Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's a "Looker"?

Well, clearly, anything that's a "Looker" involves the eyes,.... like when you travel and the sightseeing gets out of hand and you announce "that's Lookers are gone!"

Our it could be some fantastic flower, like the Hibiscus above. Our neighbour K gave hers to us when she couldn't overwinter it. I would call the above beauty a real "Looker!".

"That's a Looker" came into our vocabulary in earnest a number of years back when our boat crazy (now drum crazy chuckle) nephew D came to visit. The equally boat crazy Captain, with his own collection of boats, including those (ahem) which could be termed toys, categorized his collection for D.... some were "available" to play with.... others...they were just "Lookers". ...don't touch!! ))))))

So when this beautiful apron arrived in the post as a thank you gift, I knew straight away it was going to be "a Looker" and used sparingly. Embroidered carrots, asparagus and scallion poke out of the denim pockets on a crisp red and cream background...It is truly one of the loveliest aprons I have ever owned. Thanks are very kind and most welcome!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cherry Brandy Surprise!

It was quite a surprise to see both Rudbeckia Hirta Cherry Brandy plants come into bloom. Was ours mislabeled perhaps, or had there been a mix up when they were purchased? One was just about exactly as seen on the plant label but the other one, is a frilly thing, and an unusual burgundy red almost with a hint of brown (above) but lovely in it's own right. Searching on the web I found helpful advice stating the seeds are being marketed as a red Rudbeckia but the plants that the seeds produce will actually be varying shades of burgundy, brown and purple. I must admit, the single is not the color red on the label, but a purple red (below),... still outstanding though! I like both of these newcomers and maybe in the future we will have a variety reseeding.

Wonder if anyone else had a few surprises with this Rudbeckia?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Robins, Tomatoes and Sunflowers..New Beginnings

It was a stellar day. The Captain came inside the house, early afternoon.."the robins are leaving their nest". Those of you who follow this blog, know the robins nested right above our front door in the Virginia Creeper and for weeks we have been on eggshells trying to be quiet... Well...the first babe flew and landed on the upper deck looking so sorrowful...those early feathers must itch terribly!! Watching carefully for mom..he was not ready to take the big flight into the trees for a few hours yet!!

Mom worked hard finding food and meanwhile both she and dad would land and try to entice this first fledgling to take to the air.

For our UK friends who have their dear English robins,..ours are quite differerent, so I hope you like the photos for comparison.

There were two babes ready to fly, but number two was going not..not flying!! But by six o'clock..being ignored by the parents..he was perched on the edge of the nest..and finally fluttered down to land on the vehicles..."come on then" the parents said..and away it went finally...SIGH.. Number two sure looks fed up and grumpy))))

Back to the garden..and quite a shock to discover our first red cherry tomatoes...Sweet Million...!! The Chief got one (remember he is in love with cherry tomatoes) and the Captain the other. Two others are ripening further on the kitchen window sill.

When closing the garden gate, I realized, the sunflower the birds (it's always about the birds)))) planted was open...and not just any ole yellow one..but a deep choclate burgundy with bronze tips.

Like I said..a Stellar day...! babies, new fruit, new flowers..all good!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dusk in the Garden

The Seagrass mosquitoes are fierce about nine-thirty at just before the "big bite time", we had a quick walk through the garden.

Whites were just starting to glow...the air still and quiet, birds gone to bed. The squirrels are hunkered down in their nests and thankfully, the loud earpiercing sound of the chipmunks has stopped. Ahhhhhh....bliss.

The pond is our quiet place; we like to sit with our feet in the water during the hottest of summer nights. The goldfish don't seem to mind.

I don't have photographs of the Captain and son, digging the pond with their shovels, or photos of the layers and layers of newspapers they used, placed under the "recycled" (and free) liner with holes we had to seal, and nor do I have photos of the local firemen with their truck who filled the pond with fresh water from a nearby stream all for a donation of sixty dollars...but I have the memories, and the photos while not hard copies, are there in my heart and soul, to enjoy while my toes are wiggling in the water.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Blight and Carrots

My horoscope said "you could be lulled into a false sense of security in the week ahead". mmmm...maybe I should check the tomato plants once again to be sure all is well...NOT! The dreaded blight has hit! All that rain, and then the heat and humidity...while it's just the German Gold's right now, it can spread so fast to the rest. We accept our fair share of blame however, as those GG's were planted too close together.

So what to do? I hate to use anything on my plants, and I mean anything, even during signs of disease, hoping nature will take care of all. However, this year we are really really hoping to get a tomato crop and so, I sprayed with copper after removing and destroying all diseased leaves. We sure hope that works. It is confusing reading sources who say it's organic... not organic, toxic and kills all bugs..does NOT...says the responder. Sigh...should have had a science degree))))

On a brighter note...The Rainbow Mix Carrots (with a few Purple Haze in this photo) are just at their prime, gently crunchy, full of flavor, and really, in my mind, best eaten raw!

Mango Cheeks, whose blog I follow, has some great recipes for carrots, so if you are looking for inspiration as I am, let me recommend her blog Allotment 2 Kitchen.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tomato Update

The garden is doing what it's supposed to do, and that is.... growing...enjoying the rain and sun. This year is a banner year so far,... such an early spring and such great temperatures here in Nova Scotia, so credit can't rest with the grower too much! Not that there hasn't been challenges, but best to focus on the present and hopefully a good tomato crop in the future.

Right now, La Roma above, (seeds from West Coast Seed), are starting to fruit.

There are also good size fruits on the Sweet Million Cherry tomato plants, and German Gold. Speaking of which, the latter have really outgrown their supports, but thank goodness the stalks are strong. Still, the Captain thought a little more support would be useful, so he fashioned some long metal rods which he turned at the ends...four along each side of the German Golds and then threaded a rod down each side at the top. Perhaps you can see what I mean in the following photo. Total cost was thirty dollars. (Remember my earlier post about the book The $64.00 Tomato by William Alexander...think we are about twenty dollars a tomato so far )))))) just teasing.

The supports could be made stronger and a stop needs to go at the end of the rods, but for now, it is wired together and so we can tie to this for added support. We keep watching the stalks for signs of blight, but lucky so far. I guess we are all keeping our eyes on our tomato plants as they can run into trouble so quickly.

The raised beds where we have more tomato plants...Purple Calabash, Scotia, Black Carbon, Speckled Roman and Big Rainbow....well that seems to be working out really well. I do pinch out and tie those that need doing and am trying to be faithful to that, but it gets away from you ...ya' know)))).

While we can't take a long rest from the garden, ours seems to be entering a time of "just watch me now" while it says, "go on...go over there...lay in the hammock and read why don't you!..I'm good!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Night Garden

Seed pods from the baptisia are trying to dry...

It's evening here..humid and warm after a long hard day's rain.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Miss Shand's Wheel Barrow

We had torrential rain two days ago, and it brought down the delphiniums, some peas and more. The baptisia australis, with it's heavy bounty of seed pods, just couldn't support itself.

I usually use Miss Shand's rusty and humble wheel barrow for light garden tidy up. She was a senior neighbour with an senior garden.... eventually, she couldn't manage it, so, some days I would help her out. Miss Shand would sit in her kitchen chair outside, point to what needed doing with her cane, while I knelt to the task. Later, we inherited some of her garden tools, including the wheel barrow above. Two old trowels have her initial on one and her sister's initial on the other, carved in the wood handle. I remember a story about her sister "D" losing Miss Shand's trowel and after that, they had their initials put on their garden tools so neither could blame the other for any loss))).

The Barrow has just about lived it's life and Miss Shand is gone now about fifteen years. The memories though, are still here to cherish.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

HOT Days in the Garden

Not just temperature hot..but color hot! What started out as a foggy day..(did you know July is the foggiest month of the year here in Nova Scotia?)...well by early afternoon it was getting near scorcher temps for our area but I know, I doesn't compare with other folks in Canada or USA right now. Amazingly, the hot colors in the garden are popping! The Bee Balm above, is really making a great show. When it is hot in the garden, pink doesn't glow much....or white...colors are so so washed out from late morning till the sun starts finding it's nest.

The Red Yarrow "Achillea Angelique" is a shopping channel show stopper)))

Sweet peas are just starting to sweeten up... this lovely hottie, strangely, has little scent. Such a shame.

The red currants are looking beautiful against their soft and fragrant green leaves.

Although not a hot color so much..this lovely poppy keeps reappearing long since forgotten. It has hints of red in the pink, which I think makes it sing...

Speaking about long forgotten names...this is also a looker and keeps returning (maybe Indian summer?) and, following her is Black-Eyed Susan Tiger Eye TM Gold. The Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia are new to me this more hotties to follow in another post..

Speaking of hot...the gang hit the water again today...what's with these temps anyway???

Ever indebted to our neighbours 'cross the road, S n' Q who give us access to the BIG swimming pool, called the Atlantic Ocean!! Tks guys.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Peas Between the Goal Posts

Suddenly they were off and climbing way too high! The peas have been a success this year; that has not always been the case. These are Peas Sugar Snap TM (edible Pod) from a Canadian company that's been around since 1896 (although owned since 2006 by Jiffy).

When McKenzie said they were a "very tall plant and may require support"..did they know the Captain would eventually have to raise the goal posts as in the above photo, and run wire from side to side, and just to be sure, he had to measure the tallest...9' he was pleased to relate))).

Now how on earth can we possibly pick those without a step ladder? So here's a question and replies appreciated.....I'm thinking if the peas were topped at about six feet, wouldn't the radials grow more and produce just as much as an impossible to pick nine feet. Makes sense to me and none of this goal post business!!

By the way, this variety of sugar snap pea is delicious and prolific.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's a Beautiful Life...

Well a birthday in our house, is tucked between Canada Day July 1st and the USA's Independence Day, July 4th. So.... we've been busy with friends and family, lovely treats and sweets, enjoying kindness and good cheer. Counting our blessings)))

After everyone left, we felt lost.... quiet time...a stroll around the garden ... the sweet peas were kinda' struggling..maybe leaf mold and a good shake of lime would perk them up.... perhaps a rake to take the crust off the soil ..fluff it up!!

The tomatoes were coming on fairly well...the German Gold's above on the left; I now think, I should have put them in the raised beds because they are so large and strong...more support is needed.

Below, those in the raised beds are doing alright, and fingers crossed...will continue to thrive but not like the German Gold.

...the newly planted marginally heat tolerant lettuce have germinated...(yes it's an experiment)!

...the Cambridge Scarlet monarda (bergamont/bee balm) is just beginning it's bloom and already the territory is being highly defended by a large male ruby throated hummingbird ...

...a robin is nesting above our front door in the Virginia Creeper and with all the coming and going this weekend..she is still hanging in to follow if I can manage...loads of bird babies "crying" know how they shudder their wings which means feed me, feed really is a magical time of the year. Birdsong in the morning is truly beautiful and comforting.

Forth planting of beans now...please don't mention the word..earwig.....sigh...well like us..they are here for a purpose...

All and all...the garden is coming together full of hope with a strong foundation.

Happy July 4th to our USA friends!! ...most especially D.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to Make a Bed, Lilac Style...

Those who follow this blog, know we have a very special affinity to lilacs. Both of us, love their scent... it fills us with special memory, all good! However, it seems it's "the lilacs who suffer" when spring has awakened so many other plants, and the vegetables need putting in and so much else needs doing. We bury our face in the lilac's magnificent blooms... admire and love their beauty..but do we take good care of them? .....mmmm.

Their poor bed is the last we attend to and here it is... on into the summer and we have only just got around to it. Some doesn't get done! However..leaf miner and the miserable state of the edging made us promise..this week FER SURE! Poor bed..what a place to lie in....

Lilacs are now forming their buds for next year's blooms, and those here are likely just kicking up their roots in happiness in today's application of lime and sifted compost. (the Captain has this idea for a home made primitive and likely challenging rotary sifter compost drum and thinks he can make some bucks with it..but that' s another story)))). So the lilacs have fresh new sheets, and a nice comforter. know how that feels right!!!

Night night Beauty of Moscow and Charles Joly......zzzzzzzzzzz (no hanky-panky now!)

Happy Canada Day!

There is no better way to enjoy Canada Day, than attending a Citizenship Court and participating in the celebration of folks becoming New Canadians. There are usually lots of tears, lots of smiles and loads of congratulations and joy. There is always cake!!

A mountie is always in attendance, and often the flags are trooped in by the local veterans. I remember one man from Cuba, who cried and cried, he just couldn't stop he was so overcome with joy at becoming a new Canadian. That, I will never forget. So if you get the chance to attend a Citizenship Court...and they are always free...go along and support and encourage our New Canadians; they will be so pleased by your welcome.