Cool days

It has been a wonderful season, soon I will go and take pictures to post. Today is rainy, lovely rain. Unfortunately, my writing gets interrupted by¬† life, but for me, that is why I write! It’s not about the best garden story, it’s about a journey through my life.

My edible peas are now ready, and I picked the first tomatoes last night. The cucs are babies, barely there, and the beans are just flowering! We have managed to harvest almost all of the new potatoes, and I see beets! Real beets…I am so excited. It has taken some trial and error with raised bed gardens, to find just the right location for various plant but I am finally getting it right! The beets settled in nicely in a warmer location, while the beans are flourishing in a shady spot!

I planted the green house full of basil, peppers, cucs and watermelon. Full indeed. It is a tiny space that is overgrown again! I love it! The peppers have peppers on them and the basil did amazingly well! But the green house is only 4′ x 6′ so….overgrown it is and …. it makes me smile.

Hubby had a set back with a minor heart attack so I have been a bit distracted to write, however, we are both home and taking on a new lease in life. I haven’t walked so much…ever! Grateful for the health we have and even though I am distracted a bit from writing, I am still enjoying that garden! Pictures coming soon…I hope

Pansies

When you need the garden fix but know that snow could still be in the forecast, get some hardy pansies and plant up a basket or two! Today Hubby and I decided to stop in at a local greenhouse, and the traffic there was amazing! first warm days and everyone is out in droves….but, don’t get too anxious. These Alberta springs are unpredictable at best. Although the temp soared into the 20’s, it is a fickle season.

Pansies are a favorite: not because they are astonishingly gorgeous, or present the most amazing colors (and they do) but because they are reliable, and hardy. One of the first to show their little faces in the spring, pansies can take a lot of cold, and withstand frost to a certain point. I have always set out a pot of pansies to welcome guests to my front door. Today, with two little ones in tow, we purchased our garden seeds, and pansies. I planted 2 baskets for my daughter who is away, and also purchased several more to plant in our little village next week, to brighten things up. I love this bit of early color….before the other annuals that are less hardy can meet the great outdoors.

Enjoy the old fashioned, reliable, timid and yet wonderfully amazing little pansy…

Glitches

Did you ever have one of those days when you have the greatest intentions, but….something falls flat. Today. Not the day’s fault; far from it! The air was warm, sun out, lovely. I had every intention of getting on my bike for a ride…the first one of the season…and of making soup…and of uploading some pictures to this blog. Well…you don’t see any pictures so guess what? Nothing I intended happened.

One of the side effects I still have from post concussion is fatigue, and limited tolerance to loud noise. I have, because of the fatigue, added some shape to my body, not in a good way. I am not a big person in stature, so adding width does me no favors whatsoever, however, I know that the only one who can change that is me…I need to move, fatigue or no fatigue. And, having worked in the world of health promotion and mental wellness, I know all too well that moving the body increases the mood…so I would win in two ways…do I sound like I am talking myself into something? I am. And I need to. Today I started a healthy cleanse….healthy meaning I will ensure I get the proper nutrients, protein, etc from what I take in. This is my first step into changing me a bit.

My garden is my therapy…I really wanted to post some pictures, but I recently purchased a Chromebook, and things are not as straight forward when it comes to uploading photos to use. Let me talk you through the garden today. Went outside with Hubby to check our snow level…happily decreasing by the minute as the weather is warming….we looked at some deck furniture that needs attention, and decided to tour through the raised beds that sit on the warmest spot of the property. South facing, slightly sloped, they are always the first to bare off after winter. Imagine my surprise and thrill when I spotted three rows of new garlic tops emerging from the soil, already a couple of inches high!! I was so excited!!! I needed that little bit of hope today, to show me that growth is there, making its way to the surface, slowly….kind of like my winter…slowly my mind is emerging from the slump it gets into…growth, hope, renewed.

Back and Forth

Here’s the deal. Life gets busy. Priorities change. Some of the things that bring us joy can also frustrate us. That’s my story. I love to write. Love it. And yet, it seems that my follow through can get wonky. In the past 2 years, life has thrown a couple of curve balls…the biggest one was an accident that left me with a broken collar bone and severe concussion, causing post concussion syndrome. It took over a year for me to feel like me again, and with that, I had to learn a new way of living…slower, less driving, less stress.. as if that happened!

So once again I pick up my pen to write, and go forward on this journey. The blog will present the garden, some gardening facts, but also my perspective on how gardening gives me the therapy I need, both physically and mentally. I love to garden, that is no surprise, and for me, it is a connection with my past as well as a time to live in the moment. As a farm girl, with a ton of siblings and a mom who was passionate about everything outdoors, the gardens we had provided food, beauty, experimentation and lots of work/pleasure mixed together. We all gardened then and we all garden now, trying odd plants, various growing methods, and sharing our love with whoever will listen!

At this moment, I am waiting for the snow to all melt…long, long winter…so that I can walk through the garden and just be present with it. I love spring smells, old leaves decomposing, dirt thawing in the sun, wood coming back to life….I will enjoy it, and know that this year, our spring will be very short…soon the days will warm up to 20 degrees and higher, and the garden will take a different look. For now, I will enjoy the emergence of spring…just to be. I need that.

Mood changers

For those who have been following my post for a while, you will know that Hubby and I moved to our current location in central Alberta 6 years ago…..with the move came a new unfinished house (read boat load of work) and a whole lot of dirt! At first it was exciting to think of all the amazing possibilities but that excitement wained a bit as the inside took priority.

Suffice it to say it has been a process but my goal has always been to create outdoor rooms where you WANT to be…calmness from the day and a flow throughout the garden. We have achieved that and more….my friend recently visited from Germany and said “you know you live in paradise”, which, having toured gardens throughout Germany, was a great compliment to receive.

This year saw one of our final garden projects….which simply means a major build/construction project….changes are inevitable. We have small water features throughout but wanted one main water feature we could enjoy in the back AND one that’s child friendly for all the Littles.  We had a lovely berm created for a bit of privacy and we have completed this project. Can I tell you properly how it feels to sit and enjoy the sound of water, or watch a little enjoy it so much, or watch the birds bathing and drinking…..it is, honestly, a mood calming addition….and we love it!

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Before….

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During….

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After…or now!

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Bunny proofing

So I love living in nature and all the aspects it affords. …but once in a while you have to take dome preventative measures!  It appears a bunny likes my lettuce and celery more than me….

A little fence and I’m trying some row covers too….here’s hopping……I mean…hoping!

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Bugs!

It’s awfully hard to ‘spring into action’ when the flu bug smacks you down!….and there is no ‘good’ time to be sick but, come on, just when it is nice enough to not need mittens….oh well…today I felt up to a walk about. Spring is my favorite time for walk abouts in the yard….I always discover something new and wonderful. Hubby is putting his man skills to work and finishing the lower level siding, right by the raised garden beds. I went to see how he was doing and what did I discover?

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Bugs!!!!! Lovely little lady bugs…just coming out for a sunning session. I LOVE lady bugs….do you no how many aphids these natural ‘insecticides’ can eat???

Last fall I planted garlic, first attempt at fall planting…I was a bit concerned because the majority of my gardens are raised and naturally get a bit colder then ground soil in our harsh winters. I added leaf mulch to the beds and was pleasantly surprised to see…

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Little greens poking out! Yay! Of course, following up with some snooping to find…

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Rhubarb and, of course,

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Strawberries. This is the sunny south side of our yard and a heat trap but still early and makes me happy!

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Some lilies this year

I have decided I am making a switch: pictures during these insanely busy months, and more writing once things slow down a bit in the garden and in life. I love pictures and enjoy yours, so that is where I am right now!! I barely get my computer on most days! Happy summer!!IMG_3322 IMG_3326 IMG_3327 IMG_3332 IMG_3341 IMG_3342 IMG_3362 IMG_3363 IMG_3364 IMG_3365 IMG_3366 IMG_3367 IMG_3369 IMG_3371 IMG_3373 IMG_3381 IMG_3382

A little heat

While I am reading about rain all over the place, on various blogs from various gardeners, I cannot say we are experiencing the same. We are, at this moment, having a bit of a heat wave! Expected in July, it is still merciless to be out and about in. I have successfully emptied the rain barrels, but I do expect to get enough of a thunderstorm, in the next day or two, to replenish them! I have resorted to watering a bit with the hose from the tap, not something I like to do, but we have had less than enough rain this year, so I will do what is needed. We are enjoying produce everyday, with new surprises showing up!! I am waiting for the potatoes to get just a wee bit bigger, but, I tell you, the first feed…..yum!

Happy, tall delphiniums
Happy, tall delphiniums

The heat is nice, though. Besides an excuse for a nice cold afternoon bevvy, it also has given some serious growth to my delphiniums. Even though these dark blue are ‘Pacific Giant’, I am still amazed at the height of them. It’s hard to capture that on a photo, but I tried to include the arbor to display the height. They are now 7 to 8 feet tall…..Hubby suggested I stand beside them, and show my full 5 feet of height….I declined!!

I get to enjoy the light blue ones each day I am in my office, as I strategically planted them to be seen at window height. Our home is on a hill, with a ‘walk-out’ basement, so the floor on the lower level is at ground height for IMG_3295the back garden. Thus, my 2 office windows face the main part of the yard, and I enjoy from both inside and out. As a garden designer, I always suggest planting away from the house, as well as beside, and to stand at the windows you look to the outside from to locate a good planting site. House side plantings are great for curb appeal but I want ‘Molly’ appeal, so I plant with me in mind! What do I want to see? Flowers! Gardens! Veggies…..you get the picture.

I have some amazing pink and purple delphiniums, but they are a bit slower to bloom, so will post their pics on another day!!!

IMG_3291I also have to show off this little ‘pot lily’. This year, I decided to order a collection of pot lilies for my containers, rather than just purchasing annuals. I order or exchange lilies regularly, as they are one of my favs. 2 are now open, and one I gave to my daughter. It is a pink, and lovely. I will pop these guys into the ground to overwinter, and then re-pot next spring. I am not chancing leaving the bulbs in pots. While they may survive, why risk it? The soil temperature in this part of the country dips to a cool -7 to -10 C, which is cold, but the soil in pots or above ground level will dip with the air temperature, as it is ‘exposed’ to the -20 to -35 C air that surrounds a little pot!! Rule of them; when in doubt about the hardiness of a perennial (for your zone) in a pot, drop it into the ground! Even if the whole pot goes into a hole in the ground, it will be much safer from harsh winter elements. And, no, not all cold is the same…..

Until next time…..happy gardening! Remember to stop and smell the flowers! IMG_3297

Of Robins & Rhubarb

We had a lovely rain yesterday, very welcome as it was needed! Not that we have a lot of choice in weather, but there are times when we seem to appreciate the weather that comes our way more so….

It hasn’t been overly warm these past 2 days, however. That seems quite typical of this weekend, Victoria Day long weekend in Canada. We can start out warm and end up in snow….but it always spells the first ‘official’ weekend for campers to get mobile and find a place to head off to and enjoy some RnR. Our little hamlet heralds in the weekend with a big celebration, inclusive of a parade, show and shine car rally, children’s activities, and this year we added a family dance and fireworks! It was a busy day, but enjoyable, despite the rain!

Today we are slowing it down a bit….enjoying the middle day of the long IMG_2975weekend….we need to slow down. I uncovered my plants this morning, and spent some time outdoors, puttering around. As I was walking about, I noticed that the rhubarb seems to have grown overnight! It is so wonderfully good in the early harvests. Tender stalks of red…I love it! It has a nice warm home, with a bit of a micro-climate that encourages growth, so it is very nice to find the bounty on a cool morning!

IMG_2979I decided this would be a good day to harvest and enjoy some of the early stalks, so I thinned out the plant, leaving plenty to shelter the little ones. I will need to check in on it often, as it seems to grow so fast right now.

When I was a child, we had plenty of rhubarb plants, and my memories are both good and not. I loved the crisps that Mom would cook, and also enjoyed freshly stewed rhubarb, still warm, with a bit of fresh cream from our small dairy production. As with all good things, however, there can be too much at times. I cannot say I was overly fond of canned rhubarb….or perhaps the quantity of it we consumed. I also was not fond of rhubarb cake….but I am not overly fond of any cake, so that is not a surprise.

I have experimented a bit in my own cooking with rhubarb, making juice from steeped fresh rhubarb (many recipe varieties for this) and have made the occasional pie, but not a fave again. I usually freeze the fruit after I have cleaned and chopped it, to use throughout the year. I like freshly stewed warm rhubarb, so this is a mainstay for us. I also like it in muffins. One dilemma I have at times is sweetening it. I don’t cook with white sugar or white flour, and my main sweetener is honey. If I want something not so liquidy, I turn to stevia, but that is tricky in baking…..I do an awful lot of trial and error when I am substituting in recipes. Generally, we get some delightful dishes, though, as I have been cooking this way most of my adult life.

Today saw a rhubarb crisp come forward….really, I don’t think anyone can go IMG_2982wrong making any kind of a crisp. They are not terribly difficult, and fresh fruit is a gift to use in these delicious desserts! Hubby likes them warm with ice cream. I don’t like ice cream, so I usually turn to yogurt. I sweeten with a mix of honey and stevia, after I have tossed the fruit in a bit of flour. I also add cinnamon, which is another main ingredient in my crisps!

IMG_2986I also made some muffins, which we sampled fresh from the oven!! (Why not?) Muffins of any flavor can be found in this house at any given time, so it was fun to use the fresh harvest for these ones!!

And, I just need to give a quick glimpse of what our little feathered friends have been up to! The robins have been hopping around all over the place, so I should have known they would find a nesting spot! While on my garden trek, I came upon IMG_2978a mess on the ground level deck; straw, string, roots….I wondered what the heck Hubby had been up to…..until I noticed a long strand of grass flopping in the wind off of our upper deck! As I looked up, there on the beam are 2 robin nests…..side by side! We usually get one in this spot……not sure about 2. Hubby says they are sisters who want to raise their children close to each other! Maybe he’s right.