Garden Makeover in the Rain

Rainy days are good for a garden makeover, except for the mess that is inevitable. Today was such a day. Gardens4u got this project going early this morning before the rain started, but a drizzle started a few hours in, followed by a torrential downpour. Downpours to me mean lunch time, sitting in my van. Luckily, the rain subsided enough for me to continue until the job was complete. Well, except for the cleanup. Trying to sweep up my mess on the wet stone was not very effective. Nothing a hose down won’t fix though, a job I left for the homeowner when the rain stopped, long after I left.

These are the “before” pictures. The tree is a dead maple that was removed with the stump ground down before I started the makeover.

The burning bush (far right in third pic), lilac (center in center pic) and hydrangea (right corner in center pic) were salvaged, with the lilac getting a good pruning to whip it into shape. Everything else was removed. New shrubs and perennials were strategically planted and composted manure, my new favourite soil amendment, was added.

Here are the “after” pictures…

New plantings in this garden makeover include a pink magnolia (center of bed), a “Wine & Roses” weigela, several ornamental grasses, coneflowers, pink and purple sages and lavender, as well as several varieties of sedum and stonecrop to spill over the edges of this sunny garden. Once the new plants are established and well watered, I will add mulch to complete the job.

A second bed, between the sidewalk and the garage, is next up on my garden makeover list. Stay tuned for more before and after pictures.

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…

 

perfect rock

 

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.

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!

sunglasses

 

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!