Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some Buzz

I wanted to add some buzz to the upcoming Art Fair that's to be held at the Rose Theatre in Brampton. Summerfest will take place on July 25 2009. The theatre itself will be full of artisans and performers. They will occupy both floors, the main stage and I believe part of the square outside.

This place is Brampton's best kept secret with it's state of the art staging and broadcast capabilities. And if you do make it outside you can visit Art In The Open taking place at the same time in the courtyard. Just look for the fountain and more vendor tents of which one will be mine. For more information just click on Summerfest.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mister Hand

I believe we reap what we sow. And that life in general goes around full circle. I only wish I had come to this realization while I was much younger so I could have been better behaved.

As a teen I did get up to "no good" according to the adults of the time, but it pales in comparison to what I hear or witness today.

It's the "been there done that" curse. You can know too much. Or maybe, and this is a real possibility, I simply think too much. But whatever the reason I have to accept the fact I've become Mister Hand.

You might remember him as Jeff Spicolli's teacher in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, who believed everyone was on Dope. I've definitely arrived at middle age.

This pic shows my favorite version of The Thinker.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shlocky Talk

Recently I saw a television commercial for a tomato tree. It supposedly grows eight to ten feet tall in ninety days. Producing what appeared to be a bushel of grapefruit sized tomatoes each day. Wanting to know more about this botanical superhero I took to the Internet. What I found was telling in both what was written and was not written.

What I found was simply the same shlocky talk from the television spot. That and numerous complaints from purchasers of this product State side. Most of the complaints addressed the misleading language describing what you actually get for your fifteen dollar purchase price.

The commercial states you will receive three plants when in fact buyers received three seeds...ouch. What I couldn't find was any botanical or historical information on this plant...hmmm.
I've got an inkling this marketing campaign rides the leading edge of a particular temperate zone's planting season. Especially since the complaints are now piling up from the U.S.A. just south of us here in Canada.
Now to be fair I've not read any complaints about the actual growth claims. It doesn't mean there aren't any it just means I haven't read any. You'll have to decide for yourself.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fly Backwards

During the weather storm this past weekend I watched anxiously from the safety of a window as the wood fence stood its ground..barely.

It flexed and groaned all the while the Mountain Ash towering above heaved and recoiled threatening to snap at any moment where it would more than likely have found its mark on the corner of the house.

My attention was soon redirected as the teak garden bench tumbled across the lawn and through my frame of view. And it was just days ago that I had assessed it's fractured back from the last storm it had braved.

Most of my life I've enjoyed storms and all the inherent theatrics. The jagged shards of lightning, swirls of wind and the birds that appear to magically fly backwards. But as the years go by it's all become more of a reminder of just how temporary we really are.

This pic is from my last visit to the rock garden area at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton Ontario.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Less Than Perfect

We're fortunate in that we live close to working farms with access to fresh produce at different times of the year but I've been anxious to grow some of our own. Nothing elaborate just peas, peppers and tomatoes. And I plan to do it all in containers and probably on the deck.

I've also gotten into the habit of bulk buying Nasturtium and Morning Glory seeds each year around this time. While the Nasturtiums are edible (flower and leaf) the Morning Glory is great for quickly adding a riot of color to that area of the garden with a less than perfect view. My preference is for the Heavenly Blue. And both plants do very well in poor soil.

Today's pic is a cross section slice of Mushroom Jasper.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brush The Stone

It was bound to happen. I would eventually have to brush the stone dust off and take to the streets. So far this week I've dropped in on about half a dozen garden ware retailers to flog my goods.

The big push for the garden industry is around the May 24th least in my neck of the woods. Now it's not 'carved in stone' but that date seems to bring everyone and their wallets out to their local garden center.
And though it's too early to call it but I've had some very positive feedback from several buyers. You can believe once something is definite you'll be reading about it right here.

My pic today is a shot I took while exploring the Japanese Gardens in Springfield Missouri.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Over Eight Easy

After several years of abstaining, well okay I fell off the wagon (shopping cart) once last summer when they showcased the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter...It was late, I was hungry...another story.

But a few nights ago I made the biggest purchase I have ever made from a late night glorified infomercial...a.k.a The Shopping Channel. I'd like to say I fought a good fight but truth be told they had me at, "spread your purchase over eight easy payments...and this fantastic camera can be yours."

And whether you believe it to be a godsend or the devil wearing Crocs there is no doubt that The Shopping Channel is leading the charge, no pun intended, against this recession.
This pic shows one of the garden ornaments lurking within the bed of English Ivy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Orange Someone

This year I vowed to get the majority of the garden up and running as soon as possible so I can actually enjoy it. I spent the weekend outside working on the back garden and will probably continue for at least three to four more days. Then it's on to the garden at the front of the house.

And while scouring Craigslist for freebies I came across a Mock Orange (Philadelphus Virginalis) someone had become 'bored' with. All they asked was for any interested party to dig it up and take it away. Though I did give the owner twenty shekels. The shrub now resides in my garden. Still an excellent deal for at least a four year old rootstock.

At this time of year those types of deals are very common. So if you're on a tight budget but have a garden to fill there's another great place to look. Here's a pic of the Mock Orange flower in bloom. It's a very fragrant flower reminiscent of Orange Blossom.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Up I'll Drop

These last few days I've been ripping into garden beds and pruning trees like mad. The weather has actually been hot. So I took advantage of it and got a jump on my garden keeping.

Next up I'll drop into all my favorite garden retailers to grab those springtime loss leaders... the under-priced specials designed to entice you to stick around and buy more of the regular priced items.
If you have a garden to fill get out there and grab some of these deals. Forget the regular priced can get that at any time. Grab the Special then go to the next place and do the same. If you get there early enough you'll be in line with landscapers. That should tell you something.
This pic shows a large Sword Fern in a natural setting. Ferns are fantastic for creating a lush environment. But pay close attention to the growing conditions required.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


So the weather is beginning to turn towards Spring...well maybe. But if you really want to know what to expect a better indicator is to look to the Gods of Retail Marketing.

They will let us know it's Spring when bags of manure appear by the pallet load outside your local grocery store. When the aisles of the local big box store become choked with oil filled tiki lamps, beer can chicken cookers and solar powered gnomes.
And finally, by early Saturday morning knocks at your front door...from peddlers of house painting to lawn aerating. Then and only then is it safe to declare another springtime is upon us.
This pic shows a grouping of Moonwalker. A hybrid sunflower that I'm planting this summer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Another market is now on the radar. I'm preparing my application for the summer season at Lake Rosseau up in the Muskoka area. I'm aiming for the last two weeks of July and the first two of August which is the height of cottage and tourist season.

I've heard some great things about this particular market as if being in Muskoka wasn't enough. So many good things in fact I believe it's worth the three plus hours drive...each way. Anyways, time will tell and so will I...right here on my blog. Your positive thought waves are more than welcome.
Anyhoo, this pic shows one of the blue granite style planters integrated into one of the garden beds.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Allow Me

This week I heard some great used equipment has become available for sale. It's industrial level equipment that will allow me to take my work, specifically my carving, up a very serious notch or two.

I could never afford this equipment new and can't even afford the asking price used but luckily the current owner is anxious to sell and even more anxious to negotiate. I'll be up half the night dreaming of new pieces to carve. Don't you just hate that?

This pic is an extreme close-up of a sculpted Sand Pot filled with Lavender.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oh The Drama

A friend of mine liked to say, "you need to do what you have to do...before you can do what you want to do." For me that meant there are always landscaping tasks waiting in cue. Not that I'm complaining. Landscaping is my time to contemplate another project piece.

There's quite a bit of repetition when working from one home landscape to the next but sometimes a simple task can become rocket fuel for a short story.

For example, recently I was asked to relocate a Cherry tree as soon as the weather permits. This relocation would be to a different property. Not really that unusual until you find out that I had just moved this same tree to this property last year from yet another home. And it had only been at that home for about a single season. Oh the drama of it all. The world truly is a stage and we are all but mere players...and grips...and writers.

This pic shows a cast stone bowl created from a Hosta leaf and finished in rust.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lilium Longiflorum

For those of you that plan to have Easter Lilies in your home this weekend keep in mind they are highly poisonous to kitty cats young and old. And that means all parts of the plant...flower and leaves. There is no record of dogs being affected.

It will cause kidney failure within forty eight hours. The toxin hasn't been identified which means not a lot can be done once it's been ingested.

This pic shows the Easter Lily or Lilium Longiflorum.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Primitive

Some-where along in our evolution-ary timeline, before Google, instinct would have been all we had to rely on. And I believe that those dusty tools still exist deep in our brains...waiting on autopilot.

I'm reminded of that when I think of someone that I knew, from years back, that I ran into recently. Back then we were planning to collaborate on a small project when this other person briefly dropped out. It gave me some time to re-evaluate and ultimately the option to walk away...which I did.
I can't put it into words but something about the whole arrangement just 'didn't fit'. And the same 'vibe' was present running into this person again. Could I have been wrong?...absolutely. Do I regret following my instincts?...absolutely not.
Today's pic shows a small sampling of some of the Dogwood cuttings I had collected last week during our brief teaser of warm weather.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Plant Or Silver

I was given a gift recently. A gift bag of seeds to plant in my own garden. They came from the Honesty plant or Silver Dollars. The botanical name being Lunaria.

The gift giver noticed I had admired her arrangements and she happened to grow some of the flowers including the Honesty plant for her own bouquets and center pieces.

I think there is a great deal of symbolism in seeds. Even more so when it's given as a gift. But then again...I probably think too much.

Here's a pic of the seed pods from the Honesty plant.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Snapped Handles Cracked

When I was growing up it seemed to me that my father had but one single shovel, rake, saw etc. And those tools lasted his entire life. They had that look and feel of being well-used. Each scrape and dent a permanent record of another task completed.

I enjoyed thinking that my garden tools would grow old with me. In some small way it would make me as my father and grant me passage into that place one can only belong to after years of being shaped by an honest days work.

But instead of being broken in my tools are forever breaking down. I now have a collection of snapped handles, cracked shovel blades and collapsed wheelbarrows. All of which provides a healthy supply of spare parts but denies me an accounting of my tasks.
This pic shows the detail on a 24" cast stone Gunnera leaf.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Better Than Unscathed

Well we made it through both the weekend and the show at Huttonville better than unscathed.

Admittedly it did start out with a bit of confusion, for us anyway, but once we had our footing things went very well. And the best part is we saw many old friends and we walked away having made some new ones.

And prior to the doors opening to the public each morning Jewel and I would do a walkabout and meet with the other artisans sharing some chat and enjoying their work. All in all it was a great experience.

This is a pic of a grouping in one corner of our garden waiting patiently for some spring weather. If you look closely you can see a Sparrow sitting on top of the sedum about half way up on the right side of the shot. Also visible are a Boxwood, Yellow Dogwood, multiple trunks of a Norway Maple tree and Japanese Spurge ground cover.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Locals That Snap

Today we will be travelling to Hutton-ville to set up for their annual Spring show. It opens on Saturday the 4th of April and closes Sunday the 5th. It's considered small as shows go but you would never know it from the attendance inside the building.

It's wildly popular with both visitors and locals that snap up some great original pieces. This show is not only rich with arts and crafts but also antiques. And sometimes they host appraisal clinics.
My pic today shows the deep texture on our Mountain Ash bark. A perfect host for the accompanying lichen.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rich With Night

We reside in an area that's rich with night life. The four legged and winged type of night life.

Once the sun melts into the horizon and the thick blanket of night is drawn over our home it changes dramatically. Anything from chirps, chatter and howls are available for those that choose to listen in.

This pic shows evidence of a night visitor within hours after our driveway had been re-sealed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ancient Utensils

I'm usually very good at the clean up part of my day. You know the point you get to when you realize you're done...worn out, but with just enough energy left to put away your tools and cover up everything for the night.

Like I said, I'm usually disciplined but when I visited a job site that had been tarped since last Fall, I discovered some tools that had inadvertently been left behind...sacrificed to the gods of winter.

Steel blades now wearing a rich coat of rust barely attached to their bloated wood grain handles.

It made me think of all those great National Geographic photos that depicted Ruins with ancient utensils left exactly where last used.

This pic shows a beautifully rustic garden entrance that I came across on my daily travels.