I’m not talking about that emerald spring green that I love so much. Oh, but we did enjoy it while it lasted, as a few (several) photos will show. Spring was a bountiful display of  some happy new perennials, even though most of my early spring bulbs were affected by the prolonged winter, and by the deer that discovered many emerging bulbs this year.

I did spend a lot of time and money last year trying to infuse more variety into the gardens, in colour and blooming times. The vast majority of plants around the house were blooming in the summer, so I attempted to make the waiting time shorter for this year. I was so hopeful that I was going out almost every day expecting to see welcome changes. It was good while it lasted!

Here are a few of my spring favourites:



Now, this here pic that follows shows the early signs of what I dreaded might happen. I must admit that I enjoyed the energy they brought to the garden, and in truth, if there wasn’t so much birdseed being shoved onto the ground, maybe the rodent population would not have boomed! There have been times that the blue jays were to blame, but the feeder rising up from that post became the habit of several pairs of black birds, and they raked through the feed relentlessly. You would think they were looking for something, but they were very bad at finding whatever it was. My husband was filling up the feeder almost every 2 days, and when he came home from work, he saw it spread on the hill of the garden in a wide diameter with birds and rodents everywhere.


If the black birds would have only taken a bit at a time, like the other birds, and wouldn’t have come back so often to make a mess of things, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But we desperately need a different spot for the feeder to discourage so much trampling of my plants, which cost a great deal to put there in the first place. This is an early photo of the area, but my hosta and the black-eyed susans near the base of this feeder are stunted from all the fondling by the chipmunks and squirrels looking for seed! They’re even eating the coneflower heads before the flowers can bloom. It’s not uncommon to see 5 chipmunks at the same time in the same area of the garden. We’re long overdue for some traps. 😦  Otherwise, I’m afraid they will be trying to get into our house in the fall/winter. The number of new holes around the house is a bad indication.

After a late end to winter and a rather short spring, we have also been enduring a long period of heat waves with few slightly cooler days to break it up. Bracebridge has had a fire ban for a while now.

Last year, it rained all summer and the spring green colours stayed on almost into August, with my black-eyed susans taking that long to finally bloom for the lack of sun. This year is completely different. I haven’t complained about the heat, not after that extended winter we had, but my gardens are not yielding me much joy this year, and it isn’t just the heat to blame…


[Hover over the photos above for descriptions (or click on the images).]


This photo shows that the yellow lilies in the back were wonderful, but that was all I got in June. They were so fragrant! Oh, the little snail sculpture in front is no more – I went out one day to find that its face was 4 feet away (not the whole head, just its face…). And, see the delphiniums getting taller in behind? Wait for it…

Now, for my chicks and hens… Let’s just say that the roosters are plentiful this year.


Each grouping of photos show the development of the roosters. These aren’t the only ones, but they’re the most interesting. Apparently, when the hen is going to die off, it transforms into a “rooster,” sending up a rather phallic-looking growth, which then flowers and spends its seed on future chicks. Meanwhile the current year’s chicks turn into next year’s hens. I thought it was the coolest thing when I saw this happen for the first time last year, but there was only one then. This year, there are at least 6 and I’m showing you 3 of them.


And then there was the promise of the iridescent blue and purple delphiniums. This is what they looked like on June 30, and look how many more were yet to get showy!


But I went away for a few days, and when I returned, this is what I found. The squirrels and chipmunks took down ALL of them, and nothing could be done.


I kind of gave up for a while after this. My expectations became very low.



Well, the feeder is currently still standing in the same spot, but hubby puts out very little on the platform and does not fill it. We like the birds (except for the black varieties… ahem), so it would be a shame to take it down, all because of the few that have ruined a good thing. But the garden territory was not meant to sustain so many families of chipmunks, common squirrels, and now even more red squirrels… They need to move on, not move in. Yikes!

That aside, at least there is hope for some relief from the heat soon. And here is the latest sign of beauty in my front garden, soon to be joined by bursting black-eyed susans. Summer blooms are finally arriving, and I hope they can last well into the fall!


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