Poinsettia Brooch for After the Holidays

poinsettia brooch

If you give them some neglect and yet don’t completely forget them, poinsettias can last for years. They probably won’t flower again. To get them to flower you have to be really strict at the 12 hours of darkness and then 12 hours of light. Not so easy to pull off in the Canadian winter when it is fully dark around 5:00PM. But, I have kept a poinsettia plant alive for years. Then I moved and all my plants died from some kind of fungus (even the cactus got it).

Poinsettias are one of my favourite Christmas things. Most years I find a new poinsettia brooch. This year I didn’t find one in time for the holidays. I really like this one, but I don’t want to spend more on the credit cards. So, I will settle for having it’s picture up instead.

Famous Women Gardeners

Famous Women Gardeners
By Gay Klok

Introduction

GERTRUDE JEKYLL
V. SACKVILLE-WEST
EDNA WALLING
LESTER ROWNTREE
ELIZABETH VON ARNIM

You may have heard of the first two but not have heard of the last two ladies. During the next weeks we will learn how these five women had an enormous influence on our modern-day gardens and I hope to open to you, with discussions and suggested readings, their fascinating gardening world and interesting lives.

These women had many things in common, though they lived and gardened in different geographical areas. They were all passionate about gardening, they lived mostly in the same period of time and they designed and planted other people’s gardens, creating a soft and romantic style. Perhaps we could say they planted with a strongly feminine style.

When we examine their personalities, we might remark they presented a masculine presence – the way they dressed, the physical garden labour they undertook and their strong belief in equality of the sexes. Although there are these shared characteristics, we will discover they all led quite different private lives!

Read moreFamous Women Gardeners

Spring… So Far

I’m making scalloped potatoes tonight. I looked at a few recipes to get the general idea so I wouldn’t have them too wet or dry. Didn’t really reach a consensus on that so I went for the DIY plan. I added a can of Green Pea soup, mainly because it was too sweet tasting to have as soup on it’s own. It might be great mixed with milk and potatoes and some preserved garlic. Salt and pepper too. I thought about cheese but I haven’t used it in awhile and, of course, it’s gotten greenish. Why does that modern cheese that looks and tastes more like plastic than cheese, get mouldy?

So the dinner (scalloped potatoes) are in the oven. Should be about an hour of cooking time. I will give them a few check points along the way. It will be a real massive mess to clean up if that milk cooks up and floods out inside the oven. I’ve got it covered with silver foil. Some said to cover it and some said not to. I decided to cover it based on the lack of plastic cheese on top.

Graham phoned to remind me he is coming out tomorrow. Which I knew. He asked me to remind him cause he is getting the snow tires off the car and then he wants to help clean the house around before Mother comes home. She is leaving on Wednesday she said today in email or Facebook, one or the other. I have let the cleaning slide a bit. Mainly because I really just don’t like it. There are a lot of tomorrows if you keep waiting for tomorrow. But, it’s not terrible. I do live here after all. I’ve got the kitchen and bathroom cleaned. The only things I’ve left are dusting related. Clutter too, but I’ll swoop up everything tonight.

I’ve got the nice box the new computer came in and I will be able to pile a lot in there and closet it away. I wish I had gotten more done this winter, as far as the clutter. If I really got through most of it I’d likely be dumping more out than I’d keep. I can’t just dump it out without checking it though. All those bags are cases of closet tidying – times I’ve stuffed everything into a bag even though some of it is important. There is just too much paperwork to deal with in the modern world.

I almost forgot… it’s raining a slushy snow out there and has been all day. But, I have to go out and rescue Mom’s damn plants. Graham put them all outside a few days ago. Mom said to do it. I said not to. I said it was still not warm enough and there was a good chance they would all be zapped. But, Graham put them out there anyway. He has a clutter phobia I think. Not an actual phobia but as close as you can get to an actual fear without really having a phobia. Anyway, now I’m the one who has to go out into the cold rain and find something in the garage (not my favourite place) to cover the damned plants. I know she is going to tell me most of them are dead again this year. It sounds evil to wish death on plants but I almost do. All winter they fill the laundry room and then in spring I’m the plant murderer, no matter what I do or don’t do.

Anyway, everyone has their thing. My Mom’s thing is plants. So, I do water them and I don’t whack them out of the way over winter. Even in Spring when they start growing and do start getting in the way. It’s not the plants fault. They just grow where they’re put.

Freeing Exotic Fish is Hazardous

In the US the snakehead fish is a big problem. Any of them caught are to be kept out of the water, killed, eaten, turned into compost, etc. However, you can now buy them in pet stores and, of course, on the Internet. Take them home, set them up in a tank. Then, when they get too big for your tank, or when you’re just seen enough of them – what happens then? Want to take a guess? They go back into the water, not the water of the fish tank. Not the toilet tank (they’re too big to flush). They go back into the ecosystem, the very place we are trying to keep them out of.

How stupid are people to know this fish is a hazard (to buy it for that reason) and then dump it out to grow and breed in the lakes, rivers and other waters where it does not belong.

From the Invading Species website:

The release of aquarium pets into Ontario waters is illegal. You can help prevent the spread of non-native (exotic) aquatic species by doing the following:

  • Never release or flush unwanted aquarium pets or aquarium water into natural waters, drainage ditches or sewers.
  • Drain aquarium water on dry land.
  • Return or donate unwanted aquarium fish, reptiles, snails and plants to a pet store or a school.

Pond Snails

All the goldfish survived the winter. I was tossing in a bit of fish food and watching them when I noticed a snail in the pond too. How it got there I have no idea. I read that they came come when you buy pond plants. But, we haven’t bought any plants except for one last summer. I counted at least five snails when I looked for them. I don’t know what kind they are or if I should get rid of some, how many are too many? Anyway, interesting to find them living in the pond. If they are purely scavengers they are welcome, tons of dead leaves in the pond for them to feast on. But, if they eat the fresh growth we will have a problem. There are only two waterlilys in our pond and one is pretty sensitive. Anyway, will see how the new tenant works out. I took a photo, if anyone knows what kind of snail it is let me know.

(As always you can click on the photo to see it bigger).

Weekend Snapshot: Praying Mantis





We rescued this mantis from the parking lot at the garden centre. Brought it home in a Tim Hortons coffee cup and set it free in the backyard. He was pretty quick to start hunting for bugs on the roses. I’ve looked for him since then but he has done a great disappearing act. Whether he is really gone or just blending in with the garden plants I don’t know. I hope nothing ate him.