Weeds

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
But they don’t get around
Like the dandelions do.
~Slim Acres

Common-Weeds-Dandelion

“You must weed your mind as you would weed your garden.”   ~Terri Guillemets

“But make no mistake:  the weeds will win; nature bats last.”    ~Robert M. Pyle

As I was pulling weeds on Sunday, it became clear to me, yet again, just how amazing these plants are. The drive to survive is truly remarkable! The tenacity to glue themselves to any surface. The ability to split off a tiny piece of root and keep growing. The level of drought and neglect they can tolerate. Well done. You have to admire them.

After 2 weeks away, it quickly became clear where my last round of weeding had failed. Then again, who knows for sure. I think they work in waves, like an army. Some have fallen back, they are a little weakened. The new troops are fully rested, ready for battle. Until next season, it is hard to say if any territory has been reclaimed.

I was reading an article recently that equated negative thoughts to weeds. In other words, if you are not careful, the good stuff in your mind will become over run with nasty weeds. You are to be vigilant and pull those unwanted plants out by the roots, leaving your mind open to foster growth of the ideas you wanted there in the first place.

Not a bad way to live. I don’t like weeds in my garden. And no amount of creative salad making is going to make dandelions a welcome addition to the middle of my garden paths. I also, don’t want that kind of negative clutter rattling around in my brain. My days need to be clearly focused on what is good in this life. Period.

May flowers

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.   English proverb 1886

Flower_web

It has always been difficult to plan activities based on the weather forecasts, here in Canada. Even old English proverbs only serve to remind us of the conditions to expect and then Mother nature will give us a show. And if you read about the history of this proverb, there could also be hail, sleet and snow.

The nice thing about Spring is the time frame. All bursts of weather are short-lived, but the general trend is warming. If you have a blanket of snow in May, it will be melted away in no time. Then to counteract that, as we saw this year, a super warm Easter in March. Patio furniture was out, BBQ’s were fired up and the clothing of winter dropped away. There were even a number of sunburns walking around town.

The only thing to do is take advantage of the place you find yourself. Rain jackets and umbrella’s, a sweater, a warm coat and warm boots are just some of the choices. On the other hand, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and sun screen are not to be forgotten as the sun shines more seriously.

But for now, it is still Spring. I like to dash out into the sun when she shines and catch a few of her rays whenever I can. Even if it is just for a 15 minute walk, read the newspaper or just sit and relax. Last evening I did just that and here are a few of the images from my journey through the yard.

Artichoke, (actually a flower)

Artichoke, (actually a flower)

Chives....almost a weed

Chives….almost a weed

Thyme - couldn't live without it

Thyme – couldn’t live without it

Pansies - the most reliable beauty in the garden

Pansies – the most reliable beauty in the garden

White Lilac, (her scent is fantastic, too bad I have a cold right now, too hopped up on medication to smell anything)

White Lilac, (her scent is fantastic, too bad I have a cold right now, too hopped up on medication to smell anything)

Buttercup, (don't be fooled by her - invasive weed that she is - parading around my backyard like a tramp)

Buttercup, (don’t be fooled by her – invasive weed that she is – parading around my backyard like a tramp)

110 days to go

A sunny afternoon, 110 days before the summer solstice, sure seems better than the same conditions, 110 days after. There is promise in the air. The light is casting hope over everything in the garden. Green is growing new from the brown soil, rather than fading back into it.

Today was a gift. The sun was shining first thing when I got up. The sky was blue and the wind was calm. Temperatures were very pleasant.

I dressed for cooler weather and was rewarded with feeling a bit over heated as I weeded some of the front garden. The ultimate treasure will be on our plates for dinner – a forgotten hill of fingerling potatoes. Enough fresh chives are up to make a tasty garnish.

We don’t get many days like this, so early in the year, that I get to take advantage of. With only Saturdays and Sundays available, the saying usually goes, “What if the first day of sun after 2 days of rain?” Answer: “Monday”.

Walking around the yard this afternoon, it is a welcome sight to see something that I planted and want to be growing, rather than just weeds. If there was a contest, I grow the BEST weeds around.

Heather_web

Heather is always out early. This low growing evergreen shrub will spread easily. Mine has to be dealt with this year. After 10 years, she is out of control.

Snowdrops_web

The snowdrops are of course a lovely first bulb. Easy to grow, multiply on their own without any help. Transplant so well, that I have never bought these. Got a gift one year from my mother in law and just keep letting them do their thing.

Crocus_web

My Mom helped me plant these crocus bulbs when my baby girl was still to be contained in a bouncy seat. Her 10th birthday was last month, so it is time. This fall, I need to plant again and plan a bit better, where I want to see that colour, early in the Spring. It is such a welcome sight, I surely need 10 times as many as I have today.

Bergenia_web

I think this perennial is called Bergenia. It was an expensive thing, bought many years ago, so the tag is long gone. It was the only flower blooming in February at the garden centre. So I had to have it.

Rose_web

Finally, a little tea rose. She is a hardy soul that is hanging on from a bud formed last year.

The Sun

Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

The sun finally came out today. There had been a small glimpse of it yesterday, but then a rain storm came through that was very strong for this time of year. The temperature dropped about 12 degrees C and the wind did some damage. But today, it was warm enough to put on some sun screen.

In anticipation of my photography e-course that starts tomorrow, I ran around taking some photo’s. And the light cooperated with my efforts. It was fun to get the creative juices going. Thinking about all the techniques that I sort of know like scale, proportion, depth of field, etc.

With all this rain, we have mushrooms growing in our grass. That is a common sight in December, but is very unusual in late June. Still, they are cute, I think.

So many of the plants are taking over. This is our front walkway and you can’t walk there now. When those hosta leaves are wet, it makes your whole leg look like you stepped in the ocean.

When I am walking around with a camera, I tend to notice very tiny things in the lens. It was really great to see this bee and to get confirmation that it is a native honey bee no less.

The beach towel hanging up on the end of the fence is from my daughters field trip to the beach this week. That was one fragrant towel, bringing home the smell of every, once living thing from this part of the Pacific Ocean.

And around the corner from this fence is our hot tub. Once the lid was off, the chemicals were topped up, it was time to have a quick soak with a book. Our chlorine floater is anchored to the edge of the tub with a fishing weight. That way it doesn’t sink itself into the filter basket.

We’re here for a good time – Trooper

We’re here for a good time
Not a long time (not a long time)
So have a good time
The sun can’t shine every day

The golden hour of the evening came. That brief period of time when you almost have to run around to get all the shots you might like to.

Summer will come

You can feel it in the air. There has been a shift in the overall temperature. No more teasing now.

Unlike the rest of North America, we have had a long steady winter. Lots of snow in the mountains, cold and damp up until a week ago. We really were beginning to feel this winter may never end.

And then there is that one day, when the scale tips. No matter how many days ahead will not be “nice”, the trend is sliding towards favourable conditions and I like it.

Last night I spent a good 30 minutes watering in my greenhouse where a bunch of different herbs and veggies are in various stages of growth. I like to watch the water seep down around the plants and smell the oils from the leaves of each one. I imagine the new and vigorous growth to come. And eventually the tasty harvest.

“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”   ~Winnie the Pooh

Time to think, (and keep thinking), is one of the things I like about summer and having a garden. There is a good amount of time spent weeding and watering and thinking. I think these kinds of activities are what our modern brains need. Easy mechanical tasks that allow your muscles to develop and your brain to wander over and work on more significant thoughts.

And summer is when you truly can stop and smell the roses, for that is when they come into bloom. Or notice the other types of flowers as they have their days in the sun.

This sea of cherry blossoms lasted for only a couple of days before they faded and then turned brown. If you don’t sop and notice, you just miss these great sights.

New growth

There is something deeply satisfying about seeing new growth in the Spring. Maybe it is the sight of pretty flowers or the feeling that new life is waking up after the long winter sleep.

I have a strange sense of surprise when my plants come back to life. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes there is damage or complete ruin from some kind of winter kill. I am filled with pride when there is vigorous new growth. When something dies, which is not so common, I look at the empty spot as a place to try something new.

Every so often, the empty spot, is ever so sad. It appears that my asparagus patch is gone. For anyone that has grown this lovely Spring vegetable, you know, it takes a lone time to get it established. 3 years before you cut the first spear. But, I am going to try again. Now that I know I can do it, I will be more careful about tending the plants throughout the season. And I’m picking a new spot, and I’m going to grow way more of it.

These photos are from the front yard of my house. The apple tree is out my bedroom window and is the first thing I see every morning. These lovely tulips are just below the tree. 9 years ago, the apple tree was very small, about 3′ tall. Now it’s 3 distinct varieties and arms stretch wide and tall. If the blossoms are to be believed, it should be a great crop this year.

To have a garden in the front yard is to be completely different. We have taken away most of the grass, save for a small stretch out front of the fence, beyond the property line to the sidewalk. And even that, I have dreams of planting with food crops. I have long wanted to plant kiwi’s along the fence. (Apparently they can be grown in the Vancouver area).

I have a well established fig tree, started at about 3′ with one single stem. Now it branches out on several main trunks and stands much taller than my rancher house. My son and I enjoy the figs as fast as they ripen on the tree, so it will be some time yet before I can make preserves.

In my stash of seedlings nestled under the grow lights, I have 4 artichoke plants. Last time I tried them, we got a few years of production. Then we had a really cold and snowy winter and the plants died. So again, I have learned that when the reference books tell you protect your plants over the winter, I should probably do that.

And on the process goes. There is always something going on in the garden. Even if it seems like only the weeds are the productive ones. Everything in turn, has a time to shine. After all, weeds are just plants where you don’t want them to be.

Twigs

Last week-end while I was working in the back garden, I cut a bunch of pear tree limbs and gathered them into a vase. My daughter thought that the buds would open into flowers, pretty quickly.

Quick, as any Mother knows, is relative.

My husband expressed concern mid-week that these “twigs” were a bit of a monstrosity in our little kitchen/dining room. He of little faith.

In the expected time, (by me anyway), the buds have started to unfurl. Now my daughter and husband think these “twigs” were a good idea. In another few days they will be an early glimpse of the showy fruit tree display that is still 4 to 6 weeks away.

Since the weather forecast for Vancouver is rain, rain, rain next week, these delicate blossoms will be a welcome reminder that Summer will indeed follow the showers of Spring.