Floppy hydrangeas make great impromptu gifts

All of the many varieties of hydrangeas sport beautiful flowers. The worst feature of the white “snowball” type however, is that they are easily damaged in a heavy rainfall, creating a mess of floppy hydrangeas.

The large balls of flowers soak up the rain water causing the stems to bend and eventually snap from the excess weight. This happens more often if the shrub is cut back each spring as the stems never get a chance to get thicker and stronger.

However, when your hydrangeas flop in the rain, cut the stems near the spot they bent/snapped, turning the floppy mess into a beautiful bouquet. Do this as soon as possible after the offending downpour, remove all but the top set of leaves and immerse the cuttings into water immediately.

I encountered such a display of floppy hydrangeas recently in a client’s garden and rescued them to do just that. I used my smoothie cup for a makeshift vase, and voila, a gorgeous and fresh bouquet, ready for gifting…

I have done this before, with peonies too as they suffer the same fate during a heavy rain. If the client whose garden I am tending is home, I give the cuttings to them to beautify their own home. This client happened to be away enjoying the summer weather at her cottage though, so these floppy hydrangeas were destined to go elsewhere.

On the way home I dropped the bouquet off at a local nursing home. As it turned out, my timing was perfect. As I walked in with them, staff was organizing a get together for the residents. My offering was gladly accepted and my gift turned into a beautiful centerpiece for the occasion! In a new vase of course.

floppy hydrangeas
Garden Terrace, Kanata

Home renovations

Now I know what people mean when they say home renovations always snowball.  You start off planning to renovate one area, but the plan quickly “snowballs” (gains momentum) to include other areas until you are overwhelmed (and broke). If this post sounds familiar it is because a previous post complained about RENOVATIONS at our cottage that had the same snowball effect.

On the home front, we started off by deciding to renovate our main floor powder room. Our eldest son is getting married this summer, so that was our (my) incentive.  By renovating, I mean totally gutting it, removing everything, then painting, then flooring then installing a new vanity, toilet, mirror, lighting etc etc.   That was the plan, but…

When ordering flooring for this powder room we decided to add to the order so we would be able to use the same flooring in our front hallway.  This hallway, between our front, side and garage doors is a high traffic area, so we wanted something very resilient, but nice looking.  We chose a glueless “Luxury Vinyl Tile” (LVT) called Allure Ultra Locking Tile that supposedly “clicked together very easily”….

home renovations

The flooring arrived before the vanity, granite countertop and toilet for the bathroom, so we decided to start with the hallway before we tackled the bathroom.  The first thing we did in the hallway was remove everything from the hall closet including the shelving there.  The piles of coats, jackets, shoes and boots are now (still) in my living room and dining room….

Then came the fun job of replacing the shelving and repairing the scuffed up paint in the closet area. Repainting the whole house will come later, to match the color I chose for the bathroom walls…

home renovations

We used a rollout underlay on top of the subfloor to cushion the tile and prevent any imperfections in the subfloor from showing through.  (mottled gray color in first picture) Sections of this were taped together to ensure they would not shift when installing the tile.  Next, we figured out the pattern we wanted the tile to be in. (you do not want your lines to line up)  For obvious reasons, it is best to do this before you start laying the tile

I love the color, (a taupe and gray pattern) the durability and the comfort of the flooring product we chose, but it sure was a lot harder to install than we were led to believe.  Of course, our hallway is not a perfect square or rectangle (lots of indentations/obstacles) and the walls not perfectly square/straight, which meant we had to measure and cut lots of pieces to fit.  This is where the slogan “measure twice, cut once” comes in.  Fortunately, I am married to a very precise, handy-man…

 

The hallway flooring is installed and the new closet doors have arrived. (leaning against the wall in picture below)   The next step in the hallway project is to install rods and shelving, put the clothes back in and the doors on.  New baseboards, door stops, and ceiling lights will be the finishing touches…

 

On to the bathroom.  The new vanity, granite countertop, back and side splashes, as well as the sink, toilet, mirror and lights are all here, somewhere…

Stay tuned for the progress of their installation.  After that, I hope we can convince ourselves to replace the carpeting with hardwood.  The snowball is still growing and gathering momentum, while our renovation budget is shrinking, fast!