Monday, February 18, 2008

Signs of Spring

(alternate title: It's About Bloody Time)

Yes, I itch for spring. I admit it. I love being outside. Correction: I love being outside in warm weather. And today the sun shone. It was warm. So warm we spent the day outside, listening and smelling and digging and playing (although some of us hauled a lot of peat moss and well-rotted chicken manure while some of us played Dino Attack and Fairy Realm, but I digress).

I remembered to take the camera with me, so I could inflict pictures on you all later. No eye-rolling, now.

First, the new arbor. Some cedar 2 by 2s, which are eventually going to get some cedar siding so they'll be able to carry the beans and peas I intend to grow up them. Inside the squares I am thinking about growing some eggplants and chilies. They'll benefit from the encasing heat, me thinks.

I should probably thank the good-humoured and long-suffering Richard, because yesterday, while he sat inside marking papers and I was outside having a really good time in the sun digging up some of the lawn, I decided to build the arbor. The trouble is, building things out of wood is so not my forte. I can lash things together with the best of them, but they do, I have to admit, invite ridicule afterwards. Plus, I was tired. After spending 3 hours skimming turf, cutting out birch roots, chopping clods, and sieving soil, I came to the reluctant (and exhausted) realization that if I wanted that arbor up right then and there, I would need Richard the Carpenter's help advice. The stuff he builds always looks good. The stuff I build never seems to look as good. Luckily I don't mind begging asking for a little help.

Never one to waste time, I yelled up at the back deck, ostensibly to "show" him what I'd done so far. Then I asked him how he'd build such a thing. I showed him my 2 by 2s. I gazed as innocently as I could at him (have I mentioned that I have very little shame?). I complimented his building prowess. He sighed, and said "You want me to build this thing for you, right?" Out came the chop saw; out came the ruler and pencil; out came Richard. Up went the arbor. Sigh. And doesn't it look lovely? I dug the holes myself.

Here are the first signs of spring in the Greenridge Chronicle House:

The 50 King Alfred daffodils I planted all along the berm are sprouting up. I sprinkled a little pile of sawdust over each sprout to keep the kids from rolling over them, which has been quite effective so far, even if it does look slightly odd from the road.

I've never been a big daffodil fan, but these were a gift from my MIL. My Welsh father will be thrilled if they come up for St. David's Day (March 1st). A little of those, some Welsh cakes, and some leek soup, and we'll be singing "Cymru Am Byth" before you know it...

The fennel is sprouting, a fact that gladdened not only my heart, but the heart of Henry, our pig from Guinea. He loves tender fennel sprouts, and was most gratified to get a few today in his cage, along with the usual Timothy hay, carrots, and lettuce. I planted a couple of fennel plants last summer, when we were hurriedly renovating and moving into this house, and I bought what I thought would be a nice pair: a bronze fennel and a regular fennel. Well, let me tell you, the regular fennel is the one you want. The bronze is pleasant enough in it's own way, if you like thin and light, but the regular fennel, OMG, I could write an ode to it. Oh, wait, I already did. So this year I expanded the herb garden, because I am going to plant lots of these babies.

The summer Impulse Purchase frog from a BC Ferry trip to the mainland is mildewing nicely. He's even protecting some miniature Iris reticulatas - and smiling while he's doing so. So polite. He must have been eating the toxic playdough, because he looks way too cheerful for what he's doing. Max thinks the red coat is something really toxic, and he might be right, but it's very atmospheric out there among the sprouts. I had intentions of rubbing him with blended moss and buttermilk, but heck, a red coat is as good as anything, right? Even if it is toxic (according to melodramatic 11 year olds).

An iris reticulata.
A miniature iris reticulata.

Look at that symmetry.
Look at that colour.
Look at that crumbly dirt on the petals...

A variegated Ilex - Hedgehog. The spines are SO soft and spiny I I can barely keep my fingers off it. According to its label it is not terribly invasive, so hopefully I won't find it finding its way into everything around it.

And finally, the 100 Muscari I planted are coming up around the Sea Dragon. Kind of hard to see them sprouting up around those rocks, but take my word for it, they're there. And according to the package, it should be a River of Muscari. Not any old river, but a River.


Heather said...

Please, inflict us with more gardening pictures. More, more! I can live vicariously, as I pace the pathways between my garden beds, hoping that I can will the snow to melt off of them, perhaps by scorching it with my hostile glare.

Nicola said...

When I was reading this post, I just KNEW Heather would have got here first and be drooling at the photos of a garden coming alive! Me, I'm happy for the snow to stay a bit longer - I know it doesn't look good under there!

Anonymous said...

Further evidence that you folks aren't really Canadian :-) I've got several feet of snow over my garden. Thankfully it is -20 and sunny today. Which makes a change (though it shouldn't). We had snow on 18 of the first 19 days of February which makes for a lot of grey.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I've got your feed in my reader and hope to drop by more often.

sheila said...

Ha! Jove, you caught me: I am a fake Canadian. I might have been born here, but my heart pines for the fjords, err, sun-baked hills of some hot clime. I think the Wet coast is about as wintery as I can manage. I spent a few years in Quebec a while back; I never took so many taxis in all my life (as in "eeks, it's too cold at this bus stop, I need a taxi!").

I might have to award you a medal in the Sheila Hall of Stalwartness for the winters you endure. Well, either that or send you some margaritas, whichever you prefer.


This has been such a mammoth post I don't know where to start, from the bottom I suppose, you may need to get yourself a cup of tea for this one. I like your idea of a muscari sea dragon, I never got around to planting any last autumn, boo hiss, I do love them, but when in pots I don't find they do very well the following year, so must remember to replace. Talking of bulbs the birds have eaten all the heads off my iris reticulata, so another failure, go to the back of the class. I have lots of self-seedlings of holly in my garden, but no problem just to pull them up, that's if you like prickles in your hands. Like toxic frog, I would leave him red, maybe he is more of a toad! Nice daffs, although I haven't got a daffodil kind of garden, so I leave those for my Dad to grow, he has them sprouting all through his lawn, and brings me round bunches, so can't complain. Talking of Wales and leeks, have you been over to my garden blog, my latest post is about leeks, just a quick plug. And last but not least the arbor, how handy is that going to be to grow your beans up, wish I had one? Nudge, are you still awake! x