Wednesday, November 26, 2003

First touch of winter

I woke several times during the night on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, we had two to three centimeters (about an inch) of snow on the ground. It has all melted now, but it took a day. Last evening I still saw snow on the back yard, atop the cedar mulch I laid on the weekend.

Ash has bagged the leaves; they'll go to the city composting site on Friday.

Meanwhile, I investigate ponds and plants for next year :-)


Sunday, November 23, 2003

Put to bed

Today was another warm day, but overcast. I used the weather to get all the leaves up from the other two flower beds in the back yard, put mulch down on them, and raked all the leaves up into two piles (Ash will bag them -- or rent a weed whacker and chop them to bite-sized bits so they'll decompose nicely in our little composter).

Although it is certainly the end of the growing season, some of my herbs are still doing well -- notably the oregano, chives, purple sage, parsley (can anything kill parsley?) and bloody dock, which I must confess, I haven't actually used, but just enjoy for its colors.

The lavender looks well and truly done for the year, though. I trimmed it back. And the marjoram looks like it gave up the ghost. I never did see much of the two basils I planted this year... I may have been a bit early.

Well, on to dream of next year's gardens. I've been researching some larger molded ponds: I've found a manufacturer who creates one in a size and shape I like, but it's located in England. I hope they have an Ontario-based retailer.

I've started on a vector-based drawing (which will probably end up in Flash) to design the back yard. I'll post a link when it's at a stage where it makes sense.

Oh yeah -- Sympatico messed up, forgot (!) to send me a modem, so I'm on dial-up for at least another 3 days. Sigh.


Friday, November 21, 2003

Bulb time!

The weather forecast was for a mix of sun and cloud, with a high of about 12C.

I'm sitting outside right now... it's 15, and the few tiny puffs of cloud barely count. I took the day off work. Who knows if or when we'll get another beautiful day this year?

I got out the bulbs I bought about a month ago...hmm, maybe under the powder room sink isn't the best place to store them. Some of the bulbs (the blue bells especially) are a bit soft. I expected the blue bells to feel more like pearl onions.

I spread them out in the garden bed (still in their bags) and moved them here and there until I was happy with the arrangement of height and color. I've already got some King Alfred bulbs in the garden from about 5years ago... they've naturalized well. After the color arrangement worked, I removed them from their bags and positioned the individual bulbs, then went around and planted.

Most of the tulips I planted with the Alfreds have finished their lifespan - and those that strive valiantly each year to bloom almost inevitably get decapitated by squirrels.

I hope I have outfoxed the squirrels this year... I constrained my purchases to alliums and daffodils. This year, I planted

  • Narcissus double Tahiti - 16" high, yellow with orange frond-like petals (sepals?)at the center

  • Narcissus Barrett Browning - 16", white with a bright orange cup

  • Narcissus Chromacolor - 14-16", white with peach cup

  • Narcissus Tazetta Geranium - 16", white with smaller ruffled orange cup

  • Narcissus double Flower drift - 16", double white petals with yellow-to-orange inner petals

  • Narcissus Tazetta Tripartite - 16", three lemon-yellow flowers on each stem

  • Allium nigrum... 28" tall, white balls of flowerets with green centers

  • Bluebells - Hyacinthoides non-scripta - 8" high, delicate blue-striped flowers... I've run 30 of them in a little rivulet in the flower bed, and I hope they naturalize well.

  • So...a dig of the bulb planter, a tbsp of blood and bone meal, replace the soil, and they are in the ground.

Then I spread more blood and bone meal around, in the perhaps-feeble hope that the squirrels will leave them alone, and I topped it off with two inches of cedar mulch (the leaves from the cottonwood don't mulch nicely... They are very heavy and don't break down well, so I feel I have to remove them).

Final comments? That lovely new bulb planter wasn't worth the money. The soil was quite heavy from the November rains, and it stuck inside the planter very well... I had to poke numerous times with a bamboo stake to remove it from the cylinder. Someone should make a bulb planter with a "flush" mechanism on it that releases all the dirt. And the handle (bent over chromed metal into a triangle) wasn't sturdy. I over-bent it on the second bulb I was planting (hit a little stone). I think I spent as much time bobbing up and down as I did with my little green bulb planter that's only seven inches high, so I'll probably stick to using that in the future. Truly, this was a lovely looking planter, but not very efficient.

All that remains to be planted is the purple alliums in the bed in the front garden where the Japanese anemones have taken over. This will be an interesting challenge, and one I wasn't quite up to today.

I'm still stuck on dial-up. Until at least next Wednesday. May the top three echelons of workers at Bell Sympatico develop foot fungus. Blech.



Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Studying Soils

My high speed modem crashed, and now I'm reduced to dial-up *sob *. Until Sympatico sends me a new modem and installs a new line-card.
Sand > Silt > Clay

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Oh, I should have planted today

It was a beautiful morning, and even though it was heavily overcast this afternoon, I believe the temperature remained above 10C.

I should have taken the day off work.

I've shut my computer off, and am blogging on my Palm. Heavy thunderstorms are passing through right now... I'm seeing almost constant flashes in my peripheral vision, and hearing crashes (and sometimes, very heavy downpours).

At some point overnight, the wind will shift until it's coming from the north, wind speed will pick up to about 60kmh with gusts much higher, and the temperature will drop.

Tomorrow night, it will be around freezing, and... the possibility of snow flurries.

And my bulbs aren't in the ground yet.

Weather, and change of seasons, truly does inform the Canadian psyche. Where would we be without it?

All I can say is, the power better not fail while West Wing is on tonight.

OK, the storm is over; I can upload from my Palm and then from my Mac.

Good night!


Saturday, November 08, 2003

That's chilly

Short one today. Went down to about -3 last night.

It's 4 degrees out right now, and it feels cold.

I inspected the backyard to see how my transplants are faring. All of the columbines look in good shape (heck, they look like they're enjoying the weather), and the buddleia is healthy. One of the delphiniums is still green; the other two have blackened leaves. I should have checked yesterday, before the cold weather. I don't know if they've got transplant shock or just frostbite.

An inspection of the front garden reveals not too much change from yesterday, except the lovely lavender-colored Japanese anemone flowers have turned beige from the cold, and the zinnias are all black.

Now I have to find out if it's too late to rescue the zinnias.

Still hoping to plant bulbs tomorrow. We'll see what the weather brings.


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Last warm day of autumn

The temperature first thing this morning was 16C... And it's.supposed to drop down to about 3 tonight.
Possibility of snow flurries tomorrow and Friday. Ugh!

I think I'm going to have to put the bulbs in the ground this weekend.

I bought a nice bulb planter from Humber Nurseries... Instead of my current bulb planter (squat-dig-plant-stand-move...repeat 120 times) I'll be able to use it like a spade. That should save some back-and-thigh ache.

Last weekend I took a few digital shots from the roof at the back of the house. I'm going to correct the perspective on the best one and convert it to a drawing to use to develop a plan for what to plant where.

At this point, pretty much anything I've bought in the way of bulbs can go anywhere, except for the purple alliums, which will be interplanted wlth the Japanese anemones.

On to designing!