Monday, July 31, 2023

Got My Email Back

I got my email back (after an hour and a half on the phone with a techie) so here are some more pictures of our garden.  There's just a whole bunch of flowers in bloom right now, so it's very colourful, and it will be until Day Lily season is over.

The bright pink Cosmos are just an astonishing colour, and I love the central pattern of all these composite flowers.

We do have a plant of Butterfly Weed, but it doesn't seem to attract the butterflies.

Cleome remains one of my favourite flowers, but we depend on it to self seed and this year we're down to only two blooms.

Bear's Breeches is a really striking plant, and not often seen..

New this year, after Mrs. F.G. almost swore off every growing another Dahlia, is this one grown in a pot.

There's also a pot of pink Zinnias.

And some bright pink Echinacea.  We have them in a wide range of colours, so I'll bring you some samples later in August.

Email Frozen

Sorry I haven't been posting.  The University has started a 'two-step verification' process, which has worked fine for awhile, but it got messed up on Saturday when I tried to transfer pictures, and now I can't get into my email.  Since that's how I transfer pictures for my blog, I'm feeling stuck!  Working hard to get it fixed.

Friday, July 28, 2023


We had a really good rain the other night, and we needed it.  This time the weather got the timing just right and the rain was all overnight.  Made a big difference for the Head Gardener!

There are only a few leaves that hold the raindrops until I see them the next day, and Crocosmia is one.  I love the way the sharp veins on the leaves capture water droplets and hold onto them.

I have to say that the cell phone doesn't capture these as sharply as my big Nikon would, but I like them so much I'm posting them anyway.

We've got through our big transition to a new evening caregiver during the week, my new physiotherapist (who had all kinds of new exercises for me to try this week), and a new cleaner, who did a phenomenal job yesterday.  The house looks like new!

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Garden Flowers in Late July

Now that it's late July the Day Lilies are at their peak, but we have lots of other flowers in the garden too, as you could see in the last post.  So it's back to my conventional garden post with pictures of individual flowers.  I'm sure there will be more!

It's peak season for Crocosmia flowers too, and I love their bright red splash of colour.  We have only a few individual flowers in the back yard, but at the front of the house in full sun we have dozens!  This is the view out my window at the moment.

Lots of Cosmos in bloom, ranging from white to a deep pink.

The Echinacea, which I think of as a fall flower, is starting to bloom.  I like the ordinary ones, but these 'pompom' blooms are the most interesting.

We have one big sunflower coming up in the planter right where it was last year, the seeds undoubtedly planted by a squirrel.

Of course there are lots of Day Lilies; they warrant their own further post.

And the Lavender is still in bloom, here being visited by a Cabbage White butterfly.

Hostas will go on blooming for a long time.  This is my favourite to photograph because it sits up on a cart where I can get really close and shoot a picture at eye level.  More soon!

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Our Therapeutic Garden

Right from the beginning Mrs. F.G. had the idea of the back yard garden as a therapy garden for me.  Not that I need therapy, but just that it would be good for my mental health, and of course for hers too.  She got the idea from the gardens at Parkwood Institute, the rehab hospital I was in for two months, from her own experience at long term care homes, and from the literature on 'forest bathing'.  

She planned our patio, even though we already had a big deck.  And then she planned to surround the patio with flowers.  All the grass is now gone and it's completely flowers.  I ride off the deck and down into the middle of the patio and I'm immersed.

The garden is now at its peak, full of colour.  But you have to add to the photo the sound and sight of the insects, especially the butterflies and bumblebees, and just the feeling of being out in the fresh air.  Close your eyes for a moment and try to picture yourself here, sitting in the middle of all those flowers.

The patio was poured in the summer of 2020, so that fall and winter the planning was done and plants were ordered.  In the spring of 2021 the first plants went in, well-spaced apart.  But you may have heard gardeners say that in year 1 the plants sleep, year 2 they creep, and year 3 they leap.  All of a sudden it's year 3 and the plants are leaping!

Mrs. F.G. herself would describe this as a cottage garden, or as her 'collect and stuff' garden.  She collects interesting plants and stuffs them in wherever there's space.  The Petunias along the edge of the garden  add a lot of colour.  There are some flowers that perpetuate themselves by self-seeding, often in a location where you least expect them.

It's simply the experience of being immersed in this garden, as well as the original intention, that is 'therapeutic'.  There's nothing technically special about it except that in this case it required an area accessible to a wheelchair.  Although Mrs. F.G. says that when she looks at the garden she only sees WORK, I know it's very good for her mental health too.  The garden after all, is our vacation now.

There's been a lot written on forest therapy now, and there's good scientific evidence that we benefit from time spent in nature.  This is my favourite spot for a bit of forest therapy, in fact the only forest now accessible to me - you probably recognize it, the trail in Harrison Park where we were back for lunch on Friday.

This is the only photo I can come up with of Parkwood Institute, the rehab hospital which Mrs. F.G. says inspired her.  I was on the top floor of the right-hand wing here, the vet hospital is in the south wing.  In the corner on the bottom floor is the cafeteria where I could get my coffee.  I would go downstairs, get a coffee and head outside, roaming that network of pathways for an hour or two, the paths all designed for wheelchairs or walkers.  

There were 7 or 8 quiet corners or small shelters, so Mrs. F.G. and my sister or cousin often came with me and we could sit to visit outside.  If you look in the centre, close to the buildings, you'll see a pattern of 6 small narrow linear blocks surrounded by the sidewalks.  Those are raised garden beds, and I would head there every day to see what was growing.  All in all a pretty inspiring spread out, accessible garden for the rehab patients like myself.

So yes, we think of our own garden as a therapeutic garden.  At this time of year it's all beautiful flowers, but what I enjoy is watching the changes in the garden through every season all year long.  

Thursday, July 20, 2023

It Was Bumbleberry Jam Day!

Raspberries are now in season here, so it was time to make another batch of jam, this one bumbleberry jam.  We picked up a flat of fresh berries, just picked that morning, at Goldsmiths on Monday.  We now buy all our berries at Goldsmiths, we can count on the quality.

On Tuesday Mrs. F.G. got organized and pulled strawberries and blueberries out of the freezer.  Together they went, in various proportions, and out they came as delicious jam.

The legend of bumbleberries is quite memorable, for 'bumbleberries' are either burple or binkle berries, and they both grow on giggle bushes.  Legend has it that they let out a little giggle at the precise moment of ripening - thus bumbleberry jam.  For the literally-minded, any combination of at least three different berries will do.  Some even go so far as calling it 'kitchen sink jam'.

Of course it's not just the taste that makes a great jam, it's also the texture.  And let me tell you, Mrs. F.G. gets the texture just right every time.  It must be easily spreadable, but still pleasantly thick.  If you're passing by, just stop in for a taste of our bumbleberry jam, and if I'm very lucky, she will add black currants once they ripen, and we'll have four-berry bumbleberry jam!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Busy Times!

A month ago both my evening weekday caregiver and my physiotherapist let me know they couldn't continue to see me, the first because she was finding the evening too difficult with her young children, the second because she is moving to a new clinic in Collingwood.  Thus has unfolded 4 weeks of turmoil as I've sought out and decided on new arrangements.  

We've been seeking a new evening caregiver and I think, after many phone calls and two trials, we've finally found one, so that's a huge relief.  I decided to try the local physiotherapy clinic and went there for an interview to see if they liked me and could fit me in, and if I like them.  Today was my first visit to try it out and I think it's going to work, certainly different from my previous clinic, but new challenges are one thing I was looking for.  

This also gives me an opportunity to try out the local accessible transit. a van service that will take you anywhere in town, especially for medical appointments.  I used it today and It will work just fine, so I was equally pleased with that.  Costs a whole $2.00 per trip!

It feels like a tumultuous month with some big changes, but I think it will all work, maybe for the better.  And the Meaford Moves transit opens some other opportunities for me too.

So sorry I've been slow to post, but hopefully we're back to normal now.

Friday, July 14, 2023


Another five Clematis have bloomed now, bringing us to the peak of the Clematis season.  They are certainly one of our most striking plants, especially those growing up against the side of the house or the shed.  But in fact it's these delicate little blooms that I like best, here growing up a trellis in front of the Sugar Maple.  

This is Virgin's Bower, a native Clematis plant with tiny flowers, unlike all the hybrids available.  And I think it's just beautiful!

The blooms are certainly tiny and delicate.

Out front we have a 'shrub' Clematis, growing in an old copper water pan.  It's planted with a trellis now and showing every sign of forming vines.

It is the one bloom I can get close to.

Growing down the side of the house we have two enormous Clematis, one purple and one white.

Three years ago the rabbits earned their bad reputation on this plant, biting off the vine 2" from the bottom, and leaving the entire plant to die but not actually eating anything!

The big plant, actually two plants growing up the same big trellis, is this one, on the side of the shed.

I can't actually get down the side of the house on the grass, so credits to Mrs. F.G. for the last five pictures.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

It`s Day Lily Season!

Just the past three days our Day Lilies have started blooming.  At last count I think Mrs. F.G. had 15 different varieties, and we`ll see them all over the next three weeks.  They are one of our favourite flowers, and mark the middle of summer.  Sorry I can`t list all the variety names, just enjoy the blooms.

One reason we have so many varieties of Day Lilies is that 10 years ago Mrs. F.G. discovered Artemesia Daylilies, a couple of Day Lily growers and breeders out in the country south of our previous home.  We visited them several times and always came home with at least a couple of new plants.  Since our own garden was just getting started we had lots of room for them.  You can visit them still, but now in a new location a short distance north of Kimberley on Grey Rd. 13.  Check them out at

Friday, July 7, 2023

More Summer Wild Flowers and the Monster!

There are certainly more summer wildflowers to show you, and a few pf them haven't even bloomed yet.  And as I've said it is increasingly hard to find them inside town - see the 'monster' at the end below.

No this is not a Dandelion, it's the seedhead of a Goatsbeard, much larger than that of a dandelion.

One of my favourites is the Chicory, which has just nicely started blooming.  I love the soft blue colour of these.

This is a tiny yellow flower that grows right in your lawn, or at least it does in ours.  Leaves much like clover leaves, and that small blossom.  In spite of there being no woods nearby, it's a Wood Sorrel.

You may not have even noticed these even tinier blooms, the Black Medic.  It's ubiquitous to grass along our boulevard, but so small you walk right over it without realizing.

Purple Vetch is widely used for erosion control, and grows anywhere it's not mowed too often.

And this is the flower-eating monster, a huge mower that can reach out into ditches and completely destroy any nice wildflowers.  Our municipality feels it's necessary to destroy all these flowers!

Here's what the monster left behind, a roughly cut ditch. ....

And here's what that ditch looked like two weeks ago.  What harm were these Buttercups doing anyone?