dusting of snow, which quickly melted. Is Mother Nature making up for the late spring start? I don't mind if winter is delayed, but it would be nice to have a white Christmas.

My thanks to all of you that have stopped in to visit throughout the year and left kind, encouraging comments. It has been a wonderful experience to visit your gardens in turn and get to know you better. 

After all is said and done, 2011 was a great year in the garden.

I will link this post to May Dreams Gardens Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. On Friday, I will also link to Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time. To see other beautiful gardens from around the world, please click the links.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Running with the Big Boys: A Pup-date

So how did three older dogs respond to the introduction of a young upstart? Total indifference really.
That's okay, the enthusiasm was mutual. Mator greeted his new friends with a deep, throat rumbling growl that was a warning for them to keep their distance.

The dust has settled somewhat now and Mator has started to run with the big boys. 

Actually, I think Mator has begun to feel like he is the one in charge.