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“Room to Bloom!” Guest Blogger at “Living Large in Small Spaces”

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Dear Friends,

Today, I am excited to be guest blogging over at Nancy Reinke’s “A Joyful Cottage”.  Do you know Nancy, particularly her “Living Large In Small Spaces” series?  It is really fantastic and so many fresh ideas await.

Nancy happened upon my post that I shared a few years ago about my mom’s tiny room at a personal care facility and thought her readers might be inspired by it.  I transformed my mom’s room there from an uninviting, lifeless space into a cozy, inspirational cocoon that she immediately loved the moment she opened the door unto it.  Elderly people, after all, enjoy beautiful surroundings the same as anyone else does. So, I hope you will join us over at Nancy’s blog, particularly if you have a special senior in your life.  Even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll find lots more at A Joyful Cottage to set your thoughts going. You just might want to put the kettle on and settle in for a bit!

I am so honoured that Nancy asked me to share on her gorgeous blog today. I’ve never been a guest blogger before – ever- and I am very excited!  I hope you will drop by A Joyful Cottage for “Room to Bloom!” and say, “Hello” to Nancy.  See you there!

I would also like to thank the lovely Kathy, author of the blog “A Delightome Life” who kindly featured my last post, Kitchen Leftovers that Sparkle, at her a A Return To Loveliness party, and also to sweet  Sherry at “The Charm of Home” for featuring the same post at Home Sweet Home. You are so very kind ladies, especially since I was so late sharing those holiday images! Lol.

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! EnJOY!

Linda

I’m partying at Make It Pretty MondayAmaze Me Monday, Much Ado About Monday, Creative Mondays,  Inspiration Monday, Teatime Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Friends Sharing TeaTweak It Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Wake Up Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday, The (not just) Homemaking partyWordless Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, What To Do Weekends, Show and Tell, Feathered Nest Friday, Simple and Sweet Fridays, Home Sweet Home.

Be My Valentine!

P1070225Dear Romantics,

I’m just popping in to wish you all a beautiful Valentine’s Day! Won’t you join me in a cuppa cherry tea and a little ‘spring dreaming’…

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“They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.” Bill Keane

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“There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.” Yoko Ono

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I just love anything under a glass cloche!P1070232

And, I love decorating with florals and birds and watering cans and… Lol  It just makes me happy!P1070229Are you longing for a glimpse of spring like I am? I was sifting through some old photos this morning and came upon these few, so I thought I would share them with you. If you, too, have cold temperatures and lots of snow where you live, then I hope these images will bring you some warmth today.

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Do you like to add little touches of whimsy to your table settings? What fun!P1070224

Of course, the china pattern is “Apple Blossom”, one of my favourites.  I know many of you share this particular dish love. My talented friend Maria makes these amazing sugar cookies.  Aren’t the teeny marshmallow hearts so sweet, too!P1070144“A little romance with one’s tea is good for the soul, I think…don’t you!” XOXOXO

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I love it whenever you take a few moments to stop by and am so appreciative of every second you are here. Wishing you a beautiful day filled with love, romance and chocolate and a wonderful week ahead!

Cheers, Linda

I am joining the party today at A Return to LovelinessFriends Sharing TeaShare Your Cup ThursdaySimple and Sweet FridayShabbilicious Friday, Fridays UnfoldedHome Sweet HomeShow and Tell, Show Off Saturday, What To Do WeekendsPink Saturday, Amaze Me Monday, Inspiration Monday, Creative Mondays, Much Ado About Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Tuesdays At Our Home, Friends Sharing Tea, Wordless Wednesday, WoW Us WednesdayHome and Garden Thursday.

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Beautiful Christmas Green!

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Dear Friends,

Happy first day of a brand new week! Let’s get this week off to a festive, fun and inspiring start, shall we! It is already starting to look alot like Christmas at our home! Big Elf (a.k.a. husband) helped me yesterday on a record-breaking day for cold (-10.7 Celsius) to festively festoon our front door with fresh foliage! I know! That’s a mouthful!

Despite the bitter cold, we felt energized by the job! We spent the entire afternoon decking the outside of the house and the hours just flew by! I love this time of year, readying for the approaching holidays.

The tea’s ready! (hope you like Earl Grey). Clasp your hands around your cuppa to keep warm and let’s go outside to see the progress so far, shall we…

P1130720I started with our never-ending garden planters and window boxes last weekend, trying to cram in all the cedar and fir and ivy clippings I could gather before we got a solid frost to save me from having to run back and forth the house with a steaming kettle, like a mad woman, pouring hot water over the soil in attempts to soften it up just enough to stick in a few branches and fashion them into something that resembles a ‘design’. Luckily, I pretty much had them completed before the freezing weather came upon us.

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I just LOVE the welcoming planters that dot our front walkway and deck in nod to the season!  In fact, I’ve decided they please me as much as when they’re filled with summertime blooms!

Contents include a wonderful aromatic mix of cedar, pine, fir, magnolia and berried juniper purchased from garden centres and grocery stores, combined with homegrown clippings of boxwood, perennial ivy, euonymous, ornamental cabbage, seedpods, twigs and bare branches and, of course, pinecones large and small. Oh, and a few birdhouses and abandoned nests, obelisks, fresh pineapple and apples and even some garden statuary thrown in for good measure! The possibilities are, indeed, endless! I am limited merely by lack of time and shortened hours of daylight! Sigh.

P1130681Seasonal garden planters bring an incredible note of warmth and welcoming to an otherwise ordinary front entry, don’t you think!  

P1130744And, remember to put your garden accessories to work in the off season! Why not!  Birdbaths, birdhouses and birdcages, benches and wagons, vintage lanterns, snowshoes, skates, sleds and even horse hames (I’ve used them all through the years) help create joyful vignettes that will delight young and old alike.

IMG_0543I’m thrilled you took time out of your busy day to stop by and share.  Come back soon and I’ll share how I turned my garden obelisk into a Christmas tree!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

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“Bloom Boxes” on my upper deck look great year round planted with easy everlastings: mini cedar trees, mini boxwood and perennial English ivy (translation: no deadheading ever — "The Gin and Tonic Gardener "style- a reference to a Canadian best seller by Janice Wells). I simply push into the soil a few sprigs of pine, fir and cedar at Christmastime. Easy peasy!

“Bloom Boxes” on my upper deck look great year round planted with easy everlastings: mini cedar trees, mini boxwood and perennial English ivy (translation: no deadheading ever — “The Gin and Tonic Gardener “style- a reference to a Canadian best seller by Janice Wells). I simply push into the soil a few sprigs of pine, fir and cedar at Christmastime. Easy peasy!

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I’m thrilled to be joining the party at Inspiration Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Tea Time TuesdayThe ScoopWhat We Accomplished Wednesday  Wordless Wednesday, What’s It Wednesday, Cottage Style PartyFriends Sharing Tea, Home and Garden Thursday, Open House Thursday, Show and Tell FridayFeathered Nest Friday, Home Sweet Home, What To Do Weekends, The Homemaking Party, Christmas Extravaganza, Saturday Show Off Pink Saturday, Be Inspired and Seasonal Sunday.

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A Garden Award!

Dear Friends,

The party in the garden is over for another year.  The blooms have faded and the bees are gone.  The fairies are all hibernating now, safely curled up and tucked deep inside the fern fronds.  And, although there are no great choirs of birds, you can still hear a soloist every now and then if you’re still and  very quiet…Past what the eye sees, there is much happening beneath the soil to ready for next season’s show of flowering splendour; for the garden, too, needs to retreat and store energy in order to survive and thrive.

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Even though, I am already dreaming of warmer days ahead. Very recently, at a lovely awards ceremony and reception at our city hall, hubby and I were presented with our city’s Award of Excellence for Gardens!!!  A beautiful etched crystal plaque sits, for the moment, on our kitchen table catching the light.

This has certainly been a good year for our garden! In August, our provincial landscape association and our university’s botanical garden asked that our garden be on their Mystery Garden Tour fundraiser next summer! Hubby and I, along with some friends, bought tickets for their inaugural tour this past summer held over a weekend in August and got a chance to tour a dozen private residential gardens. We enjoyed every single moment of it! I can’t wait to go again!  There are so many wonderful gardens and each one is uniquely beautiful!

It’s so humbling to be recognized for our accidental greenish thumbs! Lol When you plant a garden, the least you can hope for is that something will manage to bloom where you planted! And, the most you can hope for is that someone else will enjoy it and want to share it, too! Points of merit listed on the framed award certificate include:

 – “Even more beautiful than the garden, is the hope it has inspired. “Pink Days In Bloom” is a national fundraiser that began in this garden to raise funds to fight breast cancer.”

– Featured in an upcoming spring issue of Victoria magazine, this lovely garden is bringing communities together.”

Did you catch that last ‘bit’???? 🙂  As I know many of you share a love for gardens, I am, for now, sharing just a few photos of one section of our garden in bloom earlier this year.  Stay tuned for holiday planters…Thanks for visiting!

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Linda

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Non-stop begonias are still blooming!

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I am thrilled to be back sharing with Sandi at Tea Time, What’s It WednesdayOpen House Blog PartyFeathered Nest Friday, Pink Saturday  and Seasonal Sunday!

Categories: JARDINS, PINK

Romantic Easter

Dear Friends,

It’s end of day and I am just steeping a cup of chamomile tea.  Would you like to join me?  It’s hard to imagine that Easter has nearly passed, particularly since the ground here is still covered in a blanket of white.  It has been snowing on and off over the past few days. This morning the roads were icy and treacherous in places.  Today, it was less like Easter and more like Christmas with a long weekend, shovelling, church services, family gatherings, roast turkey, wrapped gifts and chocolate.  Lots of chocolate. Our family and neighbours were even exchanging tongue-in-cheek greetings of “Merry Christmas!”  It was as if time had stood still and we hadn’t moved past the 25th of December!  Sigh.

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PHOTO:  Aren’t these Easter cookies glorious?  They are sugar cookies made by my new friend Maria.  She is a genius when it comes to creating these confections for holidays and special occasions.  They are truly ‘Works of Heart’.  I was so excited that she was able to make me a batch for Easter gift giving.  She even packaged them individually in cello bags and tied them with pretty ribbons.  
 
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My hubby and I were grateful to be able to enjoy a delicious dinner with my sister, niece and her beautiful family.  We had lots of laughs.  My niece Janell’s children are Lily, age 2, and Victoria, age 9.  They are always entertaining and just a barrel of fun.  They LOVED their Easter cookies! Lily’s first word when she spied them was, “WOW!” And, she ran to give me a big hug!  I hope you celebrated and enjoyed your time with loved ones as well.

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I am enjoying an Easter vignette in a teeny corner of my kitchen tonight while sipping a cuppa. My husband has gone to bed. I decided to stay up for awhile to wind down after the day’s festivities and savour the quietness of the house. Our cat, Monza, is nearby cozily curled up in his basket and snoozing away. I think I can hear him snoring!  The cat. Not hubby.

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I am loving the way the chandelier prisms refract the light and cast shadows on the wall at this time of night. A lamp stands on the pine dresser re-purposed as a sideboard. The glow from it is almost ethereal and bathes the entire room in its warmth. I thought I’d share with you some photos of the Easter decor before it goes away for another year…
 
 
 
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I love the soft colour palette, touches of lovely pale blue, celadon, peachy pinks and creamy whites. Rabbits and roses, birdhouses and candles are whimsical touches that are lovely at any time of year. The subtle sparkle from the chandelier really adds that touch of glamour to an otherwise simple spring setting. I hope you don’t mind that the light is low and I let the pictures do the talking.  I need to sleep now…

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I just want to tell you how touched I am by all the lovely comments you left on my last post, Easter Blessings!  I am so glad you enjoyed it. I was really quite surprised by the number of visits it received! And, thank you for coming to see me tonight, too! Sweet dreams of Easter…

Wishing you a beautiful start to a new week,

Linda

I am joining A Return to Loveliness, Make It Pretty MondayMop It Up Monday, Met Monday, Mosaic Monday, Mod Mix MondayCreative Blogger, Teatime Tuesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Make the Scene Monday, Cottage Style Easter/Spring Party, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tuesdays at Our Home, Tweak it TuesdayMartha’s FavouritesTabletop TuesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, Friends Sharing Tea, Cottage Style Party, Primp Your Style, Wordless Wednesday, Be Inspired, Whatever You Want Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday,  Blissful White Wednesday, Wholehearted Home, Outdoor Wednesday, Show and Share, Treasure Hunt Thursday, Pearls and Lace Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Transformation Thursday, Homemaking Linkup, Thursday Favourite  Things, Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits, No Minimalist Here, Feathered Nest Friday, Shabbylicious Friday, Fabulous Creative Friday, Home Sweet Home, Show and Tell Friday, Be Inspired, Open House at Bernideen’s, Pink Saturday, Saturday Show Off , What To Do Weekends, Seasonal Sunday and Sunny Simple Sunday!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Majestic Hatley Park

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.  ~Hanna Rion

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Dear Friends,

Welcome! The teapot’s on!  I’m thrilled you’re visiting with me today.  It has been awhile.  I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. I find that for me, it does seem to take a lot of time, and there are so many other demands of life at the moment, but that’s for another day.  For now, I am glad to be here in the present, slowing a little and enjoying spending time with you.

Can it be that Spring is really just around the corner? We still have much snow, although it is beginning to warm here. To see sunshine and hear birdsong will make things alright. 

Since everyone is sharing garden dreams these days, I assembled a  photo collage to share with you of beautiful Hatley Park, a National Historic Site nestled on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island in Colford, a mere 25 minutes from downtown Victoria, British Columbia.  I was at The Empress Hotel in Victoria for a work conference last May and stayed an extra week to enjoy some touring. Living on Canada’s East Coast, on the island of Newfoundland in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I could not imagine flying clear across the country for 7 hours, plus 4 hours of stopovers each way, from the East Coast to the West Coast, without seeing some of the glorious B.C. gardens that I had been reading about in my favourite magazines for so many years.

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PHOTO: The celebrated Empress Hotel in Victoria on Vancouver Island is famous for its turn-of-the century architecture and supreme harbour location. Built between 1904 and 1908, The Empress is an icon in its own right and has been designated a National Historic Site.  Perhaps one of its most captivating features is the veil of ivy that covers the face of this old hotel.

My hubby joined me on the trip and we set out on the renowned Garden Trail to see as many gardens as possible in the brief time we were there.  Hatley Park was one of those magnificent gardens.  The gardens surround B.C.’s Royal Roads University.  The park grounds are open daily to the public for a modest fee but students of the University enjoy free access to the gardens.  Can you imagine a more inspiring setting in which to study?

It’s time for another walk in the park!  Won’t you come along?

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A footbridge within the quiet beauty of the Japanese garden leads us into a magical setting of perfect quietude.  I could have just stayed here for hours and not have ventured any further along the trail…(If you’d prefer a winter’s walk, take a side trip here in my home city).

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The 565 acres of gardens of Royal Roads University include a Japanese Garden (photos above), Rose Garden and Italian Garden (photos below).  The Italian garden is my favourite with frothy wisteria dripping over the garden’s ornate structures and entryways.

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I love the pretty statuary of the Italian garden and the glorious pink roses that scramble wildly upwards over the castle walls.  I do love pink!

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The castle is named Hatley Castle built by The Honourable James Dunsmuir who was a coal baron and prominent businessman in British Columbia in the late 1800’s.  He was elected Premier  in 1900. After just two short years, he realized that he had no desire for public life and resigned in 1902. In later years, he served as Lieutenant Governor of the province. In 1908, Dunsmuir built impressive Hatley Castle set amidst spectacular formal landscapes and embraced by B.C. forest and expansive Pacific Ocean views.

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Hatley Castle is now a classified Federal Heritage Building and is a popular site for weddings,  special events, conferences, even motion picture filming and the buzz of late – experiential travel.  Have you heard of it?  Experiential travel is based more on real-life experiences than star-rated amenities and popular tourist attractions.  Volunteering, immersing in cultural activities, trying new or exotic foods, even harvesting and cooking your own food – connecting with people where they live and experiencing everyday life – are what makes experiential travel so compelling and unique.

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What struck me most about Hatley Park is the abundance, diversity and significance of the trees, including 250-year old Douglas firs that are said to be among the largest in the area. We had never seen anything like them and were awestruck by their lush beauty and colossal size. I stood under the enormous cedars letting their branches sweep over my face!  I felt like a wee girl enchanted in a fairytale wonderland, dwarfed by their sheer  majesty.   

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A picture is worth a thousand words. An entire photo album follows; you can do the math! 🙂  I hope you will get a feel for the grandeur, tranquil  and reverent spirit of these winsome gardens.  And, won’t you have some Japanese Cherry tea while you’re browsing?  As you probably already know, it’s my favourite.  My niece Janell gave me these sweet china cups many years ago.  I love to sip from them while I dream of faraway places and their masterpiece gardens…

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Online tea source:  The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Thank you for taking time to stop by and for leaving such lovely comments.  I always look forward to hearing from you and am like a kid at Christmastime when I see your notes in my Inbox! Lol  You just make my day. I hope to see you again soon. EnJOY your garden dreams! And, since there is so much green in this post, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

 

Life Can Be A Walk in the Park!

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” ― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

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Dear Friends,

Thank you for dropping by.  I hope you can spare a little time to come for a walk in the park with me.  It is a bright and invigorating day and so I am bringing my camera along to capture some of the winter beauty…

“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.”   ~George Macauley Trevelyan

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Our small city of St. John’s, Newfoundland of about 100,000 people is touted to be the oldest city in North America (I’m not sure how factual the claim because I once visited St. Augustine, Florida and I believe this, too, is their claim).  I do know that St. John’s is steeped in history with a colourful culture and a warm, fun-loving people.  Here’s an introduction to some of the flavour of our city:

 COLOURFUL ST. JOHN’S

Bowring Park is a well-loved destination here and is synonymous with the beloved literary figure Peter Pan! Are you curious to know more while we walk? It’s a bit of a story…

P1050697The Bowring family has had a long history with Newfoundland since the early 1800’s when first Benjamin Bowring came from England with his family to set up shop as a watchmaker and jeweller.  His wife later set up a small dry goods shop which evolved into a general department store. Five generations of the Bowring family would branch out, very successfully, and build a global empire of trade and shipping including oil tankers, cargo fleets, passenger liners as well as a coastal mail service.  In 1911, to commemorate their 100 years of successful business in Newfoundland, the Bowring family dedicated 50 acres of parkland to the City; today Bowring Park encompasses over 200 acres.

Two world wars wiped out much of the Bowring fleet.  Following the Second World War, the main business of the company in Newfoundland became retailing.  For many years, the company operated its famous department store on Water Street in St. John’s (I remember it well – my husband and I still have many of the Christmas ornaments we bought there when we were first married).  The stylish downtown store was later expanded into a chain of “little shops”.  These were the basis for the nation-wide chain of 50 plus beautiful Bowring stores that exist today.  Interestingly, the company logo “Terra Nova” was a Bowring ship that was chartered by the British Navy for Admiral Scott’s famous journey to the Antarctic in 1911, although the stores are no longer  connected with the Bowring family. The chain is currently celebrating 200 years of business in Newfoundland and Bowring remains one my favourite places to shop. 

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In summer, Bowring Park is popular for its splash pad, playgrounds, day camps, tennis courts, skate parks, soccer, swimming, picnics, beautiful trees and plant conservatory, concerts in the outdoor ampitheatre, weddings and even lawn bowling!  In wintertime, citizens enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and, on occasion, horse-drawn sleigh rides. For over a decade, the Annual Festival of Christmas Music and Lights has been attended by thousands. Many residents have fond memories of their childhood and family outings in Bowring Park. Does anyone recall learning to skate on Fountain Pond? 
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My favourite feature of the park, apart from the majestic swans and rustic fencing and benches, is a playful statue of Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up.  He can be seen from the entrance to the park, near the main gates, and stands confidently high atop a bronze tree-trunk, beckoning believers…You can almost hear the playful notes of his pipe as he charms the faeries and woodland animals to him. He is, undoubtedly, one of the park’s most enchanting centerpieces. The park belongs to Peter Pan, the idea of magic, the young and the forever young-at-heart.
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Although Peter Pan symbolizes the innocence, wonder and joy of eternal youth, how the statue came to be in our park is especially sad. Look closely and you will see the inscription:
“Presented to the Children of Newfoundland by Sir Edgar R. Bowring
in Memory of a Dear Little Girl Who Loved The Park..”
 A second inscription on the opposite side of the statue reads simply:
“Betty Munn”.  
All who are familiar with the park perhaps know from their parents or teachers, the story of Betty Munn …
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Sir Edgar Bowring was a partner in the thriving family business, Bowring Brothers.  He was also a politician and philanthropist.  Betty was Sir Edgar’s granddaughter. On February 23, 1918, Betty and her father, John Munn (also a managing director of Bowring Brothers), boarded a Bowring-owned vessel S.S. Florizel bound for Nova Scotia and New York.  They were to meet Betty’s grandmother, Mrs. Munn, in Halifax and all three were to head south where they would spend the winter months due to Mrs. Munn’s ill health. Tragically, their voyage would be cut short.  Later that same night during a fierce winter storm, the Florizel crashed into rocks off the coast of Newfoundland.  Sorrowfully, of the 138 passengers, 94 perished in the icy Atlantic Ocean.  Among them was young Betty who was nearly 4 years of age.  Sir Edgar’s sweet grandchild would never have the chance to grow up…In loving memory of little Betty, Sir Edgar commissioned leading British sculptor Sir George Frampton to create a likeness of his original Peter Pan statue located in London’s Kensington Gardens to stand in beloved Bowring Park.
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Delicate faeries dance around the middle of the tree trunk on their climb to the top.
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Peter Pan has stood nobly in Bowring Park, fuelling imaginations, since he was first gifted to us on August 29, 1925 as part of a dedicated “Children’s Day”.  It was reported that several thousand children were present for the much-anticipated unveiling of Peter Pan and the festivities that would follow the ceremony. The Mayor of the day, Tasker Cook, encouraged the children to “learn to know him and love him with all your hearts…”  Frampton, too, attended the ceremony and noted to the crowds  that “... the animals and fairies on the statue are listening to the pipes of Pan, one of the mice is completing his toilet before going up to listen to the music, (and) the squirrel is discussing political matters with two of the fairies”. 

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Replicas of Frampton’s Peter Pan statue, cast from the original mold, can be found around the world including: Liverpool’s Sefton Park, the Gardens of Egmont Palace in Brussels, Toronto’s Glenn Gould Park, Queen’s Gardens in Perth, Australia and Rutgers University’s Johnson Park in Camden, New Jersey.  Frampton commented that his Bowring Park version of Peter was superior in location to his statue in London’s Kensington Gardens due to “the wholly natural surroundings and flowing river being more in keeping with the spirit of Peter and particularly animals and faeries…”   If you have seen the other statues of Peter Pan, I would love for you to share them with us…

The enormous resplendent linden tree located in the park near Peter Pan fell during Hurricane Igor on September 21, 2010.  It had been planted nearly a century earlier by England’s Duke of Connaught when Bowring Park was opened on July 15, 1914.  Since Igor, a class of local elementary school students helped our Mayor plant a new linden tree in its place.

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The Peter Pan Festival, with the focus on children and the wonderment of childhood, was a magical time in Bowring Park: music and children’s performers, skateboard demonstrations, inflatable rides, sport challenges, car shows, multicultural concerts, fun food, bingo and more.  The Peter Pan soapbox races were a highlight, “… open exclusively to drivers with valid Bowring Park drivers licenses, which are issued only to people between the ages of 7 and 14…”
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Paul Russellafter having visited Bowring Park in 2005, described his Peter Pan festival experience in the British newspaper The Telegraph“One thing I have noticed since moving to Newfoundland, two years ago, is the focus on the family. Everything here is geared towards the family. Newfoundlanders possess an immense love for the family, and their children are very precious to them. All activities are family-oriented, and children are the focus of most of those activities. Here the children come first, something that appears to be less and less the case in this day and age.”  
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The Peter Pan festival began in August 29, 2000 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Sir Edgar’s gift to the park. Sadly, the much-loved festival is no longer active for reasons I don’t know.  
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Russell further wrote, “Pan, the boy who never grew up, could be used as a metaphor for the people of Newfoundland.  They are, in the best possible way, an innocent people.  Newfoundlanders have a reputation the world over for their warmth and friendliness…” I love this!

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How blessed we are to have been graced with this beautiful park and its charming statuary.  Peter Pan is, indeed, magical. P1050711

DID YOU KNOW?  Sir Edgar Frampton’s original sculpture of Peter Pan ‘magically appeared’ in London’s Kensington Gardens on May 1, 1912. The statue was erected in secret overnight at the expense of J. M. Barrie, the author and creator of Peter Pan. The next day, an advert by Barrie appeared in the British newspaper The Times: “There is a surprise in store for the children who go to Kensington Gardens to feed the ducks in the Serpentine this morning.  Down by the little bay on the south-western side of the tail of the Serpentine, they will find a May-day gift by Mr J.M. Barrie, a figure of Peter Pan blowing his pipe on the stump of a tree, with fairies and mice and squirrels all around…”  

Barrie chose the exact location of the statue in Kensington Gardens.  It was lovingly placed there because Peter made his first appearance in literature in Barrie’s novel “The Little White Bird” which is set in Kensington Gardens. It was also in the Gardens where Barrie spent cherished time with the children who inspired his creation of Peter Pan.

P1050702A peace dove tucks itself in under a crevice in the bronze tree trunk. Did you spot the inscription to the right?

The network of serene walking trails and attractive bridges feature magnificent views complete with flower beds, a rose garden, waterfalls, duck families and graceful swans.  Indeed, countless children have had their picture taken by the Duck Pond feeding the ducks.  Through the years, the park as become deeply rooted in the lives of those who live here.

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I hope you enjoy seeing the details of the statue.  A collection of faeries, mice, squirrels, rabbits, birds, frogs and salamanders climb their way up the tree trunk to Peter Pan listening to the notes of his magical flute…

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DID YOU KNOW?  It is recommended that you not feed bread to the ducks and birds.  Bread has little nutritional value and its high salt content dehydrates the birds.  It also promotes bacterial growth in the ponds and rivers.  By purchasing healthy duck food, you will be doing the birds and their environment a favour.  Duck food is available at various Marie’s MinMarts around the city for just $1.00 a bag; 100% of the proceeds from the feed sales is forwarded to the Bowring Park Foundation in support of the park. 🙂

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DID YOU KNOW? The statue of Peter Pan is probably about 10-feet high. The widespread popular appeal of his Peter Pan statue led Frampton to produce a 18.5″ bronze reduction of the main figure expected to bring at auction £50kBowring Park will proudly celebrate its centennial birthday next year. Wouldn’t you love to have your very own miniature of Peter Pan to commemorate the anniversary? Hmmm….Special celebrations are being planned by the Bowring Park Foundation for the park and its patrons.  We will all look forward to the party!

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Bowring Park is a gift to all who visit, the crown jewel of our city.  If you live near a beautiful park, I hope you will enjoy a walk there very soon. Oh, and remember to bring your camera and share the beauty…

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An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.  ~Henry David Thoreau.

Wasn’t that a beautiful walk?  Shall we go inside where it’s cozy?  I hope you have a little more time to join me in a hot cuppa.  I am using some of my prized teacups in your honour today. This stunning tea set was a ‘surprise gift’ to me by a dear friend.  I’d be delighted to share that story with you on another day, if you wish…Now, how would you like your tea?

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I am thrilled to be sharing at Mop It Up Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, What’s It Wednesday,  What We Accomplished Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, Pearls and Lace ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayFeathered Nest Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Saturday Show Off, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Sunny Simple Sunday, Seasonal Sunday,  Sunlit Sunday, Home Sweet Home, Open House,  Be Inspired, You’re Going to Love It!

Sources: Bowring Park Foundation, Newfoundland Tourism, The Telegraph, Bowring.com

It’s Christmas, naturally!

A freshly made "pineapple fan" above our door is an annual tradition inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  The crown will last for several weeks.

A freshly made “pineapple fan” above our door is an annual tradition inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The crown will last for several weeks. Photo: December 2013

Dear Friends,

As you are busying about with all your holiday preparations, I thought I would share a little inspiration with you…My husband and I recently returned from a long-awaited vacation to historic Williamsburg, Virginia, a restored 18th-century colonial capital of 300 plus acres.

It had been 25 years since we were last there, and the thing I remembered most about the place was the abundance of natural and imaginative decorations on doors and door crowns, windows and windowsills, lanterns, mantels and tabletops, just about everywhere throughout the town, all masterfully designed from fresh elements.

I was not disappointed on this trip.  Winter foliage finery at its very best still graces the historic town’s exhibition buildings, restaurants, shops, offices and private homes and have inspired people for centuries, especially at Christmastime.

Evergreens, a symbol of eternal life, were remarkably commonly used by the resourceful citizens of 18th century Williamsburg to decorate their homes at the bleakest time of year.

Today, the area draws admirers from around the world.  It takes days and days and days and the talents of an entire design crew, in addition to a legion of private homeowners, to make the magic happen at Colonial Williamsburg.

P1040985Truckloads of evergreens of every variety imaginable, cases upon cases of fruits and vegetables, nuts, berries, wheat, grapevines, twigs, seed pods, pinecones and dried flowers are used on everything from sprays and wreaths to garlands and centerpieces. Musical instruments, carved wooden ornaments, iron elements, balls of cotton, wool, flannel and felt are often incorporated in the designs – even leather shoes and soup tureens are used in their outstanding creations!  

P1050006Decorations go up in time to celebrate Thanksgiving and remain throughout the holidays until Old Christmas Day on January 6th.  A team of dedicated employees are responsible for freshening up any that might need it.  Where fruits are inserted on florist picks, it makes them easy to remove and replace with new.

Actors dressed in period costume and carollers stroll the pretty streets. The sound of fifes and drums, interesting outdoor markets, hot cider aplenty, the lighting of hundreds of candles in windows at dusk, fireworks and flaming cressets (fire baskets that are hand forged by community artisans are hung on tall posts, filled with kindling and lit) along streets and walkways all lend to the fascination of the annual “Grand Illumination” of the town held annually the first weekend in December.  It is just oh-so-pretty at night, like a beautiful dream…We LOVED it!

Every year since our first visit to Williamsburg 25 years ago, my husband and I have been making a door crown in the traditional Williamsburg style to hang over the front door of our own home. It is fashioned primarily from a fresh pineapple (the symbol of welcome), apples and cedar. A few pinecones or nuts are sometimes incorporated depending on what I happen to have on hand. Citrus fruits can be used, too, but I am partial to the gloss of the Red Delicious apples once Big Elf (a.k.a. husband) polishes them with a soft cloth until they’re gleaming. I make the ‘Pineapple Fan’; Big Elf hangs it. That’s the deal. But he always insists on polishing the apples first! It has become a Christmas tradition for us.  Our long-awaited return visit to Williamsburg was the icing on the cake, rekindling the spirit in which our tradition first began.

The photo below was taken in December 2011.  We’ve had a lot of snow in the past week, I’ve been down with the flu and we haven’t managed to hang the door crown yet, but this weekend it will go up at long last.  Hey, how did that dent in the door get there!

I’m excited to be sharing this archived post today on Oh The Places I’ve Been!

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I am dedicating this post to my dear friend Carolyn Aiken whose home is Prince Edward Island and who I know would love Williamsburg, too. With every snap of the camera, I thought of her. I gathered a small sampler of photos of the multitude of Williamsburg wreaths and swags to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them and that you’ll be inspired to personalize your own welcome wreath for the holidays.  Do you have a favourite?

Thank you for dropping by to visit at such a busy time.  I hope you are able to wrap up your To-Do list soon.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

NOTE:  If, after you’ve finished browsing the photos of Williamsburg below, you’d like to see some 2013 photos of our front door decorating, click here “Beautiful Christmas Green.  These photos were taken on The Duke of Gloucester Street., the town’s main road.
Williamsburg, Va. Decorations P1040901 P1040902 P1040903 P1040905 P1040904 P1040906 P1040907 P1040908 P1040909 P1040911 P1040912 P1040915 P1040916 P1040922 P1040924 P1040923 P1040926 P1040927 P1040928 P1040930 P1040931 P1040937 P1040936 P1040938 P1040940 P1040942 P1040941 P1040943 P1040945 P1040944 P1040946 P1040947 P1040948 P1040949 P1040950 P1040951 P1040952 P1040953 P1040954 P1040955 P1040959 P1040960 P1040961 P1040962 P1040965 P1040972 P1040979 P1040978 P1040984 P1040985 P1040989 P1040990 P1040993 P1040995 P1040998 P1040997 P1050002 P1050003 P1050004 P1050005 P1050006 P1050007 P1050010 P1050011 P1050016 P1050022 P1050018 P1050024 P1050025 P1050032 P1050033 P1050034 P1050035 P1050043 P1050040 P1050039 P1050038 P1050037 P1050036 P1050044 P1050047 P1050049 P1050051 P1050053 P1050059 P1050057Christmas, naturally, in Williamsburg, Va.

THE TREASURES AND PLEASURES OF TEA…

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.  ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Carolyn gifted me her prized pink antique lustreware teapot - a rare beauty. It was featured in many of her blog posts over the years, and now it has a place of honour in my home and on my blog! I hope you don't miss it too much, Carolyn. You can know that it has a good home here.

Hello Dear Friends!

Today I am dreaming – dreaming of old-fashioned garden teas, teas on the porch, seaside teas, and tea picnics…

We are having a snowstorm in this corner of the world, and there’s not much moving outside.  So, I thought I would pass a little ‘quiet time’ and have some fun browsing through old photos and videos (I should be removing the past holiday eye-candy from my main blog page but that’s for another day).  Hmm, I came across something that I think you might like…

Some of you might recall that I travelled to Prince Edward Island last summer just to meet a new friend through blogging, Carolyn of the popular blog Aiken Home and Gardens!

During my visit with her, Carolyn gifted me her prized antique lustreware teapot!  It has appeared from time to time in her  breathtakingly beautiful blog posts like this one and this one.  She knew that I loved, it too, and I could not believe that she was gifting it to me as a remembrance of our visit together.

I featured Carolyn’s home and gardens in a series of five (Yes, 5!) blog posts listed below:

As a gift to Carolyn, I put together a slideshow of just some of her many teas that she has shared with her readers over the years. The photos in the video are from Carolyn’s own blog.  Carolyn has an abundant collection of the most enchanting teapots and tea things I have ever seen. I love looking at it and thinking of warmer days ahead…

I thought I would share the video with you and hope you enjoy it, too!  Carolyn’s tea vignettes are, indeed, a feast for the eyes. You’ll surely be inspired – if not to go out and dig yourself a big ol’ garden, at the very least to put the tea kettle on! Lol  After you watch it, why don’t you pop over to visit Carolyn’s captivating blog where she generously shares her life on the idyllic Island of Anne. And, don’t be shy, please leave her a comment to let her know you came by; I know she’ll appreciate it.  Won’t you tell her that I sent you! Lol  Here’s to a lovely teatime!  Thanks for stopping by.

Click the link below to view

“The Treasures and Pleasures of Tea”.

I always fear that creation will expire before teatime.
– Sidney Smith

I am happy to be joining the following wonderful parties:  Simply Sweet and Lace, Victoria, A Return to Lovelines, Friends Sharing Tea, Home Sweet Home, Potpourri Friday 2805, Show Off your Cottage Monday, Teatime Tuesday , Teacup Tuesday What’s It Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesday, Feathered Nest Friday  and Show and Tell Friday!

The Tangled Garden

Inside the gift shop at Tangled Garden...Herbs and flowers are drying overhead. You can taste sample the many wonderful products before you buy. It is a beautiful, creative place! See the studio photos at the end of this post...

Greetings, All!

Welcome to my tea table today.  The brew is steeping and the teacups are waiting for you. I’ve added a few special treats to our table this afternoon, some very special jams and jellies that I think you are going to like…

Grand Pres in the heart of Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia holds an intriguing garden grown primarily for its herbs that are transformed into flavoured jams and jellies, oils and vinegars, chutneys and salsas, mustards, liqueurs and honey. Only the freshest fruit from nearby farms and orchards and wine from local wineries are used to make Tangled Garden’s tasty gourmet treats.

Their luscious jellies, for example, are made in small batches by hand – just six jars at a time. You can taste the quality in each product.  You can sense the care that goes into each glorious, glistening jar of pride.

Jars of herb-infused treats sit on a twig shelf in the Tangled Garden...

I love the way sprigs of their homegrown herbs look when suspended inside the clear, vibrant-coloured jellies and oils. And, did I mention the beautifully shaped jars and bottles that hold these delights?! When sat on a windowsill catching sunbeams, the elixir-filled bottles resemble radiant jewels sparkling in the sunlight…

Perfect for gift giving, the potions come in tidy and sophisticated handcrafted wooden crates. Oil and vinegar duos are beautifully presented in unique bottles on a cruet tray. There are boxes with handles, tiny chests with brass hinges made especially for single jars, and then there are the jelly trees! You can choose the flavours you’d like included in your gift crate.

The liquers are so special made from fruits and herbs steeped to produce wonderful-tasting concoctions that can be drizzled over ice cream, sponge cake, fresh fruit… Or, serve chilled to just sip slowly, or mixed with sparkling water, white wine or champagne…The possibilities are endless.

With delicious-sounding names like Peach and Rhubard Angelica, Radiant Raspberry, Cherry Anise Hyssop, Verbena Blue, Orange Chive, Tarragon Wine, Currant Thyme, Apple Sage, Lemon Rosemary….I simply could not resist purchasing an assortment to bring home with me.

Oh, Jelly Tree! Oh, Jelly Tree!

Whenever we travel to Nova Scotia, we visit Tangled Garden. For many years, the owners were regulars at our major Christmas craft fairs here in Newfoundland.  You can see them at the Halifax Forum for Christmas at the Forum on November 4th, 5th and 6th.

If you’d like to know more about these delicious and stylish products, check out their website at Tangled Garden.

There is always much to see at the Tangled Garden that is new and exciting. When we there in August, it was the first time in many years since we had visited, and we could see a tremendous change and growth in the garden. There are so many more sculptures and specialty gardens, even herb ice cream, and a lily pond with turtles!

I snapped these photos during our time spent there.  I hope you enjoy them. Maybe you’ll be inspired to grow your own tangled garden…

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.  ~Laiko Bahrs

Beautiful window view!

A Tangled Garden Tour…

We're at the entrance to the Tangled Garden. There's lots to see. Be sure to bring your camera!

Didn't I tell you how beautiful the bottles were?! Who wouldn't love to receive one of these tasty treasures?!

There's an amazing variety of homegrown gifts to choose from in the giftshop.

Don't you love how they glisten in the sunlight?! The garden is open so let's go for a stroll, shall we? Notice the wisteria in the photo below - it needs a strong support!

JOYFUL FALL BULBS

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.  ~Albert Camus

Sugar pumpkins in my flower boxes along with perennial ivies...

Happy Fall Daze, Everyone!

Autumn has officially arrived.  September is my favourite month:  clear, clean air and refreshing breezes, the way the clouds look skimming across the blue sky, biting into a crisp juice-filled apple, my friend Shirley’s tasty pumpkin cookies, drinking warm apple cider, and visiting the pumpkin patch to select sugar pumpkins…They make tasty pies and are just petite enough to fit snugly into my urns, planters, and flower boxes. I especially love shopping for fall bulbs…It’ll soon be tulip planting time, my friends!

DID YOU KNOW?! The tulip is a symbol of international friendship. Ottawa, our country’s capital city, has proudly celebrated its Canadian-Dutch bond for nearly seventy years, conveyed through tulips that bloom by the millions throughout our nation’s home each May during the world’s largest annual tulip festival!  In 1945, 100,000 tulip bulbs were gifted to Ottawa as a thank you for our military support in liberating the Netherlands during the Second World War. During the German occupation of that country, Princess Julianna (who would later become Queen) and her two daughters sought refuge in Ottawa.  During her stay, on January 19, 1943, the Princess gave birth to a third daughter (Princess Margriet) at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.  To ensure the royal baby’s Dutch citizenship, the hospital’s maternity ward was declared to be on Dutch soil, and the flag of the Netherlands was flown over the Peace Tower – the only time in Canadian history that a foreign flag was flown over the Parliament Buildings.  To this day, Holland continues to say thank you through the gift of its beautiful tulip bulbs to Ottawa.

Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes.  Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.  ~Samuel Butler

Halloween decorations add a little seasonal whimsy to planters...

I diligently planted well over 200 tulips along the path of a small garden at the side of our house one fall, along with additional bulbs in an array of pots and flowers boxes.  To my dismay, none of them came up the following spring. Nowhere could I find any sign of the bulbs that I had planted only months before. I later deduced that squirrels had eaten every last one – although I’d never seen squirrels in our neighbourhood until a few days after my discovery!  Apparently, squirrels (a.k.a rats with cute-as-pie faces and fluffy dusters attached to the end of their butts) especially looove tulip bulbs (daffodil bulbs, not so much).  I had unwittingly treated these attractive rodents to the very finest buffet feast!  They must have been out of their minds with ecstasy when they came to ‘our table’ that year!

Having learned an expensive lesson, and armed with 300+ tulips bulbs and a roll of chicken wire this past fall, I covered every last bulb with narrow strips of the mesh stuff before pushing the soil back over top of the bulbs. The labour to unroll the unruly wire and cut it into manageable narrow strips was well worth the extra (albeit frustrating) effort.  I was rewarded months later with a glorious riot of red, orange, yellow and pink tulip blooms!

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.  ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Here is what I’ve learned through trial and error about planting tulips.  I’m happy to share it with you if you may be thinking of planting this year for the first time, or even adding tulips to other areas of your gardens:

TRIED-AND-TRUE TULIP TIPS

MAKE YOUR BED
  • Prepare the tulip bed by removing any debris atop the soil. Rake the soil to break it up and aerate it.

    Tiptoeing through the tulips along the walkway...

  • Amend the soil, if needed. Bulbs often house all the nutrients they need to grow in the first year. If the soil is clay-like, however, I like to use vermiculite or peat moss to give them a little boost.
  • Ideally, raise the soil to form a bed – if I had my time back, I would have done this for my tulips in the first year that I planted. Next month, however, I plan to reset the bulbs I planted last fall, mix them in with the some 500+ new bulbs that I recently purchased, and set them all together in a newly constructed raised bed for proper drainage and to, hopefully, encourage ultimate growing conditions.
 DESIGN & PLANTING
  • For interest, mix or match colours and varieties.
  • For impact, group like flowers in large numbers – the WOW! factor.
  • For what I like to call ‘the multiplier effect’, avoid planting your bulbs in a straight line – circular or triangular patterns enable every bulb to be seen…
 

Tulips are the cheery harbingers of spring. Looove this combination...

1) Plant bulbs in late fall before the ground freezes. Watch the weather forecast for frost warnings and plan ahead.
2) Tulips like full sun, so be sure your planting bed is situated in a good spot with plenty of light.
3) Ensure your tulip bed has plenty of drainage. Wet soil promotes fungus and disease which can rot bulbs.
4) Lay out the bulbs on the ground first where you’ll plant them to get an idea of how your design will look.
5) Place the bulbs in the soil with the tip facing upwards.  If you forget, though, don’t worry as they will eventually upright themselves – they just seem to ‘know’ 🙂
6) Plant tulip bulbs deep. Use a bulb planter for consistent depth and plant at the depth recommended on the package. Many recommend about eight inches deep, measuring from the base of the bulb.  Important Note: If you add mulch to the surface after planting, include its depth as a part of your overall planting depth. (For instance, 5 inches deep in soil plus 3 inches of mulch = 8 inches deep.)  If you don’t happen to plant your tulips deep enough, they might grow earlier in the season than if they were planted at the proper depth. 
7) Healthy Dutch bulbs generally have more than enough nourishment stored up to ensure a vigorous bloom the first season.   Important: If you want a repeat bloom for several seasons, it is recommended adding a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as well-rotted cow manure, or special bulb fertilizer at fall planting time and each fall thereafter.  Adding organic matter such as well-rotted cow manure, compost, or peat moss can also help facilitate drainage.  DID YOU KNOW?! If you did not happen to fertilize your bulbs in fall, as the shoots first appear in spring, adding a high nitrogen, fast-release fertilizer can help promote future performance.
8) HINT:  Carefully layering chicken wire, soil, and mulch over top of your tulip bulbs make it troublesome for mischievous critters to unearth your precious tulip bulbs.
9) Water thoroughly after planting to ensure that the plants develop a strong root system before going into winter dormancy. Wait for spring and observe them as they peep their heads up through the earth – it is a joy to watch!
 
 

Tulip and forsythia on the front door - a pretty combination on a spring wreath!

DID YOU KNOW? Tulips can be tricky to grow year after year even. They are considered to be perennial flowers  only in optimal growing conditions. Here’s what you can do to promote re-blooming for subsequent seasons: 
  • Choose tulips marked naturalizing/perennializing.
  • Fertilize a couple of times in fall and spring.
  • Clip off the flower heads soon after the petals fall. Allow the foliage to die back and let it remain after flowering for as long as possible.  Although it may look unsightly, the longer you leave it, the better. This technique allows the plant to put all its energy into building a strong bulb for next season.
 
 One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.  ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show


 
My beautiful niece Tammy who lives in Ottawa where the millions of tulips bloom each spring, emailed me with a tulip question not so long ago (one day I’m going to visit her and take in the Tulip Festival).  She and her husband, Craig, dug up their tulip bulbs last year (treating them as an annual as many gardeners do) and overwintered them in their garage with the hopes of replanting them in the fall.  The bulbs are now showing signs of mildew and mold, and she asked me if she should plant them. This was my answer to her:
 
 
 

Non-stop begonias are still blooming!

Hi, Tam!  
 
When it comes to tulips, m’dear, I’m just beginning to experiment, but here’s what I’ve learned…If the mold is bluish-green, it is probably penicillin and can badly damage your tulips and, therefore, you will have no blooms next spring. Although it may be painful (tulip bulbs don’t come cheap), I would discard them and opt to buy all new bulbs. But, first, before planting any new bulbs, be sure and check the soil where the tulips were originally planted for any signs that mold may exist in the soil from whence they came. It is more likely that the culprit comes from improper storage over the winter, but you want to be sure before investing more money in new bulbs and planting them where they may be fungus thriving already in your soil bed.  

If you happen to see visible signs of fungus in the soil, then it is likely that the spores could still be there and trouble any new bulbs. If this is the case, you might want to try a new location and experiment. 

Note to self: Grayish mold thrives in wet or damp soil, which I will have to be very careful of this year since we’ve had such a damp spring and summer. 

Make sure you clean up your tulip bed completely before putting in any new bulbs this fall…like any other plantings, the decayed plant material can harbour all kinds of diseases and fungus that can play havoc with your new tulip plants. The most important way to avoid damage is NOT to plant bulbs that already have mold on them.

One busy bee...

HEALTHY BULB TEST TIP:  If you’re in doubt, test your bulbs in water immediately before planting. Healthy tulip bulbs will sink. Decayed bulbs will float to the top.  AND REMEMBER:  Tulips love well-drained soil…:-)

Tulips can be tricky but  are the true harbingers of spring, and I think well worth the effort!   Hope this helps.  Hmmm…I may do a post re tulips soon!  Lol

Luvs and hugs,

Auntie Linda

P.S.  I am happy to report that my tulips thrived this year! The neighbours told us that people actually stopped or slowed to see them…Of the 300 bulbs that were planted last fall, over 270 showed their faces – I counted them! 

Thank you for stopping by all AND happy tulip planting!

 Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.  ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
 
Categories: JARDINS

From Norway With Love…

The beautiful cover of "Sanselig Sommer" - the best English translation would be "Summer for All the Senses..."

Hi, Friends!

It’s tea time…Today is an absolutely gorgeous day here  – the sun is still unseasonably warm and the breezes are very pleasant. There are only a few days left to summer. Sigh.

Officially, fall begins on September 23rd; but before it arrives on the calendar, I must tell you about a very special book – “Sanselig Sommer” by Franciska Munck-Johansen.

My friend Carolyn Aiken, whose home and gardens you toured in these last posts, was featured earlier this year in this beautiful book from Norway by the talented photographer and writer Franciska who writes for a number of international interiors magazines.  Ten large pages were devoted to Carolyn’s own verdant gardens.

“Sanselig Sommer” is available through Franciska’s beautiful blog. Although it is not available translated into English, the stunning photos speak a universal language of inspired beauty. I hope you will visit Franciska’s Beautiful World.

Franciska had asked if she could post on her blog my story about my dear neighbour Joanne and her legion of garden faeries who looked after my garden last year from June through September while I was doing other things – like undergoing chemotherapy treatments. I was more than happy to share as it was such a selfless and inspiring thing to do, and it meant so much.

As a thank you, Franciska generously sent me an autographed copy of her gorgeous book!   I was overjoyed to receive her gift and when it arrived in the post, it just made my day!  It was such a beautiful and thoughtful surprise!

You’ll find tons of ideas and recipes throughout its large pages.  I have gleamed some wonderful ideas already that I can’t wait to try! We could all use some more beauty around us, n’est ce pas?  Here are some (of my photos of Franciska’s) photos from her exquisite book that I am showing with Franciska’s kind permission.  Thank you again, Franciska!  And, thanks for dropping by everyone!  See you soon…

I love looking at this book! This is Carolyn's romantic garden tea...very book worthy!

Carolyn's fairytale tea under a canopy of airy white tulle and a candle chandelier...Ooh, those pretty pink peonies and delicate china!

Ten pages of Franciska’s book are devoted to Carolyn’s glorious gardens…

A wire settee awaits for thee...Are you looking for your hat, Carolyn?!

An English garden in Bath...another candle chandelier!

What a great wrap for a bouquet!

Love the open shelving...Sign says, "If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen." Ya gotta love it! http://www.romantiskahem.blogspot.com

White is definitely whispering to me...

Rustic loveliness...

Glamorous thirst-quencher!

What a sweet way to give simple flowers! Don't they look so special in easy tissue wrap tied with twine?!

Some 'seat inspiration' from http://www.inspirationivitt.blogspot.com Hmm, I just might do something like this...

Categories: FAVOURITE THINGS, JARDINS

EMBRACING ROMANCE, A HOME’S INTERIOR TELLS A LOVE STORY (Touring Part V)

Good day to you, my friends!

I’m so glad you are here with me as we are coming to the end of our tour of Carolyn Aiken’s wondrous home and gardens on Prince Edward Island. Sigh.

When I first arrived at Carolyn’s front door, she greeted me like an old friend and promptly guided me to her kitchen window to see something quite astonishing. I gasped when she pointed to several teeny baby robins nested within the generous boughs of an evergreen tree that was resting up against the side of the house, mere inches from her kitchen sink!  If  you were so inclined, you could reach through and touch them!  Mind you, Mama Robin was there, too, protectively watching over her young.  I immediately knew this place to be one of welcoming, peace, and tranquility – a true haven from the busy outside world, and I was happy to be here.

Carolyn’s home is like a great big bucolic hug that embraces you instantly – it begins even as you are driving along the quiet country road that leads to her house.  Perched on the doorstep, an inviting wicker chair seems to say, “Come in! Come in!” The front porch (Carolyn has christened it ‘The Garden Room’) seems to echo this sentiment and entices you further inside – I couldn’t wait to see more of this alluring place…

Warm. Inviting. Subtle.  Gracious. So many words come to mind when I think of Carolyn and her Prince Edward Island home. It is a home that evokes a sense of nostalgic beauty, love, and a passion for nature and a wholesome life.

Together, Carolyn and her husband Andrew have transformed this near-century-old house into a charming home, one room at a time. Its walls are dressed in calming neutrals:  warm whites, grays and taupes, and even soft greens and blues. It has subtle touches of linen and lace, toile quilts and embroidered pillows, framed family photos (Carolyn’s own photos), enchanting china, silver, glassware, and bouquets of fresh flowers from the garden. Yet it is not stuffy, fussy or overburdened with pretty pinkness or feminine frou-frou – a family home has to be a compromise after all.  There is, rather, a distinct presence of casual elegance that abounds throughout.

Carolyn’s home is filled with inspiration and personal treasures. She surrounds herself with the things she loves. Yet there is no clutter.  All is arranged masterfully, artfully; everything has its place.

Carolyn’s home is an honest reflection of how she lives her life – genuine, peaceful, romantic. There are china teas in the garden under a canopy of tulle by day, and candlelit chandeliers by night; lemonade picnics by the sea with ethereal draped parasols, wicker food baskets, sparkling glassware, and special homemade treats; family weekends with boat rides on the duck pond, bonfires, marshmallow roasts, and overnight camping under the stars; leisurely strolls with her husband along a quiet country road, casting lupin seeds along the way; watching brilliant sun sets on the bay; taking day trips through the less travelled, scenic island countryside; hunting for antiques, touring museums and landmarks, and lunching at out-of-the-way tea rooms with dear friends; making fresh-from-the-oven peach pies and preserves for family and guests; veranda breakfast buffets on warm summer days; reading at night by lamplight on a screened-in porch; feminine dressing in linen skirts and flower-adorned straw summer hats; picking blackberries along a woodland trail; keeping a photo scrapbook of family life …And best of all, she shares it with us through her beautiful blog.

Home is the place that goes where you go, yet it welcomes you upon your return. Like a dog overjoyed at the door. We’ve missed you is what you hear, no matter how long you’ve been gone.

MICHAEL J. ROSEN, Home


Carolyn often chooses storied furnishings and gives them a ‘hug’ with a coat of warm white paint, which serves to unify the pieces in her guest bedrooms.  In her own bedroom, she has added a touch of ultra-romance with a balcony that overlooks the gardens, a fireplace, and a soft tulle canopy that falls from the ceiling and encircles the bed…Now, that’s romance!

Home is where the heart is.

JOSEPH C. NEAL, Singleton Snippe