31 August 2011

i need a dollar

In more ways than one.  But that's not the point; it's a song.  Apologies in advance if you are in the know on the latest music but here is a pretty chill tune that has been on repeat in my car for the last couple of days that I thought I would share.

Although he was born in the U.S., 'Aloe Blacc' has been a hit in the U.K. for some time now. It seems as though his popularity in the U.S. is fairly recent (meaning Canada will likely catch on closer to 2014 if you know what I mean).

A good tune to sit in the sun on a summer evening with a vodka peach iced tea.  Or to mull over how broke you are and how much you wish you could afford that trip to Hawaii this winter.

30 August 2011

yet another project

As if I don't already have enough on the go, this weekend I am tearing out this entire backyard garden (except for the sword fern, lilac tree, rhododendron, and boxwood).

I will be transplanting the existing eucalyptus, hostas, peonies, and carex grasses and then picking up some new plants to create a much more harmonious landscape with some Asian influences and a muted color scheme.  It is definitely a challenge in creating a new garden space from scratch; knowing the different perennial blooming times so that there is a continuous rotation of interest is what I'm finding to be the most difficult aspect. I am in a bit of rush to get this all done before the end of September so that the plants have some time to develop a good root system before the winter. 

The previous owner had a jumble of overgrown plants including holly, periwinkle ground cover, and plenty of evergreen shrubs which weren't too interesting to look at year-round.

I'm going to start fresh with a Fatsia japonica to ground the space as an evergreen with large tropical-looking leaves.  I already have two of these in different areas on the property and I like the idea of repetition to create a more streamlined atmosphere.   

Then I'm thinking of putting in another Japanese favorite, Imperata cylindrica "bloodgrass".  I already confessed my love for this grass in this post.

I love the size and elegant feel of Zantedeschia...

I was given an Acer palmatum "Emperor" as a housewarming gift a few years back, and I'd like to move it from its temporary spot to a better focal point...

A Western Sword Fern, which is thriving in this area already...

I love the massive blooms of Hydrangea aborescens, and the fact that it generally blooms all the way from June to September...

There are hundreds and hundreds of daylily cultivars, but I am drawn to the deep purple of "Serena Dark Horse"...

These daylilies are early bloomers, so for a late-bloomer I'd also like to scatter a few dahlias throughout...

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' has great year-round interest, with the pink flower heads forming in July, slowly turning to red in August and then a deep rusty color in the fall.

And of course a few hostas as some groundcover, maybe some Nandina to provide more year-round structure, some tulips for early spring color, and a variety of summer annuals to fill in any bare spots. 

You may have noticed that many of these plants have different exposure requirements.  This specific area varies between full sun and part shade, so it is the ideal place for planting species with different sun preferences.  For example, some existing dahlias (full-sun lovers) thrive just as much as the sword fern (moist shade lover).  It is directly under this massive Douglas Fir so some areas receive much more shade then others, which I will have to take under consideration when deciding on placement. 

So in summary, here is my plant list thus far:

Acer palmatum 'Emperor'
Fatsia japonica
Hydrangea aborescens
Imperata cylindrica
Polystichum munitum
Daylily Hemerocallis 'Serena Dark Horse'
Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy'
Dahlia 'Black Cat' or 'Black Satin' or 'Campos Hush'

I am trying to stay away from the pastel shades of yellow and pink, and instead focusing on white, green, and deep burgundy for this space.  These colors look particularly striking with the new house color. 

Any other plant ideas?  Constructive criticism for the species I've chosen so far?  Anyone else notice the SwarmJam fine print for the Marigold Nursery deal?  Ya, expires in less than 2 weeks.  Gotta get moving...

26 August 2011

window box

This week the particular item I am jonesing for happens to relate to house siding, meaning I can't put it off any longer and must share a photo of the finished paint job on the front of the house.  So here ya go...

We ended up using Cromwell Gray HC-103 for the body, and Clarksville Gray HC-102 for the window trim and fascia.

It looks different on each side of the house; sometimes a blue-gray, sometimes more greenish, and in other lights is looks pale gray and sometimes even a beige tone.   What I like about it most is that we blend in with our surroundings now.  The red stain we had before was slightly charming, but just didn't fit in and wasn't my style.

So this weekend we'll be painting the rest of the trim on the other three sides of the house.  This is a painstakingly slow process- there are about 23 of these knee braces and each one takes about 30 minutes on a wobbly ladder.   Also we have cedar soffit, and not the vinyl stuff that most homes are built with now.  Good looking, but also very time consuming and unpleasant to have paint dripping in your eyeball (true story).

Anyways, back to the greed bit of this post. I was just painting our new house numbers last night (the old ones broke in half upon removal), and it got me thinking about other details for the outside of the house.  New gutters, downspouts (rain chains?), window trim detail, and hopefully one of these babies.

A charming window flower box. Just one for the front window of the house, because it's the only window you can see from the street. More than one might be a pain in terms of the maintenance factor.  A couple of our neighbours have them and they add that extra bit of architectural interest. 

Now just have to come up with some kind of design for this box, and incorporate some sort of liner so that the runoff water doesn't rot the wood.

...my talent truly astonishes me sometimes.

But seriously, you get the idea, right?  It needs an extra something on this front face, and I think a nice window box might just do it.

Enjoy your weekend.

Photo 1 The Daily Green; Photo 2 City Dirt; Photo 3 Apartment Therapy; Photo 4 Window Boxes; Photo 5 James Jordan; Photo 6 Southern Living; Photo 7 Pretty Parcel; Photo 8 CSN Stores; Photo 9 Rachel Kramer

25 August 2011

well this is terrifying

Study: Global warming could lead to alien attack to save galaxy 

Almost as terrifying as Steve Jobs's resignation, isn't it?

I've got nothing else for you today, other than some images of dahlias which have made me want to dig up all my sad-looking herbs in the raised garden bed and replace it with a ton of these happy looking creatures.

 All photos here

23 August 2011

flavour trail

This weekend I went on a tour of some of the local organic farms that we have here on the Saanich Peninsula.  A few of my favorite stops were Victoria Lavender Farm, The Muse Winery, and Kildara Farms

The lavender farm was amazing; I had no idea how many varieties of this stuff existed!  It was in such a tranquil setting, with the overpowering scent of fresh cut lavender, the beautifully kept field which was chalk-full of these blooming plants, as well as the owners' many different farm "pets" including a family of peacocks, doves, chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs.  A truly inspiring piece of property!

I know what you're thinking; and, NO I did not drag this guy back to my car...

Next stop; Kildara Farms which is situated on a 30 acre property with amazing ocean views of Deep Cove.  It is the largest producer of salad greens in the entire province and also produces many other type of fruits and vegetables as well as pork, chicken, and eggs.  I was saying to my mom how strange it is to have this vision of what a working farm looks like; rolling hills of grazing pastures, neatly kept glass greenhouses, cobblestone pathways, a clean-ish chicken coop surrounded by acres of perfectly parallel rows of lettuce.  It's been a longtime dream of mine to own an organic farm like what I just described.

Apparently I have a lot to learn about farming.  A working farm is no place for order or tidiness or cleanliness.  Rusty tools, broken-down trucks, overgrown blackberry bushes, mud, dust, and weeds galore is the reality of owning a farm.

This is the seed house where they start many of their plantings.

The greenhouse for peppers...

Over 5000 heirloom tomato plants...

These cute but stinky guys are going for slaughter in January.  It pains me to hear this; I'd prefer to picture my Saturday morning bacon being grown on trees in Arkansas or something of the sort.

A winery was a good way to end the day.  It was, believe it or nor, my very first official wine tasting.  And boy am I an amateur.  I ended up purchasing a bottle of Pino Gris, but more because of the name "Legally Blonde" than the grapes or viscosity that I learned about.  Terrible, I know.


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