Saturday, July 26, 2008

magazine dreams

I received my Canadian Gardening this week. I have always kind of wanted to be subscribed to a magazine, and I've never done it, just for myself. I think I was subscribed to Chickadee when I was a kid, but does that really count? I always buy CG in the grocery store, and this is technically cheaper.

The result has been that I had wonderfully vivid, realistic gardening dreams last night. There was one garden and patio that I am still trying to figure out -- is it a place I have been before, or did I really just dream it? That only happens very rarely in my dreams (because usually there would be some sort of clue -- like the fact that I was flying over the garden, or perhaps there was a stationary tornado in the background) but I think this was maybe just a very realistic dream.

The other nice thing it has done is convince me that we are not alone in being incredibly frustrated by our garden at this time of year. With us it's been a combination of not having enough time, or enough will is probably more like it, to do the weeding and deadheading that is required of a garden the size of ours. And July is always a terrible time for gardens. So I am pleased to see that it affects other gardeners, too. Reading the suggestions from experts at on the last page of this issue, some of them are practical, but some of them are completely "Don't worry about it, this happens -- throw some colourful annuals in there and see what happens..."

I don't know if I'm going to go with the annuals, but I am going feel secure in the knowledge that gardeners everywhere have problems with July.

Monday, July 14, 2008

i found them!

Quick update for tonight...

There will be carrots. Unless the rabbits get them between now and the time they're ripe, now that the carrots can be found, out from underneath the crab grass as they are now. There are going to be maybe a dozen carrots. Out of three rows. But that is some! Better than none.

Next year will be better, I'm sure. I will either fence or ... stand guard over the new young shoots of various plants with a water gun ...

The tomatoes are looking great, too. The peppers look like they might give life a shot if the warm, sunny weather continues. I am proud of them.

feeling better

Somehow my garden journal has vanished. I have no idea where it has gone. So, in lieu of that, I'll let you know what I've been up to this morning here.

I pulled up about a third of the garlic bulbs this morning, and decided that though they're fine, they do seem to have a little more growing to do. So I left the rest in and cut off the flower stalks. It turns out the flower stalks do make a difference, at least with this species ('Music'). So I might be a bit late to really make a difference to the bulbs, but we'll see. I'm going to leave them for another week, I think.

The ones that came out are flat on the [clothes] drying rack in the shade. I'll bring them in tonight, and then hopefully by Wednesday they will be cured enough for me to braid them. They're hardneck garlic, which apparently doesn't braid particularly well.

I replanted the area that I had pulled the garlic out of with 'Royal Burgundy' beans, and we'll see if anything happens there. Or if the rabbit destroys them. Maybe I will spread bone meal over the area again and see if that actually does anything. If not, I am totally building a fence next spring.

The compost pile actually seems to be doing something, so I am hopeful that I will have compost to mulch with. I might attempt that this afternoon. It's such a nice day out, and I'm trying to salvage what's left of the vegetable garden. I might plant some more beans in the spots that could use a little something. I might even re-try beets. I am feeling optimistic today.

Friday, July 11, 2008

the mid-July rant

Somehow I hoped this year would be different -- that I would be able to get the weeds under control, deadhead the flowers, and generally keep things blooming in a relatively tidy fashion.

I know, I know. What was I thinking?

The weeds are even bigger this year. I think they're going to eat me. Even my poor little vegetable garden is a weed factory. The only thing I'm going to get out of it is garlic, cilantro and tomatoes. Maybe peppers, but they've hated this summer weather. If I am lucky I will be able to plant the brussels sprouts out and they'll just grow like mad. I'm hoping. At the rate they're going right now they will not even make it to a foot high, because the rabbits will eat them and they'll freeze before the first sprout even appears.

The front yard is a sloppy mess and I am feeling particularly discouraged by it, I have to say. Now, the past couple of weeks I haven't been around and when I've been around I've been preparing for this week, which was a really, really heavy week at school. It's not a surprise that the garden is out of control. And then it rained last night (which was really good) very hard (which was not) and everything, even the things that were looking great, has flopped over and given up. The lamb's ears in particular are forming a soggy mat over the rest of the garden.

I have totally had it with those lamb's ears. I am so giving them away when it comes time to dig and divide in the fall. And I'm going to put in some less maintenance-heavy plants. I am discouraged enough that I just want to re-do the entire front but somehow, I don't think that is going to be the right solution to my problem.

Sorry, just had to vent. Now I will concentrate on the good about the garden. Later.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July Long Weekend 2008

In my mind, I have two prototypes for perfect gardens. The first is a lush, green, mossy secret garden, with fairytale flowers, ponds, and hidden, dewy, whimsical spots. Slightly overgrown but never too much, with vines and little benches.

The other looks something exactly like this:

The Bruce Peninsula has yet to find an equal in my heart, despite travels over much of Canada, through France, and portions of Central America. There is no place on earth quite like it. The closest I have come has been the Atlantic Coast: Grand Manan or perhaps Cape Breton, or other parts of Nova Scotia. But even then. The only thing Georgian Bay lacks is whales and jellyfish. But the ocean can't compare to Georgian Bay blue.

fishy and I are back from a lovely mini-vacation. The weather was fantastic, and the scenery, as always, sublime.

The wildlife was good, with invertebrates, as always, making up the majority of sightings. Like a dope, I forgot my net this time around, leaving the dragon and damselflies quite safe. The above monarch was extremely obliging for fishy.

The flowers at this time of year are sort of between. The strawberries are starting to fruit, most of the columbine are done (not all, though), as are most of the blue flags and potentilla shrubs, and the gentians haven't started flowering yet.

The bluebells are flowering, though, and the (above) Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sp.) and a number of lovely, delicate little white flowers are poking out of the rocks pretty much everywhere you look. The yellow lady's slippers are just finishing, although to my dismay we saw them blooming one day and the next it looked like some rabbit had chewed off just the flower. It was bizarre. The plants we have on the property are nowhere near the road, so they aren't really in danger of being stolen or picked by jerky humans. A hungry rabbit is all I can think of. Of course they have to go for the rare orchids and not any of the other plants...

Ah well. It was a lovely trip, and I'm glad we did it. It is back to school for me next week, with the Week from Hell starting things off. Hooray!

(photos by fishy)