Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Metal Work in the Garden

We like Metal Work in the Garden. Everyone has their favourite medium...cement, wood, twig rustic, stainless steel......but we keep being drawn to simple metal and often, the recycling of it. Dare I say, the Captain likes the challenge...especially when I bring home a plant support that cost $8.00 and he says he can make THAT for two dollars! Locally, there doesn't seem to be supports long/high enough, in metal, for Delphiniums..or my verbascum...but I have some now...)))) big smile.

Then there are those relationship. A friend had one small raccoon image a metal worker had made but I would have liked closer to life size. So..with a little chalk and a top and bottom off an oil drum...we made our own at a fraction of the price. Sure it's rusty, and the black paint might have to have a retouch before long...but we made it together, so it means way more than a bought one.

Years ago, on our way to Liverpool...(not home of the Beatles)))) in Nova Scotia, we found a gentleman who made wirework birds from rebar ..concrete reinforcing bar.. (ours is a Blue Heron)))...sure it's rusted and old now but you know, we love it still and it means more to us than something made away away... buy local as they say.

Making Garden Art is in all of us.....the experience is there waiting for us, and it will bring joy because we made it..and nobody else.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hostas are Coming into their Own

The Sum and Substance are coming into their own now, and just about to bloom, as are the Golden Standards. Don't know the name of the white and green at the front but they appear to give a boost to the yellow in the others. A few years back it seemed you weren't a proper gardener unless you had a good variety of hosta. Eventually, some folks got tired of them...ho hum..just another hosta!

However, there are some fantastic varieties out there now and so, having a second look is a good idea. Here is a beauty whose name you won't soon forget...Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I've had this about six years and she gets that little bit bigger each season. Her pointy and perky leaves are so different from other hosta we have in the garden.

Hostas can be very very pricey if you are a collector which, I am not... but I expect it would be easy to become obsessed by their beauty and variety. They can make a terrific bold statement like the first photo, or just add that little perk that brings out the best in it's neighbours. I love' em, frankly and can't imagine the garden without them.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Peas Please

June 25th...first swim in the ocean today and just had to share! But heh..this is a garden blog!

The garden is in quick grow mode and we are trying to keep up!! A salad of our greens, steamed peas, Purple Haze shredded carrot and Egyptian Onion flowers... a great boost to a long day but am still looking for a nicer vinaigrette than I use. Suggestions welcome))) for tender greens. (I have a few I found on the internet but testimonials are usually better and more honest recipes)))

The peas are, as usual, not being supported well enough and will sadly be "peas in bondage" before long. That's always a sad sight and you won't see a photo of it in future posts. For now, they look outstanding...glowing white blossoms on strong green stalks with tendrils.

Little Ice Berg rose on the left is valiantly trying to stay alive. She's been with us for about eight years..some years she is stellar...but this year..barely made it through. She does look nice with the pea blooms though...looking up at them with the intention of growing big and strong like they are!

ps..the wire support for the peas is recycled industrial warehouse shelf backing. Wish we had more)))

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Canon and the Macro Setting

Well...ahem... still haven't read the "instruction booklet" for the Canon camera (PowerShot SX 110). Did I feel that would be disloyal to my old Sony???... oh so love my dependable! I don't think I was ready for a new camera when Santa brought it. strap to hold extra memory cards..

My love affair with the Canon started tonight when I wondered about that MF icon with the flower...another total embarrassment shared!! It had Macro!!!..I really was able to dive into the depths of these beautiful flowers after having agonized about close up photographing (yes...whined a bit about it)))) sorry. Not only that...the setting had EXTRA FINE!...I think that's what the Captain is..extra fine for putting up with me and my complaining))))

So tonight..da da...first macro photographed flower...including insects))...Astrantia Major at the top of the blog! She looks wonderful although doesn't pack a punch in the garden... that's okay..she is lovely, just lovely. Then, just above, is a beautiful camouflaging spider on the blooms of our Diablo Ninebark...the Canon does bugs!! Shivers...tomorrow..roses, and pea flowers and.....okay..will stay calm))))

Back to reality! This is our garden about nine in the evening.....our "Angel Pine" looks down on us as the setting sun makes her branches glow. We think she is pretty special but she doesn't seem well this year. All trees have a life that does expire((; the captain said she would make a fine schooner mast.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Little Bit of England

Wolverhampton, England, figures hugely in my family tree. I am second generation Canadian... but...I have loved roses so sincerely for so long, I know the blood in my veins is linked to these old country roses of England.

I never thought I would ever be given an opportunity to attend the Chelsea Garden show, but...I did attend five years ago. The David Austin display took my breath away, but out of all the roses...Golden Celebration was the most outstanding of all and I was determined to have it if it would grow here.

Our Golden Celebration is in bloom right now. But..because I am a titch embarrased about the state of the leaves...will just post the bouquet picked today. The Captain says they smell like roses...I smell like oranges but more importantly...they represent where grandmother came from. . and they are truly wonderful and special to me, because of that.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Purple Haze

Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why
'Scuse me while I kiss the sky!

Don't think I am acting funny but we sure do appreciate the Hendrix lines....yes..of that generation!! Kiss the sky...think that is what our purple haze is doing....

You see, it was like that tonight..the wow factor of the blue gone purple of the baptisia australis (wild blue indigo) and the photos a bit blurred...the Captain said.."Like Purple Haze"...and is!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A great day! GIFTS)))

It has been a "splendid" day...a special day of gifts and kind messages. Thank you to all our family and friends))) Where have the years gone? Please note above...the NEW SHOVEL!!

As the day began in rain, the Captain went to boats...and I tried to organize the labels of plants and seeds so I do not sound so UN knowledgeable when I blog about these things. Here is what I was faced with...but soon had them in baggies and tidied up!! Thanks to my favourite gardening vet who moved back out west...she left me all her seeds and then some....Tks A.

The Chief was pretty disgusted by the end of the day...wet, tired, hungry, dirty,...much earlier shorn of his winter coat((( kinda shivering......"heh, is that my ball?"

A walk around the garden was quite an eye opener. Patty's Plum Poppy is on steroids... The Captain measured the highest is 47 inches. I don't think Patty is supposed to get that tall? Maybe I am wrong..must do a google... As you see...her color is not maybe she has a little gene in there that says...grow tall young lady!!...

We have two of these peonies...what a delicious color and noooo....didn't find the name tag!!!

I am quite surprised my Canon camera could do this shot.... is the photographer improving perhaps ))))))

So, all and all a good day..but need to get thinking about the vegetable garden and what to plant for fall/winter harvest. "Four-Season Harvest" by Eliot Coleman is "the book" for those who want to try to have greens growing just about up to Christmas in our neck of the woods. Great inspiration!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Words I Never Thought I Would EVER Say (or write)!!

The Wisteria is in Bloom! It has been ten loooong years since the darling was planted. Such a fine and beautiful falls off the tongue like the flowers that drip from it's 16 inch long racemes..."Longissima Alba Wisteria". OH how I have waited to see it flower, and had totally given up hope. The vine had a bloom on it when it was I thought..mmm...good stock...I don't have to wait long to see it 'show off'. Wrong! Not to say it is "dripping" in eleven (yes I counted them)))). But heh, I feel blessed...better eleven than none.

Yes, that's me doing the Happy Dance)))...................."isn't she beautiful"!...................blush....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Like a Wedding Gown

My camera doesn't seem to be able to capture the beauty of this shrub as well as I think it should. Someone suggested it has trouble focusing on so many white flowers ....but it just may be the photographer )))) This is Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum "Shasta" and she has been in bloom for about three weeks now. We planted her about eight years ago, along the steps at the side of the house going up to the back yard. It is under planted with Cotoneaster which mirror the inner florets. A self seeded apple tree arches above, and every year we consider removing it but haven't so far.

The branches are a mass of bloom,.... pure white, flowing and floating like the skirt of a wedding gown.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sharing Blooms on Sunday

It is a coolish day here so far.... the sun is coming out and there are garden jobs to do ..but they can wait until after lunch and after blogging. For the last week I have been trying to get some nice close up photos using either my Canon SX110 or my old reliable Sony Cybershot. Since starting the blog, I have never ever taken so many photos!! )))) I am still not great at "getting the perfect shot" but here are a few of the best from this week. (Yes, I found the plant tags for all of these))))

The first is Trollius Europaeus against the garden fence. It is a common Trollius but sunny and lovely. That photo is followed by a close up of the Baptisia Australis (Wild Blue Indigo). This is shrub size for us here at ten years of age, and just coming into bloom. Below that is Trollius "Cheddar" which is outstanding, but only two years old and still not a lot of bloom but the close up came out pretty good for a small flower. Finally, a photo of some of the blooms on our Aesculus x carnea (Briotii)...Red Horse Chestnut. It lost it's top during hurricane Juan a few years back, but it recovered nicely and is in huge bloom this year, the best it has ever been.

Wherever you are,....... hope you have a lovely Sunday full of blooms and blessings.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Picket Fence is Starting to Disappear!

The main veg garden is really growing now and outside the fence, the perennials are really taking off........tied up the sweet peas today, as well as the tomato plants in the raised beds. Rushed off to the local garden center for some sturdy tomato cages for the shrub ones.... but all and all...a rather slow (time to smell the roses) but beautiful sunny day. Bathed the Chief...and generally just relaxed.

No relaxing for this little one...high on alert...these seeds are all mine mine mine....allll mine! and...don't you get any closer.....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dear Iris:

Aren't you just MISS BEAUTIFUL!! I've been watching as you slowly grew up through the early spring plants,...your pointed foliage, tempting us with anticipation. You certainly deliver, no doubt about that. If I could...I would have a field of you.. so smitten am I.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Well, bugs are bustin' out all over....aphids and white fly on the currants, along with some soft luscious caterpillars on the lower leaves;...then there's the secret nighttime visitors who have just about decimated my lovely vision of tumbling nasturtium over the raised beds(((..not to mention munching on the Pac Choi. The ants have a highway to the Red Twig Dogwood blooms and are farming big time! I kept waiting for the birds to find the caterpillars, and the lady bugs to find the aphids. I mean, didn't I give those little spotty charmers a home all winter long in the warm summerhouse.. When I dig in the soil around the chard and carrots, zillions of baby earwigs run for their lives... Oh it's looking like a great bug month, which means...simply...accept it...that's the way it rolls.

While I grumble and lament the damage, "Bugs Bugs Bugs" plays over and over in my brain. Bugs are not ALL BAD))))

Little ones love this song...and so do I ))))). Bugs Bugs Bugs words and music by Nova Scotian, Duncan Wells.

PS!! Picked up the June Issue of Gardens East (after posting the above this morning) and what should be in there but a photo of the munching boys above..."currant sawfly larvae"...that's them there devils)) Great Ingrid Hoff...must do a google.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Walk Around Part of the Back Garden

It's been hinted ....we are not showing much of the garden lately, so this evening we walked about taking some photos. The few below give a good indication of how the left bed is doing...what we call the Long Bed. You can just see the roof of our neighbour's house over the fence...good neighbours I might add!! He recently said I was an NHL'er Gardener...I think that was a compliment))) Nora Barlow Columbine is coming into bloom, and the two dwarf lilacs are in good flower. The variegated willow is tucked in the corner and does quite well there, and in front of that are two old iron wheel rims,.... my attempt at rustic garden art))). Day lilies, hosta and other perennials wait in the wings for their "show time".

Keeping to the left and moving down towards the garden shed, the bed has filled in quite a bit since the early spring photos. Cranesbill Geraniums do very well here; we are seeing a good variety in bloom right now. The old plum tree is surrounded by hosta .... they don't seem to be troubled by slugs...however, a circle of wood ash, about two inches wide and half that deep, circles each hosta in spring when they come out of the ground. I expect that makes a difference.

At the very back of the property is an area of lupins, daisy and other wild flowers. The wee chairs would not support any bottom, but the flowers and grasses have grown up around them, so they stay for now.

We have been troubled the past few days by a young raccoon coming into the yard at about six o'clock in broad daylight. This is a worry when you have a young dog, so we are having to be ever vigilant. No sign of any deer yet...maybe we will be lucky this year and not have a repeat of 2008...

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Delights from the Garden

After the hard rain, thunder and lightning through the night, we awoke to a lovely day. Visitors arrived soon after I had given the main garden a fluff, but I had not inspected the Veg garden. So, .....delighted, after they left, to find the first of the Dragon Tongue beans hidden under the leaves. Imagine, June 7th and our first beans! Needless to say...they were munched right after this photo....YUMMM

The Chard and Beets needed thinning, then.. weeded the soil and started to tie up the peas. The Captain arrived home from Halifax with garden mags and Dream Cream from Saltspring Island... My hands feel good, my tummy will soon be full, our garden visitors were's been a truly great day!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another Rainy Day

Gardening in the rain usually doesn't bother me, but two days of rain is enough ..."I want out" says the Chief!..out in sunshine being much preferred to muddy paws and a soaked coat and I couldn't agree more.

So, I am inside trying out a recipe for watermelon sorbet with lime, and stewed blueberries with mint from the garden. The last is a great combo, but don't overdo the mint. Just brush a wand of mint through the hot berries at the end of cooking. Waiting on the freezing sorbet...

The mint was started from a water rooted bit that came from the grocery store last summer. I was always afraid of it's rampant disregard for behaving itself, but the large pot does the trick; I bring it into the shed for the winter. Doesn't seem to mind and perks right back up for spring.

Rain we love you, but come back another day...all is wet and all is well.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Nova Scotia Woodland Delight

We feel very privileged to have these abundant blooms in our woodland garden area, at this time of year.

The wild Pink Lady Slipper (Moccasin Flower) Cypripedium is on the DO NOT PICK list because if you do, it won't regenerate itself. I noticed when taking these photos, something has topped off about six or eight blooms. Could it be deer we wonder....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Focusing on the Positive

Today was a bit of a killer day! I discovered a mass of beech roots and their sprouts invading the asparagus and sweet pea bed. What a sneaky Beech! ))) So my arms are about a foot longer than they were this morning and I know from now on out, I will have to be diligent. No sign of mother the forest around us I guess.

The good news is, (focus focus)))...I did get the one long bed widened and edged. Almost all the vegetable garden is planted out now, along with first timers...Leeks!! Thanks N. for finding them for us.

What really makes me feel great, are the columbines. I started them from seed, ....Black Barlow and what I thought was Songbird Mix. (apparently not!!))) But whatever the pastels are...I love them! They took me from a black mood to a song bird high))