A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Christmas Arrangements

The Undomestic Diva – Christmas Planter

You’ve never seen such a glamorous photo of me, I know!

Blue pyjamas, my husband’s house-robe, black socks and beige slippers. And yes, that’s a single blue curler in my hair. Don’t ask why.

Blog Photo - Christmas 2017 Planter and Cynthia in houserobe

I woke up determined to do this thing that I’m so inadequate at. 

It took me such a long time that breakfast had to be brought to me right there on the floor. 

Mr. J., the grand-Pug, kept circling me, bemused.

I kept taking out the dried hydrangea and putting them back in.

And this is what The Thing looked like by the time I surrendered….

Blog Photo - Christmas 2017 Planter Outside

As with all my arrangements, it was still missing something — more greenery, brownery, reddery?

Or a birdhouse. Or a shiny thing. Or something.

But that’s for figuring out on another day. 

My Ingredients:

  1. Small branches of cedar and pine
  2. Wild sumac flowers from the roadside
  3. Dried hydrangea from our garden
  4. White birch branches from our garden
  5. Magnolia leaves bought at the nursery
  6. Potting soil – I normally use potting soil from the summer garden, but this year I used fresh potting soil.

I have no doubt that you are greatly impressed.

Photos by Dan Leca.

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A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Flowers

A Bloomin’ Miracle

 

European explorers didn’t call Canada the “land of ice and snow” for nothing!

It’s usually cold now. So why are the plants outside blooming and reblooming in late September?

Take this miniature rose. A gift from my husband in late June (after the ankle-break), it’s flourishing outside. Again.

Blog Photo - Rose late summer 2017

And this cyclamen, also a gift — from our neighbour.

Blog Photo - Begonia late summer 2017

Now, you may recall that I consider myself an expert on getting amaryllis to rebloom.

People ask: “Cynthia, how do I store my amaryllis bulbs during the fall so they’ll rebloom at Christmas?”

I immediately get puffed up with self-importance!  You see, I’m famously bad at the domestic arts, but I’m good at this. I know about reblooming amaryllis.

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Blooms 4 - July 2017

“Stop all watering in mid-August,” I say with great authority.  “Come September, pluck off the dried-up leaves, shake off the dried-up soil, and store the bulb in the cold cellar.  It’s had months outside, feeding on water, soil and sun, and now it’s time for beddy-bye, aka hibernation, until late November. It will be ready to rebloom at Christmas.”

So I took my own advice. Stopped watering this amaryllis on schedule, the leaves turned a dying yellow and….

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Wideshot late 2917

The darned thing bloomed!

It’s a delightful but humbling moment.  Seems I don’t know amaryllis. 

Blog Photo - Amaryllis CU late 2017

It’s like the goddess of amaryllis punctured my pride with her hatpin.

More worrisome things are happening in the world, I know.  But I’ve now decided to see the reblooming as a miracle. If there’s a botanical explanation, don’t tell me.

It’s a bloomin’ miracle, and that’s that.

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Gardening, Gardens

The Bloomin’ Garden — Late Summer

My favourite photographer Hamlin Grange took these pictures of our garden, which is still thriving in mid-September.

Of course, he complains — like a diva: “That’s not even my best work!” But I love these pix, so I’m sharing them.  Here goes:

Blog Photo - Pink Phlox and Butterfly

We are grateful to have inherited a host of phlox from previous owners  — 6 different shades in all.

(I wanted to say “a flock of phlox”, but it doesn’t quite work, does it?)

Blog Photo - White Phlox CU.JPG

Blog Photo - Pink and White Phlox

They, and this special shrub (below) from our friend Les, bloom in late summer and attract bees and butterflies.

(Perhaps “flock” would work better here? “A flock of bees and butterflies!”)

Blog Photo - Blue shrub and Bee2

Blog Photo - Shrub with Blue Flowers1

Blog Photo - Blue Shrub Full.JPG

There’s fragrant hosta, rudbeckia and other stuff too.

Blog Photo - White Phlox ECU

Blog Photo - White Hosta Group

Blog Photo - Rudbeckia

Blog Photo - Garden with Phlox

It’s a blessing to have a blooming garden this late in the Canadian summer!  The weather has been mild — call it summer in September — and we are grateful.

~~

All photos are by Hamlin Grange. 

 

 

A Good Home, Arabella Magazine, Architecture, Art, Canadian Art, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Canadian life, Verandahs

The Verandah

Like verandahs? (Perhaps you call them front porches?)
As a former island girl, I love them.
blog-photo-verandah-chairs[1]
See my story in Arabella’s Spring Issue. It’s accompanied by sumptuous art: