Help, I have a bad case of Solenostemon scutellarioides!

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Solenostemon scutellarioides, is my latest addiction and the latin name for our old garden friend the coleus.  Now I pride myself on learning the latin names for my plants and there are some that I know the latin name and forget the common one, but this name is a challenge, I think I will stick with coleus!  My addiction started earlier this spring when my mom, aunt and I went to a local nursery on Mother’s Day.  Its been a long tradition to buy each other a little gift on Mother’s Day, mine in appreciation for her being an amazing mother, and her’s because she sees me as ‘The Mother of my Garden’, sorry no grandbabies here, just plant babies!  At the garden centre she picks out a piece for her ferry garden and I pick out a tomato.  I can see by the look on her face she thought the tomato was boring so I scanned around and way off on the other side of the store was this bright red, pink and green plant.  We made a bee-line for it, I picked up the pot and said “what the heck is this, its so weird looking”, I red the tag and it was a coleus!   I was very impressed to see they were available in so many different colour combinations and leaf variations, I was hooked!  Poor coleus, before that day I had never grown it, not once in my 18 years of gardening.  I poo pooed them because they were annuals, but for a hit of colour they are an amazing and very showy addition to my garden.  That day I brought home two coleus and two tomatoes, then a few weeks later I went to Home Depot for paint, while there of course I bought variety pack of different coleus for my blue pot.  Then at Canadian Tire I found another one, different from all the others.   I went from no coleus to lots with names like ‘Sky Fire’, ‘Limon Blush’, ‘Colorblaze Lime Time’ and ‘Freckles’, who wouldn’t want a plant named Freckles in the garden?  Apparently you can take cuttings from coleus and make plant babies for next spring, I think my addiction to Solenostemon scutellarioides is here to stay!

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The tomatoes, not to be outdone, are just starting to ripen

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Pinkie’s Up!

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My Summer Garden

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Even with the heat and no rain the garden is still hanging in there, the plants as long as they are watered hold their blooms  for a long time when the sun shines, I get the odd flopper but it quickly picks up with a little water.  Everyday they’re is a new surprise and something lovely to look at.  Here are some of the plants in my summer garden, enjoy!

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This day lily is amazing!  The blooms are bigger than my hand with my fingers spread out!

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New additions are Echinacea ‘Ruby Star’ and Black-eyed Susan ‘Tiger Eye’

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‘African Queen’ trumpet lily, the blooms had a sweet, fruit-like aroma and it was especially fragrant at night, a real show-off!

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It wouldn’t be summer without mentioning the roses: ‘Love’ with it’s distinctive red and white petals, ‘Chicago Peace’, my oldest rose, ‘Blue Girl’ very fragrant and ‘Beverly’ such a lovely rose.

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Sedums, Campanulas, Pansies, tomatoes and clematis oh my!

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I love a good deal and I bought these lilies from Home Depot for $2.00 each because they were finishing, I got a few nice days from them and they will be back next year.

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It is so much fun to sit and watch the hummingbirds as they zip and duck in the Bee Balm!  In the one picture above the birdie is so fat I am surprised it can fly!  The mauve Bee Balm is called ‘Violet Queen’, it’s a nice addition to the red ones.

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This lily is ‘Miss Lucy’ and the tag says it grows to 36 inches so I  must have bought Super Lucy as mine is over 5 feet tall!

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This big oriental lily is called ‘Love Story’, it looks like ‘Star Gazer’ and this is what I step out to from my kitchen door, who would not ‘Love’ that!   I hope you enjoyed My Summer Garden!

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Tea at Bridal Veil Falls, British Columbia

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During the summer, I thought it would be fun to do a series of different places to visit and while there enjoy the flora, fauna and a cup of iced tea.  Fist stop, Bridal Veil Falls just south of Hope, BC.  This area became a park in 1965 so like me it turns 50 this year!  Along the trail there are streams coming out of the mountains and the way the sun was shining it really enhanced the greenery of the area.

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As much as I think I am a hiker I am really not, I have a bad fear of heights and I am not real sure-footed, but it was worth the trek to see this amazing wonder of nature!  The Falls are a beautiful site to behold and when I got really close I could feel the spray off the rocks.  The waterfall is 400′ and the way the water moves over the rock face it looks like a bride’s veil.  At the base of the falls we enjoyed a drink of iced tea.

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I made Ceylon black iced tea and it was very refreshing.  Ceylon is the former name of the country of Sri Lanka and tea from there is one of my favourite because it’s a strong tea yet still light because it has a hint of flowers and citrus. This taste really comes out when the tea is cold.  Tea is grown in Sri Lanka from sea level to over 5,ooo’, the higher grown the tea the better the quality because the tea plants grow slower so they store up more nutrition.  The lower grown teas are mainly uses for CTC, and tea bag processing.

It was in Sri Lanka that Sir Thomas Lipton first uses the phrase “orange pekoe” to describe a nice, well-balanced black tea.   Orange Pekoe tea is sold the world over and has nothing to do with oranges!  The orange is from the ruling house of Orange in Denmark, the first people to bring tea to Europe and pekoe is the fine down on the new tea leaves.

The tea I chose for our iced tea is from the Lover’s Leap Estate in the old tea town of Nuwara Eliya in the high, central region of Sri Lanka.  Like our trip to Bridal Veil Falls, Lover’s Leap is named after a 100′ long waterfall on the highest mountain in Sri Lanka. The story told in the region is about a prince who lived long-ago and when he fell in love with a beautiful foreign girl he was rejected by his subjects.  The young lovers did not want to be apart so together they jumped over the falls!  The region’s has a tea plantation is located 5700′ above sea level and is open to tourists.

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Tea can be Cooling too!

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It has been hot here lately, especially for June, which in the past has been really rainy!  So rather than worry about the lawn going brown and all the plant flopping that’s happening, (I will water the poor garden as soon as it cools a bit), I decided to try to make home-made iced tea from real tea leaves.  I have to admit before I would drink the powdered stuff but we all know it’s not real tea and most likely not that healthy.  For my experiment  I selected a nice mild green jasmine infused with tiny rosebuds and petals.  When I brewed this tea hot I found it to be way too weak so wanted to try it cold.  I brewed the tea hot in the pot then put the pot in the fridge, nothing too technical!  About 2 hours later I poured a glass over ice and to my surprise the flavour was stronger cold and very refreshing!

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Here in Canada when you order a glass of iced tea in a restaurant it will be served sweetened.  As a child travelling in the USA with my parents I asked for a glass of iced tea and it came as cold, unsweetened black tea.  I remember how surprised I was that it wasn’t sweet.  I find it funny that the Southern USA is rather far away yet in Canada we prefer Sweet Tea just like they have in the south!  Iced tea is an American invention that happened as a fluke at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.  it was a hot summer and when there wasn’t much interest in his hot tea samples, tea plantation owner Richard Blechynden served the tea over ice and it was an immediate success!

As an adult I have developed a taste for unsweetened tea so now adding sugar to iced tea is something that I would not do unless a guest asked me to sweeten it or it came sweetened already.  Later, I will offer my husband a glass of my home-made iced tea and I guarantee he will want to add sugar after all he is a Canadian!

June is National Iced Tea Month, visit Tea Time Magazine at www.teatimemagazine.com

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Beverly and Peter…a love affair!

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There is love amongst the roses!  My roses ‘Beverly’ and ‘Peter Mayle’ seem to be very cozy in the garden these days!  ‘Beverly’ is looking beautiful all dressed up in her pink blossoms while ‘Peter Mayle’ is looking very handsome in his suit of rich, red/pink blooms.  They compliment each other very nicely, making the two of them side by side a very spectacular couple!

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The two roses happily growing side by side along the patio

I have to say when I brought baby ‘Beverly’ home from Select Roses in Langley in March of 2014 I had no idea what was in store!  She has grown so big in a little over a year, it’s really a pretty sight, people walking by stop to admire her.

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‘Beverly’ arriving home from Select Roses, then a few months later already full of blooms in the spring of 2014!

As for Peter, he spent his first part of 2013 in a pot, then planted in the corner of the raised bed but that area is in the direct path of the wind and I felt sorry for the poor guy all bent over so I moved him to alongside the patio too.

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I can’t seem to stop photographing these roses…they are like the celebrities of the garden right now!

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http://www.selectroses.ca

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2015. 1 Comment

My Spring Garden

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I am really enjoying my garden!  This is my second growing season in Chilliwack, British Columbia but to look at the garden one would think it was much more mature as the plants are all big and healthy!  Here are a few blooming now:

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Rose ‘Chicago Peace’

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Pot of pansies…so sunny!

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Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’  for more clematis pictures see Botanical Interests

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My mom and I on Mother’s Day 2015…the azalea behind us is over 50 years old!  My dad bought it for my grandma before I was born.

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Tea in the City

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Recently I had a lovely afternoon going into Vancouver with my aunt and cousin, there we met up with my niece and we all went for tea at Adonia Tea House in Kerisdale.  We were out to celebrate my aunt’s birthday, it turned out to be a lovely sunny day.  We decided on a white/green tea blend and a Darjeeling.  The food was in high tea style all petite and too pretty to eat.  It was a fun afternoon!

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Pinkie’s Up!