Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garden Thursday

I was out working in the garden for the first time since I injured my back and gosh it felt good. My back is still a little sore (I think I tore something) but I hate watching weeds and grass smother my paths and plants. And watching the tomatoes topple over and turn into crawling things drives me mad, especially when I can't wade in there and stake them before their stems take to those new bendy shapes. Plus the raspberries were in a heap on the ground where the slugs and ants would be able to eat the berries without any trouble whatsoever. I do not willingly feed slugs or ants.

The shasta daisies were in a similar heap but then, they always seem to flop on the ground after a week or two aloft. They are the most relaxed of plants, perhaps a bit too relaxed. I generally end up staking them in secret and mysterious ways (who likes to see my green plastic string snaking all over the place?) but even then they manage to look apathetic about being staked.

I am slowly uprooting the pansies. They really fade when the summer heats up, but the last couple of years, what with us being more permanent about our abodes, I've been cropping them back and leaving them in flats in a shady place. They spend the hot part of the summer growing and come fall I can replant them. Now I have some mixed lettuces in this basket. Or is that letti?

Here is a great combination of bright colours: peeking yarrow (Red Velvet), woolly speedwell (Blue Carpet), some Anise-Hyssop (Honey Bee Blue)and goldenrod.

These plants are the most incredible bee magnet. I suspect the goldenrod of having Super Plant Powers: there was one clump last year and this year there are at least four.

One of the sweet peas I bought this year. I think it's called Blue Foam but since I lost the seed packet somewhere in the Busy Busy Baby Snake Bed and I'm not going to dig around in there to find it even if you cry and beg me. You're going to have to suffer through my disaster of a memory bank, which is really warped from too much Horrible Histories viewing. I have a secret, well, fine, it's not all that secret, crush on one of the actors in the Horrible Histories so when the kids say "Can we watch a Horrible Histories?" I generally answer "Sure!" with far too much alacrity.

Wait, how did this topic come up? I don't get the connection at all. Oh right, snakes. Snakes in the garden.


Okay, moving on...

Here are some crocosmia - Lucifer. These particular ones are taller than me. I like the arching angle the flower head has.

Lysimachia clethroides: Gooseneck loosestrife. You can see by the sweep of the flower head why it's called "gooseneck." This plant is a little on the invasive side but it's so lovely and robust in the hot sun that I don't mind. I just haul out a few stalks here and there and we're both happy. Besides, white is such a great colour in a perennial border - it frames everything else so cleanly and brightly.

This is a poppy - a Breadseed poppy. I bought them because they seemed a bit of a novelty but now I'm wondering how the seeds differ from other poppy seeds. The flower is pretty but otherwise unremarkable. I prefer the more dramatic raggedy red ones. I'd even prefer the blue one I bought last year but it seems to have died on me again, the silly thing. A pox on wimpy poppies!

This time of year is always so dramatically lush. Here's a combination of potatoes, bulb fennel and second year parsley in the very back. I've had to really work on the watering in the section of the yard, because the soil is so heavy. I've mulched it with straw but it still dries to rock when I'm not looking.

A Louisebonne pear. This poor old tree has really suffered in my garden: first I planted it near the neighbour's juniper bush (host to rust) which promptly infected the tree with rust. The leaves were covered in horrible orange blotches. Then they all fell off. So did the three teeny little pears that were attached to some of those leafy places. I took one of the blotchy orange leaves into the garden centre and they all chortled rather rudely. "Who told you to plant a pear?" they asked me incredulously. "That's the WORST kind of fruit tree to grow here. Rust is everywhere! I bet your neighbours all have juniper hedges, don't they?" I felt too foolish to admit that I hadn't actually looked to see if anyone had junipers (who wants a shrub when they could have fruit trees and vegetable patches and flowers?), or that I'd only bought it so I could hang a partridge in it come December and give our Christmas habits some extra levity, so I took the spray bottle of stupid-lame-organic-rust-inhibitor and slunk away. Then I got home and felt even more foolish because there weren't any leaves left to spray. Sob.

That fall I moved it down the slope a bit but that area was too shady and it looked on the edge of its expiry date. This spring I moved it to the end of the brick vegetable garden, where it seems to still have a touch of rust but nothing quite as dramatic as last year's case. And there are, wonder of wonders, some pears on it. There is one there. Plump as a pear.

Look! Peas! Hanging very greenly, don't you think? I like me a pea that can hang so very, err, greenly.

(stop it before you get rude, Sheila)

Finally, we have a tomatillo. I like growing these - no one ever seems to know what they are or what you can do with them and they look like weird mutant vegetables with that hollow green husk. I also like how the light shines through them.

They are, unlike myself, extremely photogenic. I have tomatillo envy, methinks.

Here was one of my other projects today. The twins are gearing up for their birthday. They've decided on a Cupcake Extravaganza. That's right, I'm making enough cupcakes to populate a small country. And that's not all: we're going to attempt LEGO heads and bricks on these cupcakes, as well as model pea pods and whole carrots from the garden, and maybe a few sunflowers too (a la Hello Cupcake!). There might even be fondant involved. And sanding sugar. Not to mention a number of trips to the Martha Stewart website, because, as we all know, Martha has probably done it before. Plus, she includes a lot of pictures in her tutorials...

In the spirit of the venture I made a chocolate layer cake this afternoon. I know, it has nothing to do with fondant, cupcakes, or models of peas and carrots, or even an icing sunflower, but it's a sort of test drive for my baking skills. Right?



Michelle said...

Horrible Histories, eh? You crack me up. I'll be paying attention the next time it's on to see if I can guess who's captured your fancy.

I've given in to the current craze and am devouring, er, reading Twilight. Three guesses who I've now got a crush on...

Beautiful sweet peas, I love sweet peas.

No comment on the green, hanging peas...

Heather said...

Everything looks beautiful, Shelia - especially that chocolate cake.

Looking forward to one future Garden Thursday in which you let us know what you do with the tomatillos when they are ready (since this is my first year growing them).