Need help finding shrubs that grow in the shade.

I have a lot of shade in my garden due to a giant, old birch tree. We thought maybe we’d have to take down the birch after the December ice storm, but it seems okay. The neighbour’s tree did more damage to the birch than the ice. I have one spot behind the birch that gets zero sun. There used to be some old shrubs that grew along the fence, but since our other neighbour half built a fence in front of the existing fence, I can no longer see into their yard (sigh of relief). And so, last weekend I dug out the old mangled shrubs. Now I have to decide what to plant there. I’d love a lush patch of various hostas, but then there is puppy. So shrubs it it. Any suggestions?


Muffin tins + Planting Seeds

I’ve been saving all my muffin tins. There seems to come to a point when they no longer look like you should be making food in them. I usually use them as paint trays for crafting, but now I have another incredible use for them. Thanks to Cathy at Tar2trees who pointed out that you can use muffin trays to as a template for planting seeds. Genius!



Snack Time

I got hungry and I was thinking of the lovely smell of the roasted nuts you can buy from the street vendors in New York City. I’ve never purchased them, but they smell soooo

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

  • 2 cups mixed nuts (I used raw almonds, walnuts and cashews)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff – table syrup contains high amounts of┬ácarcinogens)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean (scrape seeds out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you can handle it!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350oF.

Bake nuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted. Heat the maple syrup, honey, vanilla bean, salt and cayenne in a medium sized pot just until honey melts. Remove nuts from the oven and add to maple syrup mixture. On medium heat, cook the nut mixture until the syrup mixture reduces and really starts to thickly coat the nuts (3 to 5 minutes). Return the nuts to the baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Keep watch so the maple syrup mixture does not burn. Remove and let cool.

Gardening DIY (until it warms up enough outside)

The sun is shining, the air temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius, and I just want to take my shovel to the dirt and my rake to the lawn. But… it is too early. So instead, I’m going to get my gardening on indoors. I’m going to do some seed starting on the cheap, and a few other fun gardening projects from around the web:

That should keep me busy for a while, no?