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In between sips of tea, fuzzling cats, and stirring up the chicken casserole I'm working on, I do believe it's time for a ridiculously early garden post! )
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So now we are homeowners. Wheeeeeeheeheeheeheeheeee!

Walkthrough yesterday revealed that the house is pretty much exactly as we remembered it and that it was also thoughtfully cleaned top to bottom by the previous owners, who left behind leftover paint for patching up, freshly washed drapes, a new smoke alarm to replace the one that doesn't work, and an extra set of keys.

The garden is (reassuringly) just as overgrown a disaster as my current one. As predicted, the planting areas in the back are just a border around a grassy yard. Mostly said planting areas are populated by The Hydrangeas of Insanity (seriously - just wait till I have pictures to post) and ferns, with one ginormous but anonymous shrub and a lovely white pine along the back fence. It is fabulously wind-sheltered and gets at least partial sun; will have to verify just how much over the course of the next sunny day that comes along. I think I should have space for just about all my plants for now, so I can probably wait to undertake expansion until next year, but in any case the first order of business will be a crapload of digging up hydrangeas. Sooooo...I have my work cut out for me!! My week of holidays will be divided between unpacking and wrestling with the jungle, both there and here. It will be awesome.

Next week, meanwhile, we need to paint the violently yellow bedrooms. The master bedroom is more of a mustard colour, which would have been fine, except the paint was very weirdly/unevenly applied, so it needs redoing anyway. So tonight I will drive Corey to and from taekwondo and use the intervening time to bum around Home Despot poring over paint swatches and pricing closet doors.
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In other news, to my great annoyance, I have continued to feel like crap, although a prescription has recently resulted in a great improvement. This is not conducive to packing or gardening, especially while continuing to haul my ass to work every day, so I have accomplished exactly zero on either task. A whole bunch of stuff is blooming out there anyway, to my delight, including peonies, honeysuckle, columbine, digitalis, and (almost) roses. The english rose I bought last year has not only survived the spring's drastic pruning, but now has at least 8 buds on it. AWESOME.

Today Lisa is coming over to keep me company and I am going to start packing books and sorting clothes. Yes I am. LESS THAN 1 MONTH TILL CLOSING BY GOD.
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One more week till Art in the Park!!! Must...stop...dragging...feet and get ass in gear. Yes. RAHR. Am taking Friday off in order to get last minute preparations taken care of, at least.

There was a community garage sale day in the village on Sunday (rained out on Saturday) so I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and bought some plant pots, an Eric Carle book (The Very Quiet Cricket, to go with our copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar - I mean, really, how could I resist?) and a big potful of johnny-jump-ups, which for some reason I have had no luck starting from seed. I also spied a really cool cat condo, but its vendors wanted $110 for it...yeah, not likely, kthxbai.

Booked the afternoon off today to go to the doctor - have I mentioned that I fucking hate needles, btw? Because I really fucking hate them - and then squandered the extra hour or so of free time this netted me by watching The Coolest Cop Show Evarrr, aka The Wire. Went to check out the aforementioned used couch set, which was deliciously cushy and comfy for curling up in as well as looking good, and which the vendor is willing to hang onto until we can get it into the new house. SWEET.

Also in the SWEET category: my peonies are almost blooming! No sign of botrytis returning so far (knock on wood) - and each plant has a good 4 or 5 big buds on it. C'mooooonnnnnn peonies, you can do it!!!
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It is freakin freezing outside this evening, so I am holed up in bed with a cup of tea and garden magazines. Tomorrow I will venture out onto the patio with my newly acquired stack of pots (which I picked up for free from the container recycling bin at the grocery store garden centre - FTW!!!), transfer all the seedlings, and add them to the ranks of the waiting-to-be-transplanted.

I don't know why I am so giddily obsessed with garden stuff right now. Probably because I can insulate myself from such annoyances as wild and woolly weed incursions and patchy grass through MAD SCHEMING.

For instance: our soon-to-be front yard? Dear lord, I think...I think most of it might actually have full sun. FULL SUN ZOMG. The things I could do with a yard in full sun. I can't belieeeeeeeeeve that the current owners are wasting that on grass!!

Also, I love this definition of the cottage garden. Cottage gardening as presented here strikes me as charming, responsible, and sensibly laid back in addition to having stunningly beautiful results.
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Corey bought me a reel mower!!! I had been planning to pick one up but there was always other stuff to spend the $$$ on more urgently. IT IS AWESOME. Works beautifully, and is all at once less muss and fuss with stupid cords than our beat-up electric mower, less polluting and smelly than the gas mowers I categorically refuse to deal with, and way less noisy than either of the above. Woo!
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[livejournal.com profile] arndis, THANK YOU for recommending the Experimental Farm's annual plant sale - ZOMG was it ever awesome. I exercised great self-restraint and only came away with three (a trillium and two primroses), but next year, by god, I am showing up at 9 AM sharp with a wagon!

In other news, it is gorgeous out, and walking around the neighbourhood there are frequent wafts of delicious smelliness from various kinds of flowering trees, and the lilacs are within a week of flowering so soon there will be even more. And walking by Teh House, I was thrilled to note that there in fact appears to be a large lilac in the backyard. YES. Hahahahahahahaaa!
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I took the day off today to get some quality project time in, a commodity that has been scarce lately. After a Cora's breakfast with Corey and a quick trip to Lee Valley for a watering mat, I spent an industrious 4h outside. So far I have managed to dig up about half - maybe 2/3 - of what I plan to take from the garden and put everything in pots. I think I've got everything that urgently needed to be unearthed while it's still cool, anyway. All these pots are arranged atop my brizilliant irrigation system, which consists of the above-mentioned watering mat spread over a piece of plywood, held off the ground by some bricks, with a wick dipping into a shallow reservoir to sustain Teh Capillary Action.

I really, really, really hope it works. I hope it actually manages to deliver water to the plants without waterlogging them or generating so much humidity they end up with mildew - well, at least a windy yard is good for air circulation. I hope I didn't mangle their roots too badly when I dug them up (I did manage to destroy a couple of lilies - dammit!) I hope they will not end up tragically root-bound for sitting in containers for 2 months. AUGH moving day, hurry up and get here already!!

Also this weekend, I really, really have to do some weeding and mow the lawn. It's getting to be a jungle out there.
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As advertised, Galetta Nurseries is the bomb!

I am now the proud owner of a Prairie Joy rose and a Dropmore Scarlet honeysuckle. Because I couldn't resist, despite the fact that this pretty much blows my spending budget for the week. They told me I could keep them in pots quite comfortably for a couple months, provided I keep them well-watered.

They further advised me that I should dig up my plants now, while it's still early and cool, and keep them in pots until we move...as opposed to trying to uproot them in the middle of summer, which they will not like at all. So it looks like I've got my work cut out for me the next couple weeks...which I have to say is some LOUSY TIMING, what with Art in the Park approaching, but bleh...I will manage somehow.

I wasn't sure how well this would work, since I am notoriously forgetful about watering plants, especially outside. BUT Lee Valley, awesomely, sells a bigass 3' x 6' watering mat for $20 - you stick one end in a bucket of water, put your potted plants on top of it, and it sucks the water up via capillary action and keeps the plants moist. And this baby, unlike a plastic saucer type reservoir, will not drown the plants if it gets rained on regularly.

I want to be in the garden tomorrow, not the office. Poo.
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Today I played some squash with Corey (was defeated, but not quite so crushingly as before - eeeeeexcellent) and bought some plants at the first garden centre I've seen with its doors open, because the plants were so cheap I couldn't resist. The day's purchases: two azaleas, one pink and one white, to go under the hedges by the composter; a couple of silver-leafed, red-flowering perennials whose name I forget; and a pretty, shrubby little thing with white flowers that I think is heather. Both of these last technically need full sun, and you'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but I stuck them in the sunniest spot I have and am crossing my fingers. Now it is raining on them, so hopefully they will thrive and not mind too much if I transplant them again in July.

Ferns are coming up; tulips are in bud; one peony, at least, has returned; jacob's ladders are going crazy enough to make me suspect they will in fact bloom again this year; jerusalem artichoke and phlox both appear to have taken hold and are coming up; weeds and dead leaves and lily beetles are all already driving me INSAAAAANE. Must spend some time tomorrow tackling all of the above. I don't know how my next-door neighbours keep their garden so pristine. I mean, they live under the same damn helicopter-dropping tree as I do.

The ground cover garden is already a mess, between the creeping yellow-flowering stuff and the goutweed and the crabgrass all coming back like crazy. At least everything I've planted over there has actually managed to survive too - there is at least one fern coming back in that section.

Seeds will be ready to plant in a few weeks! Sadly, I have no marigolds, nor rudbeckia. Too much water, possibly, or (in the case of the marigolds) possibly old seeds. Everything else has come up, though, particularly the mimuluses (mimuli?), digitalis, and pampas grass.

And in final news of garden awesomeness, there is a robin's nest in the pine tree at the back of the yard. I noticed a robin flying up to a particular branch with a beakful of grass a couple weeks ago, and sure enough you can spy a nest there now if you know where to look. As of today it's even inhabited, although it's too high off the ground to tell if there's any eggs or baby birds in it yet. The robin sitting in it seemed entirely unperturbed by my presence in the yard, anyway.
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Garden daydreaming )

Materialistic daydreaming...it's OK if the stuff is second-hand, isn't it? )

Mostly up till this point I haven't been thinking about it, but as soon as I start daydreaming, it becomes clear that waiting three months to move is going to kill meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I should distract myself with Art in the Park, but I am not that smart or that productive. Instead I ate dinner on the patio, disinfected my garden shears, pruned my rose (which is budding most encouragingly!), and went for my daily constitutional bike ride. This last, btw, I totally kicked the ass of. Not only did I make it to the Island Park bridge, I went a little bit past it, finally stopping and turning around in a park just past the sign that says "parliament hill 5 KM". Since parliament hill is about 11 km from Britannia park, that means I biked about 12km this evening (6 there and back). w00t! Ph34r me, parliament buildings! I will be seeing you soooooooooooon!

Now, of course, I am falling asleep, or I would curl up with foiling and BSG. Plus I am enjoying the smell of the spring air coming in the open window and the delicious smell of the cut flowers mom brought me for my birthday way too much to move. Tomorrow evening, I suppose. RAHHhhhrrzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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Hahahahahaaaa - in the backyard, only the last vestiges of snow remain! So I put on my boots and went stomping around to pick up fallen branches and see what's what.

Tulips are poking noses above ground, as are daylilies of insanity (soooooo many daylilies of insanity...they're already scaring me) and irises. Cow parsley is back, as are the hollyhocks, weirdly enough, I figured they'd have given up by now. Digitalis all still look alive, but I'm pretty sure they're still the same plants that flowered last year - I thought these were biennials?? Guess we'll see if they flower again, maybe they'll prove me wrong. Rhododendron nearest the fence is perky and green already, but the other two are looking pretty flattened; we'll see how they do. The rose - miracle of miracles! - is still green at the base, despite substantial winterkill of long leggy branches. Here's hoping the thing flowers on new wood, because it's going to have to get pruned back pretty far, but at least it's still alive. Not sure I can say the same for the dappled willow, which remains a very dead-looking stick in the ground. I probably should have mulched it. Maybe it will surprise me in May.

The raspberries, to my surprise, have not fared well this year - I thought the insulating snow would be great for them, but the weight of the snow not only flattened all the canes, it snapped some of them in pieces. New ones will undoubtedly emerge, but I don't know that I'm going to get berries this year. Not that I got many last year anyway - I think I have to spray the canes with soap and water if/when they start leafing out, they looked pretty straggly and bug-ridden last summer.

Also surprising is that there is a lot of leaves and crap in the sump hole, but no standing water. I don't know where it's all going, but it's not in my living room, so I'm happy!
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Phew. What a week.

It is now APRIL, however. And sunny. And forecast to be around 10 degrees all week. I saw tulips coming up on Sussex drive this week...and a pair of robins very cutely singing to each other in a bush on Britannia road. THANK GOD FOR SPRING. Now all this damn snow just needs to melt.

HowEVer, I can already see one of the garden beds again! And my seeds are busily sprouting in the sun from mom's south-facing patio doors. Last I checked gaillardia, marigolds, pampas grass, digitalis, basil, and mimulus were all showing green. Grow, my pretties!! Ahahahahahahaaa!

Shopping list for glass store this morning:
* solder
* 4 - 2" x 3/4" bevels
* new grinder head
* zinc came for framing

Painted nude #1 is ALMOST freaking done. Holy crap did that ever take longer than I was expecting. Two more layers on one more piece and I am ready to foil and solder. Morning glories are likewise almost ready to go - need to cut out the end pieces and finish the foiling - so I should be able to finish them up in short order. I have a lovely design for the magnolia mirror so can start on that, and have pieces cut out for the moon suncatcher. BY GOD THERE WILL BE PROGRESS THIS WEEKEND.
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Seeds planted yesterday, with pictures, because I feel the need for pictures of flowers today... )

So we'll see what actually comes up. Most of the perennials are probably going to have to bide their time in pots until we move, so hopefully I can manage the water levels for that long...or I might just plant them and dig them up again later. Plants are so much easier to take care of when they're in the ground.

In any case, wet dirt smells sooooooooo nice right about now...even if it is only inside. Sprinnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg I pine for you!
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After all this real estate madness, it occurs to me that I have something of a monkey wrench in one of my projects. Late July is a great moving date financially, but it means half the season will be gone before I can start messing around with the new garden.

I guess that's probably just as well...I'll have a few months to take note of what the light is like in different parts of the yard and get an idea of what's already there. I'll transplant what I can bring with me from our current digs (har har).

Namely... )

In short, basically everything I've put into this garden that has actually managed to stay alive is coming with me. I'll have to take another look at my seeds and see what I'll actually be able to plant this year; direct-planting perennial seed will probably just have to hang tight until next spring. I will leave the next tenant with a legacy of daylilies of insanity and let them figure out the rest of the shady dirt for themselves.
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Plans for today: Cora's for breakfast and much glass choppage chez studio!

Vesey's catalogue arrived in the mail yesterday - woo! So, my shopping list for spring:

* Many, many begonias, including a skaugum. Bet these will interplant well with the tulips, since they're supposed to bloom June or July through frost.
* Gaillardia (which resemble yellow/orange/red daisies) for the former ground cover garden, where it's a little sunnier
* Toad lilies, which bloom in August and September. Not sure where I will put them...next to the house maybe? They get to be 3' high.
* A couple of bigass ostrich ferns. One can go up next to the compost bin for some variety. The other one...hm...next to the fence, possibly?
* Hostas, which can fill in some holes in the wild & woolly section and possibly up with the tulips and begonias
* Astilbe, which can also go next to the house or up with the tulips etc.
* Possibly some dwarf oriental lilies, since the ones I've got look a little straggly and would be nicer in a bigger bunch, and dwarf variety would keep them from just being leggy and green all the way up

Will also have to buy:
* a frahillion impatiens for in between the ferns and in the wild & woolly section
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Man...three days after christmas and the gardening itch hits. Dammit. There won't even be seeds to browse through until February.

However, I can burble about gardening on LJ... )
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I have been grumpy as hell all evening, so it's time for a garden post. I've been meaning to get to this for a while - pictures have been taken over the last week or so.

Getting there! )
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Corey apparently chased a raccoon out of our compost last night, although since the lid was on the ground again this afternoon it seems it wasn't deterred for long. Interestingly, the shed was also standing open, although there were no indications of an idiot incursion. So I think I know who to blame that particular phenomenon on, since there are all kinds of gigantor bugs in there that an inquisitive scavenger could feast on. Although I'm not sure how a raccoon could have managed to break the hinge on the door.

Anyway, I took pictures of the garden this weekend, and since the penrose tiling is coming along at a galloping pace - yay for geometric designs! - I am going to take a minute and post them.

It's even better than last year! )

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