Early Beginning to the Gardening Season (Indoor Seed Sowing!)

April 1, 2014

I received this cool indoor seed growing kit for Christmas from my husband's sister and her family.  (Remember 'Chia Pets'?   Same company.)

I asked my good friend, Paula (who grows excellent tomato plants from seed) if today was a good day to start indoor seeds.  She said that April is indeed seed planting month and this wonderful advice 'and, the absolute best time to plant is when you have the time and enthusiasm!'  

The kit came with three little terra cotta pots and a special 'Growing Sponge' made from a mysterious mixture of tree bark, peat moss and sponge material.   They feel very spongy.  It also came with six different kinds of herbs, tags, and instructions.   The idea was to choose the three herbs you most like, but I decided to put my favourites in the special pots and plant the others in regular earth.
The nice selection of herbs included cilantro, sweet basil, chives, marjoram, dill and parsley.
Cilantro is our very favouite so it got the Number One spot in one of the special pots, along with chives and sweet basil.  My husband and I love all things Mexican, and cilantro seems to be a major ingredient in all food with a Mexican flair.

The instructions were quite clear to just lay the seed on top of the little sponges (with the exception of the chives, which were to be buried in a small slit).   It seems weird to me to leave the large cilantro seeds on top like that, but I decided to do what I was told.

I planted the other three herbs in small yogurt containers, in regular soil.
And covered them all up with plastic wrap, which was recommended!  Presto.  

I will be fun to see how this all works out.   My master plan it to plant them all out in containers on the deck this summer.  

To be continued.....

Exciting Visitor to the Cottage Garden

March 8, 2014

Barred Owl

This morning I had my first close encounter with a Barred Owl.    It spent all morning resting on a broken branch of one of the red pines in our front yard.   I took a number of photos of it through the window because I assumed (incorrectly) that it would fly away if I went out.   An hour or so later, my husband and I ventured out and found we could get quite close to it, if we didn't make much noise.   It seemed to be resting there, taking small glances once in a while at the chickadees, woodpeckers and blue jays flitting around the peanut feeder, then closing its eyes again.   I took many more photos there, including this one. 

Later on we thought it had flown away, only to find it was completely hidden by its background.   The second shot kind of shows you the idea.   The open eyes are really the only giveaway, from a little further back.  

doing a little grooming, you can see how long
the feathers are here
a great owl website
more information on Wikipedia

...by the way, we haven't seen our resident red squirrel today.......maybe he's hiding....

Winter at Cottage Garden

March 4, 2014

Hello again everyone.   Thanks to those who have welcomed me back to blogging!     As I posted yesterday, I retired in October and am enjoying the time to myself immeasurably.   I am really looking forward to the end of the winter, and the beginning of gardening season.

By the way, I figured out why I couldn't post photos yesterday - the help section suggested I try a different web browser, like Google Chrome, and that did the trick.   

We have quite a bit of snow here in Garden Zone 4.   We are keeping our bird feeders full and have visitors to them all day long.    Chickadees along with both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are the main guests at the feeders, but also the occasional Blue Jay, and of course the resident Red Squirrel.  

this is the end of our driveway!

downy Woodpecker
Red Squirrel
(yes, there is a baffle, and yes, he knows how to defeat it)

Neglected Blog and Relearning to Blog Again!

March 3, 2014

Boy, I have been away from this too long, as I can't even remember how to add photos.  Well I have uploaded photos to the blog, but can't seem to get them into the post.   And I can't believe the nasty spam in the comments sections. 

I will keep trying though. 

I guess Cottage Garden took a little bit longer of a break that I had intended.   I retired from my job, after thirty years, in October and am really looking forward to spring and having lots of time to work in my garden.

Hope to be posting some photos soon.   (Photos of snow, for now). 

Happy Gardening (or for the Canadians, happy seed-catalogue viewing.)


My Cottage Garden on Summer Break!

August 3, 2012

How DO people who garden find time to blog about it in the summer? I really struggled last year to keep up with posting and keep up with the reading of my blogrolls, but this summer I have found it too difficult. I confess it's mostly the reading of my friend's blogs that takes the most time, but I don't feel it's right to just 'post and sign-off'. Plus I WANT to be able to have the time to read and comment.

I've decided that the best thing for me to do, is keep taking pictures and notes, while I weed, dead-head, plan and scheme for improving the garden - then blog about it all during the cold, winter months here in Zone 4, while my garden is under three feet of snow!

So I will be back about, oh, let's be optomistic and say the winter will start in mid-November sometime. Until then, happy gardening!

'Stargazer' lilies with 'Annabelle' hydrangea