Gardening brings me hours upon hours of joy. Whether I'm out in the yard digging and weeding and seeding or here at the computer blogging, the garden is an endless source of fun and entertainment. Over the last few weeks, though, I have felt like a distracted gardener. My brain has been racing with long "to-do" lists, plant and garden design research, seedling transplant schedules, and a vegetable patch layout. As a result, I have been unable to simply appreciate the garden. It's all my own fault, of course. I have way more going on garden-wise this year than ever before. In addition to the full-sun border I've been working on for some ten years or so, I have added a front-yard, dry-shade border and two framed-beds for vegetables. It's a lot of work to say the least.
The bulk of April was spent removing the turf from a front-yard lawn area. I'm glad I was doing this when the earth was moist and the lawn pulled away relatively easily. Even so, it took me days and days and days of tugging and pulling and yanking to get the job done. That's a lot of turf! Then there were the hours spent staring at the blank slate and googling "ontario, native, dry-shade tolerant." There was also a big dose of garden daydreams throw in for good measure. Today, the daydreams gave way to reality. The two serviceberries (Amelanchier Canadensis) and the Eastern Redbud are in the ground. With the backbone of the garden in place, I feel like I can relax and enjoy. The distracted gardener is now the ecstatic gardener.
The ecstatic gardener in me is thrilled that the framed beds turned out just awesome. If there is such a thing as beautiful soil, it found its way into the framed beds. The soil is so rich and so easy to work with. The marigolds went in today. I'm hoping they will help to keep the bugs away. I'm also using them to create smaller work spaces that seem somehow more manageable than the whole bed. Mostly I hope the marigolds (and nasturtiums still to come) elevate this veggie patch into a potager. I planted the first seeds today: snow peas to be grown up a bamboo-pole trellis. Tomorrow, it's time for the leeks.
The ecstatic gardener in me is thrilled to be enjoying all the many, many plants already in the garden. The daffodil above just makes my day. Meanwhile the lungwort could be accused of being an overachiever. Not only is it content with its shady location, but its blooms come in variety of shades of pink and purple depending on the stage of the bloom. Soon its spotted foliage will take centre stage and endure right through to the end of summer. What a garden star. It really does deserve a better name than lungwort.
The ecstatic gardener in me is thrilled to welcome the first ever Hellebore "Ivory Prince" bloom to the garden. I really had my doubts about the survival of the Hellebores after this winter but they made it. There are plenty of buds still to open. The foliage is looking a bit ratty but I'll clean it up once the blooms are done. I thought I might have to move the Hellebores because they weren't getting enough light. Maybe I won't have to move them after all.
The ecstatic gardener in me is thrilled that the backyard serviceberry is about to bloom. I just missed last year's blossoms. I bought and planted the serviceberry about a month or two past peak bloom season. So I have been waiting for the serviceberry to flower for amost a year. Based on the plump buds, it's going to be a great show.
The ecstatic gardener in me is thrilled to see the leaves on the Bloodgood Japanese Maple. Seeing the maple's graceful form and all the buds and blooms in the garden right now is a great reminder of why the hard work that goes into a garden is worth it. The time spent on the garden now will pay me back a hundred-fold in years to come. The ecstatic gardener in me is thrilled to be planting a mini-paradise that, like a fine wine, will only get better with age.