Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com, zone 4

Late July in Gardens4me

How do your gardens look in late July? Colour can be a little anemic this time of year here in Ontario, so your gardens may need some extra TLC. My solution? I try to visit garden centers every two weeks to purchase perennials in bloom at that time, then take them home and add to them to the spots lacking colour in my gardens.

I did just that earlier this week. I found this huge container of pink larkspur that broke up into six individual plants when I took it out of the pot. Bonus! One was blooming, the others have tons of blooms ready to explode. I planted all of them separately to add splashes of colour throughout my backyard garden.

This time of year I also add annuals to my containers that need a colour boost or to replace annuals that are not performing well. Here are a few pictures of the same containers with an infusion of colour…

During this heatwave we have been sweating through, my containers need watering every day. That fact and vacation do not go together well. I recently came home from an extra-long weekend at the cottage to find the cleomes (one of my favourite annuals) on my front veranda were fried. They have since been replaced with three Spanish lavender plants that are considered annuals in my Ottawa area. At present all it has to offer is a heavenly scent, but it should bloom soon…

If you go away for more than two days, ask a neighbour to water your containers, or move them (the containers, not the neighbours) to a shady spot to prevent their demise. Water balls (the things you fill with water and insert into the soil) work well for a few days too, depending on how hot it is and how thirsty your plants are.

the blue water ball (center, back) provides moisture when I am away

The pink wave petunias are stretching towards the sun, but look like they are trying to escape through the railing of my veranda.

Also needing daily attention (refilling) are the numerous bird baths in my gardens, a chore my 2 year old granddaughter tackles diligently when she is here.

a chickadee sipping the cold water

My lilies in part sun spots are still looking good, (the full sun ones have lost their petals, much to the dismay of the same granddaughter) and my weigela tree is providing an encore…

My Annabelle hydrangea is coming along, parts of it in bloom, others still working on it…

… and this pink gayfeather is just beginning to show off…

By next week its bold spires will be stretching to the sun and waving in the breeze.

That’s it for blooms in Gardens4me now that July is on its way out, but into the history books for our hottest and driest July in many years.

Stay tuned for more pictures soon.

Posted in current events, health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

Pandemic, Four Months in

photo credit

I’m sure you’ve noticed, we are now four (!!) months into a pandemic. Although lots of things have changed in these past 4 months, many others are slipping back into our lives now that we (some of us) are into the (many) stages of reopening. Stage three began here in Ontario last week. While many of us welcome the reinstated freedoms, many others are still feeling uneasy. With spikes in our provincial “numbers” that unease can only get worse.

I realized one of these slippery slopes at the grocery store recently, the third time in one week, although I wore a mask each time. In recent months I restricted my outings to a grocery store once a week or even once every ten days. As well as the grocery store, I (gasp) went to a few other stores last week too. I won’t however, be going to any (indoor) restaurants or bars any time soon, will stick to ordering online and pickups.

To say it has been a rough four months for many people and businesses, is quite the understatement. My own business, although more of a hobby than a salary dependent business, has slowed down considerably. The heat wave played a part in that, but the slowdown is mainly due to the fact that lots of clients decided to do their own gardening while they were stuck at home.

The silver lining in a reduced workload permitted me to spend more time in my own gardens that I now refer to as Gardens4me. Another consolation has been the ability to spend more time at our family cottage. My daughter-in-law is on maternity leave, so we have been heading up there with her two children while our men folk go to work, then meet us there on the weekends. Tough job, I know. The heatwave (so far) this summer has encouraged these extra cottage visits.

Now that we are permitted to, I also am using any extra moments to spend time with my five precious grandchildren. This picture was taken at one grandson’s (far right, on grandpa’s lap) 1st birthday celebration…

As you can see, I have fully embraced my gray Sliter roots, pun intended. My dad was totally white by the age of 30 as were many of his siblings and my own. My children and their cousins are now sprouting grays too.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.wordpress.com

Mid July Blooms in Gardens4me

Those lily trees I told you about in a previous post have now popped, adding incredible colour and fragrance to my mid-July Gardens4me gardens.

lily trees and monarda
aren’t they gorgeous?

Also in bloom this time of year are drought tolerant perennials in every colour of the rainbow. The filipendula sprays are turning from white to their signature pale pink, the monarda are still going strong, and the delphiniums are bluer than blue…

My annuals are still looking vibrant too…

Now I’m hoping for some rain to help me keep all these blooms hydrated. Stay tuned for the next batch of pictures from Gardens4me. My next Gardens4u project will be completed soon as well, will be sure to post pictures of it too.

Posted in cottage life, lorieb.wordpress.com

Drone Photography at the Lake

My nephew Jack is currently enrolled in videography at Durham College. His talent for video production and photography has been obvious for years to those of us that know him well. His latest passion involves capturing breathtaking footage and pictures with his new drone.

If you have a business that could use his talent and skills, contact Jack through the email address listed in the photo credits below. He currently lives in Ingleside, Ontario area but will travel to the Ottawa area and cottage country.

On a recent visit to our family cottage, he took some amazing pictures of our property and the lake. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. That is Jack, my son and a friend in the boat on the lake. I plan to enlarge and frame one of these for my hubby’s upcoming birthday…

They are all so gorgeous, my dilemma now is choosing just one to enlarge and frame. Which one do you like best?

Posted in health and wellness, lorieb.wordpress.com

Ultimate Self-Care Ritual

This is a guest post from HigherDOSE.com. The topic fits in well with my blog so I thought I would share with you….

Give yourself permission to practice self-care rituals that prioritize your own standards of happiness. In today’s busy, over-stimulated world, taking the time to slow down can often feel overly indulgent and unproductive, but it’s actually the opposite. Allowing yourself the time and space to rest and revive is one of the best ways to stimulate clarity and increase an overall sense of happiness.

Take moments to take care of yourself, physically, emotionally and spiritually. To make the most of your me-time, create a ritual of consistent practices—routine habits that are nourishing and motivating and can be realistically sustained.

To get you started, we’ve curated the ultimate self-care ritual, specially designed to soothe and improve. Plus, a few of our favorite products

Skin Brushing

A morning moment, dry brushing offers energizing qualities while improving the look and feel of your skin. Just 3-5 minutes will buzz your body’s connections. Skin is the human body’s largest organ, and skin brushing helps us keep it detoxified with a tantalizing and awakening effect. A healthy, invigorating way to turn sluggish and dull into bright, smooth and glowing. For travelling, we love the Dry Body Brush by EcoTools. (EcoTools produces 100% cruelty-free and vegan synthetic makeup brushes, sponges, applicators and bath accessories that are both stylish and eco-friendly.)

Oil Massage

Follow skin brushing with nutrient-rich, organic body oil for a calming, soothing effect that replenishes dry skin—locks in moisture and ensures glowing softness, firmness and radiance. We opt for pure jojoba oil, as it’s the closest molecule to our natural skin.

HD Infrared Sauna Blanket

Perfect at-home or on-the-go, our sauna blankets provide a slimming, detoxifying and mood-heightening experience—using radiant infrared heat to relax and revive the body. Reduce stress and anxiety, purify your system and trigger a feel-good dose of your brain’s happiness chemicals: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.

Face Mask + Hair Mask

A nice, gentle way to enhance quiet, calm reflections. Face and hair masks put you into total spa mode and boost confidence in appearance. To save on time, let your hair and face masks set while soaking in your sauna blanket. Infrared heat raises your core body temperature, opening your pores to better absorb face masks. Also, the heat from your scalp will help activate and enhance nourishing hair masks. For the face, we love Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask to Purify & Nourish by Origins—formulated with bamboo charcoal, this purifying mask deep cleans and draws out deep-dwelling pore-clogs, impurities and debris, while golden wildflower and fermented honey nourish the skin. For hair, we look for castor oil, which stimulates natural hair growth while restoring and moisturizing damaged strands and nurturing the scalp.

Breathwork + Meditation.

Where consciousness and subconscious meet. Focus on slow, intentioned, mindful breathing to encourage deep emotional, psychological and physical cleansing. We can participate in our breath and immediately feel the effects.   Enter into meditative states, letting go of unhealthy thoughts, embracing clarity, establishing positive control of energies…effective and endlessly beneficial, regardless of busy schedules and limited spaces. Tip: if you’re new or prefer to practice with guidance, we recommend zoning out with headphones and the 1 Giant Mind app—a great support for learning, growing and developing your self-practice.

Photo credit to Jared Rice at Unsplash

Let me know what you think! This article appealed to me as I am all about natural and organic methods to improve my health and wellness. I have no affiliation with any of the products listed above, but I do plan to start the skin brushing and already use an essential oil blend on my face and neck.

Posted in entertainment, music

Who Loves Each Other More by Andrew Waines

A few years ago I introduced you to Andrew Waines and his music. Still going strong in the music industry, Andrew has just released his latest original tune. Check out Who Loves Each Other More on the platform (YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and more) of your choice.

While you are at it, listen to Andrew’s other originals and covers on his website.

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca

Early July Blooms in Gardens4me

We have had an extraordinary summer so far, with weeks of hot dry weather. My lawns have taken a beating with the extensive drought, but my gardens are still looking good in early July. When planning my gardens, I chose drought tolerant perennials that could handle little to no maintenance. These choices are being tested this summer.

This next set of pictures are some of the annuals I have planted in various containers on my front veranda and back deck. Succulents continue to be some of my favourites for containers; they love the drought…

A soaker hose prevents my perennial gardens from drying out in this heat, I have used it quite frequently lately. For those of you not familiar with soaker hoses, they are rubber hoses with tiny holes in them so water sprays at the base of plants. Set up early in the spring as perennials are emerging, the hose will disappear into the foliage by this time of year. Connect as many as you need to snake through your garden, especially in the areas that receive lots of sun. Turn it on early in the morning and let it run for several hours.

My granddaughter is always willing to help me water the gardens and containers too…

helping Grandma water

Although, now that she is a “big girl” of two and half years, she has graduated to manning the hose…

Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca, zone 4, zone 5

June Blooms in Gardens4me

In my Gardens4u business I design gardens based on the wishes and dreams of my clients. In a moment of silliness, as I was waiting for Premier Ford to allow me to get back into those gardens, I painted Gardens4me on the archway over the gate to my own backyard garden. That’s because they have been created according to my taste and no one else’s. My personal oasis of sorts.

My own gardens are created just the way I love gardens….the style I aim for is called English Cottage Garden. I like when the plants, predominantly perennials with a shrub here and there, blend together, looking like they belong together. It takes a loooooong time to achieve this effect and is never quite “done.” I am always tweaking the look, moving, dividing and adding plants as I see fit. Although purple is my favourite colour in the garden (can you tell?) I do try to add contrasting colours to make each bloom “pop.” A variety in foliage shades and textures is a must too for my desired effect.

The following gallery of pictures is from my backyard. It seems the garden gets bigger each year and the lawn shrinks…

When we moved into this home years ago, the south-facing front yard was in full sun, but a dwarf blue spruce turned out not so dwarf, so I get part sun there now. This allows for a wider variety of plants…

These pictures were snapped just after a rainfall, that’s when they look the lushest. Although we have had an usually hot June with very little rain (my lawn is already looking parched), next month the real heat lovers (roses and lilies) will be the feature…….stay tuned!

Posted in current events, lorieb.wordpress.com

Lessons to be Learned

There are many lessons to be learned these days, some are learning the hard way, but (hopefully) learning none the less. Covid-19 and the systemic racism that has reared its ugly head is making 2020 a year to remember, and it’s only half over!

These are just a few examples of lessons we (should) have learned….

Social Media Comments can Come Back to Bite you in the Butt!

Just ask the two guys fired from Vanderpump Rules. Racist comments made many years ago have cost them their jobs, at least on the popular TV show. It has not yet been determined if their jobs at the bar owned by Lisa Vanderpump are at jeopardy as well. Maybe they didn’t deserve to be fired from the show for comments made so long ago, (especially when they are only in their mid twenties now and comments were made ten years ago) but perhaps TV stations are making an example of them.

Racist Jokes or Pranks are not Funny!

Another Vanderpump Rules pair (two of the original females) were fired for
phoning the cops on a light skinned, black co-worker because her tattoos and dark skin fit the description of someone the police were looking for. This was a recent (and immaturely stupid) discretion.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Admedia/Sipa/Shutterstock (1713227af) Lisa Vanderpump-Todd and Andy Cohen Andy Cohen’s ‘Most Talkative: Stories From The Front Lines Of Pop Culture’ Book Release Party, Los Angeles, America – 14 May 2012

Just Because you are not a Racist does not Mean you are Anti-Racist

It’s not enough today to be non-racist. The Black Lives Matter movement is demanding we become anti-racist. If you have a platform, it is essential to speak up and put your money where your mouth is. Watch Arnold Schwarzenegger tell it like it is (or should be)

White Privilege is Rampant

White privilege is a fact that many of us are not (at least we were not) aware of. An example of it in the news (at least one of them) featured Jessica Mulroney, the host of CTV’s I Do, Redo. For some reason she believed her projects were more important and pressing than someone else’s. Perhaps because she is a Canadian socialite, married to the son of a former prime minister, and/or BFFs with Megan Markle. I don’t believe that her comments, although aimed at a black woman, were racist. Just insensitive and egotistical, coming from a lifestyle of white privilege.

photo credit to Us Magazine

Who knows if firing these TV personalities was the right thing to do, but perhaps it’s the only way to get the right message out there. Hopefully the standard will be raised.

Positive Changes

Along with the tough lessons learned from the issues in the news, some people have taken learning to a whole new level. Activities they never had time for before COVID forced them to stay home are now hobbies that may just last a lifetime.

Gardening

I had to laugh with a garden center employee when she told me someone informed her they wanted to grow tomatoes, then quickly asked “what does a tomato look like?” All of a sudden gardening is everyone’s new hobby. This was evident as all plants at the nurseries were quickly picked over the very weekend they were permitted to open. Grrrrrr.

I can understand the discovery that gardening is relaxing and very rewarding, no new revelation for me. I started a gardening business eight years ago now, and still love every minute of it. This new found hobby many have taken on has affected my business though as many of my clients are now able and willing to look after their own gardens.

Online Shopping and Banking

Several of my elderly clients have now learned how to etransfer funds. This may sound trivial to many of you younger folk, but the older generation is more prone to mistrusting using computers and cell phones, especially for anything financial related. To them this is huge!

Of course online shopping has been around for years, but during this COVID pandemic it is more popular than ever. Delivery services are saying they are busier now than during the Christmas holiday season. Amazon released a statement recently saying they are prioritizing their orders, so if you ordered something they deem non-essential, you wont be receiving it anytime soon.

I learned this the hard way when I ordered Mother’s Day gifts for my daughter in laws. Even though I placed the orders in late March in anticipation of the holiday mid May, the gifts did not arrive until mid June.

Quality Time with Family

My two eldest sons have both learned they are enjoying the COVID restrictions as it is allowing them to spend more quality time with their children. It is a well known fact that children thrive from spending quality time with their parents. Unfortunately, our pre-COVID lives were so complicated and busy that quality time was slipping through the cracks. Simple things (after all, that’s all we are allowed to do) like going for a walk, movie nights, homeschooling, crafts and more are becoming the new normal. Your children are probably loving all the attention.

We may just have a baby boom next winter as couples spend more quality time together too. On the flip side though, the divorce rate may already be increasing as some couples are struggling being cooped up with their significant others.

Supporting Local Businesses

As small businesses struggle with the tanking economy caused by the pandemic, it is more important than ever to support them. Without money coming in from customers, business owners are struggling to pay their rent. Many have also been forced to lay off employees due to the huge loss in revenue.

The big chain stores/businesses will probably survive, but the mom and pop restaurants, bars, gift shops, novelty stores etc. may not. Research local small businesses offering curbside pickups and take out food or purchase their gift cards to use when these stores reopen. Many have switched to an online process, ensuring touchless payment. Some even offer free delivery through Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats or their own delivery service.

Losing the Judgement

We must all learn to be less judgmental of others, especially when living in such trying times. Everyone’s situation is different, so people should concentrate on their own, without worrying and complaining about the actions of others.

photo credit to John Hain, Pixabay


What have you learned?

Feature picture credit to pixapopz

Posted in business, current events, lorieb.wordpress.com

TruLocal Equal Opportunity Grant

A few weeks ago, TruLocal offered a $10K grant for Canadian small businesses founded by black individuals. In an update today they announced the grant has doubled!

As a Black-owned and led business, we feel it’s more important now than ever to stand up against injustice, and use our platform and resources to help elevate Black individuals and communities. A week and a half ago, we announced the $10,000 truLOCAL Equal Opportunity Grant, to provide two $5000 grants to small Black-owned businesses to help them grow and thrive.

This week, we got some exciting news. Our friends at Shipper Bee loved the idea – and they committed to matching our contribution. The truLOCAL Equal Opportunity Business Grant now has $20,000 to invest in four $5000 business grants to Black founders.

We couldn’t be more thrilled to create this incredible opportunity for Black small business owners – we know we couldn’t have gotten to where we are today if we hadn’t received support from our friends, families, customers, and communities. Sound like you? Applications are open until June 26th! If you know any Black-owned businesses or Black founders who might benefit from one of these grants, please share the good news with them.

– the truLOCAL team

I shared with you how impressed I have been with TruLocal from the start and have been ordering meat from them for over a year now. I am now even more impressed, just sorry I didn’t think of sharing this sooner.

With the Black Lives Matter movement so important worldwide, this initiative is a wonderful idea. Hopefully more companies (and celebrities, business moguls etc) will rise to the occasion and follow suit.

Don’t delay, apply today!