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  12:46:19 am, by Nimble   , 1247 words  
Categories: Distractions, Gardening, Gardening


Our new place has a much bigger garden than our previous townhouse.

It did not sink in how much more so until we brought some of our precious plants from the townhouse to the new garden. The chunk of garden at the top of the yard held what was already there, what we brought (minus what we put in the front garden, which was a definite minority), plus other things we bought.

We are in a neighbourhood with a complement of wandering rabbits, so the first thing we were worried about is... what can we put out there without the rabbits eating it? We decided to use this list as a guide, but of course, nothing is totally rabbit-proof. We figure that we will put plants out there as per the guide, as per what's already out there, and whatever we have a lot of that we are willing to risk putting in the front garden.

As it stood, when a rabbit came hopping up to our freshly-planted front garden, it nibbled a dandelion (!), a weedy sedum-looking thing, and then proceeded to just stretch and chill out on the lawn.

With a bigger yard comes more weeds. Dandelions! Augh, I can't stand them! Hours of digging them up and I have hardly made a dent. I would use something herbicidal, but you always worry whether it will get at your other plants or make the dogs sick. Nasty things - they have taproots, the flowers close up in the evening, making evening weeding more difficult, and if you dig them out and leave them to dry out, they still manage to form seeds. If I were trying to create an evil weed, I think it would make a wonderful template.

There is also another weedy plant that had taken over the areas of bare soil. I am not sure what it is, though... it does not appear on the restricted or noxious weed lists. A lot of weed pulling done there, though.

As for things that were already established here, I found out from our neighbour that the stand of some fifty-plus growing stalks are raspberries, and purportedly good ones at that. There are strawberries already there in decent numbers, which we will be able to enjoy this summer or so. There's Bergenia, diabolo ninebark and Mayday trees, as well as two of what appear to be maple trees, but not the dreaded non-maple-looking Manitoba maple (Acer negundo... those seem to attract aphids like crazy) that you frequently get around these parts, nor the ornamental Acer ginnala. There is a good-sized spruce tree out front, which presents us with interesting planting issues (low pH soil, for one).

The front had quite a few Sempervivum a.k.a. "hens and chicks", sedums and daffodils, as well as a few other interesting things.

The front still looks a bit barren, even after planting all our additional plants out there. We would love to find a good non-grass ground cover... that's rabbit-proof. We planted some Astilbes out front... we will have one survive yet! We have some Dicentra (bleeding hearts), lamb's ear (something for Axel to play with when he gets a bit older), some violas that are suffering a bit, and some ivy which won't overwinter, but is really enjoying itself for the meantime.

In the back, we planted our odd plants from our old garden that we got from D'n'A Gardens and Eagle Lake Nurseries: honeyberries, which appear to have been upset by the transfer, Carmine jewel cherries, which seem to have taken the transfer more in stride, and two "chums": cherry-plum crosses. We have yet to see what the chums are like - we have Manor and Convoy - maybe they will be big enough for fruiting this year or the next. A sandcherry to pollinate the other cherries (I wish I knew why all the weird pollen rules for fruit, especially hybrids - that's totally not the way it works in the animal kingdom!)

We brought our martagon lilies, which are loving the recent rain, our Pulmonaria (lungwort), our Puschkinia (squill), which flowers very, very early with blue-striped white flowers. We planted violas, rock cress, thrift, butter lettuce, pumpkins, firecracker sage (beautiful red flowers), pineapple sage (really smells like pineapple!), chocolate mint (smells like those Kerr's chocolate-filled mints), pink pussy-toes, burning bush (awesome in the fall).

Axel managed to destroy the Thunbergia by shaking all the soil from it. The first of many casualties to come, I'm sure :)

We had such a decent amount of room in the garden that we had space to try out something we never have before: potatoes. We have four varieties on the go: French fingerlings (long skinny potatoes), Russian blue (bluish-purple-skinned and bluish flesh... plus, the shoots are actually pretty: they are blue and shiny purple), German butter potatoes (I hope they taste like they sound), and "All-Red", which had red skin and red flesh... pink mashed potatoes will be fun.

We went out for even more plants, but it got quite rainy and muddy, and we do not have paths into the garden yet. He have some saxifrage, sunflowers, and a few other really neat-looking plants to plant.

We also picked up more fruit plants from D'n'A Gardens. We were a bit disappointed, because the May 17th weekend was apparently way too late for most of the good stuff. The apricot seedlings at D'n'A did not survive, but they are going to try again. The Beedle pear was all gone, as were the hazelnuts and the much-vaunted cherry sausages.

What we did pick up were a pink currant (can apparently be eaten fresh), a "Darn Gorgeous Rose" which smells oddly like mild chili powder, but the grown samples were pretty (hey, it counts as fruit: it makes rosehips :), and two mystery pears.

The mystery pears are Loving Pear and Secular Pear. They are apparently good pear breeds from Russia, though they have not yet been tried out here. Vicki could not give me any more information on them, unfortunately. Well, I guess it's time for an experiment, then :)

"Secular Pear" as a name makes me laugh in particular because there are already "apostle pears" around: the Thomas Pear and the John Pear.

Our indoor plants are doing much better here as well, especially since I managed to obsessively cull the scale insects that got one of them. The long-suffering dwarf bougainvillea is actually flowering right now, and the dwarf pomegranate, which has been stick-like and suffering in our old northish-facing townhouse, even with the overhead lights, now has blooms on it. The Lantana is spewing out flowers like mad.

I hope even more of the indoor flowers plants decide to be excessively happy.

I bought my first lawnmower right before this long stretch of rain. It's a reel mower, which will undoubtedly give me a real workout with this now happy, long green grass. It's from Lee Valley Tools, and it looks good, but I am having a hell of a time assembling it: the nuts have a little plastic ring inside them, and it prevents the bolts from being properly screwed in. The assembly instructions are mute on why this should be. Well, we'll see. Worse comes to worst, we can get out own damned nuts.

This yard will be work, and no condo-hired company to tend anything in it, but it's so totally ours. We will see how we make it evolve over time.

I'm hoping for some good edibles, too.

1 comment

Comment from: Nimble [Member]  

I ran the description by my friend Keith soon afterwards and he opined the same thing. The idea makes sense, though they have small wells in the metal of the frame that would fit the nuts a lot better the other way (the nuts taper).

The mower is pretty decent, I must say, though it sure does not like to cut anything with a round stalk, including dandelion flowers and grasses that have their seed stalks growing. Flies through grass and dandelion leaves, though, and mulches them in surprisingly nicely.

The back garden is looking pretty good, though it’s really mosquito-ridden out there, which limits the time to enjoy it and weed it. The front garden is fleshing out - we will probably make a run on garden centers once they start putting things on major discount just to flesh it out. Pretty shallow soil out front - we’ll have to put some new soil in.

I’ll have to take some pictures and such. The potato plants are going nuts, for the most part (I’ve never actually seen potato flowers before). The pumpkin plants look like they’re starting to grow flowers. We collected and ate the three ripe strawberries in the garden the other day.

There were some neat surprises left over from the previous owner. There is a stand of irises up front which look neat and some of them smell like varying kinds of citrus. The weedy-looking sedum turned out to be Carpet Bugle Sedum, and has burst into bright yellow bloom. There is something in the back garden that looks like a purple-flowered thistle with no thorns; wish we knew what that was :)

Does not look like there will be any cherries or honeyberries this year, though *sigh* - they did not like the transfer, I guess. We will see about next year :)

“Bc ooques” - *laugh* I was wondering about that - it brings to mind a noise a chicken would make :)

You guys got a garden?

07/09/08 @ 01:40