Saturday, May 17, 2014

Getting my hands dirty

My love of green and growing things was instilled at a very young age. When I was very small, I was constantly being chased out of my grandma's gardens for picking her flowers. I was the child who always came home with a bundle of weeds for Mom.

I was four when my parents got us a small house in the country. We had an acre and a half of property, and while a good chunk of it was natural meadow, there was lots of lawn and room for gardens.

Dad had a large vegetable garden around the side of the house where they grew pickling cucumbers (Mom always made her own pickles), carrots, beans, peppers, onions, swiss chard and tomatoes.

Out front there were several gardens - a large triangular shaped one, bordered by railway ties marked the entrance to driveway. Mom had it filled with annuals every year - petunias, pansies and the like. Along the front of the house there were peonies and holly hocks, four o'clocks and flox. Down the side, Japanese lanterns and orange day lilies.

But down by the mud porch, nestled into the side of the hill that our house sat on, I had a garden of my very own. It was all mine. I chose the plants, did the digging and was also responsible for weeding it (which, of course, I never did).

There was something magical about that spot - it must have had the perfect soil because that little garden grew like crazy, no matter how bad the rest of the gardens were doing. I had nasturtiums and giant marigolds, sweet peas and johnny jump ups. It was also home to countless frogs, toads and snails - the perfect garden for a little girl who loved to get her hands dirty.

Cosmos, English Daisies, Petunias,
Red Violas, Black Shamrocks... oh my!
When we moved to the city, and then to Smithville, Dad took over most of the gardening. I grew into a teenager, then a twenty-something and while I still loved flowers, gardening just wasn't a huge priority.

It wasn't until I moved out on my own, that I turned my attention back to playing in the dirt. The old townhouse wasn't ideal for gardens though I wanted some badly. The backyard didn't get enough sun and the soil was too sandy. I did plant some orange lilies, and potted a few annuals... but beyond that, nothing. But this place... this place has really lit the spark again.

In addition to the seeds I planted, I picked up some plants for the front garden, and a few vegetables.

Thank you Dollar Store! You have great hats!
They've been sitting on my dining table all week and I've been just itching to get them in the ground.

I dug my new garden plots earlier this week, but it's been too rainy to do much more. When I woke up this morning, there was a sliver of sun peeking between the clouds, so I decided it was time to get moving.

I pulled on my oldest pair of jeans, plunked on my new gardening hat, and set to work.

I filled the new bee garden with black top soil (the plants really love this stuff and at $2 for a 25 Litre bag, you really can't go wrong). The sunflowers really needed to be put in ground asap, as they were starting to outgrow the planters I started them in.
Back Left - Lavender, Front Left - Cat Nip, Right - Sunflowers
The beginning of a little
bit of honey bee heaven.
The sunflowers were part of a mixed pack so I have no idea what kind I'll get. There's definitely some of the smaller versions in here and I'm hoping for some of the red ones - I love the red ones. Either way, they look much happier in their new home.

I have to get some stakes and string, so as they grow I can help them stay upright.

This garden will also eventually house some daisies, black-eyed susans, echinacea, poppies and columbine - I'm just waiting for those seeds to sprout. If it all works out, it's going to be a riot of colour this summer.

Plant lavender for luck
I was going to put the lavender in there as well, but I only got a few sprouts and they are still quite delicate, so I opted to put them in a pot instead.

I had this small hanging pot around from another plant that moved to a bigger pot. I should be just perfect for the lavender, If it gets more robust, I'll find a better spot for it.

I was going to splurge on a couple more rose bushes to keep the White Princess company, but then I remembered the Cana Lilies that my late-grandpa's girlfriend gave me last spring.
A lovely line of Red Cana Lilies to keep my White Rose company.
 I had the Cana Lilies in the front garden last year, and while they grew well, they didn't bloom - not enough sun I think. They should do much better in the back yard, which gets sun all day. They can't handle the frost, so they have to be dug up every fall. If they don't do well here, I'll find a new spot for the next year,

I wasn't going to bother with vegetables this year - I don't actually eat them. I ended up giving most of what we grew away last year. My plan was just get some more strawberries, because I'll totally eat those.

But then I remembered how much fun I had with the cherry tomatoes and I just couldn't resist getting some more. I could only get two strawberries plants this year (and I had to look high and low before I found them tucked away under a shelf at the garden centre), so I decided to get some Jalapeno peppers too.  My purple peppers didn't do too badly last year (though they were small), so I thought I'd give the Jalapenos a try - Dave's going to be very happy if they do well
Tomatoes in the back, peppers in the middle, and strawberries in the front.
That's all I was able to do before the rain started up again. I still have the cat nip to plant (I'm thinking another planter for that one so I can keep it out of reach of the furry things...). I'll tackled the front gardens tomorrow... so stay tuned!


kathy b said...

Fun to read about your plantings!!!

Rachelle said...

I'm still busy ignoring my garden in favour of getting my room sorted. Hoping that next summer I'll actually get lots of planting done and actually keep on top of the weeds

Araignee said...

No garden to speak of this year yet but I did plant a pot of cat grass after cleaning up one too many hairballs this week!

Anonymous said...

That, my dear, is THE MOST PERFECT gardening hat. It is sure to bring beauty and health to all that you plant.

Have fun!

Lily Razz said...

Aw! I loved reading about you and your 'green' childhood, so cute! I wish I had even half of the green thumb you have.. And I love your hat! Please keep us updated on the growing garden!

Nancy Kay said...

I, too, enjoyed reading about your love of the garden as a little girl. And look at the start of your glorious garden today! It will be fun to see the pictures of your plants in full bloom.

Yeah, you found a perfect gardening hat. Now you can enjoy the profits of your work!

Minding My Own Stitches said...

Wow that's a ton of work and a lot of plants. I hope you'll post before and after pictures later in the summer when everything is in full bloom :)

lexa said...

I've got two pots a friend gave me several years ago. I think this year I might plant lettuce in them instead of flowers. I also have a hanging basket from last year, think I'll get some transplants to put in it instead of buying a whole new basket.