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For the next couple of weeks the Blog focus is shifting from our kitchen to our garden(s) as we hope to spend more time outside than in.    While April here in Southern Ontario began with lovely warm days, the last 3 weeks for the most part have been unseasonably cool, with the odd warm day thrown in.  Today started at 6C, but  i’m sitting outside, wrapped up in fleece and determined to enjoy these Spring days at home during Covid-19.

I started this blog a few years ago introducing ourselves with a post showing pics of our crazy overgrown vegetable garden.   First post is HERE.    A lot has changed, especially since June 2018, almost 2 years ago, when we tore it all apart.  If you’re interested in that insane story.. it starts HERE.   One thing remains.. i still grow a LOT of garlic.. mostly for the scapes, that I’m very much looking forward to grilling in a couple of months.

This morning, Guillermo and I had to run a couple of errands, and stopped at a couple of roadside flower stands.  I picked up some hyacinths, mini daffodils, and bright orange star of Bethlehem  (these have been on my garden wish list for YEARS)

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After planting the new bulbs, i took a tour of our gardens, and will now take you along with me.

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We have a lovely Kwanzan Cherry that is about to bloom.  This past Sunday the  thermometer held in the mid-high Twenties (close to 80F) and a lot happened in our garden.  Since then it’s dropped down to single digits up to low teens.  (mid 40s-low 50s F) Everything is late this year.. and growing slowly.  I finally have tulips starting to open on the East & West sides of the house, but the North is just starting to sprout stems between the leaves.

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One of my favourite Spring blooming plants (and for some reason one of Guillermo’s least fav) is this bleeding heart I transplanted years ago from the hedge line between our driveway and our neighbours.

 

Our previous neighbour Helen (who we lost several years ago) had something planted EVERYWHERE – her back yard was a jungle of vegetables, fruit trees, perennials, fruit bushes, weeds….  and I very gladly inherited quite a bit from her.  I love meandering around the yard and remembering the original owners who gifted me their plants.

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Most of the variagated hostas & Solomon’s seal that are vibrantly sprouting up  are from my sister Judi’s garden – transplanted when she moved from Ontario to Vancouver over 10 yrs ago.  Garlic bulbs in our new raised garden came mostly from Helen’s garden over a dozen years ago, the kale and onions are left from last year’s late summer planting, and doing well.

Two different mint varietals were gifted last year from our landscapers.  Now mint… that’s interesting..

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Mint is VERY invasive.  I’m surprised we received that from a landscaper..   I actually left the two plants we have in their pots, planting ‘pot and all’ into the dirt “hoping” that would contain them, but the shoots had a bit of a party in the fall, winter and early spring.  I cleaned them up yesterday, and washed all that I harvested and immediately made a pot of fresh mint tea.

It reminds me of our time in Holland 4 years ago when we often would order mint tea, it came with several mottled sprigs in a tall glass mug of boiled water and a pat of honey.  No tea bags there!  I had my first cup with cranberry honey, then found I didn’t need it.. the mint was fresh and more than sweet enough on it’s own.

 

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We retained about half of our peony hedge with the new deck/patio installation last year, and they are well on their way for a June bloom.

 

The faithful rhubarb seems to have greatly multiplied, even though we gave away more than half of it.  I can see some rhubarb crumbles coming along soon… mmmm

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This month Bill is boxing them in and giving them their own new space, while moving these dark purple peonies (rescued from Helen’s Vegetable garden – don’t ask) and tulips back to their rightful spot behind the cottage in a new rebuilt garden.   This pile was only meant to be a temporary transplant while we renovated.

The sweet cherry tree is beginning to blossom, and beckoning it’s faithful pollinators.  Without the orchard behind us, the bees are rare, but we hope to see them return soon.

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Sadly, our magnolia is suffering… there are a few factors.. the cold Spring, a few hot days mixed in with sudden frost causing damage.. and SQUIRRELS!!  The little beasts have not only figured out how to forage at our “squirrel proof” bird feeder, they’ve been eating the blossoms right off the magnolia.   ARRGGHHH… where’s my super soaker?

 

 

While wandering, I went out into the field behind our house.  When we excavated for our new addition 18 months ago, a large pile of dirt from the front of our house went back into the field for us to re plant with.  Our neighbours have been whittling at the pile during the last year (with our permission) and I’m curious how many of my plants they inherited!🌷 Today I found several tulips, poppies, and narcissus on the remaining dirt pile.  I laughed when i found them and immediately went back home to get my tools to dig them up and transplant back home where they belonged.

 

That leaves our container garden.. which will soon have lettuces, heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs for daily picking throughout late summer & autumn.

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2 hydrangeas that were meant to be planted last year, stayed out on the new stone patio in their original planter all winter, and survived.  THIS Spring they will finally be planted and the waiting game will begin as we find out what our new soil in the North facing front garden produces.. Blue or Pink?  Pink or Blue..   Almost feels like a gender reveal party in the making. 😎 👫😀

Hope you enjoyed the tour.. we look forward to what the next few weeks reveals, other than tired muscles. 😉

Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

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