Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Walk in the Rain........

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Shasta', Cornus kousa 'National'  Dogwood, Diablo Ninebark
It's just the right amount of rain today....gently bending the dogwood branches so we can enjoy it's blooms at eye level. The Viburnum, on the left, glows even on this gloomy day... layered in white, like a bride's wedding gown. Every year I am delighted with it's beauty, especially punctuated by Diablo on the right, wet and slippery leaves, purple black in the rain. The urn was headed for the landfill when we dragged it home a few years ago; it's moved about, adding a little "something" to the garden when needed. was free..what can I say ;-).

Temperatures are still fairly cool for this time of year, but, the sea is warming and soon there will be beach days and boat trips to enjoy. As you can tell from past posts, rain has been a revisited topic for a while now. "Too much", we complain, "too often" as well.

There is a garden in our back yard, I do not recognize.... blooms flow and float in wet ribbons bowing in the drizzle....rain drop jewels everywhere ....sadly, without an audience of honey bees...too cold. My understanding is, there are about 150 different weather pattern combinations! This year, we are experiencing one, not familiar to my gardening life.

While I fully expected early blight would have struck the tomatoes by now, they appear to be thriving in this rain. Leader of the pack in size is OSU Blue, however Mexico Midget is the only one with baby tomatoes forming. The new dwarf Tasmanian Chocolates are growing steadily and it will be interesting to see how large the plants get and if the fruit is as delicious as hoped for.

Tasmanian Chocolates
Our water comes from a well...don't think I have mentioned that before.... and so, family is very mindful of how much we use, and how we use it. The downspout on the house has a fitting which diverts rainwater to a cistern  (out of sight on the messy side of the house). A small pump forces water up to the garden when we need it. In summers past, when we've run out of rainwater, we take a second cistern to a local stream and fill it up down there and bring it home, draining it into the permanent one. We have never run out of water in our well, but it is a system we put in place initially for hot long dry summers but now, we use rainwater exclusively in the garden.

She's not pretty but she does the Job!
A sad result of so much rain.... lilacs didn't have their 'day in the sun', and neither did 'Constellation' dogwood. It lacks fruit they say, although this is contested......... Goodbye to your fading, vintage muslin dress blooms....till next year, dear beautiful tree... but I will watch closely in case you do form red berries!

Cornus x Stellar series 'Constellation'

Monday, June 13, 2011

Veg Garden Roundup

A Handful of Spring
Today it's back to rain and more rain but...Saturday was spectacular and by that, I mean sunny and hot! Carrots, baby Hakurei turnips and French Breakfast radish were guests of honor at the supper table while spinach and Red Purella lettuce, buttery yet crunchy, made a comfy bed to lie on!

It's a perfect combo this three days of rain, one of sunshine! Tomato plants are leaping ahead, although peas lag behind. I expected them to be above the tomato cages by now so let's hope they catch up and aren't overwhelmed in Tom shade. Beans Fortex, Gold Marie, Lazy Housewife and Purple Podded are up about eight inches, starting to twine on the bamboo poles. The back Bean Wall, is a 'Tomato Wall' this year. We shall see how that experiment plays out, attempting also, trellising Tasty Jade cucumber and Trombino squash.
Tomato planting inside Veg Garden
It's fun to experiment and try new things in the garden don't you think? On another blog, someone used large plastic water bottles as cloches. So we have given that a try, putting them over two Ping Tung Long eggplants to see if they might do better for us with added protection and heat. It's hard to find discarded bottles and harder still to cut off the bottom, as we found out ! Wear eye protection....if you do attempt this.

Eggplant Ping Tung Long
The best part of sunny warm days however, is the sound we don't hear when it's cold and wet..... bees, buzzing happily, working in the garden.

Mourning Widow Geranium

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heaven on Earth

Wanting to find some 'fresh' inspiration...we set off to visit Faye's garden, just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. "Heaven on Earth"... the frame reflects the gardener and her artistic skill at succulent wreath making. Further, the garden reflected Faye herself...peaceful, delightful, interesting and generous. Winding our way through the bloom filled front yard, just past her vegetable garden, I was delighted to find, a small permanent apiary .... it being one of our first full sunshiny days, the honey bees were out in force. What a great sound............

The quiet walk, erupting in occasional squeals of "look at this", prompted us to slow down; plants said..."look at me, down here..yes come closer...aren't I beautiful!"

Primula 'Francesca'
Near the front of our property, there are alders and birch with a few evergreens which hide all sorts of lovely Nova Scotia  naturalized plants and I do refer to it as my woodland garden but it is not cultivated very much. I have thought about tucking in more plants, but would have to make pockets of rich forest soil first; ours is very thin. I liked how Faye did that...building on the natural slope of the land, the rocky outcrops and dips, laying stones and filling in behind with compost ( from their compost facility..sadly no photo to share but please let me tell you...serious composters) to give plants the opportunity to grow and thrive. She and hubby Yvon, have gardened for twenty eight years on this spot, and it shows....a truly developed garden, evolving as seasons pass, finding it's own place and pace. The view below, stole my heart away.

Click on Photos to Enlarge
Mystery, inviting exploration, delivering that most sacred of all, peace and tranquility. The many varieties of dogwood and magnolia as well as hosta and fern, provide canopy and structure;  gentle paths  and steps slow body and mind.  It's still with me, that inner peace ...that "Heaven on Earth".

Thanks Faye for your generosity. It was truly, a pleasure to walk with you discovering and learning how a Nova Scotia woodland could be developed to it's full potential. You gave me just what I needed...Inspiration!