Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Decorating with Chester the Kitten

Decorating the house for Christmas has been a bit of a challenge this year. Our kitten Chester is five months old today, and he is very, very interested in the Christmas tree, and all the ornaments dangling on it. I collected some sticks from our backyard, and put them in an old milk bottle and hung up snowflakes from the branches, but Chester found the sticks to be irresistible to chew on, so I gave up on that project, ha ha. I also made a "window" from sticks and added berries but that has survived because it is out of his reach. There's also pictures from him hiding in my son's backpack, and a picture of him just before his workout. I'm also adding a few fall photos from my yard at the end. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
Helping with the garland

The failed project
Inspecting the lights
Checking out the Tree
Getting stuck 

Playing with his Christmas mouse

Time for a nap
Guarding the tree


Stick Window

He fell asleep while I was wrapping presents nearby so this is what happens
My new hummingbird ornament :)

One of his favourite places, my son's backpack
Chester's workout 
Rocks and Leaves beside my house

Fall in the fairy garden

Thursday, 6 November 2014

November Garden

     The dreaded first frost of autumn has yet to arrive, but it won't be long now so I took a few photos of my castor plants yesterday just to give you a chance to see how very tall they are now. The second photo was taken when I was standing beneath them looking up. The funny looking seed pods haven't turned brown yet, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to save any seed. I picked a few of the pods and placed them underneath our garden shed, in hopes that the rodents will find them tasty (insert evil laugh) since they are very poisonous. Don't try this if you have young children or pets that are likely to find them.  
     The Burning bush, or euonymus is a deciduous shrub with fiery red leaves in the fall and my only regret is that I didn't plant it in a location that I can see from the windows of my home. 
     A couple of years ago I decided to grow some plants in our unused fire pit, with Japanese blood grass in the middle for the fire. It's still a young plant but I am happy that it has survived with the shallow soil and nearly solid bottom of the fire pit. 
    My grape tomato plant is still producing tomatoes (photo from October) but I noticed a bit of blight on it yesterday so I have to say goodbye to garden tomatoes for another year. My bell pepper plant is still alive too, and I even found a red pepper on it in a couple of weeks ago, but I think that will be the last of them. 
    This past summer I had the pleasure of talking to Dave Ledoux from the BackToMyGarden podcast and you can find my interview here if you are interested in listening: BackToMyGarden 

Castor Bean Plant
Castor plant

Burning Bush
Burning Bush 

Burning Bush
Japanese Blood grass among hens and chicks


Tomato plant
Mini Bell Peppers
Maple Fairy Garden

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

September Garden and a New Kitten

September is one of my favourite months of the year, and while the garden is certainly looking less colourful, there are still things worthy of a photo or two. It is also a great time of the year to visit your local nursery for finding bargain plants. The first photo is one of my bargain finds and it is called Malva sylvestris 'braveheart' and I just love the name. Next is a flower from my hibiscus shrub that I thought was dead this spring but obviously wasn't, and another hibiscus photo that I took at my local nursery. The dahlia is also a bargain plant that I bought earlier this summer, and it just recently started blooming. It came without a name but I think it will be one of my favourites. The hydrangea blooms always looks so nice, even though the flowers are basically dead. Wouldn't it be nice if all spent flowers looked this pretty? This is the first time I have ever been able to grow zinnias past the seedling stage. I don't know if it was our drier spring & summer or the fact that the slugs and snails didn't find them this year that made the difference.  My castor plants are still growing, and as you can might be able to see, they are taller than my tall sunflowers now. It is a zone 10 plant so it won't survive our winter but I might save some seeds. In other news we adopted a new kitten! His name is Chester and he has added a lot of love & laughter to our home, not to mention trouble. Chester loves to sit on the computer keyboard and turn off the monitor and do all sorts of other things that make life interesting. Our older cat Tiger is not very happy with this new intruder, but I hope she will adjust eventually.
Malva sylvestris 'braveheart'
Hibiscus Blue Satin
Hibiscus at garden nursery
Hydrangea Nikko Blue
Hydrangea Nikko Blue
Hydrangea Nikko Blue
Spirea Shirobana
Rose Hansa
Rudbeckias and Oregano
Morning glory
Morning Glory
Butterfly Bush Petite Plum
The Castor plants are now taller than the tall sunflowers!

Burning Bush (Euonymus)
Our new kitten Chester

Friday, 15 August 2014

August Survivers

Wow, it's been a hot and dry summer here and I'm wishing we had an air conditioner like normal people, ha ha. At least the birds have grown accustomed to my new birdbath with all this heat. I'm growing two new varieties of tomatoes this year in a large 6 foot long container placed underneath my patio. This has been a good place for growing tomatoes, since they get a lot of sun and yet stay out of the rain to prevent blight. My grape tomato is growing like a weed, and has started to produce yummy grape-shaped tomatoes and there are dozens and dozens yet to come. I also have some Manitoba tomatoes, and while these have produced my earliest ever ripe tomatoes, each and every one of them so far has had blossom end rot. I am trying to give them all the water they need, but it has been a struggle. The heat has been relentless and it seems this variety needs more water than most. My grape tomato is growing right along side them, looking happy as can be while these sometimes look a little thirsty. I have a new Dahlia this year, and I can't stop taking photos of it. The first photo is one of the earliest blooms and it's interesting how the colour has changed with the weather. I'm also growing castor plants for the first time. It is about 5 feet high now and is producing strange looking seed pods and flowers. I love the tropical look of this plant with the  big giant leaves, but this plant is highly toxic, so be forewarned. The uses for this fascinating plant have ranged from medical, to high-performance motor oil, and all the way to chemical warfare.  
Dahlia Fantasy

Dahlia Fantasy, a later bloom

Dahlia Fantasy Bud

Dahlia Crazy Love

Hydrangea Nikko Blue

Morning Glory Early Call Mixed

Larkspur and a poppy

Castor Plant

Giant Castor Leaf
Seed Pods

Manitoba tomatoes and Grape tomato on the right

Steller's Jay at my bird bath