Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Garden Diary,

Rows are being planted... The photo above was taken a few days ago. The first row is peas - since then I've added bird netting to the poles for the pea tendrils to climb. The next row will be leeks, which I will bring home from the greenhouse soon. Next to that I've planted beets, then a double row of carrots. Beans run along the curve of the fence.
Peas and beans are in easy reach for dog treats. :)
The west side garden is coming up nicely. Geraniums are full, hostas are peeking through, irises are sturdy. This year I'm dotting pots of butter yellow petunias around to compliment the blues and pinks that are planted in abundance.
I've also added a "swan yellow & pink" Aquilegia to the west side beside the house. I'll never get enough of these dainty flowers.

In other garden news, Claire has found her way under the back steps (by stomping across newly planted lavender and osteospermum. It's hard to get mad at someone so cute.
R might be closing the steps sooner than expected. ;)

Morning Glory

I suspect I'll be taking a lot of photos of these morning glories this season. :)

sunshine, blue sky, and tree leaves

It's a beautiful day today, and with plenty of reasons to put my feet up I'll take this opportunity to enjoy the view from our backyard deck. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

ready, set...

Clifford wonders
why are there so many fences around me?
our vegetable garden
24 May 2013
Rows are ready, peas are in, next to be planted in the large bed: carrots, beets, leeks, kale, cucumbers, zucchini, beans; already up: asparagus. In the small bed: tomatoes & hot peppers. Herbs throughout. Perennials rising, containers sorting themselves out...
Middle "yard" still a mess, waiting for paving stones.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dear Garden Diary

Morning Glory
at Bill Martin's Nurseryland
I adopted one these established morning glory plants (the one I photographed in fact) not knowing what I'd do with it.. but I couldn't resist. I brought one to my mother's last year and tried to train it along her balcony. It didn't like it there; the wind there was too strong - but I have to give the little vine credit, it tried. 
I gave Laura my favourite blue delphiniums yesterday after admitting (finally) to myself that we simply
don't have the space for them in our garden. Perhaps my clematis will now have enough room to know, grow. I thought the blue of the morning glories will make up for the lack of blue delphiniums. I planted them inside the vegetable bed to ramble along the fence.

I'd like to waddle on down to the greenhouse now - there are things I need: bird netting to train the peas on, more string, sunflower seeds ...[I will not have sunflower envy this year gazing down and across at Laura's garden.), ..and of course, more flowers.
I could be helping - making cuttings, maybe even planting a bit..., but my back oh my back is so incredibly sore. I've gone from sitting in a hospital room around the clock to trying to catch up on garden work, and making up for household neglect.., not to mention nesting syndrome is in full bloom. I want to do everything, but my watermelon belly says no.
my watermelon baby
23.5 weeks
The greenhouse smells great, especially the vegetable and herb greenhouse. We've already adopted Grape and Early Girl tomato plants, still needing a Roma and maybe another. I'm trying so hard to keep the garden at a manageable level this year, and only plant what we will use (so we're not giving away boxes of tomatoes on our front step every second day). They'll all live in the small vegetable bed beside the porch - a hot bed, and most protected space in the yard. I'm expecting a glorious crop. 
Thanks to the addition of a towering herb planter, most of this year's herb garden is already under-way,  leaving a little more space in the bed. Other than oodles of basil I don't think we need any more herbs. Some lavender varieties are waiting to be added here and there - for the bees.
garlic chives, osteopermum, Munstead Lavender
and me
in the small vegetable bed
Our asparagus is coming up. They're the first to rise in the large vegetable bed. I'm so excited to eat them. I haven't quite settled on a plan for this year's large vegetable bed, and I'm beginning to assume it's just going to come together as I plant. Two rows of peas are now in, beans to follow, carrots and beets too. We need kale and cucumbers, and some space reserved for a zucchini mound. The cucumbers I plan to train skyward again - that worked well last year as a small space saver. This will be my first year with this garden without interruption. I'll be too far along with this pregnancy to travel to Australia this year, and though my heart is broken over that I'm happy to have the time to dedicate to the garden. Hopefully I can keep it under control.

happy pansies
at Bill Martin's Nurseryland

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Moon

the moom
16 May 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Pregnant Gardener

my pregnant belly
where do I begin?
I've had plenty of time to doodle and make garden plans for 2013; April snow storms and May flurries have bought some much needed time to make my move. Now I'm caught between continuing the clean up and getting down to planting. Pacing myself and my growing belly is going to be this year's greatest challenge. 

Life & Death

Patricia Vervoort (nee Mulcahy)
age 21
It's been one week since my mother passed away. She took her last breaths as the sun rose on the 8th of May, 2013. As she left the morning light filled her hospice room with warm pink light. I held her hand.

As inevitable this day was, predicted three years ago when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, I still couldn't believe it happened - I couldn't believe I was there to witness it happen. I don't want to believe she's gone.

She was still living on her own at home (with a lot of help and a lot of difficulty) at the beginning of March. Her turn for the worse seems so fast now, in retrospect ... six long weeks in the hospice, two previous weeks at the regional hospital - those days felt so long, now seem so few. I was with her every day and am so thankful for that. Those days are precious.
9 April 2013
Her last few weeks were the hardest. It was heartbreaking to watch her slowly lose her faculties, lose her ability to fight it, imagine her feelings and frustration. Our one-sided conversations made me miss her voice and valued opinion so much more.

10 April 2013
Our six weeks in hospice saw us go from sharing our favourite tangy coleslaw from Maltese and watching Jeopardy together, to me sitting in silence staring out the window on to the harbour, watching the icebreakers and first lakers of the season, watching the sunrise. In early April she was still raising her eyebrows at me, and using her pointy finger of derision when teased. By mid April, though she couldn't say much any more she could still smile when shown some of the cute baby clothes I've purchased. By early May I was holding my breath while watching hers.
During her final days I sat beside her writing her obituary. I kept thinking about how it was the first major work of writing that I would do without her advice. She's been my best editor, my best source for information and direction. She had wanted to proof read her obituary... I'm sure she would have thought what I wrote was too much, not modest as she was, and too expensive to print; although I think if she could read it now she would humbly approve.

Today I'm sitting writing this at out dining room table which is nearly buried under flowers from her
service. Flowers from friends, relatives, former students of my mother - all with sympathy cards attached. They're all beautiful, all so depressing.
Beautifully depressing sums up the last two months perfectly. During a recent prenatal appointment my doctor kept referring to my mother's death as a beautiful thing; at the time I did not agree, did not understand..., now I suppose I can say that it was. It was a beautiful moment, surreal, an incredible event to be so entwined in. I watched her, felt her, take her last breath. I'll never forget the light.

16 April 2013
I'm 22.5 weeks pregnant now. Feeling the growing life inside me while my mother's life slipped away is an overwhelming gift. I understand that now. It doesn't make losing her now seem fair; how am I supposed to become a new mother again without her? I feel like an orphan - a pregnant orphan. Without this baby I don't know how I would manage. This baby is holding me together like nothing else can - just like Hannah did the year my father passed away.

I don't think it has all sunk it yet - we've been so busy making arrangements, settling her estate, visiting with lawyers, accountants, preparing her service. Today, this afternoon to be exact, is my first alone time in weeks, and the first time I've had to start begin absorbing how much life has changed in such a short time.

I had decided I wasn't going to anything this afternoon. 'Put my feet up and get lost in my thoughts' was my plan. Instead I got lost in one of my mother's travel journals - found this morning among her belongings. It's documents her trips to Bhutan in 2008 and to the Mediterranean in 2009. She wrote as she explored - sometimes in the air, sometimes on buses... scribbling notes on everything from her step count to descriptions of people she met, sights she saw, architecture, landscape, food... - everything. Her handwriting has always been so impeccable, but in moments throughout this journal, as in her final months, it becomes scribble as she travels along the bumpy road.

She lived a full life. She learned as much as she could, travelled as far as she could, loved passionately, fought for what she believed in, and challenged herself every step of the way. She has left me with so much. I know Hannah has a memory full of her Nana, her lessons, mannerisms, what it was like to travel with her. She's lucky, and grateful. Now I'm daunted by the task of ensuring the baby inside me knows the woman who raised me.

...and on that note, more flowers just arrived...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day, four days after my mother passed away

me and my mother
summer 1973
me and my mother
29 February 2012