Winter Wonderland

It snowed here yesterday – quite a bit of light blowing snow. The drifts on my back deck were, let’s say, interesting. I was just able to open my backdoor enough to get out and shovel off the top step. Then captured a picture of the drifting snow.IMG_7290

And today my amaryllis is in FULL bloom – 8 flowers at the same time – never been this lucky before. The red just glows.



Finally my amaryllis is blooming. I potted the bulb as soon as I got it at Christmas, watered it sparingly – and finally it’s got flowers. It’s a double (the second stalk will be in flower in a few days). So I may actually have eight flowers at the same time – wouldn’t that be grand.

Sunny (Although Cold) Afternoon


indour Garden Mid-winter

I’ve been out doing errands and have just come home. Since I’ve added a quilt to my living room sofa I’m much more inclined to stop and read for a bit here (why I didn’t that years ago is beyond me!).

So I sat down to read, have taken a moment to enjoy the sun streaming in the large window and the plants lined up in front. I’d pruned away dead leaves and flowers on the weekend now they’re all looking happy.  They’ll start responding to a longer day in a couple of weeks.

It’s peaceful sitting here.

Winter in Halifax 2016

This is my back deck just after our second snowfall last week. Both snowfalls were wet and heavy but the undisturbed expanse looks lighter. It won’t all melt before our next storm arrives whenever so the snow will continue to accumulate.

Let’s hope I don’t get the accumulation I experienced last winter!

Fall’s On The Way…

Yesterday I could feel it in the air. “The closing down of summer…” as Alastair MacLeod describes it in his wonderful short story of that name – the first in his collection “As Birds Bring Forth The Sun.” Yesterday there was a hint of the chill to come, although the temperature was in the 20s; a smell unmistakable and yet indescribable. It was there.

Today I look around and see harbingers everywhere:
The hosta flowers have been finished for more than a week – I’ve been meaning to cut the stalks off for a month, the pruners have been sitting on the bench in my front hall waiting for me to get to the task – just haven’t done it yet.

The bees are busy harvesting pollen from the echineacea – more bees than I’ve seen all summer long – they know the season has begun changing.

I haven’t spotted any blue chicory along the roadside but there’s lots of goldenrod around. It all reminds me of a seventh-grade science project – the seed chart – a sheet of bristolboard filled with samples of local wildflower seeds in small bags and carefully labelled – that’s why I recognize our fall wildflowers and remember their names.

For the next six weeks or so Nova Scotia’s weather will be our best of the year – warm, often sunny days with comfortable, cool evenings. Nobody travels far in September/October – we don’t want to miss a moment of it! For soon the cold and snow and short days will be upon us… And we’ll be yearning for our wonderful early fall weather which seems oh so brief.


The red Mandevilla has finally taken off – it believes our warmer weather means summer. Each bloom lasts a day or two and before one drops off, another has already opened to take its place. 
I will definitely plant these again next summer!


Last year I was lucky if I got one new bloom a day – this hibiscus has been prolific! I’m getting 3-5 flowers every day. This plant could use a good home for the winter – I can’t bring it in because I don’t want to introduce outdoor insects to my indoor plants!

Backyard Visitors

Bees and other pollinating insects are back again this year. I haven’t seen a lot of bees this summer, but as I was standing, watching, I saw three visiting this one echinacea flower at the same time. Looks like it’s a favorite of a lot of different insects!


Well, this was a surprise this morning! Little yellow mushrooms in the pot with the crown of thorns. So I take a closer look, then google to see what’s growing – I have Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, the yellow houseplant mushroom!

I’ve had this crown of thorns for nearly 20 years so I have to infer the spores arrived recently. So what do I do to get rid of the fungus?

There is a chance that spores from Leucocoprinus birnbaumii will travel to your other plants and infect them as well. So if you don’t want a house full of yellow mushrooms… you can try one of the following to get rid of them:

Remove the plant from the house – Either put it outside or get rid of the plant entirely. No doubt the simplest solution.

Attempt spore removal – Pick off all visible mushrooms from their base and replace the top few inches of potting soil. This may or may not work, depending on how deeply the fungus has grown into the soil.

Replace the soil entirely – As a last resort, you can try replacing the potting soil entirely. Remove the plant and try to get as much dirt as possible off its roots. Know that by doing this you may stress the plant, and the mushrooms could very well come back anyway.

Truthfully these mushrooms are very hard to get rid of. As the spores and mycelium (the vegetative growth of the fungus) are deeply settled in your plant pot and roots, it’s difficult to remove them entirely.

Well, I don’t want to get rid of the plant – it’s growing well. I will remove the mushrooms and as much of the mycelium as I can see. Add some fresh soil and hope for the best! I’ll dry out the pot – the plant is after all a cactus and will likely be happy dried out – to see if that helps.

I’m not concerned about the mycelium – I just don’t want spores infecting the rest of my indoor garden.

MUN Botanical Garden

Memorial University has a lovely botanical garden – for research and education. A friend, who’s been following the blog wrote and suggested I visit. So this morning Andrea and I drove over.

The garden consists of some cultivated beds and woodland gardens, a couple of greenhouses and several nature trails depicting different aspects of the natural environment of Newfoundland.

The first thing you see is an herbaceous border – filled with plants happy in this damp, cool environment. Blue flag iris:


Cow parsnip (poisonous):

Leopard’s Bane (Doronucum):

Enter the garden trails and you see many varieties of Rhododendron (some still in full flower, others would have been gorgeous last week!). One whole section of a trail was lined with them:

We passed a slope covered with Cornus Canadensis in bloom:

We came across a crevice rock garden on a gentle slope (I would never have thought of using long slender rocks in that way):
There were California poppies:
A plant I didn’t know:

And several patches of lovely blue Mecanopsis:

I could go on – a lot of the plants were in bloom, making a leisurely stroll worthwhile.

Got any old, mismatched glass plates/bowls/glasses? I’m going to try making one of these when I get home!