Saturday, December 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
I want to see reds, oranges and yellows consume the back lane fence. Currently the Red Prince (Weigela) stands alone.
Bee Balm, Clematis 'Niobe' *swoon*, red sunflowers, coneflowers (which one?), sneezeweed, flaming day lilies, oranges and yellows, red mums in pots, flicks of salvia in reds and purples...
To the west, climbing up the shed 'Mandarin' Honeysuckle.
I'll probably plant more than one 'Niobe', wanting it to be predominant along the fence. I mooned over it in the greenhouse last season.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
So - during October things happened and did not happen in Amy's Garden. In brief: no new boulevard tree (because the TSP planters can't plant the tree where the Ash was, or a bit to the left or a bit to the right because of water and hydro underground stuff but only pretty much exactly not in front of 1421 but next door - and that just won't do.) I don't know what I will do, or decide. But, grin. That's what winter is for: reading in bathtubs, learning and planning - and by spring I will know what to do about a lofty tree in front of this lovely house.
There's also been a decision on the greenhouse idea in the backyardovich.
.dedicednu eb t'nac snoiosiced taht yas ot ton si sihT
I could think of a greenhouse as structural element in my garden, but not to much being used as a greenhouse, thinking practically - and realistically. A fancy-schmancy gardening storage shed for my tools and odd pots and things perhaps ...(and being glass, therefore see-through, this would have to be a very tidy gardening storage shed to not be an eyesore).
I don't know how I feel about that so I'm considering my options, sans small backyard greenhouse.
I can see it in my mind's eye, a tree, smallish, deciduous, bearing preferably edible (not necessarily tasty to humans, bonus if so). I think of the tree (I've forgotten what kind of tree it is), a tree Les grows - a beautiful specimen in the kitchen garden at the cottage. I've been meaning to call and ask....
New native plant gardeners to town, D & A, have been the first to round up the winter season's garden talk around the office. Ever since I've been focusing my research in native plant directories, keeping a watchful eye on the fine print of the invasive species reports. I'm discovering new things, each a post of it's own (yet to be written).
There are changes in my garden plan that have come from new influences and information. I'm glad I'm more aware of invasive species, and soil, and the trees than I was a year ago. go me.
I must cut this short now, goodnight journal - I can't keep my eyes open any longer.
Somehow, October came and went and not one post was wrote. I'm sorry I missed you October. In place, this short note ~after a day absorbed in Victorian Lit.; I'll cite you in recollection.
(_Love me for ever!_)
All March begun with,
May-wreaths that bound me
June needs must sever;
Now snows fall round me,
Quenching June's fever---
(_Love me for ever!_)
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Birches to Maples.
I hope a few Birches will stay around
a while longer, a couple of years or more.
I think they can stick it out.
They might feel intimidated by youth
being planted around them.
The new ones are colorful;
brilliant, sure - but will never compare,
the inspiration of the Birch with their shining white armor
lining the streets.
Acer Rubrum, only male leaves turn red, females flame orange.
That's the way they change.
It will look really nice to have two, framing the house.
I imagine the house's porch painted in lighter tones, cream white with beige, cranberry accents with ocean gray blue. Hardware in black. Very sharp. Framed with Maples on either side of the walkway, imagining what that would look like - makes me feel very positive.
Thoughts and prayers tonight for Lisa.
Well they forgot
This world keeps spinning
And with each new day
I can feel a change in everything
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
But in some ways they remain the same
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
There's no stoppin' curiosity
I wanna turn the whole thing upside down
I'll find the things they say just can't be found
I'll share this love I find with everyone
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's song
I don't want this feeling to go away
Who's to say
I can't do everything
Well I can try
And as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren't always just what they seem
This world keeps spinning and there's no time to waste
Will it all keep spinning and spinning round and round and
Who's to say whats impossible and can't be found
I don't want this feeling to go away
Please Don't go away
is this how it's supposed to be
Monday, September 24, 2007
It's beginning to look a lot like Autumn. I'll blink and tomorrow and it'll be over, but before it is a new tree will be growing in front of 1421.
Two now, apparently the west-neighbors are on board to have twins planted - to frame the house. Grin.
- I decided today that if I were ever to animate leaves blowing about on a blustery day I would put them to the music of The Black Widow Blues by Buckshot LeFonque. Perhaps my camera and I can put something together when the little Maple out front sheds 2007.
- I butchered a pumpkin last night, baked him too - next I'll be the candlestick maker and jack-o-lantern another!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Lavender and strawberries, lavender lemonade, lavender and white wine, lavender ice cream. Also known for it's calming, therapeutic effects and analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, insecticide, and sedative properties...Lavender is more than lovely.
The English variety - Lavendula angustifolia (also known as L. officinalis, L. Vera and L. spica) is what I have planted between the roses on the west side. Last night, after harvesting the pumpkins and removing the tremedous vines, the lavender I planted in the Spring was revealed - with blooms noless! Lovely.
There are other cultivars such as Hidcote (dark purple), Jean Davis (pink), Nana Alba (white), and Lavandin which is a cross between lavender and spike ( Lavandula latifolia ) can only be grown from cuttings.
Lavender thrives in full sun and prefers sandy, sweet soil with good drainage. In soil that has had a generous amount of compost or manure, lavender will bloom perfusely.
The essential oils are at their peak just when the flower starts to open up.
We harvested eight funky looking pumpkins last night. They're all medium-small in size, but good in color. Misshapen because I didn't adjust or level their positions as they grew, allowing them to roam freely across the yard.
From the family of plants called cucurbits, pumpkins are closely related to squash, gourds, melons, and cucumbers.
They can be planted from seed in the field from the last week of May to the middle of June, or like mine - earlier, in the greenhouse and brought home as small plants. :)
Germinating in 7 to 10 days, they then send up their first seed leaves; next, the true leaves will appear. As the leaves develop, and the vines spread, an extensive root network develops in the top 12 inches of soil. These shallow roots can be found as branching offshoots all along the vine. They gather most of the food, moisture, and air for the plant's growth, in addition to a strong tap root, which can grow as deep as 2 to 3 feet. Twirling tendrils develop along the vines to anchor the plant, which always entertain me.
Yellow blossoms appear after the first three weeks of growth. Male blossoms, which produce pollen, come first, followed by female blossoms about a week later. Female blossoms are easy to spot, because they have tiny pumpkin at their base. Blossoms live for only half a day, and will not open in cold, rainy weather. When both male and female blossoms appear on the vine, pollination occurs. The fruit at the base of the female blossom develops into a pumpkin. :)
Pumpkins require a lot of water to develop
(I've heard many interesting pumpkin-watering stories this summer *grin*), taking 90-120 days (depending on the variety) and are ready to harvest in October, when orange). Sure, it's September - but these pumpkins were ready to be harvested.
Next year: a few varieties (large for fun, medium likes these, and some small ornamental gourds)...and more water, lots of water..perhaps a rain-barrel-drain...hmmmmmmmmm.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
My Claw and I have been busy.
Yesterday we took on the back, today the front; I've got the blistered palms to prove it.
After my initial creating of the back beds, I hadn't done much to them (other than let the weeds roam free). I hadn't intended on planting them this season, so really - my work was done. Okay yeah, so - I say that to myself to make me feel better for neglecting it for the whole month of August, but we do what we do to save face: this is mine to my garden, my sad, dry garden.
It's very dry. Something to think about when amending soils. It's also very shallow; I hit hard sediment and shale just a few inches down in some places.
I hope to have a few loads of manure and soil/compost brought in late this fall - I'm looking into the details now, though as I watch my compost heap along the backside of the house thicken I realize I will need some(I mean lots of) soil to cover this for the first snow. The heap has great potential - I've been saving newspapers, add that to the incoming soil/manure, some moisture and a long winter - this heap could become some fine dark soil come springtime. Lasagna gardening at its best.
The back was cleaned yesterday. I removed all the sturdy weeds easily (I think there's something to be said for 'letting it go' - they're easier to pull up when they've got bulk), and enjoyed rolling my arms through the soil to remove all the little ones.
It's true - the therapeutic stimulation that comes from listening to the wind ~ and the church bells ~ feeling clay and sand fall through my fingers gently, one moment later attacking it with five daggers twirling.
It took the day, it felt great, and I felt prepared to do moving today from the time I lay my head down - I woke up ambitiously at 8:21 am, pondered my day in the porch over coffee, and was at it as soon as I heard another lawn mower running within the neighborhood. I never want to be the first. I cut the grass, then carefully cut around the pumpkins with scissors (yes, scissors) - it looks great, worth the effort.
The rest of the day was spent weeding the backyard beds. I feel like I've taken something back. In control again. grin.
Today's heat was a great compliment to the sun: who chose to shine upon me all day today. I'm crispy to prove it but damn do I feel good. I reclaimed the front yard, transplanting the Day Lilies who were so surprisingly co-planted this spring (always meant to be temporary) (I really enojoyed how the bed turned out, and could have left them all as is, but...).
Fairytale went to the back yard in front of the peony near the shed. One of those pretty peach lilies went to the west side, pathway entrance, opposite Strawberry Candy. The deep orange-peach one was moved to the east side, near the blue spruce, for now. The one that didn't bloom went to the back, at the back lane, near the Weigela...*shrug*.
Left in front are Double River Wye, brought over to to the east, near the walkway to the back door. It's tall, and the yellow lilies will look striking against both Mordens, Fireglow and Blush when looking onto the yard.
For the time being I've left Raspberry Parfait where it is, at the corner near the steps. I'll probably move it eastward, south a bit...I want to plant some Rudbeckia around that area, either at the corner in place of RP or beside. I moved the purple Veronica to be along the walkway, in anticipation of the Rudbeckia.
Blue Irises were moved from their direful state in the desert known as Amy's Garden 2007 to the front, divided, planted with pleas to establish and flourish among the coming daffodils.
Once they've passed, the Day Lilies, Double River Wye, Raspberry parfait, and Melon Balls will greet the front entrance. Along the walkway, before the Melon Balls, is the Bergenia Pig Squeak; to the left I transplanted the Lamb's Ear. Oh yes, I did that purposely. Hannah giggled.
I roughly transplanted some forget-me-nots along the border of the new front bed. I grabbed (literally) some Ajuga (it's mint for cryin' out loud) and plugged it in between the Lilies, along the walkways. It'll fill in nicely and onw't mind being walked on, heh.
The second blue spruce shrub was planted in line with the steps, if looking towards the house. Off-center to the west, it'll add that blue-grey balance I'm hoping for - especially once I plant the Lady's Mantle before it, and a dark red peony behind it. I'm still looking for one more significant player for the front - it's stumping me today. It'll be lime in foliage, but what?
It was so dry I had to soak it, spray it, Claw it over and over again while I amended it. What a great result though! Woot! I just need a few things:
- Lady's Mantle
- Peony - reddish
- lime-foliaged shrub-like perennial.
- Things that come along in time... :)
A comment today: you'll be the best dressed house on the block come Halloween! Yes, I thought - we have nine and counting, all claimed by the carver to be carvees. Home grown, I'm pleased.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A neighbor, who has lived on Moodie Street for more than 40 years, told me that she has never seen so many plants & flowers at 1421 as she has this year. grin. This house needed Amy's Garden as much as Amy's Garden is pleased to indulge.
I've been unable to accomplish what I wanted by this time (being mid-August already). All things considered, I didn't do too bad... but, it - along with everything else to do with this house - is different again; turning a new leaf. I will regain composure. My neighbor's comment is good motivation for me now: it deepens my feelings for this house - this house should be decorated, and should have a garden adorning.
In the past (I've been told) there have been rows of annuals along the walkway, and I've heard of a giant garage that once stood where my kitchen garden area is planned/is growing (oddly and unkempt but growing nonetheless), and surely someone had planted more than alyssum in the lock-stoned container-beds in front of the front porch. I don't know much more than that...other than *shivers* that tree-haters lived at this address, and were responsible for the ignorant removal of a matching Maple to the one southwest of the front porch, and the destruction of an Ash on the boulevard (a partner to my petitioned-to-be-replaced Ash) - a new truth which saddens me more because they obviously gave this tree no initial care, rendering it hopeless. *sigh*
All the more reason to give a little extra heart to Amy's Garden at 1421.
Plump pumpkins are appearing in the front yard. grin. For a while there I thought we'd see nothing but giant pumpkin leaves; each morning finding another loss to the thieving skunks. The pumpkins are finally starting to fight back, growing a small army - all of which to be carved as jack-o-lanterns (to scare the damn skunks away?)! It's actually become quite a scene out there, plantsthe are huge.
The roses all seem to be adjusting well, considering my recent neglect.
The backyard, from what I've watching through the kitchen window, is a playground for giant squirrels, cats, and of course skunks. Um. I haven't had this severe a problem with "wildlife" in my gardening past, and haven't quite figured out how to tackle it - other than patience. Sweet Caroline ordered some squirrel repellent "bags" of some sort for me, something I can dangle around to shoo them all away. We'll see if it works.
Birdhouses. Birdhouse projects have jumped up the priority list. I'd like to have a few installed before it gets much cooler. More birds = less rodents.
Not too many tomatoes (see above) but I have managed to rescue a few, ate them with feta - they were delicious. There were some cucumbers a couple weeks ago. None yesterday. The kitchen garden aspect may not be as easily commingled into my new garden as it could in my former garden. There, I thought the chipmunks were a nuisance. :-\ I miss those little guys now.
Everything else is settling in well. I've tried not to poke at anyone too much, leaving them to their own devices as they bloomed. The Elder is stunning. The best though, by far - the day lilies which I moved late in the spring from the various 'holding beds' to one small temporary bed (to add color to the front walkway), losing track of who was who in the process (clumsiness on my part)...they all bloomed, and beautifully. Double River Wye, Melon Balls, Raspberry Parfait, Fairytale, and Strawberry Swirl all showed up for the summer. Thanks guys. ;)
Also, two mystery peach day lilies. Lovely, but unidentified.
I have a lot to keep myself busy. ...but that's just keeping busy. The garden is growing it's own quirky personality (wildlife and all) like all things do when you let them go. ...
current music: Regina Spektor - Fidelity
Thursday, July 5, 2007
The grape tomato's hearty skin and high yield per plant, enhanced sweetness and convenient size make it a popular choice for snacking and salads.
The thin skin and high water content of the cherry tomato made shipping difficult, and many consumers were not impressed with its variable flavor. A new strain,created in Southeast Asia which combined the thicker skin of the beefsteak-style tomato with the size and flavor of the Italian Roma tomato. The result was a first generation hybrid fruit with a thick skin, low water content and an intense sweetness. Because it resembled an olive or grape, this new variety became known as a grape tomato.
Because the grape tomato is a hybrid, seeds produced directly from the fruit cannot be used to grow more plants.
The flavor of a grape tomato is noticeably sweeter than a Roma or cherry tomato. Some bars in Asia offer customers bowls of grape tomatoes instead of the usual salted peanuts.
Because the grape tomato grows in clusters on a small vine, harvesting can be very labor intensive. The fruit must be picked at a point when the color is changing from light pink to a hint of red. A green grape tomato will not continue to ripen off the vine. However, a grape tomato does enjoy a year-round growing season, so it should be available even when other tomato varieties are out of season.
Some grape tomato cultivars include 'Gabrielle', 'Mini Charm', 'Summer Sweet', 'Sweet Olive', 'Grapette', and 'Green Grape'. The fruit of 'Green Grape' remain green at maturity.
- Grape Tomato & Avocado Salad
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, or mixture of both
2 avocados, diced
High quality sea salt, such as Fleur de Sal
In a non-reactive glass bowl toss together the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley or cilantro. Add the avocado and lightly toss. Season to taste with sea salt. Chill if not serving immediately.
Per serving (212g-wt.): 190 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 3g protein, 13g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium
- Grape Tomato, Ricotta and Basil Bake
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole grain
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (25 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (45 mL) light sour cream
1 cup (250 mL) light ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons (25 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 425°F/ 230°C.
Prepare an 8x8-inch (20-cm) baking dish by spraying with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Add tomatoes and olive oil and toss to coat. Spread tomatoes evenly in dish.
In small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, garlic, half of basil, 1/4 teaspoon each salt (1 mL) and pepper. Sprinkle half of mixture over tomatoes.
In a food processor, mix together flour and sour cream until smooth. Add ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, egg whites, remaining basil and salt; process until well blended. Spread over breadcrumb layer. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumb mixture over cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve immediately.
Calories: 190, Protein: 10 grams, Fat: 11 grams, Saturated Fat: 5 grams, Carbohydrate: 11 grams, Dietary Fibre: 2 grams, Dietary Cholesterol: 60 milligrams, Sodium: 399 milligrams, Potassium: 299 milligrams
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
The line looks like a ghost. It was just a squiggle until I looked at it from the steps.
The front garden bed came to me when I decided on the second spruce. It anchors the house when viewed from the sidewalk.
Imagine the Daylilies spread out, Lady's Mantle, Bergenia (Pig Squeak) next to Lamb's Ear, Goldmound Spirea (I was thinking about Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 'Aurea' until I discovered it's on the invasive species watch), among others.
I planted the rose bed, I'll post pictures soon.
I've lost count of the number of buds on the lilies. :)
Two pumpkins have sprouted from the vines. I'm so excited (but I'm also so fearful that they'll be devoured by the kangaroos). I'm keeping an eye on them.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Southern Elder, taking nicely to it's new home along the west fence
beginning to dig and amend the shade side garden beneath the giant lilac and dangling virgina creeper
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Not all in the first sketch have been planted yet (or in some cases found & bought yet, like raspberry canes and a rhubarb for behind the shed). I'd like to think of this as a reasonable (rough) plan for the coming months. Most of these are here, some planted - along with a flash mob of sweet peas that I planted and left in the warm porch (they need to be planted, and will be along the back fence). There will be other perennials - a lady's mantle near the spruce for instance, and the rudbeckia isn't sketched in, nor is the veronica, a snowmound spirea will be planted but I don't know where. I'm just drawin'.
Structurally, I have projects like a compost bin that I'd like to complete sooner than later, one that I've designed myself of wood planks and heavy mesh; the location for which has been designated in an awkward area between the shed and the location for the small greenhouse, the ramp into the shed, and the westward neighbors fence. It's out of the way but accessible, perfect.
The maximilian sunflower (Given to me by a greenhouse customer who had once come into the gh hoping for some "gardening advice" but took one took at me, wrongly assumed my youthful appearance equaled youthful naivety, and *almost* insulted me with his questions until he realized I knew what I was talking about, gave me credit for that, and took my advice. He returned a week or so later with a big pot of the sunflower, which he had devided from the one growing in his yard. He gave it to me to apologize for judging me, and to thank me for our conversation.) is growing happily from behind the compost, between the shed and the fence. I wasn't worried about it surviving (it's far too hardy to have much trouble), but I have to say that I'm happy to see it again, always warmed by what it represents.
I did some amending and planting last night. The Annabell Hydrangea is finally in it's place, along with a Hosta 'High Society', an Astilbe: Thunbergii (False Spirea) 'Straussenfeder' surrounded by two Pulmonaria (Boraginaceae) (Lungwort). Closer to the space between where the neighbors draping Lilac/Virginia Creeper meet the crawling Hops, near the Southern Elder, I planted an Aruncus Dioicus (Goat's Beard); between the two I hope to plant a Solomon's Seal (don't have it yet tho).
Amended and planted the tomatoes (my Grape and Hannah's mystery-school-trip-tomato-plant). I also planted Hannah's strawberry plant in a good area near the garden egde (so that she can reach the berries easily) - I have to go find a wire cage to keep is safe from nastysquirrels as soon as possible, or we'll miss out! Between all this and along the garden border, as usual, cucumbers will curl and twist. I loved how they appeared everywhere through my garden last year, climbing the strawberry cage, and weaving through the peas all the way to the path and beyond - perhaps it was unruly behavior (for a cucumber), but it was funny to me, and the yeild was fantastic ;).
On Saturday, working at the main greenhouse rather than at the 55+ Centre, I was climbing tables, playing with perennials, listened to schmultzy easy listening until I felt like mush inside, and topped the day off with wine with Sue & Dennis under the bubble. It was the greenhouse at it's best (as far as my enjoyment with it this season) - I realy enjoyed being at the main greenhouse, and was sad to have passed the season without it. So, I made the most of it. It was busy. I was busy. I feel great.
John Davis is blooming on the East side of the front steps. He's a little gangly, a side effect from the move for sure - I'll have to prune him well. For now though, I don't want to disturb him, or any of the other roses until they've had a longer time to get comfortable. Poor Morden Fireglow is blooming in his pot right now because I've not found the time to plant that bed yet. It's easier to imagine the shrubs in bloom now, more full - next year; I look forward to it.
Tomorrow his Hannah's last day of 3rd grade. She'll be bringing pumpkin plants to all the children in her class. I hope the parents don't mind. Tomatoes and flowers are one thing - a vine that will take over a good portion of a yard is another. Ah well, it'll be fun for the moment. I brought a couple plants for Cooper, my neighbor - aged 3, who likes to ask me lots of questions over the fence while I dig and photograph my yard take meeeee! take pictuuure of mee tooo! take meeee! he yells over the fence, along with what are you doing? what are you doing now? what are you doing? what are you doing now? what are you doing? which is said so utterly adorably, no blogged words could do him justice.
Last night, my dirty digging self was compared to a dirty digging Cooper (shortly before his bath) by his visiting uncle. Some might cringe at the thought, but I love being covered in earth: my hands feeling soil all around them crumbling, fingers like earthworms my feet bare and black with earth that soils the floor and the bathtub my bare legs exfloliated by the texture - who wouldn't love that? I was really dirty last night. The soil is loamy, but cool and damp.
My paper on urban forestry has led me back to The Lorax by Dr. Suess. grin.
It's past my bedtime. Goudanight, sleep tight, don't let the space bugs bite.