Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

As you've most likely guessed, I've taken a blog break.  Every time I sat down with the intention of blogging, I just didn't have the spark.  So this year, I am going to start as I mean to continue - a little more communication with my blogging buddies, and a few more changes to my garden that I hope to show and tell you about in the months ahead.

So without further delay, here are a few of the things I did during my silence:

The Royal Winter Fair.  Now that's a pumpkin!  There was a family holding a dear little baby, and Joan and I were so hoping they'd ignore the "do not touch sign" and gently put him down in the wonderful scoopy depression.  Alas no.  Good parents who read and follow sign instructions.

Aren't these birds darling?  Sadly not for sale.  They are real and pigging out on the delicious dried material at Sheridan Nurseries.

 And from the magical shady section of my garden - a puff ball to end all puff balls.

This hand fits a size 7 glove...

There were escarpment walks.

And discoveries.  I took this photo from my living room window.  I did not know that birds adored Hosta seeds.  This one is H. 'Empress Wu'.

Bart in his favourite costume and my $.99 pumpkin.  The white ones were deeply discounted the day of.

Every other year the Eastern White has a huge crop of cones:

After the warm summer, the colours were a bit subdued.  But those trees that were bright, were stunning:

You really need to plant this in quantity to look really good.

Solidago with my little J. Maple:

The light is excellent for photos at this time of year:

Reminder to all of us to exfoliate during the winter:

Beside the Lake.

A newer garden with some older plants.  These Hamamelis are not the showiest - the early spring blooming varieties are much better.  But what a wonderful thing to find in a garden in late fall.

Then the dark and cold moved in:

So Bart and I decided we'd stay here for the winter.....

Kevin decided to trip over the Blue Line playing hockey and try out our new hospital.  He made a good recovery due in good part to the good care he received.

But as all Christian women know, December is not a time for couch surfing.  There are gigantic ornaments to blow up.  There is the Christian woman's fat and sugar exchange.  There is tree decorating.  This is the tree that Kevin hunted, killed and brought home for me.  It is from Ikea.  It cost $20.  You buy it blind.  You pay your money - you get a giant green furry thing wrapped in heavy twine.  The plastic bag at the base is $2.50 extra and goes to charity.

It's at this point that the man of the house leaves the little woman to do the next part.

And, I wonder why I'm tired.  Anyway done and sparkly.  My godmother's angel on top - care of the man of the house and we're ready for more cooking, baking, wrapping and entertaining.

I'm curious to harvest these to see if there's any flavour.  I know that frost is good....

Looks so pretty when it's all sticky.

 We had visitors:  Ray on his crutches post-new-hip.

A lovely new baby Fiona with her mum Michaela visiting from Switzerland.

 Bart didn't stray too far from the fire.

And the cat as claimed the tree as his own.

So between shortbread and naps I think that brings you up to-date with just about everything.

May you and your family have an excellent 2017!  A very happy new year to you all.


Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Happy New Year! You've been busy! Great photos and wonderful highlights. I like your pumpkin. Sorry to hear about Kevin's injury, but glad to hear he's healing well. I hope you have some time to relax now that the holidays are over. I know I'm enjoying the slower pace, myself. ;-)

Kathy said...

I've never seen hosta seeds on any of mine! And I don't deadhead them, either. So sorry to hear about Kevin's mishap. When your partner is down, your work load increases. Here's to a great gardening year.

Barbarapc said...

Hi Beth - great to hear from you. Am looking forward to the routine of the new year.

Kathy, your comment sent me to my "The Hosta Handbook" by Mark R. Zilis. There are only a couple of consistent seed-setters in my collection of about 80 different varieties of hosta. Empress Wu and H. ventricosa - the really old-fashioned dark green one with the dark purple flowers - blooms a little later. Apparently heat and rain reduce significantly the number of seeds set. (Welcome to summer in our part of the world!) Only ventricosa can reliably be planted from seed as the embryos are developed through "apomixis" - asexual embryo formation and my word of the day. Generally a pod, if so inclined, can produce 30+ seeds (one pod per flower), however, Willis writes that he only found fifty seed pods in a large planting of 'Royal Standard' which produced over 100,000 flowers during its 3-week bloom period. Reading that, I feel fortunate that I got any flowers at all, and doubly pleased that they formed in the hosta by the window, so I could watch the birds feast!

And yes, here's to a great gardening year - this year, I'm thinking of more vegetables!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Happy New Year Barb ! .. I loved seeing all of these pictures ... well done you !
Especially that tree .. holy smokes that was a mission to accomplish girl .. haha.
Before I forget ... I have learned a new thing from you ! .. I had no idea either that the birds albeit a gorgeous Cardinal, would eat hosta flower seeds, or how rare they are to set... who knew and didn't tell us until you captured it in a picture ? wow !
I am curious about your garden plans .. so looking forward to seeing that !
I hope to kick my garden spirit up a few notches and get motivated too.
Good luck and keep warm : )
PS Bart is a hoot !
PPSS .. I have had my share of husband"hockey" injuries and they didn't stop even when he switched to being a referee .. go figure ?
Joy : )

Victoria Williams said...

Oh Barb, what a great update! Glad to see you back and that you are all doing well. Lovely, lovely pictures! Also I love your sense of humor. :-)

Helen said...

Love those cardinal pictures, Barbara! Belated happy new year to you and Kevin. Thanks for keeping us in your blog-roll. Would you mind updating our URL? It's now: www.torontogardens.com

Cheers from the Battersby girls. Hope we get to connect in 2017.