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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Last winter storm ???

No pictures ... just a HUGE moaning session to get it off my chest .. we all need that right ?
Since Friday ... yes .. the Friday the 13th bit ... we have been under a winter .. YES ... WINTER storm watch .. freezing rain/snow .. winds ... severe rain fall ... you name it we are having it.
This morning it is holding at zero so far .. but this is so miserable I am beyond words !
Garden PA put out an extra feeder for the poor Goldfinches but all birds benefit from the dropped seed on the patio (yes under a bit of snow) so doves and other little ones have a chance at that.
This has to be the worst Spring I have seen since we came back from Europe .. so almost 20 years of experience here and this IS IT !
Better weather is predicted by the middle of next week .. I wonder if I can hold on to my sanity that long ???????  AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH !!

Monday, 2 April 2018

It started out with an email ... Part 1

Well .. I should be more focused on doing garden clean up and figuring out what I can and can not do this year.
You would think that would be straight forward  right ?
Then the amazing distraction happened with an amazing surprise email.


Hello there,
 Having searched the internet for a line I will be talking about soon, I came across your stunning images on the internet.
Ill be writing about it very soon in the Telegraph Newspaper and wondered if we could use your images to show its splendour? Obviously we’d be delighted to caption and credit the image to yourself.
 Should this be of interest to you we would need high res copies only.
 Kindest Regards
 Miss Lark Hanham
 Commercial Sales Manager
This was the picture she saw on the web search
I then said :
Hello !

Thank you for contacting me and NOT just using my images without consent .. I do appreciate that very much !
Yes .. I would be delighted to allow my image to be used with my photo credit acknowledged ...
I realize a full pixel count would be the appropriate format but could you tell me if this will be a digital magazine or hard copy ?
I would like to know a little about your platform if you don’t mind ?
Thanks !
Joy O’Connor  (Kingston, Ontario) Obviously a Happy Canadian ? LOL
She then told me about the newspaper garden section she worked for.

No problem Joy!
 We would never dream of stealing images from bloggers. Its against the law for starters and when you work in the press industry, you’re really asking for troubles if that’s what your doing.
 So my names below and I’m known in the UK hort industry as the Telegraph plant hunter 😊. The Telegraph is a massive Tabloid brand over here, which is very prestigious. Think Prince Charles and celebrity type demographics.
 Your image will feature in paper to about 700,00 people in a small insert we will be printing for placement around mid-March. It could even be a front page should the image be nice enough and win the vote of the best cover image.
 Online it will feature both
and
 I would need images to at least 300 dpi and as large as you have them.
 Kindest Regards
 Miss Lark Hanham

We then emailed back and forth with details. 
I sent all the pictures I took of my peony, with the hope that one of  my pictures would be lead picture for the insert .. I was beyond excitement .. and then this email came.

Hi Joy!
 I’ve attached the actual insert but the below shows you a print screen of your work! It’s made the front page of the insert! I think it looks stunning. What’s your thoughts?
When I got this email I let out a scream that sent poor Sophie (my cat) scrambling to the other end of the house (she recovered and gave me "that" look) .
This is the "proof" edition before printing so my photo credit had not been added yet.
Lark just wanted me to know and see a copy as soon as possible, which I appreciated VERY much !
She is sending me a finished hard copy as well.
Hello there!
 Still hasn’t gone to print yet but I promise I wont forget you once I have that proof in my mits!
 I know its an exciting thing to have an image in the newspaper. Speak soon Joy. Take care.
 Kindest Regards
 Miss Lark Hanham
It goes to show you ... you never know where a picture of yours might just turn up and absolutely shock you ... in a GOOD way.
I had this happen to me a few years ago with an American horticultural magazine featuring native plants .. my picture of Diervilla lonicera "Copper" (not my picture, just a reference to the type of plant) made it into their section and that blew me away at the time. 

At the moment, things are getting busy with construction of the new patio .. but this excitement will not wear off for a very long time .. I still can't believe it.
Once I get the finished edition with the photo credit I will publish that .. Lark joked about how my friends might not believe it without that credit front and center .. I said "but I have GOOD friends !"
A link to the online section Peony Green Lotus








Thursday, 8 March 2018

Winter Quickie ?

Just a heads up with what I have to contend (from this morning) with while dreaming of SPRING ?




You might notice the Goldfinches crowded around the feeder Garden PA hooked onto our big Maple tree because he couldn't force the stand in the ground .. it , the ground, was too frozen.
We didn't want to see them go without, ergo the free-wheeling hookup with a tree branch !


Can you see the ones waiting in the tree to get to the feeder ? There were also Mourning Doves on the ground pecking at fallen seed there .. poor things don't know what to make of this weather .. almost as much as me ?

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Spring Do's and Don'ts .. why ????

I would rather look at pretty plant pictures and day dream about what I want to accomplish in the garden this year .. but reality check lists have to be drawn up and adhered to for the sake of my garden and perhaps my sanity too ?
At the moment we are in another "winter" slump .. I'm in 5b growing zone by the way, but some of my blogging friends, who are in the same growing zone, are inching closer to Spring than I am.

Lisa from Greenbow ... has shown some of her gorgeous hellebore flowers that are smiling.
She does qualify these are well established plants so they do more than survive winter .. they flourish!
BUT ? what was more of a stunning surprise for her, and what really drew me in to her post ? was the discovery that her tree peony that she thought had perished .. read her story ... had gone dormant after being cut back .. retaining life in the roots .. and was showing her it SURVIVED !
Now originally she cut the plant down after thinking it was dead after a brutal summer .. and was going to dig it out in Spring .. instead it yelled signaled to her that "I'm ALIVE" by producing foliage fingers I call them.

How many times .. after a lot of experience .. have everyone of us gardeners dug up and discarded a plant we thought was DEAD ...
I did it with buddleia davidii Black Knight ... you know how buddleia can be tricky being the last in the Spring to show signs of life right ? .. no ... no excuse but a learning curve was reached.
I know there are others that got the boot from my garden because I was not patient enough.

So on the top of my list ? ... BE PATIENT .... no matter how much I want things to be sorted and neat, it might just be too much for my garden to live up to .. too soon !
I not only demand too much from my garden but of myself as well .. that is the bit of dread I have with Spring .. I will work myself into the ground .. hubby will sometimes literally have to help my up off my knees, and into the house .. I draw the line about helping me into the shower though .. I have some pride dignity ? haha

OK .. so .. I've touched on two don'ts here ..
Don't expect over the top things of your garden in the Spring .. period .. give it time!
Don't expect .. as either an older gardener, or one with physical drawbacks, to just jump in and work yourself into the ground with enthusiasm .. it won't help you or your garden.

Do's ? .. what all the good advice gives you .. don't for pity sake walk on the garden while it is trying to wake up ..my rain boots save me from sinking in mud .. but who saves the "mud" aka garden, from me? .. common sense ... just use common sense ... no intense scientific calculations needed.
If it is squishy ? BIG RED LIGHT .. let it acclimatize and dry out with the new Spring weather.
Another Do .. when you can .. cut that tattered brown foliage of any plant, because it is not coming back to look like fresh green growth.
As a rule of thumb for hellebore I cut it all off, to let the plant put out new growth ..
It can look drastic, but it has worked for me for years .. I have a whole raised bed dedicated to hellebore and once that foliage is set for the year , looks wonderful.

The BIG question is ... will I listen to my own advice ?