Cottage wildflower garden

A large space on our cottage property currently acts as a buffer between the road and the cottage.  Since the road is a major highway in these parts, a buffer is necessary.  A wildflower garden for a buffer is in the making.

A 2-foot strip of vegetation along the road is cut by the township each year.   Adjacent to that there is a flat strip, then the land begins to slope downward before it levels off.   The slope is approximately 10 feet wide.  A row of cedar hedges was planted approximately 40 feet from the road many years ago, but the area between the bottom of the slope and the cedars is left to grow wild.

Last season we planted several evergreen trees (pine and spruce) at the bottom of the slope.  This season we planted more, spaced throughout the flat area to create (eventually) a forest of evergreen trees as a visual and noise barrier between the road and the cottage.

I have always felt this whole area was wasted space,  What does a gardener do with wasted space? She turns it into a garden of course, in this case, a wildflower garden.  This season I whipper snipped the flat area around the evergreens.  I had to be careful to avoid all of the frogs as there were lots. I then sprinkled the seeds randomly along the slope and flat strip close to the road. Pink and white coneflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, black-eyed Susans, pink and red beebalm to name a few. These plants are not exactly wildflowers but hardy and tall perennials instead.  I mixed all the seeds in one large bag as I was collecting them to achieve the random look of a wildflower garden.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like next season!

 

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Privacy screen extraordinaire

While shopping for another part of our new deck at the cottage, I saw a black metal panel that I thought would make a beautiful privacy screen.  We need something at the side of the deck between our cottage and the one next door.  The panel I saw was not large enough, so I started looking around at various stores to see if I could find something more suitable.

I have been very busy with my gardening business, so my husband has been going up to the cottage a few days during the week to work on the deck.  Last weekend when I went up, the privacy screen was in place…

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He framed it and set it into a wall of boards like the decking so it looks like a framed piece of art!  Can you see the hummingbird within the design?  I love it!

 

Dragonflies, nature’s bug exterminator

I heard that dragonflies are released each spring on Palmerston Lake where our cottage is located.  This practice is to reduce the number of annoying mosquitoes, horse flies, deer flies, black flies and such, naturally…

 

While I have seen numerous dragonflies circling around, I had never seen one catch or eat any of the thousands of mosquitoes or black, deer and horse flys prevalent this time of year at the lake.   Until this past weekend…

As we worked on the final stages of our new deck project, a large blue dragonfly landed right beside us on a board, with a horsefly in its grasp.  For the next 30 minutes, the dragonfly chomped away on the horsefly, paying no attention to us.  It was so intent on devouring its prize, that it did not budge as I snapped pictures and a video of the action from inches away…

 

Watch the jaws at work:

Trying to stuff the whole horse fly into its mouth…

 

and then finishing it off:

 

Shortly after it had devoured the fly, the dragonfly took off and I got back to work.   I bet the dragonfly flew off to have a nap somewhere; that was a workout!  The bugs seem to be worse than ever this spring, but I have proof there is now one less horse fly around to bite me!

The cottage project that grew and grew…

When we discovered that our water pipe running from the cottage to the lake had frozen this past winter, we decided to dig it up, replace portions and reroute the rest so that it would be buried deeper and under snow cover for future winters.  This project turned out to be an ongoing adventure, snowballing into rebuilding the patio and deck, which then lead to considering replacing doors and windows, which will have to wait.

This first picture shows the soil that was displaced attempting to move the water pipe…

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digging up the old pipe

 

Next up was digging up the existing patio and expanding the width. length and depth so it is more comfortable…

 

Then came removing the old deck…

and discovering the damage caused by carpenter ants…

 

then replacing the old, chewed boards, footings, and joists with new ones…

adding a waterproofing system to keep the patio dry…

adding the floorboards…

then the posts and railings…

 

All under the watchful eye of several supervisors…

 

final results: an upper deck for viewing and sunbathing…

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….and a lower, covered patio, perfect for storm watching, reading or working in the shade…

 

Unfortunately, our cottage project has been put on the back burner because of a family issue.  My father-in-law fell and broke his hip in June this past summer and the ensuing drama has had us very busy.  The side railings of the deck still have to be installed, including the following hummingbird fence insert for a privacy screen:446889_400x0

Stay tuned for a spring update on our cottage project…

Another cottage project for Father’s Day

Last year on Father’s Day our sons brought a truck load of cedars up to the cottage for us to plant along the edges of our property for a privacy screen.  The project was a great success, a wonderful way to spend Father’s Day.

Everyone who owns a cottage knows there is always something to be done there.  We are currently in the middle of renovating a patio and deck, a job we decided to prioritize when our pipes froze and required digging up.   This year for Father’s Day our sons spent the day helping their dad work on this project…

Their hard work was topped off with a jump in the lake to cool and clean off, then a BBQ dinner, before they headed back to the city for a soccer game…

Even the weather co-operated; the forecasted rain and thunderstorms held off until our ride home later that evening.  The flowers have nothing to do with the project, just thought I would add them in as they were blooming beautifully this past weekend.

Hopefully this gift of time for Father’s Day becomes a tradition; I know it is much appreciated!

Palmerston Lake

 

We won’t be swimming anytime soon in Palmerston Lake.  This past Sunday we drove up to our family cottage on Palmerston Lake at Ompah, Ontario to check on the cottage and to see how much snow is left up there…

The lake is still ice and snow-covered; not very inviting.  The top of a birch tree on our property had snapped and fallen onto our wood shed; fortunately its fall was broken by two small deciduous trees, so there was no damage to the roof of the shed.

Like my gardening season,  cottage season (at least the swimming part of it) may be delayed a bit this year thanks to the long, cold winter we have endured here in eastern Ontario…