My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!


Leave a comment

Despite the short summer, it’s been a delight in the garden, busy and happy times. Spending a lot of time looking at the skies!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August will only be with us for a few more days and I will miss this end of the summer.  Our summer was only two months long and it really was wonderful.  Once the summer heat began and the race was on to grow things in the garden.

I must admit that I hadn’t prepared my veggies for growing, depending on purchased plants.  The proverbial “next year” sounds good to me right now!  Well, next year, I will start in the spring to prepare the seedlings for planting.   And … next year .. I will prepare little plastic houses for the tender plants.

This year, though, I am quite happy with the results of my garden.  I definitely have one pumpkin and see a few others growing .. I still  have another month for them.

And my cucumber plant has one cucumber, slowing maturing.  It might be the only one. The basil plants are limping along.  The lettuce is producing daily.  Sweetpeas, late, but strong.  Flowering and producing seeds for next year.  Lovely plants.

My friend D has given me the most lovely planters … quite ornate, open metalwork, with coir linings.  I dug through the soil and found some lovely sparklies and a little yellow lizard amongst the soil .. treasures!

I’m going to dig up some kale and put them in these containers … so they will continue to grow .. and I can start shape-shifting the mulch pile where they grew all summer.

Blueberries are still fruiting .. I have some late bearing bushes.

I’ve also started decluttering my garden supplies .. and today gave away hundreds of plant pots and over a dozen propagating trays.   I had way too many .. how many do I really need!   And so it’s fun to share with fellow gardeners.

Tomorrow I plan to finish clearing out my garden work area .. to sort out what I need and what I can give away.  Feels great to do this.

I walked around my garden .. looking at the changes I made this year.   Feel amazed that I actually planted all the plants that I purchased in the past few weeks. . that is a record for me and feels like I’ve accomplished quite a lot … and I have!

Spent hours today digging up dandelions in the back yard.  Noticed that there were hardly any in the areas of lawn that were well watered and that there were so many in the drier patches.  Interesting.  I’ve put them all on a tarp, to dry in the sun and then I will add them to the compost bins.

The Italian prune plums are just dripping from the branches.  I’ve been picking quite a few.  Dehydrated some in the oven and quite a few were put on a pot to stew and then I’ll freeze some containers to use later as sauce for chicken or for a jam.

I’m quite enjoying this time of the year .. clearing up my garden areas.  Watching the birds.  I see the little Fox sparrow .. like a little sprite way up in the tree.

Yesterday and today I was treated to an aerial show of the Canada Geese as they flew overhead, en route to Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary for the night.  I wonder if these are the spring-born goslings, all grown up …. preparing for their winter flight.   They sound so strong and fly so well … my heart goes out to them.  Theirs is a tough life of survival.    I know that a lot of people don’t like Geese .. but none have harmed me.    I’m smart enough to turn around and walk the other way when I’m confronted with them.  Their beaks are very strong!

I watch little Youbou out in the yard, vigorously scratching away with his strong right leg.  Hard to imagine that last spring he couldn’t walk on that leg .. for reasons unknown, despite the many veterinarian tests.  Luckily acupuncture was able to help him.  He’s no longer on Prednisone and has his acupuncture visits about once a month or so, just to keep him aligned.

The skies have been so beautiful to watch that it’s a wonder I get anything done in the yard when I’m out there!   In the spring I gazed upwards to watch the eagles and now I watch for the Geese and the ever-changing panorama of beautiful shades of blue and white.  sigh.

And finally, on Monday, I spent the day preparing my garlic for the winter.   Set up my outside working tables and began the task of untying the bunches of garlic from beneath the sundeck, where they have been drying and curing for a month.  Noticed that quite a number of scapes escaped me!  How did that happen, anyway!  I was so sure that I’d clipped every scape to make pesto!

Just like last year, I was sure that I didn’t have enough, but when all were cleaned up and put in baskets, I realized I have more than enough.  Enough to cull the largest for planting next month.  Enough to send some to my sister back east.  Enough for us.   Enough to share.   So I’m happy about that.
And the hardnecks have these little yellow cloves, they look like kernels of corn.  I’ve read that these can be planted for spring greens.  And I’ve read that they also can be grown for several years to reach the size of a garlic bulb.

Speaking about enough .. I started thinking about all the work I’ve done over the past few years.  Gathering oak leaves from properties.    Filling bags, stuffing them in my car.  Taking them home, starting the dance of moving them from the car to the back yard and then mulching them.  Ordering bales and bales of spoiled hay .. wonderful for mulching in the yard.

What if I don’t feel like doing that this year?

Well, I’m not worried.   Because I have 3 compost bins.  Lots of lovely soil already in the yard.  And I really and truly depend on my EM to save the day!    As long as I continue to prepare my batches of EM .. I will always have the most fertile, rich garden!

Well, I’ve been enjoying the days this week .. working had and accomplishing a lot.  Feeling quite pleased with the progress of my garden.  And looking forward to making more changes.  And taking time to watch the birds … listening to the cheerful little nasal chirps from the Bushtits, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Fox and other sparrows.  And the energetic antics of the Anna’s.  And hoping to get a closer glimpse of the Geese as they soar overhead.

Another lovely day!


2 Comments

Oh my, not more perennial plants on sale???

Friday, August 24, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What a week this has been.   I’m almost embarrassed to recount that I found yet another perennial plant sale.  This one was at the local Sears mall, at Cannor Nursery.
I’d started my Thursday debating as to whether I should just go straight outside .. or dilly dally and go out into the world.  The local Toyota dealership had a special test drive day .. complete with sandwiches, deserts etc.

So I decided to go there first thing .. to enter my name in a draw for one of several prizes.  Walked around with a young sales guy and looked at a few trucks .. dreamed of how lovely it would be to have a nearly full sized truck, one I could use to load up on garden materials.

Years ago I did have a few trucks, they were quite handy .. and I seem to remember that I was quite often helping people out with moving, loading up on gardening materials etc.

After a nice chat I made my way to Sears .. for a little walk-around.  Big changes happening to that mall … and I looked at the huge buildings that were going to be installed there.   My main interest, though, was in the native plant garden plantings … too soon to see now …. later on I will take photos .. but not expecting it to be in place till next summer.   Lots of work to take place before that.

I just about made it to my car when I noticed the Sale sign at the garden center.  I’m weak, I know.  And soon my car was filled with even more lovely plants.  Included were some Rock Rose plants .. which grow to 3 – 4 ft in height and 6 to 8 ft in width!  And they don’t like to be transplanted, so I made sure that I placed them a decent space apart.  I plan to make cuttings for propagating in a week or so.

I love plant sales.

Then, back at home .. hard at work to mix soil & miracle mulch, plan where to install the plants and many happy hours situating my new perennials into just the right place.

And finally, this morning .. the moment I was waiting for .. the EM moment!  I mixed up over 5 litres of EM, into many large containers and then this mix into the watering cans.  Started at the front yard, then to the various front and side gardens.  This took hours, no kidding!

Then, on my energy roll, I finally tidied up the yard.  Sorted hundreds of plant pots into their various sizes.  Shovelled up the remaining Miracle Mulch into containers, this will go in the very back border next week.

Took down my work tables, neatly tucked away.  A final deep watering of all of the gardens.  A final watering of EM for the veggies & the basil.

And .. sigh of relief .. yard looks nice and tidy.  Room to breathe.   There are still veggies to gather.  Tomatoes to ripen.  Pumpkins to develop.

Special moment .. when a flock of Canada Geese flew overhead.  We are on the flight path to the local Nature Sanctuary .. so we see them quite often.  Lucky, I know.  I think that the Geese flying overhead are the very goslings that I saw in the spring.  Their Moms have taught them well, how to fare in the world.   Now .. is the time for them to fly.   They have earned my respect and I wish them well on their journey.

Well .. August is nearing the end.  And we are so lucky to have sunshine.  Even some cool weather would be welcome, for the sake of the plants and the grass.  And me!  🙂

Lovely days.

🙂


2 Comments

Hopes and dreams abide in my garden ..

 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes it takes me awhile to get into that wonderful garden state .. the one where time stops, energy increases and I just keep moving things around .. but sometimes it’s just well worth the wait.

Yesterday was a day of going hither and thither and yon.  (are those really words?)

And finally, time to put on my garden costume and step forth into the yard.

With all my recent plant purchases, I’ve amassed quite a pile of plant pots.  These need to be completely sorted, put in bags and then I’ll list them in the local Free section of our Used Victoria and hopefully an ardent gardener will come by to claim them.

I used to save them all for future propagation, but realize that I was simply hoarding them.  My precious plant pots, ha ha ha.

So that’s on my to do list today.

I had moved about a yard of the Miracle Mulch (sometimes I just call this my Magic Mulch .. same thing!) onto a tarp in the back yard.  This was where I headed yesterday afternoon.  Soon I was mixing this with bagged manures and then shovelled this onto the other side yard.  And here I began placing the final lot of my recently purchased perennials.

Looks lovely, but no pictures yet.  I’d placed landscape ties against the edges of this area but finally decided that the neat and tidy edging didn’t fit with the natural flow of the plants, so moved them to the back yard.  Ah, yes, this was much better.  Now I feel the yard can breathe .. no structure here.

Noticed that the grass is now growing quite well around the paving stones that I carved into the yard .. soon it will be lovely and green in this area.

Visited my recently planted Tea Rose .. and see the leaves are burgeoning all over!  Hard to believe that when I’d seen this plant at the store last Thursday, it looked as if it was on the fast road to the compost heap.   The sales clerk had swiftly trimmed away the dead leaves and soon  I could see about 20 little areas of new growth.

Took it home  (after I paid for it, ha ha ha ), planted it and with a liberal dose of that magic elixir, EM .. it is now sporting a vast array of leaves and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were to grow some lovely fragrant roses soon.

Itching to dig in the potato patch . .how many taters are left there for me to find?  Feels like a treasure hunt as I gently probe the garden fork around the base of the raspberry plants .. where the darned things have grown.

I stop for a while, looking at the rich, beautiful mulched soil that is now here ..  thankful that my hard work of gathering oak leaves, spoiled hay, compost, aged manure, spent hops .. all combined to create such a wonderful growing medium.

What a treat to finally see the red skin of the potatoes peeking out from the rich dark soil.  Sheer magic, I feel!  I gathered up the remaining  crop and put them in an old white enamel pot that had belong to my DH’s grandfather.  He used to garden a fair bit and I’ve been lucky enough to have some mementoes from his hobby.

I have two zucchini plants and a few are growing from these .. so I pluck one to take inside for cooking.

The pea plants are nearing the end of their cycle .. fun to see the peas growing in their pods, distorted and twisting with the energy of their growth.

Lots of tomatoes, but still in the green stage.  Strawberries are still flowering .. fingers crossed that these will grow into ripe red fruit.

Lots of dreams and hopes lie in my garden .. and time to go out there and play again for another day.

🙂

 

 


Leave a comment

Oh my .. the last day of the plant sale . .what’s a gal to do ???

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So yesterday … I am a little embarrassed to say .. I went back to the supermarket where I’d purchased a lot of plants on sale (two for one) lately.   It was the last day, so .. ahem .. I bought a few more plants.

Back home and I decided to tackle another neglected garden area.   This one is in the front side yard, behind our “first ever Christmas tree” that is now well over 100 feet tall.  I’m guessing, as I don’t have anything to compare it to, size wise.  But its gigantic.   And all the birds love this tree.

Anyway, I dug away at the hard packed soil, amended it with a very generous amount of magic mulch & soon I was settling in my new purchases.    You can’t see it in the photo, but there is a very healthy Jasmine plant, with two vines.  I’ll be training each one up against several fence panels and so soon they should be growing quite nicely.

I was soon in the Zen of digging the soil and deciding the best places for the plants so it was quite a shock when I was finally finished for the day.  Tired and happy at the work done.  Tidied up the area and then brought out the hose and watered everything quite thoroughly.   Followed by a liberal dose of liquid EM.

Have you ever noticed sometimes how quickly the day passes?  You sit and think, now what did I accomplish today?  Much or nothing?

Well, I’ve decided that I always do accomplish quite a lot .. even when I feel that I haven’t made any advancements in my many projects.

And I know this because I take quite a few pictures throughout the day.  At the end of the day, after I’ve uploaded them to my computer, as I look through them .. I think back to where I was and what I was doing as I’d taken them.

I remembered my little breaks from working, looking up at the magnificent skies overhead.  The opportunities to just rest awhile and look at the sweet little birds who visit our yard.  Admiring how the plants are growing.  The advancements made in their growth from one day to another.

Feeling such joy at the way the sunshine transforms the surface of a leaf, the texture of a stem, the decadent blossoms of the cheerful sunflowers that the birds have planted, as they’ve scattered the seeds while they munch away at the feeder.

Remembered how wonderful it felt to just wander around the yard, planning for changes.   Opportunities for me to utilize my creativity in plant placement.

Another wonderful day spent.  And there is still a fair chunk of summer left to enjoy.

Life is great in the garden!

🙂

 

 

 


4 Comments

About the lovely joy of surprises and unexpected treasures from a friend! Oh, and the birds are now visiting the birdbath!

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is true, time does fly when you are having fun!  Our summer started at the beginning of July, when the warm weather stayed to visit and here it is, past the middle of August.

Yesterday was a serious planting day .. one in which I devoted hours to installing some of the many perennials that I’ve been buying on sale!

First thing though, as I went outside, mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand, ready to take a little walk around the yard.  To check on the differences since the latest application of EM, last Friday.

Walking past the garlic drying area beneath the sundeck, I remembered that my friend D had mentioned that she was going to leave a surprise for me there.  So I looked in and there was a magnificent picnic basket!  I’d always wanted one of these, but it just never happened.   And here was one for me!

I quickly picked up the basket and took it over to one of my outside working tables and opened the top latch, to see how much space there was in the interior.

Wow .. imagine my surprise when I lifted back the folding lids and saw treasures inside!  It felt like opening a surprise Christmas present, only on a warm sunny morning!

Inside there were such beautiful things .. a magnificent book on Hummingbirds, with exquisite colour plates and information on their habitat, how they live their daily lives.  Included was an article on the loss of hummingbirds in Cuba, that is terrible and I plan to find out more information.

I’m also inspired to plant more Hummingbird plants after seeing some of the beautiful photos.

Oh, more and more treasures, a book on lavender & one on craft printing (I’ve always wanted to learn how to write those curly cue little sayings and this books shows exactly how to do it).

And more and more .. I put the basket on the grass and then just sat down, lifting each item out, admiring the beauty of the candle holders, the bright colours of the mugs (now these will be my gardening mugs, easy to spot and not lose in the grass!)

I had fun, lifting out each item!  And happy when I saw the note about the tomatoes.  The story behind this is that my friend & her son grew 5 tomato plants last year, they were small little plants and they had a few tomatoes from each plant.
This year, they grew the same type of tomatoes, but, this year, they added EM on a weekly basis.  The results?  Over 400 tomatoes on 5 plants.  And the plants were not small this year, they were like little trees!  Ah, the magic of EM (effective microorganisms).

After playing for a while, I tucked everything away in my new picnic basket … time to get serious now!

I wandered over to the hanging bird bath and saw some tiny little feathers in the water .. and shortly after, I saw a little Chickadee perch on the edge of the bath .. another special moment to enjoy in the garden!

Spent some time admiring the busy activity of the bees as they visited the prolific flowers of a plant that was given to me by my gardening neighbour.  It grew from seed (see how tall this plant is!!) and I think it is part of the daisy family.  This is the second year.

Late in the day, I was furiously planting lots of perennial grasses and a mixture of other hardy perennials in one part of the side yard.   Looking good.  I’ll take photos in a few days.

Thankfully the weather is a little milder and not so hot .. making it more pleasant to play outside.

And now I’m off to start my day.  Lots more plants for the other side of the yard.   Oh, plants are my life,  and I just can’t seem to have enough.

🙂

 


8 Comments

The Flower Fairy visited the Cafe!

Friday, August 17, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh, plants are just so my passion, I cannot help it.  On Wednesday, I went out shopping for a few things, at the end of the day.  Found a great plant sale at a local supermarket and came home with a car full of perennials.

Well, guess what happened yesterday?  The exact same thing!  I went out shopping in the early morning .. found a great sale of colourful annuals and perennials.   Quite a few I selected for the little garden that I take care of at a cafe.  Time to add some slash of colour.

Then, I picked up some perennials that were in need of some love.  The salesperson was very helpful as she clipped away dead growth on a Tea Rose (my first ever!!!!)  and lo and behold, she discovered at least 20 new growth areas.  I’d only seen a few.  So this was a learning session for me.  She told me that removing the dead growth gives the plant more energy for new.

I am always learning about gardening, it is such a big world and love all the new items that I find.

So soon I was on my way home … car full of plants.   Mid-way home, I remembered those lovely perennial pots filled with sturdy plants, on for half price.   So, oh  my, I sought the next safe place to make a turnaround and then soon was on my way back to Home Depot.  Now, I normally don’t drive far out-of-town to buy plants, but, umm .. what could I do?  I’m under the spell of plants.

I chose a big shopping cart, marched into the store, shared a laugh with the sales clerk, put the two plant filled containers in the cart and then proceeded to head towards the area with bagged soil & manures.    I filled the remainder of the cart space with as much of these bags as I could, then slowly pushed the heavily laden cart towards the cashier.

So we had another long garden talk and then it was time to go to my car and with some creative moving around of plants, I was able to heft my most recent purchases into my little car.  And happily we chugged our way home.

Once at home, I removed all the plants, put them in containers with water to freshen them up.  Next I mixed up some bagged steer manure with some of my miracle mulch and filled 3 large Rubbermaid totes with this mix.

And then I gathered up all the things that I needed for my planting expedition at the cafe and soon was on my way.

It was a hot day.  And I was totally garbed in my anti-hornet attracting outfit: long-sleeved black shirt, black car-hearts and my trusty gumboots.  Whew.  To say that I was hot was an understatement.  However, that did not stop me for the next 3 1/2 hours to do my gardening.

I trundled my gardening supplies across the tarmac, over to the fenced patio, heaved them all over the fence and then got to work. First thing, tarp is spread on the flooring, materials & plants gathered to one side.  Then, I brought the poor, parched, dried out plant pots over to the work area.   It was a sad sight to see these, so I didn’t take any pictures.

One by one I emptied the containers of the hard, dried soil and replaced them with the refreshing new mix.   Then I arranged the plants as creatively as I could in the containers.  A thorough watering and an application to EM and they were finally looking full and happy.

I did take pictures of these and will post on my next blog.  They look a little sparse right now, but in a week or so, they will be flowering to beat the band.

As I gathered all my materials together to make a nice, tidy exit, I pondered on  my time spent there.   And anticipated the happy look on Dak’s face when he would open up the cafe this morning!  Surprises are great!  The Flower Fairy has visited!

Gardening, transforming, is so satisfying.  I know that all gardeners share this energy.  Positive, creative, satisfying!

At the end of the day, though, as I arrived back home and unloaded my car .. I realized that I did have a touch of heat stroke.  Which I haven’t experienced for years.  So I took care of myself and rested.  Realized, after I prepared supper that I wasn’t hungry, so out went that meal as I gave up trying to eat.  Rest was instinctive and so I did.  Feeling much better today.

Today, I will work in the shady areas of the garden.  Because .. I still have all those other plants to be dug into the side gardens.

Oh, happy days!