Monday, 23 May 2016

(Mostly) About the Gardening

A three-day holiday weekend with warm weather - so definitely what you might call a busman's holiday for me, naturally. I've been out in the garden all three days, besides one trip to buy plants, and one to a friend's to do a little help with her garden weeding and clean-up. But really, how can you resist being out in such nice weather?

I got all my plants in the ground and the planters, except the still tiny things from seed. Man, I've been adding a lot this year. It didn't really hit me until I saw the pile of plant tags.

The biggest garden splurge this year, however, was good old-fashioned manure. And a serious shout-out to Manotick Gardens, who delivered the stuff on the Sunday of a holiday weekend. I finally had a chance to call on Saturday to order, and the woman on the phone said, 'You're not getting it today.' I said, no, that was fine, if I had wanted it for today I would have called earlier in the week. Frankly, I was just glad the office was open so I could order. Then she said, 'How's Sunday?' What, like tomorrow? Hell, yeah. Deal. And sure enough, yesterday evening I came home to a cubic yard of 5-year-old local manure. Which proved to be enough to top-dress everything in the place, down to my planters, so I am thrilled. And all the plants look great against the dark-brown background, laid on like a mulch.

Even pre-manuring, though, things were looking nice, and I spend half the time outside admiring flowers. Pure white apple blossom:

The lilacs and the ground phlox end up nearly the same color:

Veronica whitleyi is in full bloom. It's a ground cover, low and grey-green most of the season but a carpet of blue-purple right now:

The bleeding heart, I think, will look good behind the euonymus, once it's established itself and gotten bigger:

With all this, of course, the knitting is going slowly, but I have hopes of getting some good work done today on the diamond-patterned gloves on the needles - the afternoon is supposed to be pretty hot, so indoor pursuits sound like a good idea.

Sad news from home, though. Turns out we were overly optimistic about the prognosis for the dog's Lyme disease. She did perk up for a while, but then started going downhill again, and the vet said the Lyme had damaged her bone marrow and she wasn't producing red blood cells anymore. No cure for that, poor Vicky, and I don't think she'll be around when I get to the country for Jo's alpaca shearing bee next week.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Not Quite Friday the 13th

Another Saturday off, loving it, despite the fact the weather's turning chilly again, and I will have to bring my plants back in and hope that the fruit blossoms don't get frozen.

Coolest thing this week (although I didn't get a picture): we saw a fox one morning across the road from one of our jobs. Just walking through someone's front yard in the Alta Vista area. I do love that aspect of working outside in the mornings. It's quiet, and you never know what you will see!

I was rather wondering what yesterday would bring, being Friday the 13th, and rain predicted. But I would say it was rather good for a 'bad-luck' day. Sure it rained, but only a few hours, and we were warm and dry by the end of the day's work. And I am rejoicing, just a little, because it was the last day for one of the new garden guys - he has decided on a nursery job. And another new gardener starts Monday, a woman this time, so I am being cautiously optimistic. It sounds really sexist to say it, but really, in three seasons and something like 9 other gardeners and students I've worked with, the guys have been very disappointing compared to the girls, in terms of combined speed and ability. I expect there are good male gardeners out there, but I haven't met them!

Just to round out a nice Friday the 13th, my tax return arrived (with an adjustment in my favour even!) and my lettuce is up, and the lilacs and my little apple tree are starting to bloom.

My Hypnosis socks are finally finished, so that is exciting. Even if I can't wear them until after fair season, because I want to enter them in the fair. I am tempted to make something else for myself (after the gloves for Johanne's stash I cast on the other day), but I know I need to start prep for shows and such...we shall see.

Oh, and good news on our side, at least, from the Fort Mac fires. People are starting to go back home, and my cousin reports that things look better than they did on the news, and in particular, his truck and buildings are safe and sound. Plus there's now lots of work for him in helping with rebuilding.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Spring Scramble

First three weeks of work already done, and busy - we did two Saturdays in a row, and having yesterday off felt like a luxury. So much free time! Two new faces on the garden crew and both, um, not up to the speed of our other (amazing) gardener, who has been helping out with the lawn stuff as well as gardening this spring. This week there was some improvement, so with any luck we won't be running behind all season...Only I'm waiting to see how this works out when one has grass allergies and back pain, and one has pollen allergies and can't kneel for long because of pins in one ankle.

Most of the back bed I wanted to rearrange is done and replanted. What's left is mostly the things that have come from a greenhouse and are still being hardened off. Mom was nice enough to take my wish list with her to a local plant sale at a horticulture school, and brought me piles of pretty things - a fragrant white clematis with a purple centre, and some liatris for the back bed, a ninebark and a fuzzy annual lamb's-ears for the front, and a bunch of things for a planter in yellows and whites - variegated ivy, daisies and coreopsis, New Guinea impatiens, and lantana, plus a few herbs. And since my veg bed is now free, I may just put in my lettuce today.

Knitting pace, of course, slows significantly now we're working. Especially since I'm nodding off in the bus half the time when I could be knitting. But I'm now on the leg of my second sock, and I did a pair of mitts for Johanne's pile, with duplicate-stitched roses on a diamond trellis background.

The cat let me sleep in until 7:30 this morning, presumably as a Mother's Day present, which was much appreciated, since a friend and I went out to contra dancing last night, and bedtime was late. Yesterday it was 5:30 when I gave up the battle and got out of bed, but it was such a lovely morning I forgave her, and went out and gardened for a few hours after breakfast. Actually, I kind of felt sorry for the people who were still asleep and missing the birds twittering, the mild air, and the sweeps of geese going north against the morning sky.

Such a contrast to what it must be in Alberta. I'm keeping an eye on the news from Fort Mac wildfires. A cousin and his family live (lived?) there. They got out safely, but financially it will be awful for them - his work truck and all his equipment left behind, and the two buildings he had bought as an investment (and was still paying for) - not to mention all the personal stuff lost. And to think it will be essentially a whole town in the same boat. It's been great to hear of so many people stepping up to help the evacuees though.