A Good Home, Garden Scenes, Uplifting Myself

I’d Never Seen My Garden…

… from certain viewpoints.  You could call it: The Paths Not Taken.

Blog Photo - Garden Beauty shot July 2018 -- view from yellow lilies in blue pots to white chairs across pool

It’s such a lovely place. But I didn’t venture far enough, and always saw the same things from the same points of view.

Blog Photo - Garden - Beautiful long shot to wall

Until today! Today,  I took a ‘daycation’. 

The day had started out badly — one of those painful mornings that make you want to curl up and feel very sorry for yourself. Pain can do that to you — temporarily blind you to everything else around you.

But why give in, I asked myself, when there’s so much to be thankful for? 

Blog Photo - Garden and open umbrella and plants

So I did some of the exercises they’d taught me at the rehabilitation hospital.

It helped, but wasn’t enough.  I needed to get out of the house! 

Off we went: cane, camera, Cynthia.  On a journey to find new lands right here at home in the garden.

First, I looked from the deck upstairs

Blog Photo - Garden Leaning tree and umbrella and blooms

Blog Photo - Garden looking down from deck

Then from the patio downstairs

Blog Photo - Garden wide shot with blue pot and trees

And gave thanks for what I saw.

I walked and looked — really looked

Blog Photo - Garden Hosta cu

At the garden from the back

Blog Photo - Garden woodland and hydrangea and japanese maple

And from the side.Blog Photo - Garden Japanese maple and cedars and chairs

I wanted to sit – I probably needed to sit 

Blog Photo - Garden umbrella and chairs from other side of pool

But I didn’t.

I looked at things while standing up

And while leaning over them.

Blog Photo - Garden Orange Lily

Blog Photo - Garden Bird bath

This tree trunk, below, and I were probably both leaning alike

But the steps beckoned.

Blog Photo - Garden Hosta and Chairs seen from path

Blog Photo - Garden Hydrangea and hint of woodland path

Steadying myself, I headed the other way

And beheld this stunning view

Blog Photo - Garden Other side at back

I lingered, dazzled

Only slightly aware of the gentle rain

And walked and looked — really looked

Blog Photo - Garden beauty shot July 2018 -- back garden with trees and beds and walls

And saw

Blog Photo - Garden single Fern

Blog Photo - Garden beauty shot July 2018 - corner of back garden shows bee balm and trees

Blog Photo - Garden Walls two levels

Then slowly, carefully, climbed the terrace steps

(This is stated for my family members, who worry…)

Blog Photo - Garden Ferns over wall 2

And, at the top, looked across

Blog Photo - Garden Ferns Closer

Then below

Blog Photo - Garden Hosta and Jacks

Blog Photo - Garden Hostas and lawn from other side

And realized I was smiling.

Grinning, actually.

~~

Blog Photo - Garden Longshot with open umbrellas

I once attended a talk my husband gave on perspective and creativity.  He used photography to illustrate his argument that we see new things (or see the same things in new ways) when we change our point of view.

I’m blessed and I know that. But some days I stay put when I should get up and change my perspective.  

~~

Blog Photo - Garden Blue Pots and view to terrace wall

When I was at Toronto Rehab, my therapists taught the art of distraction — a way to lift oneself above pain, reduced mobility and the resulting depression. 

Yesterday, I both distracted myself and changed my viewpoint. And a day which could have been miserable turned out better.

Hope your summer goes well.

Cynthia.

 

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A Good Home

How to use Goodreads to Promote your Book

This is a gift to authors from Lauren:
An at-your-fingertips guide to Goodreads’ many opportunities to promote your book to readers, get reviews, and boost your profile. Thank you, Lauren for the tremendous amount of work you put into this, and for writing it in plain language too!

Lauren Reyes-Grange, Digital Marketer

As every author knows, finishing your book and having it published is only the beginning of another challenge in the book writing business. Now you have to get your book in the hands of readers. This part of the process can be tough (no matter how wonderful your book is), especially if you’re going the self-publishing route.

With 75 million members, 2.2 billion books added and over 77 million book reviews, Goodreads is the world’s largest social media platform for readers and book recommendations. Since Goodreads is a book lover’s hot spot, it only makes sense that authors and book publishers leverage this platform to promote their books.

If you have the budget for paid promotion, Goodreads offers a suite of advertising products to target your desired audience and take part in giveaways , with pricing beginning at around $120 US. But for the authors and publishers who are looking for less…

View original post 1,201 more words

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Gardening, White gardens

Exterior Design – Gardening for Impact

 

I’m an amateur gardener. Many of you know more about gardening than I do.

But I’ve learned a few things over the years and I shared some in my previous post on affordable gardening. 

This post is about creating impact.

Blog Photo - Hosta green around tree

The first thing I’ve learned is that you can create impactful garden scenes with a fairly small range of plants – if that’s your preference. At the farmhouse, we had many kinds of plants. At this new garden, we have far fewer. So we use a lot of hosta, hydrangea, ferns, and boxwood throughout our garden.

Blog Photo - Hosta around tree

I’ve learned that structure matters. Plants of the same variety massed together in a circle or  semi-circle make a strong structural statement.

When we lived at the farmhouse, a neighbour was throwing out clumps of green-and-white hosta. We gladly took some.  We divided and planted them around this tree, below.  They formed a lush circle in just two gardening seasons.

Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea guest in garden

My husband created two circles, above – one with hosta and one with boxwood. Look closely and you’ll see a taller boxwood semi-circle too.

Boxwood is perfect for creating structure. We buy them small (aka inexpensive) and let them grow. These ones, curving along our present garden path, are now two years old and will be trimmed and shaped soon.

Blog Photo - Boxwood along path

Contrast is another way of creating impact. The hosta and Japanese forest grasses, below — planted along another curve in the path — make a nice contrast.

Blog Photo - Hosta and Forest Grass

 Meanwhile, ligularia’s dark leaves, below, contrast well with almost anything.

Blog Photo - Ligularia

It’s a backdrop for the light-green hosta. But notice the green-and-white grass, below left.  Alone, the shape and colour of its blades would contrast nicely with the leaves of that hosta too. 

Blog Photo - Hosta and contrast

Contrast can also be created using varieties of the same genus of plants. Note the different kinds of hosta used below.

Blog Photo - Hostas of different colours

While contrasts are striking, we also like the harmony that comes from repeating a single colour throughout the garden at certain times of the year.

The red blooms of bee balm, below, echo the red of the chairs.

Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Bird Bath

Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Red Chairs

And the white blooms of bridal wreath spirea reinforce the white-stained arbour, below.

Blog Photo - White garden Bridal Wreath and Arbour

Sticking with colour, let’s talk about single-colour gardens and borders. 

Blog Photo - White garden Hollyhock single

Blog Photo - White garden Daisies

The white hollyhocks and daisies (above) and Annabelle hydrangea, below, are striking when grown en masse.

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea CU

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea several

Fast-growing and easy to divide, they are popular in all-white gardens. (Vita Sackville-West’s white garden at Sissinghurst in the UK is most famous, but many gardens, both private and public, have these plants in their white borders.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Courtesy: Parkwood Estate, Oshawa, Ontario

Of course, we’ve also learned that a single plant can make a magnificent statement, as does this giant Sum and Substance hosta.

Blog Photo - Hosta Giant Sum and Substance

And this equally striking goatsbeard.

Size, form, texture, contrast and colour: all can make a strong impact in your garden.

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Gardening, Low-Cost Gardening

8 Tips for Lovely, Low-Cost Gardens

Our gardens are usually lovely because my husband and I take good care of them. 

Blog Photo - Garden - Beautiful long shot to wall

But there’s another reason we’re pleased: nothing we add costs us much. Some gardening tips to share:

  1. Look for end-of-season sales. Blog Photo - Hostas and bird bathMany plants in our garden were bought in late June or early July. Remember: water generously that first summer.
  2. Divide mature plants. Blog Photo - Garden Path and HostaHosta, hydrangea, phlox, bee balm — most perennials, in fact — may be divided within 2 to 4 years of planting, instantly creating more mature plants for other spaces in your garden. We got these green-and-white hosta from our neighbours’ garden and have divided them repeatedly in two years.
  3. Consider gift certificates. Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Red ChairsIf you have a big anniversary and friends ask “What would you really like?”, suggest gift certificates from one centrally-located and reputable nursery. I never remember this until it’s too late.  But with a few certificates, you could get a shrub, tree, or even garden furniture.
  4. Bargain. Blog Photo - Clematis pink and lavenderWe had beautiful clematis plants at the farmhouse garden. Most were straggly-looking at the garden-centre, so we negotiated, got great deals and loved them back to health.
  5. Keep the good stuff. Blog Photo - Pool long shotOne of our most cherished pieces was a gift from friends: a cedar bench made especially for us. We’ve lived in three homes since then, and it always comes along.
  6. Paint the Old Stuff.Blog Photo - Blue Metal TablesOur metal tables were old and rusty. Blue paint brought them back to life.
  7. Work with what you have. Blog Photo - Muskoka chairs and UmbrellaWe never wanted a pool. But the house-with-the-pool cost much less than the houses-that-had-no-pool. So we bought it. Then a neighbour gave us his old paving stones; my husband created another paved area for seating.
  8. When you can’t afford what you want, consider a substitute.Blog Photo - Red Chairs and White Bench
    Blog Photo - Red chairs and white bench front shotI’d like a certain kind of chaises longues for my garden, but cannot afford them. So every spring in the last three years, I’ve bought one of these zero-gravity loungers. Solid and durable, each costs about one tenth of the chair I’d like and is very comfortable too!    Happy saving to you!