Extreme summer breaking records

No doubt we have had an extreme summer this year in Ontario.  Extremely high temperatures and accompanying drought conditions were followed by an extreme amount of rainfall over a very short time period, then topped off with an over abundance of annoying, hungry mosquitoes.

extreme summer

We should be moving up this list as our daytime temperatures are still soaring high.  The good news is our evening/night temperatures are currently cooler, much better for sleeping.  Most people will agree, moderate is much more tolerable than extreme.

Despite the extreme weather we have experienced, after last summer’s lack of sunshine and heat, no one can complain we did not get enough of either this summer.  I must admit thought, this extreme summer has limited my time in my gardens!

 

Advertisements

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…

 

rain

 

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.

Did we pay a tariff on this heat?

If you haven’t noticed, Ottawa is in the middle of a heat wave, as are many places throughout Canada.  I wonder if we payed a tariff on the heat coming from the US of A.  Perhaps Donald Trump hasn’t thought of that yet.  If he did, we would have to retaliate and charge Americans a tariff on the cold fronts we send you every winter (currently) for free.

Seriously, the heat and humidity are so high that it’s just too hot for me to spend more than a few minutes in anyone’s gardens this week.  So, what else can a gardener do in this heat?  Well, I met a friend for coffee this morning and power washed my front veranda this afternoon.  Even though there was cool water involved, the power washing was a hot and dangerous job. As I was reaching into the back of my van to remove my power washer, I heard a hissing noise just before the back trunk slammed down on my head.  Just what I needed, a concussion to go with the possible heat stroke.

I guess that gives me something to work on tomorrow…getting the struts (that’s what my mechanic told me they are called) on the trunk repaired.  Then I will spend some time with my baby granddaughter.  After that I can continue working on the quilt I am making for my almost five year old granddaughter.  Although quilting is usually a winter passion of mine, this heat wave will give me some time to work on the project that is (still) spread out on my dining room table.

That’s Canada for you.  Heat waves and cold snaps alike tend to make us retreat to the comfort of our air conditioned or heated homes.  Just forget I mentioned the word tariff, I wouldn’t want to put ideas in anyone’s head!

photo from Unsplash

 

 

Heat waves and air conditioning

The worst part about heat waves is the air conditioning you need to keep your home cool.  I hate air conditioning, at least my body does, because it does not like to be cold.  I hate feeling like its cold outside too, reminds me too much of the winter months where we can’t wait for the weather to warm up.

Every year at this time we (my family members and I) have the same argument on whether to open the windows to cool the house or turn on the air conditioner.  I favour open windows, they favour the air conditioning.  I usually win until the heat wave arrives.  If the temperature does not cool off at night, I cave in and the air conditioner has to come on to keep our upstairs bedrooms cool for sleeping.

Me, I sleep with lots of blankets regardless of the temperature.  When the air conditioner is on I really need the blankets, even to sit around watching TV.  Even though we keep the setting to 22 degrees, (a concession to me as they would prefer 18) I still get chilled.

We are expecting a heat wave here in Ottawa over the next week or so.  Brrrrrrr.

Cottage visitors

During the winter months we drive up to the cottage to check on it and the property at least once a month.  The deep snow allows us to keep track (pun intended) of all visitors.

We have the two legged variety (us)

 

and the four legged visitors…

 

I wonder if the four legged variety are longing for spring as much as we two legged creatures are.  Regardless, spring still looks like a long way off!

 

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u

Freeze/thaw cycles

Many people do not mind rain in winter, as they look forward to spring.  The problem is the freeze/thaw cycles that go with the rain can be very destructive to your plants and their containers.  I leave many container plants out on my back deck for a few reasons.

  • I love the look of plants blowing in the wind, especially the ornamental grasses.
  • Most of the containers are too large (heavy) to move inside
  • I have lots of them so would need a good chunk of time to move them.
  • For some reason time always gets away from me in the fall, so the snow arrives before I get around to moving the planters.

Whatever the reason you have left your planters outside for the winter, you can ensure they survive.  When it rains a lot (as it has been here for the past few days) or a thaw melts snow on top of the pots, be sure to dump out the excess water before it freezes again. If you cannot dump out the excess water, bail it out.   If you do not remove it, the excess water will freeze and your pots will crack.  I guarantee this will happen if the containers do not have drainage holes in the bottom.  If they do have drainage holes the pots may still crack when excessive rain turns to ice.  This happens often here in Ottawa.  One day it is raining and almost balmy, the next freezing cold.

 

Another trick to protect your plants over the winter is to ensure the plants stay snow covered.  Snow acts as an insulator, protecting plants from freeze/thaw cycles.  I always shovel snow onto my roses growing beside my garage at my front door.  This spot is sunny and warmer than the rest of my gardens because the brick wall retains the heat absorbed from the sun.  This extra heat means the snow melts faster there, so I have to keep shovelling more on.  If you do this, be sure to use snow that does not have salt (from your sidewalk or driveway) in it.

 

unnamed

 

Is it raining where you live?  If it is, make sure it does not collect on your planters if freezing temperatures are coming next.  Freeze/thaw cycles are brutal on your plants and their containers.

 27866996_299140940609625_741242083464953226_n

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

Ottawa is the coldest capital in the world

Brrrrrrrrr…today Ottawa is the coldest capital city in the world.  This picture is from CBC news who is reporting temperatures as low as -35 Celcius, which is -31 for you Fahrenheit people.  Not that it matters, when it gets this cold who cares weather (pun intended) you are talking Celsius or Fahrenheit.

coldest
Ottawa coldest capital city in the world today

Our government has issued a warning that it is not advisable for seniors or small children to be outside today. The cold weather makes it a good day for hibernating, and not just for seniors or children!

 

 

December 21st is our winter solstice

Today, December 21st, is our winter solstice here in Canada and the rest of the northern hemisphere.  That means it’s the shortest day of the year.  It also means the days will now start to get longer.  Yaaaaaay.  Technically, winter solstice,  also referred to as mid-winter, is an astronomical event that happens as the earth travels on its orbit around the sun.

winter solstice

 

This date reminds me of my father as he, like me, much preferred summer and spring.  He always commented on the winter solstice, getting great satisfaction in the fact that the long winter was getting shorter.  On the flip side, on June 21st, our summer solstice, he would grumble and complain that the days were getting shorter.

 

A dogsled, RCMP, snow and Shania Twain

Arriving on the snow-covered field on a dogsled, escorted by (RCMP) mounties, Shania Twain’s Grey Cup halftime show could not have been more Canadian.  The flying snow enhanced the performance, captured here by ESPN…

bvmztynth0lpbod0x7k8.gif

Dressed in sparkly pink and red winter wear, Canadian country singer Shania Twain wowed the crowd with her hit songs “That Don’t Impress me Much” and “Life’s About to Get Good”  before closing with “Man, I feel like a woman!”

 

Oh, and the football game was good too, a close nailbiter right to the end.  The underdog won again with the Toronto Argonauts defeating the Calgary Stampeders 27-24  in Grey Cup #105.

 

 

‘Tis the season for freelance writing

‘Tis the season, my freelance writing season, as Gardens4u is now officially closed for the winter…

 

Gardens4u is closed, freelance writing season is open

 

Although this past spring and summer were wet and cool, our summer was extended recently with the most marvelous fall weather.  Unfortunately, that has come to an end, and reality is settling in.

Now my other interests are able to take over, with a growing list (I am a list person for sure) of the things I hope to accomplish this winter…

  • reconnect with my freelance writing contacts.
  • finish the quilt I started for my grandson last winter.
  • start and finish a quilt for my granddaughter.
  • make nursery curtains for my new granddaughter due to arrive the end of February.
  • clean out the few remaining closets I did not get to the past few winters.
  • reorganize the walk-in closet in our master bedroom.
  • post more frequently on this and my other blogs:   WOW  and  LOL
  • spend more time with my grandson and granddaughter (and their parents).
  • visit with friends I never seem to find the time to visit during the gardening season.
  • read more books.  If anyone has suggestions for a good read, please let me know!
  • clean my house.  Although most people do their spring cleaning in the spring, I do mine in the winter (silly me) so when spring arrives I can get out and enjoy my favourite season.
  • update my business website, adding pictures from this past season.  Be sure to check them out and add your comments!
  • exercise.  Planks are my favourite exercise for maintaining muscle tone.  Without gardening to keep me in shape I have to work extra hard in the winter to keep pounds from creeping up on my bathroom scale.

 

Phew, with that list I should be busy until spring when I can start a new garden season!