Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Triumph and Tragedy

Better late than never?  I try to cover all the highs and lows at the end of the week but time is slip slip slipping away from me.  Here we are Wednesday already.

Regardless of date the garden continues on its merry way.  I have been ignoring the flower bed behind the garage as I've been busy working on other areas.  A quick look this week told me I had better pay more attention.  The exceptionally exuberant plume poppy has expanded its reach and needs to be chopped back and the weeds are putting up a strong showing too.  Unfortunately the hollyhocks are not doing as well.

Yellow spots are decorating the emerging leaves, a sign of rust that will eventually defoliate the plants.  I thinned out the hollyhocks back in October hoping more air circulation between the plants would help.  I also cut back all the affected leaves and disposed of them in the garbage.  However, it looks like it was in vain.  I worry about this virus spreading to other plants and I really don't like dealing with sickly plants so I will be pulling these plants in the near future.  The question of what to replace them with has been hovering in the back of my mind.  I placed a Veronica in this area late last summer but it didn't survive the winter.  The pow wow white echinacea I also planted is alive but not thriving.  Triumphantly mother nature decided to solve the problem for me.

Funny things happen in a compost pile and when you put compost on a flower bed even funnier things occur.  There are baby lupines like the one pictured above scattered throughout the bed growing happily alongside the plume poppy and in between the hollyhocks.  I could not have thought of a better combination myself.

The warm weather we have been receiving lately has really moved the season along at a quick pace.  The strawberry plants I put in last year are now blooming profusely with the promise of red berries to come.

We were in for a shock though this week when the temperatures started to dip and the weatherman told us a frost was forecast!  Panic stricken I ran home and recruited Jody to help me bundle up the garden for the night.

A frost would kill all the precious strawberry blooms and that would mean no fruit.  This large orange tarp was used to cover up the strawberry bed and various pieces of wood were used to hold it down.  (and yes, if you look closely we also used gutters.  We still haven't finished putting them all back up on the house).

In addition to tarps we used blankets, buckets, juice jugs, pots - whatever we could find we grabbed to cover up tender plants.  Ironically I had been frantically planting tomatoes the day before thinking I was late getting them in the ground.

There's even an overturned laundry sink protecting plants.
Rocks - and tires - were used to weight things down so the wind didn't blow the covers off.
The following day I was scrambling to cover tomatoes, cucumbers, marigolds, and basil so they wouldn't freeze.

This red glass vase was turned upside down and placed over a cucumber to protect it from the cold.  Dirt was mounded around the edges to keep out the cold and keep the vase from tipping over.

Also a worry was the apple orchard.  The trees have begun to bloom and a cold snap could destroy the flowers.  With no flowers to pollinate there's no chance for apples to form.

There's no blanket big enough to cover this old tree so we simply had to wait it out and hope for the best.  Luck was with us as the frost never did occur.  It was a lucky miss for many many farmers as strawberries, blueberries, pears and apples are all blooming right now.

Thankfully we get to enjoy the sweet scent of apple blossoms for a few more days to come.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Walk in the Spring Garden

Spring has been quite hectic this year.  Rushing around trying to complete various chores before the heat sets in and before plants and weeds get too big.  This last week the temperature has been climbing higher and higher, humidity even set in.  In response the season came on with a bang.  Trees are showing off full cloaks of green and perennial flowers are starting to bulk up.  I decided I needed to get out with the camera before it all flew right by me.

The tulips are still blooming but starting to look slightly worn.  I expect we'll only get a few more days out of them.

Van Eijk tulip

Angelique tulips started out a soft pink and have darkened over the last week
Last year the bleeding hearts were just starting to form flowers at this time.  The weather has been much nicer this spring and as you can see the plants are full grown and flowering profusely.

The bleeding hearts have begun their annual explosion
Other spring blooming perennials are just producing buds.

The flowers of Anemone sylvestris are just beginning to open
Heuchera sanguinea 'Ruby Bells'
In the vegetable garden the perennial plants are have sprung forth and we have started to enjoy our first meals of fresh grown asparagus this week.

Some of the shoots got a little large before I got to picking!  Oops.  They grow awful quick when it heats up.  You can see our gigantic rhubarb in the background.  Rhubarb crisp will be on the menu in the next few days.

Blooms are also appearing on trees and shrubs.

Starry blooms of Serviceberry
This red elderberry is set to burst into hundreds of tiny blossoms
Flowers on pin cherry trees
Of course the list wouldn't be complete without the buds of the apple trees.  The orchard is turning pink and soon we will be overtaken with blooms.

My tour took me to see some of our trees planted last season.  This dwarf alberta spruce was covered in new needles.  It likes it's new home.

I had completely forgotten about this Pagoda Dogwood.  We planted it in April when it had no leaves and now it has leafed out completely and looks amazing.

The great thing about this walk is that I was able to see all the trees and shrubs planted out in the meadow easily due to the new path cut by Jody.

This year we won't have to lug buckets of water through thick grass.  Instead we can leisurely stroll through and check on the trees progress and take evening walks amongst the wildflowers.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Another Great Plant Sale!

I just wanted to thank everyone who turned up for the plant sale this year and made it such a huge success.  I didn't arrive until 9am on Saturday morning but I heard there was a line at the gate at 8am!  So nice to attract such a crowd and I hope everyone went away with plenty of goodies for their gardens.

There were lots of new additions this year thanks to some brilliant organizers.  We not only had plants but used garden books and fresh cut rhubarb for sale.

Another new addition was this

I laughed my pants off when I saw that sign.  Even better was the back side

Some industrious volunteer had re-used a Liberal party candidate sign to advertise the chicken manure.  Every time I looked I had to giggle.

I'll bet you're wondering if I bought anything this year.  I had planned to keep my purchases to a minimum since my flower garden is getting somewhat full but I did manage to slide just a couple pretties into my car.

Another butternut tree, Solomon's Seal, several hardy geraniums, a daphne and some euphorbia.  You know, just a couple things!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vegetable Seedlings

I have been so behind on my posts this spring that I think this is the first time I've shown my seedling set up.  I got a bit carried away with tomatoes this year and expansion was necessary.  I had my regular table with lightstand and warming pad set up as seen below.

But as the table and then windowsill filled up I needed more room.  So hubby came to the rescue as he often does.  Shelving was installed in the window frame so that larger plants could be moved away from the lightstand to make room for smaller babies.

A second window was also used and shelves added there as well.  As you can see I had just a 'few' plants growing this spring.

I started to harden them off but due to roofing it got a little complicated and they had to be kept indoors until the wreckage had subsided.

Plants got a few days out on the patio before they had to be pulled in again while the roofing was completed.

Now that the roof is complete I will start this process over again and hopefully get these plants to a safe stage where they can be planted out in the garden in the next week or so.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Triumphs and Tragedies

It has been another busy week.

We started with this

Then removed the gutters

and replaced rotted faceboards with only a minimal amount of cursing.

Then these guys came

and it got a little messy

and finally we got this
Pretty shingles!
Note - the lower roof wasn't complete when I took this photo
There were some injuries in the surrounding beds

This peony is looking pretty beaten and bruised
but thankfully all humans and felines are in one piece.

And I found this

coming up in the paths of the vegetable garden which made me smile.  Chamomile, cilantro and lemon balm have all self seeded.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Canoe Cove Plant Sale

It's that time!

Every year the Canoe Cove Community Association puts on a plant sale at Inman Park in Canoe Cove.  This year the sale will take place next Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 9am.  Rain or shine!

There's a canteen open with hot coffee and treats, a playground for the kids and lots and lots of plants.  The variety of plants changes every year so you never know what you'll find but some of my scores from last year include this gorgeous Sea Holly, Oregano and Lady's Mantle.

If you like tomatoes you'll be in luck because I'm bringing all my extra seedlings including heritage varieties such as Bison, Martino's Roma, German Gold and Rosella Purple.

Tomato seedlings waiting for new homes
If you've never been to Canoe Cove take a look at the google map below and follow the purple line from Charlottetown.  Hope to see you there.

View Larger Map

Friday, May 11, 2012

Triumphs and Tragedies

Another busy week here on the corner.  Spring is slipping by.  To start, a Triumph.  After securing financing we thought we would have to wait for the roof.  There’s generally a waitlist and we expected the work would not happen until much later in the summer.  Surprise!  There’s a gap in the scheduling and the roofers are coming TUESDAY.  By this time next week the new roof should be in place.

Goodbye curled shingles and missing tabs!
As I always find, highs come with lows. Tragically the weather has been exceedingly wet this week and I have not been able to get into the garden to finish my spring chores.  This weekend the weather is expected to be lovely but my garden plans have been thwarted again as I will be up on a ladder prepping the roof. Due to issues with the previous roof and placement of gutters the faceboards all have extensive damage.  So this weekend we must remove the gutters and replace all the rotted faceboards before the roofers come.  There will be painting and nailing and no time for flowers.

So with that in mind I took a quick walk when I got home tonight. There’s so much to see right now. The recent rain has brought forth a new wave of growth and everywhere I look I see green.

Needles beginning to emerge on larch trees

Leaves are appearing on birch trees
Angelique and Van Eijk tulips

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What's Your Style?

When we moved from the west coast to the east coast we didn't bring any furniture with us.  Our household items weren't expensive, new or so personal that we felt it necessary to pay to ship them.  Instead we decided to start over in a new home.  That has been an interesting and exciting venture.  When we moved in we had only a couple of lawn chairs to relax in.  So almost right away we purchased some second hand furniture to make the situation more livable.  However, that furniture wasn't purchased with style in mind.  Now as we are beginning to renovate and redecorate, pieces that fit the house are starting to make their way in the door.

Primarily our acquisitions have come from auctions and antique shops.  Antique furnishings work well with this house as it is antique itself.  One such purchase came while shopping at a favourite local antique shop over a year ago.  We saw a cabinet and Jody fell in love.  I was not so smitten.  It was big, bulky and black.  I've always felt black furniture hid the wood grain and looked modern.  I wasn't having it.  But we went back several times and Jody continued to admire it and finally it went on sale.  At 50% off how was I to say no?

So home it came.  Initially we didn't know where we were putting it but as soon as we had to move it we realized it wasn't going far.  It was too big and bulky to try and carry it through the house so it came straight in the front door to the piano room.

Wouldn't you know it fit beautifully.  At just over 4 feet wide it sat perfectly in front of the former fireplace like it was made for that spot.  When you walk in the door that cabinet is what you notice.  I was proved wrong, it was the perfect piece for the room.

The next question was, what else would we buy?  Would we continue to purchase antiques in an effort to decorate according to the age of the house?  If so, should the vintage be the same as the house?  Did we limit ourselves to furnishing only from 1880 to 1900?  Would it matter if something was from the 1940's?  Or would we add modern pieces?

Ultimately we decided that although we love antiques we didn't want this house to start looking like a museum.  The real turning point for me was the rug.  

We purchased this rug many years ago at auction in Vancouver, British Columbia and it was one of the few belongings that came with us across country.  Because I love it that much.  That rug was going in a prominent spot no matter what age it was. 

And that's when it dawned on me.  Our house should be representative of us.  This isn't a catalogue or a magazine spread.  It just needed to be full of things that we love.  I remember where every single item came from and the story behind it and that means more to me than any design magazine can offer.  And isn't that what a home really contains?  A lifetime of stories.

What is your design style?  Do you gravitate towards a certain look or do you simply buy what you love?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Triumphs and Tragedies

A lot of folks out in Blogland hold and participate in meme's.  I've wanted to join in on a number of them over the last couple years but have generally held back and today's post is a good example of why.  Every week throughout the summer months, generally on Friday, I try to post a Triumphs and Tragedies bit.  This week is my second T&T post of the year and I'm only just writing it on Sunday!   Unfortunately my ability to write a post in a timely fashion is severely lacking.  Especially when my week has been as busy as this week was.

To start we have a Triumph.  The banking has been completed and the funds are now secured for the new roof to go ahead.  The exterior makeover on this house is about to begin and I'm extremely excited.

Another exciting venture this week that kept me busy was a huge auction sale.  Two days of selling was full of highs and lows.  Trying to decide what I want to buy, how much it is worth and how much money I have in my pocket to spend is a big puzzle that constantly keeps changing as items hit the floor.  There were some minor Tragedies.  Pieces that I loved but in the end could not afford.  The moorecroft bowl that eventually sold for over $600.  The large blanket box that also sold for over $600.  And there were some Triumphs.  Like unexpectedly finding a rain barrel in with all the antiques.

Purchased for $50 this is approximately half what you would pay in stores.  I've been wanting to buy a rain barrel for the past two years and keep putting it off due to the cost.  I can't wait to get this set up.  I already have the spot picked out.

Another deliciously wonderful Triumph was finding a very special label.  Every antique shop we walk into, every flea market, every auction - we always look at the labels.  And have always walked away empty handed.  Years ago our community of Canoe Cove was home to a lobster cannery.  I am given to understand that the man who owned the cannery was also the person who built our home.

This auction, amidst the hundreds of antique signs and labels I found one, yes just ONE, label for the Canoe Cove Lobster Cannery.  In near perfect condition.  and I won the bidding to take it home.  I was thrilled.

If the picture on the label looks familiar to you, it's because on the top right hand side of my blog I feature a photo of our community sign.

This sign features this very same picture as the label as recreated by a local artist.  Isn't that something?

There have been some Tragedies this week too.  After getting back very late last night from the auction we discovered that one of our semi-feral kitties had somehow gotten covered in motor oil.  No idea how this happened but her back leg and side were completely coated and we spent several hours holding her down and playing beauty salon.  You might remember we had a similar incident with some tar last fall that resulted in me wearing a cat like a hairpiece.  I'm happy to report that although this was a difficult process our patient was much better behaved this time.  Who knew a hairdryer would have a calming effect on a cat?

Another tragedy this week is that the downside of spending so much time at banks and auctions has resulted in a lack of time to spend in the garden.  The weather is getting warmer each day and the garden (and weeds!) are springing forth.  Just this morning I found the hyacinths have begun to bloom, the second bulb to open here after the squill.

Soon the muscari and tulips will follow suit.

I had better get outside and get working because next thing you know the veggie garden will need to be planted and I'm nowhere near ready for that!