Heat waves and air conditioning

The worst part about heat waves is the air conditioning you need to keep your home cool.  I hate air conditioning, at least my body does, because it does not like to be cold.  I hate feeling like its cold outside too, reminds me too much of the winter months where we can’t wait for the weather to warm up.

Every year at this time we (my family members and I) have the same argument on whether to open the windows to cool the house or turn on the air conditioner.  I favour open windows, they favour the air conditioning.  I usually win until the heat wave arrives.  If the temperature does not cool off at night, I cave in and the air conditioner has to come on to keep our upstairs bedrooms cool for sleeping.

Me, I sleep with lots of blankets regardless of the temperature.  When the air conditioner is on I really need the blankets, even to sit around watching TV.  Even though we keep the setting to 22 degrees, (a concession to me as they would prefer 18) I still get chilled.

We are expecting a heat wave here in Ottawa over the next week or so.  Brrrrrrr.

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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…

 

Drought conditions in Eastern Ontario

On a recent trip along the 401 between Ottawa and Kingston in Eastern Ontario, I could not help but notice the toll that the drought conditions have taken on the trees.  Usually beautiful, lush green against the magnificent limestone rock cuts, many of the deciduous trees are currently a toasted, brown color.  The rocks absorb the heat from the sun making the high temperatures that much more dangerous for the trees.  The rocky landscape is not able to retain the limited moisture we have had from rain…

 

 

Even though this was mid-August, it looked more like October when the leaves have changed color and are about to fall.  Although we have had more rain this past week, I don’t think these poor trees will recover.

Mulch full of weeds

This is another rant, based on a pet peeve of mine.  I advise gardening clients to use mulch to keep their gardens from drying out and to help reduce weeds.  The problem is, some products out there are full of weed seeds, so when I go back to check out gardens two weeks after planting them I see more weeds than were there before I planted!  A dead giveaway is that each use of mulch seems to have its own species of weed, today’s was horsetail weed mixed with a coarse grass:

 

This is not the first time this has happened with this particular brand of mulch.  I will be contacting the manufacturer of Scotts Nature Scapes to complain and will avoid this brand from now on.

Scotts-Nature-Scapes-Color-Enhanced-Mulch-FamilyShot-88402440-Lrg

Too bad, because I do like their choice of colours, and the colour does not fade in the sun like some other brands.  My favourite is the dark brown as it looks like wet earth so I think the most natural looking.  I also like the size of their bags, big enough but not too heavy for me to load, unload and carry from my van to my gardens.

If anyone can recommend an alternative (weed free) brand (available here in Ottawa) for me to use and recommend to my clients, please let me know!  I do use a lot of mulch in a season!

Texas gardens

I had the pleasure of planting a garden in TEXAS this past January, something totally different for my GARDENS4U business located here in Ottawa, Ontario.

Texas obviously has its own gardening issues, with extreme drought and heat at the top of the list.  I chose a variety of succulents and cacti for the focal points of this garden as well as the ground cover between the larger plants.  As the ground cover fills in, weeds are choked out and both the roots of the specimen plantings and the soil are protected from the extreme temperatures and drought conditions…

Ground covers also work well in containers for the same reasons.  Because soil in containers dries out faster than soil in a garden, the use of ground covers can reduce the amount of water your containers need to stay healthy looking.  Nutrients in the soil are depleted slower too when the soil is protected.  Planted just inside the rim of the container, the ground covers can “spill” over the edge and cascade down the side of the container, creating a beautiful focal point for your patio, deck or porch…

Gardens4u season opener

Today was a beautiful sunny day here in Ottawa Ontario, a perfect day to start my GARDENS4U season.  Although 6C (43F) is still a bit cool and the ground is still frozen in some spots, I was able to get some things done.  Here is a list of garden chores that can be done as soon as the snow is gone:

  • cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches from the ground
  • cut off any broken, misshapen or unwanted branches on trees and shrubs.  Before the leaves come out on the trees the shape or framework of the branches is easier to see.
  • cut back any overgrown shrubs that flower in summer.  Even if you do not want to reduce the size of the shrub, old wood that no longer flowers can be removed now
  • cut out old wood that no longer flowers on early spring blooming shrubs back to the ground.  You can tell the old wood from the new wood by its color.  The old wood is usually duller in color and thicker in diameter
  • trim, shape or prune evergreen shrubs
  • cut back group 3 (summer or fall blooming) clematis to 1 foot from ground
  • rake leaves out of garden
  • remove winter covers from shrubs and trees
  • treat lawns with a fertilizer and pre-emergent weed preventer combination
  • rake lawn hard, but be sure to wait until it is no longer spongy to walk on

 

Happy gardening!

 

 

 

 

Dorothy reminds Ottawa “There’s no place like home” in Wizard of Oz production

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz are visiting Ottawa this week to share the message that “there’s no place like home”…

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The National Art Center (NAC) in downtown Ottawa is hosting the performances, from Tuesday December 29th until Sunday, January 3rd.   Last night’s opening performance was supposed to be sold out, so I assume the empty seats visible were due to the heavy snowfall we received here in Ottawa yesterday.

The story of the Wizard of Oz is appropriate for children of all ages, from 3 to 93.   The messages “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, “be thankful for what you have”, “home is where the heart is” and of course, “there’s no place like home” are ones we can all learn from.

The original movie from 1939, an American comedy and drama starring Judy Garland, was memorable for the introduction  of technicolor part way through the movie.  Tonight’s theatrical production by Broadway Across Canada  included all the old songs and characters with a few modern twists and jokes.  I especially liked the “the lion sleeps tonight” line as the cowardly lion collapses, face first, when the Wicked Witch of the West sedates Dorothy and her friends with the scent of poppies.  The performance was amazing, and included a live “Toto”.  Both dogs that play Toto,  Nigel and his understudy Loki, were rescued from a humane society and a puppy mill respectively.  This heart warming fact that I read in the programme adds to the appeal of the production.

My favourite part, apart from all the memorable, toe-tapping songs, was the contagious giggles from the youngest children in the audience.

 

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

 

 

The lone apple

When I looked out my kitchen window this morning, I saw a lone apple hanging in the bare branches of the apple tree in my backyard.  Here in Ottawa this time of year the trees, as well as the rest of the landscape, look pretty dreary.

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Isn’t it simply amazing how Mother Nature can transform this same tree to a thing of beauty each spring?….

I don’t know about you, but now I can barely wait till spring!

In the meantime, please be sure to visit my slightly more humorous blog YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE 

It is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud (LOL)

‘Twas a foggy Ottawa morning

Ottawa was blanketed in fog this morning as I headed south to Kingston along hwy 416, the Veterans Memorial Highway…

then the sun chased away the fog…

Unfortunately as it gets dark so early these days, it was very dark as I drove back home to Ottawa…

An audi, a mercedes and a BMW

What happens when an Audi, a Mercedes and a BMW fly by me on the highway?  I add my Toyota van to the convoy and decrease my drive time.  As I drove to Kingston from Ottawa this morning on hwy 401, a trio of these luxury cars approached my vehicle from the east.  They appeared to be travelling together as they stayed in the fast lane, evenly spaced apart, purring along at 130 km per hour.  It seems that I am not the only one that does this, by the time I got to the Kingston area, there were 7 cars in the convoy, with my Toyota van in the middle of the pack!

Be sure to check out my other blog, YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE ,  guaranteed to make you (LOL) laugh out loud…