A Beginner’s Guide to the Winnipeg Art Scene

At a first glance, Winnipeg seems like an unlikely place to have an interesting art scene. Agribusiness, transportation, and manufacturing are the mainstays of our notoriously slow and steady economy. These are key industries that provide essentials all over the world, but they don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with dreamers or visionaries. In this way, it’s unexpected to think of art as having a stronghold in the city. That is until you look a little closer.

The next time you walk through the downtown area, if you really look around, you’ll start to see it. Beautifully crafted murals are on the sides of buildings, in alleyways and even on electrical boxes. Intriguing fountains are found in unlikely places including the much instagrammed emptyful hiding behind the Millennium Library (one of my favorite downtown green spaces). Exploring downtown through the lens of art is an entirely new experience. While the guided tours offered by the Winnipeg Art Council have ceased for the season, they do offer a Public Art Guide including maps, pictures, and blurbs about each piece. As you do the tour, keep in mind that when and where you view these artworks may change how you see them, such as with the High Five piece located on Waterfront Drive. If interactive art is more your speed, then you may be interested in making some beautiful music (and maybe a new friend!) at You You + You at 580 Main Street. The wonderful thing about these artworks is that there truly is something for everyone. Conveniently, along your travels you’ll encounter some art studios, including the cre8eryUrban Shaman, and the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art . You can take some art home with you by purchasing original prints from the Martha Street Studio or perusing the variety of works available at Warehouse Artworks.  Be sure to check each studio’s hours before you go, but generally all are open between 12 – 5 on Saturdays.

As the weather turns colder and wandering outdoors becomes less palatable, there are some larger than life places to go. The Legislature building itself is truly a work of art, both inside and out. If you haven’t made the effort to go and explore inside, you’re missing out. Earlier this year, Mike and I went on the Hermetic Code tour and we were left in awe of how many layers of myth and history the architect, Frank Worthington Simon, managed to incorporate into his vision for the building. If you enjoy mythology, secret codes, or conspiracy theories about the Freemasons, then this is worth your time.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (aka the WAG) is art headquarters for the city. Designed to look like the prow of a rising boat on an ocean, the building itself is beautiful. The collection inside can be overwhelming at times due to its size. A good place to start though is with their current exhibitions. Currently running is the Insurgence/Resurgence featuring a large selection of Indigenous Artworks in a variety of media which by all accounts is spectacular.

This weekend, the WAG will also be party central for the annual art celebration Nuit Blanche which is one of my favorite nights of the year. Nuit Blanche is free which means it is accessible for all. Sometimes art (especially contemporary art) can feel inaccessible for the average person. Nuit Blanche is a chance to get rid of that idea. These artists create their works with a purpose whether its to change perceptions, provide commentary, or even a call to arms. Whatever the goal, these artworks typically need to be seen to have their designed impact. The yearly event is also an opportunity for these creatives to share their work with a broader audience. This also tends to be one of the last weekends to enjoy strolling around outside at night without a parka on so there is really no excuse not to go. Part of the event will be at the WAG, however you’ll find different things going on all over downtown, the Exchange and St. Boniface. You can find a full listing of events and works that will be on display here. If walking isn’t your thing, you may be interested in the Bike Jam.  Even viewed as a pedestrian, the Bike Jam is an amazing thing to experience (as long as you’re not trying to cross the street.)

So there you have it: an introduction to the Winnipeg art scene and how this weekend is the perfect time for you to become personally acquainted with it.

 

 

 

 

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Signs of Autumn

Last week I switched the heat on in the car. Did anyone else notice that sudden chill in the air? It happened so fast. It was 33°C one day and then the air got a little crisp. I also saw a gaggle of geese flying in a v formation. It was one of those moments when time slows down. All I could hear as their honking grew fainter was my own voice saying “Noooo, it’s too soon!” Luckily it seems that it was only a brief preview and August warmth has returned.

And yet, there are other approaching signs of the inevitability of autumn. Everyone is heading back to school. Or it seems like it anyway.  I kind of miss going back to school, especially university. I always felt pumped about at least one course that I would be taking. That may be nostalgia talking though,  because when I did go back to school, it was horrible. The stress.. the late night cramming… the poverty. Hmm. Anyway at this point, all back to school means for me is no sleeping in on work days. Regular rush hour traffic is back. See you next June, snooze button.

It’s around this time of year that my kitchen starts to interest me again. I hate cooking in the summer. Between May and August, food needs to be served either cold or grilled to sound appealing. The majority of our summer dinners are salads or charcuterie boards. As soon as squashes start to make their appearance though, stews and casseroles suddenly sound so good again. I’ve already started to bookmark recipes from my favorite recipe blogs so that I can get back into meal planning. If you’re like me and love to browse recipes, you might be interested in another local blog called Peppers and Pennies. How delicious does this cheddar ale soup look?

Or if you’re still not in cooking mode yet, consider tickets to a fall supper in the country. It’s a good opportunity to get on the highway and see some of the beautiful fall foliage while also getting back into some comfort food. Not interested in driving out to the country? You can also find a list of fall suppers within the perimeter here.

Either way, food is definitely the best way to ease yourself into a new season. What is your favorite part of autumn to look forward to?

Winnipeg Celebrities

Lately I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of film trailers around town. They’ve been at the Leg (pronounced ‘ledge’), on Wellington Crescent, the Exchange District, even mysteriously set up around Sobey’s. They aren’t all low-budget Lifetime movie affairs either. These are the real deal with well-known actors like Keanu Reeves and Kristin Stewart. It’s pretty amazing to think that our little area has become so popular with Hollywood. But then you find out that the types of movies which are being filmed are titled Siberia or the setting is small-town Minnesota. It’s quite humbling actually.

As you may or may not be aware, Winnipeg is not what you would call a glamorous city. With those working class roots and a general distaste for big dreams, it kind of makes sense that Winnipeg hasn’t produced many celebrities. And we hold on so tightly to the famous folks that we do have some affiliation with. It’s been almost 50 years since he moved away, but Neil Young attended Kelvin High School! Anna Paquin? Sure, she may have been age 4 when she left, but she was born in Winnipeg. Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman return on occasion which gives everyone a thrill. Nia Vardalos had that Greek movie in the early aughts. Truthfully, there isn’t anything wrong with being proud of these people, or wanting to believe that growing up here, in this place, contributed to their success in some way. I’m sure every home town feels the same pride.

This past summer, I had a few celebrity sightings of my own. Not of the Hollywood-caliber, but our very own hometown, local familiar faces. Within the span of a few days, I saw resident entomologist, Taz Stuart (Bomber game). Only in Winnipeg would a bug guy be so instantly recognizable. It says a lot about our obsession with mosquitos. My next big sighting was Rod “I never sleep!” Peeler (restaurant). Seriously, what a master of the art of realtor marketing. Lastly, the all too familiar face of Sam Katz (restaurant). If you’re wondering, yes I can confirm that he does have a Goldeyes license plate. There was also some exciting developments on the reclusive pseudo-celebrity front when this article ran in the Freep about Cheryl Lashek. She takes care of the elevators in my workplace and probably in yours.

While they aren’t exactly celebrities in the People sense of the word, they are certainly much more representative of our little city. Nothing could be more fitting for a working class city to celebrate their local, working class citizens.

 

The 5 Things Left On My Summer Bucket List

If you spent any time on the internet the past summer, you may have come across the story of an Urban Outfitter’s employee who found a Pittsburgh teenager’s summer bucket list. I have distinct memories of writing similar lists when I was in high school with goals like “wear a dress on a random day!” or “swim across the lake and back.” I’m sure if anyone had found one of my lists, I would have been mortified. Regardless of how this mystery teen feels about it, when her list went viral, a lot of people were inspired. Summer bucket lists seem to have universal appeal, although not everyone literally writes theirs down. How many times have you heard someone say “This summer I’m going to…”

At the cusp of summer, around May, summer has finally arrived and it stretches out into the future. Countless sunny days and warm nights provide us with endless possibilities. This is the year that you won’t let it pass you by.  In short, summer is oddly motivating.  Not aggressively so, in the self-improvement way of January that pushes you to become an overachieving, physically fit, clean-eating, productivity machine. Summer is a gentle taskmaster where goals like ice cream dates or sitting outside under the stars are perfectly ambitious.  July and August are ultimately about the pursuit of happiness and creating lasting memories.

These goals are so attainable at the start of summer. How hard is it to get yourself to the Zoo for an afternoon to nail a selfie with Blizzard and Storm. Too hard, it turns out. I’m not sure how your summer has been, but ours has zoomed by. I’m pretty sure it went super sonic.  I haven’t been able to keep up. It’s August (and has been for a couple of weeks), but I keep jotting July as the date. While it seems like I haven’t done anything as planned, I did manage to check off a few items on my bucket list:

  • cheered on the Bombers at a game (they lost)
  • Enjoyed the Perseid meteor shower (which set off some anxiety about aliens)
  • walked around the Exchange District for a free art display (shoutout to Craig Winslow, thanks for loving us more than we love ourselves)
  • attended a beautiful wedding for a lovely couple (congrats Priya and Rob!)
  • Made s’mores (the Italian way, with Nutella)
  • did some serious car karaoke (with the accompaniment of Spotify’s Happy Hits playlist)

And yet there are a few Winnipeg-specific items which remain undone. Luckily there is still technically 36 days of summer left.

  • have a drink on the Bar I patio (while silently passing judgment on everyone and everything that passes by)
  • actually show up to a yoga class in Millennium Park (it’s free and literally around the corner. Why haven’t I gone?)
  • eat the pumpkin soft serve ice cream from Sargent Sundae (the summer-pumpkin overlap is a small, but delicious window of time)
  • buy the ridiculously delicious potato doughnuts from the Hutterites at the Downtown Winnipeg Farmers’ Market
  • get a little tipsy while drinking the traditional alcohol at a Folklorama pavilion (hey, it’s cultural)

How about you? What successes did you have? Is anything left on your 2017 summer bucket list?

 

 

 

Our A/C Addiction

One summer, a long time ago, I couldn’t sleep. I was maybe ten years old. That one summer gave me some insight into how terrifying insomnia is. It is singularly frustrating because drifting off should happen naturally, and the more you try to force it, the more unattainable sleep becomes.  I would go to bed (when you’re ten, your parents don’t give you much choice in the matter) and lie awake for h o u r s. I would get hot. Or my back would be itchy. I would listen to the drone of a small mosquito that would instantly stop when I turned the light on.  I don’t think my parents got much sleep that summer either because at about 3:00 a.m every night, I would helpfully let them know that I couldn’t sleep. They tried to help me, installing a big fan at the end of my bed, sitting with me so I wasn’t awake and alone, and encouraging me to mentally focus on images that might bring me some peace of mind. I don’t recall whether any of it really helped, but as the summer wound down, sleep returned. And since then I haven’t had any issues with it, which I’m extremely grateful for.

That was the last summer before we got central air conditioning installed. As anyone knows, trying to sleep in extreme heat presents all kinds of challenges. When flipping your pillow to the ‘cool’ side doesn’t work and the single, thin sheet becomes oppressively hot, it can be enough to make you rip out your own (sweaty) hair in frustration.  A coworker’s unit gave out on her in the middle of the heat wave in late July and it was a Code Red situation. She worried about how to sleep, to cook, and if her dog would make it through the day. Air conditioning has become so central (heh) that we can’t live without it. Sometimes though, I think we overdo it. When I went to see Spider-man: Homecoming in July, I brought along a sweater and socks because the theatre is always frigid. Same thing with the office, no matter how cute my summer clothes are, I always end up wearing the same over-sized sweater at my desk. And I never shop as quickly as I do when I’m standing in shorts in the freezer section of Superstore. And yet, when the metal part of the seatbelt is hot enough to use as a brand, it’s hard not to let the Max A/C do it’s work. In our house, we set the thermostat to about 24 º Celsius. That way it’s cool enough to still be comfortable, but not so cold that in the middle of August I have to wear a hoodie and wool socks.

I know we’re all more comfortable being cold, or at least temperate, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing if we remind ourselves how to live with the heat. Provided that heatstroke isn’t imminent, being hot can be a good thing. Acclimatizing is preferable to trying to air condition the weather away. The environment would appreciate it, and so would our wallets. Why not use the weather as an excuse to slow down? Summer goes fast as it is, we should stop and take it all in. For one day, turn off the A/C. Enjoy an icy cold treat while spending the day lazing in the heat. Soon enough we’ll be missing the dog days of summer and the heat that we wait for all year. Let’s try not to let it get away.

 

 

Inclusiveness Through Infrastructure

Acknowledgement. Recognition. Affirmation. Different words to essentially describe being seen. It can be easy to forget the importance of being seen if you don’t get overlooked often. But all it takes is one driver not to give a thank you wave after you’ve let them in for it the importance of acknowledgement to sink in. In 3 seconds you transition from feeling beneficial and selfless to annoyed and resentful. As we are all aware, construction season is in full swing (are there any roads not currently under construction?)

After generously leaving 10 metres of room for the doofus in the construction lane, it takes what feels like eternity (probably 5 seconds) until he gets the hint. Finally he pulls into the lane, in the spot you graciously provided for him, and after a few expectant seconds, you realize, no, this person isn’t even going to recognize the favour that I just did. If it weren’t for you, this guy would still be sitting in the other lane because the black pickup tailgating you sure as hell wasn’t going to let him in. So you stew in your own annoyance for a while until eventually you forget about it. But still, a wave would have been nice.

I was thinking about that while I was out for a walk. My neighbourhood is an older one so we have sidewalks. That was one of my ‘must haves’ when we were looking for our house. As I walked along, I realized that I have never been able to articulate why this matters. All I know is that in sidewalk-less neighbourhoods, I feel acutely aware of traffic and it feels like at any point I could be in someone’s way by walking along the road. When cars do come along, I tend to step onto the nearest lawn and wait until I have the road to myself again. It takes away most of my enjoyment of walking. With my neighbourhood, I can listen to music without constantly checking behind me. I also get a chance to be a little closer to all the neighbours’ yards where I can surreptitiously look at their landscaping (yes, I’m that person). Overall it makes it a safer, and more enjoyable activity.

This is why I’ve never understood why new developments often exclude sidewalks. I know it adds additional costs, but I like that it serves the people themselves, rather than just their vehicles. It’s so important that we build a city that supports all of its inhabitants, not only drivers. For a long time Winnipeg has allowed itself to develop in a way that actively excludes a lot of people. A city-wide bike system is long overdue. The cycling paths that have been developed has created a substantial increase in cyclists.  The city should also look at freezing any additional developments because they’re a drain on resources and the additional taxes aren’t enough to cover all the massive new infrastructure that they require. We need to recognize that our infrastructure deficit doesn’t allow us to keep expanding indefinitely. Sidewalks should be included in all neighbourhoods, if only for safety reasons. They should also be kept in decent shape without massive chips in the concrete and rebar sticking out. In the winter, the snow should be cleared from the sidewalks immediately following the roads being cleared. It’s unacceptable for pedestrians to choose between wading through a foot of snow, or taking their chances walking along the much narrower roads while dodging oncoming traffic.

It’s hard to get past the “but we’re a driving city” mentality because it’s true. For a long time now we have based everything around cars and driving, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue in that direction. A city built for only one demographic is doing a disservice to the rest of its citizens. There are a ton of reasons why driving may not be an option for someone. Whether it’s financial, medical or even environmental, there are a ton of reasons why someone may not want or be able to drive. It’s time to include everyone in our infrastructure, not just the drivers.

Supporting Local Business

Two Christmases ago, my mom gave me a book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. At the time I didn’t realize it was a pop culture phenomenon. I thought it was a gag gift or maybe a last ditch effort on my mom’s part to help me finally overcome my messy tendencies.  Being tidy has been a personal struggle of mine for a long time. Not for lack of trying. I’ve tried every strategy that is recommended for people like me. The 1 minute rule. The 15 minute rule. Making lists. Weekly routines. Not even Loonette on the Big Comfy Couch could solve my messy problem. A few months after Christmas, I decided to give kondo-ing a try, partly because I was to move out shortly thereafter. I was hesitant because the first step is to gather all your belongings and dump them into a pile. I was envisioning myself becoming fatigued by the gathering and not actually moving onto the next step: sorting. Memories of previous moves that had ended in me sobbing late at night, overwhelmed by a small sea of unpacked belongings pushed me to start the process. In the end I did get rid of a lot of items that I had no use for anymore. And once they were out of the house, I didn’t miss them.

Since then I’ve still struggled to stay tidy, but cleaning up doesn’t take nearly as long because there is so much less to put away. As a direct result of this, my shopping habits have changed substantially. I’ve always loved shopping and spending money, but lately I am much more interested in quality v.s. quantity. Instead of impulse shopping, I think about what I really want and what I really need in my life. I haven’t been taken in by things just because they’re a good deal. In fact, I’m finding that I would prefer to not spend my money until I find something that is worth spending the money on. And beyond that I’ve also been thinking about the impact that my money has when I spend it which is why I continue to become more invested in supporting independent shops.

I’ve always been in favour of spending money at local businesses and it seems like I’m not alone because there has been a renaissance of locally-made high quality goods.  I don’t remember Winnipeg ever being so full of entrepreneurs. Local brew pubs and coffee shops are scattered throughout the city. Gourmet doughnut shops and local clothing designers with their own boutiques are highlights in the downtown area. An even broader variety of artisans are on Instagram and although they don’t have their own brick and mortar stores, they can be found at wildly popular pop up markets. Even the food truck variety is staggering when compared with what was available a few years ago. Often the products being sold isn’t the cheapest option. However, for a few more dollars, there are tangible rewards like meeting the creator of your goods, detailed information about how and your product is made and pride in the service provided. At the same time, when our money is kept in our own community, we boost our local economy. Even if you buy less and spend more, consider the overall benefits of supporting local. It’s worth it.

 

 

Scenic Routes in Winnipeg

Winnipeg, like all other cities, is made up of smaller parts. Originally incorporated in 1873, Winnipeg was bounded in the north by Burrows Avenue west of Main Street, and Aberdeen Avenue east of Main Street; on the south by Assiniboine River; on the east by Red River; and on the west by Maryland Street, Notre Dame Avenue and McPhillips Street. If you look at this drawing of the original boundaries, you realize how small Winnipeg started off compared to how many neighbourhoods are included in the current perimeter.1873 City of Winnipeg

It wasn’t until 1972 that Charleswood, Fort Garry, North Kildonan, Old Kildonan, Tuxedo, East Kildonan, West Kildonan, St. Vital, Transcona, St. Boniface, and St. James-Assiniboia  amalgamated with the City of Winnipeg and the  Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg to form Winnipeg as we know it today. Which helps to exaplin the baffling lack of consistency in urban planning and the lack of continuity in street names.

All this to say that this was the journey our city took to develop into the unique neighbourhoods we have today. It’s pretty cool to live in one place that offers such a variety of vibes depending on which part of the city you’re in. Some of our most well-loved neighbourhoods are the areas where the population density is the greatest. These are the parts of the city that feel alive and vibrant with people where you can people-watch or have impromptu reunions with old classmates or co-workers. For a long time I always felt wished that Winnipeg’s densely populated areas were more closely linked. Since Winnipeg is pretty sprawling compared to its overall population density, it feels like there are areas of the city where people will congregate, but because they feel unattached, it’s easy to think of them as being separate clumps. My parents live on the other side of the city from myself, so sometimes when I’m driving back and forth, I like to mix up my routes. Especially when it’s summer and driving around with the windows down. Unfortunately, if I take some of my normal routes, all I see are cars and more cars. Until I took a different route. Since then, I make it a habit to drive down routes that shows off the more active, pedestrian-friendly version of Winnipeg even if they aren’t as direct.

One of my favourite summer routes is between Waterfront Drive and Corydon Avenue. The best part is that this route can be enjoyed in any way, whether it’s driving, biking, or walking. Along Waterfront there are beautiful condominiums with a river view as well as Stephen Juba park and the Goldeyes Stadium. Across Provencher, Waterfront turns into Israel Asper Way, which winds towards the heart of the Forks. No matter what the season, there is always something going on. From the Forks, I like to make my way to Assiniboine Avenue, passing the Upper Fort Garry Heritage Park. Assiniboine Avenue is such a lovely little street with some really interesting buildings going up. It feels exactly how a downtown neighbourhood should feel; it’s tucked away from all the busy streets, but still homey with lots of greenery. My route winds down with a quick tour through Osborne Village and finishes up in the Corydon area for a coffee or a cocktail on one of the patios. It’s a perfect way to spend a warm Winnipeg evening.

Here is a map of the route:

I couldn’t include all the neighbourhoods I love to tour through, so if anyone is interested in more scenic routes, I can make similar posts in the future.

Do you have any favorite routes?

The Importance of Neighbours

Last year I found out that once you move into a house, a question a lot of people will ask is “How are your neighbours?” Which makes sense because there is the close proximity within which you will both be living your lives. Neighbours are important. If you’re away for a few days, there is comfort with knowing that the good people next door will be keeping an eye out. Even if you have family or a friend checking on your house, it’s the neighbours who will recognize behaviour or events that might be out of the ordinary.

These are the folks who will warn you about events happening on your street, like car break-ins, vandalism, or suspicious ‘furnace inspectors’ knocking on doors. It’s only your neighbours who are equally concerned about local services, like schools, libraries, or community centres. Only the residents on your street or in your area face the same daily gripes that you do.

Like most communities, it is the unfortunate case that it’s usually difficult circumstances that unite us. All it takes is a drive down Henderson Highway these days to see how the impending loss of the urgent care facility at Concordia is uniting the 27km stretch of road. Back to our neighbourhood, River Heights is regularly united by car break-ins, and a deeply held belief in NIMBY-ism. Google ‘River Heights Residents Angry’ and you can see a lengthy and varied search return. The majority of residents obviously value the status quo. If you zoom out a bit, there is a clear difference in the level of community between neighbourhoods with different demographics.  As anyone that has lived in the North End will tell you, the sense of community is palpable. Everyone places a much higher value on community and make a huge effort to be friendly with each other. In contrast, talk to anyone who lives in Tuxedo. Many of them don’t even know what their neighbours look like, let alone their names. It might be the money that makes the difference. After all, how many of us end up chatting with the neighbour over the fence while mowing the lawn or gardening. If that work is done by a contractor, that opportunity is gone. Home and neighbourhood design have changed as well over the years. With big attached garages, you can avoid contact with people altogether by driving in and out. When my parents moved to the city, I could match each SUV to the corresponding house, but I don’t think I could have placed a single driver in a police lineup.

Currently, we have great neighbours. They’re friendly, and although slightly eccentric, none of them appear to sell drugs, belong to gangs, or live a pesticide-free lifestyle (hippies: everyone’s least favorite suburban neighbour). We are familiar enough to know the names of their pets and their general lifestyle. Even better, is that we have neighbour-friends that we alternate hosting dinners with and they’re a really wonderful couple. It didn’t happen by accident though. They put in conscious effort to welcome us to the area when we moved in. They extended an invitation to get together and gave us their phone number. If it weren’t for those gestures, we would likely have lived for years next to a great couple without getting to know them. Transcona has a great festival called the Hi Neighbourfestival which I first thought was kind of a cheesy idea. And maybe it is a little bit, but I think it really underscores the value of getting to know the people around you. Social media fascinates us because it shows the exotic, the exciting, the everything else. Meanwhile we’ve stopped valuing our own reality because it seems less interesting in comparison. Until that difficult circumstance comes along, we don’t need the people who live nearby. Instead of waiting for that day to come, we should make the effort now. Being a neighbour is more than just living next to each other, it’s also finding value in the sense of community that that closeness provides. And in order to do that, we have to cultivate those relationships, like our neighbour friends did, by making the effort.

Thinking about this made me revisit Mr. Rogers and his timeless invitation:

“Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbour?”

 

Prairie Gardener Part I: The Garden Centre and Starting From Seed

Hello again, it’s been a while hasn’t it? I’m sorry. I struggle with self-discipline as you can tell by the erratic nature of this blog. Between the short attention span, lack of discipline and notoriously bad time management skills, I often struggle to follow through on projects.

Oh well, none of us are perfect right? Or I hope not anyway. I am happy to report that although the blogging is behind schedule, I volunteered for several different charitable opportunities. And because nothing happens until it is documented on the internet, I will blog about them in future. And also because they are excellent causes of course.

In my time away, I have been tackling a very different type of project – gardening. I dabbled a little bit with it last year, but since it was our first summer in the house, I was pretty unprepared. This year I ordered seeds online and grew them in Jiffy peat pellets. Mainly the seeds are for perennial flowers that are beneficial to butterflies and bees, but I also planted the seeds from a pepper I bought at the store and those are growing quite nicely. I have been doing a lot of reading and research for this. I did not realize how complicated it gets. The flower species are called half a dozen different names and there often seems to be multiple variations of the same flower. When, where, and how you plant seeds is dependent upon each plant’s preference as well. It’s pretty overwhelming. At this point, my seedlings have been hanging out in my house for over a month with me bringing them inside and outside to both the front and backyard depending on the time of day.

In the latest installment of homeownership adventures, I hadn’t realized there is a period of time in the fall where plants are supposed to be trimmed back and cleaned up so when the snow melted, it became clear there was a large clean up job. This ended up turning out for the best because as I was clearing away the debris from last winter, I uncovered so many lady bugs! It’s amazing how nature hunkers down for the winter. Before this year, I used to kind of scoff at the idea that gardening counted towards your daily exercise targets. Watering and moving some soil around looks pretty underwhelming. Instead it’s basically p90x outdoor addition. I lost count of the number of squats and lunges I did while using a rake or spade. Not to mention how heavy af the paper yard waste bags get. It’s possible (ok, it’s likely) that I’m wildly out of shape, but at this rate I might be able to fit last year’s shorts after all.

Since we made it through May long, I have started to transplant them which also has to be done correctly and appropriately for each seedling. Of course, there is no guarantee that any of these seedlings will survive, so we purchased some plants from Shelmerdine’s as well. I have never been to such a large garden centre in my life and Mike patiently waited while I ran up and down the rows of plants trying to ferret out individual types of plants that I was looking for. Two hours later, list abandoned somewhere between the delphiniums and bee balms, we walked out with 11 plants that I had never heard of.  They are currently sitting in their pots, patiently waiting for their forever home. And on that note it is time to channel my inner Poison Ivy.

Image result for poison ivy batman cartoon