This site is like Ruthe, the heroine of my novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses
Ruthe is . . .
intimate with God,
prays a lot,
a bleeding heart for the hurting,
a big sister,
has creative ideas,
likes to give surprise gifts,
loyal to friends,
dreams of love and marriage,
dreams of writing a book
goes the extra mile
So this site offers;
good books to read!
help to become Friends with Jesus,
The One Ideal Real Friend
a cure for loneliness
An Older Sister's Coping Secret
how to pray Panic Prayers,
how to grow in faith
how to share your faith
how to become a writer
2014 Garden Tour
Well, busy as I am on many other fronts, the fact that I've received such positive feedback the last few years for my annual Garden Tour photo story, has persuaded me to do it again this year. Even though I felt that my garden didn't do quite as well as in the past. Not sure I can blame it all on the late spring, the rainy June, and the hot, dry July and August, so I'll accept it as it was, and take pleasure in the little things that caught my eye.
May - Garden-making
Neighbour Joe tilled the garden for me again just before the long weekend in May so that I could make a fresh garden.
This is a big favour since he has had heart trouble now toward the end of August. I like how he lets the tiller dig deep and slow, so the soil is nice and fluffy when he is done.
First, I raked the soil a little more level as the tiller had dug deep trenches into the fluffy soil, and had thoroughly mixed in all the kitchen compost I had tossed on the garden covered in snow through the winter.
Then I scratched some rows with my hoe, and spent the afternoon sowing most of the west side of the garden. I sprinkled some fertilizer into the rows, and watered with my watering can. After that came the creative part. Deciding what seeds to put into each row.
My Petunia Experiment
Here's an aside story. I had gathered petunia seeds last fall from several sources and was looking forward to starting them from seed this year. But I didn't get around to sorting and labelling them until March, and of course, by this time I had forgotten which colour were in which little dish or lid or baggie.
When I looked up on the internet how to go about starting petunias, I discovered that one must do this at least 10 weeks ahead of transplanting them. Oh no! So I did the seeding into trays of smaller containers at the office, and left the fluorescent light on above them over night and over the weekends.
The tinest dots on that paper towel are the real petunia seeds. The rest are the pods that have to be opened to reach them.
Unfortunately, they didn't grow more than a cm in all those weeks. I suspect now that I was suppose to have "grow lights" hanging just inches above them.
In early June the 10 weeks were up, and I transplanted my tiny petunias into my mint and daisy-filled front flowerbeds, but I marked them with rings cut from Styrofoam cups so I could find them again. Sadly they all died.
No, I'm afraid none of those petunias came up. Even though there were more than 20 of them.
But guess what! About mid-August I found some small petunia plants growing under big squash leaves, and they were in the area where I'd had the pots of purchased 'blueberry and lime' petunias last summer. This tells me that they can grow from seed, and if not hidden by big jumbo leaves, could even thrive.
I quickly transplanted them to a box container, as you see here, and they have done better. So I am much encouraged to believe that I can dare to sow the rest of my several packets of petunia seeds next spring and hope to see them come up! (If I should get a grow-light, fine, but I won't need to hold my breathe for that).
Early Spring Growth and Flowers
Of course, once the weather got warmer, after a late spring, I brought out the impatiens that I had nursed as potted plants at the office all winter. I set them on the front steps. Two ice cream pails painted pink like this one. They quickly burst into little rosettes of flowers.
Unfortunately, they got too wet in June and seemed to be stunted in growth the rest of the summer.
The bright pink peonies were lovely while they lasted. The rains weighted them down.
My peonies actually do quite well on the north/front side of the house. I read that they will do even better in the sunshine. So last fall I gathered the dead blossoms and kept them in the fridge, and planted them under the tree in the garden this spring. But I read that it takes three years to see what kind of flowers you will get in the next generation.
Ah, the garden looked great during those rainy days, and seemed to do very well. It filled up with greenery!
Naturally, the rhubarb plant beside the blue rain barrel at the back, loved all those June rains. It thrived like never before!
I got one good picking from it before it was trampled by some workmen. I guess they didn't recognize it as a food plant. ;)
About mid-July I saw that the calendula plants, which I usually allow to grow wild beside the raspberry canes, were at a good stage to harvest their bright green leaves before they start to flower. So I spent about an hour and a half picking leaves into a rectangular basin, (and pulling weeds as I came to them).
Other years I often miss this point and end up harvesting them when they flower, but then the leaves are not so lush any more.
Why do I harvest calendula? Because, though it is a member of the marigold family, this plant is actually an herb and makes a great ointment for skin conditions. The dried leaves make a great tea too.
Oddly enough, even though I didn't sow any cilantro, it popped up among the calendula plants too. At first I thought it might be flat-leaf parsley and then as it grew taller, I thought it was baby's breath (I've tried sow that many years with little success). But when the flowers ripened and the fragrance wafted from the plants, I knew it was cilantro.
Studying up a bit on that, I've discovered that if I harvest, then roast, and grind the little pods that come where the flowers were, I will get a reddish culinary herb known in the middle east as coriander. (I haven't finished grinding it all, but I've started).
Even this little strip beside the shed and the path beside the tent garage is gardened here. Here we see volunteer poppies, burgundy beans, and some low tomatoes, plus of course the plantain that I allow to come up where it wishes. That's another good herb.
August Sunday Garden Tour
The August long weekend I decided to be brave and to invite friends to come see my garden, even though my house and yard are still far from perfect, or, what I dream it will be some day. I decided that refusing to invite people was only a backhanded kind of pride.
It turned out quite well. The first two friends I invited couldn't come for lunch, so after church I quickly invited four dear single ladies, who gave up their restaurant lunch to come try my offering. They toured the garden and left about 2 pm.
I had time to cut some cheese and prepare crackers and mint tea before some of my ESL (English as a Second Language) friends arrived. They enjoyed a walk through the garden and chat. Including Rose on the right, who is my current student through this summer. Kathy and Dwayne came for a while too.
The small zucchini on the left was noticed by all, and Rose didn't think that a chocolate cake with zucchini would taste like much.
In the days that followed that zucchini grew and grew. I wasn't eating them fast enough so several of them got to be a good size!
Finally, one Saturday I had time to pick and grate it and make a chocolate zucchini cake to take to Rose's place when she invited me for Sunday lunch.
I made my point! :)
Here's another couple of zucchini by the morning glories at the fence. (Hey, I think they are still there; should go check on them.)
There's yet another zucchini almost under the front of my car. I never seem to have trouble growing zucchini, but this year there are not so many as other years, when I've taken shopping bags full off to the mission to share.
During August harvest season crept up steadily. I gave the first picking of green beans to the neighbours and by the time I got back to the beans, they were all ripe and hard. The shells were white. But that's okay, as I liked dried beans quite a bit.
Here they are shelled and ready to put away for use in the winter. Oh, the smell of a crockpot full of beans simmering away a few hours is a delicious treat. A good home-cooking smell.
Remember the burgundy beans by the shed? Well, they didn't get as much sunlight there, so they are not as big or prolific as the green beans, but I think I'll grow them out in the sunshine next year.
Anyway, I've brought in that harvest too, and set them aside to dry.
Hey, don't those sunflowers just make you smile? I had sowed some at that spot last year, but not this year. So it was a nice treat to see them pop up there again.
Unfortunately, my sly, sneaky morning glories, which I generally admire very much, have a bad habit of climbing up any plants near them, and sometimes they pull them right down to the ground. About a week after the above photo, I caught them at it with the sunflowers!
See how the morning glories twined their vines around the sunflower stems and pulled them downward? Not nice of them at all!
In fact, over the last few summers I've become more strict with them, and I'll let them climb up the fence, but if I catch a wee little morning glory plant near my tomatoes or other plants that I treasure, I weed them out. They are a little devious!
Here's another nice view of some flowers; last summer I transplanted some of the Kaiser Kronen, (Mom's name for her lilies) from the front of the house, while Gary was installing my bedroom window. They seem to like it here in the sunshine.
Just beyond is the old fridge-planter, with a number of flowers, but the malva (another herb) is more prominent from this view. It has lovely mauve and purple stripped trumpet flowers, and big interesting leaves.
Here's a closeup of the flowers in the fridge from the side. Can you make out the malva flowers?
There are pink morning glories climbing over everything from the left. Underneath the big lower leaves of the malva are some more French marigolds.
Oh yes, let's not miss these lilies! I transplanted some here just behind the back porch, and these have unusually brilliant orange colours. Unless my camera just caught them in a special light. Not sure how that happened.
They do have less ability to stand up straight here, but perhaps that's because they are sheltered somewhat from the winds.
This particular Saturday I was harvesting all my dill and one big zucchini; I think it was for that chocolate cake for Rose . . .
That's when I noticed that the marigolds were looking great, but had some dead-heads already. It was time to sit down on the path and take photos to remember and treasure them by.
Ah, I just revel in the bright, sunny marigolds! They are so vivid and - well, enthusiastic!
This is the view to the east side with more red marigolds.
On the west side of the path, the marigolds are mostly yellow and gold. I like all the colours and just delight in them.
Here's one more view towards the west fence looking over the golden heads of the French marigolds. Ah-h-h!
But it is time to go gather the dying heads now in September. Still, I know these flowers will not all die off until they are all covered under the winter snow-drifts! They last as long as they can!
Do you remember this begonia from last summer and in my Christmas letter as it bloomed away merrily in the bedroom window? Well, it nearly died when I set it out on the front steps in spring, but it has revived, and started up again from the root.
I'll have to hunt for older photos of this plant, but I think the flowers used to be more curly and several layers of petals. I think it has changed.
Still, it is quite stunning in its simple beauty, isn't it?
Other Flowers Before we Leave
There are other flowers in the garden this year. Some didn't come up, but these mini zinnias did, and form a colourful cloud of pompoms hovering in the breezes.
I cut a number of these, and the bowed down sunflowers for three bouquets to use at the Mission's Appreciation Tea the last Sunday of August.
Some asters popped up, but at still too short and young to bear flowers this year. I also had about three larkspur, but dwarf-sized for some reason I don't know.
Have you wondered what happened to my 14 foot tall hollyhocks of last year?
I wish I knew too. I'd thought my problem would be that I'd be over-run with them. Maybe I didn't stash enough bags of autumn leaves around them, but they did not survive in spring. However, a new hollyhock has come up in that area. Since I know they don't bloom until their second year, I will have to wait until next year to see which one that is, the salmon pink or the black flowers.
Meantime, I had collected seeds from my neighbour Mary's white and several shades of pink and rose Hollyhocks last year. I sowed them into small pots in spring hoping to see which ones would come up so I could choose where to transplant them to. It appeared they got washed out in the June rains, but then more recently, I found two that had survived, and I've transplanted them into a window box here, and they are now doing well.
But again, I'll have to wait until next spring to see what colour the flowers will be. Surprises in store. :)
Much the same happened to these coleus plants I had sown into a container on the old futton frame, but after some heavy rains I was afraid I'd lost them, and didn't have time just then to re-sow them. Yet, in August, these plants appear and are now healthy and looking great.
Perhaps I can winter them through in the house and enjoy them indoors until the spring. Or in the office?
Well, friend, that's 37 photos, and you must be looking for the garden gate. Thanks for coming around to have a look around. Remember, it took a whole summer to experience all these things. Already, I see that I left out some details, but . . . never-mind. This is enough for today.
With my life just getting busier all the time, I don't know if I dare promise to do this again... we'll see.
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Tips & Solutions
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