Monday, June 24, 2013

It's All Done but the Crying..

It's finally over.  My first course has finished.  That's one out of 12 anyway.  I expect my marks in the next week or two.  I can shed a few more tears then, that final was brutal.

For now it's summer.  Two months to myself to garden and relax before I hit the books once more. 

The garden is a big mess as you might expect.  Not a stitch of weeding has been done, plants are still sitting in pots waiting to go into the ground, worse still there are summer bulbs that I haven't planted! (not sure these are still alive or not...)

Despite not being able to get into my garden to work I have been enjoying it.  Over the last two months I've spent a considerable amount of time sitting in our dining room.  It has a big bay window facing out over the flower garden.  The view looks like this

Can I just pat myself on the back here and say, brilliant idea Marguerite putting that flower garden in front of the window.  It has provided ample distraction as needed when studying.  I haven't missed a bloom all spring.  There is a design principle at work here of incorporating your garden into the home.  The window acts as an extension and brings the outdoors in.  I'm not sure that's what I was thinking when I did this but let's pretend I did anyway.  I would certainly recommend it.  Particularly if you're stuck indoors for months on end studying.

And while I'm congratulating myself can I mention as well how great the procession of blooms has been.  This too was completely unintended.  I have simply planted what I like but amazingly it has worked well.  The first bulbs to appear in spring were the hyacinths, followed quickly by tulips and daffodils.

Menton tulips
Solomon's seal and sweet woodruff then started to take over.  Followed quickly by still more tulips, anemone and columbine

late tulips provide a pretty backdrop to emerging columbine
hostas began to fluff out

Then the mountain bluet and jacob's ladder

Mountain bluet - Centaurea montana
As of today the rhododendron and siberian irises are in full bloom

I picked up this lovely native iris at the local plant sale
I really don't know how I managed it but I've been duly impressed with the ongoing show.  Of course, it's still early in the season, there may be some gaps in the bloom sequence yet.  There's definitely a rather large gap on the far end of the bed - Jody 'helped' weed one day with a weed eater...  but that's a story for another day.

Anyway, thank you all for hanging in there, I appreciate your patience.  I look forward to catching up on all your blogs one by one in the coming weeks.  till then, happy gardening

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Triumphs and Tragedies

It's been too long since I've posted and there's so much to cover!  Things both good and bad so.... triumphs and tragedies seems like the right kind of post.

There's been a lot of stress lately.  I came down with a miserable cold right before my first exam.  I forgot how stressful school is for me, and what that does to my immune system.  Add in some tight deadlines at work and a garden neglected... a few tears have been shed these last weeks.

Despite a few setbacks there is always a positive to be found.  Flowers have begun to bloom in earnest.

It's a relief to come home at the end of the day and spend a few minutes walking around my garden.  I haven't always got the time to do the garden work I would like (sadly my vegetable garden still isn't fully planted) but walking through and watching the trees leaf out and the flowers bloom makes me feel so much better.

New trees were added to the garden this year including this Copper Beech
Tragically some blooms that I normally look forward to each year have been a huge disappointment.  I'm talking about apples.

This photo is from last year when blooms were abundant
The buds were visible last week and I was expecting the annual explosion of blooms this week but nothing happened?  A closer inspection revealed blooms on the lower branches but all the buds on the tops of the trees are dead.  I hadn't inspected the higher buds previously so I'm not sure if there were problems to start.  The first reason off the top of my head was frost but we haven't had a hard frost recently that would do this kind of damage.  The other option is the drought we had last summer could possibly still be affecting the trees.  It certainly put a strain on the apples and it's entirely possible this could be the result.  Either way, our apple crop will be a poor one again this year.

On a positive note, you might recall our community hosted it's annual Plant Sale on May 25 (was it really just 2 weeks ago?).  Despite heavy rain, resilient gardeners donned their best raingear and came out in droves to gather up as many garden goodies as they could fit in their cars.

Luckily the venue has plenty of space undercover so there were dry spots to congregate, socialize and shop for plants.  I swore this year that I wouldn't take home any plants as I haven't the time to plant anything.  However, despite my best intentions I started gathering up new plants for the garden before the sale even began!  The week before several of us gathered at a neighbour's house to help dig out some plants for the sale.

It was a beautiful afternoon to do some digging
A couple hours digging, a plant sale later and now I have numerous pots sitting in a shady spot next to the garage waiting for me to plant them.  Culver's root, native purple iris, siberian iris, false solomon's seal, and delphinium are all new additions for the flower garden.

Another positive to keep my spirits up came in the form of an email from Jennifer @ Three Dogs in a Garden.  I was the lucky winner of Jennifer's contest for the book, Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener by Joseph Tychonievich.  It's the perfect gift as my columbines are starting to bloom and I have spent more than a little time analyzing how this permiscuous plant has cross bred to produce an array of different sized and coloured blossoms.  The only downside is that I haven't time to read it right now.  I've set it aside to read in July when my course is finished.

One last bit of great news came this week.  Walking through the grocery store I spied this on the shelf.

Saltscapes magazine is published in the Canadian maritime provinces and features the musings of fellow garden blogger Jodi Delong.  Jodi asked me to participate in a garden series regarding young gardeners a few months ago.  I'm happy to say the May/June issue is on stands now and features yours truly in the article "Growing a Green Thumb".  I'm incredibly flattered to be in a magazine but even more flattered that Jodi thinks of me as young!

Here's hoping this post finds you all enjoying a bit of sunshine, covered in dirt and smelling of lilacs.  take care ~M