Thursday, February 28, 2008

My May Day

Amy's garden has a new home on a hill in PA. There will be a new shady nook, under my new tree (which I haven't identified yet). I imagine it already, lush and private; viewing it from my new dining room window. A new old home for this old soul, with all the character I adore. Amy's garden is going to be quite lovely there.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

forget-me-not , ne-m'oubliez-pas

Myosotis is from the Greek mus meaning 'mouse' and otos meaning 'ear' in reference to the small 'mouse ear' leaves.
Spring's messenger indeed, they used to pop up in every spot under and around my apple tree. The one pictured here is growing in my office, today with a tear drop droplet.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,

Little flower - but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."
- Tennyson

Aching for my garden lately,
I miss this space. sigh

The picture is deceiving, there are actually two chairs, comfortably snug in a lush nook of balloon flowers, pumpkin plants, bergenia, those pretty peach day lilies, phlox, and herbs. Tucked behind the apple tree, it was my secluded room with a view. Aaah, and where little green bottles grew!

I have to be grateful for this journal; what an asset it is for planning the move.

John Davis
Morden Fireglow
Morden Blush
Winnipeg Parks
Morden Sunrise
J.P. Connell
George Vancouver
blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Globosa') x 2
Weigela 'Red Prince'
Hydrangea 'Annabelle'
Elder Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold'
day lilies
Double River Wye
Raspberry Parfait
little peach one in front
Strawberry Swirl
other little peach one
random perennials
spiderwort Tradescantia 'Caerulea Plena'
Thymus praecox 'Nutmeg Thyme'
Viola labradorica 'Purple Labrador Violet'
Phlox subulata 'creeping phlox' (Emerald Blue)
lungwort x 3
goat's beard
bergenia pig squeak
Stachys byzantina 'Lamb's Ears'
Heuchera micrantha (Coral Bells) 'Purple Palace'
Echinacea ' Big Sky Sunrise'
Hosta 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis'
Hosta 'Paradigm'
hostas x 3 more unidentified
astilbe x 2
that pink peony by the shed
thank goodness I didn't plant much last year

Incidently, as I write this I'm listening to In the Key of Charles on CBC Radio 2. His theme this morning is ANGELS. All angelic playlist: good angels, dark angels, evil angels, and more good angels. Fantastic!

I will need at least twelve very large pots, sixteen to twenty 24-26" pots and another dozen or more 16-20"ers. I'm doubting very much that I would be able to transplant directly on May1st, so I think it'll be less worrisome to plan for the pots; keeping in mind that the plants may spend a considerable period of time in their pots. If I'm lucky enough to be able to transplant a few things directly, it would be a relief at the time - but it's just not something I can realistically count on.
I'm sure I can borrow some temporary pots from the greenhouse while I collect great pots like these pictured, work for dirt *er* soil, and I'm starting to dream up ways of training John Davis in a pot with a trellis - which I think will be beautiful. :)

  • The sixth day of February is the feast of St. Dorothy of Italy, who survived being thrown into boiling animal fat, but who was beheaded in ca. 313 CE. She returned to earth as an angel child, bringing three apples and three roses from the garden of paradise to the lawyer and cynic Theophilus, who had mocked her on her way to death. He was astonished at the sight and was instantly converted by the miracle. Theophilus was himself later beheaded, cut up into little pieces, and fed to the birds. Saint Dorothy is depicted with apples, either in her hand or in a basket, and with roses.
Ward, Bobby J.. "A Contemplation Upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature." Saints of the Spade. Timber Press, Oregon. 1999.

Friday, February 8, 2008

You can learn a lot of things from flowers...

Outdoor Daffodil Tip
Allow the leaves to wilt down naturally after the blooms fade. These yellowing leaves are not attractive, so it's tempting to cut them down, but it's essential that all the nourishment in the leaves return to the bulb before it goes dormant for summer. Though you can hide yellowing foliage with flowering annuals, keep in mind that daffodil bulbs need a dry summer to remain healthy while they are dormant. Choose plants that like dry spells and won't need constant watering to hide unattractive bulb foliage

I couldn't speak better for the Grape Hyacinth than does here. If I could only return to the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, where I once tip-toed through the tulips, with the eyes and mind of the gardener I am now...if only if only.

I absorbed it well enough, but more in awe than inspiration. I suppose that was part of the process, of course. I would still be in awe standing there today - but at 18 I didn't have the experience as a gardener that I do now - to know what it takes to create such a garden. I'll go back someday...;)
This little guy lives on my desk in my office, and is admired by many. They're so delicate - even a student commented today that she'd never seen such petite bells on a hyacinth. They reach upward and dangle just below the daffodils that have made this week much brighter, in spite of winter's fickle forecasts.

The daffodil, March's flower, a mark of spring, associated with Hades and Narcissus, the muse of poets, and too many mythologies to cover in such a post - have been blooming on my desk since Monday. I was listening to Tonic (on CBC 101.7, with Katie Malloch) recently when she posed the question (paraphrased) what do you do to help get through the long winter months? I spoke directly to the radio and replied: I keep a pot of bulbs on my desk - watch them grow and bloom all week, Katie!

It makes such a difference. These daffodils have stopped enough people in their tracks this week to assure me that I am not alone in thinking that seeing such a thing when real spring seems so far away really is quite nice. For that reason, they sit right in front of me all day. They're utterly cheerful, spilling their fresh scent out their trumpets to remind us of what's to come. Their yellow makes up for the lack of sunshine.
I moved them into the beams to take these pictures, for the short time the sun was allowed to come out yesterday. These are certainly not bowing their heads in sorrow, rather joyous and hopeful. A good sign for the up coming months :)

Weird yet again to be watching sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) explode up the tube; they seem to be growing much faster than the last two attempts. The backdrop out the window often of snowflakes blustering about makes for some great pictures that I apparently don't take. (reminding myself I am there to work not take pictures of the office garden tee hee) I have however been trying desperately to set my camera up for some interval shots but again, work keeps getting in the way(haha).. so I'll catch the next batch as they germinate and these, maybe next week as they reach for the top. By "attempts" I mean attempts to get sweet peas to bloom in my office. They grow amazingly well and tall; but haven't bloomed yet. I have them in, I think, the best possible environment in the tube (which is actually a large cylindrical glass vase) with about 3/4 ' of soil at the base. The first attempts had rocks then the soil, the second had no rocks, this - the third I didn't change much other than deepen the soil and have been keeping the whole environment a lot drier. I should have deepened the soil a lot more than I did - which is why I predict a fourth attempt. I want to see them bloom, but this is one of those processes that is as interesting and beautiful to watch grow.

I've planted basil again. Too many. The Lit. Mag needs fundraising ideas and I think I just thunk one up. Bake and Basil sale in the Agora! ;D
I look forward to summer lunch time grazing again. The basil does surprisingly well in the dry, unpredictable temperatures of the building.
Basil can bounce back after a bad dry wilt, but I always think such an event alters the flavor of that growth. If that happened in the office I simply cut it back a few times - and, at the rate it grows it wouldn't take long before the plants were bushy again.

(Incidentally, the other great thing about the office garden: no cats.)

dizzy daffodils in the golden afternoon

Books I recommend reading in the bathtub:

Greenaway, Kate (illus), Marsh, Jean (text). The Illuminated Language of Flowers. Balance House, Ltd, 1978.
Heilmeyer, Marina. The Language of Flowers: Symbols and Myths. Prestel Verlag, 2001.
Wells, Diana. 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1997

Saturday, February 2, 2008

amy's roaming potted garden

It'll go in pots. Moved in pots, possibly remain in pots. A solution to where amy's garden will go...

Potted roses, potted shrubs, potted herbs an hostas, potted tomatoes, even potted lilies. I can already think of some very nice arrangements with my existing plants, and I can still get excited about new plants...potted.
Sometimes things just don't go as planned, so you ride the wave, go with the flow...and that is what I'm doing. I can daydream about the future all I want - picturing myself mature in my mature garden, somewhere. That time will come. This time right now, I have enough gardening projects to keep busy, plans to make all to make me happy - and, let me not forget: who's to say that I won't find a home where I can plant, so I may have no need to mourn amy's garden again anyway....
I feel quite confident about the coming months, summer and what I'll end up with. So - for that reason I think this journal should keep on keepin' on. I can doodle pots just as happily as backyards.

I've always enjoyed putting together pots and planters. My front steps used to be covered in them - not to mention my window box designs year after year. I miss that.
This will be a new challenge - not so much in designing, but planning the soils - because if I know me (which I do) I know that I am good at putting these things together, not so good at remembering to water correctly....
Indoor gardening in my office has been teaching me a lot more about that, so maybe I've learned something since. Though, as I write this I think, and think and I think that most of the pots that were disasters were pots in my backyard at 606. That southwest facing deck was hell on earth for plants sizzle sizzle so I shouldn't be so hard on myself. What I should have done was set up a soaker hose from a rain barrel.
I will put that one into practice this year.

These are going to be some really cool pots. grin.

Friday, February 1, 2008


...and so it's done.

I decided to leave 1421 today, and will move as of May 1st back to PA.

I feel good with this decision. The weight of indecision has been suffocating; the release is relief.

This journal will roam with amy's roaming garden :)

so long,