glorious gardens

This is a Manitoba summer, and this was a nice way to appreciate it; the Master Gardener Garden Tour.  Only the second year running, I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity and aspects of garden. 



You know the feeling, where the garden you have, or hope to have, cannot possibly live up to the idea of the perfect garden.  As much as you try, or hope, there is so many variables to gardening.  Something does not survive the winter, or another plant is not performing the way it was advertised on the tag.  Or, one plant “takes off” and the others are struggling.  So frustrating.  This inevitably makes me feel like I haven’t lived up to the standard that I have set for my garden.


This garden tour, which took place in my city, was a real revelation.  I came to the realization that my garden, my simple garden at my old house, was a treat.  It was pretty and colourful, and interesting in all seasons.  It may have been plagued with powdery mildew from time to time, and the miniature delphiniums did not stand up straight, but it the Thunderchild crabapple bloomed magnificently in May, and the raised bed was full of peonies in June.  There was one year where the roses made a magnificent show, even as the leaves on the Hope for Humanity rose turned to lace from tiny green worms.  The year the orange and the purple Echinacea bloomed in tandem was the year that I realized orange and purple are glorious together.  (The next year, the orange died, but that’s gardening for you.) 



This garden tour made me realize that gardening is a brilliant work in progress that is therapeutic and beautiful, all at the same time.  Gardening is not perfection, it is flashes of seasonal brilliance.  It is a labour of love, and knowledge, and enjoyment (even as we hope for a stellar performance…bloom, dammit, bloom!) 

In the garden, I have (inadvertently) planted the invasive…and the prone to aphids…and at times the absolutely clueless as to what it actually was.  Gardening has always been fun. It’s been such a learning experience, and sometimes (most times) I can take absolutely no credit for it. 

I just love it. 



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how do you like them radishes


The radishes were not a success this year. I’ve been told that anyone can grow radishes, but the flea beetle was a bit aggressive this spring, and there is only a handful to show for it. I think these were a heritage seed variety; the white tips were a pretty surprise when I pulled them up. (How good are you at holding on to your seed packets?) Every year, I think that this is going to be the very successful year with just that variety of certain seed, and then I forget which one I planted. Oops.


We like ours with just a splash of apple cider vinegar.

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The perfect male accessory…the basset-in-hockey-bag!

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Curly parsley planted with this exact hope in mind…that the swallowtail butterflies find it! I look forward to seeing those caterpillars every summer. I plant both the curly and the flat leaf parsley, because it seems that they don’t bother at all with the flat leaf parsley. That means I don’t have to hunt for little orange eggs before cutting some for garnish!

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that sliver in my finger is an impediment to my knitting


Lucky for the garden, though!

We were putting up the fencing at the garden to deter the deer from the green bean buffet, when I got a sliver in my finger. I have slim hope that the fence will work, but the beans are in flower, and the top layer of leaves has already been nibbled away.

I love gardening, and it feels soooooooooo good to have the spare time to do it this summer. Lots of weeding. Much inspecting. The second set of cabbage got planted a couple of weeks ago, the first planting being fairly destroyed by the flea beetle. There are small, green tomatoes, and some of the golden beets are the size of my little finger. The cucumbers have (had…lucky me!) two small cucumbers on the vine. The pod peas are the slowest yet, but have some blooms. But the first prize goes to the zucchini, as always…the one thing of which there is never any shortage!

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that tear that just fell outta my eye…


There are two bassets on my floor, and I’d be lying if I said that was part of the original plan.

The original plan had a dog called Hart, and a house that was too small for two dogs. The next step of the plan was to build a new house with wonderful, basset-friendly features, such as low windows and a dog run that was just out the back door of the garage. By this time, Hart was already 8 years old…and by the time he would have been 12, Sonja would be 19 and Elena 16, and the doors of parental freedom would be open that much wider, and the idea was that we would be ready to be a family without a dog. After all, the kids would now be busy with more stuff, and we would be way, way past the stage in our lives where we needed a puppy.

The heartbreak that still bubbles to the surface; there was supposed to be an antidote for that by the name of Odin. But Hart was Hart, and Odin is Odin, and oh dear, this is beginning to look like a set up. Because without that dog named Hart, there wouldn’t be an Odin, and there most certainly wouldn’t be a Loki. Because that wasn’t part of the plan. Elena said to me, “Mom, will one more basset take us farther away from Hart?” And the answer, of course, is that time takes you farther away from everything, but to continue to appreciate the basset opportunities life presents to us, is to remember and encourage the basset love that began with a heart of gold.

So here is the new plan, in which there are two bassets on my floor. I love having two bassets on my floor, under my feet and in my heart. And that tear that just fell outta my eye reminds me of the basset that started it all.

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the action shots were too blurry…


The dog that we “met” last week has come to stay. Yes, now we have two bassets, and two is awesome. Loki is a year older than Odin, but oh so skinny. He is calm sweetness to Odin bullish persistence, and he loves being loved. They are a good pair. We are really paying attention, trying to understand him and best care for him. It is like trying to read a picture book where you don’t know the beginning of the story. So different from starting from a puppy with our first two bassets.

When I was a kid on the farm, we would get dogs dropped off at the end of our driveway. We kept them. When other family members didn’t want their dogs anymore, we took them. We had Brutus and Sam, Sport, Duke, Snoopy, Nikki, Bo and Mitzi. The only time we called the pound was for the pit bull with the infected eye. They all were treated as outdoor farm dogs; loved but not coddled, cared for but not worried over. Bones more than dog treats, and a dog house insulated with hay bales in the winter. They were always just around, but would happily come with us for walks on the bush trails along the fields. Just farm dogs.

And now, having raised two healthy, happy (house) hounds from puppy, I find myself in the unusual position of having to undo someone else’s lack of care. That lack is something of which I cannot understand the why and the how. It hurts my heart; but from now on, for this little pup, things will be better. It is a process, one that I am looking forward to seeing the results of. I’m hopeful that those little ribs and every single nub of spine disappear into a good sack of basset, trusting that good food, good play, and lots of love will fill out that little basset belly. Until little Loki isn’t so little anymore!

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