Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Planting begonia tubers

It's going to be a busy day in the Workroom.

My friend Marlene is coming over with her two girls. They will craft and play (at least, we hope they will craft and play) while we transplant what looks like a bazillion seedlings, most of whom have been hanging over the edges of their pots, begging for just a little more room, desperate to stretch out their roots.

So while we spend the day with our hands in dirt I thought I would give you the chance to do the same.

To that end I am reposting this piece I wrote back in the beginning on how to plant up begonia tubers.

Never done this before??? Neither had I . . .and the end result was a beautiful begonia that bloomed all summer. . .


planting begonia tubers
Quite some time back, I thought I try something new and plant a begonia tuber.

I had never done this before, as my relatively thrifty soul balked at the price of a tuber.

Of course, come gardening time, it balked even more at the price if the actual plant!
In the interests of my blog readers I felt I should give this a try. That way we could all learn together. This also gives you the advantage of not being out $4 should this fail! (I love it when I can come up with a good excuse!)

planting begonia tubers 2

The tuber needs to be planted halfway into the soil mix with the concave side upwards and
the pot should only be slightly larger than the tuber .

Begonias have very small root systems. The roots must be all the way to the edge of the container before you transplant it into a larger pot.

planting begonia tubers 3

Cover with soil.

planting begonia tubers 4

And here, my dear friends, is where I ran into trouble.
I reread the planting directions and saw, in bold, this warning:
-Do not let any water sit in the hollow tuber or it may rot.
Well, I'll fix that!

planting begonia tubers 5

Ummm, in trying to drain the excess water from the pot, an unfortunate thing occurred.
The tuber fell out!

planting begonia tubers 6

No problem.
I can put it back.
Hang on. . .

planting begonia tubers 7

I mixed a little dry soil with the incredibly wet soil.
That should do it!
Now for a quick double check on the proper way to start these guys.
I hop over to Doug green's site.
Only water with warm water or the tuber may rot!
Oh for crying out loud!
It also wants bottom heat, so I put it on top of one of my fluorescent lights. (the old ones throw off a lot of heat.)
I have never had to worry about too much water before.
My poor plants generally worry about not having enough water.
So here we are. . .
Six weeks later. . .

planting begonia tubers 8

I can still call myself a gardener.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On Needing Courage . . .

I got a newsletter in my e-mail inbox today from Emily Freeman from Chatting at The Sky.

She talks about meeting goals and the difficulties of the gap between idea and execution. About writing down specific reasons why your goal is important and the power of a little momentum. (In my case I would say that  momentum would be writing everyday.)

Then she asked in what area of my life did I most need courage.

This is what came out . . .

Hi Emily,

Thanks so much for the newsletter. It speaks to me in a real way today.

The area in which I need courage  the most right now has to do with blogging. I've been blogging off and on for 5 years. I started as a challenge to myself to write everyday for a year. ( I did 265 posts in that first year.) I have always wanted to be a writer but kept all my writing in my head, which was also filled with many valid reasons as to why I could never be a writer. Not finishing high school being at the top of my list. After all, what kind of a writer hasn't read and pulled apart all the classics? Or who's grasp of grammar and punctuation is sketchy at best? (Thank goodness for spell check . . . without it I wouldn't even have attempted my first blog post! ;D )

So I started writing. A few people found me and left sweet comments. I kept writing. The comments became more complimentary (Some of them from my sisters mind you. . . but still!) 

Something in me protested. Didn't they know I couldn't be very good? After all who was I too even think I could be????

My writing slowed down significantly. 

Hormones began a crazy hokey pokey number on my body that lasted for several years, bringing along a serious case of anxiety that refused to leave.

Everyday I thought, "It's time to just close this blog down. What am I doing with it after all?" But I couldn't quite bring myself to do it.

Last July I was diagnosed with skin cancer. It had spread to a lymph node and the day before Halloween I went in for a radical groin dissection and a muscle transfer. I am thankful to say I am now cancer free, (Anxiety free as well, for the most part, which is rather odd isn't it?) although I'm told recovery from surgery will take about a year and some things might not ever be the same.

God is good, as is life and I have been given the realization that God gave me the talents he did to use, not to hide, regardless of whether I felt worthy of them.

So here's the part that needs courage. . . I feel called to write (and create and photograph beautiful things and . . . and . . .) but I also feel called  to share what I write. And not just with family and friends. With people I don't know. Maybe even to write more about the things that God is doing in my life. With strangers. . . who might find that offensive. . . gulp!

Whew! Scary stuff. After all, what if people did find me and  didn't like what I wrote???

Sorry it got so wordy. ;D I know how precious time is. But thank you for giving me a chance to put things into writing. And for encouraging me with the idea of momentum. I must not let this day pass without another post.

Rosa Veldkamp 

Why is it do you think, that it is so very difficult to share those things closest to our hearts? Because honestly??? The thought of putting this out there for all to see (especially anyone who knows me, with this particular post.) . . . makes me break into a nervous sweat!

  And if you've ever seen the commercial . . .  you'll know that stress sweat smells much worse than the regular kind!! ;D

*Just  because I like to add a pretty picture. . .

We'll be seeing pansies outside before we know it!
Is there anything in your life you need courage for right now?

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's getting exciting around here!

We may be buried under the snowdrifts outside, but on the inside???

Things are popping up out of the dirt non stop!

Look what I found when I turned on the lights this morning . . .

Calla bulb sprouts

My calla lilies are starting to come up!

If you saw what they were going to look like, you'd know why I was so excited.

Calla lily picture

Are these not fabulous?

And you should be excited too  . . . because you will be able to buy these at my Plant Sale in May!  (Although I may put a few aside for myself . . ahem. )

I was up late Saturday, planting the next round of seeds. Tomatoes, more lobelia, petunias, browellia, and annual rudbeckia . . . so much fun.

seed starting

seed starting on heat mat

But, it's not all gardening around here. After choking down three loaves of Dempster's bread last week, I was up early baking bread this morning.

bread dough

rolling up bread dough

bread dough in pans

I love, love, love homemade bread.

Now I'm off to do a little housecleaning.

Because, is there anything worse than coming home to a kitchen full of dirty dishes after going for a walk by the river in the absolutely, gorgeous sunshine?

Maybe a laundry room full of dirty clothes. . . ( and yes, I have that too . . )

Friday, March 22, 2013

Unusal Home Decor and a Weekly Update

I brought a few things home from my trip to the Northwest Flower show and had a chance this week to reorganize my office. (I even managed to get down on the ground and back up again, by my self!)

Henry's comment on viewing the new display. . .

"Only Rosa would put a prosthetic foot on a counter and call it decoration . . ."

Wooden shoe last, home decor

Shows how little he knows. . . it's a wooden shoe last . . . I googled it just to make sure I actually knew what I was talking about . .

On other news. . .

Holly and I have been hard at work this week, running here, there and everywhere to get the work room and plant shelves outfitted with everything needed for both the Spring Open house on April 26 and 27 and the Spring plant Sale in May.

clay tags

antique scale, home decor

We've been tossing around some fabulous ideas and will give you a sneak peek or two in the coming weeks.

Our school was to host a Fine Arts Extravaganza and opened it up to the adult members of our community as a way to share our talents and ideas with everyone. I had a blast putting together a display for some of my pictures. I say a display because a: I couldn't afford to run out and buy a bunch of frames and b: it's always more fun to put a little twist on these things anyways.

I love how it turned out. I would also love to show you a picture but . . . as usual . . . I worked on it until the last possible second and ran out of time.

I'll post a picture as soon as I get it back.

Which is going to take longer than I thought it would . . . the extravaganza was postponed due to the huge snowstorm we had yesterday . . . Spring in Alberta!!!

It will, however, go up on my wall to replace this mirror, which jumped off the wall, smashing itself to smithereens. As no one was there at the time, the cause is unknown. . .

I decided I shouldn't be the only family member to contribute though. So I entered this pencil crayon work Henry did several years ago. . .

growing plants under lights

coloured pencil drawing war of the worlds

coloured pencil drawing war of the worlds

It's a copy of a record album.

Isn't he amazing! ( seriously . .. my mind boggles just at the thought of getting  all the lettering the right size, shape and spacing . . . never mind the picture!!!

I will be planting more seeds tomorrow. I think some lemon sugar cookies will also be added to the To Do list.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Battling Fatigue.

vintage birds nests and cloches,  northwest flower and garden show
Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Vintage cloche, picture, nest, shells,  northwest flower and garden show
Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Vintage mason jar, flower arrangement, northwest flower and garden show
Northwest Flower and Garden Show

It's been very busy the last few weeks.

All of it fun and interesting, but . . .  busy.

Fatigue has kicked in and I start drooping soon after lunch.

Val and I spent a good part of Tuesday working on designs for the clay tags I'll be selling at our open house in May. They are awesome! I can hardly wait to get working on them.

I'm also putting a few things together to display at next week's Art Extravaganza  

The opportunity to create is everywhere!

Now all I need is the energy to create something . . .

A few Red Bulls perhaps???

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day Two at Blogwest

With Jayson Aquilanti

What an amazing day at Blogwest!

This is how we started our day . . .

With Jayson Acquilanti: Your Future! A Visual Metaphor
In this 45-minute workshop, examine your current business situation and future vision through the use and application of Visual Explorer(™) cards, a tool for creative conversations and deep dialogue.  Through the use of a wide variety of images about almost any topic, you’ll have the chance to take part in guided conversations about the things that are happening right now, and your prospects down the road.  This session will deliver:
  1. Through imagery, the opportunity to examine your current situation
  2. The chance to discover meaning behind your image selections
  3. Insight and clarity on areas of focus to develop a long term vision of where you’d like to be in five years

It was an unusual exercise but one that really opened my eyes. We do see the world differently from each other. I saw one thing in the visual card and my partner saw another, but what we saw spoke to what was important to us as individuals. I saw an exciting story of adventure and adversity and my partner saw a woman of strength and courage.

Very cool . . .

I am on information overload right now.  I made a grilled cheese sandwich for supper, got into my pj's and I'm going to spend the rest of the night in bed with a good book.

I can hardly wait until tomorrow!


One of the sessions was on journalism. We were asked if we had the two books on grammar and punctuation. (Who knew there was a standard?) I will be picking this up first thing. Perhaps it will prevent me from using commas with  such reckless abandon.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day One Of Blogwest

I came home with a fistful of cards.

And promptly spent the next few hours on the computer checking out new blogs. . .

Wow! There are some amazing writers out there and sometimes it takes events like this to get you outside of your comfort zone, to be willing to try something new. To learn something new.

I read a variety of blogs, all of which I would not have discovered any other way. After all, when you find a blog you like, you check out their blogroll and find more blogs you like, check out their blogroll and find more blogs you like and-- while they are all fabulous blogs-- they tend to be of the same tribe. Inside your comfort zone.

I read one blog in particular that really spoke to the voracious reader in me. The reader who in days gone by read everything she could get her hands on. Who went out of her way to read things that were provocative ( as in, thought provoking), quirky or just plain odd.  This blog was so very well written it made me realize just how much work I had to do in that regard. To be honest, it made me hesitate before blogging tonight.

Because people. . . I can not write like that! But, she expresses her self much differently than I do. Some of those ways are outside my comfort zone. It has never been clearer to me that I am a middle aged, conservative woman. Who needs a little shaking up. Who's experiences have perhaps become a little too predictable. It's time to expand my horizons again.

I read a beautiful design blog, checked out an inspiring site for writers and a lovely blog by a young mom who also had cancer last year.

I came to the conference to learn new things. So far so good.

I can hardly wait until tomorrow.

A beautiful Hat.

A beautiful hat goes a long way towards making you feel like a Lady . . .

Tamara in the 'My Fair Lady' garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Touring A Real Greenhouse.

While on my little adventure, my sister Tamara took me on a tour of one of their greenhouses.

I'm wondering if something like this would fit in the back yard . . . 

  How amazing would it be to get bags of cuttings in the mail!

 And have help from these lovely ladies . .

Or being able to put a few of these fantastic machines in the basement???

It was an amazing tour . . . Thanks Tam!

Stay tuned . . . This was only the tip of the iceberg, fantastic machine wise.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Big Dreams . . . Small Space

We live in a small house.

We have always lived in small houses.

I've dreamt of larger spaces most of our married life. Specifically old larger houses. If they are in the Old Glenora neighborhood all the better.

Now a small space isn't a bad thing, after all, it's so much less work to clean!  It just gets tricky when you are trying to fit five grown people, a biggish dog and Rosa's big dreams into such a small space.

Not only do I want to garden, cook, bake, diy, redecorate, take pictures and read as many books as I can get my hot little hands on, I also want to have my own business.

Most my what I love comes with stuff. . . and stuff needs a place to live, which is why the hallways in the basement are somewhat hazardous, my downstairs plant shelves are loaded with books and party supplies and the cold room has more craft supplies than it does canned food that needs to stay cold. . .

So, what's a girl to do when the time comes to start a few (cough, cough) plants for her upcoming plant sale? The downstairs shelves are not nearly enough. More space must be found for the larger shelves. . .

Where to put them, where to put them???

We have had them in our bedroom but that means the bed has to go against one wall and Henry has to crawl over me to get to bed at night. As I like to go to by by midnight and he seldom goes before two, it's not the ideal  solution.

And then there are the fungus gnats. . .

Henry vetoed that before I even finished asking . . .

If they went in the living room, the love seat would have to go, leaving room for only three people to sit.

 And where exactly would we store the love seat? The middle of the back yard would not be ideal as it is presently storing wood for the fire pit, out door chairs, empty plant pots and a host of other garden doodads.

Henry came up with the final solution.

 Because there is always a way!

Move some stuff around in the office/dining room, (everything does double duty in a small house) and get your very handy husband to work his magic. . .

Put the seed mats and first batch of seed in the living rooms . . .

Move the bulbs into the kitchen . . .

  Add the yellow sticky strips . . fungus gnats in the kitchen strain even my easygoing family's nerves . . .

turn on the little plant light and fill that counter with seedlings . .

Plant up the rooted cuttings you 'borrowed' while on a greenhouse tour at Tamara and the Big Guy's . .

I keep telling her that it's not "stealing" if I told her to pick some plugs. Why does she still look so guilty?! — with Rosa Veldkamp.

A new gardening season has begun.

Dreams really can come true!
© A Life of Whimsey