A Fun Day at the New England Aquarium

I was pleasantly surprised by the large collection of penguins at the New England Aquarium.  I spent quite a bit of time watching the African, rockhoppers, and little blue penguins in the various pools along with a number of people in the pools cleaning the displays.  I would guess this is a constant battle.  The giant ocean tank also had a nice display of sharks, sea turtles, barracudas, and moray eels along with divers who were again cleaning the display.  I would highly recommending a day at this aquarium!

Protecting Shrub Roses for a Minnesota Winter

Although our Flower Carpet Ground Cover Roses from Monrovia should overwinter well, I protect them in the fall.  After cutting back the roses to 6 to 8 inches, I cover the roses with a mound of oak leaves held in place with some sections of chicken wire and a few pavers or small logs.  Oak leaves are the best because they do not rot and they are easily raked away in the spring.

Keeping Cannas in Minnesota

Be prepared for a lot of work if you want to have a bed of cannas in Minnesota!  I keep going each year because these tropical plants produce tall stalks of foliage with magnificent cardinal red flowers which are a favorite of hummingbirds.  Between June 1 and June 15, I plant the bulbs in the soil with a few inches of dirt or mulch covering the bulbs.  Light soit with peat, for example, is best because black dirt alone can make the bulbs simply too heavy to remove in the fall.  After the first frost, I cut the stalks back to about 3 inches above the soil.  I dig out the bulbs in a whole clump with most of the soil removed and place them in plastic bins containing vermiculite or wood chips in my basement.  The large clumps of bulbs grow the tallest and first the next year.  I found separating the bulbs leave me with bulbs that produce short plants with smaller flowers during the short Minnesota growing season!

Canna Aug 11 2015 Cannas 2 Aug 11 2015 Canna Bulbs 1 Cannas in Bins 2 Cannas in Bins Stacked 3

Curds or No Curds?

No, I didn’t eat cheese curds, but I did eat two Pronto Pups at the Minnesota State Fair this year.  We met up with friends and looked at campers and RVs before we headed to Creative Activities to check on my mom’s winnings.  Mom won a blue ribbon for her ice box cookies and two other ribbons for pies.  We were amazed at the gladiolus display at the Agriculture/Horticulture buildiing.  How can there be an almost black flower and one that is brown?

Blue Ribbon Ice Box Cookies Mom's Apple Pie Red Ribbon Mom's Peach Pie Fourth Place Pink Ribbon IMG_1098 (2) Lu Ann Sidney at the MN State Fair Aug 30 2015

Arrive Early, Start at the Exit in Angkor Wat

In many ways the magnificence and grandeur of Angkor Wat could well surpass the architectural and sculptural genius of many of the great cathedrals of Europe.  The immense size of Angkor Wat with its huge number of intricately carved bas-reliefs and massive lotus-flower towers is truly awe-inspiring.  We arrived very early in the morning and started our tour at the exit.  This allowed us to easily view the many fantastic bas-reliefs before the crush of tourists arrived from the main entrance.  This same strategy worked well when visiting the other temples surrounding Angkor Wat.  Our private tour guide and driver had it right!

Lu Ann Sidney at Angkor Wat Bas-Relief at Angkor Wat 3 Bas-Relief at Angkor Wat 2 (2) Bas-Relief at Angkor Wat 2 (1) Angkor Wat

When Wrens Attack!

Look out, if you would ever think of getting close to the wren house in our front yard.  Even though they are diminutive birds, they will scold you and chatter endlessly if you get into their space.  The wrens seem to change their call when a perceived danger approaches the babies in the house in order to alert them to be quiet.  Even a squirrel is no match for the dive-bombing wrens!

Inside the Wren House Baby Wren July 5 2015 (2)