My Green Room aka My Back Deck




My favourite room in the house these days is my green room, AKA my back deck.    The entire railing of the deck is covered in ivy, forming a four foot high, living green wall.  My green room is a perfect and private spot to enjoy breakfast and a morning coffee.  In the afternoon the green room is partially shaded from the hot sun by lilac and apple trees.

The Banana Clip Revisited


Banana clips were popular in the 1980’s in the “big hair” era where they were used to tie back all that hair into a ponytail.  They worked wonders for the long layered hair cuts because you could get all layers into one hair clip.

I still wear my hair in a layered cut as it suits my thick, wavy, humidity hating hair.   I was rummaging through a cupboard in my bedroom recently and found my banana clips from long ago.

Some things never change!  Those banana clips still work the best for controlling my unruly hair in the hot humid weather and now come in very handy when I am out tending to my gardens.  I no longer have to stop what I am doing to retie my ponytail as the clip holds all of my hair out of my face and off my neck for hours!




Two Root Canals in one Week!


Recently I had the pleasure (NOT) of two root canals in one week!  A few weeks ago I experienced pain on one side of my mouth while munching on tortilla chips.  I assumed that one of the sharp edges had slipped between my teeth and hurt my gums, so thought the pain would go away by the next day….

I was not so fortunate; two days later the pain was worsening so I called my dentist for an appointment.  After taking x-rays and prodding in my mouth where I thought the pain was coming from, my dentist could not determine any significant damage, just slight inflammation, so told me to go home and “baby the tooth for a few days until it gets better.”

A few days later I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain.  Of course, it was a sunday morning.  I phoned the emergency number provided on my dentist’s voice mail and went to a clinic in the other end of town.  (I would have driven anywhere at that point to get it fixed!)  More x-rays and more prodding determined the problem tooth and a root canal was recommended and performed.  For some reason this dentist could not find all of the canals in the tooth (apparently each tooth has at least three and possibly four canals, and he could only find two) to clean out, so sent me home with instructions to see my own dentist in a few days to continue the procedure.  I’m sure it did not help that I had difficulty opening my mouth wide enough for him to work on the offending back tooth because of the pain in my jaw as well as the lack of sleep the night before…

In the meantime I was put on clindamycin, a powerful antibiotic, to clear up the infection in my tooth and ensure it did not spread elsewhere in my body.  Both the dentist and the pharmacist warned me that the side effects of this antibiotic were nasty: upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and light-headedness to name a few.   I think I experienced every one listed, and they lasted for the whole seven days I was on the medication.

Three days later I went back to see my own dentist who performed the rest of the root canal.  By that time I was so happy to be pain-free (the freezing helped) with the root of the problem (pun intended) cleared up,  I did not mind the additional work.  This dentist was able to find the third canal too, so I left there all fixed up, and feeling like a million bucks.  Well, at least one thousand bucks, as that is what the three visits to the dentist cost.  Thank heavens for dental insurance!



Step out of your Comfort Zone in your Garden

I must admit I will always have my favorite perennials, but working with many different plants lately in gardens throughout the western Ottawa area, I find myself warming up to plants I was never that fond of, forcing myself out of my comfort zone.

For some reason hostas were never on the top of my list of favorite perennials, but I now acknowledge they look awesome in some gardens, especially the large gardens where they have a chance to spread out.  These beauties are perfect in their setting…

I have also warmed up to colors other than my favorite purple, pink and yellow.  Red flowers were never on the top of my list either, but recently I have noticed how striking they are, especially next to a contrasting color.  These are red painted daisies, gorgeous in front of blue/purple irises:


I am learning how to experiment outside of my comfort zone with new varieties and colors of perennials.  To do the same, instead of planting many plants of the same variety, try many varieties of plants for a spectacular and unique display.  Instead of choosing colors that match  (you are not planning your wardrobe here) choose colors opposite or at least far away from each other on the color wheel to achieve the most impact in your garden…


Have fun with your designing, and remember, nothing in your garden is permanent.  I like to think of my garden as a work (of art) in process.  If you do not like the changes, you can always revert back to the previous version.

If you need help or have questions, contact me at

The Gift of Time for Father’s Day

The gift of time is the best gift that money can’t buy.  Now that my sons are older with busy lives of their own, when holidays like Mother’s day, Father’s day and our birthdays roll around, I suggest gifts of their time instead of materialistic things purchased from stores.

For example, yesterday for Father’s Day, my sons picked up and delivered a truck load of cedar trees to our cottage.  Their dad had been talking about filling in our lot line there with cedars to increase our privacy.

After the work was done, it was time for relaxation and a BBQ before the boys had to head back to the city.

I suspect as we parents get older and our sons have families of their own with increased responsibilities and limited spare time, these gifts of time will be even more meaningful…



Top Reasons to Garden in the Rain



Here are my top reasons to garden in the rain:

-the mosquitoes do not like the rain either.

-the weeds come out easily, with the whole root attached (see pictures above)

-your sunscreen does not sweat into your eyes.  Be sure to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.

-it is generally cooler when it is raining, so you do not get as hot or dehydrated.

-the soil is nice and wet, great for digging holes when transplanting plants that need to be moved as well as for planting new ones.

-newly spread grass seed will stay put instead of blowing away in the wind or baking in the sun.

- if the weatherman is calling for more rain in the forecast, you do not have to water the plants or seed you just planted.


-when the sun does come out, instead of spending time gardening, you can relax and enjoy your efforts!