Posted in blog, gardening, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Late October Blooms in Gardens4me

Due to the beautiful weather we have experienced so far this fall, (yesterday we hit 25 degrees C or 77 F) I still have blooms in late October in Gardens4me. Not many, but a few.

Still Blooming

Roses, in particular, are still pretty cheerful, one of the reasons I love and plant roses of all types in my gardens; many of the new varieties bloom from June until the ground freezes. One of my hardy hibiscus is still producing blossoms too, as are the daisies, sage, silver lace vine, and perennial geraniums.

Our Canadian winters are typically long (cold and icy) enough without an early freeze up, so hopefully, that won’t happen too soon. I do still have a few gardens to put to bed for the season.

Gorgeous Seed Heads

Even though the foliage on most perennials has yellowed (time to tidy it up), I love the look of the seed heads many produce. Especially the ornamental grasses; the cool season varieties are (still) gorgeous!

Fall Maintenance

Some grasses I leave as is over the winter, to let the seed heads blow in the wind. Others, particularly the ones I cannot see from my windows, I chop back to 6 inches from the ground. This gives me one less chore to get to in the spring.

Most of the annuals I have around Gardens4me have seen better days and need to be put out of their misery, but the colours in this coleus are still brilliantly beautiful. The sedge grass, heuchera and lamium around the coleus are all perennials whose foliage continues to look nice until covered in snow. I will leave the coleus there for a bit longer…

Late October Blooms
coleus top, sedge bottom left, heuchera bottom center, lamium bottom right

Looking Ahead

With the temperature much more fall-like today and in the forecast this coming week and next month, I am pretty sure this will be my last post about my Gardens4me. One of the best things about the restrictions surrounding the coronavirus is the increased amount of time I spent in my own gardens this 2020 season. I hope you enjoyed my pictures as much as I loved taking them. What did we ever do before cell phones and their ever-accessible cameras? Even my grandkids are getting proficient at using mine.

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com

A smoothie a day keeps me healthy

I have modified the ingredients of my daily smoothie to include turmeric, celery, cucumbers, broccoli slaw, collagen powder, ginger, avocado, lemon juice (fresh) blueberries, hemp hearts and green tea. Same principle though, makes a great hydrating, nutritious, pre-garden drink. Twenty-five years later, with five grandkids to keep up with, I still make one (almost) every day!  The following is reposted from my own blog; one of my earliest posts back in 2012…

Loreeebee on health & wellness, nature, gardens, and grandkids

Many years ago, when my twenty year old son was in grade two, I began to notice that his “bad days” at school were the days I couldn’t persuade him to eat breakfast.  He didn’t, and still doesn’t, like to eat breakfast soon after waking up.  He didn’t like school to start with; it was a constant struggle to keep him focused.  While researching learning disorders, (his teachers suggested testing him for several of these) I found several articles on the correlation between brain function and food.  Basically, without food (the fuel) in his body, my son’s brain (the furnace) wasn’t able to function at full capacity!  I started making him (and his brothers) a smoothie (they call it “milkshake”) every morning, and have kept up this routine ever since!  His teachers and I started noticing a difference almost immediately; he has now graduated high school and college and is out…

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Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca

Early July Blooms in Gardens4me

We have had an extraordinary summer so far, with weeks of hot dry weather. My lawns have taken a beating with the extensive drought, but my gardens are still looking good in early July. When planning my gardens, I chose drought tolerant perennials that could handle little to no maintenance. These choices are being tested this summer.

This next set of pictures are some of the annuals I have planted in various containers on my front veranda and back deck. Succulents continue to be some of my favourites for containers; they love the drought…

A soaker hose prevents my perennial gardens from drying out in this heat, I have used it quite frequently lately. For those of you not familiar with soaker hoses, they are rubber hoses with tiny holes in them so water sprays at the base of plants. Set up early in the spring as perennials are emerging, the hose will disappear into the foliage by this time of year. Connect as many as you need to snake through your garden, especially in the areas that receive lots of sun. Turn it on early in the morning and let it run for several hours.

My granddaughter is always willing to help me water the gardens and containers too…

helping Grandma water

Although, now that she is a “big girl” of two and half years, she has graduated to manning the hose…

Posted in DIY, gardening, gardens, gardens4u.ca, loreeebee.ca, weather

Winter Evergreen Arrangements

As I was removing window boxes filled with perennials and frost damaged annuals at the hospice I volunteer at, it dawned on me that these window boxes would look awesome with winter evergreen arrangements in them. Evergreen boughs with pops of red for a splash of color against the white walls of the building and snow on the ground.

Thanks to the early arrival of winter weather in our area, the plants and soil in the window boxes were frozen solid. I brought them home and put them in my basement to warm up to enable the change of décor.

Once thawed, the first thing I did was remove the dead annuals. Next I trimmed the dormant perennials hard, back to a few inches from the soil level. This step was to allow space for the evergreen boughs and decorative trimmings.

Most grocery stores sell evergreen boughs in bundles this time of year for such DIY projects, as do home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot. I just take a walk through the woodland trails in my neighbourhood with a pair of clippers and a bag. Cedar, pine, and spruce boughs as well as pine cones are plentiful. Sometimes I can even find some vibrant red dogwood and/or contrasting white birch branches and twigs. If not, the stores sell those as well.

Your local dollar store will provide the finishing touches like artificial poinsettia, bows, red berries etc. Battery powered twinkling lights were also added for night time pizzazz.

Posted in gardening, gardens, gardens4u.ca, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Groundcover, the good, bad and ugly

Groundcover is an integral part of most gardens.  Groundcover is self explanatory, basically plants that cover the bare ground, usually between larger (taller) plants.  The use of groundcover in gardens helps to minimize the appearance of weeds, which is always beneficial.  There are thousands of varieties out there, some good, some not so good (in my opinion) and some downright ugly!  Let me help you decipher some of my favourites and others that I encounter on a daily basis in my gardening business.

The best:

My favourite groundcover includes sweet woodruffe and lamium for part sun to shady areas as well as sedums and stonecrops for hot, sunny spots. Each perky stem of sweet woodruffe sports six shiny green leaves and tiny white flowers in spring.  Even after flowering this groundcover remains attractive all summer long.  Sweet woodruffe requires no deadheading either, which is an added bonus.

Lamium’s flowers are flashier, either pale pink or lavender in colour.  Its variegated foliage (green and white) also remains attractive all season.  Deadheading after blooming will create a second bloom time too.

groundcover
pearl pink lamium

I guess that’s what I like most about these two groundcovers; even when not in bloom they look great.  Although both spread, they do so in small clumps, but are not invasive.  Both are shallow rooted, so easy to remove from areas you don’t want them.  I use both of these as edging plants in my gardens as well. I have also used lamium in shady hanging baskets as it trails nicely as it grows.

For hot, sunny and dry spots in the garden, including tucked between or cascading over rocks, or even in containers, you can’t beat sedums or stonecrops.  Both come in a wide variety of bloom colours.  I especially love the dragon’s blood (red) stonecrop and the cute rosettes of hen and chicks.

Others:

Violets make a successful groundcover as well, but they can be invasive…

groundcover
wild violets

Some of the not so nice (looking) groundcover that crops up uninvited in gardens are clover and mosses. Clover is cute looking too, some people actually confuse sweet woodruffe with clover leaves.  However, clover is much weedier and invasive.  I don’t mind clover in my lawns, but pull it out of my gardens.  Some people encourage moss to grow between their stonework patios and walkways, not a look I am fond of.

The only time groundcover in your gardens does not work well is if you prefer mulch between your plants.  Not that you can’t have both, the problem is that most groundcover is low growing so the mulch can overpower and even smother it.  For this reason, I don’t usually recommend both mulch and groundcover in the same garden.

As I was snapping pictures of these varieties of groundcover the other day, I spied a garter snake peaking out at me from the cover of a hosta.  As a kid I used to think they were called gardener snakes, most likely because I saw them mostly in gardens.   I probably (unintentionally) disturbed this cutie’s sun bask.  By the time I focused on him, he was off, slithering away down the stone path to safety…

Posted in Canada, lorieb.com, nature, Ottawa, weather

“Let it snow” belongs in December, not March!

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Snow can be pretty and welcome in December, but in March it is a bit overdone!  It is snowing here in Ottawa, again!

I am so ready for spring, cannot wait to get out to my own gardens and the ones I look after.  Check out my website GARDENS4U  to read about my gardening business.  I just finished updating it with new pictures and information.

Posted in gardening, lorieb.com, nature, Ottawa, weather

Snow day for Gardens4u

Today is a snow day for Gardens4u.  I tried hard to get all of my clients’ gardens ready for winter and bulbs planted this week before the snow hit, but will have to wait for better weather before I get them all done.  Fortunately, the weather forecast for the next two weeks is promising to be warmer and greener:

I have been hesitant to cut back most plants in their gardens (and mine too) because everything has looked so nice up until yesterday.  We have had a beautiful fall season with extended bloom on most perennials and annuals.  This snow will take its toll on these perennials and annuals, so they will be ready to be cut back when I get to them next week.

For those of you wondering if it is too late to plant bulbs, you can plant them until the ground freezes.  Plant them pointy side up, or if you are not sure which side is up, on their sides.  I sprinkle cayenne pepper in the holes with the bulbs and over the soil on top of the holes to deter the squirrels from digging up the bulbs.  Another trick is to plant daffodils in the same hole as the tulips.  Squirrels hate daffodils.  Someone told me to try putting banana peels in the hole with my tulip bulbs to deter squirrels.  I haven’t tried that trick yet, but it may be worth a try.  Don’t forget to water your newly planted bulbs.  If your hose has been disconnected and outside water turned off for the season, get some water from your kitchen sink to sprinkle over the planted bulbs.

The snow is pretty today, but I am glad it is not here to stay.  Yet…

 

Posted in gardening, lorieb.com, nature

July garden pictures

Welcome to my gardens:

 

As you go through the gate, my “ICU” is on the right side along the fence and beside the steps.  Any unwanted plants I rescue from clients’ gardens get potted up and live here until I can recycle them into other gardens.  My son built the shelving unit on the right to use as a potting bench as well as a spot to store my pots, soil, tools etc.

 

 

 

As my children grew, so did my gardens; there is very little lawn left these days.  Beyond the white arbor is my compost corner.  The fences are covered with vines and the beds chock full of perennials.  Two apple trees and a lilac on one side and two plum trees on the other add shady spots with dappled sun, while the center offers full sun conditions. This variation in growing conditions allows for a wide range of perennials…

 

The pond was put in years ago as a Mother’s Day gift.  The racoons came from my father’s garden and the frog is a new visitor.  Unfortunately, the real racoons that visit frequently like to knock over these guys; I often find one or all of them in the pond!…

 

The front yard has lots of sun, so it is great for roses, lilies and succulents.  The focus of the front garden is the “dwarf” blue spruce that was supposed to reach 5 feet.  It is currently at least 12 feet tall…

 

 

Various pots and containers offer added color throughout the gardens…

 

What I love most about the gardens is how they change from week to week from spring to fall.

 

 

Posted in gardening, gardens, loreeebee.ca, nature, Ottawa

Weeds continue to thrive

Why do the weeds in my gardens, sidewalks and lawn continue to thrive in this hot weather, when the grass and flowers struggle?  On close inspection, the only part of my lawn that looks green are weeds.

 

On principle, I refuse to get out there every morning or evening to waste water on my lawn in these drought conditions, so every year my south facing, front lawn looks pretty sad in July and August.  Unfortunately this year the parched, yellow, straw look started in mid-May!

Remember that grass is supposed to go dormant in these hot, dry conditions and will revive naturally with a few rainy days.  We did have a bit of rain last week so the grass did recover somewhat, but this week’s forecast is for more sun and heat, so the recovery won’t last.

After a heavy rainfall is the best time to pull WEEDS in your lawn or gardens out by hand so you get the whole root, otherwise the weeds keep coming back to haunt  you.  After the weeds are all pulled from your gardens, apply a thick layer of mulch to deter them from coming back too soon.  Weed seeds blowing around or carried around by birds will germinate in mulch too, but the mature weeds will be much easier to pull out when their roots are growing in mulch instead of soil.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

 

Posted in Canada, gardening, lorieb.com, Ottawa, weather

Spring has sprung in Ottawa

In my visits to area gardens this week I am seeing lots of signs that spring has sprung here in Ottawa, finally…

I hope this spring weather lasts awhile; I have lots of work to do!

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca