Catching up, part 3

Back to work tomorrow, after the wettest vacation in memory, recent or long-term.

This afternoon, though, the sun is shining as I tie up various loose ends. During this vacation, I felt a need to catch-up, clean-up and take stock. So now I'll share with you a final "catch-up" post: sidewalks, curbs and fences of my neighbourhood and the lovely things that grow along them.

Aquilegia (Columbine) along the seawallAlliumFor little birdsColouful heritage house

I hope all is well with you in your parts of the world and the living things that surround you are thriving despite the odds and obstacles.

Catching up, part 2

The second in a series of three posts in which, during the rainy parts of my vacation, I'm catching up on blogging. Today's topic: the community garden from early to mid Spring.


Snoozing at the community gardenOn Earth Day, while Piper napped in the shade under the bench, I cultivated the soil in the three pollinator beds and rearranged the plants that had survived the winter. A fellow gardener and I have volunteered to plant and tend this vital part of the community garden. In early May we liberally sowed California and Shirley poppy seeds in the beds and added other plants including Echinacea, Asclepias and Allysum. By early summer, or sooner I hope, the blossoms will be providing nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies.


So far, I've harvested only a few crops from my own plot: assorted Asian greens (a little), chard (a lot), and radishes (just enough to add a spicy crunch to lunch for the past 2 weeks). Broccoli raab is missing from the list because a mysterious creature with paws trampled the bed soon after the seedlings emerged. Then tiny slugs with big appetites ate most of the remaining young greens and baby spinach. (Help -- what is your successful, organic slug control strategy?)


Community garden plot in mid-May

Plot inventory, May 19th: chard, garlic, greens, herbs, peas, radishes, spinach

First radish harvest: Pink Punch, Easter Egg II, French Breakfast (Renee's Garden seeds)

Above ground, the garlic is green and mildew-free. But now that I've learned about all the pests and diseases that can afflict this herb, I'm tempted to pull one 'Purple Softneck' to see what's going on below the soil's surface. I'll resist and and hope for beginner's luck and good garden karma as I'm growing most of this garlic for a friend.

No peas yet, but the robust vines and pretty flowers are promising.

Dwarf Grey Sugar pea transplants, April 22nd

First pea flower, May 26th

And now as I write this, it's 12 noon and the sun is shining -- barely. I'm off to you-know-where to prep the open squares for the tomato and pepper transplants. See you soon. Though I hope not too soon as it will mean it's raining again.

'Swallow' pepper ready for transplanting and chard ready for a frittata

Catching up, part 1

The big project is finished. Hurrah!

I'm on vacation. Double hurrah!!

I awoke super early this morning. To the sound of rain beating against the window. Washing away my plans to prep the community plot for warm weather crops. {Sigh}

The sun tried really hard today, I could tell. But it couldn't break through the clouds.

So I stayed dry on my covered balcony, rearranged the pots (it's a jungle out there), and planned where to place the tomatoes, peppers, beets, carrots and beans in the 12 empty squares in my community garden plot.

And rather than mope any more about the weather, I'll consider it a reason to pay more attention to this blog, and finish one of three catch-up posts.


A few balcony garden highlights from mid-April through late May


Earth Dog on Earth Day (April 22nd)


Lewisia cotyledon forma alba, late April


Viola 'Lemon Royale' has been blooming since mid-March.



The purple bracts of Lavandula stoechas 'Anouk' stretch toward blue sky and sunshine in mid-May.

The first day of spring | The first spring day

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.
                                                                                                        ~Henry Van Dyke

So true. During the past few weeks in Vancouver we've enjoyed some pleasant pre-spring weather as well as a few, unwelcome reappearances of winter -- including snow this past Monday!

But yesterday, the March equinox, late afternoon sunshine, and daffodils, cherry blossoms and violas combined to make the day ...well, truly vernal. Oh, and after work I opened the mailbox at home to find this pretty envelope from a gardening friend.

Before I opened the envelope (oh, so carefully) I had to admire it for a few moments. The design reminded me of the covers of heirloom seed catalogues I'd picked up at Seedy Saturday this past February.


Inside the envelope, a sweet card & carefully packaged, extra-special seeds -- eggplant, basil & lettuce -- from Master Gardener Meighan. Thank you!

"Little Februaries"



Little Februaries, they

            unbind themselves, pages

sweetening the air.

            Little petals, not fit

for grieving, ornately

            frail. Petals sheer as sheets,

as raw and spare. Stems,

            thin straws of green, needles

drinking the dirt —

            unspooling the white

bulb into blossom. Lips

            parting open their pale

veils. Green veins poured

            into tiny cups of ivory air.

Green straws — green pencils —

             throats through which a shallow

dark is drawn. White notes

             birthed and nursed. A white song

scored — forced out — little breaths

             exhaled. Sweet wreaths for rooms.

Sweet wraiths exhumed. Eyes

             opening the whites

                         at the end of their lines.  

 Source: Blackbird Archive