Thursday, September 24, 2009

Colour in Literature

I'm fascinated by descriptions of colour in literature. One of my favorite authors is Kim Stanley Robinson, who wrote a sci-fi trilogy called "Red Mars", "Blue Mars" and "Green Mars". Here is a quote from Red Mars:

"Now the sky was a maroon dome, the high clouds the pink of moss campion. Stars were popping out everywhere, and the maroon sky shifted to a vivid dark violet, an electric color that was picked up by the dune crests, so that it seemed crescents of liquid twilight lay across the black plain."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Everbearing Strawberries

I planted 4 everbearing strawberry plants in my strawberry garden, and they are still producing. I get a few ripe berries every day which is wonderful. I'm saving a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne for a friend's birthday on Friday, and I'm going to bring a few strawberries for the champagne glasses!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Sanctuary Garden - The Flowers

I designed this garden primarily with the foliage in mind. I didn't want strong contrasts, because the garden was for relaxing. To that end, I didn't use any plants with burgundy foliage. I did, however, include a number of shrubs and perennials that have gorgeous blossoms in a wide range of colours.

'Tiny Rubies' Dianthus

Oriental Poppy

'Buckley's Quill' Mockorange

'Flame' Peony

Fernleaf Bleeding Heart

'Strutter's Ball' Daylily

'Rozanne' Geranium

'Going Places' Daylily

'Rosy Lights' Azalea

'Comtesse de Bouchaud' Clematis

I can see this garden from my kitchen window. Fledgling robins eat the ripened Serviceberries, the sound of the water droplets from the dragonfly fountain splash into the blue water garden jar, and my Golden Retriever Lily lays on the outdoor carpet watching squirrels run past her. It's a wonderful place to just be.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Sanctuary Garden - Progress

By the end of last summer I was able to complete the planting. You can see my "keyhole" design where the path narrows before entering the circular patio. I designed the patio diameter to accommodate a shade structure, plus a little extra space along the sides to access the plants. The largest granite rocks were placed so some are level to sit on. I gathered more small rocks in my SUV from a spot not too far away to complete the rest of the circle's edge, and you can see that in the next photo. I also mulched the entire garden with landscape cloth and newspaper, and shredded cedar mulch (with the help of my friend Karen and my Sid).

Sid also removed the barn-style shed, which was too awful. The remaining shed will be painted a stoney taupe colour if it ever stops raining!

Sanctuary Garden view from our deck

Keyhole path
The Serviceberry trees have a 15' crown spread when mature, so they will eventually form a leafy canopy over the patio. They're covered in white blossoms in the spring, turn a gorgeous fire red orange in the fall, and the birds love their berries.

Shade side of the garden
There are solar lights in the garden, as well as an LED light up inside the shade cover. An electrical outlet provides power for the water garden in the large cobalt blue ceramic pot.

An intimate little patio for reading, stitching,
snoozing and cocktail hour!

I had planned on installing flagstone within the patio circle, but that will have to wait for another summer. The shed has to be painted, and the lawn needs repair where the other shed was located. Otherwise, we're pretty much done.

The next post will show photos of the shrubs and perennials.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Sanctuary Garden - The Beginning

We moved into our house in August of 2007, and by last summer I was ready to do something in our backyard. I've designed many gardens, and I knew exactly what I wanted for this property.

First, though, I needed a little help from my favorite contractor. There were 3 huge old poplar trees that leaned over our neighbor's garage, so we had them cut down. The back hoe came in to take out the enormous stumps.

The work begins.

Roots everywhere. Ugly sheds.

I outlined the patio and garden edges with orange spray paint. Landscape cloth went down on the 16' diameter patio area, and garden mix soil was spread in the doughnut around the patio.
THEN it started to rain. And rain, and rain. Nothing but clay and mud.

The guys put the 5 'Autumn Brilliance' Serviceberry trees in for me (the root balls weighed about 600 lbs each), and dumped a load of gravel on the patio area. They placed the largest granite rocks around part of the patio perimeter, and my 3 focal point rocks. And then they had to leave. The rain continued. I tore ligaments in my ankle stumbling over the clay. Things didn't look good.

Sid and I began to lay out landscape cloth in the pathway areas and fill in with gravel. Well, mostly Sid did the work and I limped around pointing my finger.

A mess - the pathway to the patio.

Beginning to look less awful. We've delineated the pathway to the patio. I installed black edging and Sid is continuing to fill in the gravel.

I'm using spikes to hold the edging straight while I fill in soil on one side and gravel on the other. The work began in mid-June, and it's July by now.

My focal point rocks. I'm trimming the excess landscape cloth while I level the gravel. I'm actually quite good at creating level surfaces with a shovel and rake. This is extremely unfortunate, since it would be way easier to let someone else do it!

The next post will show the planted garden. There is still work to do, but we're getting there!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blooming Today

Brought to you by... 'Mammoth' Sunflowers! These giants are at Sally and Randy's house, and they kindly gave me some seeds for next year. I think they'll look great in my new garden :o)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cuddle Quilts

I make many quilt tops and blocks that never become finished quilts. Rather than allow them to sit in the cupboard, I give them to the local Sudbury & District Quilting and Stitchery Guild for their Cuddle Quilt Committee.

My friend Deanna kindly sent me this photo of a Cuddle Quilt she completed using my donated Morning Glory blocks.

Morning Glory blocks by Janet Rice-Bredin,
quilt by Deanna Weiler

She also shared the following photos of her garden:

Purple Poppy

Purple German Bearded Iris

Orange Double Poppy

Last but best of all, 8 yr old Zoe who has taken to crawling under the kitchen table. What a beautiful girl :o) Thanks Deanna!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two New Patterns!

Veggie Seed Packets and More Veggie Seed Packets are hot off the press! These are the two new quilt patterns I've created using a combination of Mark Lipinski's Oakdale and Elements fabric collections from Northcott Silk. I designed 4 veggie blocks, then decided I was missing too many other favorites, so I created a second quilt. All the blocks are interchangeable.

The first, of course, is Veggie Seed Packets. The Wall Quilts measure 21 1/4" x 25 1/4". I've also included instructions on how to make the blocks into individual Little Quilts, which measure 7" x 9".

Veggie Seed Packets Wall Quilt,
Mark Lipinski's Oakdale and Elements fabrics

Peas Little Quilt, done in fabrics from my stash

Tomato Little Quilt, Mark Lipinski's fabrics

The Veggie Little Quilts all fit Ackfeld's Watering Can Hanger

More Veggie Seed Packets Wall Quilt,
Mark Lipinski's Oakdale and Elements fabrics

Corn Little Quilt done in fabrics from my stash

Radish Little Quilt,
done in fabrics from my stash

I used Superior Threads Brytes threads to machine blanket stitch around the cream circles and topstitch around the veggie shapes. These threads are a 30 wt and show up beautifully on the fabric, plus the colours were perfect. That shopping trip at their warehouse in February was SUCH a good idea!

The patterns will be available next week for purchase. Please email me for distributor, wholesale and retail details.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Paying Attention to Tiny

We ran away from yard work last weekend, and escaped to nearby Donald Lake with canoe and dog.

We stayed for 3 days, swimming, snoozing and reading. While sitting on a rock listening to the lake and wind, I looked down to see a wonderful world of tiny things:

Lichens called "British Soldiers" for their red hats

Pine seedling

A tiny landscape

I don't know what these are, but they made me very happy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Contest Winner

On Friday August 7th I announced a contest. The mystery object, which I discovered tucked down a laneway near the tracks at the Sheahan train stop was this:

The correct answer, as Brenna wrote:
"Vehicle is a DUKW amphibious truck designed by The Royal Navy and used by the US Army and allied forces during WWII for transportation over land and water."
The truck is also known as an Army DUCK, and in this case is used to carry people from the train siding, across the Spanish River, to the cottages on Pogamasing Lake. The Spanish is fast and wide, and the DUKW would drive right through it.

Dolores, Susan, Deanna, Cindy, Nancy, Brenna and Diane all sent correct answers. And the winner's name pulled out of a bowl is.... Brenna! Brenna will be offered several choices of the Leaf Magic Little Quilts and can pick her favorite.

Diane also wins a little quilt, as she came closest to recognizing the location of the DUKW:
"That picture wasn't taken near Lake Pogamissing?"

Thanks to all those who participated. And on a personal note, when I spotted the Allied Forces symbol faded on the front of the DUCK, it gave me a shiver. Some of these vehicles were used on the D-Day beaches of Normandy in WWII. They were capable of crossing the English Channel. What stories could this one tell?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blooming Today


'Strutter's Ball' Daylily

'Tigger' Daylily

'Going Places' Daylily

I call this one Allie's Dad's Daylily. My friend Allie says it's a common lily that her father dug out of a roadside ditch, which would make it Hemerocallis fulva. However it seems to be reliably double, and it blooms weeks later than the common daylily. I suspect it's a cultivar of some kind, and I love the colour.

My contest is still on from a few posts ago, and the answers are coming in. This Friday night is the deadline to win your free Leaf Magic Little Quilt! I'll be away until Sunday and will post the winner on Monday. Good luck everyone!