Thursday, December 16, 2021

So Darn Exciting!

I'll be doing a post on the changes to the veg garden in the new year but there is one big change happening as we speak that I am SO darn excited about.  After 10 years of dealing with rickety, makeshift fencing supported by u-posts and a plywood "gate", we are finally ditching the lousy chicken wire and having an honest to goodness fence put in!

These openings are for two 8' double gates that will swing completely open
giving me easy access when dealing with compost, mulch, etc.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Colour In the Fall Garden

I was having my coffee in the garden yesterday morning - a habit that I've recently adopted, rain or shine - when I became inspired to document the colours that I'm seeing in the garden right now.  While we normally think of deep oranges, yellows and reds when we speak of fall colour - and indeed there are a lot of those mixed in here - there are also a lot of other colours splashed around the borders.

Trees are usually top of mind when it comes to fall colour but this post focuses on perennials, although I couldn't help including a couple of my favourite annuals and shrubs as well.

P.S.  I'm really trying to up my game when it comes to including proper botanical names (à la Kris from Late to the Garden Party - she is the botanical name goddess!) as it really does ensure we are all talking apples and apples vs oranges, if you get my meaning.  And while I may never refer to a nasturtium as a Tropaeolum - even if I could pronounce it 😄- I 'm going to try my hardest to at least mention the botanical name in my blog posts.

So here we go - first up is one of the biggest pleasures in the garden right now - Seven Son Flower.  This cultivar is Proven Winners "Temple of Bloom":

Heptacodium miconioides (Seven Son Flower)
'Temple of Bloom'

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Overwintering Caladium

It's been a minute, hasn't it?  In the past couple of months, we've been busy getting the new vegetable garden ready...and, as usual, it's taken a lot longer than we anticipated.  But we are almost at the finish line.  So exciting!

11 new beds plus a good 3" layer
of chunky wood chips in the paths....

We also decided to take a much needed vacation at the beginning of September - and we all know how that goes.  A one week vacation actually eats up 3 weeks when you take into account the amount of time spent getting ready for the vacation, going on the vacation, then catching up after the vacation 😎.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Limbing Up

Pruning advice for most ornamental trees indicates that it's best to do so in late-winter - for us, that would be around February/March.  The problem is, the last thing I'm thinking about at that point in time is pruning so I either end up doing a bit of tree maintenance at the wrong time of year or it doesn't get done at all.

This type of thing happens all the time - I look at a plant in the garden and think "I want to prune / divide / move that plant next winter / spring / fall, and then I completely forget.  This year I decided to start a monthly list of things that need get done the following year, which includes pruning trees that require a bit of tidying up in late winter.

There are a couple of trees on our property, however, that do best when pruned in early to mid-summer:  Maple and birch.  The fact that maples "bleed" if injured in early spring (maple syrup!) didn't even occur to me until just this week.  Sort of a 'duh!' moment 😉.  This, of course prompted me to do a bit more research which lead me to find out that maintenance on birch trees was also best done during the summer.  So both of these trees were removed from my winter list & added to my July list.  And since we are still in July, I tackled the maple trees that have been a right pain (literally) for years now.

Mowing underneath the maples was not easy

Monday, July 26, 2021

Front Entrance Pots - Success at last!

This is the tale of my front porch.  I've been meaning to write something up about my journey for a while now so, heads up, it's a bit may as well grab a cup o' something 😉

I am absolutely thrilled with my front entrance pots this year.  I have made a go of this area - albeit as more of an afterthought than a concerted effort - for a few years.  This time, however, I wanted to do a better job - plus I was able to get out to the garden centre a bit earlier than usual and actually snag some lovely plants, which definitely ignited my enthusiasm.

Going to the garden centre early in the season means that there is still
plenty to choose from & I ended up with a couple of trays of goodies

Monday, July 19, 2021

An Earlyish Garlic Harvest :)

 It's not surprising that with all the heat this year, the garlic harvest is about 2 weeks earlier than usual.

The garlic bed before harvesting

When to harvest garlic is all about the visual cues rather than a set time on the calendar.  Once there are only 3 or 4 green leaves left (these will form the wrapper surrounding the cured garlic bulb), that's my signal that it's time to harvest.

Bottom leaves have dried up
but there are still 3 or 4 green ones

Another cue comes from the leave tips, which should be starting to brown...check!

Practically all of the tips are browning

I could have waited another week or so to harvest but I decided that I had better take advantage of the couple of days of dry weather we've had.  The water to the garlic bed was turned off about 3 weeks ago but I was getting a bit worried as it has been raining here consistently ever since then, practically every other day.  In fact, just over a week ago I turned off the drip irrigation to the entire garden.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

A Lightbulb Moment? Getting to the Cherries before the Birds.


About a year after we moved here, we planted a cherry tree beside our house.  At only 4' tall, it was a tiny thing but it was nonetheless a very exciting moment as this, together with a plum tree, were the first edibles that I planted in our garden.  My kids were toddlers at the time, but we needed the mandatory stand beside the cherry tree pic.  I obviously picked the worst time of day as is evidenced by my son's "the sun is so bright, I can't open my eyes!" squinting, lol.

We tasted the first cherries that year

Friday, June 18, 2021

My Favourites Right Now

As I work around the garden, I can't help but stop and smile.  So many of the plants that I've added in the past couple of years are starting to really take off and it just makes my heart sing.  While I have always loved strolling through the garden, my little walks have been especially joyful this year.  So I decided to take my camera with me and snap a few pictures of my mid-June favourites.

Each year, the solitary David Austin rose in my garden just gets better and better - I believe it's in its 4th year now:

'Crown Princess Margaretta'

Monday, May 31, 2021

End of May Update

 As is always the case at this time of year, things have been busy in the garden.  Our first frost date is on May 10th, so the two weeks before and after always see a flurry of activity with lots of transplanting, seeding and, of course, weeding.

Last week, however, we ran into a bit of a glitch when we had a string of truly horrible weather that was cold, wet and windy.  One day in particular really did a number on newly transplanted seedlings.  It started out a bit chilly, at 11C/52F, but then the weather kept getting colder as the day progressed, a rare occurrence.  By early afternoon, we were sitting at 1C/34F which is unheard of for this late in May.  Unfortunately, I had put the cucumbers in the ground only a couple of days earlier.  They survived but are definitely worse for wear.  We'll have to wait and see if there is any lasting impact.

Cucumbers took a beating during the recent frigid/windy weather

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Tomatoes are Potted Up

This weekend, I potted up the tomatoes. They are not as far along as they normally are but I'm not overly concerned.  They tend to grow really quickly once potted up, so much so that I've moved their sowing date up by at least a couple of weeks over the years as they were getting too big before I could transplant them outside.

This year, however, I had a few issues with germination.  I'm not sure what was going on, but most of the seeds ended up on the tail end of what I would consider the normal germination time.

Usually the seedlings are at this stage by the end of April

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Cucumbers - Hoping That This Year is Better Than Last

I sowed 3 varieties of cucumbers this week and, together with a few squash varieties that are yet to be sown, I am totally psyched for a great cucurbit year.

Garden Sweet (pickling) & Chelsea Prize (slicer) are two long-time favourites
while the Tasty Treat Slicer is a new-to-me variety

Cucumbers are one thing that I've always had pretty good success with.  While there may be some hiccups every once in a while, overall the harvests have been good to great.  That was until the disaster that was 2020, where I had the absolute worst cucumber harvest ever.  How bad is bad?  How about one cucumber.  Yup - short of zero harvest, you can't get much worse than that.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Under the Grow Lights

This year, just like last, the grow lights are nowhere near as cramped as usual.  The main reason for this is that we are revamping the side yard vegetable garden which contains 8 of our raised beds (Area #1).  The original plan was to redo that area last year...and then we had a pandemic and most plans, including that one, flew out the window.

So 2021 is the year.  All the beds (old and new) in that area will be out of commission for most, if not all, of the season.  While the actual building of the beds is a relatively quick process, everything else that goes along with that (such as filling them, mulching the paths and redoing the drip irrigation) takes much more time.  And just like last year, I'm planning on doing this at my own pace & not stressing myself out with deadlines.  I spoke about my New Approach to the garden last July and I intend to stay the course on that - more enjoyment & less pressure is the name of the game.

Lettuce will be on the hilltop this year - a little less convenient,
but you gotta do what you gotta do

Thursday, April 22, 2021

My Approach to Sowing Basil

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the basil varieties that I'll be growing, namely Profumo di Genovese, Dolly, Lemon, Thai and the Botanical Interests Custom Blend.  When it comes to growing basil in my area, you don't technically have to start seeds indoors.  If I sow directly in mid-late May, which is a couple of weeks after our last frost date, I could start harvesting by the end of July.  But we all want our harvests earlier, don't we?  And that means that I'm starting my basil indoors about 5 weeks before our last frost date.

12 day old basil seedlings

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Garden Awakens, Part 2

Last year, I went a bit hog-wild when I was finally able to go to the garden centre after the initial lockdown.  All that pent up plant-shopping energy came out with a bang and I reverted back to type.  Instead of having a plan and a list to go by, I spent over 3 hours browsing and anything that caught my eye ended up in my cart (which quickly turned into two carts - #noguilt 😜).  After the stress of those first few months of the pandemic, I truly reveled in a good old fashioned plant shopping spree.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Garden Awakens, Part 1

It's early April and the garden is coming to life.  There have been a lot of additions to the perennial beds in the past couple of years and I've been rather remiss in detailing those here.  I'm hoping to rectify that this year.

Puschkinia libanotica with
Iris reticulata in the background

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Basil for 2021

With the work being done in the garden this year, I am once again cutting back on what I'm growing to the essentials.  Well, the essentials according to me 😉.

"Regular" & lemon basil are always on the grow list.  I started growing lemon basil several years ago and I wouldn't be without it.  It's absolutely delicious mixed with Greek yoghurt - one of our favourite veggie dips.

When it comes to regular basil, I enjoy trying new varieties.  About 7 years ago, I had a very bad basil year when the entire crop was infected with basil downy mildew (BDM).  The following year, I grew Eleanora, a BDM resistant variety, and it was a success - the basil patch was mildew-free.

I always plant basil in the the tomato beds,
usually with a marigold or two

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Garden Bed Cleanup - I'm Early This Year!

I don't do very much garden cleanup in the fall which is good in a number of ways.  Firstly, it allows beneficial insects plenty of nooks and crannies to settle in for the winter.  Then there are the birds which are very grateful for the seedheads that continue to feed them through most of the winter.  Lastly, there is the winter interest that the plants provide - I, for one, prefer to see swaying grasses and seed heads covered with snow rather than a white, flat landscape, devoid of any plant material save for shrubs and evergreens.   And truth be told, by the time fall rolls around, I'm pretty much ready for a break, so the less I need to do the better.

Icy sedum heads are magical

Friday, March 19, 2021

Let's Talk About the Weather

Oh wonderful it's been.  The mild weather is continuing and I decided to start some spring cleaning in the garden.  It's been a few days since we have been basically snow free and the ground is no longer sodden so I decided to get out there and start tidying up (and excitedly taking photos of some much-anticipated signs of life).  A full month early.  Say what??

Garden cleanup tools at the ready...

Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Little Bit of Sulphur and a Whole Lot of Stink

Hello everyone!

I can feel it - spring is in the air!!  Well, almost.  We are having an absolutely amazing week, weather-wise (in the teens (50-60F's)!), and I have been itching to get in the garden.  There isn't much to do outside yet - there's still snow on the ground and the spots that are exposed are downright sodden so I'm trying to keep off of them.  A couple of tasks were overdue, however, and needed to get crossed off the list.  A couple of days ago, it was all about spraying the fruit trees with dormant oil & lime sulphur - a first for me.

The sulphur/oil solution is ready to go - 1st up is the nectarine tree in the background

And everything went well - although I'm not exactly sure why I was surprised by how absolutely stinky the sulphur was - I mean pee-ew!  You really do have to make sure you're not standing downwind when you're spraying the trees - a fact that I forgot about a couple of times 🙄.