Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Of ice and cold and undead trees - #balconygarden

The weather took a nasty turn here in Toronto on the weekend …. again.   I’d hate to see the weather swings plotted on a graph – they're pretty severe lately. How cold? It rained and rained and rained. Then the wind picked up and rattled all the windows and the temp dropped so quickly the balcony froze over. A sheet of ice all over everything, including our mighty lilac tree. I was so disappointed. But … late yesterday mom stepped out onto the balcony (I was in my comfy chair sulking about the sudden downpour and continuing chill) to look at something and she yelled “COME QUICK… LOOK”.   I went out and behold:

Lilac May survived ice and cold


I swear we must own a zombie lilac. It shouldn't have survived the sudden plunge in temp. or at least, the blossoms shouldn’t have survived. Not only that, the blossoms are just getting ready to pop. Some of the leaves are a bit worse for wear, but it’s thriving. The weather has returned to a seasonable temp so fingers crossed.

We won’t be getting the garden in this weekend. It’s still far too chilly up on the 20th floor so we’ll wait a week or two. But I will go out and snuffle about the garden centres to see what's available.  

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Behold – the mighty dandelion, slayer of lawns

Ah spring is here in all it’s hay fever inducing glory! Robins be damned – it isn’t spring until the ubiquitous dandelion pops up and terrifies lovers of bowling green style lawns. I love dandelions and don’t quite get the obsession some have with eradicating them. I know peope who go out with their bottle of weed killer and spray, spray, spray away trying to kill them all off. Not sure how much Round Up they use, but they are  successful in killing off the bees and not the tough little dandelion. I figure when the apocalypse hits all that will be left will be cockroaches and dandelions.

If I had a lawn, I’d dig it up and seed it with wildflowers. I’d also let the dandelions grow too. Yea, I’d be a neighbourhood pariah … “quick get the kids inside, here comes that crazy dandelion lady”. Maybe I’d make dandelion necklaces and wear them when I stroll around the neighbourhood, inviting people in to drink some dandelion wine and really scare the jeebers out of everyone. That would be fun.

So if you look out your window and spot the evil little yellow flowers appearing on your lawn, take a deep breath and keep telling yourself "they are only daisies... little yellow daisies" and leave the sprays in the cupboard.   


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Balcony surprise - lilacs in the city 20 floor up

I was just out on the balcony about 15 min ago and was shocked to see this:

Lilac Tree balcony garden

Our lovely and much neglected lilac tree survived the winter. We're 20 floors up and we get furious wind gales all winter long. We thought it was a gonner, but a few weeks ago we thought we saw signs of life. 

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Bitter Grounds brain farts - site design failures

Danger Sign - Brain Fart Ahead

I screwed up last night. Was feeling tired but wanted to tinker a bit with the site’s design and I broke one of my cardinal rules – NEVER adjust the layout live unless you know what the result will be. Test off line first and if all goes well, nip behind the curtains and make the changes. Those immortal words “nothing will go wrong” (that always lead to trouble) flitted through my brains and I plunged head long into a few adjustments.

WELL … things didn’t go to plan. If any of you logged on last night, my humblest apologies. It must have looked like I’d lost my sanity for about 2 hours. I’d been working on a different banner for the site – something that is a bit more interestig and less dour than the dark landscape I had. After sketching out some ideas I sat down and put the banner together and loaded it up. Not bad, not bad at all.  So far so good.

Then I got frisky…

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Meandering towards spring

Incredible change in the weather. It’s not sub zero, rainy, cloudy, sleety (is that a word?) blah for a change. Just a beautiful spring day here in Toronto.   In the space of about 2 weeks, we’ve gone from -10 with the wind chill to a balmy, lovely 13 Celsius (that translates to 55 F for my American friends). Lovely jubbly! It’s been a dreary, dreary month. The sunshine is such a break.

The sun and warmth means garden season isn’t long off now. Traditionally it’s the May long weekend – also called the 24 weekend to symbolise the case of beer that will be sacrificed over gardens all over the country. I’ve been rethinking my little balcony garden. We’re up so high, we get tremendous winds so some plants don’t do well. Plus there is a  temp difference, always a bit cooler (especially at night) than on ground level. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it over the last few years. So we need fairly hearty plants to deal with wind, intense sun in the afternoon and possible chills in the evening.

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