Saturday, May 30, 2009


S watched some show featuring a picnic so she HAD to go on one. Yesterday was the perfect day since it was a rare hot day (24°C) and E had to go back to school for the afternoon performance of Canadian songs (it was AMAZING - a group of 3 professional musicians taught the elementary school at least 8 songs with actions and memorised intros. . . in 4.5 days. LOVED it!). So I invite the Tree Island moms and 4 of us met up at our community playground for a picnic under the leafless elms and tried to force feed our kids. I think a picnic at the playground only works if you have 4 hours to kill and you make the kids play for 3 hours before allowing them to eat or drink. THEN they'd be interested in the food you packed. Butt it was still a delightful way to pass the lunch hour.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Biking to soccer

Back to my monthly profession, I suggested that we all ride our bikes to E's soccer game. It was a calm, warm night (how novel) just perfect for a bike ride. It was great to ride through clouds of floral scents and hear the birds chirping.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


So funny to have 2 out of 7 "followers" named Shanna. What are the chances?!

So, climate change has dished out the latest, coldest spring ever. We finally got a day over 18°C and it went to 25°C!! Skipped all of my favorite temperatures in between. Bahhh! Butt the daffodils did last forever in the coolness.

This was my second Saturday of planting. We still had 3 nights of freezing temps this week, so I had to wait until the forecast was all on the positive side for the deciduous. I planted 16 shrubs over Friday eve (I worked until I couldn't see the shrubs) and continued on Saturday for 6 hours until my husband discovered me slumped under a tree, complaining of nausea (heat stroke?). I told him that I couldn't imagine doing this for a living and he said "umm. . . professional landscapers take breaks and eat lunch?" Oh, ya. Right. Then he came back with a full water bottle and 2 aspirin (haha - he knew I was gonna feel it later), and finished spreading the cedar mulch and put the tools away. He takes such good care of me. . . Can't wait to see how it looks in a few years. I planted 3 groups of 3 Skyrocket Junipers for continuity (they grow to 12' tall, and 2' wide), 1 grouping in each of the 3 areas that I was working in. So from the front street, you'll be able to see them all at the same time. In total, we planted 20 shrubs, 1 new perennial and transplanted 5 perennials (everybody helped).


AFTER. . . I don't recommend edging in the dark. . . The closest shrub is variegated dogwood, then sandcherry, peegee hydrangea, sandcherry, monstrous mock orange (it's ALIVE!), false spirea, and finally double flowering plum with the 3 junipers behind it.

THUS FAR. I need to purchase one more grass. The mounding juniper is at full height but it will spread out 6 feet to disguise the sidewalk on the right without blocking the basement window.

AFTER. A special "you're S-U-P-E-R" goes out to 11-year-old G who came up to me just as I was staring at this third and final area with 7 shrubs left to plant, and said "can I dig a REALLY big hole?" I looked at him and said "You can dig SEVEN!". I set the timer for 30 minutes and he and his brother exuberantly dug 5 holes and my DH did the last 2 while our awesome neighbour entertained us with rocket balloons and squirt guns for the kids (true story). And I'm excited about the cluster of potentillas on the left; they have flowers throughout the summer, and 1 has yellow, one is called "mango tango" and gets yellow flowers with orange centers, and the last one is called "red ace" and gets a range of yellow to red flowers. Hidden in the back is a "chocolate satin" ninebark. It's new but it's a combo of the diablo ninebark (almost black leaves) and nana ninebark (making it more compact and less black). It will have clusters of white flowers and I read a recommendation to plant it in a shaded area so that the flowers look like they are floating. CAN'T WAIT to see that! O.K. I'm done.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Snow, snow, go away.

Hello! The plants that my mom bought me for my containers (for my mom's day gift - Thanks, Mom!), and new shrubbery that I picked out are crowded around my patio doors, and have been nervously peering outside at the snow for the past couple of days. Don't worry, I won't put you guys out there in that nasty weather! And more nasty weather to come; they are forecasting -3°C for Monday and Tuesday nights next week. I was told that I had some bad luck with choosing April to be a professional gardener but it's looking like June will be our first chance at good weather. I usually love May; no bugs and weather around 18°C. Blechy.

Butt I do have my vegetable garden and flower seeds planted (sunflowers, cosmos and gaillardia - one of these times they will take). Well, except for the cucumber and squash; have to wait for warm weather for those.

Julie reminded me that my Cycling Mommas class works into my naturalist profession. It's this awesome program run out of the United Church in our neighbourhood. It's 2 mornings a week, with child care, for $30. Despite the bad weather, spring is still coming to the river valley and as the trees start to hint at green, I become hopeful. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

River Valley with Wheels

Yesterday was lovely. Almost as nice as today. We planted the garden. I tried a new blocking layout, since the garden is small, and found it really helpful for making assignments. I marked the layout with 1x6's and the boys just picked a space, figured out what went in it and planted away. SO nice to have help (and to be able to call it help, and not "help").

After supper DH suggested a bike ride in the river valley. So he road his bike from our house, to the river valley, with S in the bike carriage. I drove down with the boys and their wheeled apparatuses and we arrived at about the same time. G took a scooter, K wore his new roller blades and S, E and I rode bikes. E just figured out how to ride a bike, so he wasn't too confident yet, but we enjoyed the trails and made it to the bridge. It was our first wheeled family excursion to the obviously close river valley and it was a success so I know that we'll be going again!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lover of Nature

14°C. Today is the transition day from single digits to highs in the 20's. Can't wait to start complaining about how hot it is. Haha. I've looked up the definition of "naturalist" and I'm not so sure that it means what I want it to mean. I want it to mean "lover of nature". I just don't think that you can be a professional tree-hugger, or forest-path-follower so I'll stick with "naturalist". After helping DH pick out a new pair of glasses, we took the children for a little walk down in the ravine. There is still ice hanging out around the creek and nothing green on the trees but we didn't have to wear coats. Wahoo!