Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Visit to Niagara Falls Part III

I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year.
We are back on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Isn't it beautiful?

Niagara Falls, Canada was a large city. It had a pretty skyline and judging by the skyline it is quite a bit bigger than Niagara Falls, New York tho I don't know that for sure.
Some of the gardens on the Canadian side were in a state of transition. I imagine there were annuals surrounding these cannas and they were all about to be replaced with cool season kale or something like that. The cannas will most likely be pulled and stored in a greenhouse somewhere because I cannot imagine they are hardy in this area and growing them each year does not make any sense for a city to do.
Another garden not yet transitioned. I did take a few photos of the gardens on the American side of the Falls. I loved those gardens perhaps way more than the ones on the Canadian side. I'm sorry all the photos I took of the American gardens were with my mobile phone so I am not posting them. The big differences between the Canadian and American sides as far as gardening was concerned was that the American gardens were all native plants and appeared to be of a permanent nature. I am sure the Americans add annuals for color but I did not see any formal gardens displayed simply for color such as these found on the Canadian side. I really loved the native plant gardening on the American side. There were also mature gingko trees and even a female gingko with fruit on it! Yes, I did pick a fruit and taste it. It was interesting.
More of the formal color gardens on the Canadian side of the Falls.
The walking path along the river above the Falls on the Canadian side.

A close up of the scow.


liz, everliegh, and me
It's hard to get a good selfie with all three of us but we did it here in front of the visitor's center.

Happy New Year to all!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Visit to Niagara Falls Part II

Back to our Niagara Falls visit, we now find ourselves on the Canadian side of the falls. This is the visitor's center and it is directly across from the tram area I showed you at the end of my last post. I thought this building to be a bit Gothic looking and scary, but that may just have been because the day was overcast and there weren't many people out and about at the time we visited.
Looking out of the windows in the visitor's center (which really is not scary at all once you are inside) we can fully see why this part of the Falls got its name of Horseshoe Falls. It is definitely horseshoe shaped. If you take the boat ride below the falls ( a must do!) the views of all three of the falls is incredible. This part of the gorge is a definite U shape and quite expansive. The amount of water flowing over the falls is mind boggling and when you take the boat ride you get to experience the water first hand-prepare to get drenched. The amounts vary due to the hydroelectric dams in this area but somewhere around 150,000 gallons of water per second flow over the falls!
A different angle of Horseshoe Falls.
The American Falls from the Canadian side.


Looking straight down over the fence one can feel the strength and force of the rushing waters. They are a pretty aquamarine color type of water. I think I learned in the movie that these waters that flow over the brink are glacial waters.
When you look upriver from the Falls you can see an old shipwrecked boat. This 'boat' is actually a scow. For an interesting story about this scow see this link.
One last picture. This one cracked me up. Do you think if you climb over this protective barrier there might be danger??? Just look two pictures up to see the danger!

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Visit to Niagara Falls Part I

Well I hope everyone is ready for Christmas as it is soon upon us. I wish you all a merry one!

I've slowed down blogging quite a bit due to data requirements at my new home and also due to time. I am just too busy to get on the computer as much as I used to, but as I've said before, this blog is such a great way for me to keep up with activities in an easy to access scrapbook that I will somehow continue to blog. Today's post and the next two are about a mini vacation to Niagara Falls with one of my daughters and her daughter (my granddaughter).
Liz's last little vacation before flying to a new home and job in Germany was a mini trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Niagara Falls, New York (and Canada). Liz invited me along for the ride and we all had a good time. 

I really didn't pick an order to post these photos so will try to keep track of what is what for you. The first three photos were all taken from the American side of the falls. Unfortunately my camera's battery died so I did not take as many good photos on the American side as I did on the Canadian side. The rest of the photos on this post were taken on the Canadian side of the Falls. I must say the American side of the falls was way more user friendly as far as walking trails and accessibility to the falls, but the Canadian side had much better views and more things to do. The above picture shows the Canadian gate that accessed by pedestrians. Liz, Everleigh, and I used a different gate when we drove over to Canada. You do need a passport to venture out of the United States even to Canada. In today's age of terrorism and what not security has gotten pretty tight so be sure to have your passport in order and obey all rules when traveling.

My family and I had visited Niagara Falls back in the spring of 2007 when we all drove to Maine for a short vacation and visit. Niagara Falls was about the midway point along the very long route. It was so exciting to actually see the falls in person! And, I was able to cross something off my bucket list. Well, this second trip was specifically to see the falls and I must say that driving up to Niagara in one day from Tennessee via Louisville to the Falls, was a long journey but well worth it and easily doable.
Being a gardener my focus is always on the plants and gardens. You'll see a few pictures of some examples in these posts. The above picture shows the floral gallery on the Canadian side. We did not visit it but it looked quite interesting. Our trip to Niagara Falls was in November. At this time of the year in New York most touristy things are over with for the season since the weather turns very cold and the leaves are mostly gone from the trees. Nonetheless, there were quite a few tourists visiting Niagara Falls. We saw a lot of people from India and Asia on our visits. It was really nice to talk to the visitors to our country and get their opinions on one of our national treasures; Niagara Falls.
I am not sure what this building is or was. It was obvious it was abandoned. I liked the old world look of it. The American side of the falls did not have a lot of old world look buildings in my humble opinion. Having lived in Europe for many years I enjoy castle looking majestic buildings like this.
How can we go to Canada and not see Canada Geese?
I always thought the city across from Niagara Falls, New York was Toronto, Canada. Not! This city is actually-ready for it?- Niagara Falls, Canada! Both Toronto and Niagara Falls are in the province of Ontario, but they are not one and the same. That was a good geographical lesson for me.
Just look at that mist coming off from the falls! This is the upper side of Horseshoe Falls. This part of the Niagara Falls is on the Canadian side and is shaped like a horseshoe whereas the first picture of this post shows the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. All of the falls here are known as Niagara Falls. For more information about the falls visit this website for some very interesting facts. While at the falls there is also an interesting movie on the American side that shows a lot of the history of the falls.
This is upriver from the falls. Look at those rapids!
The gardens around this tram area raising tourists up to the city were very colorful. I am not a fan of burning bushes but this one lives up to its name beautifully. It is the brightly colored red shrub in front of the building.
Hostas, cannas, and several annuals were still hanging on to their leaves in Canada. It was delightful to see these gardens even in the fall. I mean after all, it is not all the time they look all fresh and new and colorful but even in this state of going to sleep for the winter I thought there was a lot of beauty....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, December 4, 2015

Vegetable Garden Update December 2015

This December in Middle Tennessee arrived on a fairly warm day just after about three inches of rain hit the garden over the Thanksgiving weekend. I am not complaining at all. Rain is good. Mr. Fix-it is delighted his pond is filled to the brim, the vegetable garden is healthy and hearty, and the grass is very green. Despite the weather being mild to moderate lately we have seen several hard freezes in my area. 

Here is a long shot of the vegetable garden looking west. The white fabric is a frost cloth I placed over the winter crops in hopes of saving them from the freezes. And I'm pleased to say that so far it has worked. The bed to the immediate right contained tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Well, the freezes finally took those crops out for good. There is nothing left but frozen, mushy peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. I really must clean that bed up soon. Let's look at the rest of the beds shall we?
Here are the winter crops I planted from starts. There are two rows of Brussels sprouts on the left, then a row of cauliflower, then a row of red cabbage. All of these crops have come through the freezes with no problems. I do not think that we will be harvesting any crops from them tho. The reason is I planted them in the garden much too late. There is a fine line between removing the summer garden and planting the winter garden. I tend to want to hold onto the summer crops longer than I should and this is at the expense of the winter crops. I planted these starts in September but I think August is really a much better month to plant them. Duly noted for next summer's crop. 
The garlic is doing quite well. I love growing garlic. It is by far the easiest winter crop to grow. Just go the grocery store, pick up a box of garlic, come home and separate the cloves, then stick the cloves (rounded end down) about 1-2" into prepared soil and sit back and wait. These garlic heads will be ready for harvest sometime late May or into June of next year. I'll know when they are ready when the foliage begins to yellow. They are heavy feeders so make sure you add some fertilizer along with compost.
The strawberry bed is evergreen so it reduces the erosion effect the punishing winter rains seem to have on bare soils.
The herb garden has a bunch of pretty little pansies mixed in with the parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. I am able to pick fresh herbs when needed. Plus, when it is warm enough and the honeybees can fly they love the pansies.
This bed is leftover from the summer crop. In the left corner the greenery of long past carrots provides some color. I can still harvest the carrots but have to cull the ones that are just too woody.  This entire bed needs to be turned and amended in preparation for next springs crops. I like to prepare my beds in the fall but other duties have taken precedence this year.
Now this bed is a neat bed. The oats and field peas have been hit hard by the freezes. They are whitened and mainly laying across the soil. This 'cover' prevents the winter rains from pelting the soils and helps maintain soil structure. I am hoping the cover begins to decay a bit so that I can hand til it all into the soil in preparation for next summer's tomato crop. So far I am really liking using a cover crop. Generally I don't need to because I keep my beds planted and/or mulched year round.
The other half of the same bed has some more winter crops growing in it. I hand seeded all of these you see here. There is lettuce, spinach, radishes, beets, and kohlrabi (the gray foliaged crop). I unfortunately do not like the kind of spinach I planted but the chickens and rabbit love it so they get a good serving every day.
The radishes are pretty and quite good. They are mild at first then have a kick.
These beets are kind of interesting. I didn't even know they were beets until I looked closely at the label. They are orange and oblong like carrots. I have not yet tasted them but will do so soon.
Finally, I had to share my blanket flowers. They are still in bloom!! What a delight flowers and vegetables are in December....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vegetable Garden Update Early November 2015

I love sharing my vegetable garden and I finally got around to taking some pictures showing what is growing in my garden in Middle Tennessee at the beginning of November. It is a lot more than one would think. It has been rather warm here in Tennessee and even though we have had three frosts in my garden, they were very light frosts causing only minor leaf tip damage. Honestly, this fall has been perfect for growing vegetables. The butterflies think so too. We have had a lot of fritillary butterflies (pictured), honey bees, and other pollinators flitting to and fro in the garden. Seeing all the activity and knowing everything is getting ready for winter is somehow a comforting thing in the garden.
A long view of the vegetable garden as I enter it right out my front door. The location is in the front yard and ever so convenient! We in the Ramsey family all love exploring this garden.
The northeast bed still has its summer crops of peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. None of these plants are productive and will soon be heading to the compost pile.
The southeast bed has been planted with cool weather crops and all of them are doing quite well, though no crops have come in yet. I think I may have planted these a bit too late to get any crops but we'll see. Closest to the camera is red cabbage. Next up is cauliflower, then two rows of Brussels sprouts. I am disappointed our local big box stores did NOT get any cool weather crops in for the fall. All of the above crops were purchased at a nursery in Louisville. I was happy I managed to score some for the fall garden.
One corner of the southeast bed is reserved for garlic. It is all up and looking great. I will not be harvesting this garlic until next May or June, but garlic is a crop that winters over wonderfully in our region. I wish I could tell you what kind it is that I planted but I really don't know. I simply went to the grocery store and bought a few heads of garlic, separated out the cloves, then planted them. Grocery store garlic has always worked well for me in the past.
The herb garden has made a transition from red zinnias to purple and yellow pansies. On this day honeybees were mobbing the pansies. I was surprised to note this and will make a point of planting more pansies in the future solely for the bees. I pulled the basil plants but the herbs still growing here include: sage, rosemary, flat leaf parsley, thyme, and lavender.
The strawberry bed barely changes at all during the year.
The northwest bed was divided in half and this half got a cover crop. The cover crop of field peas and oats has done an outstanding job of keeping weeds down. Just look at how thick it all is! The cover crop is also quite tall at about 18" high. Once a hard freeze kills it back I'll leave it be until spring at which time I will work the debris into the soil. All winter the remains of the killed back cover crop will keep the winter rains from beating down on the soil, thereby helping to stop erosion. I have never used a cover crop before but so far I am impressed with its ability to keep weeds at bay and to look good. I think I will use them more often in the future.
The southeast bed has a good crop of carrots. I have been digging these as needed. The carrots are beautiful but honestly, I've left them in the ground a bit too long. Some of the carrots are woody and some of the greenery has gone to seed. Carrots are a crop I will always plant. While they are slow to get started, given time they will really reward the gardener.
The other half of the northwest bed that was not planted with a cover crop was planted with cool season crops from seed. You may remember my southeast bed also has cool weather crops but most all of them were started from starts or cloves. This bed was all seeded. I've had fairly good luck with the seeds too. Spinach is first, then radishes, beets, carrots, kohlrabi (blue green leaves under the trellis), then finally peas are growing on the trellis. These guys are growing like gangbusters.
I've picked more radishes than I could possibly eat in a year. I wish there was a way I could preserve these beauties. The greens are recycled to the chickens and the rabbit, but I'd like to do something useful with the radishes themselves.
The zinnias were harmed by the three consecutive days of frost but some are still hanging on.
They are very cheerful.
Green beans in the southeast bed are still there simply because I've not pulled them yet. Hopefully I'll get this bed cleaned up soon.
My trusty owl keeps watch over the garden. He compliments the real owls down in the woods that hoot and holler all day and night. I so enjoy all the owls. 

My vegetable garden is not fenced and so far I've never had any problems with it being raided by deer or other wildlife. I am really appreciating that little fact because I thought for sure it would be destroyed all season long. Other than a few minor bugs eating tomatoes we have had a productive and wildlife free year...

in the garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden