May Flowers, not Snow!

April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, not snow!

Last week our Ontario premier Doug Ford promised to lift social distancing restrictions. Landscapers like myself across the province cheered as we were included in the first group allowed back to work. As a result of this announcement, I have been a busy beaver this week with spring cleanup of my clientsgardens.

Not today! I woke up this morning to a blanket of white, fluffy snow. How can something so annoying be so pretty?…

Perhaps Mother Nature heard me groaning about my sore (overworked) muscles and decided to give me a day off…

Shovelling Makes for Great Exercise in Winter

Shovelling Makes for Great Exercise in Winter

What exercise do you get in winter? With my own gardening business, I get plenty of exercise between April and October, sometimes six hours per day! Exercise in winter can be tricky though, I am the first to admit I spend far too much time sitting down writing for whatever projects come my way.

However, when the snow hits, as it has often these past few days here in Ottawa, I love to get my exercise in winter with a shovel in my hand. Especially when the snow is light and fluffy as it was today. These pictures give you an idea of just how much snow we received overnight. Enough to get me out there with my shovel, but not enough to wear me out. The posts on my veranda make great snow gauges…

Who needs a gym membership when you can get an hour (or two or three some days) of cardio exercise shovelling the driveway and sidewalk? Not me!

Football and snow angels?

photos by Katherine Shayanpour and Kimberly Boville-Belair

Today in Ottawa, the hometown RedBlacks are taking on the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL’s Eastern Conference final for the chance to play in the Grey Cup.  For you American football lovers, that’s our equivalent to your Super Bowl in the NFL.  Although Edmonton plays in the Western division, the fact that their season record was better than other Eastern division teams gave them a chance (called a crossover) to play off in the Eastern final.  If they beat Ottawa, there would be two Western division teams in the Grey Cup final next week.

The weather forecast predicted snow and blustery conditions today after unseasonably mild temperatures for the past month.  For once, the weather forecast was bang on.  Here in Canada we are somewhat used to playing football in the snow, although apparently there are some players on the field today that are not.

Greg Ellingson has obviously played in the snow before.  After catching a beautiful pass for the Ottawa Redblacks’ first touchdown, Ellingson created a celebratory snow angel in the end zone…


photo by @CFL

Although the Ottawa Redblacks were winning 17-3 at halftime, there were a few tense, nail-biting minutes in the last quarter where the Edmonton Eskimos came close to tying it up, the score getting as close as 28-23.  Lots of slipping, sliding, and fumbles, a few too many dropped pass completions and turnovers, but the Redblacks held on to the lead and came out on top 35-23.

photos by Kimberly Boville-Belair and Katherine Shayanpour

Congratulations to the Ottawa RedBlacks. Bring on the Grey Cup!

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…


If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring?

If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring?  Yesterday we got the 10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow that was promised us from Mother Nature.  It started off with hugh fluffy flakes that quickly covered the ground and everything else…


We went out for a walk last night, hopefully our last snowy walk of the season…


and came across this bus that had jackknifed across the road shutting down traffic on the main street that runs through our residential neighbourhood in Ottawa, Ontario.  The ironic part was, when we got home (just down the street from this mishap) our son told us he just got off the bus at that stop and as the driver pulled back into traffic from the edge of the road this happened.

I am not sure who made the bright decision to have accordion buses in Ottawa.  More often than not they get stranded when it snows, but that’s another story!


This last picture is an attempt at a selfie as I enterred our home, covered in snow…



Today it is plus eight degrees Celcius (46F) and raining, so these April showers may bring May flowers after all!




Digging out from record snowfall in Ottawa

We Canadians do like to talk about our weather, and we certainly have had lots of inspiration in the past 24 hours.  Today in Ottawa we are digging out from the record-breaking snowfall that hit us yesterday.  We got dumped with 50 cm (or 20 inches) of the white stuff, all within 12 hours…



I live in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, where our sidewalks, crosswalks, and even some roads are not a top priority for snow plows. Cars were buried, buses were stuck and stranded,  sidewalks, crosswalks and even lanes on the major highway through the city just disappeared…


Fortunately, the falling snow was light and fluffy, just lots of it. Shoveling was easy work, it just required several attempts over the span of the day.  In our yards and on our decks, fixtures like BBQs, hot tubs, and patio furniture are all buried, probably will be for a while. Even the rabbit that lives under our spruce tree has extra insulation on his home…


Well, my driveway is clear, but  guess what?  It’s snowing again!…


That darned groundhog that supposedly predicted an early spring is probably hiding  underneath all of the snow, laughing at us.

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First snow of the season in Ottawa, Ontario area

Yesterday, as we drove from Ottawa to our cottage In Ompah, Ontario we hit several snow squalls.  We drove through sunny skies and storm clouds and snow squalls.  The first squall hit us in Carleton Place…

When we reached the cottage, the lawn and trees were snow covered and the island offshore was barely visible…

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then, a mere ten minutes later, the sun was out again…

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The ride home was uneventful.