Friday, May 29, 2015

Five on Friday ... Happy Things in the Garden

First off before I get into the Five on Friday, I would like to thank all of you for your very kind supportive comments regarding my previous post on weight loss. This week I went from having a negative feeling, to one of overall confidence and renewed determination! I know that the comments left by all of you were the cause of my boost of confidence again.

This blogging group is really quite extraordinary when you think about it. Where else can you let out a little cry of despair and get instant positive feedback from all over the world? I don't always like to share personal stuff on my blog since it makes me feel like I'm complaining. But this dieting thing was going to get the best of me, and I thought maybe I could discuss it with you all. And you have come through for me in such a wonderful way, which I won't soon forget.

I have gotten right back into my healthy eating routine again, my daily exercise of an hour's walk, and already I feel much better ... happier if not exactly lighter. I'm not going to step on the scale for a while though ... sometimes I just don't want to see those numbers ;)  If the numbers haven't gone down after a couple of weeks, that too gets me discouraged. So for this second start of my dieting, I am going to just keep eating properly and stay away from the scales until my pants are falling down around my ankles and then I will know there has been some changes around the waistline! My summertime clothes need an overhaul, but I don't want to spend any money there at the moment ... I'll wait until I can fit into some of my old clothes instead. I hope this will keep me focused as well. Every time I open my closet I see a lot of tops that are a little too snug, and I am looking forward to soon wearing them again.

So I thank each and every one of you for your support! It has made such a difference for me :)


And now on to the Five on Friday hosted by my good friend Amy at Love Made My Home! Thanks so much for hosting this again Amy, and I was happy to see that you are back to posting regularly. This week I'm out in the garden and I have lots of ideas swirling around in my noggin thanks to Pinterest and also to my local gardening store. I am in awe of the creative ideas that are posted on Pinterest, and I have finally started my own boards of creative ideas (under "September Violets", and if I can fix up a link for that at some point on my sidebar I will).

1. Fairy Gardens

Like many of you I have admired the tiny little fairy gardens that are all the rage at the moment. My favourite gardening store (Vandermere's in Ajax, ON) has a huge selection of little bits and pieces for creating one on your own. They even have rustic wooden fairy houses made of sticks ... some of which are two and three stories tall (fairy sized), but it adds up to a house about three feet high! I have to work with what I already have rather than purchase a lot of expensive trinkets, and I almost fainted when I saw a flat of fairy garden plants for $50!

Just inside my back gate I have these three little stumps from cedar trees we cut down a few years ago. I've been looking at them now with an eye to making them into fairy homes. I think the fairies in my yard flit through the flowers (and weeds!), and probably wouldn't care all that much to have a domestic-type garden of their own. They are wild creatures after all! My plan is to create a few unobtrusive fairy surprises in the yard made from natural found objects. Today this is all I have to show you ... the stumps. Once I get them fixed up into actual homes, I'll show you more ... stay tuned!

2. Lilacs & Iris

Lilacs and iris are my favourite springtime flowers. At the moment I have this beautiful large lilac bush filling the back corner of my yard with fantastic colour. It fills the entire yard with its strong perfume! This bush has been through a couple of bad times with two huge pine tree limbs falling directly on top of it, but it seems to still be thriving. I think this summer I'll give it a good boost of fertilizer as its leaves are always so tiny. The humming birds have been visiting it constantly since it came into bloom too which is an added bonus. 

I have two of Mom's lilacs doing well in the backyard too. This white one, and another purple one (same shade as my big bush). This white lilac is doing amazing, and I'll be keeping a close eye on it to keep it in good shape. Mom loved lilacs too, and had quite a few on the hillside at her place. The two lilacs I have of hers were from that hillside, so fond memories all wrapped up into these lovely bushes.

I bought this pretty weeping lilac last summer when I noticed one on a neighbour's lot. It is very fragrant and has some pretty blooms. I planted it at the corner of the walkway/stairs up to my front door so that you can smell it as you come up to the house. I was really happy with how much it has grown from the time I planted it. It's meant to grow upright and all the branches droop down around it, which gives it a very delicate look. 

The iris haven't bloomed as yet, but the buds are so close to opening! These iris are in the front of my house. The iris in the back are stunted and a lot of them don't even have blooms this year. I had every good intention of splitting them last summer and moving them all to the front of the house (since the front iris were by far doing the best of the two groups). But one delay and another, and I never got them moved. This summer I have to do this, or I think I'm in danger of losing the lot!

4. Transplants

Last summer I transplanted a few things that were getting lost in a garden in the back yard and then I sort of forgot what had been moved and to where! I forgot this next plant completely, and couldn't figure out what it was. I have now finally realized it's one of the transplants ... spiderwort! Now that I've identified it, I was actually surprised at how well it's doing. It obviously is happy with its new home ... it's about 2 feet across.

I have another spiderwort in the garden around the patio, and it's a lovely bright chartreuse. You can see it in the next photo ... love that leaf colour. I'm considering splitting this one to spread that colour a little further in the garden. It's a good size, but not huge, and I think it might do better in other locations. I often split the plants and try them somewhere else rather than move the entire plant. I'm sometimes worried I might kill the plant entirely if I shift the whole thing at once.

Everything seems to get jumbled up in the front garden. I swear lupins just get up and walk around in the winter time! And I don't remember the coral bells being quite there last summer. 

The lupins used to be yellow, but I think they have all reverted back to their natural purple again. I really like them, but they're hard to keep track of. I want to transplant some of the little sprouts that come up each year. They do well in this spot, but I'd like to see more of them in other areas.

My husband loves to get out digging in the gardens far too early, and I'm always sorry when he comes in and tells me "I dug up the gardens!". Usually it means he's dug up some of my perennials that haven't yet shown themselves through the soil :[ This spring I thought he had dug up my remaining balloon flowers. I finally went out to see if they were there, and after carefully brushing away the heaps of dirt he piled on top of them, I found them slowly making there way to the surface. I think I need to transplant them too since they are getting lost underneath the ever expanding burning bush.

This little bit of donkey-tail spurge was transplanted just last weekend (the straggly ropes in the dark brown dirt ...below photo). Isn't it the saddest little plant? But I had to save it. This wee guy was one of the little plants that my son had in his first garden we created when he was very young. He seemed to really like gardening, so we would buy plants that had unusual names to encourage his interest. Let me tell you, unusual plant names were a big hit! We also bought some turtlehead flowers, and they took over that garden (not complaining, I really like the turtleheads). I just happened to see this little remaining bit of spurge this spring lost in the middle of the turtleheads, so I carefully dug it up and moved it in front of the cranesbill geranium ... another transplant from last summer. The cranesbill is doing great, and I have high hopes for the spurge too now that it has room to grow.

5. Burning Bush

I love this bush, especially in the fall when the brilliant red leaves are at their best!

This year I notice that it has sprouted a new bush just underneath it! I love it when my favourite plants have babies ... free plants! I'll have to think of a good spot to move this little guy because he can't stay where he is ... I want to take full advantage of this offering.

6. Harlequin Maple Tree

And I'm squeezing in No. 6 because I can't shut up when it comes to my gardens :) This little tree is finally making a difference to the view out of my front living room window. It's about four years old now, and it is effectively filling out and creating shade! That was the whole purpose of buying this tree. They are not huge maples, and since we have a tiny front yard, and it's all on a hill, we needed something smaller. Also the hydro wires cut across the front bit of our yard and I didn't want a tree that would be butchered by the hydro tree trimmers when it got too close to the wires.

And now I'm sure you're sick to death of listening to me. I've been fiddling with this post throughout the day, and I'm sick to death of writing it!! I realize now that it's far too long, but I'm too tired now to try and rewrite it. Thanks for visiting and I'll try to shorten my next posts.


Johnny Jump-Ups :)


  1. I so enjoyed reading your post and seeing your lovely garden. The lupines are so beautiful. I too have balloon flowers in my garden and one is getting ready to bloom. I'm trying to buy perennials so enjoy year after year. I hope you have a wonderful, fun filled weekend.

  2. Beautiful garden! I'm so glad to hear about all the positive feedback to your earlier post, blogging attracts the nicest people don't you think?

    Have a wonderful weekend! xox

  3. Hi Wendy I love your garden it's so interesting you have so many beautiful plants and shrubs, the lilacs are gorgeous it's something I have never grown but must think about if I can find a space in my overgrown garden. I'm sure that the fairies in your garden are waiting with bated breath to see what you have in mind those stumps look like an ideal spot for a bit of fairy magic. I love lupins and at one time had lots of different colours but I only have a white one now. Have a great weekend. :) xxx

  4. You have a lovely garden. It's so interesting to see what you grow where you live. I haven't seen a creeping lilac before and I love lupins although they don't last long in my garden. Have a good weekend and good luck with the diet. :-)

  5. I like your positive attitude on dieting, you can do it! I love your yard, gardens and the pretty blooms. The Lilac and the Johnny jumps ups are pretty. Have a happy weekend!

  6. Wonderful things going on in your garden!!! I love the idea of the lupins getting up and moving themselves around over the winter!!! That is so funny! I look forward to seeing more of your fairy garden, the fairies will love it I am sure! xx

    1. Forgot to say! Thank you so much - as always! - for joining in. Hope you have a great weekend! xx

  7. I'm a grazer not a dieter. Never could really stick to a diet. Love your gardens and flowers. That last shot is beautiful!

  8. Hi Wendy! Don't you just love garden season?! I too am in hyper garden mode. Lots going on in my garden as I finally get down to defining beds, mulching, transplanting and even raised beds are going in this year! I just love all of your plants and that little tree in your front yard is so lovely. I've been thinking about a couple of ornamental crab apple trees or perhaps a dogwood for the front to block the ugly view left behind by the logging across the way. Oh I love johnny jump ups!!! I also find it funny the way some plants seem to just hop around the garden by themselves... I guess they are looking for the perfect spot! :D
    Good luck with your dieting, I need some inspiration as I lost 40 pounds last year and have all but gained it back... so depressing. It's hard when you can't really exercise I'm finding so I need to do some serious recipe research for things that are filling but have basically no calories, lol!
    Hugs always my sweet blogging sister,
    Beth P

  9. everything is lovely in your gardens. we have just had too much rain here-not as bad as oklahoma and texas but still 6 weeks straight of rain almost every day is getting too much-we had a few dry days thrown in but not much.
    I missed your last post so will go back and read it-I discovered I have really gained too much weight for me over winter-I knew my thyroid was off too and it was I found out this month so with different medicine I will have an easier time of losing the weight but I so need to get moving more especially at my age now I know now why 65 old is consider senior-as I do feel like a senior this year lol

  10. Your garden looks so beautiful. I love the idea of a fairy garden, I've never come across one before. I have an old tree stump at the bottom of my garden which would be perfect but I wouldn't want to disturb the mouse. It's been lovely to 'visit' you today. X

  11. Wendy, it's not too long, it's a lovely post! I LOVE lilac at this time of year, it's perfume is so heady and swoony. And you have got me all inspired about the fairy garden, I can't wait to see what happens to those stumps. xx

  12. Oh Wendy! I'm so happy you feel boosted up in the weight/exercise department. Just keep remembering in those lower moments that you're not alone and that many of us (almost literally) are walking the same road with you.

    I literally squealed out loud in delight when I saw your stumps and your idea for them! I Just LOVE that and can't wait to see how it turns out!! Have so much fun working on it.

    I love the tour around and seeing all of your other goodies. You obviously have a green thumb and everything is looking so healthy and nice. And I'm with you about lilacs!! I don't know if there's a more wonderful fragrance in all the world. Mother Nature's nicest perfume for special occasions. ;)

    Happy weekend to you!! xoxo

  13. Good for you in losing 20lbs! I need to lose weight as well. Walking is a great way to go about it, but I have a heal spur at the moment and every step is painful. Hopefully the heel spur will improve in the next little while.
    I think you are wise to avoid the scales for now. Your wiser to adopt more healthy habits than to stress over the numbers.
    Lilacs come and go so fast don't they? I am glad to have the Korean lilacs that are just coming into flower. I am trying some experiments with Lupins for the first time. They certainly don't like to be moved!

  14. I'm still looking for my spiderwort this year. I don't know if a goat managed to reach it through the fence or if it's growing but I don't recognize it amidst all the other unfamiliar perennials I planted last Autumn which are now intermingling with possible weeds which I am afraid to pull in case they are the unfamiliar perennials coming back, or if it (the spiderwort) has just vanished. Time will tell, I hope. Gardening is SO exciting! Thanks for sharing yours :)

  15. You're so right about this blogging community -- such a wonderful group of encouraging women. They have all helped me to keep losing the weight through their supportive and kind comments. I'm glad you were encouraged to keep on. Good for you!
    That fairy garden-in-the-works looks so delightful! Hope you'll share more of this, I love the idea!

  16. Your garden looks a real delight. I love the idea of a fairy garden, sounds wonderful. Keep up the good work with the weight loss, you will get there. Have a great week.

  17. Your flowers are beautiful, but I see a serious shortage of weeds in your gardens. I have lots of extras if you want some, unfortunately. Glad to hear that blogger community was helpful and encouraging with feedback.

  18. How lovely your garden looks, Wendy.

  19. Your garden looks great! I know about husbands and gardening, ever year something gets raked up or trampled or dug up. He gets so miffed when I tell him to stay out of my garden as he thinks he's helping me out! This year my sweet Williams disappeared. I love your idea of a fairy garden from your little stumps. Gardening trends can be super pricey! Losing weight is so hard, food just tastes so good!!

  20. Here I am again! Just read your previous post. The GI diet is the best!!! My doc told me to lose some weight a few years ago and told me to get that book. I lost weight and its a good framework for life long eating. She follows it too and looks great. It is also great for energy management as I have some chronic health issues. I have slipped off and put on a few pounds, usually when there are more family and friends around. But I get back at it. My sweetie has high cholesterol and the diet is helping him too. Hang in there, 20 pounds is a lot of weight!! Feel good about that!

  21. Wendy such a lovely garden you have! I can also certainly empathize with you on the frustrations of dieting. Have done plenty of that, and it is so hard to stay in a healthy routine. best of luck to you with that, but definitely you feel better when you are eating healthy and of course the exercise is so good for you. I am having lots of trouble with that right now as I need a hip replacement, and am putting it off for a while. Doesn't take too much to get really uncomfortable. hope you have a great day and enjoy your gardening.


Thanks so much for leaving a comment, it's nice to know when you've stopped by! :)

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