Monday, March 24, 2008

Bright Sunshine - a Stimulant

We were blessed with a bright, if cold, day today. It is quite deceptive to have the warm sun, and then be presented with very cold air.
The ground is still very firm, and temperatures are low enough that most of the Rhododendrons are still in "droop" mode.
The first hint of crocus were apparent(slightly) in the little bed next to the house. They pop up here first each year, making their way through the remains of the Nepeta.
Other than that there was not much in the way of spring activity. Some shoots of narcissus, and tulips are showing up here and there.
There are a few little flowers on some seedling Witch Hazel plants....these were a bit of a surprise. It has been too cold for must advancement.
I did plant a few seeds while in "stimulant" mode.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Our first days of spring, now running into Easter weekend, are not the things that instill good thoughts. Not that this should come as any surprise, since early spring is an all too infrequent event.
We were spared large amounts of freezing rain, and even the real rain didn't amount to much. This all came after a four day cold, windy spree.
We are mostly blessed with dull bare ground, and with a lingering case of cold and sinusitis, I am not encouraged to go wandering for anything better.
These are the remannts of a large birch tree we had James cut down in the interest of creating a sunnier area for a bit of new spring planting. Our Van der Wulf pine needs a spot. This Pinus flexilis was our joint Birthday gift in late October. It has spent the winter sunk in the ground in a nursery bed out back. My quick jaunt to town yesterday resulted in a lovely new bouquet of glorious yellows, designed to brighten these dreary days. It is interesting to see Golden Rod as a part of many bouquets these days.
A batch of decadent brownies was also part of the "therapy".
Voodie likely has the right idea....back to bed!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goodbye to Our Old Black Cat

I have had a pure black cat for as many years as I have had cats.
Flea, the most recent resident of 14 years, just died on the past weekend. She seemed to be deteriorating in a quite subtle way for the last month or two. She was always the most neurotic of cats, being prone to avoidance of both cats, and people. She actually left home one time many years ago after the introduction of a new kitten. She showed up again after many months, pretending she had never left.
Much of her time was spent hiding away in the upper regions of the basement; the hot water heater being a favourite perch. In spite of her rather bizarre habits, she and I were great friends. She would occasionally bless us with her presence at breakfast to bum a few bites of ham.
She was essentially an indoor cat since moving to Maryvale almost 9 years ago, only taking little forays when she was sure there would be no interference from dogs. I sometimes would have her wander around the garden with me for short periods.
Lately she visited to perch on the computer paraphernalia, usually the scanner.
She would sometimes "help" with seed packaging.
Otherwise her last days were spent living under or on our bed, as long as no other cats or dogs were on the scene.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The March of Lions & Lambs

March has been here for almost two weeks, and has been the usual mix of weather; none of it particularly spring-like, except for a couple of very mild days. Daylight Savings Time has descended, so there is a lot of late light. It doesn't do much for the morning at this time of year. Gardening fever has not struck yet. We did order a number of things from Dominion Seeds, so the petunias from there will soon need attention. The usual 'Blue Wave' petunias that I rather enjoy in planters, and here and there through out the garden. Here are some of last years plants with a bit of Russian Sage.

I ordered a pack of Castor Bean seeds, a variety called 'Impala'.... has been years since I grew one. They do add an interesting structure to a garden bed. I succumbed to several items of plant material from Dominion, so hope they arrive in good order. I swore we needed no other dayliles, but orderd one called 'Big Smile'. (Pics from Dominion catalogue) Each year I pick up a few Osteospermum for planters, so ordered a few 'Asti White'. I couldn't find white ones when I was looking for them last year. If I was a bit swifter, I would grow them from seed! Bill had expressed an interest in Brugsmania, so we ordered 3 of a salmony shade... .....don't know if we need another plant to overwinter, but so be it.

I also stumbled across a pretty Euphorbia called 'Diamond Frost'. It has been quite sometime since we grew a paste tomato, so added a pack of Super Marzano Red to the order. I have been planning on growing some Meconopsis, but still haven't planted the seeds....they are a bit contrary to say the least. The seeds offered in this years Rhododendron Seed Echange were very popular, so lots of us gardeners are suckers for punishment. Here is a truly inspring pic from Jodi DeLong. I must re-read the growing directions that Sterling has passed along.