Dear John, I found your perfect rock

Dear John, as promised I found the perfect rock for your garden.  It’s 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.  I 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. With their blessing, I continued my search for the perfect rock.

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

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

 

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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.

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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.

Daughter from another mother

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I am devastated this week after hearing of the sudden and unexpected death of a dear friend.  The initial shock is fading, but I am still having difficulty believing that she is gone from my life.

Although she started out as a client in my gardening business, ….. Continue reading

November roses

Most of the roses in my gardens and my clients’ gardens are still looking lovely, thanks to the beautiful autumn weather we have had:

 

These gorgeous blooms are like a farewell to the gardening season as Gardens4u winds down for 2016 here in Ottawa…

 

Leaves make great garden mulch

When all the pretty leaves fall from the trees this fall, instead of bagging them to put out on garbage day, use them in your garden as free mulch.  Most leaves, with the exception of oak leaves, break down easily over the winter.  They add nutrients and humus to the soil in your gardens.

If you do not have a leaf mulcher   like I do, you can break (mulch) the leaves up by running them over with your lawn mower while they are still on your lawn.  Then rake the debris onto your garden between the plants.  Your soil and plants will love it.

I found my sunglasses!

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A few weeks ago I misplaced the sunglasses that I wear to work in gardens.  They are safety glasses that wrap around the sides of my eyes to protect me from branches, debris, splashing etc.   You know, the ones I tried to smash a few months ago LOL.  Although I was pretty sure they were at a specific client’s home, I could not locate them when I searched for them there recently.

I was back at this garden weeding today and found them in the garden, a little dirty, but still intact.

Happy birthday from above

I read somewhere that when a cardinal (the red bird type) makes an appearance in your yard, they have come to tell you that a departed loved one is thinking of you.  As I was pouring a cup of coffee first thing this morning, I noticed this bright red cardinal in my garden…

As he hopped through my (still snow covered) garden, he stopped to pose a few times and sing a few notes before a female cardinal joined him.  As she is less brilliant in color, a brownish red instead of the bright red, she was harder to photograph.

I think the cardinals were a Happy Birthday message from my dearly departed parents.  My dad was an avid bird lover, and my mother was never far from his side…

Gardens4u now offers virtual garden designs

GARDENS4U is my business here in the west end of Ottawa, Ontario.  Until recently I have been limited to offering my garden designs to clients in this area.  I now have a computer program that can design a garden for you from anywhere!

Here are examples of before and after pictures:

 

 

All I need from you is a picture (JPEG) to download to my computer program.  I can then (virtually)add gardens to your landscape, complete with plant selections suitable for your region.  The database on my computer program has thousands of plants to choose from. All you have to do is prepare your new garden beds, then purchase and plant the chosen plants.  You can do so at your own pace as your time and budget permits.

If you live in the west end of Ottawa, I can take the pictures and even dig and plant your gardens if you need me to do so.  If you do not live here, send me a picture of the area of your yard you would like to change.   I have time to design a few virtual gardens before my season starts here.  Next winter I hope to design lots.

Email me your picture today to gardens4u@mail.com.  Take the picture straight on (not from an angle) and up close. Take several pictures if the area is large or you have more than one garden bed you would like designed.  I charge twenty dollars per hour, so your cost will depend on how large and complicated your project is. So far my average design time is one hour.  Payment can be made through PayPal or electronic transfer.

My Gardens4u business website has been updated

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If you haven’t checked out my business website GARDENS4U  recently or at all yet, please do so and let me know what you think.  It has just been updated with the pictures I took last season and I would love your opinion, comments and suggestions.  I know many of you are website and photographic geniuses; I am neither of those but am always looking to improve!

 

A busy birthday week in Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas is a beautiful city to visit, especially when the weather is cold in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Last week I surprised my sister for her birthday, spending a whole week with her visiting all of the popular tourist spots and catching up on sister stuff. The surprise party was held at Talon’s Sports Bar, owned and operated by friends of my niece, and a great location for the party to kick off the birthday week…

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As mentioned in my previous post, I did manage to get some gardening in by planting a garden in my sister’s front yard.  I do love seeing the different varieties of plants that grow in the places I travel to.  I knew that succulents and cactus are prevalent in Texas, I just never knew there were so many varieties of each…

 

Another great thing about vacations is that I don’t have to cook.  This past week I experienced most of the culinary delights Texas has to offer.   At restaurants, a few of which are located right on the water, I feasted on seafood, including delicious crab cakes and gumbo, Mexican, Italian and Thai food,  and of course steak, a Texan favourite.  Home-made, deliciously spicy, chicken tortilla soup, pico de gallo and guacamole prepared by my niece, as well as jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon, grilled to perfection and served with sausage wraps on the beach by her husband.  I think I will stay away from the scales for a few days…

 

To wear off some of the calories, I was coerced into dancing, Texan style, at my sister’s favourite nightclubs Whiskey River and  Ropers . Thanks to her very patient and kind dancing friends Sinoel, Martin, Benny, Ray and others, I had lots of fun and many laughs trying to master the art.  One-two-three and quick-quick-slow are still echoing in my head…

 

Of course, when heading south to escape a Canadian winter, you have to go to the beach. The beaches in the Corpus Christi area of Texas are spectacular and plentiful.  Padre Island National Seashore, McGee Beach, North Beach, Packery Channel and Mustang Island are just a few popular spots.  Even though this was my fifth visit, I still find the waterfronts confusing.  Bay, gulf, channel, port…

 

My last day in Texas was the only one warm enough (78F or 26C) to hit the beach.  Although I found the water was too cold for anything more than dipping my toes, there were a few brave people playing in the waves.  It is winter in Texas too, although winter temperatures there are much more enjoyable than those here.  We walked the beach during the day and then enjoyed a bonfire on the beach using dried out Christmas trees collected from curbs in my sister’s neighbourhood…

 

We spent a few hours shopping for bargains too, and even though the Canadian dollar is currently so low in value, I was still able to get a few good deals on clothing.  Although we did not venture across the border into Mexico, I picked up a few Mexican inspired souvenirs in Texas, including an adorable ceramic gecko for my garden and some tequila…

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The best part of this trip to Texas was the opportunity to spend quality time with my sister, her children and grandchildren.  I kind of put her on the spot by showing up, not just for her surprise party, but also announcing that I was staying at her place for a week.  I had already made arrangements with her son to use his bedroom in her home for the week.  Thanks to Facebook messaging, I was able to make plans with my niece and nephews before my visit without my sister suspecting a thing.  The only time she was suspicious that something was going on was when her son got up early the morning of my arrival to clean up his room.  Also fortunate, and much appreciated, was the fact that she was able to play hooky from work all week to spend time with me, thanks to her staff Cristi, Chrisy and others.

The birthday week in Texas was a huge success and tons of fun, but over much too fast.  Reality has called me back home to Canada and my sister back to work.  Arriving back in Ottawa via Houston and Toronto, I was greeted by snow and missing luggage, both indicators that all good things must come to an end…

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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