Paint Night for TIPES

Recently I attended a fundraiser for TIPES (Teaching in Pictures Education Services) in the form of a paint night. I am no artist, but it was a fun evening, supporting a wonderful cause.

I have told you about about TIPES in a previous post, admiring the services that the dynamic duo of Jennifer and Deborah Wyatt and their staff provide for autistic children and their families. Since the new year I have been working at updating and editing their policy and procedure manuals, increasingly aware of just how incredible and extensive these service are. TIPES is a non-profit business, so their financial stability relies heavily on fundraising events. This paint night was just one of many such events scheduled throughout the year.

If you have read any of my posts, you will know how much I love our cottage life. The picture we were instructed to paint was a scene that could easily have been taken on Palmerston Lake where our cottage is located. Of course it wasn’t, but the scene was very appealing to me as I love the outline of the lush, majestic, verdant evergreen trees against the various shades of blue within the water and sky. This is my creation…

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Limbing Up, aka removing lower branches

Recently I took on the project of limbing up several evergreen trees on a client’s front lawn. One of my favourite gardens is part of this gorgeous property. Although I cannot take credit for designing or planting the gardens, I have had the honour of maintaining them for the past several years. The gardens are surrounded by a stone retaining wall with a verdant backdrop of mature evergreens, oak and maple trees.

The evergreens featured as the backdrop for these gardens are massive (the reach of their branches are at least 30 feet each) with their lower branches sweeping the ground, crowding each other and choking out everything, including the lawn. Many branches of these trees were dead or dying . Cutting the grass and raking leaves was awkward and frustrating. Annoying and increasingly dangerous mosquitos and ticks are abundant in these conditions.

I had suggested this limbing up process a while ago, but the homeowners were hesitant as they like the privacy of their lot. That is until they were the victims of a break in recently. Burglars drove into their driveway, broke down a door, gaining access to their home in broad daylight. Fortunately, their security system alerted the police so not much was stolen.

That home invasion was enough to motivate these homeowners into letting me start the limbing up process. I removed the branches from the first tree, then checked with them to make sure they wanted me to continue. With the go ahead, I continued with twelve more trees. Removed branches were cut into four foot lengths and left at the curb for pickup by the local garbage crew.

When limbing up, be sure to cut off the branches as close to the main trunk as possible, without leaving an unsightly and unhealthy stub…

As I was working, a few neighbours stopped by to say how wonderful the yard looked with these branches removed. I agree; the trees look much healthier and the yard still has that woodland setting I would never want to alter. When the lawn recovers, the property will be even more spectacular!

Evergreen winterkill

Due to the extremely hard winter we experienced this year, many of the evergreens in the gardens I tend to are suffering from winterkill.  This is evident by rust brown tips and occasionally whole branches.  To remove this winterkill, run your gloved hand over the affected branches so the dead needles fall off.  If a bare tip is exposed, snip it off.  If a whole branch is dead, remove it to the base of the plant or at least back to where it is still green.

Evergreen shrubs can be pruned or shaped this way as well, by removing whole branches back to their base.  If you cut only part of the branch off you will be leaving an exposed stem which is unsightly.