January, a time where hibernation, cuddling up and getting cozy by a fire sounds perfect. Even with snow flurries, light frosts and endless drops of rain falling to set new records, I still long to be outside in the garden once the new year hits.
There are a variety of gardeners that think gardening should start no earlier then the first day of spring, which happens to be March 20th this year. There are also some horticulturist that simply can not start planning until the warmer weather comes around mid-Spring. But for us, January is the prime time to stroll the gardens and reminisce on the previous year, while adding to the wish list of this year. It also proves a good time to start some of the winter clean-up from all the windstorms even though there are sure to be a few more.
This next year I plan on taking you a little further into the projects we’re doing around the cottage and gardens as we explore all the possibilities that 2016 can bring us. We hope that you also have that spark of excitement to commence this year in the home and garden so you can plan to make it a fabulous one.
Cheers to 2016!
Summer is in full swing, which for many season lovers means countless barbeque’s, tireless yard games, and those endless summer soirées on the back porch.
In trying to figure out how we could stretch those summer nights, we knew there had to be a resolution to those unsolicited, pesquie mosquitoes. This year we made it a priority to not let these pests crash our merriment in hopes that we may take in the full delight of the twilight. It’s not too late for you to construct an invite-only summer evening as well. Here’s how we created our pest free porch this season…
We filled our porch planters with native repelling mosquito herbs, that can also be used in a vast variety of mouthwatering recipes. Also, having aspirations for a Moon Garden this year, we dressed each basket with white florets that illuminate the railings in the evening, and guide guests along their wandering ways in the moon light.
There were concerns raised around the pollinating traffic and if they would make their customary large appearances, as the traditional warm season baskets are filled with an abundant floral variety with vibrant splashes of color. We were pleasantly surprised though how these baskets went from a simple meal for our pollinators, to a full on buffet.
Magic Mountain Basil
This herb is loved by all pollinators and seems to leave them always wanting more. From bees to hummingbirds, they simply can’t get enough. Contrasting your traditional basil, but can be used just the same. The leaflets add beautiful color to each bite of your bruschetta or seasonal pasta salad.
This herb is a leader in repelling mosquitoes. It can be planted as a compliment to a larger floral arrangement or can make a considerable solo appearance in a sizable planter. Lemon grass is a great compliment to Asian cuisines and in particular, Thai recipes.
Color: Green with Hints of Gray & Silver
Brushing up against this herb will give senses instant gratification. It can be used in many different recipes, dried and saved for hearty fall meals, or simply thrown on the coals for smoking your grill selections of the evening. Rosemary is sure to never let your dinner down.
White Floral Selections
A seasonal favorite. With the tropical theme painted through-out the baskets, we of course had to throw some subtle shades of pink in.
Snowstorm Snow Globes
Erratically used, and always pleases. This trailer is great for baskets. The small bloom proving to be pollinator favorite.
Sweet Potato Vines
A seasonal must-have. Last year was a first year growing this cascading vine. A warm reminder of a town nestled in the hills of the Cascade Mountain range, where we honeymooned, just 2 hours East of the cottage in Leavenworth, WA. The streets and Bavarian balconies are decorated with trailing vines in shades of lime-green, and midnight purple. You’re sure to see these delightful vines adorning the cottage next year too.
I order my tulip bulbs in early April at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and am pleased every year. You can also order from there at www.tulips.com. They have such a vast variety that it is sure to meet any sort of gardeners fancy. I have had the pleasure of traveling with my dear friend, and illustrious photographer, Megan Krueger Smith each year to select my prized bulbs. Our mornings start early as we make the beautiful drive towards Mount Vernon, Wa. We make a quick pit stop at the Skagit Valley Farm House Restaurant where we’re guaranteed to have a hearty, comfort-food filled breakfast. After we indulge ourselves we head over to Rozengarrde Gardens where we are greeted with folding fields of tulips. Each year some how surpasses the beauty from the previous years gardens. Here are a few pictures from the trip.
Photo Credit: Megan Krueger Smith
Now some tulips are so beautiful that it becomes too difficult for me to cut. I also appreciate the bright flower beds greeting me each time I come home. Keep in mind that if this is you too, you will need to deadhead the tulips. Once the petals have fallen, simply snap the stigma off.
There’s nothing like plucking fresh blueberries for your morning cereal, a light snack, or last minute dessert toppings. Having a blueberry bush can cater to many different culinary experiences, which makes the annual maintenance well worth the job.
Once you see the start of leaf growth and blossoms on the shrub it is time to start pruning. I like to wait until the end of March to start pruning. This allows for plenty of time for the leaf growth, and helps you avoid pruning potential producing branches. Look through the bountiful branches to seek out dead wood, and trim just above the knot of the producing branch it may be attached to. Completing this task will produce a larger harvest the following year. You can also shape your shrub if you so desire, which means you will have to cut some potential producers. However, this will not harm the bush.
If you’re looking to increase your chances of a larger harvest then it is a good idea to throw a plastic net over the shrub. This will help minimize the chances of your blueberries becoming a fly-by snack for traveling birds. Also, proving to be quite tricky for meandering raccoons to grab a late night meal from.
Once blueberries have come to a partial to full blue color, they are ready for picking.
Primroses & Dutch Irises
Pink and Yellow
Canopy Cottage is a little place I like to call home. Home for me is where you can go and be reminded of familiar sounds and smells that take you back to your younger years. It’s fond memories that are stirred up, and that bring a smile to my face.
The Cottage itself is surrounded by gardens that have been tended to for over forty years by my Grandparents. I feel a sense of peace and a connection to an older generation once my hands are in the soil. The birds fill the Canopy with their songs while my husband and I work hard away at the soil underneath them.
Join me on my journey seeking out new gardening techniques and bringing excitement into the home.