Monday, July 25, 2011

I Remember when...

I remember when... (oh my, do I sound old ;-) .. it was very difficult for me to figure out what was a weed and what wasn't and I still can't always tell. But, I guess with age comes experience, and thankfully, I can now at least, recognize sunflower sprouts in the garden or this beauty wouldn't have made it past the gate. Other sprouts which grew to provide height and color this year, were the pink poppies (last post) but they are fairly easy to recognize early on with their silver leaves, so only a few were left to actually bloom in the veg garden. Four leeks not used last summer, overwintered and flowered this year so if I am not careful collecting seed, they will likely end up sprouting in the soil next year. Would I recognize those I wonder? We can look this one right in the that's a good five feet! I love that unexpected bloom, that surprise...unplanned and stately in it's height, size and color..... 'garden architecture'.

If you grow garlic, you know how fantastic and architectural the scapes are... 'shepherd hooks' my friend Ann calls them.  They were trimmed off today; goodness should be going into the bulb below ground, not into making seed. The bulblets are yummy in just about anything ... salads...pasta..pesto.
Garlic scape seed heads with the sheath removed
We are always happy to find reseeded summer squash in the spring beds. With their huge leaves they add quite a bit of primal drama. I thought it might have been a mistake to resettle them in the new bed just off the deck but for a quick fill in until we decide what to do, it sure worked it's magic along with Agastache and Nicotiana. The latter fills the evening air with it's glorious fragrance and has it's own architecture as well.
Pole beans are at the top of their bamboo tripods; peas are at their summit. Clematis are sharing the wired wooden support and when  peas are done, we hope the vines will fill in even further.
beans Fortex, Gold Marie and Purple Podded

It's time to relax and enjoy the garden..... eat from it...smell it...embrace it. Also nearing time to take a little vacation from Blogger and "Go West" blog friends. I've a very special wedding to attend, friends and family to visit and hopefully some left coast gardens to enjoy! Summer really has arrived!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Who doesn't love Poppies! They alone, decide where to grow, often in surprisingly perfect places...."oh won't that lime green lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson) look great at my feet" I could almost hear this one say....and indeed it did! Their shades of pink to red blend in the garden tapestry; early morning light helps them shimmer and glow.

We've been's coming! The beds are edged and refreshed, tidied up for Saturday when the Mt. Denson Garden Club will visit. This was my very first garden club, joined when we moved back to Nova Scotia many years ago. Members used to meet in the old school house... you know the type, with a wood or oil stove sitting right in the classroom, simple beadboard on the walls, hardwood floors and chalk boards. I fondly remember one senior gentleman who announced on herb night "you can freeze parsley; just put it in a baggie flat in the freezer and break off what you need, when you need it". What a revelation for a gardener like myself, who really didn't know a lot about herbs twenty years ago. One could say, I put down roots in that garden club and I am so pleased they asked to visit.

Some of the blooms I hope the members will enjoy are the sweet peas, just coming on. This year, they were grown in large planters down near the shed and seem to like the warm protection. There's Yarrow as well, with it's umbels of deep rosy pink, attracting beneficials to the garden. Robin Hood Rose is finally starting to come into it's own.
Click on photos to enlarge
There's just the front bed to tidy today. If the rain doesn't stop, well ..... the back deck isn't going to get stained and that's just going to have to be the way it is for now. It's hard to believe we haven't had four continuous days of sun since spring began and the deck was finished.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Birds Welcome!

Can You See the Flicker?
A few years ago the Captain commented "you know, that bird thing you got going".  He was right; I do have a bird thing going. Some people develop a passion for old plates, dog ornaments, vintage silverware or tea towels.'s all about birds.

When my son sends cards, nine out of ten times, there are birds on them. Last year at Christmas, he gave me bird seed. Now HOW Sweet is that!! (well not just birdseed..he is simply, very thoughtful and knows my feathered weakness))) If you look around the house interior...Nova Scotia carved Folk Art birds watch our every move! So it goes without saying, the last few weeks have been pretty awesome in the garden, with Northern Flickers feeding their young, feasting on the bazillion ANTS... INVASION of the century! They love those tiny little morsels and I love them for that! Well not just for that..they are beautiful.

After having a drink at the pond, this one flew to the corner of the workshop and likely had 'afters' of spider and earwig. Yummmm.  Sadly, I never seem to have a camera in hand during opportune bird sighting moments, and, if I do, the photos are inevitably blurry like the one above. Still, I persevere. The bird cam has been a success but with our focusing on finishing the deck and finally having summer arrive....well you know (((.

We did have robins nest in the Wisteria but they made off without sharing their big day! Woodpeckers have been coming to the feeders, and all are loving the birdbaths. We lost one this year...birdbath that is, and poor ole Stink (our dog) just about got clobbered by the pedestal. Fortunately, he had just left the workshop when..ahem..."someone" on the upper floor moved something which knocked something causing a reaction and down the pedestal fell, through the lift hole crashing twelve feet below. Course no one fesses up to these things until one must...when weeks pass and the bird bath doesn't appear...  "Ah...well...ahem....I didn't tell you this...well you see...etc etc."  So there, I'm over can tell.... right?

We've had a lot of American Gold Finches, Juncos (stalwarts of the garden) ....Crows with their young, Mourning Doves and Ruby Throated Hummingbirds but there is something about 'red' birds in the garden... they light up your eyes. Think this one is a male Purple Finch but's really RED!

Eating soft far as we could figure out anyway!
Birds love a fresh water source in a garden to drink and bathe...and if you are able to feed them all summer, they will reward you by eating lots of bugs as well as singing their hearts out.

p.s..I was mistaken..the Robins are still feeding their young..and they sure didn't like us near the pond tonight!

Friday, July 1, 2011

White Surprise

Foxglove with pink poppies in background
The garden seemed to be dominated with purple tones the last few days...hurt your eyes blue from Salvias, Geranium and Baptisia.... But it's funny how a walk around makes you take stock and appreciate new blooms gone unnoticed. I realized in fact, the whites had center stage..not the purples or blues.

First Peony
Peonies were corrupted by blight this rainy year, so, finding this bloom today (following my nose in fact) was heartening. The scent always reminds me of my first funeral...sad and difficult. They were held at home in those days...not at a proper 'funeral home' but in our home's front parlor. A black wreath hung at the entry so those in the neighborhood would know...the loss. Peonies, the scent of living and leaving.

Five years ago, our Yucca bloomed..just that once in ten..and this looks to be the second coming. Am thrilled about that! Doesn't the bud look striking! The ants can't leave it alone though! Bad year for ants (

The most exciting of the Whites displaying....(we waited eleven years for our few scattering of blooms last year), is Wisteria 'Alba Longissima'....  In late winter, we did a big chop...rewarded as you can see below. They hang heavy and fragrant; ...magical!

Wisteria floribunda 'Longissima Alba'
Best news though...robins have nested among the blooms ...stand by for baby photos soon!!!