Friday, February 14, 2014


Gardening. I do think about it, and what I might do with this new yard of ours. I think that in about twenty-five years we'll have established, somewhat, a garden carefully planted and sort of sustainable. These things always change, as we know.

I'd like to know more about the history of the yard. I know that Dr. Ballantyne kept a rose garden in the NE corner... that is something worth researching.

The current arrangement is ...weird. No, not weird... it's as if someone used some kind of landscape software that mechanically plunked perfectly shaped perfectly boring shrubs in a perfectly boring pattern. Yeah, it looks nice, neat... too neat. Definitely not the jungle style of amygardenerd's blazed trail of past gardens around town.

The only thing that is good about it, in my very good - the trees. I'm in love with every tree on this property. Again, somebody carefully planned the planting of these trees, but this time I approve. A few maples, a very busy Mountain Ash, and that oak tree out front that has been the focus of my meditation when I'm trying to remind myself to breathe. In spring I'll start documenting them, start doodling some more maps of our outdoor space. I've never had so many trees - so many beautiful trees - to be responsible for, which makes me feel a little bit excited.

The trees are all nicely placed - with the exception of a little scraggly (ash?) out front. See, I really don't know my trees well enough. I have to get better at that. In autumn their colours put on a flawless performance, everyone in tune and complimenting the seat next to them. Spring should be just as good. Understandable how Vivaldi was inspired.

I'm going to call on Urban Greenscapes and the local plantcycle to help find new homes for any shrubs that are removed. Because I'm not entirely sure what the plan is yet - or even a semi plan, or a clue.. I'm not going to do any massive transformation of any bed. There are enough open spaces in the existing beds - large spaces that were filled (dotted perfectly) with yellow marigolds and random wispy cosmos unable to stand up in the wind up here on the hill.
I have photos somewhere of the perfect grids of marigolds, but I really don't want to face my photos folder right now - I'll did those up someday for a laugh.

I've been meaning to call Laura (hi..) .. I'm hoping she can help me with some division and relocation. There are some plants (okay, a lot of plants) at Pearl that I want to have, but I also want to preserve what's there. There are a lot of friends who could use a good division or quartering (that sounds horrible) - and if I could face the house maybe we could organize a plant sale.. *shrug*...
I really don't think I'll be able to go back there until I can see the house full with another family. That awful swirling dizzy feeling swooshes over me and through my body when I think of the air that morning, the last time I was there....the trees, Heather wishing congratulations through Rohan's driver side window as we raced off to the hospital in labour with Finn. The last time I was there, Finn was still safe inside me.
I don't want to see the house empty. Everything about it confuses my memory-reality-mixup in my head - was I really pregnant? Did all that really happen?
I can't go back to the house. Not now...I don't know when..

I'm going to bring my John Davis rose, of course, ...though I don't know where to put him yet. This new space isn't going to be as kind to him as his current space. The problem is, his current space is almost a little too kind, and he can get a little carried away. A garden person/family may not mind, but I suspect most people don't want long reach thorny branches poking into their back door.
It's a lot cooler up here, and the damn wind is effing ...windy.. I'm going to swear a lot about the wind I suspect.
I'm hoping to use roses around the yard as an extra barrier to keep critters both in and out. I'll take Marie Bugnet from Pearl too - I know nobody wants all those teeny thorns. I don't mind the thorns - they can be useful. There's that Morden Sunrise rose (still in his pot, I believe) and Morden Blush, neither very useful but definitely pretty. Front garden beds? They'll have to be tucked in somewhere warm against the house to survive up here.

New rose bushes with replace some of the boring shrubs, big ones, fragrant ones - the ones that remind me of my mother because they reminded her of the beaches of Massachusetts where she played as a young girl. Hansa for one, but I know there are others..., I'll find them.

Bigger space, bigger beds... means bigger plants. Dwarf varieties have filled my other gardens, this one is going to get some big guns. Solomon's Seal, Goat's Beard, hostas of ridiculous size, they'll all be joining us.

The backyard will be dog run territory - literally - enough space for them to truly run. That was another of the many reasons we wanted this house. How do you reconcile a love for dogs, gardens, family space, and still live downtown in walking distance to all the good stuff and the lake? Space was a big issue for us.
Before we moved in we worried we would alienate all our new neighbours. We'd be those crazy dog people with a poopy yard. Little did we know our new neighbours were worrying the same in reverse. Dog rescues to one side, dogs to the other, dogs behind, dogs down the lane - and as it turn out we have the yard to host them all. It's doggyville up here.
Our dogs are happier than they've ever been. It's like a little Tree Farm out there, complete with wide open spaces, and bushes to hide in to leap out on to your basset brother. They're having fun.
Most of the back yard will always be reserved for dog space (and skating rinks).

I'll keep my gardens closer to home.
You would think with all this space I'd have thought of a good place for some vegetables. I thought I had, but the wind blew that one away. The peanut shaped bed near the sunroom boasts nothing more than a cotone aster and a large rock (we like the rock)..., and not that I have anything against the reliable contone aster..., boring. This guy might keep his spot for the mere reason he's about the only one who can stand up to the wind tunnel that frequently, sometimes violently, blows through there. The marigolds and cosmos certainly didn't like it.
Low growing succulents might like the space - maybe some more rocks.., the pretty amethyst rocks Rohan put in at Pearl.

There's a bed at the back... there's a caragana in the corner, and I recall a bunch of hostas. Not much else.. I didn't look to closely before, so we'll have to see what comes up in spring. That bed would be (possibly) the warmest and most protected for a vegetable bed - but it's so close to dog territory it would be at risk for both the sneaky pea and tomato eating basset hound, but also the icky thought of pee seepage in the soil around it.
Let's keep the food away from that, okay.

I'm probably just going to pillage that bed and turn it over to the dogs.

If anything actually gets done I'll be surprised. I can't seem to get anything done these days. Small steps they all say. Don't get defeated. My body aches, it's sick from the grief, I still can't digest anything, and I'm in knots from being so tense and hunched over crying, I'm all twisted up. Sarah did some pretty wild acupressure yesterday to try to untangle some of the knots, but I think some new, bigger ones developed overnight.

Planting would probably do me some good, and I'm sure I'll find myself back in the back of the greenhouse digging in the dirt at some point. Maybe I'll just go for the ladies, wine-o'clock. Maybe a bit of both. Maybe not at all. I dunno....

I'm just not really sure where to direct my garden thoughts. I've thought often about what Heather said when she was here last week - about her birthday tree planting fundraising. It would be nice to do something similar but in memory of Finn. Heather just wanted to plant a tree, but her friends helped her plant ten - boulevard and public trees, carefully placed near people who will care for them all over Thunder Bay. How nice is that?
I'd like to plant some trees for Finn.

I think this year will be mostly about the trees. Trees and roses. Sounds like a good place to start.

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