“Let it snow” belongs in December, not March!

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Snow can be pretty and welcome in December, but in March it is a bit overdone!  It is snowing here in Ottawa, again!

I am so ready for spring, cannot wait to get out to my own gardens and the ones I look after.  Check out my website GARDENS4U  to read about my gardening business.  I just finished updating it with new pictures and information.

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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…

 

Snow day for Gardens4u

Today is a snow day for Gardens4u.  I tried hard to get all of my clients’ gardens ready for winter and bulbs planted this week before the snow hit, but will have to wait for better weather before I get them all done.  Fortunately, the weather forecast for the next two weeks is promising to be warmer and greener:

I have been hesitant to cut back most plants in their gardens (and mine too) because everything has looked so nice up until yesterday.  We have had a beautiful fall season with extended bloom on most perennials and annuals.  This snow will take its toll on these perennials and annuals, so they will be ready to be cut back when I get to them next week.

For those of you wondering if it is too late to plant bulbs, you can plant them until the ground freezes.  Plant them pointy side up, or if you are not sure which side is up, on their sides.  I sprinkle cayenne pepper in the holes with the bulbs and over the soil on top of the holes to deter the squirrels from digging up the bulbs.  Another trick is to plant daffodils in the same hole as the tulips.  Squirrels hate daffodils.  Someone told me to try putting banana peels in the hole with my tulip bulbs to deter squirrels.  I haven’t tried that trick yet, but it may be worth a try.  Don’t forget to water your newly planted bulbs.  If your hose has been disconnected and outside water turned off for the season, get some water from your kitchen sink to sprinkle over the planted bulbs.

The snow is pretty today, but I am glad it is not here to stay.  Yet…

 

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!

 

Gardens4u in Texas

In Corpus Christi, Texas this week for my sister’s birthday, I just couldn’t stay out of the dirt.  For her birthday gift, I promised her a new garden in her front yard, one that she could not kill.  Seems like she did not inherit the same green thumb I did.

First, for inspiration, we went to the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens to see what will survive in this hot environment.  Instead of cold hardy as I am used to in the Ottawa, Ontario area of Canada, I had to think heat and drought tolerant…

 

 

We chose succulents, agave, cactus, sedum, aloe and various stonecrops for ground cover and trailers.  All are drought tolerant once established and can handle the extreme heat here in Texas…

 

 

Below are the before, during and after pictures….

 

Hopefully this new garden renovation survives the heat and drought conditions in my sister’s Texas yard.

Give the gift of time this Christmas with GARDENS4U gift certificates

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GARDENS4U is offering gift certificates again this Christmas season.  Perfect for garden lovers with limited time or physical strength, these certificates can be custom made to suit your needs and budget.

Of course, I only work in the west end of Ottawa.  If you, or someone you know, can benefit from my services, please contact me to create a gift certificate for you.

The best things about my Gardens4u offseason

Believe it or not there are good things about the offseason in a gardening business.  Gardens4u is no exception.  All season, when I am incredibly busy, I make lists of the things I will get done in the offseason.  Here are a few of the best things…

  • I don’t set the alarm clock.  When my husband rolls out of bed at 545am, he no longer asks me what time I want to get up so he can reset the clock for me.  I get up when I wake up; pure luxury!
  • my house gets a great cleaning.  Last winter I went through each and every closet in the house, decluttering and purging,a chore that was long overdue.  The kitchen and bathrooms cupboards, garage, laundry room and file cabinet are on the hit list this year.  The organizations that pick up used clothing and household items love me this time of year. I may even get adventurous and open a Kijijii (Canadian version of Ebay) account to sell some of the big things.  That is if I can convince my husband to part with them.
  • I spend more time reading books.  There are lots of interesting choices on my to read list this year, but I would love to hear your suggestions!
  • I spend lots of time updating my website.  Now, I know that doesn’t sound too exciting, but I love looking at the pictures I took this past season, especially the ones of gardens I planted in earlier seasons.  It’s almost like watching the gardens grow!  Be sure to check out the changes at GARDENS4U and send me your comments and suggestions.
  • I go out to lunch or coffee with friends that I have not seen much of through the gardening season.  Give me a shout if you are in the neighbourhood!  I plan to get back to my hometown sometime soon too to reconnect with some childhood friends.
  • I may even get to the scrapbooks I have been meaning to assemble.  Years ago I sorted “stuff” from my three sons’ childhoods into separate bins.  You know, stuff that mothers keep, like school and sports achievements, mementos, pictures etc.  It was a start, but the bins are still full and the scrapbooks empty.  The plan was to give the boys each a scrapbook on their 18th birthday.  Well, my eldest son is about to turn 26.  Time does fly doesn’t it?
  • I dream about spring while looking through my numerous garden books and magazines.
  • I hope to transfer all my old homemade VHS movies onto CDs.  I bought a device to do so, just have to figure out how it works.
  • I can write more often.  My best blog posts have been written in the winter months and I even published a book two winters ago.  I have an idea for a new book, but that project needs a lot of work, that may take a few offseasons.

Well, if I am going to get through this list, I had better get off the computer and get started!  Don’t worry Gardens4u fans, you can take the girl out of the garden, but you can’t take the garden out of the girl.  This list is only to keep me from losing my mind while my gardens are covered in snow.

please be sure to visit my slightly more humorous blog YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE  It is guaranteed to make you LOL.

My favourite lunch on the run spot is Glen’s french fry truck at the Canadian Tire store in Kanata

My favourite “lunch on the run” spot is Glen’s french fry truck at the Canadian Tire store in Kanata.  When I am driving between my clients’ gardens, I have stopped at this spot for french fries a few times…

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It is especially nice when the weather is as beautiful as it was yesterday.   No, I did not drive while eating.  All of the picnic tables were full with others enjoying the uncommon November warmth and sunshine at this popular lunch spot, so I sat in my car to eat my lunch, with the windows down and the radio turned up loud!

My new garden toy is a Toro Ultra Plus

I love my new garden toy.  It’s a Toro Ultra Plus leaf blower, vacuum and mulcher all in one.  I spent a few hours in a client’s garden today sucking up leaves with the vacuum attachment, then dumping the leaf bag full of finely mulched leaves onto her gardens.  I then covered the mulched leaves with a commercially prepared triple mix of soil, peat moss and compost.  This procedure is a great method for improving the quality of the soil in your gardens, especially if your soil is full of clay like most soil here in the Kanata suburb of Ottawa…

I also discovered, inadvertently,  if you forget to zip up the leaf bag after emptying it, the leaves you suck up off the lawn will get mulched as they enter the bag, then go right through the bag back onto the lawn.  I might try this on my own lawn, as mulched leaves are great for lawns too!

I researched this type of garden tool before purchasing the Toro Ultra Plus.  I chose an electric one as I did not want to be hauling oil or gasoline around in my van.  The battery operated ones were an option, but we have several battery operated tools at the cottage and the batteries always seem to need recharging, not to mention the batteries are expensive. The electric Toro Ultra Plus that I decided on was awesome to use; not too heavy (about 10 pounds), easy to assemble, and not too loud. The mulch came out incredibly fine; I estimate one bag of mulched leaves is the equivalent of at least 4 regular lawn bags.

With the beautiful weather we are experiencing this week, I hope to get a few gardens prepared for spring using this method, including my own. Perhaps I will do the lawn too…

November weather is not usually ideal for gardening in Ottawa

November usually brings cold, damp weather to our Ottawa area with my gardening business put to bed for the winter.  This week however, the weather forecast is awesome…

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I will have to find something to do outdoors as the temperature is forecasted to reach a balmy 17 degrees Celsius (63 for you Fahrenheit fans)  This is a perfect temperature for puttering around in the garden, with no bugs to annoy me. Raking, mulching, bulb (more, because you can never have too many) planting…hmmm, where do I start?  The more I get done this week while the weather is nice, the less there will be to do in the spring.