Tiny Needle Tuesday

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a little enforced downtime. You think it would mean I got a tonne done on my thistles but, there was the little interlude with Greg, and then of course, there was a couple other distractions…

I managed to finish about half of the last thistle, despite the dastardly duo’s dubious help.

Another weekend and I should be ready to start on that mess of a butterfly! Despite it’s small size, this is definitely a project you don’t want to rush.


Vacation is over. And it finished with a whimper, instead of a bang… yesterday, my back decided I’d done far too much over the last week and decided to enforce a little rest.

So I spent most of the day in my chair, watching movies. Just before lunch, Dave looked out the kitchen window and excitedly told me there was a groundhog in the neighbour’s yard.

While I agreed it was a cool sighting, the neighbour’s yard is too far away for me to get pictures. (Plus it’s creepy to go up the fence with a long lens…), so I stayed in my chair. But a few hours later, I needed to stretch a little, so I went to check on the cats in the catio. I noticed the bird feeder was empty, so I cross the driveway to get it from the pole and refill it… and I came face-to-face with Mr. Hog, who was standing in the middle of the yard.

He froze. I ran back into the house to get my camera. And by the time I got back out, he was gone. I searched under the cars, under the trailer, behind the shed, and all the places I thought a groundhog might go. No sign.

Then I caught sight of a Red Admiral butterfly, and decided to follow it instead. And as I followed it down the driveway, I caught sight of Mr. Hog slipping under the concrete stairs on the side porch.

I gave up pursuit of the butterfly, and nipped into the house. I chopped up my last carrot, and headed back out to see if I could make friends.

The carrots were very enticing, but he decided he wasn’t ready to trust me yet. He snacked on a few carrots, and tucked himself away again. I decided to call him Greg.

After waiting a bit, it was obvious no matter how many carrots I had, he was not going to come out while I was sitting in his direct line of sight, so I moved behind the stairs a little and waited.

That got him out a little further, but Greg is a little on the shy side.

I waited a little while longer, but then that darn Red Admiral came by again, and I decided to give Greg a break and chase the butterfly again.

I followed it around the front of the house, down the side under the maple and back to the catio. I didn’t manage to get a picture, but by the time I got around the other side of the catio…

There was Greg again! He was not as excited to see me, as I was him.

It’s amazing how fast that chonky boy can run. He disappeared behind the shed, and I couldn’t find him again. Greg is REALLY good at hide and seek, that’s for sure!

I’m not sure if Greg will be a regular around here, or if he was just passing through on the way to greener pastures. But you will be the first to know if he makes another appearance! I hope he does.

Here be monsters

Lemmy has taken a liking to napping under the stairs that lead into the catio yard.

I imagine it’s a nice cool place for an afternoon snooze, but the beast isn’t always sleeping…

… and my ankles have the holes to prove it.

It’s a good thing he’s a cute one!

Saturday garden stop

We are in the midst of a change of seasons in the garden.

The tulips of spring are still hanging on…

But they are slowly giving way to the flowers of early summer.

The bearded irises are in their full glory…

We’ve probably got another week or so with them, and the my native, and Siberian irises should start to bloom.

My Bloomerang Lilac is almost in her full glory. I’m very pleased with the number of flowers on her, considering this is only her second year. Hopefully Madame Lemoine (white) and Tinkerbelle (pink) will catch up with her next spring. For now, I’m content with this beauty.

The lupins are just getting started! I definitely need more lupins in the garden.

The first poppy is bloomed and it’s a stunner. It’s a very traditional red/orange (I bought another that is a more true red, but it probably won’t bloom this year). It’s so big and vibrant, it shines out like a beacon from the catio. I have another of this colour in the front yard, but it doesn’t get quite as much sun so it’s a little slower. I expect it to pop any day now though.

I got a little surprise with these next two blooms…

They are anemones. I didn’t plant any anemones this year. I think I planted them last spring. I know they were part of a pile of bulbs I’d gotten from the dollar store, but I thought I’d tossed them all because they were all dried out. But apparently I didn’t. I must have tossed a few into the ground. But they didn’t grow at all last summer, I know that for sure! They must have just hung out underground and decided this year was a good year to make an appearance! I especially love that blue one!

And just as showy

The first Clematis has bloomed! I have three, and this is the only one that didn’t bloom last year. I’d forgotten what colour it was supposed to be. I’m absolutely delighted with this beautiful pink. The white one should bloom soon too (it’s covered in buds) and the purple one will bloom a little later this summer.

The Lily-of-the-Valley has bloomed as well. I only brought one little clump from the townhouse, but it’s doing quite well. Eventually, it will get moved under the maple and hopefully will spread about more. I also planted some pink Lily-of-the-Valley this year, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it grows. I tried it at the townhouse with no luck, but I’m hoping the magic soil here makes a difference.

I showed you the other Columbine I got, but I forgot this one. It may look familiar, it’s a smaller dwarf version and I had it at the townhouse. It was always an early bloomer and it re-seeded like mad. But it didn’t make the move well (none of my Columbine did). I put this one in the driveway garden, and I’m hoping it spreads just like it did at the townhouse.

And before I go, things are going slowly in Edible Alley, though the beans, peas and cucumbers are all starting to sprout. But the thing that excites me the most…

I have eenie-weenie asparagus sprouts!!! They say to wait a couple years to harvest so your plants have time to establish and re-generate every year (and obviously, these are too small and to few for a harvest). But this is still super exciting!!!

Dirt, mulch and mess

As usual, this vacation has not gone quite as I imagined.

Normally I take this week off to do all the start of year garden stuff. But I got an early start on it this year, and thought I had so much done, that I wouldn’t need to do much in the garden at all.


I still had to find a new place for those plants I bought recently. This little garden is the bare spot I filled last year and threw some grass seed on. The grass grew well last year, but come spring it was full of bare spots again. So I decided to just pull what remained out and turn it into a garden. This little patch now has the Sneezeweed I had to move from the catio (it got way too big for there), the new Columbine, Catchfly and Native plants I showed recently, as well as several coneflowers I bought last last year. There’s also a Delphinium, and Globe Thistle. In the bare spot in front of the Sneezeweed (in the corner), I planted a couple of bareroot peonies, and a bleeding heart. I may not see much of them until next year, but that’s okay.

I also gave all the new gardens a dressing of black mulch

That included the new front garden. I was also able to get some more solar lights exactly like the ones I have throughout the other front gardens. It looks much more finished now… and will only get better as the plants grow.

And I do love how the black mulch looks and makes all the plants pop, but it has a definite downside…

It does scrub off pretty easily, but it makes for a very messy job.

And as for painting the back porch…

It’s proved to be a much bigger job than I anticipated because of the way the porch is built. There aren’t a lot of big, smooth spaces, but there are a lot of nooks and crannies to try to get paint into. I’ve decided I’ll tackle it one section at a time. At the rate I’m going, I should have it painted by the end of the weekend. And then it’s going to need a second coat….

Still, I am enjoying watching all that red oxide disappear!

A stitch in time

Although most of my attention this week so far has been devoted to house/yard stuff. When the afternoons have gotten too hot any sunny, I’ve retreated to the coolness of the sewing room.

But uh…. we had to clean it first…

You know I had that little online spending spree a while ago. When it all came in, I opened it up, checked it out and left it. Now was the time to sort it all out and get it put away properly.

Among it was my Green Thumb bundle. Just look at all those pretty greens! I have to find the perfect pattern for it! Another thing I’d bought was a mystery fat quarter bundle. Normally, I don’t like to buy mystery things, but the price was really good so I thought it was worth the risk.

This is what I got.

How perfect is that? It’s like they knew me!!!!

Eventually, I stopped fondling all the fabric, put it all away and turned to the machine to get sewing….

But, I had to pay the treat toll first!

Once that was done and my machine was free, I banged out two more blocks for my new red and cream quilt.

So now I have six blocks done…

Just 10 more to go and I’ll have a whole quilt!

Tiny Needle Tuesday

Yet again, I’ve not put much into my thistles this weekend. Vacation has not been very restful yet.

I did finish the second thistle head. But that took maybe forty stitches in four different shades. In truth, I could have gotten a little more done, but I needed to print off the second half of the pattern to do that. An the printer in my office was just too far to travel, so I worked on my sock instead.

There’s plenty of time to do the third thistle head next weekend.

Socking great fun

Another weekend has just whisked by. Saturday was mostly spent cleaning the sun porch in preparation for painting the inside this week, and cleaning up and re-doing the paths in the catio yard. When I did them last year, I ran out of landscape fabric to go under the mulch. I was broke, so I just put the mulch down without it. It kept the weeds down pretty good last year, but naturally, over winter, a lot of the mulch broke down, and come spring, without any barrier, the Sar of Bethlehem and several other weeds just pushed on through. So it was time to do it right. I raked up the remaining mulch, pulled all the weeds and put more landscape fabric down, covering all of the paths. Then a fresh load of black mulch!

It’s looking much, much nicer. There’s not a lot in bloom right now, but everything has greened up rather nicely, and in a month or so, it’s going to be a jungle.

Sunday morning was cleaning and getting ready for an afternoon visit with former neighbour Krista and family. And after they left, I took some much deserved chill time to just sit on the porch and knit.

Lemmy hung out behind me on the windowsill. He really likes the tidied up porch. Without all the stuff we were storing in there for the winter, he can get to EVERY window. Naturally, I was working on my bubblegum socks.

I finished off the toe on the first one, and made a decent start on the second cuff.

Today, I’m hoping I have the energy to get a good portion of the inside of the porch painted! I’m so happy to be getting rid of that oxide red at last!

Antique adventures

I’m glad you all enjoy my garden adventures, because I have more for you…

Before my vacation kicked off, Dave and I had a mid-week playdate. Last week, we had a French Drain installed in the basement (so it won’t leak again), and this past Wednesday, the basement guys came back to spray foam insulation throughout the crawlspace, and in the basement.

We had to be out of the house while they were spraying, so I booked the day off work and we hit the road. We headed down to Chatham (a town about an hour south of us) to do some antiquing. There was a little antique market we’d visited last summer, and Dave was keen to check it out again. Amazingly, I bought nothing! Dave found an old bakelite radio and a box of tubes, so he was a very happy camper.

Since we still had time to kill, we decided to check out Chatham’s Re-Store. And it was there that I found something cool!

And you can probably guess what I was thinking… “OMG that would look great in the garden!!!!” She just needs her flower sash removed (which is quite nice and can probably be re-purposed), and a fresh coat of rust paint.

By the time we finished in Chatham, it was only noon, so we decided to head to Strathroy (a town 30 minutes east of home, and about an hour and a half north-east of Chatham) to pick up one of Dave’s prescription. On the way there, I talked Dave into stopping at one of my favourite nurseries to see if could find a pretty vine for my new garden lass.

I didn’t find any vines, but I did come home with:

Two new Columbine – a stunning purple/yellow combo, and lovely pale lavender. There are so many colours of Columbine and I want them ALL!!!!

I also came home with two new shrubs. These aren’t my pictures, because neither is in bloom. But the first is a lilac called Tinkerbelle – a pretty pink, because I don’t have a pink lilac. The second is a Rose of Sharon. Normally, I’m not a fan of Rose of Sharon…. I kind of feel the same way about them I do about hostas…. Everyone has them and they are as little bit boring… But….

This one is called ‘Marina’ and it’s the most interesting shade of pale blue/purple. Like the Veronica I showed yesterday, it almost glows a little in the sun. I saw it at the nursery two years ago, and have contemplated getting it ever since. And now I have it!

After the nursery, we made it to Strathroy, picked up Dave’s prescription and had a late lunch. But we still had a few hours to kill before we went home. So we hit the road again, and headed to Sarnia (which is an hour west of Strathroy).

There we hit the Sarnia Re-Store. Still nothing for me, but Dave found some more speakers that got him pretty excited. Then it was finally time to head home. And on the way home, wouldn’t you know it… we were driving right past one of my other favourite nurseries. And I still needed a vine for my pretty garden lady!

And there I got my vine! I lovely new Honeysuckle! I have “Golden Flame” growing up the catio fence, and it’s doing really well. This one is called Mandarin, and it’s a lovely golden yellowy orange, where the catio one is yellow and pink.

I also came home with these. The Catchfly is new to me, but it looks pretty cool! Long-time readers will remember Cupid’s Dart from the townhouse. It was one of the plants that didn’t make them move well. I’ll be happy to have it in the garden again.

I also got two more Spanish Thrift. The white one did so well, I was hoping I’d be able to get some pink ones. These too, I’d tried at the townhouse, but they didn’t appreciate the clay soil.

I also snagged these two natives to add to my native plant collection. I really want some Trilliums, but haven’t seen them in the nurseries I’ve visited for a couple years.

Now… I just have to find a place to put them all! I see more digging on this vaction!