Back to Back Issues Page
Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #019
January 07, 2023


Perhaps we can be more appreciative of January

- it comes in spite of us; noisy, messy, quiet or serene,

but there is no denying its presence.

The holiday storms

are mostly behind us with their lovely chaos,

families, snow drifts, parties and exhaustive energy

and most of all

plentiful memories

to remind us how human we are.

“Live in each season as it passes;

Breathe air, drink the drink, taste the fruit

and resign yourself to the influences of each.

Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines.”

Henry David Thoreau

"In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that…

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes

against me, within me, there’s something stronger

– something better, pushing right back."



Don't try to remove the ice from either your plants or shrubs.

Advice from Proven Winners says removing ice

from a shrub will often result in much worse damage

than leaving it.

Ice will melt naturally in time,

usually leaving the plant unharmed.

If the ice is heavy enough to cause damage,

you can prune those branches back (just beyond the damage)

in late winter while the plant is still dormant.

Photo: Proven Winners

“And don’t think that the garden

loses its ecstasy in the winter.

It’s quiet, but the roots down there riotous/“


Oh, yes they are….gathering nutrients

and sharing ideas how to grow bigger,

better and more beautiful

when their strengthening rest is over

and spring comes once again

… as it always does.

Photo by Jen Bird

see beesnapspics - Instagram

In spite of snow, wind and rain,

taking winter walks is good for the soul

(and puppies)

…. and the artist in all of us sees

the trees, naked of leaves, revealing lovely skeletons,

and making shadows

as they dance.

Harriett and Lucy; cuddled and spoiled by Jen


It’s one of my favourite quotes, but alas, it may not always be true.

… funny thing how we see ourselves as invincible;

then, a runny nose turns into a fever

and we trade our capes for snuggly dressing gowns

and bunny slippers.

So. before this happens,

treat yourself to some necessities:

Lip balm

Cough drops

Hand sanitizer

Herbal tea

Lots of tissues

And a notebook with a pretty pen

for creative ideas that fill our heads

when we are down for the count

Oh, and Honey (with a wee nip of whisky)

… most of all, music and a pile of books.

Then close the door and take lots of naps

- alone, or with a friend.

Robbie Burns Day - January 25

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796),

also known familiarly as Rabbie Burns

and regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement -

SO, if you like Scotch Whisky,

(oh goodness, who doesn’t?)

then sip a wee dram in his honour.

And if you are a Lassie,

then raise a “glass”

for a Laddie you love,

have loved or lost .

And here’s a toast to spur you on.

A Toast to the Laddies...

It is traditional for the Laddies to toast the Lassies but as a Lassie,

i like the idea of toasting those Laddies - in kilts.... what's not to like?

Although Robbie Burns intended the following words for the Haggis, I like to believe they could easily apply to our beloved Laddies.

He said,

“ Don’t judge by appearances –

Honour not the virtues of sense and worth

Found in fancy French dishes –

But honour the virtues of sense and worth

…. In a democratic way….

That makes the least attractive parts of an animal

Into something worth celebrating…..”

And, so we add:

We’ve know many a Laddie

And made some sound like a baddie

But be sure that ye ken

How we love our Scots men

Be they Friend, Brother

Son, Spouse or Daddy…”

To all the Laddies we’ve loved before

May your briefs hang from a hook on the door

May you never need a map

Your toilet seat remain aloft

The remote, firmly in your grasp….

- and -

Until we meet again,

May the wind at your back be your own.

To all the Men we’ve loved

The men we’ve left

The men we’ve raised

And the best men we’ve kept…


...and Speaking of Whisky

I may not be everyone’s cup of tea

but I hope I am somebody’s

double shot of whisky…

Flower Power

As we miss flowers in our gardens,

we bring home beautiful blooming plants.

Cyclamen is one of those

- I love them in all colours

- but big or small

they need a little different care.

Cyclamen Success Tips

Never water from the top:

the tuber is close to the surface and will rot

Lift the pot and if it's light,

place in dish of water

and let it soak up water from the bottom.

Keep the soil moist

but not wet.

Deadhead for more blooms.

It will (likely) go dormant in April.

Cut off yellow leaves

and it will keep going.

This little one above is now 3 years old and keeps blooming

A Brand New Year - now what?

If you need a project,

how about looking to see

what birds are in your garden?

Jot them down.

with dates and where you see them.

And share this with kids or grandkids….

Take photos or make sketches.... realistic or not...

A cranky Redpoll in our back garden.

Or you could.....

Browse through my site for ideas....


Organize all those plant tags.....

and update your garden journal...

You do have a garden journal, right?

Look here for some ideas that have worked for me

(and no, my tags are still waiting for me)


Oh, those Latin Names:

“I love to hear Real Gardeners talking,

the Latin names rolling off their

tongues, sonorous and beautiful.

I feel abashed when I take a sleeve and say,

‘Do come and see that pink thing over there.’

‘Ah, Centaurea hypoleuca. Very nice’, they say.

Never mind.

It smiles the same for both of us.”

Pam Brown

I like these better:

…from Garden magazine and Garden Digest


A Favourite of Birds: - Avoid planting near cars, sidewalks or clotheslines

Grows More Beautiful Each Year: - Looks like roadkill for the foreseeable future.

Zone 5 with Protection: - Russian Roulette

May Require Support: - Your daughter’s engineering degree will finally pay off

Moisture-Loving - Ideal for landscaping all your bogs and swamps

Carefree: - Your plant’s attitude; not your workload

Vigorous: - Has a Napoleonic compulsion to take over the world

Grandma’s Favourite: - Until she discovers free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids

Cold and Bleak..

Losing a friend or loved one is very hard.

... and the pain just sits there;

There are so many reminders

of those we have loved and lost too soon.

Our beloved friend - Mary Scarlett; kind, generous, loving and funny -

She gave me this bistro set

to remind me of my writing adventures in Paris and Provence.

I miss our “Gin dates”

- writing in our pretty journals at New Year’s-

- sharing our goals and dreams for each coming year….

about gardening, books and more adventures.

Mary Scarlett Steele Thomas

who loved this quote.

Now go Outside... bleak or sunny

Dress cozily, go outside and smell that gorgeous crisp air;

Be kind to yourself

...and some others who may not deserve your kindness

Be safe, well

and happy.

Photo: Jen Bird

Instagram: beesnapspics

Until next time....

Stay in and eat yummy snacks and watch movies.

.. especially Charlie Brown's Christmas over again

and again.... and again...

It's Lucy's favourite movie

... .can you tell??

New Fans of "Little Bird"

Here are Puppy and Panda

from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

... reading Little Bird.

( yes, of course, they can read....)

My Little Bird Book

When I sell a copy of my book

(The Little Bird Who Fell From the Sky)

for a child who attends a school,

I donate one to their school library.

If you wish to purchase one with another for a school,

please send a note to:

They are now in schools in Ontario, Labrador, New Brunswick,

Latvia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, BC,

Arizona, California, Florida, the UK,

Massachusetts, Tennessee, Missouri,

France, and Nicaragua

You can order here:

Back Issues for Garden Bliss & Blunder


Back to Back Issues Page