My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!

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Working in the sun, planting, digging, sorting .. having fun outside.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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Oh, so sadly I learned of the passing of the wonderful Maeve Binchy .. from Bridget’s blog:

Maeve Binchy, is, bar none .. the most gifted writer there has ever been .. she captures the heart and soul of everyday people in everyday situations.

I have all of her books and re-read them from time to time, noticing more nuances with each reading.

Oh, how very lucky we are to have had her in our world.  Bless you Maeve.

Flying has been very much in my world I am very happy to say!   Loving the skies, clouds and birds up above .. my joy is increased when we are up in the air flying from here to there.

The skies have been sporting such beautiful cloud formations lately .. and my little camera has been clicking away at every opportunity.  Some of the clouds are stupendous in their beauty and gracefulness .. shifting and changing as we pass by ..and I cannot pass up the chance to take lots of photos as we do.

I see animals, boomerangs, people in the puffy cloud formations … scenery .. all sorts of things.  Quite beautiful.

Working hard in the garden during the week so that I can relax and just absorb the peaceful beauty of the lovely skies and scenery on the ground.

I’ve been mixing large quantities of EM during the past few weeks, and last night I applied quite a bit on some newly transplanted cedars and bay trees.   I know that you are not “supposed” to transplant perennials in the hot sun .. but I took a chance and started digging in late afternoon .. followed by a very liberal dousing of EM. And today I noticed the plants are looking just fine!

I’ve come to depend quite heavily on the EM (effective microorganism) mixture.  It gives the same results, pretty well, as brewed compost tea .. however, I haven’t put together a tea composter (with aquarium tubing and motors) this year.  Perhaps next year.  For now, though, my EM is the magical elixir for all things growing in the garden.

The strawberry plants have started to flower again.  Same for the tomatoes.  The snapeas and the sweet peas .. same story.   And the growth of the bay tree in the back, along with the bay laurels and the willow .. well, these are growing into lovely giant plants.

Yesterday I was busy reshaping one side of the yard.  Down on my hands and knees, with only a few garden tools, I busily dug out weeds, created a shallow edging at the forefront of this garden bed and found yet more garlic from a few years ago.  I’m drying these and will plant them in the main garlic bed in September.

I also pulled out invasive plants, too many crocosomia, Euphorbia and a few others.   Now I want space for the cedars to grow out and up.   And more space for the lavender and rosemary plants.  Plus, I’d like to grow a variety of lavender plants, to make a lovely lower border at the front of this garden area.

Working in the blazing sun, getting dusty and dirty, wearing my sturdy garden outfit, I feel quite happy in my world.  Getting lots done sometimes and not so much in others.

Spent some time today in clearing away fence boards and the mess that accompanies new fencing in the yard.   A few hours into the lifting, carrying, sorting and tidying and I was quite ready for a tea break.

Now .. time to go back outside .. to enjoy the sun and to plant some more perennials. Does it ever end!

Tomorrow I’ll be getting 5 yards of that lovely Miracle Mulch for the perennials beds:


Now .. time to get ready to go back outside.

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Happy in the sky, flying amongst the clouds

Saturday, July 29, 2012

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My life on Saturday was mostly spent in the air .. and only a little bit of time in my garden.  Lots of time for that in a few days.

For now .. up up and away enjoy the clouds … be at cloud base .. enjoy the shifting shapes.

Flying through the air .. first in the airplane and later in the sailplane.

How lucky am I .. .  I know I am ..

Soaring above the earth ..  flitting among the clouds.

Feeling the energy of the natural forces of the earth and sky combined.

Feeling the freedom of being up in the sky …

I sink back into my passenger seat and just soak in the rays of the sun.  Feeling the joy of being in the air.  The silence …. The swoosh of the wings as the sailplane effortlessly swirls and soars.

Oh, I am so very  lucky.

Saturday was a day of heights .. of things high in the sky.

Happy Birthday MJ!!

Onwards and upwards .. more flying to be done.

More clouds to be enjoyed.

More flowers to be seen.

More birds to watch.

On this very lovely and sunny day ….


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Interesting activities to be seen in the yard … that I otherwise might have missed

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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This past week .. now that we have had more than 5 consecutive days of warm sunny weather, I found myself just watching what’s happening in the yard.  So nice to have the time to do that, finally, after years of being on the treadmill.

And I find the most loveliest little signs of activity that I would have otherwise missed!

Saw a chubby little honeybee .. taking a few minutes out of his busy day, collecting nectar .. to just chill out on a plant leaf.

There are a number of butterflies in the yard and I was able to take some pics of the brownish/black type when they rested.

So busy looking at a busy bee in a sunflower that I almost missed the little ladybug that was tucked away in the yellow petals!

Again, so lost in admiring the texture and flippant designs of the daisy petals, that I almost missed the little spider who was making its home in the flower!

And there was the very yellow, cheerful .. snapdragon .. blooming away, as it grew beside a patio door .. that is slated for installation but for now is just resting against the house.  A surprise bit of colour.

I’d scrubbed out the hummingbird feeders .. and enjoy the little show.  4 of them were flitting about the feeder .. taking turns resting atop bamboo stakes ..  and then two of them sat quietly af the feeder,  sipping on the nectar.

Heard the most cheerful chirps of a group of Bushtits .. who came visiting, flitting from one tree to another.  I think they were disappointed in the lack of suet block .. every time I put one out, the darned sparrows attack it .. so I’ve just left up some fat in the feeders.  They like that.  So uplifting, the way that they just swarmed into the yard .. as if to say .. ta da .. we’re here!   And the babies must be in that group!

The cilantro that I planted yesterday is growing well.  Looking forward to harvesting some.

Clipped some green chives, chopped them up and dried them in the oven .. disappointing, the bright green colour faded and the chives were tough.  Methinks these are best fresh.

Haven’t seen the eagles for a while .. they usually fly around 11:30 am .. looking for their lunch.   And I’ve been elsewhere at that time … must try to have a look next week.

There are only a few cherries left on the tree .. I’ll leave them for the birds.  I can only imagine the feasting that has been going on, in the wee small hours, over the past few weeks.  I’ve picked enough for us and am glad that the birds were able to enjoy them also.

Transplanted some raspberry canes around the back and sides .. they fill in some empty spaces.

Nearly done planting most of the potted perennials … sure takes a bit of time to decide the best places for them.  And …. I can always move them later.

Feel quite satisfied with my week’s worth of work.  Next, I plan to seed more lettuce, spinach and edible pea pods .. in a few days.



Why do potato plants have square stems? And other things.

Friday, July 27, 2012

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We are so lucky with the hot sunny weather!

Spent some time bringing a few containers of dried seaweed  outside.. to sit in the sun for a while .. to make sure they are really, really dry!  Otherwise, there could be quite a stench in the house.

Mixed up some EM … watered a few tomato and squash plants.  All are growing nicely.

I have a few little casual sitting in my garden.  Mostly, they are just oversized boulders that I’ve moved from one area of the yard to another.  Perfect for placing in a few little spaces and just relaxing there for a while .. to study the birds and the bees and butterflies playing around the yard.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m not making any progress in the yard .. yet, when I look around me .. I really am amazed at all that I’ve done.  I seem to work best in little blocks of time.  Overwhelming though the work seems to be .. once I get started in a little corner, then I just seem to zone into that special  world of plants and creativity.

So maybe that is where I’m losing the sense of “conscious” time… the place where I make lists and plan and that sort of thing.  I’ve entered that amazing, creative, energizing place where nothing exists except that very positive flow with the magic of the living earth and plants.

I’m easily distracted by the flight of butterflies in my path, hummingbirds zooming overhead.  Chickadees and other birds visiting the trees and chirping their hello’s!

And I am so very glad that we planted those many trees years ago, they are overgrown, but that is the way we like them.   They provide us with shade and lots of oxygen.   Not the least is their gift of fruit, plums, apples and cherries.

But, most of all .. I’m glad they are there .. because they provide shelter for the variety of winged friends who visit.   Lots of safe places for them to hide and build their nests.

There are so many places, properties, where all the old trees and bushes have been removed, to “tidy” up the landscaping.   How barren and how empty.

Spent some lovely time just listening to some relaxing music, quiet time .. chilling out .. watching the every changing skies above.

Relaxing in the sun.

Watching the birds.

Getting some things done.

Yes, I finally planted quite a few perennials that had patiently sat in their pots for many months.

Established some raspberry plants among the perennials.  It’s always nice to munch on a fresh sun warmed berries .. .these will be fruiting next summer.

Spent some time watering some parched plants.

Walked through the berry section .. studied the potato plants .. noticed that their stems are square .. now, why is that?  There must be a specific reason for this .. but I just don’t know what that reason would be .. something else to research, I guess.

Where the potatoes are now flourishing .. well, next year I’ll have a few more rows of raspberries.   And should any potatoes show up … they will be quickly potted up in a big container.  I love potatoes, but they really take up space!

Watching the sweet peas growing .. .waiting for them to flower.

Some tomatoes are increasing in size .. still green though.

A very wonderful day in my garden.



Another day in the garden, moving plants, creating space, watching plants grow

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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So yesterday, Tuesday, was quite a hot and sunny day!   I really made a lot of progress in the yard.  And later, stuffed my little Echo car to the maximum with 3 large garden bags, the paper kind .. stuffed to the gills with cuttings.

I even had two of them in the passenger seat, I love to use every bit of space in my car.  Then, in the back (I have the hatchback version) I stowed one more garden bag, full to the brim, plus 4 large Rubbermaid totes and 4 smaller ones.    I can really pack things into my little car … it is a wonderful vehicle.   Holds almost as much as a small truck.

I love using the car for a garden vehicle, tarps lining the interior, then when all the garden waste is taken to the Saanich yard for composting, I neatly pack everything away and all is back to normal, kind of nice and tidy.

Oh, how I love the spaciousness of the side yard now … and so will work on adding some hardy perennials in the foreground .. and leave lots of space for the cedars to fill out and grow tall.  they are nearly to the top of the fence and with the magical EM mixture, it won’t take them long to grow even higher.

I see that there are a few cedars that will need to be dug up and moved over a little bit.  Plus one Bay tree that will have to be moved, so that it will have lots of space to grow and fill out.

Oh, gardening is so much fun.  Always changes to be done.  Plants to move around.  Trimming to be done.

I find that sometimes I work hard for hours, without stopping and other times are just perfect for dreaming away, planning changes.   A balance it seems.

So yesterday I found myself being swept away in tidying up .. we’ve recently (I use the Royal “we” .. when really I mean DH, ha ha ha) installed new fence panels at one side of the yard .. and so there are lots of old fence boards that need to be sorted and piled up, ready to be reinstalled around the panels of the 3 remaining sides of the fence.

I have no idea how I started that chore, but start I did and spent a few hours sorting, piling, tidying, sweeping .. quite impressive, really.  I am so full of surprises.

Yesterday was a lovely day .. so I’ve posted some pictures taken on Monday.  Showing the “gently shoved aside by the giant Buddleia” cedars.  And the open spaces behind and in front of the cedars.  I’ll post pics in a month and I can only wonder at the growth that will take place as a result of the EM  .. which I definitely will apply tomorrow.

The plentiful raspberry plants are now resting quietly in a large garden pot … I’ve decided to keep them and to establish a few more garden beds.  Fresh raspberries are just plain fun to have in the yard.  Plus, they add lots of greenery.

Oh, it’s been a fun few days in the garden and tomorrow I  plan to start the day in the garden very early and to finish planting the potted plants.  Including Rosemary and Lavender.

Plus, you know, time to relax and study the lay of the land. Dream. Watch the birds.



Oh, clouds, way up in the sky … you teased me into procrastination and won the day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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Oh, I was such a little window fighter yesterday!  All gung-ho to plant and not procrastinate.  However, life doesn’t always go the way you plan it!

Started out with:

– mug of Yorkshire tea – check

– Sudoku & pencil – check

– hose connected and water on – check

iPod music playing – check

– several tomes of gardening books to check on plant size – check

camera ready for taking photos of birds/trees .. whatever – check

– beautiful skies above – check  … and here is where I met my downfall and paired up yet again with my ole pal, Procrastination.

Looked up and saw the most beautiful blue skies dotted with puffy clouds and decided to walk around and take some aerial photos.

Somehow ended up by the gigantic yellow globe Buddleia at the side yard.  Hmmm .. this plant has morphed into a giant .. some branches would do best to be trimmed.  So I fetched my clippers and started making a few trims of outstretched growth.

And, a few hours later, I’d pruned the plant down to just one main stem.  Discovered that the rapid growth was gently squeezing the life out of my cedar trees, planted a few years ago.  I say “gently” because the cedars were still bright green, but they were sort of pushed in at the sides.

I trimmed quite a few branches for propagating … oh, just stop me now!  Then I decided to make a mulch out of the balance, so a few hours of trimming the supple branches and leaves .. they might as well be added to the compost, to add to the garden later.

Then I started looking at the Crocosmia plants.   Several people had given me the corms over the years and I’d just planted them here and there in the yard.  Well, I’m not spreading rumours, but, since I’ve added EM to the soil, I’ve noticed that plants have started exploding in growth.  Seriously, I’m not kidding.

Where there were only a few raspberry canes, a few Crocosmia plants last year .. and that was fine .. this year they are bursting out of the ground.  I pulled hundreds of Crocosmia plants out of the ground and the same story with the raspberry canes.   I’ve grown these raspberry plants for years and never, ever, have they grown so abundantly.

And then I noticed the lily plant .. now this one I don’t remember planting, but it appeared last year .. very demure and sweet, about 2 feet tall.   Last night, I looked “up” at this same plant, it’s over 6 feet tall!

I noticed my Mock Orange plant is growing, but all twisty and turny .. so time to move it to a place where it can grow up a bit straighter, with more room.

Where the cedars have been given space to grow, these are lush and taller .. and some of the smaller ones need to be dug up and moved over a bit.

I ripped out all the hundreds of annual flowers, the flowers have bloomed already, but these are taking up too much room.  Darn that EM anyway, ha ha ha.

So, procrastination won out in the end.  I admit defeat yesterday.  But, on the bright side, I tackled a chore that wasn’t even on my list (that is, if I had a list, ha ha ha ).   And I made changes that I wasn’t aware needed to be done.   That is .. clearing away space so my cedars can grow.

That side of the yard feels much more spacious now .. it’s a good feeling.

I was going to post photos, but decided that I’ll show those pics tomorrow.

For today, I just want to share some of the sky pictures that caught my attention in the first place .. and the reason why I succumbed to procrastination.


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Today is a planting day .. no more procrastination!

Monday, July 23, 2012

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Sunday was quite the day .. with the skies changing from overcast, cloudy …to bright and sparkling blue .. decorated with quite a beautiful changing series of amazing clouds.  So I spent some time just admiring the scenery and clicking away.

It was also a lazy day .. we are usually away on the weekends, but the weather wasn’t the best for flying .. so it was stay at home for us.  I don’t mind these types of weekends.  Lots of time to just not rush around .. time to slow down and enjoy.  So we did.

Outside, looking around the yard, amazed at the changes brought about by the addition of the EM to the garden.  Never have the fruit trees bore so much fruit.  I am so very very happy that I took the Organic Master Garden course (Gaia college) .. it totally changed my way of gardening forever.

And the “shifting of paradigms” as noted at the beginning of the course is so true .. my view of gardening has gone in a whole new direction.  I am aware now of the worlds beneath my feet .. the living beings that inhabit the soil and transform it into a healthy growing medium for plants.  Healthy soil = healthy plants.  And as I gaze around my yard I see the proof.

More about that on a later date.  Today I just want to share the joy that I feel as I walk around my garden.

I’ve made enquiries about where to have the bountiful crop of apples transformed into lovely apple cider .. no rush, they won’t be ready for a few months yet .. but I want to be ready!  Last year I’d made jams, baked pies .. but want to try my hand at the cider.   Having not done this before and how fun to sip on cider from the trees.

I’d found sites on making cherry wine from frozen … so might try that … however, I’ve gotten into the habit of using the frozen cherries (from our tree) as ice cubes in summer drinks.   And they taste delicious at the bottom of the glass, plus, vitamin C!

The squash, cucumber and zucchini plants are starting to grow tendrils so I’m trying to find things to use for guides .. tree branches, that sort of thing.

My lovely garlic crop is drying beneath the sundeck.  I spent some time hanging groups of them from nails along the boards …. planning which ones I will save for the fall crop.

Looked at the veggie bed .. planning more garlic rows .. for more garlic.  This time I’ll give the cloves a bit more space for them to grow.  I’d tried growing some in containers, resulted in smaller cloves .. so won’t do that again.

Heavy crop of raspberries and blueberries.  Really enjoy just going outside everyday and picking a basket of them for us.   Memories of days spent on a relative’s farm … hot sunny days, fun times.

The plum trees are fully laden.  We have three types:  Italian (large plump fruits); tiny purple (don’t know the type) and another type of medium purple (again, don’t know type) .. they are all good .. and so I might have these made into something like wine or whatever .. depends on how much fruit makes it to the end of the season.  Plus, this year I’ll spread out tarps to collect the dropping fruit .. easier to clean up.  To avoid the end of the season hornet attacks .. I’ve been picking up all fallen fruit daily and over to the compost they go.

Admiring the green lush growth of the grass .. where the seaweed has dripped … not that I’m into lawn, but, I like to maintain what we have.   Notice that there are fewer dandelions growing throughout ..a sign that the lawn has been receiving nutrients required, the extra vitamin C is no longer required, there is sufficient now, it seems.

There are still perennials to be planted .. I’ve arranged them in the approximate areas where I’d like them to grow … and so today I think .. is the day to do this!

Beautiful sunny day and now I’m on my way.

A – planting – I – will – go!  Goodby – procrastination!  Hello – happy plants in their new places!