In bloom this third week of August in my zone 4 to 5 Ottawa gardens

There is not much new in my zone 4 to 5 Ottawa gardens this third week of August, a  new (orange) color of coneflower, pink garden phlox and a new flush of roses…

 

 

 

The pink and red coneflowers are still quite striking (although they were a little beat down by the storm we had just before I took their picture) and the yellow pom poms are still brightening up the back of a bed…

 

 

This week in my clients’ gardens I took some pictures of some awesome containers of annuals.  Annuals are always great this time of year to fill in with their pops of color.  The shades of purple in the last ones really caught my eye…

 

 

 

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In bloom this second week of August in my Ottawa zone 4 to 5 gardens

Here are the newest perennial blooms in my own zone 4 to 5 gardens this second week of August;

 

This ornamental grass is my favourite although it is only an annual here in zone 4 or 5.  It makes a beautiful centerpiece for a container or it can be planted right in the garden!

grass 1

 

Still strutting their stuff, these perennials are still looking great:

 

On their way out (unfortunately) are my gorgeous lilies.  They will return bigger and better than ever next year though!  Every client I have planted some of these lily trees for have commented on how spectacular they are, well worth the price.

 

I hope you are enjoying these weekly walks through my gardens…

whole garden

The case against commercial garden soil and mulch

I have learned over the years that commercial (sold in bags or delivered in loads) garden soil and mulch are not the most efficient products to improve the quality of soil in your garden beds.  Every time I have done so, I end up with more weeds in my gardens…

 

 

 

So, if you shouldn’t use the commercial garden soil and mulch in your gardens, what should you use?  Instead of the commercial garden soils and mulches that are available in bags from your local garden center or delivered in truck loads, I currently use the following plan.

In the fall I use shredded leaves as a mulch throughout my gardens, then in the spring, I spread composted manure around all my emerging plants.  Be sure to use well-composted compost or manure in this step to avoid stinking up your neighbourhood. The extreme heat levels in the composting process kills weed seeds too, so is very important.  You could use your own compost pile, but ensure it has matured to the weed free level.  For large volumes, I use this variety (available at Home Depot) of composted cattle/steer manure, particularly because it does smell bad:

compost

This process adds both nutrients and humus to my existing soil, improving its quality immensely.  The proof is in the beautifully healthy looking plants and lack of weeds!

 

Sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread

Did you know that sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread for those of you on a gluten-free diet?  Even if you are not eating gluten-free, slices of sweet potato make a much healthier and lighter alternative than bread.

Simply slice a sweet potato length wise as thin as you can slice it, pop the slices in the toaster (keep the slices long enough so you do not lose them in the toaster), toast until they soften and start to turn brown at the edges and voila!  You could also roast them on a BBQ rack or matt.  I brush them with olive oil and crushed garlic before BBQing them. Of course, I omit this step if using a regular toaster to prevent a fire in my toaster!

I made a hamburger last weekend:

sweet potatoes

As the meat part of the hamburgers were cooking on the BBQ, I made my sweet potato “bun”   I cut the meat patty in half to accommodate the shape of the sweet potato slices. The results were delicious!

I also tried some toasted sweet potato slices topped with peanut butter and jam for breakfast recently.  I was so eager to eat my concoction, I forgot to take a picture!

I am addicted now and can’t wait to make:

  • toasted tomato sandwiches
  • pizzas
  • wraps and any other kind of sandwich
  • eggs benedict
  • egg mcmuffins

 

I would love to hear any other ideas; please share your suggestions!

 

Summer cold

 

bc

Colds are miserable to have any time, but a summer cold is the worst and a first for me.  I am just recovering from a doozy that lasted almost two weeks.  It started out with general fatigue, then a sore throat set in followed by laryngitis for three days.  A sinus headache, fever, dry cough and swollen glands were in there too, just for good measure.

Apparently, there is a nasty cold virus going around.  I am happy to report I am feeling much better, my talking voice is back and no longer scratchy.  Even my singing voice has returned!

 

 

 

In bloom this last week of July in zone 4 to 5

In bloom this last week of July here in my Ottawa (zones 4 to 5) gardens are more lilies, more roses, more of everything that was in bloom last week.

The lilies are absolutely spectacular, there must be close to thirty blossoms on the three plants at my front lamp post and more in my back garden…

 

My favourite rose this week is a pale, blush pink:

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As I was walking around my backyard, a pair of cardinals were flitting through my plum tree watching me. The red male really stood out against the green of the leaves, he came to within a few feet of me…

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