Recent lung study no surprise to me

A recent lung study on the dangers of cleaning supplies came as no surprise to me.  You can read it here.  Years ago I realized that many common household cleaners bothered my lungs so I quit using them and switched to Melaleuca products.

Melaleuca products are created with plant based (natural) ingredients including tea tree oil (melaleuca)  Hence, the name of the product line.  Contact me if you want to know more about this wonderful group of products that includes a beauty line, essential oils, bath and body care, nutrition and weight loss.  Oh, and cleaning products.

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Melaleuca plant


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Boomerang Lilac adds bonus blooms in mid to late summer

Everyone loves lilacs and their beautiful, unique spring blooms.  Unless you are allergic to their powerful fragrance.  Did you know there is a variety that reblooms?  It is appropriately called the Boomerang Lilac.  You can order one here or check out your local nursery.

Like their name implies, the new blooms arrive on new growth that occurs after the first bloom is over. This is my boomerang lilac.  There are a few new blooms that have arrived with our recent rainy spell.

You can barely see the promise of new blooms today, but by next week the tree should be full of their stunning color and fragrance, creating a late summer focal point in my garden.

 

Encourage kids to discover their green thumbs by planting seeds

Encouraging kids to develop green thumbs is a great outdoor activity, especially for this gardening loving Grandma.  Recently I taught my two oldest grandchildren (1.5 and 4.8 yrs old) the fine (very simple) art of planting seeds.  I filled some large pots with soil and added bamboo trellises shaped like teepees for the plantings to climb on.   I chose pole beans and morning glories to plant as they are both fast growing seeds, perfect for impatient children.  In fact, our seeds sprouted within a few days and in less than three weeks their tendrils had started to climb the teepees…

 

 

A few weeks after that and the beans have climbed up, around and through the teepee shaped trellis, producing purple pole beans.  No sign of the morning glories yet…

 

 

Now, if I could only get the kids to eat the pole beans.  Grandma certainly will…

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I must admit that I have never planted purple pole beans before and did not realize they turn green when they are cooked….

You can entice children to enjoy gardening by getting them their own gloves, tools and watering can. My grandson loves the little “critters” I have on my back deck too…

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Lanark Ontario, home of glorious hanging baskets

On the way to our cottage we pass through the village of Lanark in Eastern Ontario.  With a population of merely 800 people, Lanark is a quaint little town, known for its lilacs, maple syrup, Fitz’s Take Out and glorious hanging baskets.

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As a gardener, I cannot help but notice and appreciate that someone takes the time each summer to plant, hang and water numerous hanging baskets, overflowing with colorful flowers…

 

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This is no easy feat this summer as we have had a record amount of hot dry days that have left many a hanging basket wilted and sad looking.  Not so these baskets, they have been gloriously beautiful all summer!

 

Rain drops keep falling on my head

Gardening in the rain is usually not a problem for me, in fact I prefer a light drizzle to the intense heat we have been experiencing lately.  A light rain keeps me cool and keeps the bugs away. It also cuts down on the amount of sunscreen I use.  I do draw the line however at thunderstorms or torrential downpours.

Today started off great.  A light rain was falling so I headed to one of my favourite gardens, located in the exclusive and very private setting of the Kanata Rockeries which were designed by one of the founding fathers of Kanata Bill Teron.

 

 

Then the dark(er) clouds rolled in bringing heavier rainfall and distant thunder…

 

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That was my cue to head (run) to my van.  When the downpour did not let up after five minutes and the thunder got closer, I headed home.

A moose on the loose

There is a moose on the loose on the eastbound 417 in Ottawa this morning.  Well, no longer on the loose, he is hemmed in by police cruisers (as if that would detain him if he really wanted to leave) until wildlife authorities can get there to tranquilize and remove him.  He was first spotted running on the 417 around 630 this morning.  From the pictures I have seen, the moose appears to be a young male.  Reports say he is slightly injured and will be taken somewhere to recuperate by the ministry of natural resources.  Poor little (not really) guy, he must be terrified!

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photo courtesy of CBC news

 

Only in Canada eh?  Stay at home a little longer this morning if you are headed east, you won’t be getting anywhere fast!  I was headed that way to a garden, but will switch things up and head west instead.

Drought tolerant perennials

Drought tolerant perennials are popular these days, especially with those of you in the midst of a heat wave as we are here in Ontario.  Even if you have an irrigation system, these hardy perennials should be a staple in your garden to avoid wasting your money on plants and water.  Just be sure to place the hoses or plants (whichever you install last) strategically.  For example, ornamental grasses (and most other drought tolerant plants) do not appreciate wet feet.  In fact, the quickest way to kill them off is to overwater them.

Here are a few drought tolerant perennials that I rely on for hot summer color:

  • lavender
  • Russian sage
  • ornamental grasses
  • tickseed
  • stonecrop and sedum, available in multiple colors, great for hot borders
  • daisies

 

If you haven’t already, consider adding some to your gardens, just be sure to wait until the heat wave is over to do so!

 

Is an irrigation system right for your yard?

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to installing an irrigation system in your yard.  The biggest advantage is quite obvious.  Your garden and/or lawns are automatically watered on a regular schedule that you select.   The largest disadvantage is the cost involved to install such a system.  This summer the pros appear to outweigh the cons.  If your lawn is as burnt as mine is you will know just what I mean.

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I have a soaker system in my back gardens to keep them looking good, but my front lawn has to rely on rainfall which we have none of for weeks.

I have come across many irrigation systems in the gardens (and yards) I look after.  Some have sprinkler heads, others have a copper piping drip system, others have a combination of both.  Which is better?  That depends on what you want to keep hydrated and how much you want to spend.  The experts you contact to install the system will advise you better than I can.

All I can say is that I can certainly tell the lawns and gardens that do have the luxury of an irrigation systems of some sort.

Remove toxins from your body with a simple foot bath

While I was bored this week because it was too hot to garden, I tried a method I found online to remove toxins from my body with a foot bath.  Years ago I remember a friend asking me to go with her to some clinic somewhere locally that offered this type of detox.  We never did get there, partly because I was skeptical especially because of the price involved. When I saw a home remedy online recently, I thought I would give it a try at home.

The main ingredients (in this version of detox) are salt.  Equal parts sea salt and Epsom salts with more baking soda. The “recipe” called for two cups of baking soda, but I did not have that much on hand, so probably used just 1/4 cup.  I added a few drops of citrus (you could use any scent you want) essential oil for a nice smell.  You add these ingredients to a container large enough to soak your feet in, then add hot water to dissolve the salts.  Soak your feet for at least 30 minutes.

That was the difficult part for me, to stay sitting in one spot for that long, especially as the water started to cool off.  Always a multitasker, I wrote this post as I was detoxing.  The water is supposed to turn dark in color as the toxins are removed from your body through the bottoms of your feet.  Here are my before and after pictures…

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Although I’m not sure how many toxins this foot bath removed from my body, (the water turned a bit murky but not dark) my feet do feel nice and smooth!