Category : gardening

Cuz I Luvz it!


Yesterday, after the ultrasound, between hot lemonade at Jet Fuel and Departures at the Carlton cinema (great movie, BTW; a bit of a tear-jerker, but in a genuine rather than manipulative Hollywood way, and quite moving and charming), I stopped in at Allan Gardens Conservatory to kill a few minutes and enjoy the plant life. I hadn’t been there but once, and that about 15 years ago, and was quite pleasantly surprised by the experience.

It’s in a kind of crappy spot, in the middle of what was a century ago a lovely park in a classy neighbourhood, now frequented by individuals unfettered by the chains of middle class lifestyle conventions. Although it’s got a nice off-leash doggie run too. But the conservatory itself is great, and even though absolutely free and open to the public had only a few people wandering around or sitting chatting, none of them apparently of the above genre.

Here are some of the things I saw (oh, and go easy on the shoddy photography – it was a spontaneous visit with only the cell phone camera so little accounting for things like focus and exposure).

First, there’s an entire wing filled with all kinds of chrysanthemums, and others scattered in other spots too. I don’t care what people say about mums (the basic ones are certainly ubiquitous on porches around here come October); I love them. And they do come in all sorts of lovely forms:
Pink Mums with Digit
Spider Mums
Snowball Mum

Then there’s the tropical/jungly wing (somewhat cool for the tropics, but pleasant when it’s only 7º C outside). Mmmm… swampy:

I missed getting pictures of the orchids in the epiphyte house, since they were in their own little glass-partitioned room. Don’t want people stealing them, maybe?
Speaking of stealing, I scavenged a couple of fallen leaves from some nifty jade plants in the succulent house, where I also so these beauties:
This agave: Agave
These round cacti which sport a nice combination of fuzzy and spiky:Fuzzy/Spikey
This wobbly cactus with curious floral (ahem) appendage: appendage cactus
And this is a particularly crappy picture, but I had to share it nonetheless because I was completely charmed by the cactus with polka dots (!!):Blurry Polka Dot Cactus
I mean really, it’s covered in little round dots of tiny bristles. Like Roy Lichtenstein in the desert.

I’ll definitely try to go back whenever I’m in the area (which of course is practically never) and have a half hour or so free (which is shamefully frequently).

Oh, and since I know you’re wondering; no, we didn’t get a printout from the ultrasound. I mean, they all look the same at this point anyways and I’d rather wait until it’s all pink and touchable to take a gazillion pictures.

i can has fungus?

This afternoon saw the launching of Phase I of Operation Winter Deck Preparation.

Alternatively known as Ripping up Soggy Dead Plants and Trying to Tidy up all the Loose Soil and Decaying Botanical Bits. So now my deck looks like this:
Deck Winter Prep I

As you can see, I still have to take care of the tomato & tomatillo plants. And the yucca needs to be repotted (looks like an Expotition to Canadian Tire will be required to find a decent inexpensive lightweight pot as Fiesta Gardens only has the fancy-schmancy sort). But that’ll pretty much take care of it. It’s so satisfying getting the deck all tidied up at the end of the season. (Of course what you can’t see in that picture is the corner containing the bag of dead stuff and the pile of detritus that’s accumulated since last fall… I’ll get to it, I swear.)

It’s also fun bringing in the houseplants, especially since it leads to cute photo ops like this one:
Licorice & Jade - together again.

And I had a charming little surprise while moving things about, some evidence of just how wet this year has been (excepting the 20-day dry spell we had in September). My very own little fungus!
Isn’t it darling? Here, a close up:
Flashy Fungus

Not being any kind of expert on fungi, I have no idea what sort it is, and I quickly realized that googling “common fungus” results in too many pictures that I just don’t want to see this close to dinner time. Or ever, really. (Interestingly, adding “wood” to the search eliminated all the anatomicals, but brought up quite a variety of recipes!)

This weekend I’ll be tackling the community garden plot, which will mostly mean harvesting (and then freezing in nice meal-sized batches) the remaining plentiful kale, planting some garlic bulbs, and I suppose ripping out the lovely little alyssum flowers. I will try to provide pictures of the carnage, cause I know that’s what sells on the internets.

Des Oignons

I pulled them up mercilessly, yanking by their stalks and ripping their grasping roots from the soil.

Now their little corpses lie curing on my kitchen window shelf.
Onions At Rest

And that’s how you harvest onions.

Actually, I didn’t really do it quite right: their stalks hadn’t fallen over yet, and some of them never really bulbed properly, but I figure they’re as good as they’re going to get given the lateness of the season and the fact that I planted them as seedlings in early June instead of as sets in mid May.

I’ll try again next year. But these ones look nice in the sunlight in my window, n’est-ce pas?


This heat wave is starting to get me down.

Yes we have a/c in our house, but it’s turned to a very environmentally friendly 24ºC (that’s about 75 in “real degrees” as my stepfather refers to Fahrenheit). And while I entirely agree with this, it is worth noting that the thermostat is on the first floor of the house (a separate apartment along with the basement). Meanwhile the second floor (our main living area) stays a degree or two warmer, and the third floor (our bedroom and workroom) gets, mmm, I’d guess about 3-5 degrees warmer still what with the full sun exposure and lack of good insulation.

So, fine for the light housework and lounging about reading over the weekend, not so cool for the sleeping and working.

But enough of my kvetching. There is after all an outdoor pool a 3-minute ride away that, though chock-full of rowdy youngsters, is nonetheless very refreshing and I had a lovely swim there yesterday evening and fully intend to do the same today (unless it starts raining before I get a chance). And I do have two perfectly good fans to keep the air moving, which makes all the difference. Besides, the heat wave is supposed to break tomorrow and then I’ll be whining about how none of my jeans fit…

The heat and sun have been marvelous for the tomatoes and sunflowers. Witness (the sunflowers anyway, the deck is too hot to spend time there taking pictures):
Sunflowers in a rowSunflowers displaying

Also in the garden, a fantastic cucumber vine support, lovely and organic looking:

And I though this was just funny:
Garden Yarn?
And here I thought you needed sheep to grow yarn…

The things you see…

Today, a few random things.
This lovely shot of the calendula at the community garden plot, taken by the OH:
Calendula a la Leni
It reminds me of Leni Riefenstahl’s photos of German Olympic athletes…

A ladybug, so cute, how could I not include it? I mean, really, it’s a ladybug.
Fly away home

And this, I don’t even know how to express the retro-nerd hipsterness going on here.

Go Tomatoes, Rah Rah Rah!

I’m totally stoked. Nay, thrilled, even.

Just look at this:
Tomatoes Ripening
See that blush? See the embarrassed glow on that one hiding in the corner? That, my dears, is a Black Krim tomato very close to being ripe.

It’s just beginning to have that luscious, plump & juicy feeling when squeezed so even though it’s still clinging to its stem like Pyewhackett to a kitty treat, it’s getting there. I’m guessing maybe tomorrow if we’re lucky enough to get some sun, but likely the day after if the forecast is correct. But after that I think they’ll come along in quick succession with the warm sunny weather we’re supposed to have for the rest of the week.
They’ve had some good water now, as evidenced by some cracking which just showed up today, so they should be happy for a few days of sunshine.

I’m so pleased I could giggle, and indeed probably will make some sort of funny noise when I finally get to take the first bite. Soon!!!


Finally my sunflowers are starting to bloom! I desperately want to cut some for home, but there are only a few really open so far and the bees are enjoying them so much that I just can’t take them away.
bee x1beesx2beesx3

On the walk home I started noticing all sorts of white flowers…
white cosmoswhite feverfewwhite alyssumwhite hibiscus
white morning glorywhite floxwhite snapdragonwhite lily
There are also a lot of yellow and orange flowers out now (sunflowers and rudbeckia most notably). I suppose there must be some white-loving and yellow/orange-loving pollinators in full swing about now.

Then there’s this guy/gal, waiting on the porch (just above the railing to which I lock my bike) for food to deliver itself:
5 points if you can identify this little lovely’s taxonomy.

In crafty news, I stopped by MacFab yesterday and after dutifully gathering together a bunch of zippers for UTW, was ambushed by a bin full of samples from discontinued decorating fabrics (you know, that gorgeous Amy Butler type stuff). Now surely you know that it’s nearly impossible to pass up the potential of this sort of bin, so naturally I started rifling through it and, while I did manage to exercise some pretty impressive self restraint, I picked out a few great pieces.
Future Quilt
The plan is to quarter each piece (they’re about 18″ sq. as is) and make a very simple quilt for the Expected One. I figure there’s a nice mix of high contrast stuff for early visual stimulation, plus some more subtle colours for continued interest well past the B&W stage. (Funny how companies are still making all pastel mobiles – and then plonk the little thing in a room with a white ceiling…) I’ll go to VV to see if I can’t find a decent condition sheet (or other plain fabric) for the edge and backing, and hopefully a thin wool blanket for the innards.

I also visited Romni (as how could I not, being already down on Queen W and a hopeless addict) and foraged in the basement for some sale skeins. I did find a few things, but unfortunately none of them match any of the projects on my developing holiday-knitting list. (And of course visiting the website now I realize that by resisting going there during July I missed their 20% off everything sale… curses!) So into the stash it goes. I really do need to take a list when I go there, or else start planning projects based on what I’ve got in the stash already instead of what makes me go “Oooh!” when I see it online.

But why start being wise now…


Oh my, has it really been this long?
Well then, I’ll get right to it.

It’s been an interesting fortnight, for reasons I won’t get into now, but it’s ended well and I’m moving right along.

The finale was a lovely, thoroughly relaxing long weekend in the country with relatives, cats, gardens, a lake and a good book. Not necessarily in order of anything.

I took pictures of the cats and garden, though the cats were less cooperative about sitting for portraits:
Something in the Onion FamilyRu Thinks TwiceMore Interesting Over There

Though they did spend enough time bothering each other to get a few little sequences:
Down Asparagus Ave.
I'm Sleeeeeeping Here

There was a fabulous thunderstorm on Saturday morning, with an encore in the late afternoon, which filled all my mom’s water buckets & barrels quite handily.
Rain, Rain

And of course afterwards everything had that super-fresh just-washed look, particularly nice with the low sunshine.
Tea, Earl Grey, HotRadiant Rudbeckia

There was some wildlife too. Doing… wildlife things.
Left Behind

So, yeah. That’s about it. I’m knitting more summer socks but don’t have a good picture, and the rest is just life.


And therefore I am being lazy.

Just one picture for today, though it is a goody.


Garden Glory

Today, being July 2nd, is apparently day 2 of the start of earnest summer vacation/holiday/general laziness.

Not for me, of course. Being self-employed, I started weeks ago.

Back in reality-land though, the latest deck blossom report.

The Calendula continue to provide excellent close-up fodder, particularly with a flattering sprinkling of rain droplets:
A few little droplets

Then there’s the tomatillo; I love the way the flowers sort of hang down like a little skirt which on full opening gets curled back around the legs, like a Latin dancer spinning around..
Tomatillo Skirt Up

And my Black Krim tomatoes are a little strange. The first set of blossoms on each plant is this kind of mutant 3-or-more-blossoms-in-one kind of thing; I’m really not sure what sort of tomato those will produce.
BK Mutant Blossom
The “normal” flowers look pretty cool too:
Bk Normality

So there you go. That’s what I found on my deck this afternoon.

Happy summer.