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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #029
November 07, 2023

NOVEMBER: Nice or Nasty?

Some of the days in November, carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the colour of moonrise.” Gladys Faber (1899-1980)

“ Nature has been for me, for as long as I can remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.”

Lorraine Anderson in ‘Sisters of the Earth’


it is good for the soil (especially if they are shredded (lawn mowers work) … however, left as they are, right from the tree, they can make a mat on top of the grass. Oak leaves especially, take a long time to break down so I keep the maple leaves and send the oak leaves to be composted at our city’s facility. Knowing my limits in the garden, also makes a difference. I am NOT a fan of leaf blowers: they are noisy, irritating and using precious resources, they blow small webs, wee nests and winter homes of beneficial insects. Raking is meditative, rhythmic and rewarding, although the aches and pains from stretching muscles may not agree.

See more about how important soil is here....


I rake up the maple leaves and also some of my neighbours’ to put on top of my rose hedge on the boulevard. They work as a thick blanket, protecting them from road salt, sand and snow all winter. They just keep getting better.

... and Lucy loves to help

On My Favourite topic of Roses...

Pick those last few precious blossoms for your bedside; they will be petals in the wind if you don’t.

Then pick up your pencils or brushes and capture these last moments.

Life is short.

When the frost tinges the edges of the roses, it’s a sign my garden is shutting down. But put away your pruning shears and wait until spring.

Roses work all summer taking nutrients from the rich soil all the way to the tips of each leaf, stem, cane and to those glorious blooms.

Why would I destroy all their work, taking that energy and those nutrients and cut them off? It deprives roses of their hard work, weakening the roots and sending the rose into a frigid winter without any protection…

...(actually the same goes for many perennials too)

My painting of this frosted rose will most likely be on show at the Ashburnham Alehouse in Peterborough in December (if I can part with it... )

Go for lunch, or brunch and come home with a painting by a local artist.. there are many of us there...

Then leave the rose canes to do their work...the only ones you might want to cut a little are those which lean out of the garden to snag your coat or your fur baby. ...and see more at Overwintering Roses

Ashburnham Alehouse


My Fall Garden Walkabout...

There is still so much beauty in a dying garden.

I Love Gingko Trees !

One of my favourite trees is a Gingko… and was also my dad’s, who took us as kids to see the one YOU need to make time to see.

It's the largest one I have ever seen and is on Douro St. between Rogers and Armour… (difficult to access with the construction but worth any effort)

There is another smaller but just as gorgeous that my friend and fellow artist Claire Sullivan is painting in Nicholls Oval near Armour road entrance

(her painting will also be for sale and shown at the Alehouse most likely in December.)

This dwarf Gingko is variegated and when fall starts its slow dance, the green tips turn yellow and within a few days, all the chlorophyll seeps back to the root with all its yummy nutrients and leaves it swathed in gold.

Have you ever been near enough to see the magic or hear that soft “whoosh” when the leaves fall? They fall all at once; almost silently - so the ground beneath is a carpet of yellow.

Still, lots of colour surprises...

Here's a plant that just keeps on giving.... seeds itself and blooms - I took this photo a few days ago !

Guara.... this one is classified as a perennial... but it does not always come up in the same place.... it is also called a 'butterfly plant" because those blooms move up and down in the breeze and especially when the bees are on them.

I wonder if the bees like the ride they get?

Isn't this glorious?

every garden NEEDS at least one..

.. I love this

Spanish Bluebells - Wood Hyacinth

Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) are one of my spring favourites that emerge just when the Snowdrops are done.

As I take my walks through the garden, I take special note of some things that may not make sense to anyone else.

Like these two, unmatched little fence pieces because when spring comes, I can hardly wait to see these precious bluebells emerge - without the little fences it would be easy to think there is an empty space waiting to be filled.

It's a visual reminder of what is to come.

Time for one last sit...

Before the sun loses it warmth, and before the (almost) last garden chore is done, take a moment to sit and enjoy what your garden has given you for your hard work.

It is miraculous that in spite of us, our gardens just keep giving back...

Remember that.

Lest We Forget...

Never let us get complacent

and forget what has been done for us at great cost

... the sacrifice others have made

allows us to be in our gardens,

feeling safe, growing our own food and flowers

and live with the peace

they fought so hard in such ugly wars

- for us.

This amazing and very touching painting is by my friend Debra Brown who has generously donated it to the Lakefield Legion.

If you get a chance, go and see it - another way to pay your respects.

My thanks, Deb... your talent is incredible.

Lucy says...

In the meantime, be sure to take your 4-legged

to the drive-through for a “pup cup”

However, it used to be, she was thrilled to lick it

it straight from the cup

… now she prefers it fed to her on a spoon.

... who knew?

Lucy, apparently.

Sadly, It's Not The End...

Covid again is rampant…. please consider wearing your mask -if not to protect yourself, to protect others

… our pharmacist says two things work: 1. Lots of Rest 2. Drink warm water

It is working for us this past week…. but now that I have started feeling better I add lemon, honey and some good whisky…and that works even better at bedtime

Guess What? New Wall-New Art

My artist/writer/gardener friend Claire Sullivan and I

now have our own wall for the next year

at the Ashburnham Alehouse in Peterborough

Come see ours and many other artists' art

- but most of all, come for the great food

and friendly staff.

If you see a painting that would make a great gift (even for yourself)

and you are not in town -

please send me a note and we can make it yours....

Ashburnham Alehouse

Until Next Time...

Lucy says,

Get lots of rest; read good books and drink lots.

And - tell the doctor I said so.

Lucy knows when it is time for bed as she gets sleepy.

She prefers “a lift” up to bed on Jen’s shoulder.

By the way...

Thank you for taking the time to read my "newsletter"...

And, my sketches from any of my newsletters are available as prints.

Send me a message and we can make it happen.

I also still have some signed copies of Little Bird that make great gifts.


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