Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Busy, Wintry End to March

The last week has been pretty busy. We had a nice jaunt to the Garden Club in Prospect Bay Road.
Bill took  some baby azaleas and rhododendrons for everyone to take home.
The weekend had visiting and an outing or two.
Ian and Gina were here. Ian was doing two concerts with Hector MacIsaac at StFX. He plays bass(and other things) with the group. This was the Antigonish debut of The Legend of the Black Donnellys.
Both concerts were capacity crowds, and were very well done and received.
I've been listening to the CD here at home today as a supplement to the stories and songs of the live performance.
More info at Hector MacIsaac's website.
Ian brought the interesting "treat" of a beef tongue. I was in charge of cooking, so for Sunday brunch we had tongue sandwiches.
Ava and James were also here, so everyone got caught up.
We had actual spring-like weather for part of the weekend, so last weeks' snow had started a retreat. This Monday, of course, saw a repeat of last week, so were all white again!
There were a few little crocus finally showing some colour. Monday's storm also meant the first session of the Computer Course I was to start was postponed. I guess we will get off the ground next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring?....what Spring?

This week has certainly taken a turn for the worse.
White stuff everywhere.
Don't think that even seedlings can take our mind off of this.
Hope it clears a bit before our scheduled jaunt to Halifax tomorrow. We are to give a talk to the Garden Club in the Prospect Bay Road area.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

At least we have "technical" Spring

Not the "springiest" sight on earth. March 20th has come and gone. Spring has to be more of a state of mind than a state of weather here at the Willow Garden.
There has been enough sun and a few moderate days to partly rid the driveway and part of our pathway of treacherous ice.
There is still a heavy layer on the path at the front which never gets enough sun to help in its demise. Time and higher temperatures will have to do the deed.
The snow has receded here and there, so the typical spots where some snowdrops appear are getting uncovered.
I saw a few little crocus shoots in the bed by the corner of the house. 
Inside we have some seedlings emerging, and the various peppers got planted today. The prospect of Hot Peppers should warm us up a bit. 
We always grow a nice hot one called 'Ring of Fire'. They do quite well, but I have been growing them in big pots or planters for several years. I think they get a btter chance at heat than when in the ground. At the end of the season we can bring them into the sunporch where they continue to ripen to a beautiful red. Dried, they can be used as is or ground up to make a VERY potent chili powder.
I have saved a bunch of the seeds from these, and they do grow into a good pepper, although they are a bit different from the parent. If anyone wants to try some, let me know.
This week we gave a "sharing talk" to the local Garden Club on seed starting. While we there we tried to pawn off some seed for some annual red poppies that were sent to us by a seed recipient. He sent us MANY seeds he had collected last season.
I don't usually DO annual poppies, so these were and are still up for grabs.
This week we also attended an interesting talk on Greenhouses given by Henri Steeghs from Pleasant Valley Nurseries. It was the first of a short series of talks to be given. The next is outlined below.

Gardening Workshops - Using Nature in the LandscapeThursday, April 16, 7:30 p.m. at the Town Council Chambers, 274 Main Street.

The Antigonish Public Library will present the second in a three part series on gardening in partnership with Antigonish Sustainable Development and the Fresh Air Society.  Topics to be covered will include comparisons between human built and natural landscapes, plant communities, plant establishment and more.

Our plans to give a couple of classes in the Spring Line-up for County Recreation are getting underway. 
A Computer Basics (The sequel) course is to start March30, 7PM at St. Andrews Junior School. There are still a few spaces open for that one.
The two session Gardening Course is slated for May and will be here at our garden.
There is info about these courses on our website.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Resurrection of Sorts

We have had a rather long recess from blogging. Winter seems to have a dampening effect upon the "creative spirit".
This Blogger site has also proven beyond my patience in its slowness to load.
Perhaps as the spring progresses, so will the possibility of eventually being able to get Highspeed Internet service.
The days are lengthening, Daylight Savings has happened, and there are some signs of snow and ice receding.
The first seeds of spring have been sown, and a couple of lots are sprouting.
Our winter has been rather devoted to "seediness", between sending off samples of our own "saved seeds" to quite a number of people from all over Canada and administering the Seed Exchange for the Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Soc.
This is R. maximum, var. "Rubrum". A very nice variation on the theme. R. maximum is typically  a pale pink to white. Its greatest virtue, apart from hardiness, is its late blooming habit. 
We are even giving a talk to the Antigonish Garden Club this week on the "fun" of seed starting.
We found some useful resource material on Seed Starting Strategies from the Fine Gardening sites which we will use as reference .
The prospects of spring can be a bit energizing. Soon we will have to plan a little excursion to the Sugar Moon Maple operation.