a little different next year

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This, my second year with full sun planters…and I still don’t have it quite right. The placement is good, but the plants are not WOW.

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The grasses were a bit disappointing; it was a new variety, and I’ll go back to my tried and true “Vertigo” for the grass pots. The roses were an attempt at a low maintenance, full season bloomer; only the “Never Alone” rose has been doing a good job. The “Morden Sunrise” has been a bit of a disaster, with black spot from the get-go, and not a big show of flowers.

Next year? Thinking grasses alone in two pots, and geraniums and ivy in the other two…but what about the boxwood? Does he get the go-ahead for next year, too?

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most wonderful time of the year

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I used to think that I loved autumn most of all. Crisp, cool and breezy.

Today, with the humidity, the temperature is 40°C. Not easy to be outside. Plus, it’s wet from the rain last night. Not likely that I’ll get more planting done today (because, yes, I brought more plants home for the back and front gardens.)

We’ll be hiding in the house, but hiding so happily. I have more jam, and pickles to make! My lovely cucumber plants are producing just nicely, and likely half a dozen jars will be made today. The cherry tomato in the “house garden” is huge (yes, that’s it right there, plus more than a few herbs, my zinnias and calendula, and a yellow pear tomato) and the tomatoes are just ripening. My breakfast today was a kale, zucchini and tomato salad, entirely made with “stuff from the garden.”

I can’t quite put my finger on the difference this year, but I think it has a lot to do with my new philosophy of PICK IT SMALL. That, and EAT A LOT OF KALE.

Previously, waiting for the carrots to get “just the right size” meant that I was buying carrots instead of eating them from the garden, and then being inundated with them much later in the season. Carrots coming out of our ears! Then, the waste that happens since I run out of time to process them, and the guilt. Not this year. Pick them small, enjoy, and keep going.

My garden is tiny, compared to the one I grew up with. But this year still feels manageable somehow. That, and the fact that I got 90% of the garden weeded before that great rain a couple days ago, and that got us a good haul of beans, snap peas and pickling cucumbers yesterday. And the dill! Finally, finally, I have the dill I need on hand as the cucumbers are ready!

Really, I do think it is the most wonderful time of the year.

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while they’re blooming

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I’ve never grown lupins before, but always wanted to after seeing fields of them in Iceland. Definitely a year for gardening “firsts”!

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stolen

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Foraged?

The vacant lot two “doors” down from us was sold to a developer. But many, many, many years ago, some lovely soul planted two sour cherry bushes at (what was then) the back of the lot.

Last week, at about 9:30 at night, you might have found me on a cherry expedition. Just me, my pail, and those bushes. Accompanied by my cloak of mosquitos. Tonight, it was jam making time. But just 5 small jars.

Tomorrow?

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the legs, they are not happy with me

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Winnipegers joke that there are two seasons; winter and construction. This summer, I have been so very frustrated with construction season, as every viable route that I use to go to work has some sort of road work happening on it. After coming home not-exactly-in-tears-but-very-close-to-it, it was suggested to me that I take my bike to work.

It’s been tough, but rewarding and awesome at the same time. The beautiful prairie scenery and bits of wildlife that cross my path are so gratifying, as is the fresh, summery smell of the clover and alfalfa.

But my legs…are still adjusting. Those hills, and the 45 minutes that it takes to get to work, and then the 7 hours on my feet, then the 45 minutes back means that by the time I get home, my legs just don’t want to be under me anymore. Too bad everything at home requires a vertical position, including the shower to clean off after I drag my sweaty carcass through the door!

It’s been two weeks, and it’s been good; but those legs just don’t love me at the end of the day! I wonder when they’ll catch up…

While we were walking the dogs on Sunday, I came across this oak leaf with gall on it. Although it has nothing to do with anything, I thought it was the prettiest gall I had ever seen, and had to share.

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didn’t have to wait a week for the daylily

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There he went, the very next day, and I’ve had a few more follow. Gorgeous blooms; I’m so happy I took “Sammy Russell” home from work with me!

Yesterday, a few of us from work went on a garden tour, and I’ve had a hard look at my garden since. And it’s good. I still have lots of areas to fill in, but I’m building slowly, and only with plants that I love. That’s the best part~I’ve wanted Husker Red beard-tongue forever, and yup, it’s planted. Same with the hyssop and rhubarb, and the Kyushu hydrangea. It’s just starting to bloom; honestly…it’s all pretty thrilling.

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not sure

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Not sure when I’m going to get around to keeping all my promises; right now I’m sitting at the kitchen island, looking out at the wet garden, and the hydrangea that are just starting to bloom.  I should be doing something else, but I’m taking a minute to catch up on the doings, because there has been so much doing.

I can never decide when I like plants the most…the anticipation stage, where the blooms are just in the small, sweet bud stage, or when they are all big and in full show.  I do, I really do want to take pictures.  And I should have, say, when the saskatoons were in bloom.  That would have been pretty; it was.  And the deal with them slowly ripening; also pretty.  And now?  They were very large and very good, at least by robin standards.  We managed to eat a few (a very few) and I can’t wait for next year and the next, when the bush will be bigger and more for everyone.  But now, there isn’t much point in taking a photo of empty branches, now is there?

But yeah, the hydrangea are blooming, and the daylily within the next week, for sure.  The Siberian irises finished, but you should see how big the rhubarb is getting.  Just planted a month ago, and wow.  But the Heavenly Ice Angel daylily?  Blah and meh.  It made it out of the ground, and then just seemed to…stop.  I gave it iron, and everything.  I haven’t had much success with my grasses (Big Blue Stem and Northwind) either.

Those guys, though, are just the few.  Everything else is making me so happy just by seeing and being.  The new additions to the garden last week were speedwell, coneflower, something I think is golden rod, false sunflower, and a queen of the prairie.  Those guys got poked into the woodsy area, around the red-leaf rose and the lupins.  Which are blooming, really!  The anticipation of everything filling out and growing into each other is making me giddy.  I am not a minimalistic gardener, by any means, but good structure is important, and getting all the shrubs installed last year means that this year is more “play and pretty.”  And I am so happy with my domestic and my woodsy side!  (You’d think it was a huge garden, but it’s not.  Again, with the pictures…)

There was one picture taken while we were camping last weekend…

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And no photos taken while we were strawberry picking, on the morning that we dropped Sonja off at the airport.  (I don’t like taking photos on the berry field, because I have a tendency to worry about getting berry juice on the camera.)  But that morning had the alarm set at 6:00, kid at airport at 8:00, strawberry picking by 10:00, then off to work at 12:30.  It was a very productive day.  Elena cleaned and froze the strawberries for a jam making session later.  I think she might have made supper that day, too.

Ever since I made the decision to work full time this summer, things have been up in the air.  And scattered randomly, getting done when they can.  There has not been as much guilt as I thought, because I like my job so much, but the change has been really, really felt.  I suppose even more so, because of Sonja’s 18th birthday, her graduation and holiday, which are big events in any life process.  And all the stuff that I really like doing, that I want to get done anyway.  Making time for that, too.

She’s having a great time, just in case you were worried…(not me!)…She made it through all the airports, met up with wonderful family, and is now at the festival, making new friends and learning tons of new dances.  She’ll be in Copenhagen by next week.  I’m surprisingly relaxed that she’s gone, probably due to the fact that there is nothing I can do, anyway.  But more than likely also due to the fact that there is extended family very close, and friends from our dance group at the Nordlek festival as well!

The rest of July should manage to be a little more manageable, and I have a whole bunch of time off in August.  The vegetable garden is on my mind, now, as the cucumbers are slowly getting bigger, and the cantaloupes are tiny and perfect.  So exciting to see them on the vine!  The kale has been a huge success.  Literally.  I just need to get in there and weed.

And sort laundry.  Supper will be made by my awesome Elena, again, but I really, really should get at that laundry again so I can find my work clothes.  Important, that.

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