Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is it Really Summer?

Today is yet another cool, rainy & gray day. It really doesn't feel like the end of June & the veggie gardens are reflecting their shared disgust in the weather - they aren't doing very much of anything!

But at least some things are in bloom:

The photos shared today were taken a few days ago during a brief hit of sunshine.

I have borage volunteers in one of my deck pots & they are loving life! I keep tossing seeds around the yard in the hopes that some of them will decide to make the yard their home, but for some reason, it's always in pots that I find them taking hold.

At least it's close by the house so I can remember to run out & pinch some blooms or young leaves to add to my salads.

The orange lilies are popping open - all over the place. Am loving the vibrant hit of colour in this season of green-green grass & pink & purple flowers. I'm hoping that over the years, the lilies will grow taller than their meager 8 inches so they jump out a bit more to passers-by.

Before I head off to work, I try to do a quick & quiet walk-about the yard & gardens to see any changes or to perhaps catch a bit of light (sunshine?) before I disappear for the rest of the day indoors.

I'm in love with these mullein. Not your typical 6 foot high, fuzzy leaf, yellow flowering plant. A hybrid no doubt. But they add a nice 'Victorian' touch to the landscape.

One positive note about the veggie gardens is the emergence of some bush bean blooms. FINALLY!! I actually started these indoors & transplanted to the gardens a long while ago. They didn't like it, so I've stuck in more seeds here & there (which aren't doing so hot either). These plants were/are being crowded & shadowed by my potatoes (which just meant I was going to be eating some new potatoes sooner than planned).

But, as slow as they are to recover, the beans seem to want to produce. I love the colours - have almost forgotten what bean blossoms looked like I've had such poor luck with beans over the last few years.

Can't wait to taste them - even if it's only a handful this year.

But we could do with some warmer weather. I think it's only about 12 degrees out right now & some nights we still put on the wood stove. Brrrr!!

(ps - I just heard that a few of the ski hills out this way are opening up for Canada Day tomorrow as they are still covered in snow! First time ever! Can't you imagine going out on July 1st for some downhill skiing?!!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Things are Popping up!

Technically it is summer, but last night I had to put the fireplace on it was so chilly. Most plants don't seem to mind though.

My front deck flower bed is looking stately. I hope to be able to clamber in there to save some foxglove seeds as those do really well out here & are ignored by the deer.

Hidden in that flower bed are some stunning red lilies. I hope over the years they will grow taller so that we can see them without having to move some of the other plant material out of the way!

I've also got a lot of cute primroses tucked in & around things. I really do like these red one & hope to spread them around to fill in other holes that pop up. Hope they survive the winter rains as they are perched precariously on the top of the bed.

The orange lilies are also starting to open. This is the first year they are blooming as I received them as a gift last fall. Not scented, but pretty stunning.

I do love lupins too. I'm more fond of these pink ones than of the purple, so hopefully I can save some seeds & start more around the yard.

Woe to the garden foe - he just doesn't get that he's not welcome & thankfully he didn't notice most of the flowers I just shared with you. I'm actually not sure what he's munching on in the gardens these days...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Deck Tomato!

Yesterday I finally saw some progress on one of my deck tomatoes.

 This variety is an early bush called 'Taxi' is has yellow cherry-type fruit. Can't wait to see more develop as I should have been eating them by now, but the cool spring has delayed a lot of plants this year.

I have 5 (one more off to the left of the photo) tomatoes on my deck. 3 are early bush varieties & 2 are vines that will produce later in the season.

It's a daily morning & afternoon ritual to remove the plastic bags & then put them back on. Well, I got lazy 2 days ago & left the bags off for the night & again last night. I notice it rained during the last 12 hours so I hope this doesn't upset the plants too much as I know they don't like having their leaves wet. I knew I should have moved them around the side of the house under the eaves!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's a Jungle...Inside!!

I ran out to the greenhouse this morning, just before I'm heading off to work - you know, work is getting in the way of gardening these days...

Anyway - my greenhouse is looking very jungle-y...

I really wish I had washed the plastic sides this spring as I 'just' noticed they are covered in pollen. Well, guess I'll add that to my mid-season to-do list. At least the outside will get done & maybe I'll do the inside in the winter, unless I get growing winter crops.

I also realized it's been a while since I've attempted a self-portrait. Now I know why... I look like I'm in the midst of a private joke. :)

Actually, the tomatoes are what make me laugh - they are up past my chin!! I think they grew over a foot in the last 36 hours after I gave them some compost tea. I just didn't notice because the peas are in the way!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Early Morning Walk-About

- borage up on the deck -

- firepoker -

- front deck flower bed -

- lupin bed -

- mullen -

- purple-white iris -

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Praise of Duct-tape

This is 'Frankenmower'. Each year - well, each time it's used almost - it needs a bit of tinkering & readjustment. Yesterday, I had to re-jigger the patch job the hubby did with the left side of the handle.

Sooo I'm an agressive mower - I do a lot of landscaping with my mower. I'm actually surprised the wheels are still attached with all the roots & rocks I get tangled in! But the handle just wouldn't stay attached yesterday - even with the section of re-bar & the hose clamps & the zap straps & the electrical tape....

I grabbed the roll of duct-tape, which must be about a million years old because it's really stretchy & sticky & ripped kinda easy. I actually had to stop twice during my exercise to re-attach the handle. The 2nd time, I tightened the hose clamp, which had shaken loose, & then enclosed it within the duct tape! Let's see it shake loose next time! Ha!

Next on the list for poor 'Frank' is to sharpen the blades. Running over rocks, shaving down lumps in the lawn & plowing through brambles takes its toll on the blades & I can see the grass doesn't appreciate their dullness.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Laws of Gardening

On those rare days when I'm not outside, or I really need to do research & get distracted, I read a lot of other people's blogs about gardening. I'm enjoying reading Gardening Jones & all the responses from others who read it.

One particular post caught my eye & I've asked if I can share it with you. The proper link back to Gardening Jones & the article I'm sharing is: Jones' Laws of Gardening

1.    If something can grow wrong, it will.

2.    A passing shower, desperately needed, will do just that.

3.    When in doubt, if you water your garden it will rain.
a.    Conversely, if you don’t, it won’t.

4.  If your seeds don’t come up when they should, plant more.
a.    The first seeds will then come up immediately, followed closely by the second batch.
b.    This is especially true when it comes to zucchini.

5.    If you do not label your seedling trays, one of 3 things will happen:
a.    Your trays will get moved without your presence.
b.    Your trays will get moved by you, but someone else will be blamed.
c.     You will claim that your trays have been moved, because otherwise you surely would have remembered what every tray contained.

6.    If you carefully label your trays, one of 3 things will happen:
a.    You will forget what your shorthand means.
b.    You will meticulously transplant your seedlings, and forget to label the new pots.
c.     You will successfully get your transplants into the ground, but forget what you planted where.

7.    A thoughtfully planned-out garden is just asking for trouble.

8.    Never underestimate the combined weight of any vining squash.

9.    Weeds are very good at growing next to a vegetable plant they resemble.
a.    Rest assured that when you pull it out, it will have some potting soil attached to the roots.

10. Never direct seed before a heavy rain. Nature can move rows.

11. A watched green tomato will never ripen. Something else will get to it first.

 I've got a few of my own that I thought I would add:

12. Just when you think you've become an 'expert' in growing something, someone comes along who breaks all the rules & has better success than you.

13. Whatever you love to grow for food, something else finds just as tastey & will not be foiled by the grandest deterrent schemes (bears, deer, birds, bugs).


14. Mother Nature's sense of humour is savage - plus She usually gets her way in garden designing.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mini Creepy Crawlie

Out for a wander last night to 'talk to my plants' & I happened upon this mini slug on my lupins. Not much bigger than the nail on my pinkie finger. Wonder what sort of damage it will do to the lupins?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rainy Day(s)

I really should call it 'Rain Season' as it sometimes doesn't feel like we will ever get sunny weather... Of course, I'm writing this on the day after a dull & dreary day - but at least I got out there for a look around & was amazed by how much wanted to jump up & bloom!

The gunnera just might decide to become monsters this year - well, at least this one, which is a 'cutting' we got last year. I recommend for those who are interested in growing these tropical plants to get a cutting from someone (people are always looking at getting rid of a section or 2 in February or March). We bought one from a nursery - not too expensive at only $15 - but it is very wimpy compared to this one. I might even have to resort to giving it fertilizer for the next couple of years til it settles in!!


But I was wondering if gunnera have separate male & female flower stalks. These 2 are very dissimilar - again, add this to my list of 'need to research' items...

The currants are hit or miss with me - except for my neighbour's of which I will go & pick towards the end of the currant season just because I'm so upset that mine don't produce. These are outside the deer fencing & I'm surprised they are still on the shrub. I'm not sure they like the cold weather, but it's good to see the shrub can actually produce fruit. Now, ripening it will become the next challenge...

Mystery shrubby-tree. I'll have to dig out my West Coast plant i.d. book & sit down for a talk with this one. I have high hopes that its some sort of wild apple or crab apple, but I don't recall if there are fruit on the shrubby-tree. Than again, this is the first year I've really noticed the flowers...

I was given a rhododendron last year from a friend who was doing some massive landscaping renovations. I'm not sure how old the plant is, but it stands only about 5 feet tall. I did actually research on how to plant it & have babied it over the winter. It's got quite a few sickly looking leaves, so I was surprised to see that it decided to put out a flower! I do enjoy this colour - very subtle. Looks like another plant that might need a few years of fertilizing to recover from the transplanting shock.

Valerian - I thought it was rue, don't know why! I spend my winter hours creating maps & garden plans for how I will plant in the spring. I take these maps out with me when I do the planting, but I think I get carried away & deviate from the map & forget to write it down. I also throw out all my empty seed packages before I take the time to record any pertinent information. Hence, I lose plants.

Now, I have no idea why I would plant Valerian (other than for a sleep aid, but I'm not about to start experimenting on myself with that!!) - it's also like catnip for kitties. I thought that I had planted something that was a cat DETERRENT!! Maybe that's why I was calling it rue... I don't know, I don't recall & I can't find my notes from last year - I think I threw them out...

I thought I had lost all my flag iris after transplanting them like crazy over the last couple of years. But they are just very late in sending out blooms. I found my blue patch yesterday & today I will go in search of the white ones. I think they are hiding in the grass & under some brambles...

I'm so glad I ventured outside yesterday during a break in the rain - I found the yellow iris in bloom! I absolutely love them!! I know I moved a whole bunch of them around the yard last year, so I wasn't sure if I would see any in bloom this year. They are very tall & have many blossoms on the stalks. With the sunshine today, I think more will open up for me.

Can't wait to get out there & get my hands & knees dirty!