Apr 22, 2012

Trees (for Earth Day)

Trees.  We finally bought some yesterday!  We cut ALL of them down out of the yard last year as they were either scraggly or useless bushes with ugly foliage. Half our backyard was taken up by overgrown Cotoneaster.

Note we actually had removed a row of these suckers on the far right.  The whole yard was filled with them. 
These ubiquitous bushes in Calgary are just stunning for about 5 minutes in the fall when the leaves turn a fiery red.  The rest of the year, they are patchy green, poky and nearly impossible to remove.  The story behind them is that they helped save countless farms during the Depression here on the Prairies, with years of severe drought conditions.  Those farms with Cotoneasters (which are drought resistant) were apparently protected from dust bowl conditions.

As I mentioned in the last post, we are in the 'brown' gardening stage here in Calgary. Garden centres are only just starting to open and stock summer plants.  I have been dying to go to Countryside Landscapes & Gardens in Dewinton, about 30 minutes south of downtown since we saw them at the Home Show back in February. This one seemed right up our alley - modern design, no kitschy garden ornaments, and they sell terrariums!

Find the kids in the Potentilla
They opened last week so we made the trek out there yesterday and spent most of the day browsing through their beautiful store.  The kids played in a neat little playhouse, leaving us some kid-free time (rare) to browse at our leisure.  We had decided on an Amur Maple for the backyard.  The criteria are that the tree had to be climbable/shady/fairly quick growth/no annoying sticky leaves or useless berries. The Amur Maple seemed to have a beautiful canopy and those little helicopters, which are hours of fun for parents and kids. 

Amur Maple in Fall
We found one in the tree nursery and it was actually pretty scraggly (there's nary a leaf on any of the trees right now, which actually makes it easier find the shape we want).  One of the sales staff told us that they always look slightly scraggly and only when they mature (like above) do they start to look good.  So we ended up with something I had never heard of: a mature 15 foot Mayday (Bird Cherry).  The lines of the tree are lovely and it has beautiful fragrant white flower clusters in the spring with small black chokecherries in the summer (can I eat these? Or are they useless berries?).

Spring flowers on Mayday
Ours is the one with the pink tag (I should really learn how to add an arrow)
We also found a tree we had been stalking in garden stores across Calgary for over a year now. These little Scotch Pines were raised and pruned in the Countryside nursery and are about half the price of others we've seen in the city.  We're planting him somewhere in the front yard.

Hiding under the 'hats'
I also bought a Double-Flowering plum, which I have coveted for years.  I took Ikebana courses for a couple of years and it was a staple in the class.  

Apparently this bush needs lots of sun and is most successful when it's on its own. Hmmm.  May have to make another kidney-bean garden for this guy on the front lawn. 

The trees will be delivered and planted in a couple of weeks.  Very exciting!  


Apr 20, 2012

The Sorbet Seelecshion (with french accent)

My laptop crashed last week.  It's 6 years old and is too hot to even keep on your lap.  I think that's like 99 in laptop years.  My mac guy was fortunately able to recover everything (he's amazing - and didn't even lecture when I told him I hadn't backed anything up on it in over 3 years). Hence the late posting on the pastel door colours.  

Here's a little insight into Calgary weather.  These pictures were taken three days apart.  And that brown/tan permeating the images? That's spring in Calgary for you.  I actually did 6 hours of brown gardening a few weeks ago - raking the dead grass, removing dead leaves from the garden, searching the ground for sprouting bulbs.  Personally, it's the toughest time of year for me here. 

BM Bird's Egg - I was surprised how much I liked the blue... 

BM Lemon Meringue - We both liked this one as a permanent option for the garage door. 

Ooo look!  It's snowing (with flakes the size of ears)! In April! (deep breath) (BM Surf Green)

So thoughts?  I'm partial to the mint for the front door and the yellow or blue for the back and garage doors. At least we know how the colour will look in the snow. 2moremonths2moremonths... 


Apr 6, 2012

House Colour Trial #1 = Fail

What I wanted was a punch-coloured door.  We did a trial test of the house colour and the door this week on the garage.  Turns out more like a punch in the face .  This black/charcoal base is tricky.  It can look subtle and almost like a shadow with the right colour trim/door but totally offensive with the wrong colour.  See below image.

BM Aruba Blue - cover your nose
 Back to Benjamin Moore and this time for some softer colours. 

Our inspiration... 

Hubby wasn't fond of going this light. I love the simplicity of this exterior.  (Ottawa Citizen)

Definitely traditional but the overall effect is cool and inviting.  (Lavender & Lilies)

This mint door is divine. (Go Haus Go)
Anyone who knows me well, knows I'm not a fan of subtle colour.  So a pastel door is a big step for me.  

We agreed on three that didn't look too much like combinations of food, holidays or insects (inspired by bees, After 8 mints, Halloween etc.) - settling on Benjamin Moore's Bird's Egg, Surf Green and Lemon Meringue (the last one is doomed).

Trial is tomorrow.  Sure glad we have a crappy garage door that will likely undergo a number of colour tests.