Thursday, 31 December 2015

Garden Reflections

Here we are at the last day of 2015 and the final blog post of the year. Hoping you all had a fantastic year and wishing you much gardening success and joy in 2016.

Frosty blooms 

What a year it was here at the Nitty Gritty Greenhouse, a great year, but with some bumps and bruises along the way.

Slowly but surely this grassy acre is becoming a lovely little homestead, thank you all for bearing with us during the process.

Your visits to the nursery absolutely make my day! My week! My month! I so enjoy seeing you all and chatting gardening, pets, life, weather...

The workshops were a blast, as always! Swapping stories and laughing with you all as we tackled growing our own organic food or made pretty baskets. To attend one or more of these fabulous and fun workshops, please go to the link HERE. The tab up top will show you both lists, DIY's and How-to's.      

In the potager, the gardens thrived, produced, and grew like mad, even as we dealt with drought and severe water restrictions. The mister and I canned, froze, preserved, pickled, sauced, and de-hydrated more than ever before!

The girls joyfully playing after Ruby (lying down) recovered from her knee surgeries

Our sweet Ruby Tuesday had both knees operated on so was out of commission for the entire spring and summer, while little Penelope puppy grew and grew and grew...  a bit like Clifford the Big Red Dog.   
Here are some highlight pics of how the Nitty Gritty Potager grew, month by month ....

January... We were still enjoying a great selection of beautiful, sweet carrots straight out of our own gardens. Also kale, leeks, Brussels sprouts, and parsnips, too. Citrus trees come into their own during the winter months. This is when they really start to flower and fruit.  

A basket of yummy carrots and Brussels sprouts, too
Atomic Red (pink ones), Cosmic Purple, Danvers Half Longs, and Nantes 

Citrus trees flower and fruit happily during the winter months

February ...  The days are getting longer and warmer. Plants begin to come out of their winter dormancy.  

 Olives forming on the adorable, wee Arbequina olive tree

Violas blooming... 

March ... Spring was most definitely in the air. Flowers blooming everywhere and workshops in full swing.  

Fenced in the garden beds to keep the puppies out

What is that saying... 
Good fences make for good doggies and happy mommies? 
Something like that ; ) 

 Anemones bloomed and I fell in love!

April ... Garden beds, pots and planters begin to perk right up... welcome sunshine!

Gardens come to life... 
#gardensawaken do pots and planters. 

May... was all about the roses and the strawberries. What a glorious month it was. 

Well, hello sun!

 Alliums time to shine
June-bearing strawberries are putting on the fruits... 

 Roses showing off!
The new buds on the Black Baccara live up to their name. 

Basket making workshops are in full swing... 

June ...  If you plant it, it will grow. June was a gorgeous month, warm and sunny. Everything one planted immediately thrived! Of course, by the end of the month, we were already on water restrictions ...  

 Heirloom Radish Mix
 Garlic was ready almost a month early! 

Garden beds were thriving in the dry heat

July... then along came July, still no rain with loads of heat and sunshine. Veggies and flowers were producing and ripening and flowering faster (almost) than one could keep up. What a terrific problem to have indeed!

Spuds of every hue... 

 Zinnia bouquets earlier than ever

 Zinnias and more zinnias.. 

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous heirloom eggplants

August... Late summer rolls around, still no rain to speak of and no respite from the heat. Watering restrictions have been tightened even more and is harder and harder to soak those garden beds.
 Pumpkins began to ripen...

Flowers were thriving, but often required twice daily watering
 Ropreco heirloom paste tomato produced oodles of tomatoes
More heirloom tomatoes...  
The daily harvest was literally 20 lbs or more. Wowsers!

Fall flowers in full bloom

September... brought us fading blooms struggling with the heat and drought, while the peppers lapped it up! 

 Cafe au Lait Dahlias crashed to the ground in the wild winds

 Pink Lemonade Zinnia explosion...

 Late summer veggies and strawberries still going strong
Carrots, peas, beans, and Tri-Star strawberries.

 Colourful beets 

Chocolate Habanero Peppers

 Bhut Jolokia

 Scotch Bonnets galore...

October... The end is nigh...

Pink Lemonade Zinnias in fading glory

The raised beds just before we started fall clean up

Yummy, spicy turnips

Roses with hips

November... was frosty. 

 Cuttings in the greenhouse

 Kale tastes even better when kissed by frost

 Brussels sprouts

December... weather was blowzy. rainy, frosty... ran the gamut.

Citrus fruits are winter fruits...
This is when they really thrive.

  Kumquats, another thriving citrus...

Potager is ready to start all over again!

Hoping you all had a terrific 2015! 
May 2016 bring you much love, laughter, and great gardening! 

With every deed you are sowing a seed,
though the harvest you may not see.  
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Garden Trends 2016

Here it is again, time for my most fun and favourite post of the entire year! The garden trends post!

Can you guess what is trending in the upcoming garden year?

1. Plugging in - Computers, phones, tablets, cameras ... put them to use in the garden, too!

Technology plays such a huge part in our everyday lives, it just stands to reason that we find a way to use it in the garden, as well. Techie skills can now help us grow better, smarter, plot out garden designs, track our plantings, crop rotations, identify plants ... and share our bragging rights, too ; )

More importantly though, technology is also helping get our wee generation, the kidlets, outdoors again. Learning how to build bat houses, save monarchs, count bird species, hike with gps, scavenger hunt, hike for flower/critter photos, build bean tee pees ... Reconnecting with nature, health and fitness, in a fun, new, innovative, and interesting way.

Rose petal soap
2. The Maker Generation - Yuccies are super crafters and makers!

Yuccies (the young, urban, creative generation) grow their own blooms for soaps, shampoos, and dyes, or hops for beer making, grapes for wine-making, and herbs for teas. They keep bees for the honey, get the wax for candle making, keep their own chickens, and save their own seeds.

Hands on growing and crafting for the sake of the creative experience, as much as, for the item itself. I think some of this has certainly rubbed off on the rest of us, too, regenerated our love of making and doing. How fun is that, eh? 2016 is looking pretty bright!  

  Not my grandma's garden, but how I picture it ; ) 

3. Nostalgia - Re-creating great childhood memories in our own yardscapes.

Happily, we are making yards that remind us of our happy childhoods, of times gone by ... planting that same, wonderful, juicy apple variety that grandma had growing in her yard, picking carrots fresh from our garden plots like we used to do as kids, swinging on tire swings, and smelling fragrant flowers that remind us of picnics in the backyard or at the lake. I like this trend, it feels warm and fuzzy, homey and comfortable, like an old sweater.            

Penelope and Ruby Tuesday.
The apples of this momma's eye ; )  

4. Pet-scaping - Pet friendly yards and landscapes. Yep, I can see this one. 

A great number of gardeners are also pet owners, so creating pet friendly yards where they can safely be and run and play is vital. Broad pathways by the fence line so your dogs can run back and forth, saying hello to their doggie friends without harming any plants. Organic, chemical free lawns for them to run and play or lie around and scratch their backs, catnip for kitties, and non-toxic plants for everyone. Gardens that are friendly and safe for our best, furry friends. 

5. Brownscaping/zeriscaping - Water conservation is in!

With drought conditions and tough summertime water restrictions, conservation has become more important than ever! Watering wisely, letting lawns go brown (they will recover in fall), using that water for edibles, pots, and planters instead. Removing lawns completely, or making smaller courtyards using eco friendly grasses, or low growing alternatives. Changing out those old, thirsty, perennial beds with tough, hardy, layered gardens of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Creating new, hip and happening landscapes by using lots of gravel and mulch. Growing succulents, native plants, drought tolerant trees, shrubs and flowers. Making key-hole gardens, dry river beds, meadows, and rain gardens. Our yardscapes will be amazing, be the talk of the 'hood, conserve water and be chemical free ... so much nicer, and less work, than those boring, old lawns of yesteryear.

Grow fruit in pots!
6. Think Tiny! - Dwarf shrubs, dwarf trees, mini veggies and compact plants!

It is now easier than ever to have a lovely, productive, kitchen garden in a yard of any size. Growing dwarf or potted plants is in, so the choices are endless.

Brazelberries are new, dwarf blueberries and raspberries, perfect for pots and small spaces. Fruit trees in columnar, dwarf, and multi-graft forms, allow us all to have our own wee orchard... even on a patio! I love the look of berry bushes and fruit trees growing in pots.

Grow almost any veggie in a pot or a planters. Dwarf, compact bush veggies such as the Astia Zucchini, Bush Cucumber, Tiny Tim Tomato, and Tom Thumb lettuce are small and tidy growers, ideal for pots or small garden plots. Rest assured, these guys are all open pollinated, hybrid, and even heirloom, absolutely not frankenfruits!

Get the kids excited about growing and eating veggies with super cute, minis! Tiny little Baby Belle peppers, Sweet Pea Currant tomatoes, Morden Midget eggplants, Romeo carrots, baby potatoes, Munchkin pumpkins, and Golden Midget watermelons.   
I am not a flower farm, but I love to grow my own cutting garden...
Locally grown blooms are organic, fragrant, gorgeous, and sustainable.
7. Local flower growers - Yes, thank you!

Local and organic, small flower farms are popping up all over the country, providing us all with fabulous blooms grown in fields and beds, outside in the sunshine where they belong.

No more of those imported from afar, greenhouse grown, chemically drenched, 'perfect' (yet unscented) flowers, that create a huge carbon footprint! Locally grown blooms are organic and sustainable. Buy locally sourced blooms and bouquets from your florist or straight off the farm.  

 Cafe au Lait dahlia - soft and pretty 

8. Watery hues are so hot, they are sizzling!

Blooms in soft pastels and blushes are the in-thing this year. Lovely hues that look like water-colour paintings, with muted and faded out tones.

Be on trend this summer by planting lots of neutral, watery, soft neutrals ... then tszuj it (amp it up!) with some faded-out pink or purple under-tones for contrast, such as the zinnias below. Wow! Gotta say, this trend really works for me!   

Lime Queen Zinnia
Soft muted, faded hue with a pink under-tone. 
This is what is 'hot' for 2016!

I Love It! 

Rose Quartz- 2016 Colour of the year!
(Cafe au Lait dahlia)   
Found on

9. As always, I saved the best for last... Pantone's Colour of the Year for 2016

They actually chose two colours this year, for the first time ever! Serenity Blue and Rose Quartz! 

You will notice that they are also both soft, watery, subtle hues that we talked about above ... quite the difference from last years deep, bold colour.   

 Serenity Blue - 2016 Colour of the year!
(Sweet Pea blossoms and Clematis)
Found on

Happy gardening 2016, my friends! 

March Garden Ramblings

Welcoming the month of March! Bringing us spring flowers, longer days, and (with any luck) warmer, drier weather. February was a tough ...