Made a new bed today

About a year ago I did a post about  a plant that is sometimes called Bishops Gout Weed or Snow on the Mountain. I really didn’t like where it was in my garden. It was crowding out some lovely irises and a bleeding heart. So today we did it. The dear one and I built a new raised bed around the big fir tree in our yard. I mixed good clean black earth with peat moss and we transplanted from one bed to the next. I must say we are both feeling quite proud of ourselves.

This little plant is so hardy that even if we lose some of it, I know that by the end of the summer it will have filled in this bed. This is one of the reasons we put it in a raise bed, to try and control it as much as possible from moving into other areas of the garden.

Mapping out the wood for the new bed.

Mapping out the wood for the new bed.

 

The dear one finishing up the edging after we have all the new soil mixture in.

The dear one finishing up the edging after we have all the new soil mixture in.

 

Freshly transplanted and waiting for the first watering.

Freshly transplanted and waiting for the first watering.

The good thing here is that we used reclaimed lumber and garden stakes that we bought last year. The only thing I had to to buy was the black earth, I still had peat moss leftover from last year. I am really looking forward to seeing this fill in. This little plant does well in both full sun, partial sun and shade – which over the course of the day it will get in this spot.

Had a good gardening adventures lately? I am looking forward to my next one for sure.

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Indoor plant love

I live in central Alberta, which if you look on a map you will see is pretty far north. It means that we really only have 4 to 5 months that we can garden outside. I love green growing things and I have always had plants in whatever home I have lived in. Since I have moved several times across the country there aren’t many plants that have made the journey with me, so I have usually had to start over. Fortunately I get into communities where people are willing to share or have given them to me as gifts.

I thought I would share with you some photos of my plants that keep me going through a long, dark, winter season.

 

One of my orchids in full bloom. Happy to say this one is sending up a new flower stem.

One of my orchids in full bloom. Happy to say this one is sending up a new flower stem.

 

This lovely peace lily was a housewarming gift for our new home.

This lovely peace lily was a housewarming gift for our new home.

 

This is my oldest orchid and it amazed me last year with the size of its blooms.

This is my oldest orchid and it amazed me last year with the size of its blooms.

 

This little primula I bought last year and it survived and decided to bloom again this spring.

This little primula I bought last year and it survived and decided to bloom again this spring.

 

I have had this lovely plant for almost  10 years. It is such a wonderful burst of green and has delicate white flowers.

I have had this lovely plant for almost 10 years. It is such a wonderful burst of green and has delicate white flowers.

People often ask me how I keep my plants going and basically I say healthy neglect. I make sure that they have appropriate light, heat and usually only water once a week (more during the hot season in the summer), but after that I let them be. I do repot when necessary but certainly not every year.

 

What indoor plants are your favourites? What is your best indoor gardening tip?

Container Gardening

Tomato plant from 2013

Tomato plant from 2013

I love eating fresh food, whether it comes from a farmers market, from a friend’s garden or if it comes from my backyard. I don’t do  full on vegetable gardening. I am more into perennial fruits and vegetables, like rhubarb and asparagus and into container gardening for the rest. I have done tomatoes, beans, lots of different herbs and lettuce in containers over the years. Some of those have worked well, others haven’t.

This year I will be getting more tomatoes, herbs and have started pole beans in two containers. The one that has sprouted is the one that will have purple beans. I planted the other one just a couple of days ago, it will have green beans, and don’t expect to see anything for a few more days yet. I have also been wandering around the garden and discovered that my asparagus and rhubarb are both off to a good start. Won’t get anything off of them for about another week or so as well. I decided to give them a head start so that we will have a real chance of having beans in the summer and not having to worry about frost getting them in the fall. I am also thinking about doing peas in a container as well.

Spring has been slow coming here, just like much of the rest of Canada, unless of course you live in parts of BC, so I am feeling really anxious to get going with things outside and plant some more containers. I am going to be heading to the garden centres soon to get tomatoes,  basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme, oregano and check out whatever else they have. Who knows, I may just get inspired.

Here are some pictures of the newly sprouted beans. I will be putting up a tomato cage in the centre of the beans so that they have something to climb up. I do think they will look rather lovely covered in flowers later in the summer.  They just make me happy seeing them.

Just sprouted pole beans

Just sprouted pole beans

What do you like to grow in containers? What has been successful for you? Or are you a traditional vegetable gardener?

Look there are leaves!

Look there are leaves!

Blooming Life

Purple and White Iris nestled in the fern. Many more blooms to come here.

Purple and White Iris nestled in the fern. Many more blooms to come here.

This is the planter box on the deck. My husband put a trellis up above it onto which it is hoped that they will grow. Sorry no names I seem to have lost the tags - bad gardener that I am.

This is the planter box on the deck. My husband put a trellis up above it onto which it is hoped that they will grow. Sorry no names I seem to have lost the tags – bad gardener that I am.

My garden is at the beginning of its blooming life. Here are some photos of two different irises,  the bleeding heart and a planter box . It gives me so much joy to walk out in my garden and find these beauties. I have another bed of irises which will be blooming soon, if we ever get sunshine and warmth here again, and some lilies that should be out in the next couple of weeks. I am thankful for the variety in this little patch of the earth that I get to take care of at the moment.

Dark blue iris - this one will get a stake next year. I am just loving the colour of this one.

Dark blue iris – this one will get a stake next year. I am just loving the colour of this one.

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Bleeding heart in shadow but doing really well

What’s blooming in your part of the world? What are you looking forward to seeing next?

Healthy Neglect

Orchid blossom stem

I have been away from home for a few days at meetings and visiting family. It has been a good time, but I must admit to missing my new garden and my houseplants. The dear one texted me the above picture and if you look closely you will see that one of my orchids is putting out a flower stem on last year’s flower stem. Can I hear a woohoo?!?

I am thankful that the dear one sent me the photo and all, but I would have really liked to have found that myself and been able to show it to him. It makes me wonder what else I am missing in the garden and with my houseplants. I wonder if all the new stuff we planted outside has survived all the rain that has happened since I left. I wonder how much growth there has been. I wonder if the bleeding heart has started to bloom, I wonder if the irises have started to bloom. There it is, I muss my new garden and I miss my new home.

I know that it will be there when I get home and I know that I will have work to do to make sure that everything is okay. I also know that a little healthy neglect doesn’t hurt when it comes to a garden or to houseplants. I have had a number of people ask me if there is anything special that I do to get my orchids bloom year after year. I mostly tell them not much – a little healthy neglect. It is the same attitude that I had when raising my children – be around but don’t be around too much – a little healthy neglect.

This away time is preparing me for a longer away time this summer and has got me to thinking how I will get our new garden looked after when we are away on our summer holiday. Something for me to ponder over the next couple of months before that happens.

What in your garden or your life could use a little healthy neglect?

Rasing a garden

Waiting to be filled

Waiting to be filled.

We are beginning the process of building some raised beds. As you can see in the picture above we decided that rather than digging up the soil we would build a raised bed. One of the previous owners of this home decided that they would use this part of the yard as an additional parking space – so there is about 6 inches of fine gravel and sand there and it would have taken more work and time than we have to rehabilitate it. So we are going to do it one small raised bed at a time.

Newly filled raised bed

Newly filled raised bed

We have some new friends here in Wetaskiwin and they invited us out to their place this past Monday for some plant digging and dinner. They gave us asparagus, rhubarb, delphinium, lupines, columbine, pasque flower and monkshood. After my husband got the bed made and the soil in place, I got to digging. So all of that went in and a few other things – a row of garlic, two types of mint, a perennial sage, an Easter lily that I rescued from our church and larkspur that I bought at a local greenhouse.

This new raised bed is a bit of mixed bag – some fruits, veggies, herbs and perennial flowers but I think the combination will work. The plan is to have another raised bed across the yard right by the garage. This is going to have a trellis up the back and with clematis up it and lots and lots of different lilies in the front of it and whatever else takes my fancy. It is also going to have a flaming bush in one corner to give that splash of fall colour that will look great.

Over the rest of the spring and into the summer with the help of that great husband of mine this yard will become a place of blooms and green. A friend told me that one of the benefits is that I get to paint my own palate on the garden and don’t just have to work with what is there. They are right of course and the hard work will pay off over the years.

What part of your garden have you had to rehabilitate? What worked or didn’t work for you?

Is it a Weed or isn’t it?

Is it a weed or isn't it?

Is it a weed or isn’t it?

This little beauty is in the little corner bed by the house. It is taking up half the bed and I am hoping to contain it to just that. So this plant goes by a couple of names – Snow on the Mountain and Bishop’s Gout Weed. Thankfully Wikipedia has lots about this little plant.

Now some call this a weed and some call it ground cover. I happen to agree with both. It is a lovely ground cover but it is invasive and will take over a whole flower bed if you are not careful. I spent about 6 hours one day this past week cleaning out the two flower beds in the front of the house. The reason it took so long is because I was trying to get rid of this plant. I don’t want it overtaking what I hope to plant in there and it will if I let it. So I got in there with my garden fork and then gloved hands and pulled up roots and leaves and stems. I am sure that I didn’t get it all but I got over 80% of it. I know that I am going to have to be vigilant with it and make sure I take out any of it that I see.

The only reason that I am leaving it in the other bed is because it can’t get out of it unless it is moved. My husband loves this little plant – he likes its variegated leaves and how tenacious it is. I am having to keep reminding him that it needs to be contained, otherwise it will take over the whole garden if we let it.

I wonder how it is we classify some plants as weeds and want them out of our gardens and others as those that we want in. I get why thistles (have had to pull some of those out this week as well) and dandelions (although I have friendlier thoughts towards them) – but I do wonder about Snow on the Mountain – which is such a lovely name – or is it Bishop’s Gout Weed – ooh that just conjures up all the wrong images.

Have you got a plant in your garden that can get invasive? If so, what have you done about it?

Discoveries

One of my discoveries

One of my discoveries

One of the lovely things about having a new garden is the discoveries that you make. Last weekend I discovered these little beauties – crocuses – popping up in the midst of the iris bed. I also found a bunch of tulips which should be blooming by next week. I like these kind of discoveries. They give me hope and surprise me with how happy they make me.

This garden has also surprised me with how poorly the previous owners have treated it. There was hardly any raking done of the lawn or clearing out of the flower beds. I am always surprised when people don’t look after their gardens, but it does mean that I get to start from scratch and build it up to what it I want it to be.

I have two flower beds in front of the house – they have some lily of the valley, which I know I am going to have to contain, some iris, a fern and a delphinium. There is a lot of empty space in there. I am looking forward to making them lovely perennial beds. I have also discovered that the big fir tree that dominates the backyard means that I will have to, with the help of the dear one, work at reclaiming some lawn. There is also only one flower bed back there and that is going to change as well. There is a little corner bed by the house and it is lovely and full and just needs to be maintained and cared for which is just fine by me as there is a lot of other work to be done.

If you have moved and are a gardener, what discoveries, good or bad, have you found?

Happy gardening everyone! And for my Canadian friends yeah for the long weekend!

Kenilworth Ivy has a story to tell

Little pot of beauty

Little pot of beauty

This is Kenilworth Ivy and it has a story to tell.

My mother in law grew up just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a really nice house. It had a huge yard which she happily played in as a girl. In that yard grew this ivy – delicate leaves, pretty little pink and purple flowers. It trailed along and filled up flower beds. It was a gift to the eye.

When she knew that she would no longer have access to her girlhood home, as it was sold and not part of the family anymore, my mother in law dug some up and brought it to her home. She has planted it in several gardens over the years. About 9 years ago after we had been in our Kenora home for about a year, she gave me some in a small pot. I planted it there. I am sure that it is still growing there and bringing enjoyment to the new owners as it did for us.

She gave it to me because she knew I appreciated plants with a story. A story of place, of family, of sharing. She gave it to me because she knew I would take care of it and then move it with me to a new home and garden.

When I had an idea that we would be moving I put a small amount in the pot in the picture above. It has thrived in that little pot for about a year now. Soon it will be time to take it out of the pot and put it into a new place in this garden here in Wetaskiwin. I am thinking it will go into one of the new flower beds we are going to build soon – that will be a story for another post.

What plant do you have in your garden that has a story to share? Are there plants that you have moved from garden to garden because you didn’t want to lose them?

Welcome

I have recently moved to central Alberta and with a new home have a new garden to get ready this spring. Unfortunately there aren’t that many flowerbeds in our yard and fortunately this means that we will get to do some planning and can make what we want. I have already rescued an iris bed that must have had at least two years of leaf and pine cone litter on it. I found that there are tulips and I think daffodils struggling in the midst of the irises. First decision made they will need to be moved later in the year to a more appropriate place where they can spread as is their wont.

Dragonfly

My kitchy garden dragonfly bought for me by the dear one. Its joyfulness makes me happy every time I see it.

Now to the title of this blog. I love flowers and I love dragonflies. Dragonflies are almost mystical for me. They float in the air, they eat mosquitoes, they will even land on you if you are lucky. They come in a variety of colours and sizes. Flowers do the same for me. I love the fact that they often just spring  up where you don’t expect them. I love wildflowers and ones that grow in gardens. Get this I even love dandelions!

I will use this new blog of mine to share  my gardening joys and woes, to share my experiences with dragonflies (real or not), to share the delight I feel when I get to dig around in the earth and help make something lovely grow and grow well. I am looking forward to sharing my journey with you.