Thursday, March 25, 2010

Garden Thursday

I moved this arbor. Instead of it sitting in the middle of a bed where no one can walk through it (this never occurred to me - my mother pointed it out) I've now got it positioned as an entry to the vegetable garden.

I am waiting for the Westerland rose planted against it to take off. If you like orangey-gold climbers this rose is really beautiful. I bought it at a garden centre only because it was a) orange, and b) cheap, and instead of turning into one of those Regrettable Impulse Purchases it turned out to be a really nice rose.

In front of that arbor is a columnar apple tree my dad gave me. It's called Ultraspire. The handy thing about columnar fruit trees is that they can be grown in a tub or in a very tight area of the garden and they actually like it. I'm a little worried about this one because this is the third time I've uprooted it. First I thought "Oooh, this would look amazing in an oak barrel on that stupid ugly concrete slab over there." I plant the tree into an oak barrel and put it on the concrete slab. A week later I notice the wild green burgeoning of the Gravenstein apple tree beside it - but it's burgeoning all over the Ultraspire. I think, with a pang, "Ack! That poor Ultraspire is going to be drowned beside that Gravenstein!" So I move it. But if you've never moved an oak barrel full of tree, dirt, and wetness, let me just say that it's not an easy feat. After a few humiliating heaves and ho's I finally dug it out and planted it in the wheelbarrow, thinking "Another place will magically appear, til then it can sit here." Later that day I was moving the arbor and thought "Gosh, that Ultraspire would look amazing beside the Westerland rose!" One thing I did to move along the success of this final move was to add a lot of kelp and bone meal to the soil before plopping in the tree. That should help the roots from developing too much shock.

Here is Max dismantling an old bench a friend of mine gave me. Check out the wrought iron detailing! (uh-oh, I sound like a car fanatic "Look at those hubcaps!") My plan is to sand and paint the wood then reattach it, using the Handy Dandy Max of course.

And lookee here. It's the inside of a greenhouse. My mother bought my dad a huge hard-sided greenhouse the other day, so I inherited his old one. It's a bit weather-beaten but it's already made seed propagation so much easier. The cat likes to sit in here. Does that make him a Seed Guard Cat? He even made me put a concrete paver at the end so he can lay on the warm concrete when it's sunny.

Here's a shot of it at the end of the vegetable garden (makes it sound like it moves stealthily around the yard, doesn't it?). That red tape is from the 'weather-beaten' bit of its former life, when it was caught in a wind and had some of its cover shredded.

The twins and I planted a bunch of seeds the other day, and placed the containers on the shelves of this thing: carrots, lettuce, arugula, clary sage, milkweed, 6 different kinds of tomatoes, breadseed poppies, collinsia, peach hollyhocks, fennel, beans, and sweet peas.

And finally, some primroses. You SO need to stop buying those cheap 99¢ polys and get these English ones. They are head and shoulders above the others. And they aren't nearly as attractive to the slugs. At least, mine don't seem to be. And the colours! This one is red with yellow centres.

Well, that's it for garden action around here. I'm going to be thinking about installing watering systems soon, because I like having the beds on soaker hoses and timers, but I've yet to find a soaker hose that lasts. They all seem to develop little holes in them, rendering them rather unimpressive in the Soaker Department. I've cleared up almost all the winter debris, and I'm slowly working on removing all the Bishop's Weed from the side beds. Gosh that stuff is tenacious. Irritating, persistent, and horribly tenacious. Grows like buttercup but faster. When I'm done that I will move my ire to the vinca.


Heather said...

Gah, I'm having a hard time looking at all your gardening pictures without getting bummed about my lack of garden here. It looks fantastic, Shelia. And it sounds like Such Fun moving things here and there, transplanting, etc.

And just look at your sorrel! It looks amazing. What is that one plant growing to the left of it in your photo? It almost looks like a pepper plant but it can't be, can it? How wonderful to have a greenhouse of your own.

sheila said...

Heather: I don't know if you are actively looking, but something might suddenly appear overnight. Right before planting season, even! But I hear you on the itchy fingers. I was just watching a TV segment on an old couple in Powell River who had built in zip lines and ponds and bridges and I thought "Where could WE do that?"

Good eye on the sorrel. Beside it is purple sprouting broccoli. And that's a shrubby puny one, too. This stuff is amazing. I use it in place of Susun Weed's obsession with kale and collard greens for mineral soups. I finally went and bought seeds this year, before I was buying little 6 packs. They lie around rather pathetically all winter (you plant them in September) and burst into song around February. We're now eating the leaves and the odd purple head. It is the most delicious raw broccoli you'll ever eat.

sheila said...

Oh wait, there's more broccoli in front of those plants. Bigger, dark green stuff. All planted on the same day too.

Anonymous said...

Your yard is amazing Sheila! I love how it looks like it's filled with treasures around every curve. I love those gnarly looking trees in the back ground as well. I guess I just love your yard!!
I'm still in the clearing away last years stuff, but we had rain last night and things are starting to look greener now. Yay! And very soon my assistant (ie the one who finished all the projects I start) will be home. Double yay!


sheila said...

Well, shucks, S, you're always welcome to come and visit me, you know. I'm only a ferry...cough cough...ferry ride...cough cough...away.

I will say though that someone once dropped by and said "THIS is your garden? Really? Your blog pictures look REALLY different from this, you know." Obviously the reality fails for some people...

Erin said...

Your garden(s) are lovely, Sheila!! You have an eye for placing things!

I wish I could summon motivation to get out there more, the weather keeps hampering my enthusiasm. I still have yards of soil to shovel and now, that the plants are up so high, I will have to be delicate in spreading it around.

How sweet to have a greenhouse, I would love one someday, a little potting bench, a sink, lots of shelves, and places to hang weathered old tools!! Oh, and seedlings everywhere!!

~Erin P

sheila said...

Thanks, Erin! I love having a garden, after years of wandering rentals. And yes, the greenhouse is VERY cool. If it were bigger me and the twins would be sleeping in it, I think. It's a very magnetic space.

You'll get inspired once the weather gets better, I'm sure!

Mary-Sue said...

Hi Sheila,
Love reading about your garden-warrior adventures! You are an inspiration, to be sure!
I started some broccoli seedlings a few weeks back and they're big and hearty and yearning to be outside. I am wondering if I could inch them into the garden now. What do you think? I've never put seedlings into the garden this early, but there are lots of hearty things green in the garden this time of year... We definitely still get frost -- but I could cover them? Any advice? Thanks!

sheila said...

Hi Mary-Sue! I replied on your blog. For those who don't know where that is, my response was "Sure, they can go out but make sure they have good protection at night. I'd be inclined to keep them in a cold frame until it really warms up."

And, uh, if I didn't say that Mary-Sue, then THIS is what I MEANT to write...(foggy brain Sheila strikes again)