As some of you may have realized by now,
I love the smell, the taste, the look!
I'm the woman in the grocery store with the basil pushed into
her nose while she shops.....

This year I planted purple basil in my very large planter outside and
although the influx of the dreaded Japanese beatle wasn't as bad as
 last year, my basil leaves were getting eaten.
I did my coffee remedy which I came across last year as an
organic discouragement to these beatles, but these little guys are
tough to beat this year for some strange reason.
My basil is quite holey and I was worried about not having
a lush crop of it for my Pesto!
About three weeks ago, I decided to pull the basil out of my nose
and bring it home to plant it.  Inside.  Where there were no bugs.
See the Basil Wizard?  He's very wise and scary looking isn't he?
My friend Gail, who lives way up north here in Ontario, gifted me with him
a couple years ago.  He was made by a local artisan and he's very
unique don't you think?  I think maybe he casts spells on the basil
because it's now about a foot tall in the low parts!!
You can barely see the Basil Wizard surrounded by the lushness!
Basil is a magical herb, therefore it's only fitting to have a Wizard
watching over it!
This is the first time I've ever grown Kale in my veggie garden and it's
absolutely perfect!  Amazingly, the beatles have not discovered this
particular leaf.  Maybe the marigolds I planted around my veggies helped
with that afterall?  Not even the bunnies chewed on any of our leafy vegetables.
Look how lush this kale looks.....
Wait for it.....

Awhile back I posted on baking your own kale chipsYesterday, I picked a
bucketful of this lush bounty and started getting ready to bake some kale!

I was out of parchment paper which lead to a crazy chase all over the village for
some more while my oven was heating up.  Nothing's ever easy is it?

This time when I made them, I made the raw chunks larger and it worked out much better because they shrink up soooo much after baking.

These may appear to be wilty looking dulse-like treats, however, are light and
crisp with just a touch of sea salt and extremely addictive!

To make your own kale chips.....

Wash your kale
Cut out the center stem
Tear into bite size chunks
Spin in salad spinner to dry
Toss in a bowl with drizzled olive oil.
Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper.
Sprinkle sea salt very lightly over kale
Bake in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes til crispy.
Kale chips make a wonderful, healthy alternative to potato chips
for serving as a light snack to your company or just as
an extra special treat for yourself!
I love eating the food we grow ourselves!
You may or may not remember my posting
"Create Your Own Hanging Tomato Planter"?
I'm proud to say "IT WORKED!!!"
See that sweet little ugly tomato!
And, more are on the way!

The funny part was, I thought I would have to rig up some kind of a hook system
along my fence to sprawl the plant across as it grew, but a strange
phenomena happened.
The plant began to curve around and up towards the sun.
It makes so much sense now and I hadn't expected that to happen!

Here, you can see how the plant grew in that direction closer to the pot as well....
So, my inverted, homemade, hanging pot experiment is fantastic!
Can you believe this?
Waiting patiently for the rest of the tomatoes to sprout from the flowers.
Of course, I need to begin with the most awesome flower you just saw
on my home page...The Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus!
There's going to be quite a few photos following this, so hang on tight!
I'll just show the photos and if you have any questions about any of them,
please ask away in the comments section.
Blanket Flower
Boomerang Lilac
The Boomerang Lilac was given to me on Saturday by my friend Nancy.  It will
bloom three times throughout the season and this is my first wee flowers on it.
Can someone tell me what this is?  I can't remember....that happens when you're
fifty!  hahaha!  It has these pink blooms as well as white and deep red ones?
Gerbera Daisy
This Daisy was a Mother's Day gift from Robynn!
My all-time favourite by far is Lavender. relaxing.
If you know me, you'll know I started these Lupines from seeds I
brought back from Nova Scotia.
Mister Lincoln Rose (check out the antennae on that bug!)
Purple Catmint
This Lorraine plant is special to me because my friend "Lorraine" gave it to me.
I can never forget the name of the plant!

I'm sure I'll have more to show you in the coming weeks, but here's just a
wee peak at how I displayed the flowers in my powder room.
No one can miss them there, even if they came in the back gate instead of the garden!
Thanks for viewing!
with love.....from the flower child (at heart)
...and tomorrow I give my explanation as to "why" I've been riding on my
Gorgeous Garden Gate posting!

The flowers in my garden are gloriously blooming and I definitely
want to share some close up photos of the prettiness
and show you my photo frame I've done using some of the pictures!

Just this morning, my Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus bloomed in
full regalia!  I'm so excited!
My sister-in-law gave me this lovely cactus several years ago when we lived
in our old house and I was amazed then at the fact that we could even grow
a "cactus" in this Southern Ontario garden that would come back every year!
Since being transplanted here at our new house three years ago, it hasn't bloomed until
this year and I'm ecstatic!  Check out this close up!
This was the one and only delicate bloom from yesterday...the first one!
Although these flowers are beautiful and amazing, they are lethal.
When you work with them, you need thick rubber gloves, because not only do they
have wicked thorns, but also millions of horrid little feather-like hairs that
will prick your skin in barely visible groupings of 10-40.
Can you say OUCH?

Please click HERE to see my variety of beautiful blooms in a FLOWER PARADE!
It's my Happy Place!
Is this unbelievable or what?
I planted this Bonita Tree Rose two years ago.
The year before last, I did all the right things to put it down for winter.
I dug up one side of the roots, pushed the tree over onto the ground, and put
compost around it.  I spread straw all over it and covered it with burlap, staking
it all down onto the ground. was very pretty last year...but this past fall.  I was very, very bad.
I left it..........and can you believe this???  What the heck???
It's so healthy, it's ridiculous!
The bumblebees are running rampant all over it, so it must be as
sweet as it appears!
I haven't even done any pruning yet!
Enjoy the flowers
I'm in love with my Garden Gate!
After Dan & I finished hanging it, we crossed the road and sat
on the bench facing our house to admire it!
Our old garden gate, was broken - missing a fence board and the latch was rotted out.
I was telling Dan that I wished we had an old door we could use as a gate. 
That's when he went down into our dungeon and came up with this!
One of the original doors of the house from the 1800's.
I've got to tell you, Dan did the work on it....I just designed it!
Phew...that was hard work!
I remembered we had this old stove pipe flange I had purchased at an
antique shop a few years ago.  It was always getting put somewhere or other
without any real home to speak of.
We did nothing to this...the rust appealed to me!
I did help clean the door up with some TSP and scrubbing.
Then it was ready for paint!
Dan cut a hole for the flange to fit into as a window.
He saved all the old handle hardware and painted all of it brown.
Bought some new hinges and painted them as well.
We added our house numbers to the top and some flowers beneath the window
in a window box I bought for $1.99 at Value Village last year!
Our curb appeal has risen substantially!
I like that it has the feel of a Secret Garden...makes you want to walk up to it
and peek inside the wee window, doesn't it?
Coming in for a Garden Party?
I'll wait here....
Blissful and Domestic
Featured on:
Too Much Time On My Hands
Poofy Cheeks
         Once upon a time, around Christmas of 1963, there was a family consisting of five members.  Mother, Father, Son - 2-1/2 years old, Daughter - 1-1/2 years old and yet another Baby Son - 3 months old.  The Mother was from Nova Scotia where her two oldest children were born, but was living in Ontario (at the bequest of her Navy husband) with his parents prior to the birth of Baby Son and she was very unhappy.  So unhappy, she wrote letters to her two younger sisters of longing to live back home in Nova Scotia .   In personal anguish, she attempted suicide a few times with pills to escape the life situation she was in.
As a result of her deep depression, she succumbed to Cirrhosis of the liver on Christmas Eve of 1963 at the age of 23 - not the result of alcohol, but from attempting suicide one too many times.  She left her three children behind with their father who was only 26 years old himself.  He took an honourable discharge from the Navy and attempted to find employment to care for his children, however, it was the 60's and Social Services were not as helpful to the Paternal Parent as they are today and his skills were limited from having been in the navy for 10 years. 
        His three children were given over to foster care.  The Baby Son was adopted out
almost immediately, being an infant.  The Daughter spent approximately one year in
Foster Care and was then adopted by a family who had one son of their own, but could not have another child of their own, but wanted a little girl.  Unfortunately, the Eldest Son had a more difficult time of it because the Father kept attempting to take him back sporadically over a period of almost five years.  He was finally adopted into a family who coincidentally (but unknown to either until years later) lived relatively close to his sister's adoptive family.  All three children were brought up in homes where they were given the utmost in opportunities to grow into wonderful people.

        Back in the 60's the Children's Aid Society lied to the deceased mother's sisters when they came to visit the children in foster care and told them that "all three" children were adopted into the same lovely home.  The sisters were distraught and so were their parents because they had been working on a plan to raise their sister's children, but were eventually consoled by the fact the children stayed together.
        All three children grew up knowing they had siblings somewhere, but as is usually the case, the female child was the one to initiate a search first.  She registered with the Adoption Disclosure Registry and met her Birth Father first when she was 27 years old.
        He was a lovely, quiet man, who had lived a hard life until he met the woman he is still with and he's content.  The Daughter didn't keep up this relationship because there wasn't really a bond there after all the years (in her mind, she already had a father), but her curiousity was sated and she wishes him nothing but the best life has to offer.
        She next met the Baby Son when she was about 30 years old and connected with him immediately...there was definitely a bond there.  They stayed friends for a few years and because he was so far away, and had a family of his own, like her...that dwindled down to the odd phone call.  The daughter didn't meet her oldest brother until she was about 42 years old.  The bond was there as well, but he lived so far away...provinces no less and was just starting his family and career and she had her problems here, so they didn't see much of each other.  A few visits back and forth have been managed over the last 8 years.
        A most excellent thing happened for the Daughter in between meeting the two brothers.  She met her natural Aunts, who both lived in Nova Scotia.  She now visits them every year or two and they came to her wedding and helped with the preparations and laughed and loved.  She finally realized where her genetic being arose from because they were so much like the Daughter herself.  They even had some of the same pictures on their walls and loved to garden and paint.
        When the Daughter was visiting her Aunt's & Uncle's the first time, they took her to see the homestead of her Great Great Grandparents which was still standing and still being lived in by relatives.
        It was at this historical home, the Daughter's Aunt took a cutting of the wild rose bush and rooted it for her during her first visit and packed it lovingly, ensuring it stayed damp on the plane trip home.  When the Daughter returned to her home, she planted it immediately in proud prominance in the front garden of her home.
        Ten years later, the Daughter moved out to the River to a beautiful new home with her husband after all their children had left the nest and replanted a new cutting of the wild heirloom rose and it still has a prominent, welcoming place near her front door.
This always reminds the Daughter that
"Your History Makes You Who You Are"
You may recall the posting
"Grow 110lbs of Potatoes??  We shall See!"
from May 3rd last month?
Only one month ago, we decided to try out this idea we found
on Pinterest from and the results have been crazily amazing so far!

I know....holy cow!  Time to add soil and another level of framing!
The photo above was taken around the end of Week Three when yet
another level is required to be added....but we got so busy, we hadn't added it yet.
Finally, today, Dan just added whatever wood he could find hanging around and
it STILL seems to need another layer!
I'm amazed at how lush and healthy this potato plant is and can't wait to
start harvesting potatoes from it!
So far....EXCELLENT!
Because the progress has been so quick, I do believe you could go
and make your own in time to have potatoes still this year.
It sure beats "mounding" individual potato plants and weeding all around them!
I'll keep you updated later in the season.
I was in Home Hardware last week and browsing the garden section
when I saw this most awesome tomato planter, which by the way,
Mark Cullen (famous Canadian gardener) endorses.
Given the fact that it was almost $17.00 and I'd spent my budget last month
on soil and mulch, I passed on buying it...but couldn't stop thinking about it.

Along comes my friend Maureen, who gives me a unique tomato plant which her
neighbour gave her.  It's an Ugly Tomato from Italy.  Not sure if that's the real name
or not, but that's what she called it.  She said it was really ugly, but oh so sweet!
It doesn't look so ugly right now?
I thought to myself...what am I going to do with this ugly tomato?
I've already planted out my Romas and Beefsteaks in the veggie garden, so
where should I put it?  When, aha!  I'll make my own damn
upside-down tomato planter!

I took two hanging planters, one a size smaller than the other...
Almost everyone has some of these kicking around in their sheds right?
I then, cut out the bottom of the large one (the base).
Slipped my tomato plant through the opening upside-down, then
filled up this pot with potting soil.
I took the other pot and filled it with potting soil and quickly inverted it upside-down on
top of the filled pot.  (You may have to get someone to hold the bottom planter
with the tomato hanging out the bottom when you do this...I did.)
Attach the plastic hanger and can water through the top of the
smaller planter and grow your tomatoes upside down!
I didn't count on that happening when I watered the plant!
Thank god it landed against the fence instead of falling the other
way and totally falling apart!

Plan B!
You'll also note that the plant is already almost touching the ground.
I plan on putting some hooks placed strategically across the fence line
to swag the tomato plant over!
Cross your fingers it works for me!