Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It liiiiiiiiiiiives

Wow, blogging fail for me this year, even more so than last. Almost houseiversary time without a single post. I blame the excruciatingly neverending winter - I think I'd actually started to believe spring was never going to come, so it was a bit of a shock (albeit a delicious one) when it finally arrived - combined with project-related insanity.

SO to recap (and remind myself of what I need to document in photos):

* No seeds. Alas. I didn't even get an order in.

* Plant sale yielded a number of gorgeous dwarf conifers (precioussssss) - pictures to come!

* Brilliant idea from a garden magazine: plant lettuce in hanging baskets, which will keep the slugs off it. Bought pots of lettuce but never got them planted :P but filing this away for future use! Lettuce is, after all, actually very decorative.

* Tree out front got chopped down due to emerald ash borers. This initially left a big stump in the middle of the driveway, prompting me to actually plant a couple of large containers - one for on top of the stump (containing purple fountain grass, bright green sweet potato vines, parsley, cilantro, and basil) and one for the corner next to the shed out back (containing dwarf papyrus, rex begonias, dusty miller and some reddish-purple thing whose name I forget). Am pleasantly surprised by the gorgeousness of the results and their failure to keel over and die from lack of watering. And then the city came along and ground out the stump, so the one container is just sitting in the driveway at the moment, but once I haul the driveway out of its current junkyard state it will be pretty there anyway.

* Fence got redone - not just the back panel, which was actively falling apart, but the whole perimeter, which had also acquired a distinct slant over the winter. $$$, but I am kind of shocked at how good it looks. Aaaaand it involved very few casualties in the garden: the purple clematis and blue corydalis are, I think, the entire list, and the clematis may well have come back if it hadn't been for getting dug up in the subsequent construction project. Also gone...FOR NOW...are the wild and woolly bittersweet vine on the shed and the rampant grapevines. From the upstairs window, though, I can see tendrils of bittersweet vine poking up over the shed's roofline again. It won't be long.

* Revealed by the fence demolition and related cleanup of the carport: there is a sizeable patch of poison ivy growing in a crack between the neighbour's driveway and ours. I REALLY REALLY need to get rid of it - having run afoul of it once, I do NOT want the kids to touch it - and I have no idea how. It laughed in the face of boiling salt water; it was barely intimidated by my mom pouring pool chlorine on it. Will have to march out there with rubber gloves and try yanking it up.

* THE DECK IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION and I am so excited I can hardly think about anything else. IT WILL BE SO GORGEOUS. Also gigantic.

* $20 japanese maple not only survived transplant but seems to be thriving in its new location. SWEET.

* The eremuruses (eremuri?) all bloomed this year. SWEET. Although the orange ones are not quite as tall as they were last year and have 5 blooms, collectively, instead of 6. Hope this is due to brutal winter and not to any deficiency in the soil, which god knows contains near-zero nutrients.

* Periwinkle and grass are on the determined march into the front garden from the neighbour's lawn. Must do something about this before they have invaded irretrievably. REALLY need to get that border I've been planning in, but am already seriously overextended for yard budget this year. May have to put in some plastic edging or something as a stopgap.

* Managed to wield soap and water early against the annual sawfly incursion on the roses, and as a result John Davis is blooming spectacularly at the moment. Prairie Joy is likewise stunning, and Marie Victorin is getting there; think I need some sort of structure to contain it, and/or to do some pruning and make it bush out a bit. Emily Carr's vegetation is looking good, but not many blooms; Morden Blush suffered from some sort of invisible insect plague and is not doing so well. Am astonished that Morden Sunrise even came back this year, given how dead it looked. I should probably dig that one up and give it away, it is just not doing well in my yard. Or maybe I could give it a try out back.

* New additions: more poppies and maltese cross; a double-flowering almond; a couple of fancy sedums. Surprising winter casualty: poofy feather-tailed grass next to the eremuri. That leaves a sizeable space to fill. Am thinking a pyramidal dwarf evergreen (preciousss) may be the way to go there, but am leery of digging around said eremuri for fear of upsetting them.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I am hereby resolved that I will NOT forget about my seeds this year. There will be seed success come hell or high water!!

The list:

Anchusa azurea 'Dropmore' alkanet
Arabis (Rock cress)
Salmon Maltese Cross
Jerusalem Sage
Kale (purple and dinosaur)
Sunset Flower
Hungarian Blue Breadseed Poppy
Hens and Chicks Poppy
Heirloom sunflower mix

I keep trying annual poppies and I keep failing abysmally at them, despite their being supposedly easy to grow. Still, the somniferum poppies I saw in that garden by the bike path were so enchanting I can't seem to give up on them.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Garden quotes

I'm collecting these for glass purposes, but since they're a propos, I may as well stash them here!

"Gardening is not a rational act." Margaret Atwood

"Garden as though you will live forever." William Kent

"The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway." Michael Pollan

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." Gertrude Jekyll

"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies." Gertrude Jekyll

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Cicero

"There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments." Janet Kilburn Phillips

"May you always find three welcomes: In a garden during summer, at a fireside during winter, and whatever the day or season, in the kind eyes of a friend." Gaelic blessing

"Gardeners, I think, dream bigger than emperors." Mary Cantwell

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden." Ruth Stout

"Green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart." Russell Page

"With life as short as a half taken breath, don't plant anything but love." Rumi

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Kahlil Gibran