Friday, May 29, 2009

The Damages

Cant trust any of them. Chickens, puppies... siblings. Trashed, a tray of wildflowers. Destroyed, 3/4 of my basil seedlings. The rest of my purple cone flower and yarrow. A tomato plant in the garden broken in 3 places. Seedlings bone dry. Thanks for the help home crew...

Next time I should expect it. Next time I should stay home?

Monday, May 25, 2009

For When It Becomes More Than Just Hobby

Ouch. There are some things that I do, that I just cant stop doing. Ten hour days starting at 5 am in the kitchen. Four in a row... and on the first day off, the moment I wake up, I'm baking something. Still aching from the previous marathon, but I just cant stop.

This weekend the habit that consumed my life? Well, this IS my garden blog after all. We realized we were late planting and POOF.... since Friday we've planted the blue corn, pole beans, lettuce carrots, radishes, swiss chard, onions, shallots, garlic, turnips, dill, parsnips, cucumbers, peppers, ground cherries, tomatoes, and potatoes along with a couple herbs and flowers. Since Friday. I finished the mud room tile grout job and the front yard stepping stones too. I'm aching and exhausted from hunching and bunching and spiderman crawling all over the place. I'm horrified at how much I planted, how I thought those would be a good idea at the time, and dreading all the watering and hose pulling this will require. And I SWORE I wasnt going to plant all those tomatoes! Only 2 of each I said! But nooooo.... I want to plant 17! My body and soul are crying for the largely unnessesary pain I've set myself up for.

So what is the first thing I do when I come inside and veg for 30 minutes? I go plant some scarlet runner beans in some now vacant pots. And then some herbs in some vacant peat plugs. And then some squash because those didnt turn out last year. And then...

Its slowly but surely killing me. Why must I plant so much? Is that feeling so hard to quell? The wonder at the magic each seed contains. The amazment that one plant... can multiply itself 50 times over with just water, dirt and sun. The fact that wonderful food can spring from the dirt. The sorrow I feel for each plant left to die. It only needs a spot on the ground. Or each I attempt to cull. Or each left neglected on the nursery shelf. The why not?

It will probably pass as I get more and more tired. As the sun gets hotter and my bordom at repitition moves me on to something else my obsession will fade. For a time. But for those monthes, its more than just a hobby. Its a life dominering obsession mimicing OCD for all its worth. My hands are covered in dirt again, and I'm sooo tired.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Finding The Essence

I read an article on P Allen Smith's website that mentioned the Secret Garden. In fact, it was a musing on the art of Secret Gardening. The way he explained it put the idea into perspective for me. Having recently found an old forum were a family installed a Secret Garden of their own for their children (reclaimed side yard finished complete with locked gate and water feature) I was already keyed into the idea.

I had been feeling a bit lackluster about all my landscaping ideas. Just trying to fill problem spaces with something interesting. Just trying to make something grow in that place. Just trying to incorporate more room without lost and floating specimens. Adding structure to do it. Just trying to avoid eye contact with every one who drives by when I'm in the back yard in my PJ's. Just grasping for what nearest.

I've found what I've been looking for. That element of design that I was missing in spite all of my clever ideas. The frog pond, the rock wall, the side path, the arbors. All elements coming together, if executed with skill and mind, to create the magic and intrigue of a secret garden. The mystery, the

No matter how well manicured, eco friendly, or beautifully planted a yard might be, if they lack the mystery and magic they're no match for the shabby overgrown witches house down the road or even an arrangement of peat pot seedlings on the sill of a basement window...

Mysterious, magical, unknown, my own.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Driving myself crazy at the moment doing everything on the computer. I want to throw it from myself yelling "no more!", but I cant. I think its an addiction. Besides, what else would I do right now! The internet has almost limitless possibilities of entertainment! All while sitting on the couch!

Well, before I brain the puppy by tossing laptops around I just wanted to drop a handy website. Ive been on the wagon for a while, but this site has some newly packaged information. Some of it is even newish!

You've probably heard things about how great pollinators are. And how we must save them! Well they are and we should. I personally just love to see wild things at home in my garden living close to me. Its so magical that these things exist all by them selves. They don't need humans to birth their young, or shuck their ears, and plant each summer... They don't need to be owned or allowed. They just are. And that they choose to grace my yard with their presence cheers me immensely.

All of my childhood memories of searching under rocks and in ponds for the beautiful critters. All of my hoping and praying that I'd catch another mudpuppy, or glimpse a hummingbird moth. All of those youthful musings at becoming a biologist when I grow up. Coming again to some fruition in my back yard.

I planted the purple prairie clover and yellow cone flower in my bed today. My purple cone flower is less than an inch tall as I started it from seed however... as is my red yarrow. This could be a problem later.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ship Shape

The western bed is shaping up. I may even plant tomorrow! I only have two plants, but I'll go for it anyway. The side bed has been in the preparation process for about two years, it is soon to be christened tomorrow by a pairing of yellow coneflower and purple prairie clover.

The full bed will be flanked by a variety of sunflowers. The middle ranks will be filled with some purple and yellow coneflower and yarrow. And the prarie clover toward the front. I'll need some other lower growing plants to fill out the front, but I haven't thought that far ahead.

The more I look at the patch, the smaller it seems to be, but to be honest I was having designs on enlarging it when I first started. I don't like the look of small beds dwarfed by the house or tree they're planted by, but am worried about maintenance. It needs to be pretty darn low. Also, its a challenging clay soil west facing bed. Nothing has grown there yet for more than a year. If these guys can take it, I may expand. We will see.

I'm a bit unsure as to how all of these will really grow. I've never planted any of them before so I'll be planting blind. Didn't plan the colors much, but figure it will turn out fine. If the bee's like it, so do I. If it grows... I like it.

I'll post some pictures when I get more than two plants in the hole.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Raintree is out of everything again. I wanted to buy a Saskatoon/service berry this year. They have them for 60$ pruned up as tree's at the local nursery, but I don't know which cultivar. And I was thinking I'd prefer a multi-stemmed tree shape to add to the ascetic of our berm. I was planning on going with a Smokey cultivar from alde Raintree, but alas. Their berries be all gone. Maybe tomorrow I'll spearhead the musk berries and get them purchased before they too dry all up!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Guts

Some dude who's name I wont look up said that the gut is the second brain. My second brain tells me that edible landscaping is the way to go. The latest epiphany, that kiwi can be grown here. Completely shocking. I suppose its true that the furry ones in the grocery store ARE somewhat tropical, (tropical, being of course, somewhere it doesn't snow and freeze all winter. Like Portland!). The hairless kiwi's are super hardy. Some to zone 5, which we are, and some down to 3 or4! Thats like... negative 40 degrees! Go figure!

The super cold hardy ones are also kinda pretty. They all grow in a vine habit and like sturdy trellising. I think I may steal one of my sites for future vines, and stick a kiwi there instead!

Friday, May 1, 2009


My red currant purchase being deflected this year I've settled on bringing about my blackberry dream of yesteryear.

Its a bit difficult to find one that's suitably hardy to our chilly zone of five. I'll probably pick something up at our local nursery. Whatever variety they have. Trailing? Semi-erect? Who knows. I just hope they're as tasty as boysen or marion berries sound.

Enemy Of The State

The garden faces new challenges this year. Already the blueberries are under attack. One is dying a slow painful death after being raggedly severed at the trunk. Others have been harried, loosing limbs or leaves. The newest addition to the patch was carried off, kidnapped and almost never seen again. The culprit. Enemy of the state number one.

Seedlings shake in fear. Peach tree's huddle behind their deer caging. Blueberries struggle to survive. Pansy.

Deepest Frustrations

A haiku illustrating my frustrations.

Raintree Nursery
You leave me empty handed
sold out always before May

Musk strawberries. Alpine strawberries. Jhonkeer Van Tets red currant. And some other stuff I couldn't afford. All gone. Long before may. There's a reason I start shopping for garden things in January. There really is. Sadly, its not entirely out of motivation to get things in the ground before the dormant period ends. Mostly its just to get my hands on some random specimines, before their stock is decimated by other more persistant and well funded gardeners.

Oh well. I'm running out of places to plant things anyway. -_-