Herbs for Homemade Remedies

herbs for homemade remedies

Recently I told you about my penchant for alternative medicine. A big part of that is using homemade remedies, many of which come from backyard herbs. Reading The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies from cover to cover I was itching to try many of the herbs in my kitchen or garden.

Oregano

Oregano imparts a unique and subtle flavour to Mediterranean dishes, so is a staple in many kitchen spice cupboards, including mine. It is a hardy, low-growing, perennial plant, perfect for the front of your garden beds. The tiny leaves can be used fresh or dried and crumbled for storage. The leaves can be sprinkled in dishes or steeped as a tea. Oregano oil can be extracted from the leaves and stems or purchased as an essential oil but must be used cautiously (diluted with carrier oils) as it is quite potent on its own.

Uses for oregano include:

  • eliminating skin blemishes and dark spots
  • contains omega 3, heart-healthy fatty acids
  • improves cholesterol levels
  • treats yeast, fungal and viral infections
  • asthma and bronchial infections
  • weight loss, metabolism stimulation
  • boosts immune systems with its vitamins A and C


Rosemary

Another common herb, rosemary is also found in many kitchens. It lends flavour to roasted meats, especially lamb, or potatoes. Its tiny, needle-like leaves can be sprinkled directly on food or steeped in a tea.

According to research, rosemary is beneficial to:

  • improve concentration and memory
  • treat circulation issues and headaches
  • reduce joint and gut inflammation
  • treat fungus and bacterial infections
  • increase energy
  • treat hair loss
  • treat bad breath

Thyme

Varieties of thyme are endless as hardy garden perennials. Their leaves can also be sprinkled on food in the kitchen. Thyme oil or thymol is a respected disinfectant known to kill bacteria and viruses. To wipe down household surfaces, I swear by Soluguard, a product from Melaleuca that combines thyme and lemon.

herbs for homemade remedies
thyme and lemon disinfectant

Thyme can be used for the following ailments:

  • a disinfectant as above due to antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic properties
  • sore throats, bronchitis, and coughs
  • gum disease, cavities
  • acne
  • boosting the immune system
  • stomach flu symptoms
  • epileptic seizures
  • lice, crabs, worms, and scabies
  • skin lesions, sores, and warts

Dandelion

Everyone knows what a dandelion looks like. All parts of this common weed are edible. The flowers and leaves can be added fresh to salads and the roots dried for tea. The flowers can also be fermented to make dandelion wine.

The many advantages of dandelion include:

  • using the roots for liver, kidney, gallbladder, and GI issues as they remove toxins, help digest fats, and restore electrolyte balance
  • the leaves can be used as a diuretic and antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections
  • high levels of iron, other minerals, and vitamins prevent anemias caused by deficiencies
  • enhances milk production and treats mastitis for breastfeeding women
  • reduces inflammation in arthritic sufferers
  • protects bones from osteoporosis
  • controls blood sugar by stimulating the production of insulin and eliminating excess sugar from bloodstream

Chives

The pretty purply-pink flower heads on chives are very recognizable in our gardens. The leaves can be clipped at the base of the plant and used to:

  • lower cholesterol
  • prevent strokes
  • detoxify
  • flush our systems as a diuretic
  • boost the immune system

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is not as common (at least in my neck of the woods) but can be ordered from health food stores. Its berries, leaves, and roots are all useful.

The many benefits of ashwagandha include:

  • anti-inflammatory, for managing arthritic pain
  • improves immune function by reducing stress hormones and increasing white blood cell production
  • protects the brain from degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • anti-oxidant properties that help treat colon, stomach, breast, ovarian, and lung cancers.
  • improves memory

These are just a few herbs for possible homemade remedies that caught my eye. There are many more out there; do your own research!

photo credit

Ticks Do Not Jump

ticks

Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not jump. Only a few are found on maintained lawns. Instead, they tend to prefer shady areas where they wait for a host. Doug Tallamy of Bringing Nature Home says this:

Ticks do not run after us when we go into our yards. They climb up on vegetation and ‘quest.’ That is, they wait for us to walk by and then grab on when we do. So, one easy solution is to reduce your lawn to wide mowed paths, and then stay on those paths during periods of high tick infectivity (May and June in Southeast PA.) For me, staying out of the woods is not an option I choose to follow, so I remain vigilant. I (with a little help from my wife) check myself after I’ve been playing outside. Deer ticks like bare patches of skin near waste and sock bands or tight undies and with close inspection they can be easy to find. They also like to get between my toes. Fortunately, they avoid our hairy heads. When I find an embedded tick, I pull it off (sometimes I need tweezers for those tiny nymphs) and put Neosporin on the bite site. A Lyme researcher told me years ago that the Neosporin kills the Borrelia spirochete before it gets into the blood stream. I don’t know if that is true but I do know that I have never gotten Lyme disease when I follow this routine.

Doug Tallamy, 2020,

Deer or Blacklegged Ticks

The blacklegged (deer) tick is a notorious biting arachnid named for its dark legs. Blacklegged ticks are sometimes called deer ticks because their preferred adult host is the white-tailed deer. In the Midwest, blacklegged ticks are called the bear ticks. Deer ticks are found primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and northcentral United States but extend into Mexico. This tick is of medical importance because of its ability to transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, human babesiosis, Powassan encephalitis, and more.

pestworld

ticks

How to Make Your Yard Tick Resistant

There are several things you can do to deter ticks in your yards:

  • use natural plantings to encourage tick-eating creatures in your yard. These tick predators include frogs, spiders, birds etc.
  • ticks do not like dry, sunny gardens, so plan accordingly
  • ticks do like woodpiles, brush or leaf piles, and stone walls
  • choose deer-resistant plantings as deer are primary tick carriers. Other options include deer fences and repellents
  • Japanese Barberry has a higher incidence of ticks
  • discourage raccoons, skunks, and opossums (all tick carriers) with tight-fitting garbage can lids
  • keep your lawns cut low especially around features difficult to cut around. These include around trees, fence lines, play structures, sheds, shrubs, etc.

Personal Tick Protection

To decrease your risk of tick infection, you can try the following preventative methods:

  • spray clothing with DEET repellent
  • tuck pants into socks or boots in wooded areas
  • wear light coloured clothing to spot them easier
  • inspect children, pets, and yourself upon returning from wooded areas
  • remove any ticks with tweezers

photo credit

Habs Fans Boo Stutzle in Ottawa

Habs fans

I’m wondering why Habs fans felt the need to be so disrespectful and tacky when playing the Senators in Ottawa last night.

The loud booing by the considerable number of Habs fans every time Senator’s superstar Tim Stutzle touched the puck was annoying and disrespectful. The booing was a result of Habs’ Brendan Gallagher’s comments after the last time the two teams met. Basically, Gallagher alleged that Stutzle fakes injuries to draw penalties. Ironically, I saw a statistic today that showed Gallagher and Stutzle have the same number of diving/embellishment penalties, meaning Gallagher’s criticism is the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak.

The penalty in question was a dirty, potentially career-ending knee-on-knee hit delivered by Nick Suzuki. Stutzle did lie on the ice after the hit but recovered sufficiently to continue his shift. He did miss two subsequent games due to the injury though. Who remembers way back at the beginning of Sidney Crosby’s illustrious NHL career when Don Cherry ragged on Crosby for his “turtle” reaction that drew penalties? I do, I bet Crosby does too. He appeared to learn from that criticism; perhaps Stutzle will learn something from Gallagher’s comment and the booing fans. Stutzle’s obvious talent will draw enough hits from frustrated opposing players, he does not want to encourage more.

Ottawa began last night’s game with a touching (and yes, respectful) tribute to the late Guy Lafleur, a hockey legend that led Montreal to most of their Stanley cups. Lafleur never played for the Ottawa Senators, the gesture was to show respect for a Habs hero. To top it off, Senators goalie Anton Forsberg stopped 44 shots on net last night to lead his team to a (nother) win against Montreal.

Habs fans tacky and disrespectful in loss to Senators

Back to the previous game…Suzuki apologized for the hit the next time he met Stutzle in the faceoff circle. Well before Gallagher’s rant and the Senator’s victory.

Now that’s classy on Suzuki’s part.

Habs fans could learn something from both examples of respect and sportsmanship. And lose the tackiness.

Retirement Woes: Is it Tuesday or Wednesday?

retirement woes

This quote is from a post written nine years ago already; wow, time does fly. At the time I was describing the changes in my lifestyle since my retirement from the healthcare industry:

Since retiring last April, it seems I never know what day of the week it is.  I rely on my fifteen-year-old son’s school and hockey schedule to keep me somewhat on track.  My other two sons are older, can drive themselves around and so keep track of their own schedules.  The rest of the side effects of retirement are all positive…

To start, I spent a lot more time doing the things I had previously called hobbies…

I have read more books in the past year (since retirement) than I did in the previous 25 years combined.  My favorite was the Millenium trilogy from  Stieg Larsson; the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Girl that Played with Fire, and the Girl that Stepped on the Hornet’s Nest.   I had a hard time putting these books down once I started reading them, the suspenseful storyline and believable characters were gripping, from the beginning of the first book to the last pages of the third book.   Yes, I did read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, but it didn’t rate nearly as high in my books (pun intended!), and by the third one, I found the plot to be quite predictable and boring.

My other (pre-retirement) hobby was gardening, which currently moved to the front burner in the form of a new business called Gardens4u.  This was a no-brainer for me as I had spent many previous gardening seasons volunteering my green thumbs to friends, family and neighbours.  I now do gardening on a full-time basis from April to October, depending only on Mother Nature for restrictions.

I was also able to spend more time at our family cottage, and what a summer it was for living lakeside.  The water temperature was the warmest it has ever been; I’m sure I spent more time in the lake than I have in the previous 10 years combined.

In the last half of 2011 and throughout 2012 I discovered firsthand the health benefits of a wheat-free diet.  Just recently I began to share my knowledge with friends and family concerned about the same health issues.  Please share your knowledge on this important subject by visiting my blog…

Retirement takes getting used to, but I am game!

Update:

Fast forward to 2022. My interests are still the same, just evolved over time. My husband has now joined the retirement club. This means neither of us knows what day of the week or month it is. His work schedule kept me (somewhat) organized chronologically since my retirement.

Compromises

Hubby’s retirement also means lots of adjustments and learning to choose my battles. Compromise is key. For example, I have learned to find the positive aspects in his need to re-organize the kitchen cupboards after almost forty years. As long as they are decluttered, something he is not known for, I am happy. Another example? Loading the dishwasher, something I have (predominantly) done over the same forty years. Knock yourself out, dear, I have other things to accomplish.

Extended Family

We are now empty nesters. Our three sons are grown up and long gone, graduated from post-secondary schools, and doing well in the workforce. Two have purchased homes of their own and the same two are parents themselves. The third son (almost 25) is finding it harder to break into the homeowners market with the current real estate conditions, rising inflation, and a struggling economy. But that’s a whole other post, and fortunately, he has time on his side.

We are currently blessed with six (!!) healthy, adorable grandchildren. I must admit that my life revolves around them. I figure in a few years when they are all registered in school and extracurricular activities, Grandma days will be few and far between.

Gardens4U

My beloved gardening business is winding down this year, with my current focus on design instead of maintenance. I’m okay with that as garden design was my original business dream. Several of my garden designs can be viewed on my YouTube channel in a time-lapsed format. Modern technology is wonderful!

Cottage Renovations

Cottage renovations have been in our conversations for several years now but unfortunately we have not accomplished much. My father-in-law’s declining health and subsequent passing created the first delay, then Covid and the resulting pandemic extended the delay. Hopefully this season we can get our renovation plans back on track instead of spinning our wheels.

Health Issues

My health issues from the last decade have been resolved, mainly by eliminating wheat from my diet. Of course, new ones have developed this decade, as I am not getting any younger. I am finding though that regular exercise and clean eating keep me relatively healthy.

Travel Plans

Something else that moved to the back burner thanks to the pandemic was our travel plans. We did squeak in a trip to Mexico last November between covid travel restrictions. My brother’s destination wedding was a great excuse to find a way to plan the (much needed) getaway. Hopefully, more travel is in our future.

We are counting on the next decade (at least) to be full of adventure and compromise.

photo credit

Update on Wildflower Garden

update on wildflower garden

To start off this season I want to provide an update on a wildflower garden I started at the very end of last garden season. It was an experiment I convinced management at our local hospice to permit me to try.

I called it the lasagna method.

Surviving the Winter

Today I visited the site to see how it looked now that winter is (hopefully) behind us. The leaves are long gone as expected in such a windy area. Watering them down did not do the trick as hoped. Wildflower gardens in my future plans will be sure to include an additional layer of soil on top of the leaf layer. I thought of that for this one but the budget did not permit it as it is a huge area.

The good news is that the soil is all still in place with no cardboard peaking through.

update on wildflower garden
update on wildflower garden

There are no new green sprouts yet but it’s still a bit early to expect those. Especially considering we had a few snowfalls as recent as three days ago! There are a few dandelions, of course, something you have to expect from bulk orders of soil.

Winter Sowing Experiment

I do however have sprouts in the other half of this garden experiment. Remember my post on Winter Sowing of seeds? I was ambitious and started seeds in 22 clear plastic containers. They lived out in the elements on my back deck for the winter. We had lots of snow and extended stretches of cold temperatures, so I was leary on how successful this experiment would be.

update on wildflower garden

Permanent Markers not so Permanent

The biggest problem with the experience was that the permanent marker I used to label the containers with was not so permanent. Fortunately, I recorded the numbers in several spots on each container. With the help of my strongest reading glasses, I was (barely) able to decipher the numbers. Phew!

Sprouts!

I did discover a few sprouts in some of the containers, also with the help of my reading glasses. Amazing! I cannot wait until the sprouts are big enough to transplant into their new home. Sorry, these pics are so blurry, the condensation within each container prevented clearer shots. The white squiggly things are sprouts, the last two even have green leaves reaching for the sunlight at the top.

Starting Seeds Indoors

I also started seeds indoors. This I have done before, although I have never had much luck. To increase my chances of success, I purchased two warming mats to keep the seeds and seedlings warmer. Especially as I have them growing in my basement in front of a sunny window…

Designing the Wildflower Garden

In the meantime, I plan to create a design for the placement of the new plants within the sections of the wildflower garden created by the stepping stones. Each type of plant has been assigned a code (A2 or C4 etc) based on the plant’s height at maturity as well as flower colour and bloom time. This way the RSH garden team can simply follow a detailed diagram.

In the center of each section, I will plant tall yellow sunflowers, boneset, purple aster, cleome, and Joe Pye Weed. The next layer will consist of plants a bit shorter in stature. Think purple and grey coneflowers, red sunflowers, various colours of poppies, cosmos, milkweed, goldenrod, steeplebush, and bugbane. A bit shorter yet, black-eyed susans, penstemon, rudbeckia, and verbena will be planted. The final layer will consist of edging (short) plants such as lavender, heuchera, salvia, stonecrop, lamium, and more.

Can you picture it? I can!

I will post another update on this wildflower garden when planting is complete.

Stay tuned!

Alternative Medicine

alternative medicine

Recently a friend asked my advice to help with a painful bout of constipation she was suffering from. On several new medications for multiple health issues, I believed these medications to be the culprit of her discomfort. She knows that I am a strong proponent of alternative medicine, so hoped I could suggest a home remedy that did not involve more medication.

She was right; home remedies are my thing. Here are just a few of my favourites.

Fresh Lemon Juice and Water

A glass of water with fresh lemon juice squeezed into it works wonders for constipation. I drink a glassful most mornings to keep bowel movements regular in frequency and consistency. In my friend’s case, a few glasses of lemon and water fixed her problem within a few hours. I suggested she drinks one glass of this concoction every day too.

Another benefit of lemon is the fact that the alkalinity it promotes within your body is useful to prevent and alleviate many other health issues. In fact, some people swear by this lemon and water trick for losing weight too.

alternative medicine
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Exercise and Fresh Air

Exercise is believed to be beneficial and therapeutic for many health issues including depression, weight management, and more. Exercising outdoors in fresh air is even better, especially if the sun is shining. The vitamin D your skin absorbs from the sunshine is beneficial for boosting immune systems too. The health of our immune systems has proven to be so important in our battle with Covid-19 throughout the pandemic.

Essential Oils

I love essential oils for so many reasons. In short, the multitude of scents available in these oils can be implemented for skincare, air fresheners, mood enhancers, perfume, hair conditioners, and more. The best part is that these scents are created from nature instead of from artificial chemicals. That’s why I include essential oils in my list of alternative medicine. I am such a fan of essential oils from Vitality Extracts that I have become an “influencer” with them. If you order from there, be sure to use my link.

Purchase the oils individually or in blends, in roller applicators, or bottles with droppers.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies are common in alternative medicine. I just purchased the book entitled The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies by herbalist, biologist, and MS defier Nicole Apelian, PhD. I am gradually working my way through the three hundred and some pages. In addition, this book is rated 5-star, so I am sure to learn lots of new remedies. Most importantly, many of these herbs are so common that you probably have them around your house. I know I do.

Modern Medicine vs Alternative Medicine

Not that I am against modern medicine. Science has come a long way in medical research, antibiotics, and vaccines, all of which are important and necessary advancements. I just feel that too often medication is over-prescribed. Consequently, popping pills is a band-aid fix, masking the problem instead of addressing or fixing it. For example, pain killers should be only be used as a temporary fix until the cause of the pain can be alleviated.

Many times the side effects of medication are as painful or dangerous as the condition they are treating. The problem intensifies when multiple medications are taken, making matters worse. Have you ever read the possible side effects of prescribed medications? The lists are extensive, the possible reactions scary.

Conclusions

Whenever possible I rely on alternative medicine to improve my health and treat symptoms. Part of that decision is because many chemical medications affect me adversely. In summary, I like the fact that alternative medicine relies on natural remedies as opposed to chemical cocktails.

Sexual Abuse, the Reporting Dilemma

sexual abuse

Reconnecting with an old friend recently, she shared with me the fact that she believes she was a victim of sexual abuse. This happened over the span of several years, long ago when she was a pre-teen. The memories are vague, but still haunting. She believes the extent of the abuse involved inappropriate touching as well as exhibitionism but is not sure whether anything more happened.

Her dilemma was and still is, the fact that she never reported or addressed the abuse. In retrospect, she regrets not doing either. Her life has been adversely affected for years, especially her romantic relationships.

Why did she not report it at the time or over the years? There were many reasons. At least in her mind.

She Said, He Said

At the time, she didn’t think anyone would believe her, especially her parents. The abuser is a family member, an older sibling who could do no wrong in their parents’ eyes.

She Loves her Brother, Didn’t Want to get him in Trouble

As they both grew up, the chances to report the abuse just seemed to slip away. There was never a good time. When she was old enough to recognize the abuse for what it was and how it was affecting her life, she didn’t know how to proceed. First off, she didn’t want to upset her aging parents with the shocking allegations. Then she didn’t want to ruin the abuser’s marriage, then his children’s lives. The list goes on and on.

She Felt Guilty

As a preteen at the time of the sexual abuse, she really didn’t know any better. Although his actions made her uncomfortable, was this normal behaviour? If it was wrong, why did she permit it to happen over and over again without speaking up? Who could or should she tell? These were the days well before Google and the internet.

She Thought She Could Live With It

She figured if she didn’t talk about the abuse, eventually, she would forget about it. Unfortunately for her, the suppressed feelings never quite went away, remaining bottled up for years. She never confided in anyone. All of her memories from those years remain quite vague, a fact that makes her wonder what really happened. Is her lack of memory a defense mechanism where her brain has blocked out the details?

Fast Forward to Today

These days, sexual abuse cases are prevalent in the courts. The Me Too movement has arrived. Many are legitimate, albeit ancient cases. Others are not so believable, unprovable, sometimes merely vengeful cases. The latter are reported (created) for attention or defamation. It is great that legitimate victims have come forward and their abusers punished. However, we are living in a messed up world when the person accused of abuse turns out to be the victim.

We now know though that sexual abuse does not necessarily include intercourse. It is more about the power the abuser has over the victim. Is this surge in reported sexual abuse cases because women are braver today? Or because society has realized and accepted that abuse of any kind is unacceptable?

So, what should my friend do? Continue to keep quiet? Confront her abuser? Report the abuse even though fifty years have gone by? What would that accomplish after so many years, other than rip her very extended family apart? What is the statute of limitations on sexual abuse? Is there one? She had lots of questions that I could not answer.

I could only listen as she vented, realizing I don’t know how I would deal with such a traumatic dilemma. I suggested therapy with an expert on such cases to help her weigh her options.

sexual abuse
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Rabbit Poop is Great for your Garden!

rabbit poop

I have noticed one thing in common in the gardens I have done spring cleanups in: lots of rabbit poop! There seems to have been an explosion in the rabbit population in my Kanata suburb of Ottawa. I see quite a few rabbits on my evening walks through our neighborhood so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the increased amount of their poop in the gardens.

The good news is that rabbit poop is great for your garden.

Hot vs Cold Manure

Cow, steer, sheep, or chicken manure is considered “hot” meaning it requires an aging or composting process before use. Otherwise, it will burn your plants. For that reason, be sure when you use this type that the label says “composted.” Rabbit poop, however, is “cold” manure requiring no such process before use. That’s because it is fermented and broken down in the rabbits’ gut before leaving its body.

The other advantage of rabbit manure is that it only has a mild smell to it.  The smell actually brings back childhood memories of the pet rabbits my father used to bring home each spring at Easter time.

How to Use Rabbit Poop

Simply dig the round pellets into the soil between the plants, providing a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for your garden. You can also add a pile of poop to your composter as a nitrogen layer. Another option is to make compost tea by adding a pile of poop to a bucket of water. Stir it well and frequently for a few days, and then pour the “tea” onto your garden.

Any way you use it, rabbit poop is a free and convenient fertilizer for your garden!

rabbit poop
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March Break Fun

This past week I spent many days enjoying the company of my grandchildren in some march break fun. As many pandemic restrictions have been lifted here, it was great to get out and enjoy the adventures offered in the Ottawa area. A few years back I complained that my own kids were past the march break years. Fast forward six years to a few school-aged grandchildren to share in the fun.

Sugar Bush

One of our adventures included a short drive to Fulton’s Maple Sugar Bush. Two years ago I planned to take some of my grandkids there, but Covid shut down that idea. Fast forward to 2022 where the sugar bush is now covid compliant as most activities are outdoors. The pancake house, previously a favourite for breakfasts and lunches, was permanently closed, assumed to be a covid casualty.

For those of you not familiar with this attraction, let my pictures show you the details. Activities included a horse-drawn wagon ride around the property and plenty of play structures to keep the kids intrigued.

Taffy on snow was a highlight for my granddaughter and me too! My grandson not so much. He wasn’t tempted by the gooey, sticky, sweet treat, created as we looked on.

march break fun

Educational posters around the site explained the process of making maple syrup well. From the tree to the buckets to the sugar camp, and finally to the products sold. We learned too that it takes 40 buckets of sap from the trees to make one bucket of syrup!

March Break Fun at the Experimental Farm

Our next adventure took place at the Agriculture and Food Museum within the experimental farm. Spring is the best time to visit here as the baby animals are on display. From cows, donkeys, and horses to goats, chickens, alpacas, pigs, ducks, and sheep.

Here too covid precautions were in place, with many indoor exhibits closed or modified to avoid possible contamination.

Outdoor Fun with Snow and Water

My eldest grandson loves to play in snow, ice, water, and mud. Most five-year-old boys do; I remember that well as his father enjoyed the same things as a kid. As well as walks through our neighbourhood trails, March break fun this week included a lesson on how to build a dam to block water when warm weather began the spring thaw.

After the outdoor fun, he dried off inside with a new dinosaur puzzle:

march break fun

Garden Creations by Gardens4u

garden creations

If you have not yet visited the before and after pictures posted to my business website, check out the videos posted here.  These are a few of my largest garden creations, from start to finish, in video format. Most of these gardens are approaching a decade of evolution. Watching the videos is like watching the gardens grow.

Neighbourhood Garden Creation

One of my very first garden creations is the star of this first video. It was a huge project, converting a grub-infested front lawn into a gorgeous grass-free yard. To conserve my time and back muscles, an independent contractor worked on the labor-intensive parts. Removing sod, adding soil and river rock are not in my wheelhouse. It took most of my first summer in business to get this project completed. The fact that this summer was one of our hottest on record did not help.

The best part is the fact that this masterpiece is located across the street from my home. I have literally watched it grow over the past nine years.

Moving Into This Century

Another big garden creation, also early on in my business, involved reshaping an existing garden. Removing foundation plantings from the 80s was the first step. Next up was removing boughs (limbing up) from an evergreen that blocked the view of the house from the street. This is another favourite amongst my projects, as I have been able to watch it evolve over the years. After the garden’s original design settled in, the clients asked to widen it. This sounds simple enough, but took a bit of work and planning. Plants chosen for the original edges had to be moved forward to create the new edging feature. Then new plants were selected for placement between the new edge and the largest shrubs and perennials in the center of the garden.

Adding Variety and Removing Weeds in Existing Garden

A third of my favourite garden creations involved modifying an existing garden. Although this garden had a wonderful stone retaining wall as an edging, it had lots of issues. To start with, there was proportionately a very small variety of plants. The garden was large, so the opportunity for variety was obvious and easy to achieve. Especially once all the weeds were removed, leaving plenty of space for new tenants. Tall shrubs and small trees were added to the back along the fence. Several layers of perennials were then planted in front of them. Bulbs were added too, for spring colour. This is another garden that has evolved over the years into a beautiful backyard feature.

Volunteer Gardening

In addition to working in clients’ gardens, I have been volunteering on the garden team of our local hospice here in Kanata. This next video is one of the largest garden creations (to date) on this property. In 2017, this courtyard garden and its surrounding stonework, water feature, and pathways were designed. The following spring I got involved when most of the original plantings had not survived the first winter. I do love a challenge! Four seasons later it has been transformed:

More Videos

More garden videos have been uploaded to my YouTube channel. Check them out and share your opinions.