Monday, October 20, 2008

Is it Spring Yet?

After a couple of busy days in the garden, I'm all ready for spring. For the last week or so I have been gardening in hour here, 15 minutes there, by moonlight when neeeded. Now my work is done (not really, but I'll enjoy the moment for now). The bulbs are out of their bags and in the soil and the garden is weed free (when will I be able to say that again?)

Here's what went in: 16 Pink Daffodil Blend bulbs made up of "Pink Pride" and "Pink Charm." While I'm not a huge fan of pink, I do love two-tone daffodils so I'm willing to give these a try.

Here are some "Carlton" and "King Alfred" Daffodil bulbs combined in one trench. The "King Alfreds," a gift from my mother, are monster size! Interestingly enough, they are most likely not the real deal. It seems that there are very few true "King Alfred" bulbs to go around. But the name has stuck and won't go away. So I don't know what I'll get other than that the flowers will be big and yellow. Altogether, 30 "Carlton" and 10 "King Alfred" made it into the ground.

I have real doubts about the "Irene Copeland" bulbs. They were wee compared to the other daffodils. And the flower looks a little too busy for my taste. My little sprout picked these (how could I say no?). She actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to picking garden winners. Maybe these daffodils will dazzle me despite my doubts. Only five bulbs planted.

I'm most excited about the 10 "Barrett Browning" Daffodils. They just look so pretty. Wish I had planted more.

I suspect my 20 snowdrops planted in two groups of 10 might seem insignificant in the garden as a whole. I suspect I should have planted around one thousand of them, but I was already way over my bulb budget.

30 Camassia esculenta will keep my gargoyle Phil company.

Phil is a constant in my garden. All year round he sits under the two burning bush shrubs, chin on hands, enjoying his surroundings. I think he'll look nice surrounded by a small field of purple.

I did some transplanting too. I moved a miscanthus, a russian sage, and three blue fescue grasses into the garden. They all spent the summer in two giant patio urns. I also planted a tovara which a neighbour shared with me after my repeated "oohs" and "ahhs" over the tiny red blooms. Of course, there's still more to do. I have to find a spot for a spiderwort I received from a fellow gardener. I need to move the garden furniture inside. And I have to clean out the shed (another big job!)

The garden looks as lovely as ever. Next week, I'll start mowing the fallen leaves from the enormous Norway Maple next door. They make a great (and free!) mulch. It's a good feeling to leave the garden looking great before it's tucked in for winter. With so much new stuff going on in the soil I can barely wait to see what it all looks like and that begs the question "Is it spring yet?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Red Rules!

There is very little red in my garden during the summer months. My preferences lean to the purple side of the plant world. But come autumn, red rules!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Army of Invaders

The brussel sprouts spent much of the summer looking great, even "architectural," in the potager. But upon closer inspection...(WARNING: sensitive readers may wish to avert their eyes)...

Mealy aphids! An army of them! I don't generally get squeamish at the sight of bugs, but this infestation struck me as really GROSS.

Such a shame really. The sprouts were coming along so nicely. Now they're headed for the city compost heap. I would grow brussel sprouts again mainly because they are really cool looking plants. Next time (if there is a next time!) I'll go in with a better companion planting plan. Or better yet, I'll get my sprouts at the grocery store.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Awesomeness of Autumn

The fall colours are especially outstanding this year. The trees are more than just colourful; they're almost glowing. These are a few pictures from in and around the Flamborough, Ontario area.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Community Garden Bulb Blitz

The Community Garden has been weeded! I dropped off invitations to a garden clean-up day to all of the original community gardeners involved with the plot. While I was doing some preliminary work, I also extended invitations to anyone who walked by and expressed even a slight interest in gardening. In the end, the garden clean-up day was attended by one person: me. So pardon the boasting: I'm taking full credit for the weeding job (and believe me it was a big one! I even got a nasty skin rash -- poison ivy, poison oak, I don't know -- to prove it.)

Once the weeds were cleared away, I found some nasturtiums that had obviously been struggling to bloom. Just a few days after the weeding though, even with temperatures dropping, they were looking much happier. The whole purpose of the weeding was to clear the way for some spring bulbs.

Armed with an actual planting plan (!), I set off to plant more than one hundred daffodil and tulip bulbs. I planted the bulbs in groups of five to eight all along the front of the border. I'm hoping for a colourful spring display but there's no way of knowing. The soil in the community garden barely qualifies as soil. I amended it with compost from my garden so I hope that helps. I also added a sprinkling of hen manure pellets to each hole. While I was determined to plant mostly pest-resistant daffodils, I planted just as many tulips. I was careful to plant deeply and to pack down the dirt firmly all around in hopes that the squirrels don't discover them. But squirrels are always a wild card.

So here's what's been planted in the community garden. 30 Narcissus "Carlton"

                             30 Narcissus "Ice Follies"

                                30 "Pretty Woman" Tulips

                       16 "Princess Irene" Tulips

                               16 "Negrita" Tulips

I carefully marked each group of bulbs with a labeled popsicle stick (I should really follow my own example and do this is my own garden.) The sticks are the only things that will be sprouting for a while. My afternoon in the "community garden of one" was most enjoyable. I'll try to kick-start neighbourhood involvement again with a mini-bulb blitz or leaf-mulching day later in the month. In the meantime, I'm shifting into clean-up mode in my own garden and getting ready to do the bulb blitz all over again.