Roses and storm clouds

I must have at least twenty rose plants in my gardens. I love perennial roses in the form of climbers, bushes, shrubs and miniatures in my gardens and in containers on my deck.  Most of them are in bloom right now.  Some continue to bloom all summer, while others are repeaters meaning they bloom for a bit now, drop their blossoms, and rebloom again later in the season.  My camera does not do justice to their colors that range from the palest of pink to hot pink to deep red, soft buttery yellow to dark lemon yellow,  pale mauve or lilac shades of purple to almost wine in color…

 

 

These storm clouds showed up suddenly today while I was out admiring, deadheading and photographing the roses…

 

I barely had time to get me and my camera in the house and close all the windows before the big black clouds burst and the rain came pouring down.  We did not get hail here, but friends just across town did.

 

Advertisements

Purple passion

I have a passion for purple, especially purple flowers.  When my daughter-in-law decided purple was the color she wanted in her bouquets and floral decorations, I was excited as I have lots of purple flowers in my gardens.  I even planted extra purple flowering perennials just in case I didn’t have enough…

 

Too bad many of them didn’t bloom in time for the wedding thanks to the wet and cool spring Mother Nature gifted us with this year.  To improvise,  I borrowed purple blossoms from my clients’ garden to supplement the ones I did have in bloom to make bouquets and flower arrangements.

For the past week (now almost two weeks after the wedding)  my passion for purple has been blooming in profusion in my gardens!

 

It’s official, I now have a daughter (in law)

My son’s wedding was this past weekend, so I have now inherited a daughter (in law).  As a mother of three sons, a daughter is very welcome in our household.

The wedding was a beautiful event that even Mother Nature saw fit to participate in. Everything, including the weather, was perfect.  Here are a few photos of my preparations for the rehearsal party BBQ and wedding pictures in our backyard…

 

 

 

I was in charge of the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and floral decorations at the venue…

 

 

A neighbour (thanks Libby!) dropped off a spectacular “bouquet” of purple rhododendron cupcakes. Eating them almost felt wrong, but the flower girl was willing to eat the first one, making it easier for the rest of us to dismantle the display…

3
bouquet of purple hydrangea cupcakes!

 

 

With all the cool, wet weather we have had up until this weekend, many of the “shades of purple” and white themed plants in my garden were not yet in bloom in time for the bouquets, but they are today…

 

 

The day before the wedding I cut as many purple and white flowers as I could find in my and a few of my clients’ gardens (with their permission) in preparation for making 5 bouquets, 5 boutonnieres, 3 corsages and 1 crown.  The floral decorations for the venue were planted a month ago, but the center plants (predominantly ornamental grasses) had not grown as much as I had hoped either.  Water tubes purchased from a local florist allowed me to improvise by adding fresh cut purple irises, lilacs and alliums for the desired height in the arrangements.

I was desperately seeking large purple blooms for the main flowers in the bride’s bouquet because my pale purple roses and deep purple clematis were not yet in bloom.  Although I was not working in clients’ gardens last week (too busy in my own!)  I stopped by one of them to check on it.  Lo and behold there was a beautiful deep purple rhododendron in glorious full bloom.  It felt like a sign from above since although last season this client promised me I could use some of these blooms in the bouquets, she has since passed away.   I know she was smiling down proudly as everyone admired her rhododendrons at the wedding.

This morning as I cleaned up the mess I made in my basement while making the floral arrangements, I put some tiny leftover blooms in a vase on my table.  A beautiful reminder of a beautiful weekend…

20170612_123557
leftovers

Dear John, I found your rock

Dear John,

As promised, I found you a rock for your garden, a pinkish colored rock with specks of black mica to sparkle in the sun…

 

John was a dear neighbor that passed away from cancer recently.  Last summer I helped he and his wife reconfigure and enlarge the garden in their front yard.  We left room for a large rock, but it could not be just any rock.  You see, John was a geologist and loved rocks.  He had a specific one in mind, and although we looked for one last fall, we could not find the perfect rock.   I have a (much smaller) rock in my front garden  (across the street from his) that he admired, so was on the lookout for something similar for their garden.

When John passed away I consulted with our neighbors to see if they liked the idea of purchasing a rock for John’s garden in lieu of flowers at the funeral service.  Knowing of John’s love for rocks and nature in general, everyone was on board and willing to help, so I continued my search for the perfect rock.

Recently I talked a client (thanks Michael Blackie of  NeXT restaurant) into removing this beautiful (just happened to be the pink and black version I was searching for) rock from a garden site he wants me to modify.  After hearing of my search for John’s rock, this client donated the rock (free) to the cause.

Another neighbor volunteered (thanks Sean Fagan of Shamrock Home Upgrades) to remove and deliver the rock to its new home as I did not have the equipment to do so.  The grandson of yet another neighbor received a bonus ride on the tractor…

 

20170519_094129

 

I am so grateful to live in this wonderful neighborhood that is full of kind, caring and compassionate people like John.  Every time I see his rock sparkle in the sun I will be reminded of his cheerful grin and sunny disposition.

Pressure washer hose attachment

Recently I purchased (online) an attachment for my hose that is advertised to be like a pressure washer…

 

 

At first try, I thought it was not much stronger than the regular nozzle on my hose, but when I played around with the bolt on the side of the stick, I got it to work better, but not quite as powerful as promised. It does reach high (for windows etc) and is more forceful than my regular hose nozzle.  Not quite as powerful as a pressure washer, but quite good for small jobs around the yard…

ORDER one for yourself and try it out!  Let me know what you think of it.

Garden centers are open!

Hurray, the gardens centers in Ottawa are open for business, a sure sign of spring!  These pictures were taken two weeks ago now when I spotted my first open garden center and could not resist stopping in…

 

Perennials can be planted any time now, as soon as the ground is thawed.  Annuals should wait until after the last frost date for your time zone.

Happy gardening!