Bloggers Garden Tour

When Stephanie from Lea Lou asked me to share my garden on her Bloggers Garden Tour in August, I was thrilled! You all know how much I love my garden and am always happy to share it with friends – virtual and real!

favourite flowersLea Lou is written by Stephanie who writes about my family, cooking, sewing and other little adventures”.  She’s a fellow Canadian living in a great house in Toronto with her handy hubby and small family. You have to see her recipes!! Please head over and give her some New House New Home love.


I’ll have to tell you the story of why we’re The Blue Hats….

As for me, the house is full. We’re entertaining my BFFs – The Blue Hats – this weekend. The men are golfing, while the girls will keep busy making dill pickles and lunching at a winery. Tomorrow night, we’re celebrating a birthday (not mine) with a ribfest and these yummy cocktails:

nectarine vodka chiller

My friend, Amy from A Healthy Life for Me created this recipe. It sure looks good – perfect for a quick little drink before dinner….

  • 1 nectarine, pitted
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ½ ounce Cointreau
  • 2½ ounces Vodka (I used Peach Vodka(
  • Fresh Ice
  1. In a blender add all nectarine, lime juice, cointreau and blend until smooth.
  2. Add vodka to blender and pulse once or twice to stir.
  3. Pour over highball filled with fresh ice.
  4. Serve with a nectarine wedge.

What are you up to this weekend?

Gardening Tips_5 Things To DoIn Your-3

Gardening Tips: Five Things to Do In Your Garden in August

It’s hard to believe that August is upon us this weekend!! With all the heavy work in the garden over and harvesting beginning, one would think you could sit back and relax. But there’s always something to do. Here’s my gardening tips for August:

Gardening Tip 1 – Fertilize Your Roses:

roses in the garden new house new home

Constance Spry climbing rose

Roses are heavy feeders and right now is the optimum time to fertilize them before the fall. Use an organic fertilizer such as alfalfa meal which is usually available where organic fertilizers are sold. Doing this now will ensure that the new growth will go into the cooler weather strong and healthy.

Gardening Tip 2 – Take Root Cuttings of Geraniums:

root cutting geranium


Your geraniums are probably looking a little leggy right now and are due for a haircut. While you’re at it, keep some of the top shoots and set them into small pots to grow inside during the winter. This way you will have “mother plants” for next year which will be bigger and heartier than the nursery varieties. This is especially good to do for  “Martha Washington” or fragrant geraniums.

Strip the leaves form a six inch cutting and dip into root hormone. Plant up in small pots and place inside once the weather cools. For a full tutorial, visit Growing With Plants.

Gardening Tip 3 – Divide Oriental Poppies:


oriental poppy salmonNow is the time to divide your poppies. Once they finish blooming, they go into a quasi-dormancy. Divide them as you would any perennial by lifting the entire plant out and splitting the root ball with a knife or spade. By doing this now, your poppies will have a chance to settle back in before the cooler weather. It’s a win/win – the plant will be happier and you will have new plants to use in the garden.

By the way if you haven’t divided your irises, this is a good time too.

Gardening Tip 4 – Prune Trees & Shrubs:

Don’t wait too much longer to prune your trees and shrubs. Most of the flowering shrubs will  have finished blooming by now, so it’s a good time to get rid of any crossed branches, weak growth or water sprouts.


The diagram above shows water sprout growth on an existing branch or around the base of your shrub. My magnolia tree always gets a lot of water sprouts, so I trim them off every August. At first I thought they were good growth. But they won’t bloom and just suck water from the root system.

This is also the time to do one final trimming of any evergreen shrubs and trees.

Gardening Tip 6 – Order Spring Bulbs:

birdbath garden springbirdbath garden springmuscari

I know, I know….it’s hot and humid and the last thing you want to think about it next spring!! But ordering your bulbs now ensures that you’ll get the best selection and prices. Some of my favourite places to order bulbs are Breck’s , White Flower Farm or Vesey’s. Order them now and these companies will deliver when it’s the right time to plant in your area (late September-October for me).

Bonus Tip: Plant Seeds for Fall Crops:

lettuce garden


You can extend the season in your vegetable garden by planting some seeds right now. It’s not too late to enjoy fresh lettuce, spinach, beets and carrots right through till the frost hits. Plants like lettuce and beets actually prefer the cooler temperatures. It just cheers me up to see new growth as the evenings start to get cooler.

So the main growing season may be over in most parts of the country and your plants are sitting back and enjoying the warm sun of August. But there’s still some things to keep us busy in the garden (besides the never ending task of weeding).

The Garden Charmers Best Before/After Projects

You know how busy those gardening buddies of mine are. The Garden Charmers always seem to be doing some transformation or other in their gardens. So I asked them to show us their favourites.


PicMonkey CollageBut first here’s mine…..

What started out as a patch of neglected grass is now a lush vegetable garden – sometimes a bit too lush as I try to keep up with the ripening produce. Here’s how it all started:

vegetable garden

First we brought in 6 yards of top soil. In retrospect, this was a bit of a mistake as the top soil in these parts is comprised mostly of sand. So it had to be amended by adding a ton of compost and triple mix over the last couple of seasons.

raised garden bed

And then we built the raised bed – you can see how we did this here

vegetable garden with old fence

and bordered it with some of the old fence from the perennial border. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure about this idea at first. I thought it would cut the yard up too much. But now it’s one of my favourite features.

arbour and path

Finally we added the arbour and path made from pallets. This 20′ x 20′ patch of vegetable heaven is where you’ll find me most evenings…weeding, pruning and harvesting.

before/after vegetable garden

Now let’s see what The Garden Charmers have been up to in their gardens….

Empress of Dirt’s Shed Makeover


Melissa always puts an artistic touch to her garden and her shed project is another example of the endless ideas she comes up with.

Drought Smart Plants’ Satellite Dish Garden



Jacki seems to be able to turn anything into a planter. Who would have thought that a discarded satellite dish could be turned into something fantastic like this planter.

Garden Therapy’s Patio Project



Wow!!! That’s all I can save about Stephanie’s patio transformation.

Magic Touch & Her Gardens Before/After

rain garden 2012


Give Judy a patch of grass and she’ll turn it into a fabulous garden like this one.

My Soulful Home’s Sectional Sofa



Kelly amazes me – she has such vision. I would never have thought of turning an old leather sectional into a gorgeous outdoor sofa.

The Gardening Cook’s Vegetable Garden Makeover


Of course, Carole (The Gardening Cook) is all about the vegetable garden. Look at this transformation!

Our Fairfield Home and Garden’s Shutter Transformation


And I have no idea where Barb came up with this idea. You have got to check out what she did with these 32 – yes 32 – shutters.

If you like what you’ve seen here from The Garden Charmers, be sure to check out our Facebook page: The Garden Charmers