Sunday, March 29, 2009

Flower in the Garden Revisited

I know I use this title a lot (if you've never noticed let's just pretend I never said that). I blame it on a cloth book FDPG had when she was 3 months old. She'd sit in her bouncy chair and glare at the book, willing the pictures to turn into words, I'm sure. And yes, we do have photographs of her doing that. How could we not take pictures of a 3 month old glaring rigidly at a cloth book? Especially one entitled Flower in the Garden?

Today was a day for the heralding of spring. It was t-shirt weather. It was dig in the garden weather. It was bask in the sun on the deck weather. It was even Watch Richard Read Academic Literature On The Deck Weather (not nearly as gripping as it sounds). It got so warm I even had to turn off the heat mat in the cold frame. If my neighbours hadn't been in their yard wondering where the stench of chicken manure was coming from I might even have frolicked a little, doing my Julie Andrews Hills Are Alive impersonation, tra-laaing with my new garden fork. But my neighbours aren't big on irony so I restrained myself. Plus, the stench of chicken manure was coming from my garden and I didn't really want to draw attention to the fact.
The weather is supposed to turn tomorrow (oh gosh, quel surprise) so I made the most of today: I paid asked the twins to help me push all the vegetable garden soil through a sieve so we can get the carrots and beets and root vegetables started soon. Last year I skipped this step and our carrots grew into rude manly shapes that no one could eat without bursting into hysterical laughter and the beets didn't do much of anything. Even the peas struggled for a while. So this year I am trying a new tact: I am doing what the garden books recommend. Novel of me, I know.
Look at that soil!

I also dug some trenches and planted a lot of potatoes (Russian Fingerlings, Desiree, and Yukon Gold). Emptied the compost into the tomato patch. Took all the sod from the front yard and lad it upside down onto the sloping lawn in the back yard so I can use it for garden at some point soon (see photo to the left). This part of the yard doesn't look very sloping here but it is quite steep. I nearly ripped my leg muscles trying to slide down the hill with my wheelbarrow full of sod. You'd never know that there are about 20 newspapers and two bales of straw there, under that sod and chicken manure.

It's still hard to tell what might have bit the dust over the unpredictable winter we had, but if I look really close, I can see the peonies, lilies, and hardy fuchsias coming up. This is a Star Gazer lily. When my grandmother died I dug it up from her garden. Some people like to have jewelry or books from relatives who have died, I like to have plants.

A primula. Primulas are like a People magazine for me: I always regret buying them (they never come back the same way twice and slugs live for them) and but they are fun for the moment.

The only kind I've ever had any luck with is the pure yellow variety. But this one? I think this is the first and last time I'll see this two-tone colour...

This violet is poking up everywhere. It's even in the lawn. Nodding purple heads attracting all the early bees.

And finally, the miniature daffs and the pulmonaria. More fodder for the solitary bees. Not to mention my camera.


Heather said...

You know that now I have this picture of you in my head tra-laaing and frolicking. ;-) Maybe with a clothes peg on your nose to help reduce the chicken manure smell.
DO they recommend to put garden soil through a sieve? I think my eyes must have always skipped over this part in any garden book because I truly can't recall ever seeing it. I hope you'll let us know if it is worthwhile to do that step. That must only be for the carrot bed?? (because I cannot even begin to imagine doing that throughout the whole garden)

We had a great gardening weekend too and I've got almost all my pruning and cleanup done - even got some peas planted. My husband bought a bunch of those same primulas to put in our front window box, they are quite a pretty colour.

sheila said...

(this is Sound of Music speaking): yes, regrettably, they do recommend sieving soil, Heather, but I'm sure they use a different term than sieving (I think of draining spaghetti). Well, soil that's clumpy like mine. This bed is a mass of old lawn, weird peat moss, and topsoil, and it's too clumpy for anything but peans and beans and tomatoes to grow well in. And since I'm trying to actually ROTATE my crops this year (I feel faint at how obedient I've become as a gardener!) I figured I'd better put the soil in the bed through a sieve. It's not a very fine one, perhaps 3/4"? But the soil looks much better blended now, so my dream of a long, smooth carrot might JUST be a distinct possibility.

Weirdly, the soil in the rest of the garden is much nicer. I think it's because this was the largest patch of lawn I dug up 20 months ago. And it's still adjusting to life as a garden.

I'm astounded at how fast your weather changes. It's so temperate here, never changes too much, but your weather heats up mighty fast. Impressive.

Samantha said...

**Cough**Choke** Heats up???? I'm absolutely frozen here! We have *gasp* snow in the forecast today! Not a lot, but any is too much :-( Whining completed!

Sheila, your flowers are lovely! I shall close my eyes and pretend I'm there with you, enjoying the Spring blooms. I'm feeling the sun warming me while I enjoy the earthy smell of freshly turned soil and sit on your lovely GREEN! grass...