I finally did some gardening!! To some this may not seem like such a big deal but as the eldest daughter & grand-daughter of professional gardeners, I certainly have a great love for planting life. With six kids, we depended on the large garden in our backyard to provide a great deal of food for us — and with Mom’s great talent for canning & making jams, that garden fed us all year long.
Looking at my parents’ backyard now, you’d never guess that about 1/2 of it used to be chicken-wired off. Beautiful sweet peas grew up the fence during the summer & I used to love robbing fresh peas off the vines! [That’s the only time I’ll eat peas — I absolutely hate canned, mushy, ucky-green, cooked peas!!!]
Dad always made an ice rink in there in the winter — since my birthday’s in November, I always had a skating party [well, almost always — Calgary is famous for its chinooks that’ll make a swimming pool out of ice in a day]. But, I digress.
On my little gardening table outside, I had a mess of old pots & leftover dirt — some of it just a conglomeration of dead plant roots. I also had two live plants — one an Oriental Lily [well, actually, two blooming bulbs] that needed replanting & the other [not sure of its name] a delicate flowering spreader that needed more dirt around its base to stabilize it.
It was so nice to clean out a favourite ceramic pot with a cool cat on it. I especially like it because it has a nice base to match — it’s so easy for me to tell when to stop watering!! Otherwise, I end up wrecking little saucers that are really not that useful anyway because they constantly overflow — once in a blue moon, I get clear plastic bases that actually hold a bit of water. The one I used here has matching green paint on the outside & I like how the rim is flat & unpainted ceramic that matches the larger rim of the pot.
Cleaned the rocks out the flower bed — except for weeds, only has my small cedar bush growing in it — & placed a layer in the bottom of the pot. Then, the fun job of picking out any weeds & dead roots from the various failed plants. My excuse for my doing this before has been that I didn’t have a bag of potting soil but lately, with a more ‘use-what-I’ve-got-handy’ attitude, I realized I have the best soil right here — it’s mixed with various peat & vermiculate to help with moisture retention — I don’t need to buy any!
I love the feel of dirt on my fingers — and there’s a special smell when you’re breaking up hard chunks.
My Baby Step planting:
Also in the dirt of the lily, I found another bulb with its stalk cut off but with some roots — I put that in some water in a cup [yup, on a favourite saucer — will I never get it clean?] to see if it’ll grow more roots. Since I have a few bulbs waiting to be planted — boy I’m pretty late for the Isle! — I’m going to get dirt for all of them.
I’m quite pleased with the outdoor arrangement [sorry lily, a bit chillier but no room inside right now] & might even break-down & get a couple of annuals to add to the spreader — or better yet a colourful perennial grass or . . . next project.
There’s always a special feeling after everything’s in place & you contentedly gaze at your young plant or tree in fresh wet dirt simply sitting there looking pretty, waiting for the sun to grow — inch by inch. I remember planting whole fields & mountain-sides with dozens of little spruce trees with the Boy Scouts — what a beautiful sight to all of us!
Then there’s another special feeling when you see your plants & trees many years later. When visiting my family in Calgary, I got some pictures of the hedges & spruce trees my dad, sons & I planted in 1984 — they dwarf the peak of the Tudor-style house. Over 25 years of growing — so tall!
Even with the crazy freezing weather, the weeping willow [a wedding present from my mother-in-law] was stunning — it’s delicate branches fit perfectly with the heavy house & sturdy evergreens. And I really liked how the present owners have kept the hedges well-trimmed — the deep moat they were planted in was well-worth all the pain!