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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Enjoying the lovely fall days, colourful leaves, happy chirping birds .. and all that!

Lovely fall days …

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Just sharing some colourful photos of beautiful fall scenery around here.

I love watching the brightly hued leaves swirling about .. carpeting the ground, adorning the bare branches of trees.

Birds chirping about .. happy to visit the suet block and flit about the yard.

This is truly a time of the year to wind down the outdoor chores and spend relaxing time enjoying the activities that are happening all around us.

I’ve been spending a lot of time potting up my plants … using the rich crumbly soil from composted areas to fill up the pots.  Nice fat earthworms have toiled in the soil, making it easy to work with.

My lovely kale plants are doing well and I’ve slowly been moving them to the side of the yard, to mingle in with the regular perennials that are already in place.   Adding lots of the lovely composted soil so they will grow big and strong.   My gardening neighbour tells me that kale loves this rainy chilly fall weather and so I expect we will have enough kale to last us through to the spring.

We’ve enjoyed a wonderful sunny day and this brought back memories of our short but hot and sunny summer.   Lovely memories.

And the time change .. fall back one hour .. made this day seem like a very long and productive one.

I finally started potting up those sprouted garlic seeds and I must say that the garlic odour is quite intensive.  More so than the cloves.  I started putting these sprouts into propagating cells, but realized that, since the greens are growing now, it would be best to just pot these into a planter and then just clip the greens.  The balance of the seeds that have not yet sprouted .. well, there are about a million of them.  And I don’t look forward to potting them all up . .so .. I might just scatter them in the background of the perennials.  And wait to see what happens.

Is there such a thing as too much garlic?  I wonder.

I’ve been collecting oak leaves .. have amassed quite a collection .. and tomorrow I’ll see if I can run my little lawn mower over some of them ..just to see if I can break them down a bit.  Fingers crossed.

Walking around the yard, I can see roses still blooming, tiny sunflowers continuing to flower.  Lots of apples to pick.  Lettuce still growing in their pots.  Rosemary is still flowering.  Lots of beautiful activity in the garden.

Oh happy days.  I do love this time of the year!

🙂

 

 

 


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Oh my .. the last day of the plant sale . .what’s a gal to do ???

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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So yesterday … I am a little embarrassed to say .. I went back to the supermarket where I’d purchased a lot of plants on sale (two for one) lately.   It was the last day, so .. ahem .. I bought a few more plants.

Back home and I decided to tackle another neglected garden area.   This one is in the front side yard, behind our “first ever Christmas tree” that is now well over 100 feet tall.  I’m guessing, as I don’t have anything to compare it to, size wise.  But its gigantic.   And all the birds love this tree.

Anyway, I dug away at the hard packed soil, amended it with a very generous amount of magic mulch & soon I was settling in my new purchases.    You can’t see it in the photo, but there is a very healthy Jasmine plant, with two vines.  I’ll be training each one up against several fence panels and so soon they should be growing quite nicely.

I was soon in the Zen of digging the soil and deciding the best places for the plants so it was quite a shock when I was finally finished for the day.  Tired and happy at the work done.  Tidied up the area and then brought out the hose and watered everything quite thoroughly.   Followed by a liberal dose of liquid EM.

Have you ever noticed sometimes how quickly the day passes?  You sit and think, now what did I accomplish today?  Much or nothing?

Well, I’ve decided that I always do accomplish quite a lot .. even when I feel that I haven’t made any advancements in my many projects.

And I know this because I take quite a few pictures throughout the day.  At the end of the day, after I’ve uploaded them to my computer, as I look through them .. I think back to where I was and what I was doing as I’d taken them.

I remembered my little breaks from working, looking up at the magnificent skies overhead.  The opportunities to just rest awhile and look at the sweet little birds who visit our yard.  Admiring how the plants are growing.  The advancements made in their growth from one day to another.

Feeling such joy at the way the sunshine transforms the surface of a leaf, the texture of a stem, the decadent blossoms of the cheerful sunflowers that the birds have planted, as they’ve scattered the seeds while they munch away at the feeder.

Remembered how wonderful it felt to just wander around the yard, planning for changes.   Opportunities for me to utilize my creativity in plant placement.

Another wonderful day spent.  And there is still a fair chunk of summer left to enjoy.

Life is great in the garden!

🙂

 

 

 


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Do Zucchini’s grow overnight into giant plants? And why are they spelled this way anyway?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

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I wake up in the mornings now, planning my days outside.

Yesterday I looked at my latest little area of beauty .. the three pavers that I installed at the end of the little cement sidewalk that ends about 5 feet from the cherry tree.  I’d chiselled out spaces in the hard packed clay soil to fit these in and they do look rather well.

And I added grass seed, topped with some soil and a thorough watering …. the grass should be growing in a week or so.  Whatever is left from the birds .. I do know that they like to nibble.

Grass is not my thing, but it does give the yard a lovely green quality.  And I’ve been forgetting to water the grass once a week … so am starting that habit.  It doesn’t take much .. but I hear the words of one my instructors at the Organic Master Gardening class .. just an inch of water per week will keep the soil moist so the living creatures can go on living and nurture the soil.  I want to keep them alive.

I also weeded the front patch of grass .. trying to nurture that back to a healthy green .. if I can keep cars from parking there, grrrrrr …  then a thorough watering.   And the final piece de resistance .. a liberal dosing of EM!  I’ve bought a huge, bright orange, 3 L watering can and so I filled that up 6 times with the EM/water mixture.

The changes should start appearing in a few days .. oh, hold me back from checking every 5 minutes.  And I will make sure that I keep this patch watered every week.

Bare soil, with no covering, is dead soil.   There needs to be a covering, mulch or plant materials, some water .. and this will keep the soil alive.

Looked around the little veggie patch, saw a surprise in one of the zucchini plants.  I swear there were only 2 tiny zucchini’s there the day before and now I see one that is nearly 5 times the size.  Do these things grow into giants overnight?  I have much to learn about growing vegetables.

And I think, why are zucchini’s spelled with two c’s??  I play around with the n’s, adding an extra one, short changing the c and then realize I need to correct. Sigh.

And I vow that next year, I will watch for the potato plants and will quickly scoop them up and grow them in containers.   They take up a lot of real estate in the garden and I plan to grow lots of garlic and more raspberries!

Looked at the little water feature hanging from a branch of the cherry tree .. glad I took the advice of my friend D, to put something in there for the birds to perch on .. when they finally visit the water.   She notes that the feature is too new for the birds .. they will use it when they become familiar with it being there.

Despite my great plans, I still haven’t planted lettuce in my little portable raised bed.  A situation that I plan to rectify today.

The day disappeared yesterday!  What with some necessary shopping.  Which included filling my car with plants that were on sale at a local supermarket. Three types of grasses, and other perennials that I’ve never used in my garden.,

I normally venture towards perennials, and am strongly attracted to herbs.  But sometimes it’s good to have a variety.  All the plants that I chose yesterday are strong, hardy and drought resistant.  My kind of plants.

Well .. on with this most lovely day.  Things to do.  Plants to plant.   And a little portable raised bed to situate somewhere.

And will I find time today to haul out my garlic bulbs, sort and choose which ones I will plant and which ones I will use and share?

🙂


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The magic of roots and the tranquility of a misty morning visit to a local beach.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

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Spent some time on the weekend, while DH was flying .. to relax in a decadent bout of reading.   Time to relax and just explore the pages of my gardening books.  There never seems to be the time to do this during the week so I look forward to these lovely indulgent weekends.

Looking through my treasures .. one of a handful of gardening books that I truly treasure .. this one is “Living Earth” by Peter Farb, by Pyramid Books .. entitled “The Words of Science, Biology”.

Now I hadn’t studied biology in school and I don’t know if this sort of thing is being taught nowadays, that is, the subject of the magic of the root system of plants.   And in such a down to earth manner of explaining!

Peter Farb’s book is fascinating.  First published in January, 1959…. this copy that I hold reverently is 50 years old!  A real treasure. I picked this one up at a local library book sale. One of those magic moments, you know .. when you see a little inconspicuous book, pick it up and open it up and it’s one of those OMG moments.

Words pop out of the page. Worlds open and enchantment begins.  You see, I have a very active imagination and can visualize what I am reading.   Most of the time this is a good thing.  And that is why I mostly read positive things and steer away from nasty things.

Anyway, Chapter 4 “The World of the Root” … describes the importance of tree roots  How they pry and twist beneath the forest soil  The strength of the system.  More than half of the tree’s bulk is underground …busy growing, feeding ..busy roots that have enormous power that we do not see on the surface.

He describes how a healthy root system can “scarcely be destroyed” … chop down the forest giant and its roots sprout dozens of new saplings.

Tree roots grow best in adversity, when the soil is poor and water hard to come by.   Experiments in laboratories have shown that “a rye plant , grown for only four months, developed an underground system of 7,000 miles of roots”!!

And he goes on to tell us that roots go back in the history of the soil about a third of a billion years .. plants have greatly modified their aerial parts, the stems and the leaves in the past 350 million years, but the root structure shows little change.  He states that perhaps in the conservative environment of the soil, there has been little need for  adaption.

Next, he describes 3 areas of the root system which bring forth the magic to me!  These are:

Root-Cap

This is at the very tip of the root, it fits like a thimble and takes the brunt of pushing through the soil.   Constantly renewing itself, it bears the brunt of the movement through the soil.

The Zone of Elongation:   Now I first heard of this in my recent Master Gardening course and the phrase pulled me like a magnet.  Here I discover more about this zone.  It sits directly behind the cap, seldom more than three-tenths of an inch long and this is where rapid cell division occurs .. it is the only part of the root that increases in length.  In all roots.  And finally:

Felty Root Hairs:  Right behind the Zof E, is the only place where the roots feed!  And these are followed by the corky brown roots, older sections, once they fed the sapling, now they are no longer taking in water but now act as pipelines connected to the tree.  It has the same cork covering as the tree bark, but is much thinner.

This book references specialists for further studies and I am so very grateful for their work, enabling me to further understand the magic beneath my feet!

After reading about the root system, I found myself wandering around recently ploughed soil .. and saw root stems lying hither and thither.  After much debate with myself, I finally decided to gather up some sections.  Simply because I normally do not see tree roots in my normal day-to-day living.  And these alder roots were lovely.  So I quickly gathered some up and formed them into wreaths.  To hang them in the trees in my yard .. to add to the natural beauty.

As I pulled some of the tips out of the ground, I could see the tenacious spreading of the root tips and smell the earthy smell of the mycorrhizal fungi as they clung to these areas.  Just doing their job.  Reminders for me as to the magnificence of nature.

I could go on and on about more information contained in this chapter, but, another time!

A few days ago, when I went to a beach up-island, I was fortunate enough to be there at a time in the morning when there were only a few others around.   The morning was misty and a surreal fog was gently engulfing the water and shoreline.

It was one of those very rare moments of peaceful quiet in a beautiful surrounding and I felt honoured to be there at that time to enjoy this lovely gift.    The only sound was that of a few gulls crying out and the sound of the water lapping against the rocks.

So I’m sharing a few pictures of my special time there in all that quiet beauty.

Now .. I must go outside to spread out recently acquired seaweed.  Today is predicted to be hot and sunny and I need to dry out this crop as soon as possible!

On and on with this day!


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Sunday .. a day of sun .. enjoying the beauty of flowers and the joys of flying.

Monday, June 25, 2012

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We were very lucky yesterday, the weather did not turn out as predicted and we were treated to a hot sunny summer’s day!

Lots of flowers blooming away .. thanks to the previous day or two of rain.

I’ve been noticing, over the years, how randomly placed plants seem to just somehow group themselves together into a most cosy group of flowers.

Yesterday I was noticing the lively colours of the pansies were intermingled with the low growing thymes and the delicately scented lavender flowers.

And the sunflowers, dwarfed in their containers, growing quite happily with the lupins.  How sweet this will look, with the purple lupins growing alongside the bright cheerful yellow of the sunflowers.

The transplanted foxglove, which last year grew to well over 6 feet .. when it was in a richer area of soil and .. transplanted to the edge of a grassy area, in more clay soil .. grew to a diminutive height of less than two feet.

But next year, who knows?  It will acclimatized itself to the tougher growing area and will most likely resume its former grandeur.

I’d cut down the robust Lavatera plants, since they’d been rapidly going into seed .. and there are enough of these tough little plants anyway.  There’s no fear of not having lots of these plants.   In another week or so they will be tall and flowering again.

The rosemary plants are nearly 3 feet high now .. a far cry from the barely 3″ eight when I planted them, 3 years ago.

Some of the sweet peas have gone to seed … I’ll just plant the seeds and there will be another crop.

I love the tenacity of these tough plants, mostly drought resistant but they do love the water and flourish with an abundance of that.

Yesterday was a day to relax, wander around the flowers.   Spend some time up in the air, flying through the skies.  And time to read through my Compost Tea & textbooks from my gardening course.  The intricate subjects of soil and plants still unfolding .. so much to learn.  And loving the journey.

Another great day .. and on with this one.


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Taking advantage of the rainy Saturday to just putter around the yard and just plain enjoying being outside

Sunday, June 17, 2012

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Saturday .. a mix of rain ..and clouds.   Outside for a little bit.  The day was for puttering around.  Not a day for massive amounts of work.

I like these kinds of days.  Time to relax, be creative.  Perfect opportunity to just focus on some little things to do.  Those things that get cast aside when the urge to work hard and dig and move hits me.

So yesterday I took advantage of this little window of fun.  Started off by putting more empty pots in a container .. to be washed out and either given away or recycled.

Next, time to clear off my little outdoor working table.   It’s one of those white plastic patio tables that I bought many years ago at Sears during a Saturday sale.  The umbrella is long gone .. but the usefulness of the table lives on.  Just the perfect size and weight so that I can easily move around the yard for my various projects.   The legs are easily undone and the unit stored away when not needed.

A quick scrub and a rinse with the hose and the table’s surface is proper again.

The rain continues … it changes from a light mist, moves on to a drizzle and then pours down.  Oh, it feels wonderful to be outside at this time.  Nice and cosy.  I tuck my i-Pod and camera into one of those new little clear plastic storage boxes, purchased at Canadian Tire yesterday.  Handy little things, these are and perfect for the rain.

First chore … is to finally pot up some miniature rose plants …. gifts from the Christmas season.  Nicely watered with EM and time for them to be planted in some real soil, instead of the shredded coconut fibre that they were packed in.  So now they are sitting pretty in some cheerful blue coloured round garden pots.  Did I hear a sigh of relief as their roots settled into real soil?  Or was that just my imagination???   🙂

Well, I feel better anyway!

Then, time to pot up some flax seeds.   These have a good history to them.   And a special importance.  They are from a collection belonging to a person who was quite ardent in permaculture, in recycling, in all the healthy and non-pollutant ways of living.

I was lucky enough to ask for and receive one of the packets of flax at her service earlier this year.   And promised to share these with friends.   I’d originally intended to repackage the seeds into several small envelopes, but, seeing that I’d inadvertently left a lot of my seeds outside (oops)… it was time to just plant them the best way that I could.  Thus the little pots.  Once they start to grow a bit more … then it will be time to share them.  And for me to plant some in my yard.   Positive memories and inspiration for the future.

During some breaks in the rain, I wandered around the yard, admiring the beautiful crystal clear droplets of water that bejewelled the leaves and flowers.  Such decadent beauty.

Finding more garlic scapes (they will keep on growing after I’ve broken off the scapes) .. .and gathered them all up.  Yum …. more garlic pesto!!

Looking forward to harvesting the garlic .. that will be just so much fun, like Christmas morning!

Just last October, I’d reshaped the garlic bed and carefully planted lots and lots of these wonderful bulbs.   And now, with the lovely mulched soil, lots of EM and a healthy topping of seaweed .. I have a true garlic forest!

Stopped for a while and watched the little Chestnut-Backed Chickadees foraging for insects and spiders in the white lilac tree.  Loving their little nasal chirps.  Wonder where the Red-Breasted Nuthatches are …. as these two travel together, or so I’m told.

Looking forward to the new baby Bushtits.  Last fall & winter there were so many in the yard.  Then spring arrived and there was one couple .. so I was wondering where they might have set up a nest in the yard.   There are plenty of places around our yard for them to set up a little home.

Spent some time just relaxing outside, enjoying the peace and quiet, the sounds of the birds.  The sounds of the raindrops pelting the leaves.  Breathing in the wonderful earthy smell of the wet ground around me.  Utterly content.

🙂


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Another lovely day in the garden …

So .. I’ve been enjoying all my precious time in the garden.  Still so much to do but I find that things develop in their own good time and I just learn to flow with it.

I’ve been tending to my compost bins, alternately layering kitchen scraps with manure, hay, cardboard, kelp, glacial rock dust.   MMMMM

My garlic crop is fantastic and yesterday I clipped the scapes .. they are delicious.

Surprise potato plants have been emerging from the garden.  It’s true .. once you plant potatoes, you’ll always have them.

Mixed in alpaca manure with the spoiled hay, leaf mulch and some pea cuttings (planted to inject nitrogen in the soil)    Tomorrow I’ll plant the lovely kale plants (gift of my neighbour) and the balance of the sprouted garlic that I’d not yet planted.