Absence do make the heart grow fonder

Sorry for the long absence, my dear blog.
I miss you. I really do.
I promise I will be back once the school ends.

For now, please enjoy some pictures of the new additions in my garden. :)

My beautiful peonies in full bloom now.
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DH built these trellises structure for our vegetable garden. :)

Wood frame trellises…
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Tomato cage using PVC pipes…
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Another one using PVC pipes.
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That’s all for today. I will be back soon!

Vegetable garden updates

Last year, we had great harvest of cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, but our carrots, potatoes and pumpkins didn’t do that well. So, this year we planted more of each kind at 3 different locations to see which location is best suitable for the vegetables.

Our carrots didn’t even produce any sizable root last year, so this time we plant them in a barrel instead, and placing the barrel in full sun. As you can see, they are doing great so far.

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Last year our pumpkins flowered, but they didn’t produce any fruit. DH thought that they didn’t produce any fruit because we didn’t plant enough seedlings to begin with. Not enough plants means not enough flowers to pollinate each other, hence no fruit. So, he started 3 containers full of pumpkin seedlings. Well, will see what happens when he transplants them later. πŸ˜›

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Our potatoes didn’t produce much potatoes last year. We think it could be due to the soil, sun conditions and the potato seedling that we used. This year we got 2 different kinds of potato seedlings, the red and yukon. So far, comparing the 3 sites that we planted them, seems like the potatoes like it best where it is partially shaded. :)

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Potatoes in barrels, under full sun…

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A frost in late spring killed all our cucumber seedlings and most of our tomato seedlings. This is one of the few tomato plants that survived.

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We just realized that DH has forgotten to re-start his cucumber seedlings. I think we may have to get a few cucumber seedlings from the store this weekend before it is too late to plant them. -_-”

I bought 6 celery seedlings & 12 asparagus roots from our local grocery store in late spring. We planted them at 3 different sites too. The celery, which was supposed to like FULL sun, also grow the best in partial sun condition. Hmm… I wonder why.

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As for the asparagus, they are doing well too. All 12 roots have budded, hopefully we get to harvest them next spring! :)
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Bok Choi, Spinach, 2 celery plants and a green peppers plant are planted in the new raised bed that DH and kids built for me for my birthday. :)
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Somehow, they don’t grow too well. They look rather limpy, right? I am going to try digging out some compost soil to fertilize them once the pollen counts drop. (Sigh… this year I’m affected by the spring allergies too. I think I’m allergic to Oak/Pine pollen. Argh! :()

Bok Choi close up…
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Green bell peppers…
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Spinach…
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These are green beans and long beans. So far, they are doing quite well too. :)

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Besides these, I also got a few herbs from friends, like the Lemon balm mint, oregano, chives. I’ve also started the thymes, basil seedlings too. I’m growing these herbs in pots since the perennials herbs are invasive in nature. I love them, but I certainly do not like them to grow all over the place. πŸ˜‰

Lemon Balm mint
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Oregano
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Chives…
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Thymes
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Basils
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Ok… That’s all for today. Will update again soon, I hope. :)

Blossoms (2012)

The beautiful blossoms in my yard from early Spring till now…

Because of the unusual warm winter, Spring comes early this year. The Forsythia Europaea shrubs bloomed in early-mid March. So we got to enjoy fresh cut flowers earlier than previous years. :)
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Other early blooming flowers …
Muscari β€˜Blue Star’
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Periwinkle
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Bradford Pear
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Even the dandelions are looking very pretty too.
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Mid-Spring blossoms…

The very fragrant Lilacs! :)
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I love the lilacs, they made my house smells so nice. Do you know that lilacs are edible flowers? I didn’t know until I found this lilac jelly recipe on pinterest and I hope I’m brave enough to try it next year! πŸ˜‰

Rhododendrons – This year the Rhododendrons are blooming so much better than the previous years. Maybe the prune last fall help them to flower more. :)

Purple rhododendrons – doesn’t the flower bud look like a water lily flower bud?
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Fiery Red rhododendrons
– This one hidden under the Holly shrub, I may have to trim the holly shrub even more if I want to keep this shrub.
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White rhododendrons
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Late Spring/early Summer blossoms and I still have trouble in identifying them. Sigh.

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That’s all.

home & gardening updates (Spring 2012)

This year we had a really warm winter and because there isn’t much snow, we didn’t have to wait for the snow to melt before we could start the yard spring cleaning. For the past few weeks, DH & I (actually kids helped too!) did quite a bit of yard work and some home repairs too! To tell you the truth, I actually prefer working on the yard and getting the home fix, over shopping!! HAHA… :)

Anyway, here are what we did for the yard so far…
1. Raked the brown leaves off the lawn, grind them into smaller pieces and used them as natural mulch for our trees.

2. Cleared the broken tree limbs and branches that were left behind by the freaky halloween ice-storm.

While we understand that open fire burning poses many threats, like wild fire, health issues but the fact that we have a really small yard and there are just too much yard wastes this year that we have to resort to burning them.

We intend to use the ashes from burned wood for the plants & trees in our yard since ashes are known to make them grow larger and produce more flowers, greener shrubs, and fuller leaves.

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Roast marshmallow is our favorite treat after we are almost done with the wood burning!

A word of advice if you are thinking of burning your yard wastes too.
Make sure you check with your local fire department, and check their regulations on burning. A permit may be required for opening burning.

3. Cut back overgrown bushes and shrubs, remove dead branches.
Do you know that dead branches can cause further harm to the shrub, and removing them stimulates the growth of roots, foliage and new branches?

4. Trimmed the lawn and reseed the grass. It is very important also to β€œwake” the grass up by raking and removing the dead grass.

5. Prep our vegetable garden.
– In fact, this year DH built two more sets of raised beds for my birthday (thank you, dear!! Best gift ever!)

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6. Started sowing our vegetable seedlings.
So far, our spinach, bok choi, potatoes, thymes, basil, tomatoes, garden beans, long beans, onions are doing well. We have to restart our cucumber seedlings though… a sudden drop in the temperature a few weeks ago, killed all of them. :(
Anyway, I will try to post the photos of my vegetable gardens soon! :)

7. Clean out our garden shed. Boy, am I glad that we did it this year! It was a breeding ground for mice!!!!! -_-”

For the home, here’s what we did.

1. We finally got our door bell fixed!
2. Had our power transfer switch done for our newly bought portable power generator! WOOHOO!! We no longer have to worry about power outages anymore! No more suffering in the cold during power outages in the winter!! Yeah!
3. Replaced a new water boiler. (Ouch! It was expensive!!)
4. Re-caulked kitchen sink! Yes, I did it myself!! So proud! LOL

Summer is soon coming, and since we are not going back to Singapore vacation, I hope we have more time to do more repairs and updates around the house. These are the projects that I hope we can at least get them started…

1. Fixing the sprinkler systems. – Already contacted someone to look into it.

2. Fix the lights switches.
– It looks like a simple job, I’m still trying to convince DH to do it ourselves.
– If we have to engage someone to do it, I would like to take the opportunity to update the living room’s semi flush ceiling lights and also the bathroom lighting fixtures. The one we have look like they are from the circa 80s. I prefer simple contemporary styled lights that can go with my black sofa.

3. Fix the wobbly deck staircase.

4. Repave the drive way. – Saw some online DIY videos, I think this is definitely do-able for a novice like us!

5. Clean the bricks pavement and refill them with more sands. – Pavement cleaned, and almost ready for sand filling. :)

That’s all for today’s all update on home and garden.
I will go and take some pictures and share them later! πŸ˜‰

Spring beauties 2011

The beauties in the yard (and spring cleaning too!) are keeping me away from the computer. When the weather is so beautiful these days, it is really hard not to go out.

Anyway, here are some of the Spring beauties spotted in my yard these few weeks! :)

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Beautiful cherry blossom (i think) – from neighbour’s yard.
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gardening updates

We finally harvested ONE tiny carrot.
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DH thought that the carrot plant looked big enough for harvesting and decided to pull it out of the soil. Turned out that the root was too small and barely a carrot yet. It was almost the size of the boy’s pinky finger. LOL. Thank goodness we still have at least 3 carrot plants and let’s hope they will grow at least bigger than MY pinky and then we can eat them like baby carrots. LOL.

Our tomato plants are doing very well. We have since harvested many sweet cherry tomatoes. :)
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The few green beans that the girl planted a few months ago were finally ready for harvesting. The girl wanted to try her beans so i made a simple green bean omlette out of the beans she harvested herself. Indeed, homegrown beans really taste better! They were really tender!

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One of the beans turned old and yellow. So we took the seeds out and hopefully we get to plant them again next year. :)

Last picture – our mid-summer blooming flowers and sesame plants.

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Vegetable Garden Updates

Not sure if it because of the heat wave, both potato plants suddenly withered and so we decided to dig them out. To our pleasant surprise, we harvested quite a number of potatoes! Even though they ain’t big, we are really excited about our first harvest. πŸ˜€

Besides the potatoes, both kids also harvested our first two cherry tomatoes. :) We have two tomato plants in our small vegetable garden, but only one of them is bearing fruits. I wonder why the other one has not bear anything yet. Hmm…

Anyway, we brought the tomatoes back and ate them fresh. Boy were they sweet tasting! I can’t wait to have the next ripen tomato soon!! πŸ˜›

Our french beans are doing well too.

As this is my first time experimenting with vegetable gardening, I only planted 6 seeds, and they were so easy to grow. All 6 of the bean plants are currently bearing one or two beans each. Hopefully I can harvest all of them together by the next few days or weeks and if I have enough, I will make a simple french beans omlette for the children to try. Anyway, because it is so easy to grow the french beans, I think I will try again next year. πŸ˜‰

This is one of the few carrot plants that is still surviving.

I wonder when we can harvest them.

Our onions flowered! I think I am going to wait and see if I can save some seeds for planting next year. :)

I have been using the green onions from my garden for quite some time already. I really love the convenience of having fresh scallions right from my own garden to my kitchen. Not sure if I’m biased, but I find the taste of homegrown scallions seems to be stronger and sweeter. This is another vegetable that I will want to plant again next year. :)

Oh, I forgot to take the photo of my Korean Sesame plants.
Well, they are all growing very well too. When they are big enough, I will harvest the leaves and eat it with BBQ meat like the Koreans. I will share with you how it taste like when I get to eat them, ok. πŸ˜‰

Vegetables garden updates

In just 2 months, the potato plant has grown so tall!!
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So are the onions! Now we can have fresh scallions whenever we want! πŸ˜‰
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This one will be flowering soon!! :)

The 8 Korean perilla plants are growing well. This is just one of them.
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We tried to grow tomato from seeds, but they all died when I transplanted them to a bigger pot. So, we went to HomeDepot to get two ready to plant tomato plants. They are growing very well and this one is already bearing 6 fruits! The kids and I can’t wait to harvest our first tomato soon!!:)

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The girl brought back some beans from school and we planted them next to the tomato plants, they were growing really well until the squirrels came to dig some out. :( These 2 are the only ones that survived, but they are not looking good either.

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Last picture of the post…


The kids were watering some garlic plants. I recently dug some out and noticed that it has started growing some garlic bulbs! :)

bite by gardening bug

*A back dated post. Started writing this a few weeks ago, somehow I just didn’t finish it until today. :P*

The garden has been neglected for the past two years because DH was only keen to keep his lawn green and healthy and it was just impossible for me to get out of the house to work on it with a little one wanting to be carried all the time. So over time, the grass has over grown the edge of the border, making the edge very untidy and ugly. :(

Anyway, now that the boy is big enough to know how to self-entertain himself, I can finally roll up my sleeves to work on the garden. :) The first thing I did was to try to re-define the border. I used a spade to cut along the edge and remove the turf with garden fork. Whatever overgrown grass that I can’t remove with the garden fork, I pulled them out one by one with my hands. No doubt it is quite labor intensive, but this will give a cleaner and smoother line that provides a more finished look and a sense of clarity to the garden when it is done. Even though I have not finished with the edging yet, the garden is already looking much better than before and it makes me really happy and motivated. :)

After nagging at the man for weeks, he finally made me a garden bed! We have since planted some beans, tomato plants and carrots too.


I was given a few young sesame (aka Perilla) plants from a Korean friend. So, I transplanted them in another part of the garden where there is full sun.


We found a old garden bed near the big maple tree and we planted some old but budding onions, garlics and potatoes. They are growing well even under partially sun location! :)

I will update again soon!

more spring beauties

These just bloom these few days. Hope to identify them soon. :)

We almost killed these beautiful shrubs last year because DH didn’t water them AT ALL during the hot summer months!

I love these flowers, but they are invasive kind so I may have to remove them entirely this fall.

Wild black cherry tree that is growing on the curb side, just outside our front yard.

Dandelions (θ’²ε…¬θ‹±), a weed. Not welcome in our yard, but I love them anyway.