View from the deck on a glorious morning in early June.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Little flowers in the chaos

It is April 3. The snow has been gone for weeks. The roof is back on the greenhouse. The last few days it has been warm enough to remove the sweater, once we get going. I believe it is safe to say that the season of garden obsession is fully upon us.

My energy leaves to be desired this spring. I am chomping at the bit on some days and "do I have to?" on others. This could be a normal reaction to stress (spouse is not well) or the fact that I am not sixty anymore, or a return of colon cancer. Fatigue was the only symptom 4 years ago. I am being a good girl and having a checkup tomorrow. 

Meanwhile I am determined to enjoy the process no matter what and not beat myself over the head with the enormous To DO list. The envisioned perfection will never be reached anyway. Apart from adding to the compost pile, standing around envisioning and nibbling a few fresh kale leaves I have done nothing in the top garden yet. Today I mainly felt like playing with flowers.

The first flush of early spring flowers is gone, leaving the usual straggly mess of green that we must put up with if we want to have them back next year. After just sitting there for some years Eranthis AKA Aconite seems determined to take over the yard.

It takes a few years from seed to flower, I am not sure how many. First there is just one tiny leaf, then a single frilly leaf. 
I just love it, so let it spread. In between the mess the daffodils have started to bloom, accompanied by small primroses and Siberian blue quill. 
Coltsfoot should have come with a warning. I would have kept it contained, or planted it in the semi wild if I had known its invasive habits. It will be making a nuisance of itself later in the beds below the greenhouse. Right now its bright flowers, poking through the sawdust mulch in the pathways, are a cheery sight. 
Springing up here and there in the weedy 'lawn' and at the edge of flowerbeds desperate for attention and compost are tiny sweet violets.
I had some violas in a container last year, and they actually came back, yeah! They are company for hyacinths that spent the winter in a veg bed but are now being honoured in a planter. 
If I were sane I would just have a few nice big planters for flowers and let it go at that. Needless to say that will not happen. As a compromise the big flower border will be filled with fewer varieties, all undemanding. Even so, there is always need for maintenance. Last year the Michaelmas daisies had become a grassed over, tangled mess with bare spots in between. Golden Glow, its perennial companion in early fall, was barely visible after being repeatedly deered and invaded by grass. I have started digging that whole section up. 

Something entirely different. Last year my struggles with hoops ended with the serendipitous discovery of the seven foot bow, consisting of a five foot length of PVC and part of the rebar. PVC in my neck of the woods comes in 10 foot lengths. Rather than trying to fence in this whole garden with a wobbly construction  I will just use hoops over each individual bed. Cheaper and faster, though it does mean a small change of plans. I know from experience that one does not always get around to lifting the netting to work underneath it. Therefor, rather than fiddly little things like carrots, I will use these beds for less labour intensive plants like Brussels Sprouts and potatoes. I have started already.

The small square behind the cardboard was planted with Sieglinde potatoes today. I had a bunch that were sprouting. They take a long time and do not yield as much as other varieties but they are delicious. Remay will be installed once they start showing. The cardboard still has to be covered with nicer looking sawdust.
The square behind there is devoted to Egyptian walking onions. Most of these will not be eaten, but will be encouraged to set seed for replanting. They give the earliest greens of the year, beating out even fall-planted multipliers. I learned this spring that there is no advantage in planting them in the greenhouse.
And finally, in the spirit of permaculture, some lettuces and arugula were allowed to go to seed in the far square bed. It worked! Behold, extra early Freckles romaine babies! 


  1. Haha-love the baby Freckles romaine popping up---and those will be your toughest and best plants because they sowed themselves.

    I grow all my brassicas and potatoes under the fabric. You definitely can't grow the high maintenance stuff under there--all that lifting the fabric is a pain. I deep mulch everything so I don't have to worry about watering either.

    I dread the time I have to start cutting back on the garden. Last fall was a reality check for me in that I won't always be able (well enough) to do it. I was grateful for hubby's help.......though now he is again "banished" from my garden-LOL!!
    I'm so mean.....or a complete control freak. Ah well, one day I won't be, so I might as well enjoy it.
    I enjoyed your post. Hope all is well and you can keep going with it.

    1. Thanks Sue. Your gardens are in my mind as an example of how it ought to be.....I feel the same way about total control, though I would love to have a handy "infrastructure fairy". You know, a person to take care of fences, beds, trellises....

  2. Ah, Ien, I feel really humbled, can't even say I'm gardening. Too much contractor fuddling, too much rain on days I could have been outside, and so on. I somehow "misplaced" my list of things to put into my blog, and I get cranky at my over-ambitious to-do list that now includes another two tasks for each one I get done.
    But - I'm so glad to see you made a resolution to post more in 2016! It's great!
    Keep it up! Barry

    1. Did I say that I had posting as a resolution? Thanks for reading, I will try.


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