Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finally DONE!!!

I am absolutely thrilled this morning! Last night we finished our last two flower gardens! First of all, the shade garden was only missing a few annuals on the front side, so it only took a few minutes to finish it off.

Front of the Shade Garden                         Back of the Shade Garden

While I was working on the shade garden, David started to tackle our last garden overhaul. We had already removed the stones, and David started by removing the top 4-6 inches of soil and "sod" (mostly weeds).

Once the sod closest to rock border was removed, I rolled the rocks back into place.

By the time we were ready to plant, the mosquitoes were out in full force... and by that I mean swarms of them! We finally finished the garden just after 9pm... I give you our finished garden!

A North Bay Weekend

This past weekend we decided to head to North Bay to visit David's parents. Despite the weekend of rain, we had a great time with them. 

The last time we were there, we went to a Mexican restaurant and David had a "burrito as big as your head," and was disappointed that he couldn't finish it. This time, he was determined to finish it!

Burrito as "Big as your head"

With a fork, for scale

Almost done!

I'm sad to say, that David only almost made it - he only left one bite. It was either that or he would have spent the rest of the evening sleeping off his incredibly large meal!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ta da!

 Ok, so I'm not absolutely finished with our shade garden... but it's very, very, very close to done! I stated with the backside of the garden since I already had a very good idea of what plants to place here. I added 3 more hostas, a japanese painted fern, and a "looking-glass" bugloss (heart shaped silver-green leaves) to this side, along with plenty of impatients, and some dark foliage (an annual, but I don't know what they're called). I also moved a echineacea (cone flower) from one of our other beds, and planted it next to the one we bought last week. 

The front side of the garden is still a work in progress. It's all cleared out and I put in a bleeding heart next to the purple salvia. I still need to put in some new soil, and I have a hosta and some impatients to plant as well.

We still have one garden left to work on. David took apart the rock border yesterday. We're going to remove the top few inches of the garden to get rid of the grass & weeds. There are some daffodils and hyacinths in there somewhere too... those will be put back, hopefully in a placement that makes a little more sense. I guess we'll see how we do with that next spring!

Finally: our vegetable garden, we did manage a little work on it... we burned it! At the very least we'd like to "try" to even out the area and lay down the weed-block fabric. In the meantime, we're starting to pile dry hay and dry tree branches in preparation for our first Canada Day bonfire! 

Happy Summer Everyone!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Busy, Busy (photo heavy!)

We've been quite busy tackling our summer "to do list" these last few days, and we've realized that we won't be able to do all those things we hoped to do. 

Unfortunately, the vegetable garden will have to wait another year. We're still planning on throwing down some hay and burning the garden plot to bring everything down to the soil. Once that's done we may try to even out the area and lay down the weed block. But the actual building of raised boxes may have to wait until either later in the fall, or next spring. In the meantime, all those fruits & veggies we started from seed have been moved into larger containers, so we should still get some fresh produce this season. We gave new life to our old ikea plant stands. It's amazing what a good sanding and some stain will do. =)

Carrots, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and flowers

Broccoli, zucchini, basil, and lots of tomatoes in front,
with some flowers & maple tree seedlings

Part of the reason we've decided to put it off, is not only the expense of our very ambitious project, but also we're planning a BBQ to celebrate Canada Day this year. As the flower gardens are still in a state of weed-infestation, we thought it better to deal with those first. Our new gardens are doing well, the gladiolas have all grown, we have some dahlias growing as well, the Japanese maple is recovering nicely, and the day lilies are getting ready to flower.

The Japanese maple

Day lilies
we may move the group on the left next year...

Finally, I've started to tackle our shade garden yesterday. We picked up an Echinacea (purple cone flower), a purple Salvia (ornamental sage), and two hostas. I started by removing the buried rock border, and taking out some of the plants I wanted to keep. The garden is not only filled with grasses and some weeds, but also Solomon's Seal and TONNES of lily of the valley! There are also some ferns and a couple of hostas as well. Here's my progress so far:

My plan for today is to hopefully get this garden close to finished. We'll still need to pick up some annuals to give it some colour, and put the rock border back into place.

Bike Ride

A couple days ago, David and I went for a bike ride. This was the first time I had ridden my bike since we moved here (sad, I know). We were only gone for an hour, and managed to bike approximately 8 km. We passed a dairy farm, vineyard, a horse boarding stable, and many, many corn & hay fields. It was a beautiful day for it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I've been busy painting our bedroom these past couple of days. We liked all the colour choices the previous owners made and so we didn't have a lot of painting to do... except for the bedroom. We didn't know what colour we wanted, but we both agreed that we didn't like their choice. I think this may be the only 'before' photo of our bedroom.

And here are the after shots:

We went with a dusty purple for the two windowed walls, and a silver grey for the other two walls. We added cream curtains (that will need to be shortened) and eventually will replace our current mismatched furniture for a white set. We're both really happy with how it turned out!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Endless Yard Work

So, while we had the whipper-snipper, we decided that we may as well deal with some other areas of the yard as well. There is a section next to our barn that we had not dealt with. It was allowed to grow wild last year (I'm not exactly sure how that happened...) and this year we wanted to reclaim the area. It is just behind the vegetable garden, when facing the barn.

One of the previous owners had chickens, and they fenced in a section using chain-link fence...

As you may be able to see, it was not a very professional job... actually, the roll of chain-link is still rolled up in one corner and still attached to the rest of the fence. There isn't even a gate to go into the enclosure... you have to climb over the fence! David dealt with the grass/weeds up to the fence line before dealing with the vegetable garden. While he was doing that, I worked at removing the fencing. I wasn't able to take it all down, but I did manage to remove the front section. Once that was done, David was able deal with the long grass/weeds. 

There is another fenced in section, beginning at the corner of the barn. It's fenced with no-climb livestock fencing, and there is a gate on the other side. We're going to keep that section as is. The next step will be to remove the trees next to the barn (they're growing too close to the barn). We're also planing a composting station on this side, just near the window you see in the second photo.

Garden Update

I walked around checking out our gardens the other day, and I thought I'd post a garden update. Be warned... this may be a long post, but with lots of pictures!

Our garden around our big rock is doing well. The day lilies are growing, the roses and hazel are leafing out, and our Japanese Maple is leafing as well. We were very concerned these past few weeks - the maple didn't seem to be doing well. We learned after the fact that we should have wrapped it over the winter. Well, it looks like the top of the tree didn't make it, but we were very happy to see new growth from the base of the tree! 
Japanese Maple                                                 Hazel in leaf

Our garden next to the driveway is also doing very well (blogged here). This one is absolutely full of day lilies, with a few irises at the front. I can't wait for them to bloom!

The lilac bushes were all blooming as well. Unfortunately, we had very high winds last week and most of the blooms are gone.

As for the new gardens we put in, the dahlias still haven't come up yet but the gladiolas we planted in front of the barn have started to grow. We planted a variety pack, so we have no idea what colours we have... can't wait to find out!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mission Whipper-Snipper

It was with great sadness that we learned our latest attack on the vegetable garden was unsuccessful. So, on Friday we set out on our new mission. We rented a whipper-snipper, and David set to the garden assault.

The next step: remove the tarps, rake up all the grass & weeds, "try" to even out the area (it's an old row vegetable garden), and then lay down the weed block. This is a monumental task, to say the least. The garden area is 30' wide and 25' deep...

Swallowtail Butterfly

The guys came this week to mow our incredibly long lawn. It has been raining so much lately that they hadn't been by in 3 weeks. Once they were done we had a ton of grass that needed to be raked up... 2 acres worth! On Thursday was a beautiful morning so we decided to start raking. It was then that I noticed a butterfly feeding from one of our lilac bushes.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)

It was very difficult to photograph it... every time I was about to take a shot, it fluttered to another stem of flowers!