Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Little Life Speed-Bump Yields A New Project

Such a nuisance.  I completely dismissed this paying attention nonsense to the amount of time spent working away in the garden to the detriment of my back.  Spent a week of recovery doing just as I should - week two much improved - started working in the garden trying to catch up to 14 days of chores - week three - doctor, physio, etc. etc., and week four I've graduated with the wise words of my lovely Physiotherapist, "Don't work too hard."   I shall have several signs made to plant in whichever bed is looking most appalling.  

"Please forgive our appearance, 
Barbara must not work too hard."

So while I'm not working too hard, I thought that it was the perfect time to start a project I've been milling about since I heard Roy Diblik, "The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden" speak at Canada Blooms.  I was transfixed when I heard him speak about how he established perennial gardens in public spaces that not only looked beautiful, but required minimal maintenance.  I've got two large beds that I've never been all that happy with - one I started when I first arrived at this house is a textbook of what not to plant in the shade-sad shade bed.  The other island bed is comprised of a collection of sample/test plants in various sizes and shapes that from time to time delight me, but more often than not, look like a chunky blob of something dug up from somewhere else and plunked in my garden.

After hearing Roy speak, and seeing how strong the theme of environmental gardening is at the moment, I thought it might be interesting (and hopefully a good read for you) if I studied several Timber Press books on the topic to assist in the design my new garden beds.  And, if it all worked out, I'd improve my garden, give the creatures a nicer home, and reduce the amount of time I spend on my maniacal spring spruce-up.  

So thanks to the lovely people at Timber, I now have in my possession the books of my gurus Roy Diblick, Douglas Tallamy, "Bringing Nature Home - How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants" and Larry Weaner's "Garden Revolution - How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change."  I've also added "Gardening for Butterflies" by the Xerces Society, because who doesn't want to garden for the peacocks of the bug world?

So over the next few months I'll be sharing what I'm learning and how I'll be incorporating these ideas into these two less-than-satisfactory gardens.  Whether I'll get them planted this year or next, I'm not sure, but I'm looking forward to sharing this transformation.

And, of course, what would a posting be without a few more photos in my very, very dry garden - no rain since May 30th - every North American storm has been completely rung out by the time it reached the shores of Lake Ontario.  I water sparingly, just to keep things alive.  Here's what is/has been doing well:

Calycanthus florida

It has been a terrific year for anything oniony - my chives, prettier than they are tasty.

It's always interesting to discover when a plant finds "it's happy place" - I'm not entirely certain I'm on board with Anemone nemorosa being so happy.

Not even afraid of Anthyrium 'Ghost'!

Hosta leaves, lovely lovely leaves.

 Spring colours are so pretty.

The best year ever for the Kolkwitzia.

The children are taking on the parent's reign of terror - a Red Tailed Hawk youngster.

It looks as if I'll be filling up the JBBOD very soon (Japanese Beetle Bucket of Death)

If you could bottle the scent of these, I'd wear it.

H. 'Empress Wu' asserting herself.  From time to time, it would appear the size on the tag is really the size of the plant.  I'll ask her where she'd like to move in the new plan.

Dependable Aruncus dioicus.  

The latest bit of nastiness to find my garden (click to see all the little white spots) - wooly larch adelgid (Adelges tsugae).  Going to do my best to get some of them out with a blast of the hose.  If they really set in, these foreign invaders will kill the tree in 4 years or so.  With any luck I'll be able to postpone this pretty tree's demise.

So I'm off to a day of hose-play, reading and not working too hard.  I cannot imagine a lovelier summer day!


Kathy said...

So sorry to hear of your back troubles. Looking forward to the redesign of the new beds.

Barbarapc said...

Thanks Kathy! You and me both. I'm really looking forward to my summer project. B

Jennifer said...

Sorry to hear about your back Barbara. With all the bending and weed pulling, gardening can be hard on your spine. Looks like you have a nice assortment of books to read while your back recovers. I must say I am interested to see your new design. No Japanese Beetles here yet, but I expect to see some any day. I sure wish it would rain. My garden is parched!!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Barb girl I totally understand the back issues .. I did mine in so bad I have nerve damage and 4 screws that a permanent pals with my discs, haha.
So .. learn from the pros .. be CAREFUL !!
I am so curious about your plans for the beds ! I love seeing what ideas some one else has and especially before and after photos .. so I will be checking in to see how things will progress .. mean time rest up and take care of yourself girl !
The lack of rain is stunning .. I am lucky to have a sprinkler system just put in this year.
It is saving a lot of my plants' butts ! haha .. oh .. and mine too !

Victoria Williams said...

Your garden was looking lovely despite the lack of rain, which is terrible I'll have to keep an eye out for those nasties on the larch, we have one lone larch and would hate to lose it.