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
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Garden Successes for 2019 Season

Well, it appears my garden season is over for 2019.  The increasingly cold, wet and miserable weather is telling me to give it up.  It was a great season, with lots of garden successes to snap pictures of. When I remembered to that is.

Success with Annuals

Still one of my favourite annuals, these gorgeous cleome (AKA spider flowers) went crazy in a garden at the hospice I volunteer at.  Unfortunately, they are non-hardy annuals in our climate, but I will definitely plant some again next spring.  I like to plant as many colour variations that I can find, this year I used dark pink, pale pink and white…

Other annuals starring in my garden successes included coleus (they come variegated in contrasting colours), miniature multi-coloured hibiscus (for a tropical look), portulaca (for full sun colour) as well as black-eyed-susan and sweet potato vines…

Eye Popping Colour Combinations

Another of my garden successes this season involved the colour combinations I chose in several containers.  Remember, the best colour combos are those that are opposites on the colour wheel.  Don’t try to match your colours if you are going for the WOW factor, contrasting colours give more of an impact…

Container Gardening

The containers I planted for clients and myself were garden successes too.  As described above, I aim for colour combinations that create splashes of bold colours…

These window boxes were created to add a splash of colour to the otherwise bland white older portion of the same hospice mentioned above.  The empty window boxes came from a client that passed away a few years ago.  I added perennials from my own gardens and a few annuals for contrasting colours, then attached six of them to the wall below the windows with brackets…

Wedding Flowers

I attempted more wedding flowers this season and am happy to say these too were one of my garden successes. This time I had the pleasure of creating small tabletop arrangements.  The biggest hurdle was the colour scheme.  The bride and groom wanted blue and silver but anyone with a bit of flower savvy knows that neither blue or silver are abundant colours in gardens.  Unless of course you want to order (expensive) exotic varieties from afar. They turned our well, phew…

Other beauties

My lily trees just keep getting more and more gorgeous every year.  Their very first season they grew to about eighteen inches with a few blooms.  This year I had multiple, thick, sturdy stems with tons of spectacular blooms…

This time of year any nice days are a rare bonus, we were fortunate to experience a few last week.  This picture shows a rose bush in a client’s garden that would just not quit.  It is (was) so beautiful that neighbours thought the blooms were fake.  When they saw me preparing the garden for the winter, one neighbour came over to comment and check for herself…

gardens successes
ever blooming rose

 

Daughter From Another Mother

I am devastated this week after hearing of the sudden and unexpected death of a dear friend.  The initial shock is fading, but I am still having difficulty believing that she is gone from my life.

Although she started out as a client in my gardening business, ….. Continue reading “Daughter From Another Mother”

Leaves Make Great Garden Mulch

fall leaves on ground

When all the pretty leaves fall from the trees this fall, instead of bagging them to put out on garbage day, use them in your garden as free mulch.  Most leaves, with the exception of oak leaves, break down easily over the winter.  They add nutrients and humus to the soil in your gardens.

If you do not have a leaf mulcher, you can break (mulch) the leaves up by running them over with your lawn mower while they are still on your lawn.  Then rake the debris onto your garden between the plants.

Your soil and plants will love it.

photo credit

Happy birthday from above

I read somewhere that when a cardinal (the red bird type) makes an appearance in your yard, they have come to tell you that a departed loved one is thinking of you.  As I was pouring a cup of coffee first thing this morning, I noticed this bright red cardinal in my garden…

As he hopped through my (still snow covered) garden, he stopped to pose a few times and sing a few notes before a female cardinal joined him.  As she is less brilliant in color, a brownish red instead of the bright red, she was harder to photograph.

I think the cardinals were a Happy Birthday message from my dearly departed parents.  My dad was an avid bird lover, and my mother was never far from his side…

Gardens4u now offers virtual garden designs

GARDENS4U is my business here in the west end of Ottawa, Ontario.  Until recently I have been limited to offering my garden designs to clients in this area.  I now have a computer program that can design a garden for you from anywhere!

Here are examples of before and after pictures:

 

 

All I need from you is a picture (JPEG) to download to my computer program.  I can then (virtually)add gardens to your landscape, complete with plant selections suitable for your region.  The database on my computer program has thousands of plants to choose from. All you have to do is prepare your new garden beds, then purchase and plant the chosen plants.  You can do so at your own pace as your time and budget permits.

If you live in the west end of Ottawa, I can take the pictures and even dig and plant your gardens if you need me to do so.  If you do not live here, send me a picture of the area of your yard you would like to change.   I have time to design a few virtual gardens before my season starts here.  Next winter I hope to design lots.

Email me your picture today to gardens4u@mail.com.  Take the picture straight on (not from an angle) and up close. Take several pictures if the area is large or you have more than one garden bed you would like designed.  I charge twenty dollars per hour, so your cost will depend on how large and complicated your project is. So far my average design time is one hour.  Payment can be made through PayPal or electronic transfer.

My Gardens4u business website has been updated

hen & chicksB

If you haven’t checked out my business website GARDENS4U  recently or at all yet, please do so and let me know what you think.  It has just been updated with the pictures I took last season and I would love your opinion, comments and suggestions.  I know many of you are website and photographic geniuses; I am neither of those but am always looking to improve!

 

A busy birthday week in Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas is a beautiful city to visit, especially when the weather is cold in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Last week I surprised my sister for her birthday, spending a whole week with her visiting all of the popular tourist spots and catching up on sister stuff. The surprise party was held at Talon’s Sports Bar, owned and operated by friends of my niece, and a great location for the party to kick off the birthday week…

As mentioned in my previous post, I did manage to get some gardening in by planting a garden in my sister’s front yard.  I do love seeing the different varieties of plants that grow in the places I travel to.  I knew that succulents and cactus are prevalent in Texas, I just never knew there were so many varieties of each…

Another great thing about vacations is that I don’t have to cook.  This past week I experienced most of the culinary delights Texas has to offer.   At restaurants, a few of which are located right on the water, I feasted on seafood, including delicious crab cakes and gumbo, Mexican, Italian and Thai food,  and of course steak, a Texan favourite.  Home-made, deliciously spicy, chicken tortilla soup, pico de gallo and guacamole prepared by my niece, as well as jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon, grilled to perfection and served with sausage wraps on the beach by her husband.  I think I will stay away from the scales for a few days…

To wear off some of the calories, I was coerced into dancing, Texan style, at my sister’s favourite nightclubs Whiskey River and  Ropers . Thanks to her very patient and kind dancing friends Sinoel, Martin, Benny, Ray and others, I had lots of fun and many laughs trying to master the art.  One-two-three and quick-quick-slow are still echoing in my head…

Of course, when heading south to escape a Canadian winter, you have to go to the beach. The beaches in the Corpus Christi area of Texas are spectacular and plentiful.  Padre Island National Seashore, McGee Beach, North Beach, Packery Channel and Mustang Island are just a few popular spots.  Even though this was my fifth visit, I still find the waterfronts confusing.  Bay, gulf, channel, port…

My last day in Texas was the only one warm enough (78F or 26C) to hit the beach.  Although I found the water was too cold for anything more than dipping my toes, there were a few brave people playing in the waves.  It is winter in Texas too, although winter temperatures there are much more enjoyable than those here.  We walked the beach during the day and then enjoyed a bonfire on the beach using dried out Christmas trees collected from curbs in my sister’s neighbourhood…

We spent a few hours shopping for bargains too, and even though the Canadian dollar is currently so low in value, I was still able to get a few good deals on clothing.  Although we did not venture across the border into Mexico, I picked up a few Mexican inspired souvenirs in Texas, including an adorable ceramic gecko for my garden and some tequila…

The best part of this trip to Texas was the opportunity to spend quality time with my sister, her children and grandchildren.  I kind of put her on the spot by showing up, not just for her surprise party, but also announcing that I was staying at her place for a week.  I had already made arrangements with her son to use his bedroom in her home for the week.  Thanks to Facebook messaging, I was able to make plans with my niece and nephews before my visit without my sister suspecting a thing.  The only time she was suspicious that something was going on was when her son got up early the morning of my arrival to clean up his room.  Also fortunate, and much appreciated, was the fact that she was able to play hooky from work all week to spend time with me, thanks to her staff Cristi, Chrisy and others.

The birthday week in Texas was a huge success and tons of fun, but over much too fast.  Reality has called me back home to Canada and my sister back to work.  Arriving back in Ottawa via Houston and Toronto, I was greeted by snow and missing luggage, both indicators that all good things must come to an end…

Oh, by the way, my gardening website can be viewed at GARDENS4U

Mangoes and dragonfruit

Dave, an employee in the produce department at my local Sobey’s grocery store, supplied the inspiration for this blog post.  I knew that mangoes and dragonfruit are not grown here in Canada due to our weather conditions. I also know these two exotic fruits are delicious, but that was about the extent of my knowledge of them.

Mangoes are imported from Brazil, at least the ones at the Sobey’s in Kanata are.  Most mangoes are picked and transported before they are ripe, then allowed to ripen in the store or in your home. Dave told me that Palmer mangoes however, are picked when they are ripe and then transported quickly to keep them at their peak.  This difference in harvesting makes the Palmer variety of mango sweeter without the characteristic sharpness of other mangoes.  Palmer mangoes also have a pale yellow flesh instead of the typical orange. Palmer mangoes are slightly more expensive than other varieties because of the expedited shipping, but well worth the difference…

Whatever the type of mango you have, you can tell when they are ripe by pushing gently on the skin with your finger, similar to testing the ripeness of an avocado.  If the skin dents, it is ripe.  If it remains undented, it is not yet ripe, and will taste bitter.

The biggest obstacle when cutting a mango is the large, almond-shaped pit in the center of each mango.  Cutting or slicing mangoes can be done in several ways…

  • slice the mango in halves or thirds, then carve a checkerboard pattern into the flesh of each slice without cutting into the skin.  From the skin side, push the cubes so that they pop out.
  • cut the mango in wedges, using the pit as a guideline for the knife.  Then eat the pulp from the skin, similar to eating a slice of watermelon.
  • after cutting in wedges as described above, use a drinking glass to remove the skin from the pulp.  Simply put the lip of the glass between the skin and pulp of each slice, and gently push.  The glass should slide along the wedge, neatly and cleanly removing the skin.

Since our mangos are imported from Brazil, I thought I would ask my favourite Brazilian, my son’s girlfriend, whom I have nicknamed Stella Bella, which way her family peels mangoes.  Apparently mangos are not such a big deal in Brazil, probably like our very common apples here.  She did say they use the drinking glass method to peel them…

pictures compliments of thekitchn.com

I also had the opportunity to taste test white and red fleshed  dragonfruit.  Dragonfruit, also known as Pitaya are imported from Asia.  Dave suggested that red fleshed dragonfruit cut into cubes and frozen makes great ice cubes for the Christmas season.  The mild flavor of the fruit will not alter the taste of the cocktail and the bright red color adds a festive touch.

 

Thanks to Dave and Stella Bella for the lessons learned!

please be sure to visit my slightly more humorous blog YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE  It is guaranteed to make you LOL.