Garden

Garden: Let’s Get Growing

I don’t have a lot of garden space to work with – or time to tend to it, for that matter – but I do enjoy a bit of gardening, and in usual-Jordana-style, I like to keep things simple. In my back garden, I have a ton of hostas. They’re incredibly easy, they grow like champs, and they’re pretty. I also have herbs in planters, and this year, I’m trying out spinach, too.

In the front, I get a ton of sun, so I plant my tomatoes there, and they produce like crazy! I plant red geraniums in my planters because they flourish in the sunshine. Geraniums always remind me of my time in Switzerland, so I’m happy to have them outside my home.  I was considering white begonias this year because they looked so pretty at the market, but I’m sure the sun would have burned them, since they prefer shade.

And the new addition to my garden are a few peony plants that I split and transplanted from my parents’ garden last year. The buds are still quite little, so I’m not certain they’ll be fruitful this year, but I’m hopeful they’ll produce beautiful blooms for years to come.

I just love that the garden can produce so much goodness. After trudging through such a long winter, I love seeing spring surrounding my home.

And speaking of beautiful homes in spring, here are a few that have caught my eye.

the gorgeous home of Canadian blogger Monika Hibbs

Giannetti Home – Atherton

Claus Dalby

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The Friday Five: Bird Feeders at Amara

A few years ago, I wrote a post about modern bird feeders. This post has caught the attention of several readers, but most recently, Amara contacted me with info about their current bird feeder stock. I was surprised to see so many modern feeders in one place. Since I’m already itching for spring to arrive, it seems like a post about bird feeders is highly appropriate.

I’ll start with this bird feeder that Amara kindly sent me (see it on Instagram). Since I shared it on Instgram, I picked up bird seed (I can’t even remember what kind), and I hung it up on a tree in my backyard. The lady who helped me buy the bird seed said it would take a few days for birds to realize it’s there. While I haven’t seen so many birds flock to it quite yet, I’m hopeful they will. How could they not? Look how pretty it is!

garden-trading-bird-nut-feeder-1-jpgGarden Trading Bird Feeder, $28

I absolutely love the design of this second feeder. Talk about modern! I’m not quite sure where birds perch to eat the seed, but I love the donut shape, and the hook and cord seem very strudy.

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Eva Solo Bird Feeder, $59 (on sale)

This bird feeder is by the same brand as the previous one, but its design is quite different. It’s a mini feeder with a larger hole. I do like the simplicity of this design.

mini-bird-feeders Eva Solo mini bird feeder, $63

The next two bird feeders are by the same manufacturer, but they’re different shapes. I like the mix of white and wood on these classic feeders. There’s not much room for more than one bird though, is there?

haven-white-birdhouse-24x20cmD&M Haven White Bird House, $92

haven-white-birdhouse-17x15cmD&M Have White Bird House, $87

As I learned, Amara’s curation is amazing. The company carries designers such as Alessi (my fave!), Fornasetti, Jonathan Adler, and Orla Kiely. It ships world wide, and you can choose your preferred currency option as you shop online. I’ve listed the above items with the Canadian prices, and delivery is free to Canada for orders above $200.

Thanks again to Amara for sending along the feeder! I hope it makes the birds happy! All opinions are my own.

Travel: Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario – Part II

Yesterday, I took you on a tour of Langdon Hall’s interiors, showcasing the delicious breakfast I enjoyed and the details in the guest rooms. Today, I’m taking your outdoors. Let’s go!

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-6White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-5Rox-Anne and I enjoyed a tour of the garden with Mario, Langdon Hall’s head gardener. It was an impressive tour because Mario knows everything about everything in the garden, and his passion for his work really shines. Mario showed us how plants are thoughtfully arranged in order to maximize sight lines, use, and growth.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-3here, Mario is telling us about how he and his team purposefully left space between the plants so that air could circulate around themWhite-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-9here, Mario is teaching us about sight lines and layering techniques; he thins out the grassy water plants so that the view beyond is not hiddenWhite-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-2the climbing hydrangea in this section of the garden is so pretty

The garden tour happens every Saturday at 10:30am for Langdon Hall guests. I know it’s easy to sleep in and linger over breakfast, but the tour is really fascinating, and I’d definitely encourage guests to take it. I honestly felt like I was in a Martha Stewart magazine as we walked through the various gardens.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-7   White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-4Now, I know Langdon Hall guests are meant to be professional and poised…

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-1 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-8 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-13 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-11but I couldn’t resist going back to my jumping roots in the presence of such incredible backdrops. It only took two tries to get the photo below (thanks, Rox-Anne!).

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-10I hope you enjoyed the two-day tour of Langdon Hall. Do let me know if you plan to visit (or if you already have visited).

See Rox-Anne’s photos and review here.

Thanks to Kate M. for showing us around Langdon Hall. Photos by Jordana unless otherwise indicated.

Furniture: Garden Benches

It is almost almost warm enough to sit outside. I cannot wait to put my furniture back out on my deck, lounge around outside with my latte, and fall asleep on my hammock. I am made for summer. In anticipation of green garden life, I’ve been browsing through many garden-y furniture collections. In particular, I’ve been focused on intricate garden benches.

gertrude-jekyll-terrainGertrude Jekyll garden bench, $1498, Terrain

Victorian-fernery-terrainVictorian Fernery garden bench, $1298, Terrain

maison-jansen-french-bench-1st dibsMaison Jansen bench, $2358, 1st Dibs (matching table and chairs)

cast iron swan bench 1st dibscast iron swan bench, $6500, 1st Dibs

swedish garden bench 1st dibsSwedish garden bench, $2650, 1st Dibs

wrought iron regency garden benchwrought iron regency garden bench, $9500, 1st Dibs

What do you think? Did you see any that you like?

The Friday Five: Rattan-erific

I’ve been back from Florida for less than a week, so naturally I’ve still got the beachy lifestyle on the brain. As such, today I’m featuring Florida’s go-to accessory – rattan. If you live on a Floridian beach, some dose of rattan is a must!

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pair of decorative rattan mirrors, $3700, 1st Dibs

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set of four bentwood and rattan chairs, $2800, 1st Dibs

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pair of rattan sconces by Louis Sognot, $2502, 1st Dibs

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hanging rattan chair, $304.17, Etsy

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rattan arm chair & stool, $1900, 1st Dibs

Who am I kidding? Rattan works outside of Florida, too. I have a rattan set for my own patio, and I love it!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

p.s. I also think this bed is pretty cool.

 

Marketplace: Ikea Plant Pots

Ikea is one of my go-to shops for plant pots. I have Ikea’s classic white pots in a variety of sizes, and I use them for everything from holding my plants to my pens to my bath salts. They’re so inexpensive that it’s hard to stop buying them!

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Kardemumma plant pot, $0.99 each

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Kardemumma plant pot, $2.99 each

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Kardemumma plant pot, $24.99 each

What do you use plant pots for? Anything besides plants? 

Uptown: A Little Bit of Progress

I thought I would take a moment to talk about the updates I’m making around my house Uptown. It feels great to be in Kitchener-Waterloo and I’m really loving so many things about my new house. I’m learning new things about renos and home repairs, I’m getting to know every home improvement store in KW, and little-by-little I am making my house feel more like me.

There are three bathrooms in my house. They’re great spaces but they are all covered in wallpaper. The wallpaper in the upstairs bath came off quite easily and left no wallpaper paste residue. The walls up there are in great shape and just need some minor touchups (of that plaster/putty stuff) before they get primed and painted.

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upstairs bath – wallpaper removal fun

The powder room was a whole other story. The decorative paper came off without any trouble. But…the wallpaper paste decided to stay behind. The look was disgusting. The removal was a major pain.

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powder room – before – two patterns of pink & cream wallpaper

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powder room – the wallpaper paste disaster

My dad bought and applied some wallpaper paste removal but that didn’t work. Then I found two solutions via Google so I alternated between them: (a) hot water + fabric softener + baking soda, and (2) hot water + vinegar. The vinegar solution worked better in the end, I think, but the fabric softener solution smelled better so I kept using it. There was A LOT of scraping involved. And A LOT of rubbing with a rough sponge. And A LOT of cleaning up with a soft sponge. It was time consuming*. The walls look half-way good now but of course there are (more than) several areas that need putty. The powder room looks much brighter so that’s definitely something to celebrate. Removing the wallpaper in this room was a huge job and I’m glad it’s over. (One more bathroom to go.)

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My parents came for a visit this past weekend and with my mom’s help I’ve narrowed down my paint colours down to two! Huge accomplishment! I’ve been staring at the paint chips in every room in the house in different lights over the last month or so. Now I’m going to buy small test cans of each colour and paint large patches in each room. I hope by doing this, I’ll come to a final decision about the colour. In case you didn’t know – I’m painting my whole house white. All of it. Yes.

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paint options with tile and carpet

I picked up pretty white tiles that I will eventually use for my kitchen backsplash**. The tiles look great with the paint options and the existing cabinets (Ikea I think). So far.

I’m still dating my couch options. I love the Lee couch but I priced it out for two fabrics and one will be $3000 and the other one will be $3800 (plus tax & delivery). I’m not sure I feel like spending $4000 on a couch.

Lee-Industries-English-sofa

Lee Industries sofa

I am really fond of the following two sofas from sofa.com but I have to do the final pricing on each. They’ll likely come in around $2500 or so.

 

The Saturday Sofa

The Saturday Sofa

The-Snowdrop-Sofa

The Snowdrop Sofa

Restoration Hardware has a nice option too. It would like be around the $3000 mark. I haven’t yet seen this one in person but I will soon enough. I really would prefer two large seat cushions but I don’t the the RH sofa has this option.

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Restoration Hardware sofa

Alternatively, I could also go the more affordable route with Ikea’s Karlstad in a couch or sectional style.

Karlstad-sofa-Ikea

 

The Karlstad is a good-looking and comfortable sofa but it has a different feel than the ones above. It would change the whole look of my living room. Oh – and I’m aiming for a light grey fabric for my future sofa. Thoughts?

My parents helped me plant outside. I’m leaving all the gardening choices up to my mom since she is a retired florist. She knows what’s what. I only requested that hostas be in my garden since (a) I think hosta is a funny word, and (b) it seems like everybody is always talking about where they planted their hostas, the colour of their hostas, and how their hostas are growing. I think it’s hilarious…and I want to be part of the hosta club. I don’t have a big garden but I have just enough patches of land to let me play around.

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new white flowers & some of my new hostas

My proudest moment so far in this reno business has been installing a new kitchen light. I wasn’t sure I could manage it on my own but I did! I watched a few how-to videos online (and over the years I’ve observed my dad change a few) and then I got to work. I learned about my Breaker Box and I made sure I shut off the right breaker switch for the kitchen light. I set up lamps around the room so I could see what I was doing (I decided to change the light at 9pm or so?!). I used one screwdriver in the whole process. So handy. After the electricity was shut off, I removed the existing fan/light fixture and unhooked the wires. Once the fan was down I put up my new light. Black wire to red wire and white wire to white wire. I used plastic screw caps to attach the wires. A few screws later and my light was up! When I switched the power back on I really was praying that I’d have light. And guess what? I did! I honestly couldn’t believe it. Changing a fixture is not hard at all but it is a little scary, what with the electricity bit. But as long as the electricity is off, there’s nothing to worry about. Right? So, one light installed and about 15 more to go! (I haven’t narrowed down the choices for the other rooms.)

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before

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 after

So there you have it – a few updates from around the house. Much more to come so stay tuned!

*Note to self: Never install wallpaper. Ever.

**You may be wondering why I bought backsplash tiles before doing anything else? I found them for a super deal on Kijiji and I couldn’t let them go! More on that in a future post.

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The Uptown series documents my experiences as a new homeowner. Fun times ahead!

You know it’s a party when..

…When there’s confetti!

Confetti is quite possibly the most fun accessory to a memorable event. It’s exciting to throw and thrilling to be showered with the happy specs. No need to save them just for weddings.

I’ll be bringing seed-embedded paper confetti flakes for an early summer party; if you’re like me and don’t have green space, why not gift them (or throw them!) to a friend who does. I also like the enviro, no-cleanup-required: before you buy, just decide if you’ll be seeding with herbs or wildflowers, and let the festivities be as memorable as your lasting green gift.

plantable confettiEnough boring: plantable paper confetti by Bontanical Paperworks in either herbs or wildflowers- a garden party must for this summer

 

 

Garden: Urban Barn Plant Pots

I mentioned on Twitter a little while ago that I was trying to grow herbs (from seeds) for the very first time. While I ended up killing a lot of the small plants when I tried to transplant them (I thought I was doing them a favour by spreading them out), a few of them actually survived and are slowly growing. While I don’t have enough basil to make pesto and if I break off some parsley for garnish I’d have nothing left, I’m excited to have even just a teeny tiny bit of fresh herbs on my balcony.

But that’s not all! I have also decided to grow tomato plants. I know, I know. Who grows tomatoes on a balcony? Well, I thought I’d give it a try and even though I have yet to see even a smidgen of cherry red, the bit of greenery compliments my herbs quite nicely.

And lucky me – Urban Barn recently sent over some amazing white plant pots (en français) to support my cause! Bye bye terracotta, hello white!

my small-but-mighty tomato plants – in Urban Barn’s Le Jardinier pot

Gloxina plant (I think) – in Urban Barn’s Le Jardinier plant pot

There is much more to the Le Jardinier (which means gardener, by the way) collection than the two pots in the photos above. I’ll soon be transferring my herbs into some of the ones below and hopefully they’ll have a growth spurt soon!

Le Jardinier Planter – small : $12.00, large: $22.00

Le Jardinier Handle Pot – small: $7.00, large: $14.00


Le Jardinier Handle Pot – set of 3: $12.00

Photos by Jordana and courtesy of Urban Barn. Many thanks to Robbyn W. for arranging to have these pots sent my way.

Note: If you would like tips on growing herbs indoors, read this article by Sharalee on Chatelaine.com.