evidenced by the rustling leaves
the gentle whispers of feet
that scamper and roam
who rustles and darts
as the hunters
who rustles and darts
as the hunters
I’m not one who makes many resolutions at New Year’s but I knew that for 2015 I wanted to spend more time doing activities in my garden – my oasis – this year rather than just plant things in it.I want to spend time simply being in it and enjoying the serenity with my cats, a cup of coffee and my knitting. While it may not be super warm yet in the most of the city (today’s high is 11C/56F), the sun lays in my garden all afternoon raising the temperatures significantly and making it an amazing place to knit in cooler weather. In the height of summer I can’t knit here in the afternoon without shade or I risk heat stroke, but today, as I sit and enjoy the warm sun and singing birds, I’m reminded of what a treasure my garden really is. The tulips and daffodils are blooming, the cats are enjoying a nap in the sun and the neighbour’s wind chimes are playing in the breeze. For now I’m ignoring the weeding and clean-up and just enjoying my second Saturday afternoon in a row spent knitting in the garden.
It’s difficult to believe it’s been two months since I posted anything here or released a pattern. I have several that are almost ready to be released, they just need formatting and to be uploaded to Ravelry. So stay tuned for pattern releases coming soon. Most of my attention has been focused on this year’s large project, a collection of my designs being released in three stages. The first part of the collection will be released in August and a lot of the pieces are ready for photography. I’m very excited and will post in the next week to share more details. For now, I’ll leave you with this teaser photo, a pattern slated for release in July as a teaser for the collection – and today’s garden knitting project.
When my parents announced their plans to sell their house and move into a condo, I knew there were a few plants I wanted from their gardens – the family irises and the red trillium. Last July, after the irises finished blooming, my parents dug them up and brought them to my house where they were installed in pride of place. These are very special irises – when my parents got married and moved to Ontario, my grandmother dug up some of her irises to send along.
Growing up, these were planted along one end of the garden where they spread every year. When we moved to Waterloo in the late 70s, the iris made the trip as well. There they stayed until last year when they got a new home.
Originally, when the tubers were moved from Pennsylvania, there were five varieties of irises. Over the intervening years, some of these varieties have disappeared until we’re left with yellow and purple. The photos here just show the first blooms, the show gets better every day.
The other flower I really wanted was the red trillium that bloomed in my parent’s back year for many years. I never remember more than a single red one among all the whites but every year it just made me smile. I was so happy when my Dad was able to dig out the red one and several white ones for transplanting and I was so eager this spring to see the result. So imagine my surprise when I was rewarded with this:
The trilliums obviously appreciated the transplanting. There were more than 20 red trillium blossoms in that clump. This plant came originally moved from my aunt’s house to my parent’s and, over the years, only ever produced single blossoms. I’m eager to see how the plants spread and fill in under the trees.
Today is beautiful and if the behaviour of my cats is any indication, spring is on the way (despite the piles of snow still all around).
These popped up seemingly overnight. To me, aconite is always the earliest sign of spring. Their cheerful yellow flowers seem designed to provide a spot of hope during the lingering days and portents of winter. These flowers used to appear under my childhood bedroom winter until my dad dug them up and transported them to my house last fall.
While most of my back yard is still under mounds of snow, the sun lays in during the afternoon hours and warms a small patch of earth next to my back porch. In this warm spot I planted snow drops, crocuses and the early spring greens (sorrel, lovage, bloody dock, salad burnet). This year the snow drops have made their appearance almost a week earlier than last year.
I’m most excited about seeing the bloody dock make an appearance. The sorrel, lovage and salad burnet can’t be much behind which means fresh salads from my garden in the next few weeks. The greens have strong, sometimes bitter flavours which act as a palate cleanser for the heavier foods of winter.
Now I’m itching to sow the lettuces, spinach and peas but need to wait at least another month before they can go into the ground.
In the meantime I’ll enjoy the promise offered by the spring heralds.
A brilliant TEDTalk
This is my second summer with the garden and I decided that, in addition to tracking my plantings in using a garden planning tool (I use the amazing vegetable planner from Mother Earth News), I wanted to keep a visual record of what my garden looks like. I’ve definitely been inspired by the great gardening posts of Anne Hanson at Knitspot.
I have two main “gardens” – the front and the back. When I moved in to the house in 2012, they were typical lawn covered affairs. Through the hard graft of my father, all the grass is gone and they are now wonderful spaces for me to fill with plants. So where did the garden start?
The back yard began looking like this:
What that photo doesn’t show is the large divets in the ground from two large dogs running around and digging.
Dad dug up the back yard in May last year, turning over the sod, laying paths (recycled flagstone from my parent’s house and bricks reclaimed from the previous owner’s patio seen in the previous photo) and brought in roughly 25 large tubs of compost from the Region’s waste diversion program (a free source of the “black gold”) to build up seven main beds. He worked so hard and the transformation from grass to garden wouldn’t have happened nearly as quickly without him. I’m lucky to have my own private gardener.
At the beginning of June this is what the garden looked like:
I don’t have a photo from then showing the whole garden but you can see the main vegetable bed in the foreground (along with a squirrel on the bird feeder) and the herb bed in the background. I’m using the square foot gardening method for my vegetable beds. There are a few plants in there already, transplanted in as seedlings but 2012 was so hot that the root vegetables (beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips) never did anything.
However, if you want to grow massive tomatoes then compost and heat are your friends. This photo was taken one month later:Within a few weeks, the tomato plants had to be trimmed off at the top of the tomato spirals.
This year, the garden beds only needs a bit of top dressing with compost, new twine to mark out the grids for the vegetable plantings and a bit of weeding and they’re ready to go. Most of the salad greens are already planted and beginning to sprout and the bulbs I planted last fall are beginning to bloom.
Not only the bulbs are coming up. This beautiful pasque flower has started blooming. I love the fuzzy leaves.
The perennial salad plants are making their appearance:
I’ll leave you with the overall garden shots. The front bed in this first photo still needs some work. I need to mark out part of the bed, I’m just waiting for some of the perennial vegetables (right side by the primrose) to make a bit more of an appearance so I don’t plant over them. The front left corner was seeded with the salad greens.
That’s the tour of the garden foundations. This year I’m testing a lot of varieties of vegetables to see what I want to grow going forward. Last year I managed to garden organically and that is my plan again this year. Most of the seeds I’m planting are heirloom varieties and I’ve very eager to see how they produce. Stay tuned!
Despite the weather being undecided, I know it’s spring because my bulbs have begun their flowering. It brings me such joy to see these small bursts of colour in the garden.
The garden comes to life – what a fabulous time of year.