The Romantic Language of Flowers

Anniversaries remind us of years gone by and this July we’ll be celebrating 34 years of marriage! Traditions passed on from our descendants blended our Irish / English and Ukrainian backgrounds to create a new generation.

As I watch our adult children grow and have families of their own, I appreciate all the things we’ve enjoyed doing together as a family.  I’m pleased to see how our traditions and celebrations have influenced them and how they have continued in our childrens’ lives.

Some traditional customs provide guidelines as a reference to assist you in expressing your thoughts and feelings. Over the years flowers and plants have been recognized for their uniqueness.  Whether you’re celebrating a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation, or any milestone; flowers are a perfect way to honour that special someone.

The language of flowers, known has floriography, pre-dates the Victorian age.  Historical references about flowers have been depicted by writers such as William Shakespeare, painters like Van Gogh, poets and botanists since the early 1700’s.

Hundreds of floral dictionaries have been written since that time.  Definitions for flowers were derived from the appearance and the characteristics of the plant.

Remember as a child pulling off daisy petals saying ……. “he loves me, he loves me not!”  Or gathering a bunch of little blue Forget-me-nots as a sign of “True Love! ”

Garden flowers and wild flowers form Natures Bouquets of beauty.  Romantic expressions of love admired by all, from childhood to adulthood and throughout the ages!

Anniversary Flower List

1st Anniversary – Carnations represent the ties of lasting vows of commitment and joy for the next years.

5th Anniversary – Innocence and gentleness of the romantic future is created by daisies.

10th Anniversary – A yellow daffodil simply reminds the couple about simple pleasures that they share.

20th Anniversary – The aster represents wisdom and good fortune.

30th anniversary – Lily means magnificence of pride, beauty and devotion.

40th Anniversary – Vibrancy and remembrance is being signified by gladioli.

50th Anniversary – Yellow roses and violets celebrates virtue, humility and faith.

Spring Daisies By Colleen

Spring Daisies
By Colleen

Garden Seat for Two By Colleen

Garden Seat for Two
By Colleen

Berry Good Ideas!

Fresh Bowl of Strawberries Photo by:  Becky

Fresh Bowl of Strawberries                                                                                   Photo by: Becky

Wow spring is finally here, and after a long cold winter there’s no more shovelling the white stuff.   It’s time to get gardening but the season moves fast and things get growing quickly.  Once the weather begins to warm up the garden starts to burst into growth and colour,  and the dull winter blahs are forgotten.  One moment your preparing your soil, and the next your moving perennials before they get too large.  Each week begins a new phase of gardening;  whether it’s admiring the tulips bulbs you’ve planted last fall,  to planting your summer veggies,  to transplanting perennials,  or to harvesting your favourite fruits.

It’s very important to check the planting guides in your area,  but it’s also valuable to consult the harvest guide as well. As my husband always says “if you snooze you loose!”   Be prepared and avoid missing the fresh produce for your favourite seasonal recipes especially because each season is very brief and you would hate to miss out!

This is my son’s first spring in his new home and he’s enjoying a delicious crop of strawberries found in his garden. In the beginning, as soon as they would pick a bowl of fresh berries his young children would devour them before making it into the kitchen. Now they are learning to help themselves from the patch. As their crop continues they are finding themselves searching for interesting jam and dessert recipes. Strawberry jam is one of my favourites, along with a yummy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp!

Two websites with Berry Good Ideas:  I find the information available here very helpful!

Harvest Ontario has a great website with lots of great information, including availability guides and recipes.

Bernardin’s website also has preserving tips and recipes.

Hope you enjoy one of the first available seasonal fruits:  Yummy strawberries!

Can’t wait until my raspberries and grapes are ready!

Ps. Maybe I’ll make a jar of Rumtopf this season. Once I find my recipe I’ll post it for you.

Gardening Dilemma’s

Should I or shouldn’t I that is the disheartening question?  Sometimes you’ve covered all your bases and things still grow wrong!  Do you just remove the problem or try to repair the damage?  What about the time spent or cost?  What do you do now?

Say you’ve planted a particular shrub in the proper conditions and it was doing well for a couple of years,  then all of a sudden it looks disastrous!  To find out exactly what occurred to cause the decline in growth,  consider making a checklist of possibilities.

  • weather conditions: severe cold, drought, rain
  • planting maintenance: over crowding, pruning, soil content
  • diseases: fungus
  • insect infestations
  • animal disturbances

Usually I try grasping at all of these considerations before totally giving up and removing plant material.  I’ve even severely pruned shrubs and temporarily reconsidered placement of annuals or garden features,  like statuaries,  while waiting for plant regrowth.  Or consider placing a new shrub in the area and giving it a chance to fill in space before removing damaged plant material. If at first you don’t suceed ….. plant, plant again!

On a side note; our family pet Toby,  who has been with us for ten years now,  considers the backyard to be his domain and inspects any new changes we make.  He strolls through our gardens, being very territorial but he never seems to deter any visiting wildlife.  Therefore,  this dilemma of creatures nibbling on our plants as been left up to our ingenuity of planting designs!

Dilemma: insect Infestation  Emerald Ash Borer Photo:

Dilemma: insect Infestation
Emerald Ash Borer

Dilemma: Ice Storm 2013 Photo by: Colleen

Dilemma: Ice Storm 2013
Photo by: Colleen

Magnolia Dilemma 2015 Photo by:  Colleen

Magnolia Dilemma 2015
Photo by: Colleen

Toby's Special Space Photo by:  Colleen

Toby’s Special Space
Photo by: Colleen

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Every year at the beginning of gardening season I try to recall the many fresh herbs I enjoy growing to accent my  recipes.  As I’m shopping I find myself humming a favourite old song by Simon & Garfunkel called  “Scarborough Fair.” The repeating line in each verse …. “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme”….. goes through my head as I stroll through the garden nursery, assisting me with my selections.  From there the choices are endless.  Each herb enhances most meals from chicken, beef, fish, pasta, pizza and salads.  I usually end up with at least a dozen varieties.

Then the planting challenge is to decide on a specific space to protect them from …… “That silly rabbit! ”  My home is in the middle of the suburb, so you wouldn’t expect to find such a wildlife collection.  I guess I’ve made my garden a welcoming paradise for ducks to nest, same with the rabbits, visiting raccoons, squirrels, bluejays and cardinals. This year I’ve selected to put them into raised planters and pots to test my luck!

The health benefits of herbs are plentiful. Some help elevate specific ailments such as insomnia, inflammation, brain function, and digestion to list a few.

Thanks to an Article from the PostiveMed for providing a list of 10 herbs that heal.

Enjoy experimenting with herbs!

Herbs 2015 Photo by Colleen

Herbs 2015
Photo by Colleen

Photo by: Colleen

Photo by: Colleen

More Herbs

More Herbs

Basic Advice for Beginner Vegetable Gardeners

Here are a few tips I have tried over the years and have found they work. Hope you find them helpful.

  • Have proper tools to make gardening easier.
  • Prepare soil for planting.
  • Be aware of sun exposure.
  • Be aware of frost dates before planting.
  • Start small your first year – more manageable.
  • Be aware of spacing requirements.
  • Don’t over crowd plants this may affect growth.
  • Be aware of height placement. Don’t block sun from other plants.
  • Vegetables needs plenty of water to grow. Check weather forecast.
  • Don’t over water.
  • Trial and error with crops.
  • Experiment with a new vegetable each year.
  • Rotate plantings every other year.
  • Have fun and enjoy your first crop!
Mike's Country Garden 2015  Photo by : Mike

Mike’s Country Garden
Photo by : Mike

Planting crop  Photo by Mike

Planting crop
Photo by Mike

P.S.   Great job Mike! Way to go son!

Gardening on Small Balcony Spaces

  1. Be realistic! Space is very restricted on a balcony. Think small!
  2. Decide what plants are of the most importance to you.
  3. If you want colour consider flowering plants.
  4. If you want vegetables, try cherry tomatoes.
  5. To enhance cooking recipes plant herbs.
  6. Be aware of sun exposure and wind.
  7. Are there any restrictions for hanging planters off railings?
  8. Remember to water often.

Ready, set, GROW!

Enjoy this year’s gardening experience!


Katie’s Balcony Space with a Hosta and hanging planter of herbs. Photo by: Katie

P.S. Looking good Katie! See you soon!

The Gardening Gene

Life has its’ rewards, challenges, laughter and tears!  Being just over the 55 hump, has me now reflecting back on my life experiences and the impact my life has had on others.  As a daughter, sibling, wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 2 and an Educator, I have dabbled in many activities throughout the years from gardening, photography, cooking, decorating and art to name a few.

Spring is Here! Photo by: Colleen

Spring is Here!
Photo by: Colleen

This spring, when I was planning out my new gardening designs and planting strategies, I found myself sharing these ideas with my adult children. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed many gardening conversations with them; from planting organic vegetables and herbs to hardy perennials.

I’m pleased to report they have inherited the family Garden Gene! As one of life’s little pleasures, gardening will always bring them rewards, challenges, laughter and tears. And how satisfying is that!

Anticipating many more engaging garden chats and sharing our ideas. Followed by tantalizing food recipes with all our garden produce, dinners & wine. Cheers!


New Hosta Garden 2015                                                                                            Photo by: Colleen