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Spring Peepers

Yes, the frogs. And the blooms as well. Finally! It’s here. Spring is bursting on the Wintergreen trails. Check out the earliest hepatica blooms, the beginnings of the Dutchman’s breeches, mullen, strawberries, and columbine, a scarlet elf cap, ramps (otherwise known as wild leeks — yummy) and… of course… wintergreen, our namesake. Scroll down to see them all.

spring peepers


Then there’s our wildly productive courtyard onion, first planted in the garden in 2009 (how can a cultivated green onion become a perennial?), and the very cultivated dancing yellow crocuses in the front garden. Happy to see both the domestic and the wild in bloom. And to hear those spring peepers singing once again.

spring peepers


spring peepers


spring peepers


spring peepers

Courtyard onion

spring peepers

Scarlet elf cap

spring peepers

Dutchman’s Breeches

spring peepers


spring peepers

Ramps! (a.k.a. wild leeks)


A Child Growing Up

child growing upA Child Growing Up is a one-man show by David Kemp. It explores the bittersweet joys of childhood and has been performed in fifty countries around the world. And now it is about to be performed at Wintergreen on Saturday, May 10. This is Mother’s Day weekend, as it turns out (there are no coincidences…), so its poignant themes are especially relevant. Come for the show and spend the night. We’ll be serving a scrumptious Mother’s Day breakfast on Sunday, May 11.

The dinner-theatre event begins with dinner at 6 pm. Showtime is 7:30 pm. The $40 ticket includes dinner, show, and HST. Feel free to come a bit early and stroll through our gardens (surely it will be spring by May 10!).

For more details, visit our upcoming dinners and events page. You can register for tickets online here.

upcoming eventsDavid Kemp was born in England and trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama, where two of his classmates were Julie Christie and Lynn Redgrave. When he was in his mid-30s, he emigrated to Canada where he served as a professor at Queen’s University, and continued to work as a professional actor. David Kemp has over 100 productions to his credit, including leading roles in The Beggar’s Opera, Sleuth, Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, Hay Fever, The Fantastics, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as well as in Shakespeare’s Richard the Second, Henry the Fourth, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet.

David toured England in Brian Way’s Theatre Company and has appeared in theatres across Canada. As a director, he has worked in London, Cairo, Colombo and Odense in Denmark. His books have been translated into Swedish, Sinhalla, and Arabic.

Mosquito Planter

While Mother Nature is still throwing curve balls (snow balls) at us on the first day of Spring, I have to believe that writing about summer activities might hasten a seasonal change. And so, in preparation of hot summer days and the relentless mosquitoes that come with them, here is a simple idea for a planter that will help keep the pesky bugs at bay.

mosquito_planterA mosquito planter is an elegant and simple solution. All of the plants used for the planter pictured here are readily available and easy to maintain (see Rob Sproule’s site for the original). Typically, mosquito planters are made up of 5-6 different plants, but there are several ways to substitute one plant for another. This summer, our mosquito planters will contain citronella geranium, marigold lemon gem, lemon grass, cat nip, ageratum artist purple and lemon thyme. Garlic, chives, basil, rosemary, and oregano are all other common plants used for these planters. Though many combinations can be made up, cat nip, citronella, and lemon grass are three must have plants for any mosquito planter. If you’re wondering where to get the plants, we’ve always been able to find what we need at Henry Field’s.

Mosquito planters are useful to have around areas you and your family use often, such as the doors to your porch, balcony or backyard. Placing them there may also have the added benefit of being close to you while you cook, as the planters are often filled with herbs that are useful while cooking. Check out this website for some more interesting do it yourself natural mosquito repellents.

Samso Island in Denmark

samso islandThe person who produced this 5 minute documentary is named Hans Christian Andersen. But it’s not a fairy tale.

In the late 1990s, the 4,100 inhabitants of Samsø Island, Denmark, made the decision to become completely carbon neutral. To fuel their homes and livelihoods with renewable energy. And the result is inspirational. Building community power at its finest. Makes us think about more things we might do at Wintergreen, and in our surrounding community.

Take 5 minutes to watch this. Then tell the story.

There are many articles about this project. Here’s a link to one of them. And remember, it’s not a fairy tale!

Plant These for the Bees!

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 1.37.48 PMWe recently saw this lovely painting of herbs, annuals, and perennials that are good for the bee population. Most of these we already plant at Wintergreen, but this year, we’re going to plant them all. Come to Wintergreen and see the bees in action!

So while you’re dreaming about spring, grab one of those seed catalogues that seems to come in the mail at this time of year (whether we order from them or not!) and make sure that heliotrope, cleome, and zinnias are on your list.


Red Boot

red boot red bootRed boots, red coats, red sweaters, red scarves, red books, red guitars, red socks (not the baseball team)… it was a red letter day for sure! Thanks to everyone who contributed to make the Red Boot Benefit and Festival such an extraordinary success. Save those boots for next year … sometime in February, we’ll kick up those red heels again.

Winter White

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 8.26.15 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 8.26.32 PMSpectacular snow day (If you didn’t have to drive).

And we didn’t have to drive. Today was the first full day of Lorna’s winter writing retreat, and those of us staying at Wintergreen were completely snowed in. A foot of snow on the lane way, with some drifts waist high.

All of us happy. Warm. We enjoyed a splendid ratatouille and polenta lunch (with tomatoes harvested from the garden late in the fall). Walks in the woods. Poems. More poems.
Gifts galore.

Six Sleeps!

Red Boot PosterThe Red Boot Benefit is just around the corner. Wintergreen is buzzing with activity, as Lorna Crozier’s workshop begins in earnest tomorrow morning. On Saturday, we’ll hear her, along with Swamp Ward Orchestra, in Kingston’s spectacular Memorial Hall (with the red rug). The afternoon will be filled with delights—we’re completely overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm around this first-time event.

Some people have asked… can we buy tickets at the door? YES! Absolutely!

Do we have to wear red boots? NO! (but it would be fun if you did—there have been some delightful postings on Facebook of boots we can expect to see).

Is it possible to follow the event on Facebook and Twitter? YES! #redbootbenefit



Simple Abundance Workshops

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 6.05.32 PMMost people reading this post will know that Wintergreen is an off-grid educational retreat centre. Powered by the sun. Fed by the nearby gardens. Energized by the people who come through our doors. Our programs in the fine arts, outdoor arts, and domestic arts focus on mindful living and simple abundance. We love re-claimed materials—like the recycled glass and architectural artifacts in our buildings, and the twice loved furniture that graces the lodge.

But some of our programming happens off-site, too. Today, there were several workshops held at Queen’s on Sustainable Food and living mindfully. They’re all downloadable from the education tab. Learn more about our workshops at the Red Boot Benefit! #redbootbenefit

Perfect pairings

perfect pairingsThere’s nothing like the perfect food and wine pairing – except, perhaps, for the perfect celebrity and lunch pairing. Silent auction “pairings” for a private lunch include Peter Milliken at (with?) Casa Italian, Helen Humphreys at Le Chien Noir, Steven Heighton at Dianne’s Fish Bar, and Larry Scanlan at the River Mill. Each a perfect pair. For more information about the Red Boot Benefit and the silent auction, click here for details. Tickets available at Tara, Novel Idea, Trailhead, Sustainable Kingston, and online.

bringing balance back