a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Jun, 2017

Andrea’s Tuesdays: a cold and rainy trip to Ritchie Feed and Seed

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|Ottawa

To review: every other Tuesday is my day off and I’m trying to use this time to recharge my batteries. No work, no meetings, minimal errands. Last time I biked downtown to see the tulips and meet Mark for sushi.

I can’t tell you how spectacularly exhausted I was earlier this week. Last weekend was Westfest weekend, and I was there Friday afternoon, for about 12 hours on Saturday, and most of Sunday. It was busy and fun. I can’t tell you how many people I met and chatted with, but it was all good. Sunday morning I co-emceed the main stage acts and amazingly, nothing terrible happened and I even had fun. It was all go go go until late Sunday afternoon when I collapsed in a heap and just stayed there. It’s tough to be “on” for such a long stretch of time.

I was in the office all day Monday (that’s the day the paper is laid out and sent to the press) and so I was PARTICULARLY looking forward to Tuesday, my free day. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible on Tuesday. June 6, and the forecast was rainy and cold. WTH? I also had no idea what I wanted to do. I was feeling spectacularly unmotivated (and I know this is going to sound counter-intuitive) but I got up and gave the shower a scrub (go figure) and then I went to the gym to continue my self-imposed 5K training torture sessions. I’m up to 10-minute intervals (3 x 10 minutes jogging with one minute walking “breaks” in between) and, frankly, I can’t believe I can jog for 10 minutes without stopping.

This is what the treadmill looked like just as I was finishing my run

It’s not easy, and I’m neither fast nor graceful, but I.AM.DOING.THIS.

I had a cool idea while I was on the treadmill. I generally listen to music, but there are TV monitors attached to each treadmill, so there’s an option to watch TV. I can’t really concentrate on watching a show, but I do tend to watch my reflection in the screen; usually fixating hypnotically on my necklace or a design on my T-shirt trying to ignore how slowly the seconds are ticking by. Well, wouldn’t it be nice to go for a virtual run through the landscape of your choice? Imagine running in the African savannah, along a beach, a woodland forest, or through New York City! (Oh poop. I just realized someone has invented this already. Check it out.)

After 38.5 minutes of serious huffing and puffing I extricated myself from the machine and went to get the spray/paper towel to wipe it down. I caught a glance of myself in a bank of mirrors that extend the entire wall of the gym. I normally avoid looking at myself; at this point in my time at the gym I am a sweaty mess and I prefer to deny that it’s happening, but my peripheral vision picked up a flash of colour (hey wait, that’s me!) and I realized that I’m not as jiggly as I once was. That’s a pretty good feeling.

Workout over, I went home to eat lunch.

It was still raining but there was no way I was going to let a bit of bad weather stand in my way on my day off so I picked myself up and drove to Ritchie Feed and Seed to check out their plant selection. Just because.

Sidebar: I am slightly addicted to hostas. We have had hostas in your front and back yard since we moved here and every year they amaze me. (1) They get bigger every year, (2) they survive, nay, THRIVE, regardless of the weather (3) they require zero effort on my part (4) when I divide and move them around they don’t die on me and it’s like having FREE PLANTS (5) I have yet to kill one.

I started noticing that hostas were very understated in their coolness. To the untrained eye they nothing but green and leafy, but if you take a minute you start to notice the differences between them. Some have massive leaves that veer into shades of verdant blue – like something you’d find in the jungle – others have tiny leaves like little pitchers, some are mossy coloured with a tall white flower, some are green with creamy stripes that look like they’ve been painted on, and others have Dijon yellow stripes that, when paired with a creeping purple flower will make your eyeballs hurt (I may have done that, oops).

So when I saw the countless varieties of hosta at Ritchie’s, you can guess that I was just a little excited:

Hostas galore at Ritchie's

Did I mention it was rainy? The plant-buying area at Ritchie’s is covered in a kind of mesh that’s great for flora but not so great for damp humans whose hands are frozen.

Ritchie's Feed and Seed

The sad reality is that I was struck with a serious case of paralysis and was unable to decide which hostas were coming home with me. Instead, I picked up some parsley, some hens & chicks, and a pansy. If you like these little flowers as much as I do, note that Ritchie Feed and Seed has a great selection of colours that I have never seen elsewhere. I tell ya, it was very very hard to narrow it down to just one:


I was actually looking for Johnny Jump-ups, but I’m happy with this one for now. I think a return visit is in order!

On the way home I dropped by St. Vincent de Paul on Merivale and bought two dresses ($10!) and some chipmunk burrow decor (what can I say, I’m crazy) which I promptly installed:

Garden/chipmunk decor

It must have been a woodland-themed shot glass (?) in a former life, but now it is an entryway flower pot for a wee succulent. Curb appeal is very important, no matter where you live. Don’t you think?

2 Responses to "Andrea’s Tuesdays: a cold and rainy trip to Ritchie Feed and Seed"

1 | TD

June 8th, 2017 at 4:28 pm


If you like hosta’s I highly recommend that you check out Budd’s in Blackburn Hamlet. He has a ton of amazing hosta’s.

2 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Andrea's Tuesday: a visit to the ARCTIC, via the Canadian Museum of Nature - a peek inside the fishbowl

June 21st, 2017 at 2:38 pm


[…] To review: every other Tuesday is my day off and I’m trying to use this time to recharge my batteries. No work, no meetings, minimal errands. Last time around I paid a visit to Ritchie’s Feed and Seed and did a bit of gardening. […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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