Thursday, February 24, 2011

books in hand

In the Key of Catching Up

I used to curl up to my computer on a Sunday morning and listen to In the Key of Charles on CBC Radio with a pot of coffee and some garden dreams, often in the same theme as Charles's to write in this blog. I miss that show. I don't know what's held me back from posting, other than life..time, and dogs. This is the first season in years that I have a garden ready and waiting for me, prepared. This time I can just start planting. Minimal digging, minimal amending, it's as if I stepped back in time and have my mature garden back. Mature but never finished, that is. I can express in words how happy this makes me feel.

Last year there was still a construction zone over our vegetable garden when spring arrived. Early planting wasn't possible. I think it was July when things finally got underway...
We were also heartbroken and unmotivated at first. I was challenged trying to convince myself that 'gardening is therapeutic', and 'gardening heals' ~ things I've said and written about for years, but wasn't put to the test until last year. I didn't believe it could, or would heal or make our pain go away. I still don't. Some hurts can't be healed by my garden spade. But, the garden spade can certainly be a distraction, and it eventually was (along with my camera).

Gromit guarding his garden, July 17, 2010
Once we had the little vegetable bed prepared, planting all our quick kitchen favourites: zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs we cook with most importantly basil, (and R's new lavender plant) came together nicely.

There's a new John Davis Explorer Rose in the corner by the door with my tallest trellis anticipating a glorious year ahead. Hats off to my former J.D. rose, who lived to be placed in this spot - sort of. He was one of the first plants in my first garden, surviving every move we made, but just didn't want to bounce back this time.

The new John Davis will entertain me with me with it's red-rosy buds and precious pink petals, and will be neighbours to some (just some) of the garlic we're going to plant. There's chamomile to one side, which I'm hoping will return this year, and peppers caspsicum (of various kinds/degrees of heat) to the other.
This year we hope to grow more capsicum, more heat, for more salsa, and roasted red pepper soup. There will also have to be more cucumbers for the dogs, more basil (perhaps more pots), and better management of the zucchini vine. Spending three prime weeks of the growing season in Australia (in winter) doesn't jive well with training vines, so I may try pleading with our dog-sitter (who "doesn't eat vegetables") to give it a hand.

I've been making my lists, gathered from 2011 seed catalogs which have been arriving since the autumn of 2010. Every journal has scattered lists, some organized with page numbers and others with doodles mixed up in garden plans.

I wonder if R will catch on to the theme(s) of some of my choices...
Beets also included will be Touchstone Gold and Merlin. Eight Ball summer squash, and Vervain Verbena officinalis, Barbeque Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis (in a pot, to move indoors), and Cupid Grape Tomatoes. Themes are the easiest way to weed though the bazillion choices available.

I prepared myself for the task of tackling the front yard which was, um.. "over-grown" by drinking wine on the balcony looking down on it. We spend a lot of time on the front balcony in summer, catching the breeze sweeping up the street from Lake Superior five blocks away. The view below matters.
I remember having one large bottle of water and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the steps while I worked to weed through the neglected garden. It took three days, and then some. By the end of summer it looked like this:
Someone in a previous post commented asking why I didn't bring the garden right to the edge of the sidewalk. I've been wanting to answer that. The reason is that this is a fairly busy sidewalk. It's not so much a busy street (for being downtown) but has a lot of foot traffic year round, and is ploughed in the winter. With all that comes damage. I suspect plants would suffer near the edge, not that the garden edge couldn't be something else. It would be much nicer with a Common/Woolly Thyme cover, maybe with some Ajuga and seasonal Periwinkle, but for the time being it's grass.

2010 Garden ~ New Beginnings

My new journals, gifts from my mother - one from Stockholm (the purse/camera bag sized blue one) and another beautifully crafted sketchbook by Alison Kendall. The dragonfly is not the kind of sketchbook I would throw in my garden bag and bring to the plot or greenhouse, so will be reserved for couch and backyard doodles.

The blue pocket journal has been useful for doodling ideas on the go. Our community garden plot will be used for big root things like potatoes, beets, carrots, and some brussel sprouts for Hannah, chard for soup and red cabbage for apples.
We didn't take a community plot last year, which I regret, but I'm not going to get lost in what didn't happen and look ahead to a well organized season. I've already talked to Scott about my plans (thank goodness for the coffee shop run-ins). I'm sure plans will change from time to time when I'm in the greenhouse.

I can not wait to start planting - in the ground, but in the greenhouse more. I can't wait to breath that air. There's a big part of me that is terrified of the months ahead, not knowing if I can physically do it. I've been trying to focus on this being it's own greenhouse experience, and not compare it to years past. My spine won't stand up to what I used to do. I simply have to adjust what it is that I do, and I'm okay with that.