Wednesday, December 19, 2012

O Christmas Tree & Some Bits from the Back Garden

I'd mentioned in my last post that Kevin and I get an IKEA tree.  The price is right -  $20.00.  For that you get your pick of bundled trees in a large lot.  The tricky part is that you're unable to see what the tree looks like.  Aside from how tall, how straight and how the top looks, you have no idea what it will look like.  So I always consider this the first surprise of the Christmas season.

Here's how it looked in our old battered Christmas stand upon entry to the house:

And how it looked if you're sitting at the dining room table:

After an hour, some careful untwisting of branches and gentle fluffing and coaxing - here's our tree - not bad?

This year I was going to put on white and gold lights - I discovered that the gold lights had finally decided that enough was enough after 15 years of service.

Back into the storage area for more white lights.  New dotty ribbon from Costco:

Continuing on the next morning after about 30 minutes of ornament placing:

Hercules loves this time of year.  He wishes this giant tree laden with cat toys was up all year long.  Remember our old cat Fast Eddie who used to do his mountain lion imitation after the tree was decorated....Remember Kevin saying, "Barbara walk very slowing and speaking softly and maybe he'll climb out of the tree and into your arms without knocking the whole thing over."

After another 30 minutes or so:

Looking at it here, looks like I favoured the left side over the right....,

And, first deadline met - tree ready for my mother-in-law Bernice (85 in January on the left) - and her good friend Eileen's Christmas lunch.  Discovered that making my own mincemeat is worthwhile - so delicious.  And, knowing how much suet is involved, am inclined to eat a lot less.

On to the next task, you may remember me talking about my containers.  Hmmm.  Think that most of this greenery will be on my dining room table.

Got the Oakville Horticultural Society newsletter finished early this month and decided to go into the garden to take a few shots when I saw the sun come out.  It's so warm (5C - 43F) that I scooted down the stairs in my slippers and light sweater.    A coat would have been better, but skipping this step meant I got some of the good light.

One of the bushy forms of clematis.  I downloaded a free trial of Elements - used one portion of it to fix one of the people photos in the newsletter - darned if I can remember how I did it now.  But hoping over the next few weeks to be able to play with the software using photos like these to see how I can improve them.

This is a Ligularia that was stunted by the heat and dry this year.  Has pretty good seed heads, but they are much shorter.

Another Clematis - this has a single white flower.

Hydrangea quercifolia can't remember the variety off the top of my head, but is definitely greener than the species at the front of the house.

A very rewarding Carex morrowii  'Ice Dance'.

It started to get windy, so these Campanula seed heads started to wiggle.  Remember listening to a professional photographer who said, "You must just stay very still and wait for your subject to be still with you."  Nice thought, too cold without my coat.

Much easier when they're just lying on the ground.  Stormy tonight, but it looks like it will be rain, not snow.  Seems a little like a repeat of last year's non-winter, which is just fine for getting around and about.  Doesn't look like it's going to be a white Christmas.



Hi Barbara, Um, excuse me but you wrote "85" for the age of that sweet woman on the left in that photo. Surely you're not correct, are you? She looks more like 55 than 85!

Your tree is GORGEOUS! Definitely nicer than the purple job at Walmart!

I'm sure Hercules will be a good boy and do nothing more than look handsome sleeping under the tree, right? LOL

Thanks for braving the elements to get some nice shots of your garden's inhabitants. I love the Carex 'Ice Dance.' Mine doesn't look nearly as nice as yours.

Have a wonderful Christmas and stay warm! :)

Barbarapc said...

I fib, she'll be 85 in January - she's only 84 and is a real going concern. Has never considered herself older than 45 - obviously it works. Thanks Grace, it was fun to decorate. Merry Christmas to you too!

Barry said...

I must concur with Grace when it comes to your MIL, she doesn't look anything near her biological age! The tree is divine! I have never been one who fully understood the application of ornaments myself. I did a walkabout in the garden this morning. I have Corydalis foliage looking lusher now that it did in June! I have fingers crossed for a white Christmas.... looks like Fri-Sun might bring us some white stuff! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the very best for 2013!

Barbarapc said...

So true. Thank you. I do just the opposite of what they suggest - start with the fancy ones first and place them in important spots, then pile on the older ones in and throughout the tree. Even will put some of them on longer floral wires to help fill in holes in the tree. Did time at Weall and Cullen - loved the nursery, wasn't so crazy about the store and Christmas - the good thing is I learned how to decorate a tree, tie a good bow and fluff a fake tree. Still remember the scary look on the faces of shoppers on Boxing Day waiting to get in (in -20C weather) to "capture" their favourite Barcana. All I could think about was....don't you want to be at home in front of the fire with a nice plate of cookies and a pot of coffee? I know I sure did.

Northern Shade said...

When you unroll the tree, it looks good with nice, wide branches, and your Christmas decorations sparkle in front of the window.

Perhaps Hercules is just making sure that there are no mice to bother you in the tree, and while he's there he might as well get a little batting practice in, since a kitty has to practice to keep in shape.

You still have plants visible and can run outside in a sweater, and it still looks gardeny in your yard. I was out shovelling yesterday in -27 C with the windchill factor, wearing my down coat, down gloves, ski pants and wool socks. I think there's a garden under there somplace.

Barbarapc said...

You have been nailed out west - we're still waiting for winter to start - as you said, it still looks gardeny out there. I took my winter coats in to be cleaned - so far so good. Getting by with just a jacket.
We continue to be free of tree-mice, no doubt Herc's hard work is paying off. Best of all just the cheapie ornaments seem to be catching his attention.
Hope you get a bit of warm weather soon - we could definitely handle it a little colder!

Jennifer said...

Your mystery tree purchase proved to be well worth the risk. It looks great with al the sparkling white lights and ornaments. i learned from years of having dogs never to hang the expensive ornaments within reach of wagging tails. A cat would be a whole new challenge.
I took a quick look at the Landscape Ontario Congress website. Unfortunately the dates are just before my husband's cub camp and I think I will be crazy busy that week making preparations and shopping for food for the weekend. ( I foolishly signed up to be the Group Commissioner. They were desperate for someone to fill the job this fall. As a sales pitch, I was told that in accepting the position I merely had to attend the odd area meeting. Well, it has quickly gotten out of I am doing potluck Christmas parties for 75 and arranging for the group's winter camp! I am not even that into scouting!!)
Anyway...hopefully we can find another excuse to meet up. Until then, have a wonderful Christmas Barbara and all the best for the new year.

Gail said...

Barbara, That's a really good looking tree! We bought a similar one from Costco and it turned out pretty and well shaped. We only did lights and pine cones~Your cat would have hated it. Love the wintry shots~Seed heads are so beautiful and under appreciated. Happy New year.

Knatolee said...

What a PERFECT tree. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Barbarapc said...

That will be our New Year's resolution to find any excuse to meet up, I'm going to put my thinking cap on - that volunteer work does seem to have gotten completely out of hand!. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas too, and a very happy new year!

Barbarapc said...

Although my old Saint would have loved it - who new dogs ate pine cones? Delish. Happy new year to you Gail!

Barbarapc said...

Thanks Knatolee! And a very happy new year to you!