Fall is not my favourite time of year, in fact it is probably my least favourite season here in Canada.  (Almost) everything in my gardens is dying off and there is a distinct chill in the air hinting at the winter weather that is lurking around the corner.  There are a (measly) few things however that I do like about the season.  On my list of the best things about fall are…

  • warm, fuzzy sweaters
  • boots, especially the little, lightweight ones (booties) that go with every outfit
  • glorious splashes of orange, yellow and red provided by the leaves in the otherwise drab landscape
  • the roses in the gardens that just don’t want to give it up

 

What’s on your list?

The best things about fall Fall is not my favourite time of year, in fact it is probably my least favourite season here in Canada. 
Posted 13 hours ago

PANDAS/PANS Awareness day today, October 9th

PANDAS/PANS Awareness day today, October 9th

Today, October 9th is PANDAS/PANS awareness day.  This is very interesting to me as autoimmune disorders appear to run through my extended family.  One of the strengths of social media (thanks Facebook!)) is that we can now keep in touch much easier to learn about and offer support as these disorders are diagnosed.

If it has caught your attention too, please read this post by Brenda Muellerfor…

View On WordPress

Posted 4 days ago

FROST, isn't it too early for that?

FROST, isn’t it too early for that?

We have frost in the forecast for the Ottawa area tonight.  Isn’t it a bit early for that?  To me, it’s a nasty “f” word…

3:24 PM EDT Thursday 04 October 2018
Frost advisory in effect for:
Ottawa North – Kanata – Orléans
Ottawa South – Richmond – Metcalfe
Frost may damage some crops in frost-prone areas.

To us gardeners,that means our annuals will be dead tomorrow morning.  Fortunately, I have…

View On WordPress

Posted 1 week ago

As an experiment this winter, I am planning to leave some (very) hardy perennials in their big pots on my back deck to see if any survive the winter.  I have planted perennials in containers before but never had much success with leaving them in their pots for the winter.  I have tried rose bushes and ornamental grasses but apparently they are not hardy enough.  The general rule of thumb is they should be at least two zones hardier than your area to survive in pots instead of in the garden.

So, this season I am trying shrub roses, (much hardier than bushes) false spirea, forsythia and lilac bushes, as well as a plum and a maple tree, all of which grow prolifically in my gardens.  With the exception of the plum tree that might be a bust, the others are reliably hardy for this area (zone 2).  The two mature plums trees in my gardens send up shoots all over the yard so I won’t feel so bad if the one in the pot does not survive.  These subjects of my experiment have all been grown from cuttings in my ICU...

Anything else currently in pots that I wish to save must be brought in for the winter.  This year that will include a beautiful non-hardy ornamental grass that was extremely expensive, too much so to replace each year…

I will keep you posted on their survival rate!

Perennials in pots As an experiment this winter, I am planning to leave some (very) hardy perennials in their big pots on my back deck to see if any survive the winter. 
Posted 1 week ago

One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year.  This year I planted a few variety of sunflower seeds with my grandchildren.  Some in pots on the back deck and a few in my front garden…

Sunflower season One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year. 
Posted 2 weeks ago

My latest DIY project was an patchwork quilt created from my granddaughter’s old clothes.  Knowing it would be a BIG project, I started last winter and just finished in time for her 5th birthday.

The bigger the desired quilt, the more squares you need. I was making a quilt for a double bed, so I needed lots of squares. These are the original squares, and the piles of nine squares (for the nine patch block) laid out on my dining room table…

When researching ideas, I loved the look of the “disappearing nine patch” quilts.   This pattern is a variation of the traditional nine patch block quilt where you sew nine squares of fabric together into a three by three block.  The twist happens when you then cut the sewn blocks of nine squares through the center both horizontally and vertically.  This gives you four larger squares, each with different shapes in it so the nine equal and square blocks have “disappeared.”  Experiment with the layout before you cut through the centers so you know which fabrics will be more dominant in the final pattern.  For example, large patterns should be placed in the outer corners of the original nine block so they will not be cut.

BLOCK

You then arrange these four new squares and the four squares from each of the other cut nine patch blocks into an attractive pattern.

This will create your quilt top layer.  Here are a few pictures of my assembled (still unpressed and unquilted though) quilt top…

Once all your blocks and squares are cut, arranged and sewn together you need a co-ordinating backing fabric.  The size of quilt will dictate the size of the piece of fabric you require.  Your third layer of the quilt will be your batting which goes between the quilt top and the backing.  This is my pieced backing (I used fabric I had on hand and pieced it to fit) and the (white cotton/polyester) batting…

patchwork quilt

Sew the batting to the wrong side of the backing piece, then sew the backing and quilt top together with the wrong sides together, leaving one short side unsewn.  Turn inside out so both right sides of quilt top and backing are showing and then stitch the last side.

One of the problems I encountered with this patchwork quilt was the size of the clothing I had to use.  All were baby clothes, so quite difficult to get many 6 inch squares from any one piece of clothing.  Next time (if I ever use this pattern again) I would go smaller and use 4 inch squares.  Another discouraging fact was that these pieces of clothing were made of different types of fabric, some much stretchier than others.  That made matching the seams of the blocks very difficult.

My granddaughter loved it, but I think her mother appreciated it even more as it invoked a trip down memory lane.

 

Patchwork quilt DIY My latest DIY project was an patchwork quilt created from my granddaughter’s old clothes.  Knowing it would be a BIG project, I started last winter and just finished in time for her 5th birthday.
Posted 2 weeks ago

Mahogany Splendor Hibiscus, poor man's Japanese Maple

Mahogany Splendor Hibiscus, poor man’s Japanese Maple

These spectacular Mahogany Splendor Hibiscus are annuals in my zone 4 to 5 area of Ottawa, but wow, are they gorgeous.  Unlike the colorful hibiscus I posted about recently, these do not have spectacular flowers, but their foliage makes up for that fact.  A few Mahogany Splendor hibiscus were added to the gardens at the hospiceI helped plant recently to fill in the bare spots and add color…

View On WordPress

Posted 3 weeks ago

Asters, butterflies and bees, oh my!

Asters, butterflies and bees, oh my!

Tis the season for asters, butterflies and bees in our zone 4 gardens here in Ottawa.  I am seeing lots in my GARDENS4Uclients’ as well as my own gardens. These perennials make a beautiful splash of color in the fall when others have finished showing off.  Growing up to five feet tall, and preferring full sun conditions, their upright, strong stalks are covered in bright green foliage and small…

View On WordPress

Posted 3 weeks ago

Hardy hibiscus are my show stoppers in my GARDENS4U gardens this August and September.  Their unbelievably vibrant blooms, often the size of a dinner plate, will literally make you stop and gawk at their incredible beauty…

I love the hibiscus so much this season that I tried some in containers and fertilized them heavily to keep them blooming all summer…

As with any plants you expect to be perennial (they come back each year) read the labels before you purchase them!  These hibiscus are called hardy because they are considered perennials in more (colder) areas than their less hardy cousins.  These are hardy to USA zone 4, which are perfect for my Ottawa gardens.  Just be careful and patient in the spring, as they are slow to recover from their winter hibernation.  Because they die back to the ground in winter here, I put a marker near mine so I don’t inadvertently throw it out during spring cleanup.

Hardy Hibiscus Show Stoppers Hardy hibiscus are my show stoppers in my GARDENS4U gardens this August and September.  Their unbelievably vibrant blooms, often the size of a dinner plate, will literally make you stop and gawk at their incredible beauty…
Posted 4 weeks ago

My new favourite ornamental grasses these days are the blue tinged beauties.  Every year there are more and more ornamental grasses available to choose from in the garden nurseries, but my eyes seem to be increasingly drawn to the blue grass varieties.  I love the way the soft, steely, blue hue compliments the color of other perennials.  While other ornamental grasses are grown for their attractive seed heads, the blue versions are chosen more for their attractive coloring.

These are blue oat grass, one of my favourites…

This is a newer variety, called Blue Lyme Grass…

blue lyme grass

Most ornamental grasses like full sun, but there are a few that tolerate some shade.  Be sure to check the labels before purchasing for sun requirements and hardiness zones.

 

 

Blue grass beauties My new favourite ornamental grasses these days are the blue tinged beauties.  Every year there are more and more ornamental grasses available to choose from in the garden nurseries, but my eyes seem to be increasingly drawn to the blue grass varieties. 
Posted 4 weeks ago

Gut health, what, why and how

Gut health, what, why and how

Recently, a video I saw on social media caught my attention.  I had a few minutes to spare, so listened to Dr. Amy Lee explain why gut health is so important to achieve and how to achieve it.  Dr. Lee specializes in internal medicine as well as wellness, nutrition and obesity.  Listen to the video and make up your own mind if it makes sense to you.

It made complete sense to me as I have battled…

View On WordPress

Posted 4 weeks ago

Move over apples, the new health axiom is “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”

avocado

pictures courtesy of Pexels

Even though a medium sized avocado adds around 250 calories to your daily intake and 24 grams of fat, the fat is predominantly the “good for your heart” monounsaturated variety.  Avocados also lower our “bad cholesterol” or LDL (low density lipoproteins) because they contain high amounts of plant based phytosterols.

avocado

Start by incorporating avocadoes into your daily meals.  Chopped, pureed, or mashed, use your imagination and avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Just be careful what you eat them with (skip the chips).  Keeping in mind that a healthy allotment of fat is 65 grams within a daily diet of 2000 calories, simply replace the fats you have been eating for years with avocado.  Eliminate the “not so good for you” fats  like margarine or butter, peanut butter, oils, and mayonnaise.  As well as the heart healthy fat, you will be adding vitamins, minerals and fiber with this substitution.

An Avocado a Day keeps the Doctor away Move over apples, the new health axiom is “an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.”
Posted 6 weeks ago

Extreme summer breaking records

Extreme summer breaking records

No doubt we have had an extreme summer this year in Ontario.  Extremely high temperatures and accompanying drought conditions were followed by an extreme amount of rainfall over a very short time period, then topped off with an over abundance of annoying, hungry mosquitoes.

extreme summer

We should be moving up this list as our daytime temperatures are still soaring high.  The good news is our evening/night…

View On WordPress

Posted 7 weeks ago
<p><a href="http://lorieb.com/lorieb-com/home-improvement-aylmer-ontario/">Home improvement in south-western Ontario</a></p>

<p>One of the (many) joys of parenthood is seeing your children evolve into successful, hardworking adults.  This also applies to the children of close friends, so whenever I can I like to share and promote their adventures and endeavors. </p>

Home improvement in south-western Ontario

One of the (many) joys of parenthood is seeing your children evolve into successful, hardworking adults.  This also applies to the children of close friends, so whenever I can I like to share and promote their adventures and endeavors. 

Posted 7 weeks ago