The story of Prince Aidan and his 8th birthday

Once upon a time there was a little prince named Aidan.

Prince Aidan lived in a land far away where the only flowers that grew were dandelions.   Dandelions were named from the French term, ‘dent-de-lion’ meaning “lion’s tooth”.   Aidan left the castle one morning and came across a clutch of dandelions in a field.  Taking the name of these flowers literally, he brandished his sword and said, “Halt dandelion!  I am Prince Aidan and I will protect my kingdom from lions teeth!”

The dandelion replied, “We are not lions teeth!  We are just called ‘lion’s tooth’ because our yellow flowers have petals that resemble lion’s teeth!  You don’t need to be afraid of us – we are harmless!”

“Oh,” said Prince Aidan.  “I didn’t realize that you weren’t dangerous.  I am glad that you won’t be eating the people in my kingdom with your big lion teeth.  I will let you go.”

“Thank you,” said the dandelions.  “We are grateful that you don’t slice us up into smithereens.”

So then Prince Aidan kept walking through the woods and suddenly found a dragon hiding in the shrubbery.

“Who are you scary dragon and why are you here, hiding in the shrubbery?” asked Prince Aidan.

“Please don’t hurt me Prince Aidan! I am not a scary dragon.  I am a friendly dragon and I have been sent here to wish you a Happy Birthday!”

“It is said that on a Prince’s 8th birthday, a friendly dragon has to appear over the internet to wish that Prince a happy birthday.  That is why I am here.”


Longwood Gardens: Part I

Back in August I went on a trip with my very good friend, Patti, and trekked to both Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

Funnily enough, she warned me that Longwood would be a disappointment after we had visited Chanticleer (see my post on this wondrous garden to understand what she meant).  I foolishly believed her.  So when we approached the entry building and saw these wonderful plantings, I said to myself  “Really?”  Readers, what do you think?

What an interesting take on a green, white and silver garden.

I would never, ever in my entire life think of combining this pale Sanseveria with ghost fern, giant white periwinkle and euphorbia!


I love this combination, in fact, I just love papyrus.  Especially in planters.  A great alternative to grasses.

What I loved about this elegant entrance garden is the way in which it sets the stage for what’s inside:

Glorious displays of colour.  And more unexpected combinations.  Here, its a squat Agave surrounded by fan flower and in the right background those spiky, vertical plants are actually a form of Sanseveria (S. cylindrica)!

And in case you thought that the gardeners at Longwood (over 500 of them!) had a thing for cool colours only, you’re most definitely wrong.


Does this whet (Patricia?) your appetite?

More Longwood coming…. ;c)

Beautiful blues and glorious views

Recently I was given a tip by another dog butler about a wonderful place to walk your canine employer.  This one is a good 45 minutes west of Ottawa, up the Valley, just a step away from Fitzroy Harbour.  It is the Morris Island Conservation Area and it is, in a word, picturesque.

Going to places like these I always have to keep an eye out for poison ivy, since my skin seems to be a magnet for it.  Sure enough, I did spot a lot of it along the pathways, and encouraged Skye to avoid it so it wouldn’t be transferred onto my hands from her coat.

Does she look like she’s having fun to you?  Of course; she’s just had a swim!

Do you see what I see?

This is a bottle or closed gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), a glorious native wildflower that favours moist woodlands and meadows.  It relies on rolly polly bumblebees for pollination since they are the only flying insect strong enough to pry open the closed petals and retrieve the pollen.  What a treat it was to see it!

Go and pay a visit to this lovely spot.  It’s well worth the drive with your canine buddy.  Dogs, of course, must be on leash and anything they deposit must be taken away with you.

Late season planters with kick

Some summer planters look pretty sad by the end of August; not these!  Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned.

These metallic planters are quite large.  The size and depth allow plants to spread their roots and grow on through the four + months of summer warmth.  The large planting area also allows for the soil to stay relatively moist longer, as does the dense planting that shades any soil surface.   And the fact that the metal is a light colour means it does not absorb the heat, so the soil stays cooler.

The planters have a north-facing orientation and are shaded by street trees, so they don’t have to deal with blazing heat.  Some of the plants are shade lovers (i.e. the angel wing begonias and golden creeping jenny) but the others are usually chosen for sunny locations (the dark purple Pennisetum, sweet potato vine and purple/blue petunia).

Shiny metal planters, especially with interesting shapes, often demand a simple planting.  This doorstep planter offers just that with two fancy leaf begonias with their metallic overtones and striking forms.

Another planter arrangement on the front steps of a duplex is exuberant in growth but fairly simple in construction:  asparagus fern shares space with creeping alternanthera (‘Purple Knight’), lamiastrum and plectranthus.  These steps are north-facing so these plants are the perfect choice for a mainly shady location.  I think they would look even better if they were incorporated into a window box, allowing them to spill over the sides.