Gardens4u Creates Curb Appeal

This past summer one of my larger projects was to create curb appeal for a couple thinking of selling their home.  The home is beautiful, but the front yard lacked curb appeal with no landscaping (other than lawn) to attract buyers to the home.  The owners contacted Gardens4U to help them create the curb appeal that their real estate agent suggested to add a welcoming touch and increase the value of their home. These pictures show the process…

Although the red is not my preferred color of mulch, it does match the brick on the house and makes the landscaping stand out, which is the image the homeowners wanted to portray.  The perennials and shrubs planted are well spaced and young, keeping the cost down and the garden relatively maintenance free.  Weeds will be kept to a minimum with the use of mulch, so any that do appear between the plants will be easily identified for removal.  As the plants grow to their mature size, the spacing between them will still be sufficient to prevent an overgrown, neglected appearance.

The front entranceway between the driveway and veranda was reconstructed by the homeowner from a small cement block for the step with boring cement slabs as the sidewalk to a beautiful flagstone design including a large step leading up to the veranda.

This home now looks very welcoming and updated, with the promise of a mature garden in seasons to come.  The homeowners love the look so much, they may decide to stay awhile!

Happy Birthday Dad!

These pictures were taken on Dad’s surprise (sort of) 75th birthday where he was celebrated by his family and friends.

Today, September 19th, would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday.  Although he left us eight years ago already, I think of him in some context daily.

I woke up to frost on the rooftops and lawns today, an early appearance even here in Ottawa, but somehow appropriate for Dad’s birthday.  As I looked out the window at the whiteness, I could hear his voice saying “HAH, frost in September!”

Other reminders of my dad come in the form of his expressions, interests and habits (some bad ones):

-his affectionate phrase “dum dum” when someone did something silly, often used on his children and grandchildren.  I must admit to using it in my own household too, softened with a giggle, just like he used to.

-his use of the expression “HAH” as used above, meaning “who would have thunk it?” or “I don’t think so” (when he didn’t want to do something) or when he found something funny or ridiculous.

-his ride on lawnmower that his six children purchased for him on his 75th birthday.  It currently resides at my cottage where the lawns are big enough to need a ride on mower.

-when I am out “puttering” in a garden as he used to love to do.  In his latter days he would have a list of things for me to do in his garden each visit.  As a youngster I remember my mom picking out the plants, but Dad was always the one planting and looking after them.  I know he would be proud and not the least bit surprised about my new profession, Gardens4U.

-when one of my sons (or me) yell at the TV during a hockey game.

-one of his sweaters that I found in his closet when cleaning out his house, barely (if at all) used, that I now use as garden apparel on cool days.

-his use of an accelerant to start the campfire at the cottage, especially after a week of rain when everything is damp.  My husband calls it “grandpa’s firestarter.”

-wandering around my gardens in sandals (Dad often wore his slippers to do this, much to my Mom’s dismay)  with a cup of tea in hand, stopping here and there to pull a weed or two, or to “stop and smell the roses.”

-his goofy grin, that fortunately lives on in my son Derek.

The list goes on and on….Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you!

Gathering Birds

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Why do birds gather in large groups some evenings?  I have seen (and heard) this happen numerous times in our suburban neighbourhood, mostly in autumn.  This picture was taken in late August this year; hundreds of blackbirds, or possibly crows, roosting in the dead tree and a few live trees surrounding the dead one.  The birds in the dead tree show up well against the evening sky, while the others blend in better with the leaves on the trees.

I looked into this behaviour, but cannot seem to find a definitive answer.  Some say the birds gather as a “stop over” on their migration route, others say the birds gather as a form of protection from predators.  I have a hard time believing that these very large birds need protection from much of anything in this neighbourhood.   They can be very aggressive, especially on garbage pick up day, when I have seen them tear garbage bags apart, flinging pieces of garbage several feet as they scavenge for food.

Whatever the reason for their gathering may be, they sure do make a racket!  Their noise brings to mind an English class years ago when my teacher explained the word “cacophony”   http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/cacophony    That about sums in up.  I am glad the houses they choose to gather behind are a few blocks away from mine…

Into the Storm

This post is a little late; these storm pictures were taken last week as we were driving home from the cottage.  As we got closer to Ottawa the storm clouds got darker and more ominous; it was obvious that we were driving right into the path of the storm…

and then out the other side!  I must remember to carry my camera with me, as once again, these pictures taken with a phone from a moving vehicle are not of the greatest quality.

Free Tomato Plant

I have found many things in a bag of potting (or other types) of soil, but this tomato plant was a surprise.  I first noticed a few leaves poking out of one corner the bag of soil and thought it was a weed as I have encountered many kinds of weeds in bags of soil in my business.  I decided to wait to see what developed and was amazed to see a tomato blossom on the plant a few weeks later.  I left the small amount of soil in the corner of the bag undisturbed so the plant could continue to grow, and sure enough tomatoes have sprouted!  The tomatoes are still small and green and will probably not ripen in the limited sunlight they are growing in, but I will wait a bit longer to see how big they do grow.

Mother Nature Outperforms the Ottawa Redblacks and BC Lions

Mother Nature definitely outperformed the Ottawa Redblacks and BC Lions football clubs last night with a spectacular thunderstorm.  The game was a low scoring one (7-5 for BC) with no touchdowns recorded.  There were very few skilled passing or running plays performed by either team, with the roar of a chainsaw announcing a Redblack first down an uncommon sound.  The fans enjoyed the game nevertheless, shouting MOOOCHOIR each and every time a “flag on the field/mouchoir sur le terrain” was announced.  Unlike the sound of the chainsaw, the MOOOCHOIRs  were frequent.

Mother Nature’s contribution to the entertainment caused a rain delay in the fourth quarter, which of course happened just as the Redblacks had moved the ball down the field into field goal range with a late surge of momentum, hoping to add the three points to their score to clinch the victory.

We heard the thunder and saw the lightning as the storm approached the stadium, but we all hoped it would pass us over.  As the storm hit with a torrential downpour and gale force winds that sent sideline advertising sailing onto the field, the officials cleared the field announcing a rain delay, forcing the players and fans to safety.

Like most thunderstorms, it was over quickly and the game continued, but the Redblacks were unable to catch the Lions.