Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day in Windsor, Nova Scotia

It's been one of those rainy, sunny, still and breezy spring days. I am pining for a Magnolia tree so in the absence of having one of my own to photograph....sigh....This was taken at the Windsor Exhibition grounds today, home of the annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta weigh off. Windsor's very own Howard Dill developed the Atlantic Giant Pumpkin grown by competitors all around the world don't Ja know!

I am also including a photo of blooms on another tree at the exhibition grounds; "sock it to you lime green"! If anyone can identify, would be pleased to know what kind of tree this is. Could it be a type of maple?

Driving home along the old Windsor Road, a flock of ten or more Guinea fowl pranced across the road in front of the car. This is not a usual occurrence in this neck of the woods))) . Feathers almost flew!!... it was one of those "take time to smell the roses" moments. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hearts and Stars...Epimedium

I am not great at remembering "proper" names of plants...sorry..and sorry again. Yes, I have good days here and there when I can give you a Latin name, ...when it dribbles right off the tongue and I astound myself, and surely it must impress whoever is visiting. But, those days are far and few between. I never knew a common name for Epimedium so I was kind of forced to remember the word. A few years ago, we planted three in front of the hostas surrounding the old plum tree's trunk. I learned, in early spring, we should cut off all last year's old growth, and if we did, their beautiful flowers would uncurl from the earth and the hearts of leaves would follow.

Googleing tonight (trying to find the proper named variety of Epimedium in my garden) I found out this is an herb that has long been considered an aphrodisiac.

So... that's why it looks like hearts and stars!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Recycling in the Garden and a plug for Saltscapes))

We do make an effort don't we, to do the best we can when it comes to recycling. The cauldron in this photo takes care of wood and garden debris. It also keeps a few good witches happy with flame while enjoying a libation. Did you notice, this is a recycled propane tank, turned on its top? It's artistically sculpted by Kevin of Cape Breton. "Twist of Iron Works" sculpts these outdoor fire pits. Instead of fire licks, you might like loons or lobsters; Celtic knots or fish! Make a note if you are interested ..visit Saltscapes in Halifax, Nova Scotia this coming weekend. Our blooming writer Jodi will be there!! Not to be missed))) ...

Taste, view, and join in celebration of all that is SO GREAT about Atlantic Canada! Am so enthused!! Can't wait!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Worked and prepared the soil inside the fenced veg bed today. Too much garlic and onion but for now it can stay. Sore arms (( ..Stiff fingers. Good therapy though...solved all worries and dusted out the cobwebs. The Captain was playing at boats, but the Chief kept me company.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First Garden Excited!!

Last year's kale was cut back, abandoned and ignored.

What do I know about kale?... not much! It's great for the body but we grew it mainly for it's fine structure in the garden. (Embarrassed as I now know Kale is so much more!) It's definitely a drama queen,...when the leaves are lusty and strong, you can food process them into confetti and freeze the fluff flat in a big baggie.. add them to anything you want but most especially winter soups. I didn't know our Kale would make it through this zone six, and sprout delicate new leaves, sweetened by late frost.

Another surprise was overwintering spinach. Our intention was to overwinter late sown beets...that was a bust except for one golden beet))). However, three spinach plants survived. They were growing near the beets, and obviously enjoyed the heavy winter mulch of leaves.

We are now enjoying newly seeded sprouts of herbs from the garden shed; mint is showing her aggressive but controlled face; lovely garlic and Egyptian onion add to the spring mix.

That is, the salad mix...)). Our very first of the season and it was delicious and dare I say, healthy! Oh YA! I don't think we will ever have a garden without Kale from now on.

Another first...we saw an osprey today......they make such a fuss...."look at me"..."did you miss me"..."I'm here!" "I'm here!"

Maybe the blue herons are not far behind)))

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confessions of an edger...

It has been a full month today since Bloggo was created. What an adventure! I have read so many fantastic posts, visited so many wonderful blog gardens... thank you. Thank you most especially to those who follow, those who visit and those who stop by and comment.

Who knew a month ago, I would be walking around thinking..mmmm...would that be interesting...would anyone really care to see this or read that...)))).

The blog was started in part, to keep two very special loved ones who live "away", in touch with a garden they visited but had not seen, growing through the seasons. So herein lies my first "true confession"...I am an edger! Yes. it says a lot about my personality! Tonight, doing "walk about with him and Stink"...I realized the sad truth...I love that edged look! What can I me as I YAMMM..)))

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A spider to the rescue...

Well, I don't know what a fishing spider was doing in among the tomato transplants today..maybe keeping warm and catching white flies))) . Hope so. But, I lifted one nine pack of tomato babies and there he was. I think it was a he, because the females are larger (or so Google says)); I stand corrected if anyone can identify more positively.

I am posting a photo of a female who kindly introduced herself in a previous garden season. Scared the wits out of us! Anyway...huge comfort blanket today,.. mother nature will take care of this white fly scare (along with a titch of safer's soap)))...and by the way, found three lady bugs in the summerhouse today. Mother Nature..I love you xo

Monday, April 19, 2010

Whitefly day!

You might remember that cherry tomato plant, herein after called "the guilty one", whose "glam" photo appeared in a past post. Oh sure, it offered lovely little ripe cherry tomatoes to seduce us AND the dog, into not noticing it had white fly! The lady bugs must have been doing a fantastic job the last few weeks, but, they flew away didn't they!! We had the windows open on the sunny days and off they went, leaving Bren with a huge chore today. Well it is all sorted now..the guilty one is chop chop...roots remain in the pot..will it survive? Rest assured, the pot no longer resides in it's former abode.

I have taken as many precautions as possible. There are a lot of baby tomato plants whose lives are at stake here. For instance, the big rainbows transplanted today "This heirloom is renowned for it's flavor as well as beauty. Ruby red color radiates from the blossom end creating streaks of red and yellow throughout the hefty fruit". Will I ever taste a nice big slab of this beauty on fresh bread with basil mayonnaise? SIGH...

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's just work work here the past few days. Lots of plants greening and growing; not a huge amount in bloom but all are "springing sprightly" just the same. Primroses are starting to make a show, but nothing substantial yet. Buds on the old twisted plum tree are swelling, as are lilacs and more....really, not much to volunteer except, my hands are sore;.. preened and fluffed the veg garden in earnest today. Deliver more compost please, Captain!!

One little shining beauty is Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'. I don't think we have had this much bloom ever. It is the only plant I have seen bees gathering nectar from so far.

As I said....tired hands, can't type much more...where's my Dream Cream...AHHH..lovely..

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Iridescent Raised beds))

Yes, they do glow in the dark in case you were wondering))). So here's the update on the raised beds....filled with soil, awaiting last frost date and hardening off of tomato plants. Today I will tuck climbing (or tumbling in this case) nasturtium seeds inside, along the perimeter as they like to go in the soil before last frost. This record breaking spring, it's anyone's guess when that will be.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

They're UP! Asparagus memories..

It's the eleventh of April here in Nova Scotia and two of our asparagus babies are up out of the ground. You know I was on my belly in the compost to take this photo don't you!! "Memories of Asparagus"...well, where I grew up, I don't think many folks knew about, ate or grew asparagus. It certainly never appeared on our dinner plates at home. My husband says his dad liked the canned ones...but to tell you the truth, neither of us knew how they grew..until we became farm caretakers on Saltspring Island in the 70's. "Malcolm, what is that growing in the field over by the arbutus tree?"...that very next day, with guidance from the Joy of Cooking, we had those puppies steamed, wrapped in sliced ham, drizzeled with sour cream (hint of blue cheese), baked in the oven and down our neck!!! We were hooked, and have never looked back. Eleven years ago after moving here, we planted asparagus first, before much else went in this garden. When I saw those two tiny brave hopefuls today, pushing through the soil, I remembered chapters in our lives, dinners shared, memories of a farm life past and so much more. We can't wait for..spring grilled steamed lightly with a dressing of white miso...must stop)))...I'm getting hungry!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rodale Moments

Dad loved his garden. For a time there, in the eighties, he subscribed to Rodale's Organic Gardening, and I was the lucky recipient of the magazines in his collection. It was first created by founder J.I. Rodale , in 1942 and as near as I can tell, it's descendant magazine is still being published. In one of the 80's editions "the NEW Green Party in politics" is introduced. In another issue, one very senior gentleman talks about a particular plum tree of his, descended from a Luther Burbank plum scion, "stellar in performance and taste". Goodness, I didn't truly know who Luther Burbank was until a month ago when I read " The Garden of Invention" by Jane S. Smith... a great read I might add. These old Rodale magazines are full of fantastic and applicable information for today, just as they were thirty years ago. So if you come across any in your travels, grab them up, take them home, pull up a chair and settle in for a time... not so "long ago". Thanks Dad xo

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recreating The Sweet Pea Wall

I think most gardeners have a special accomplishment they are proud of and I would have to say ours was "the year of the sweet pea wall" in 2005. We had started out a few years earlier growing these beautiful flowers, loving the scent and color. So, daring all, we planted about twenty feet of sweet peas at the very back of the garden. Their support was rather sucky and weak, but we didn't care...we had "a vision"! Last year, we built a proper support and this year, well, we'll try to recreate 2005. I planted one section of the wall with pea seeds about three weeks ago, and they have germinated under the soil, but not up yet. Inside, we have started a variety in Jiffy 7's; I have never tried starting peas this way before. Just in case that's a failure, I will plant the rest of the seeds in the garden. You'll hold my hand while we wait won't see if the sweet pea wall can be recreated.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tomato progression

The tomatoes are growing well, so far. They have their true leaves, and appear to be happy. A mother worries you know)))). Along with the tomato babies are newly hatched egg plants and some lovely Dragon Tongue bush beans from West Coast Seeds, British Columbia, Canada. You know, we kept one tomato plant from last it little hope to make it through the winter alive...but guess what...not only does it live, but it fruits. It was an heirloom black type cherry...tart and full of flavor. Chief, our spaniel, thinks we grow the tiny tomatoes for him so there's a little competition about who get's there first)). Yes..we DO SHARE))).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day off from the Garden

Yesterday was warm and beautiful, with barely a breath of wind. Taking a day off from the garden seemed like the sensible thing to do. Heading out in the boat to big and little Gooseberry was a grand adventure so early in the year and especially enjoyed by our Chief. Lots of driftwood from the winter storms; trees down along the beach; beauty all around. The wild roses are just showing their buds and the dry sea grass is beginning to green. No ospreys yet, and no blue herons. Soon....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Garden Art

Well, If I had known I could purchase this Garden Art locally, I wouldn't have brought it all the way across Canada, in my carry on luggage! "What's that mam' ..surely not crows?" they said with a smile (honest!) at the airport. Thus began a lovely, lively and animated story about the local crows nesting and dive bombing the security men arriving for work at Victoria Airport in British Columbia. I have to say, I am rather partial to crows and even more partial to Ravens. Garden Art, whether purchased or not, brings a special spirit to one's garden, I think you would agree. It often shows visitors a side of you they might not know....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Garden

The compost was finally available for pickup at our local garden center in Chester here in Nova Scotia; opening day at Natural Expressions!! High five!! Now about compost...why does something that looks like chocolate cake, smell so bad? (((( Anyway, we worked hard here today. I am sure the plants were saying Thank you, Thank you...we love the chocolate cake! Fitting that the Lenten rose is in bloom.