Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hillcrest rainbow

29 June 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

so many trees :)

Mountain Ash along the back fence
Silver Maple budding
We've got three different Maple trees in our yard, two Silver, three Norway, and one Red ..the Norway's are definitely my favourite - their lime leaves stand out beautifully among the greens all around.
I'm loving having so many trees to watch in this yard. :)

empty beds and new beginnings

It's been a slow process with me functioning at less than half power, and unable to do any of the heavy lifting, but thanks to Edie (and Lewis) and The Lawn Barber (for shrub removal), and my Bill Martin's landscaping crew (for turning the beds), finally the gardens around the house and under the oak tree are empty of boring shrubs and ready to plant. 

Last weekend Rohan did the manual labour and planted a number of things we've had waiting, (then replanted them after I decided I wasn't happy with my first choice of locations). We're on hold until we can get some more triple mix into the beds - especially Finn's garden, which is very rocky and dry. It's not the worst soil, but not the best..., a little amendment never hurts. 

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with this small oval under the caragana near the driveway. Maybe just some thymes for cover. The caragana actually stands nicely on its own, and soon enough we'll have a vegetable garden not far away.

Under the oak tree is the largest space - approximately 18 x 16 feet. Closest to the pea shrub along the south side is where I want to plant a row of Hansa roses, my mother's favourite. They get big, and might eventually be able to take over those boring pea shrubs. My hope is that their scent will sweep along with the lake wind and fill our whole yard with my mother's childhood memories of the roses along the Massachusetts beaches. 
Tulips in spring, daylilies of summer, sedums and coneflowers in autumn among many others will move into this space. I'm curious as any to watch it develop.  

The work in progress around the back side of the house is also going to be a development over time. Peonies, foxgloves, liatris, monarda, shasta daisies and who knows who else. I haven't mapped anything - well, I have, then it changes, and changes again..., so I think I'll just have to wait and see. 

We've already added the Tinkerbelle lilac on standard tucked in behind the ninebarks, giving a little extra height to the side garden. A Flowering Almond and Southerland's Gold Elder and Jude the Obscure David Austin Rose are in near the cedar. Behind the cedar tucked close to the door we planted a Vancouver Sea Breeze Clematis, which so far looks to be thriving. I really hope it takes because the blooms in photos I've seen are the sweets shade of pale blue, and I'd love to see that each time I step out that door.
More roses, Mordens for sure, a bird bath and butterfly flowers will fill in the spaces. And a hummingbird feeder outside the window...
I'm liking this garden already.

Along the south side of the yard there is no garden..., yet. I've dug a small bit, and will continue bit by bit until I reach the back lane. Dr. Ballantyne used to plant impatiens along here, which I'll continue tucked under the hostas, pulmonaria, astilbe, goat's beard, tiarella, bleeding hearts, and solomon seal along with the existing ferns. This one will take years to establish, but the end result will be a lush line of shade plants weaving along the fence.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The weekend Rohan and I ran away to Lutsen ...

on our way to dinner
I had no idea how important it would be, there was no plan - we had decided the night before, after weeks of tension and sadness, and booked our room on a whim. I've never even been down the road to the Lutsen Resort, I've only ever gone up the road to the ski hills. When we arrived I was certain I was in paradise.

The beginning of May is always going to be difficult, it will always remind me of loss. Every May from now until forever I am going to run away to this place, because what I found there was more healing than I could have ever imagined.

where the Poplar River
meets Lake Superior
and the Lutsen Resort beach
Back in our room Rohan slept.., he slept when we arrived, was early to bed, late to rise..., slept most of the next day after our hike; it was probably the first time since we lost Finn that he really slept. At home he's too busy distracting himself, fighting the sadness, and nearly killing himself in the process. He's worn out, skinny, and consumed by a very private grief. I hate seeing what it's doing to him. I didn't realise until we were there in paradise that maybe he needed this even more than I did.

If there was ever a time we needed help, a little hope, anything ... this was it. We're beat. Grief for our child is so much more powerful than us.

Our one full day away was reserved for a river walk along the Cascade River. Of all the trails in the area we could have chose, we found the one with protected White Pines, and for the first time in years I felt my father. Some might think that sounds ridiculous, but I don't.. I truly believe the people we lose stay with us. I used to sense my father around Hannah's crib - nowhere else, just at the foot of her crib. I can't explain the feeling, it's peaceful, and just ..there.. I felt him that day in the forest. As if he read my post from the week before missing our walks along the Current River counting the White Pines along the way. For the first time since we lost Finn I felt peaceful...the churning stopped - briefly, but it stopped. I didn't feel as weighted and the tightness in my chest released..., just enough.

While Rohan carefully chose subjects for his photos, I ran around the forest like a kid in a candy store grabbing shots of every step along the way. I tried a few times to get a full circle perspective of my camera on the ground, waterfall before me, and trees towering over, but it didn't really work. The sun kept hiding behind clouds and no matter how long I held my breath and waited it still screwed up the exposure - and of course my panos were wonky because I haven't mastered that down/up thing yet.
I have mastered the foot selfie. I'm not a selfie headshot kind of person. I prefer my face behind the lens, but my feet - they show where I'm standing, and to me that's all that matters.
although I didn't know it at the time
this is the first foot and "belly shot"
of my pregnancy
with Hannah and Finn's
new baby brother or sister
I photographed my feet in the forest, in Lake Superior, on the wood floors of the resort, and in the best bathtub I've ever floated in. I watched the moon rise and listened to the waves slosh up against the shore below our cabin. I felt calm, and I think Rohan did too (all the sleeping helped..) ..and maybe that's what was needed for a miracle. I was already pregnant - just, ...this baby started growing in peace among the giant pines and on the shore. This baby was with me when I wrote Finn's name with rocks.
We have a long way to go together, but with all this powerful energy brought to me on this trip I have faith in a way I'm sure wouldn't be had we not run away. With new visualisations for meditation, and the memories of this beautiful place now charged with new meaning it will always be a very special paradise.

Thanks Dad.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

hope 2

tulips with a view
4 June 2014


The tulips under the oak tree bloomed yellow, 
"the colour of hope" a good friend said of them. 
I'll take that.

delicate blue stars shining

As shrubs are one by one removed from Finn's garden, making way for planting for him, we have appearing below his window a small cluster of Chionodoxa 'Snow Glories' or 'Glories of the Snow'. These little blue stars were already among the bulbs I've ordered, and will always be the first blooms each spring.

Dear Garden Diary,

I've finally had to break down and hire a landscaper to take the shrubs out. I offered them free for weeks, and only one person came. A few will go next door, Edie and Katie will take some to redo their hedge line, and Marie's sister Leeann will take a whole group to start her new yard. I'm happy they're being saved, and finding homes with good people. As much as I wanted to rip this garden out, I can't just go around killing perfectly good shrubs.

As for what I'm going to plant and where ...that's a good question. I know what I want, I'm just in the process of making sure I place things as best as I can for these wacky top of the ridge weather conditions. Wind, again, is going to dictate this garden more than I like..., sigh, but there's not much I can do. Strategic planting, the buddy system, that's what I'm counting on.
A couple of lilac have followed me home recently after a conversation with Anne next door lamenting the loss of the lilac grove in the lot behind which was once Dr. Ballantyne's garden. Apparently before the McMansion was built no thought was put into preserving the lilacs, so they were all mashed before anyone could save a few. I'll never understand that kind of "development"..

The destruction of mature trees to build and plant new trees was the theory yelled at me - literally yelled at me, by Rajni A when I called to ask why the condo development next to Maplecrest Tower was taking down mature trees on the Maplecrest side of the property line. She insisted they were on the side of the new condos (which they weren't), and that they were "in the way." It didn't matter to her - absolute ignorance to how long it takes to grow a mature tree, or to develop natural green spaces in urban areas. We should be preserving them, building around them, not destroying them in the process. I don't understand the mentality of developers in this city.
Rajni went on to tell me how beautiful these condos would be, and how the landscaping would improve the view.. (yes, because un-naturally placed leafless trees, and shrubs from nurseries really compare to mature evergreens). She said, "you just wait, in a few years it will be gorgeous." ...completely self centered and thoughtless... my mother didn't have "a few years" and in the meantime her tranquil view was destroyed. Rajni and the developer were completely self serving. I don't like those kind of people.

So, along with roses, Dr. Ballantyne's garden will come back to this space with lilacs - Madame Lemoine (a double flowering white), Tinkerbelle (pink, and a weird hybrid standard at that- so unlike me), and of course a few Beauty of Moscow (white-pinkish). I've also learned from a neighbour (um, can't remember his name...) that Dr. B used to plant impatiens all along the south end of the property. Though I have plans to add a border bursting with lush shade plants, at their feet will be impatiens, as it should be.