Posted in garden project, gardens4u, loreeebee.ca, wedding

Gardens4U and Wedding Planning!

Recently I told you of a project Gardens4U has been working on all summer. To recap, a client asked me to spruce up the gardens at his parents farm for his daughter’s wedding.

After walking around the extensive property with the client last April I started work on multiple garden beds. Containers were planted as soon as the last frost date arrived in May, well in advance of the wedding date to give the annuals time to settle in.

My original commitment was one day a week, including through the scorching heat we experienced this summer. Of course, my visits to “the farm” increased in recent weeks as the wedding date drew closer.

Most of the time I remembered to take before and after pictures of the gardens and planters. I so wanted to snap a few last minute pictures the morning of the wedding, but did not want to intrude on the hustle and bustle going on. I will have to wait patiently for the photos I know my clients will share.

Garden Beds

The beds I worked on are referred to here according to their location on the property or their function during the wedding. Pictures are posted in chronological order.

House Bed, 3 Sections:

I cannot take credit for the gorgeous, flagstone sidewalk or lush lawn enhancing these beds at the front of the home. Due to the large expanse of lawn and the poor condition it was in, hydroseed (a sprayed on product) was used with awesome results. A beautiful lawn does wonders for increasing the beauty of gardens…

Ceremony Site:

There is no “before” picture for this bed as there wasn’t a garden there, just the edge of the yard overgrown with trees, scrub brush, and a few transplanted hostas.

Shady Sitting Area:

My client had a vision for this bed, I really just followed his instructions. And chose and planted the appropriate perennials for a shady spot. We then used some of the containers to add some colour to the area…

The Mint Bed That Became a Dahlia Bed:

For the resident chef, I moved the mint into a new herb garden. At least I attempted to move it. Mint can be very invasive, there are still shoots sprouting in that bed.

Sunny Beds:

These two beds were the bride’s Omi’s (grandma) flower gardens, with the one on the right home to her beautiful peonies. Unfortunately they were overgrown with no distinct shape and neglected since her passing several years ago.

Sunflower Bed:

This sunflower bed was supposed to be spectacular, at least that’s the vision I had. Tall, majestic, golden yellow sunflower blooms against the backdrop of the rustic family barn bordered by the bride’s Omi’s (grandma) long established daylilies. We tried to transplant many of the daylilies into some semblance of order, but thanks to their poor performance through the drought conditions this summer I had to cut them right back. They did revive, but not as fast as I hoped they would.

Rock Garden:

I don’t have much experience with rock gardens but I enjoyed choosing creeping plants and tiny succulents to tuck into the crevices. Unfortunately (for the wedding guests) not many of this type of plant are fall bloomers. Next spring and summer it will look gorgeous!

Rodent and Insect Damage

My major challenge during this project was the battle I had keeping the sunflowers intact in their designated bed against the barn wall.

I planted close to thirty sunflowers, most grown from seed on my back veranda, but the squirrels snapped off their growing stalks faster than I could plant them. I actually witnessed a squirrel hanging on the barn wall, mid pounce, as he/she aimed for the flower head of one of the tallest sunflowers.

So frustrating and disappointing!

The other challenge was keeping the dahlia blossoms from becoming a snack bar for earwigs or whatever other insect devoured them shortly after they appeared and before they could mature. I ended up bringing a pot of dahlia from my back deck to fill in the bare spots.

Containers: Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers

We used lots of planters around the property to add colour and drama. Some from the clients’ home that I had created earlier in the season, and some from my own home collection.

Silver Lace Vine

I had planned to drape strands of silver lace vine (from my garden) in the trees to look like the beautiful Spanish moss so prevalent in the south. The wedding planner, who is also a florist, intercepted me though as I carried trays of it down the driveway, and asked for the silver lace to adorn the dining table and archway at the ceremony site. How could I refuse?

Conclusions:

Well, the big day arrived and thankfully the sun was (albeit off and on) shining! We were all nervous as it had been raining, torrentially at times, for the previous two days.

The problem with creating these gardens in one season is that most plants take a while to mature in their new homes, unless you spend a fortune and choose fully mature plantings. Like most gardens I plan and create, these garden beds look great this season, but will look spectacular next summer and for years to come.

A few years ago I created bouquets and containers for my son’s wedding, then a few table arrangements for a friend’s son’s wedding. I have enjoyed these wedding projects so much that I am considering adding wedding (or other events) planning to my Gardens4u list of services! What do you think?

Posted in cottage life, garden project, gardens, loreeebee.ca

Wildflower Ridge is Blooming

Now that I’ve trained my husband to cut the grass properly around it, my wildflower ridge is blooming….

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne’s lace is dominating right now; I may have to selectively remove some of it next season if it takes over the other wildflowers.

I love the white lacey flower heads that ruffle in the breeze. Queen Anne’s lace were my mom’s favourite wildflower, so they are obviously now one of my favourites as well as a sentimental touch in this garden.

Wildflower Ridge is Blooming
Queen Anne’s lace

I also have a patch of Queen Anne’s lace closer to the cottage interspersed with black eyed susans, my mother-in-law’s favourite. I love this random patch as it reminds me that both of these wonderful women are always nearby. In spirit only unfortunately.

Globe Thistles or Echinops

Thriving within wildflower ridge are the vibrant blue globe thistles, AKA echinops that I planted from seeds last fall.

Wildflower Ridge is Blooming
Globe thistle/echinops

Wild Chicory

Slower to thrive in wildflower ridge are the wild chicory plugs I pulled from the roadside on a trek back to the city. It’s a good thing I picked them when I did, this weekend they have all been cropped off.

A member of the daisy family, the pretty cornflower blue blossoms of wild chicory are quite common along the roadsides here in Eastern Ontario.

The chicory roots were only recently transplanted in my wildflower ridge though, so I may have to exercise some patience with them.

Wildflower Ridge is Blooming
photo credit

Not so Wild Cultivars

Mingling nicely with the wildflowers indigenous to this area (those mentioned above as well as daisies, vipers bugloss, milkweed, pink thistles, and achillea) are some not-so-wild, cultivars. These all love full sun conditions and are hardy to zone 3. Coneflowers, malva/mallow, yellow daisies, monarda, and even the recognizable leaves of a holly hock have sprouted from the seeds I collected and sewed over the past few seasons…

Collecting Wildflowers

I’ve used a combination.of seeds collected in the fall and root plugs from the roadside. For obvious reasons the root plugs offer quicker rewards.

To keep our local bees and butterflies content and thriving, it is important to choose native wildflowers (ones that you see growing naturally in your area) for your gardens.

Wildflower ridge is coming alive bloom by bloom; next season should be awesome!!

Posted in garden project, gardens, gardens4u.ca, loreeebee.ca

Gardens4U New Garden Designs

As well as general maintenance (weeding) and spring cleanups, Gardens4u completed several new garden designs so far this season, although one is still a work in progress. Most of the time I remembered to take before and after pictures.

Continuing the Neighbour Theme

At the end of last season a third neighbour asked me to help them reconfigure their front yard around an updated veranda and interlock walkway.

This was one of my easiest projects as the home owners were very hands on. From shopping for and planting perennials and shrubs to sod/grass removal,(the black fabric smothered the existing grass) soil enhancement, and edging of the finished creation, they barely needed me. My job was to recommend plant choices and their placement based on mature size and bloom time. I also created the garden shape with a hose and suggested the location of the stepping stones.

This is what the yard looked like during the process:

…and this is what it looks like now:

Wedding Preparation

Another client asked me to help him transform and design new gardens on his parents’ farm property in preparation of his daughter’s upcoming wedding. The house is being renovated as well with plans for an airbnb property.

There are seven garden beds; a huge undertaking that I have been working on all summer. The bride and groom to be have been helping too, doing most of the clearing, weeding, mulching etc. This frees up my time for the designing and planting, my two favourite parts of a new garden project.

Here are a few before pics:

some during pics:

and some after pics:

These after pictures are of just the garden at the front of the house. The other beds are still in progress. When this project is complete, I will show you the final pictures of all garden beds created. Stay tuned!

Moving to the Backyard

I have been working with these clients for several years now, first at their old home here in Kanata…

Gardens4u New Garden Designs

…and then at their new Hintonburg area home after they moved. Last season I worked on the front yards of their new duplex. The outside of one side is very traditional looking, the other quite modern, so I designed gardens to match the two different styles…

Before pics:

This is what they look like now:

This season these same clients requested my services for garden design and an overhaul in their back and side yards.

before pics:

after pics:

Next season these newly renovated garden beds will look awesome!

Garden Touch Up

At the end of last (2020) season I modified a neighbour’s garden, moving plants and adding new ones to the expanded space. We also added stepping stones to break up the larger area. At the time she had some natural coloured mulch we used up.

This summer we changed the look by adding dark brown mulch, (right on top of the natural coloured mulch) creating a much more vibrant look, which contrasts well/better with the maturing plants.

Designing new gardens or updating tired, old, outdated or overgrown gardens is my favourite part of my gardening business. Check out my website for more before and after pictures of my creations.