Saturday, June 03, 2017

June Garden

Hey folks :)  Haven't been around in quite a while now, although not intentional. Life got in the way, and I haven't had much interest in blogging (or much of anything) lately. 

A quick catch-up today then. 

We buried my dad at the beginning of May with a quiet graveside service. I highly recommend this over the confines of a depressing funeral home. Only family and some very special, lifelong friends attended. I chose to read my own poem for Dad, and although it was a shaky reading, I'm glad I did it. I used to make cards and write a few poems for my parents, but no longer ... that was the last one I will write for him.

After the service we invited everyone to join us for an early supper at a Milestones restaurant. It was the best way to celebrate Dad's life I think, and it seemed everyone enjoyed themselves and promises were made to keep in further contact. My dad was always one for visiting friends and family and would often just drop in on his friends without warning. From what we hear of our British relatives, this is how everyone remembers seeing Dad when he was younger as well. A page from Dad's book of life I should remember ;) 

With all of the formal details behind us, we can move on, right? But death changes you and troubles of the world around you, both near and far, seem less important than the big picture. I've found myself spending a lot of time out in the garden, digging and transplanting this and that. It's a comfort to see plants coming back to life again. A lot of these plants once grew at my parents' home making a nice connection, and giving me many hours to reflect.

So ... enough sad stuff. When my mother passed away, there was a summer of unusual bird sightings for me and my siblings. Mom loved her birds and we would all share sightings of different birds we saw out and about. My dad had a strong fondness for morrels.  He would hunt morrels in early spring, and we have a photo of him with an armful of morrels found one springtime. Mom would fry them up for breakfast. Shortly after my dad passed away, my sister sent me a text saying she found morrels in her yard. She had never seen them before. I have to admit I was a bit jealous that she found them. It seemed a direct message from my dad. It's been raining here ... a lot ... and I didn't step out into the yard until a few days after her message. But I was thrilled to see that there were morrels in my yard too!! I have never had them growing here before either. I found four of them, and then a few days later I found a fifth. Maybe you don't believe in such things, and my brother was skeptical, but I do believe they were a message that Dad was okay. As I told my sister, he couldn't have said it any better.

Apart from the morrels, flowers have been blooming and their springtime beauty has been most welcome. The lilacs were magnificent, but are at the tale end of their blooming now. My husband and I spent the last couple of weekends puttering in the gardens, and visiting the gardening store. I always seem to bring home a few too many flowers, but they all find a place eventually. Just yesterday the iris have come into bloom. I transplanted them all two (?) years ago, and was happy to see a nice collection of buds on the tall stems at long last this year. I moved had them from a back garden with poor drainage to a sunnier place with better drainage in the front yard. There are still 20 or more iris that I found coming up again in the back gardens that are tiny and also need to be moved. No blooms on any of those. 

This white bush in our patio garden is doing wonderfully this year. Last year there were hardly any blooms on it, so I trimmed it right down to about three feet high. It grew well over the summer, and this spring it has the most blooms we've ever seen on it.

I've added a few pansies and columbine in this small spot. I've made up a few pots to sit on the wall as well with sedum, pansies and a plant given to me by my daycare kids.

couldn't pass on this columbine when I saw it in the store ... my favourite which I haven't
seen for a few years
white columbine
This is another new addition ... a perennial, Astrantia "Star of Fire". It's doing well and has grown about four inches in a week.

My largest lilac in the back corner ... blooms all finished now.

I've had to dig up a lot of creeping weed in the back lawn. I think I'll be digging it up all summer lawn there's that much of it! This bare patch is one such spot. 

Bleeding hearts did well again this year. This garden is just for them as nothing much else likes to grow here.

This is a geranium flower that sprung up behind my garden shed. I transplanted it from that spot a few years ago not knowing what it was, and it has thanked me by growing into a large plant and blooms great!

the tiny geranium flowers
A spice bush that my mom gave a cutting to my sister, and she gave me a cutting two years ago. This year it finally is looking a little better and has another shoot coming up beside the original. It had some pretty tiny yellow flowers on it earlier, but with all the rain we've had, I didn't get photos of it.

A poor photo of the shed, but I've been working on this garden to make it a little nicer. When we put our above-ground pool in this area, this garden is hidden from view and gets neglected.

My old spade broke, so I just poked it into the window box. My husband chose the flowers for the box, and I'm not happy with them. I specifically wanted blue lobelia (it looked great in there one year!), but the plants he chose I don't think trail down. We'll see.

I picked up two large grapevine wreaths from a neighbour's garbage one day after Christmas. The vines are coming apart a bit, but I had a vague idea for them. In one I stuffed some burlap down in between the vines, filled with dirt, succulents and moss. Hopefully the succulents will grow. I'm also thinking of adding some nasturtium seeds as they grow into a vine and can be trained around the grapevines.

Our ginkgo tree is getting a tiny bit bigger each summer.

such interesting leaves on the ginkgo

A few turtlehead flowers I moved. They do well in full sun, but by the afternoon on a hot day, these flowers really wilt. I moved a few that were in a full shade spot to this area where they will get full sun in the morning and shaded by the fence in the afternoon. They're a late summer plant.

A robin has made a nest in the weeping pea (on the right). It's nice to hear them singing in the yard all day long. They don't seem bothered by us sitting on the patio and working in the yard.

My son's pond garden is looking better this year. The Solomon's seal might need some separating. It's looking a bit crowded. I really like this sturdy plant. My son's heron sculpture is in front. He made it in high school.

I've planted some creeping thyme here and will see if it covers a decent area. Because there is a pond here, I have to fence it off from the daycare kids. That makes it difficult to get the lawnmower in this tiny spot and the grass here often doesn't get cut. I thought the creeping thyme might be a good alternative for ground cover. I think I might buy a few more plants to fill it in quicker.

This is another new addition ... a windflower. It's native to Ontario, and it's doing well. The flower heads are said to nod in the wind. 

Another mossy log. My original mossy stump has now rotted away. I picked up this small log on a walk with my dad last summer. It had been cut from a downed tree and was sitting on the path. It had lots of holes which I thought would be perfect for succulents. When I brought it home, it was full of all kinds of ants and other bugs. I soaked it in water for a few days, and there was some kind of oily substance on it as well. I just left it in the garden all last summer, but this year I filled the holes with dirt and planted some succulents in the hols and packed some moss on the top. I have a lot of moss growing in various areas of my yard which all disappears when the hot summer arrives.

A Japanese fern planted last year. Still not growing to its suggested three feet tall. It's a bit crowded by the other taller ferns, so I might move it ... but where?!

you can see the Japanese fern in the lower portion of this fern garden
And that's the tour of my garden so far. I need to spend some serious time on the front gardens before it gets out of hand. There are a lot of thistles growing up through all the mulch I laid down in previous years. It doesn't look so nice when the weeds are taller than the flowers. I hope I didn't tax your patience with this long post. I can't say when I'll be back again, but I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their days. As I've mentioned we've had far too many days of rain here. Lake Ontario has risen about three feet! We were shocked last weekend when we drove down to sit by the lake and the water was coming up through the drains onto the pier. Water from the lake was deep over the road as well. The beach area is under water and has been washed right over the lighthouse pier. A strange spring, but the plants are thriving ;)

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Hi Wendy, your plants are looking beautiful. Your garden will be so luxurious this growing season; you have a wonderful variety going on. I love that you've been able to plant things that were once in your parents' garden. That's a lovely way to honor and remember them. I'm sorry you've been going through a hard time. I know it's normal and natural, but it's never easy. Hugs to you, take care.

  2. Your garden is beautiful, I'm so envious of your irises and lilac. I do believe your Father has sent you a message, how wonderful.
    There is nothing like working in the garden to restore the soul.

  3. Hello, your gardens and flowers look beautiful. It is great your parents plants have been transplanted into your garden, it is a lovely memory for you. I feel each person needs their own grieving time, it can be a process. I do hope you can enjoy life again, I am sure you have wonderful memories of your Mom and Dad. Wishing you a happy weekend.

  4. Wendy your gardens are so pretty. I love the sculpture your son created. I think what you did for your dad was lovely, it's similar to what I did for my husband. And your right - death changes us. It's wonderful that you and your sister found morrels in your yards. I believe in signs like that, too. Blessings, Victoria

  5. Hope your memories chase awy the grief. It helped me when we lost our oldest son to realize that the depth of grief I felt reflected the love I had for him. And yes, gardening is great therapy.

  6. Your garden is looking a treat, Wendy; you and your husband have been working hard. I love the idea of small graveside funerals. They seem to be so much more personal. How wonderful you have so many of your mom and dad's flowers in your garden, filling you with many lovely memories. I don't think anyone can come home from a garden centre with too many flowers, can one?? It is lovely visiting your place after such a long time.

  7. Hi Wendy, welcome back to blogland, and I enjoyed your garden tour very much. Your father's farewell sounds lovely, just perfect. We had something similar for my Dad last year, and that is the part I remember best, the peace of the bush surrounding us, as we paid our final respects. It is early days yet, and you will have peace with your memories too. The garden is lovely - the white bush stands out, shows what a good pruning can do, and I like to see your columbines (we don't have those here). Pansies are a stalwart, always look good - I just bought a few more, still need to plant them out. And your mossy log is absolutely charming. Take care.

  8. Lovely tour of your garden Wendy. Sad news about your Dad, but he lives on in your heart and on the morreks in your garden. I had them growing this year too and don't recall them in other years. I've slowed right diwn on my blog too but have been using Instagram, a quick and easy way to share photos and stay in touch with others. This soring has been way to wey, waterfront trails are closed here, roads are flooded, parks and beaches closed from all the high water levels. Hopefully it warms up soon.

  9. Hi Wendy,
    There is a message in the morrels. It is a sign and things will be ok. And for those that are left it does take time to shift focus and move forward.
    We did the same for my parents with small graveside funerals. It kept with their wishes.
    Wendy when you're ready give a second thought to your poetry writing......write for your kids.
    Your garden is awesome!!

  10. Thank you for this tour of your lovely garden. Losing someone you love changes things; there's no two ways about it. Give yourself time to grieve. Working in the garden is a wonderful solace.
    I second Debbie's comment above about writing poetry for your son, and for future grandchildren, perhaps. It would be a real gift; perhaps appreciated more in a few years!
    hugs to you

  11. My first husband and my father died within a year of each other. One of the many things that I've come to learn because of this is that there is the thinnest of veils between us and our loved ones that have passed. Your father is definitely letting you know that he's fine and still around you all. Don't doubt that for a second. : ) xoxo

    By the way, your flowers and yard are lovely!!

    ~ Wendy

  12. Sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad. Saying goodbye is never easy. Your gardens are looking fantastic. Isn't is=t strange how we either get too much rain or not enough.Around my area we could use a few inches of rain by now.

  13. Hello Wendy, I am so sorry for the loss of you dad.
    I love your pretty garden and flowers. I am so late this year with my gardening and hope to work on it this week.
    Well take care of yourself and be well.
    Julie xo

  14. It looks like spring is coming along nicely there. I'm sorry about the loss of your father.

    Flooding's still something of an issue here, though the river levels have gone down from when it was bad.

  15. I totally believe that the morrels were a message from your dad!

    Your garden looks wonderful. Love all the pretty flowers! I don't have much of a green thumb, so I'm always thrilled when the plants and flowers thrive despite my neglect. During my outdoor walks, I get creeped out by the GIANT dandelions. They make my skin crawl!

  16. Lovely to catch up Wendy. I do like the story of the morrells in you and your sister's backyards. Definitely a sign x

  17. My dear Wendy, I was so sad to read of your dad's passing. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, sweet friend.

    Your garden is quite a spectacular view! Thank you for sharing with us.

    Sending lots of love and sweet hugs your way!

  18. I am sorry to read about your loss and send my condolences.

    It was nice to see your garden and flowers, so colourful.

    All the best Jan

  19. Hello, dear Wendy, it is nice to hear from you. This post touched my heart.....working in your lovely gardens surely is balm for the soul. Everything is blooming and growing so nicely. The story about the birds and the morrels is wonderful. I do believe our loved ones send us signs and I have experienced this, too. Please know I am thinking of you. Sending hugs xo Karen

  20. Dear Wendy, I'm so glad that you have such a wonderful place to spend time in. It is wonderful that you have such sweet memories to hold onto. I am sure that your yard is a lot of work, but all the special details are incredible and delightful...I'm sure the children think so as well! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  21. As you know, gardening is food for the soul and I hope it has brought you some serenity after losing your dad. Your gardens are looking great, I have a couple of astrantias but have never heard of the one you have. They need to be kept moist like an astilbe or will complain loudly. lol
    Happy Gardening.


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