Thursday, June 10, 2010

June Garden Update

I am really enjoying my garden this year. [Cue hail]

It's been a long time since my Green Dreams update in March, so we have quite a bit to catch up on.

Early April saw the first true signs of life. The first to flower this year was some cheerful Siberian Squill that I planted last fall. I danced with delight as it flowered and little green things began poking up all over.

Siberian Squill
Siberian Squill - Taken April 1st.

By the 20th, I had a forest of sunny jonquils and grape hyacinths to keep me happy. None of the tulips I planted last fall came up; I fear the squirrels had a feast. It was very encouraging to come home after a long shift and water the garden and see what new thing had buds, then shoots, then leaves.

Jonquil Macro
Dewy Jonquil - April 20th

Grape Hyacinths III
Grape Hyacinths - April 29th

By May 23rd, I had planted the vegetables. I actually planted some herbs, lettuce and carrots a week or two before, but the squirrels, birds and nocturnal ne'er-do-wells dug a lot of them up. Once again, I am using the square foot method. This year, instead of using two oversize squares (as the garden is over two feet wide), I've made each square exactly a foot and used the extra few inches to form a border of herbs around the outside. The idea here is to keep the animals out... now that everything is growing, I can actually say so far, so good.

By the next week, all the roses were blooming, including the Evil Rosebush out front. I lost two large branches off the pink one in the back; with all the rain and being overladen with blossoms, the branches could not handle the weight. The really sad part is that I had just tied them up the evening before and thought "Wow, that looks gorgeous... I should take a picture", and then discarded the idea as the light was fading. C'est la vie.

Rosebud Macro
Rosebud Macro (from the "Evil Rosebush") - May 30th.

The Perennial bed
The big rosebush "Before" - May 30th

Damaged Rosebush
The big rosebush "After" - June 5th

You can also see in the second picture that I removed the crazy daisies once and for all and replaced them with some peonies. I'm not expecting too much from them this year, but they should do well over time. I love peonies... they are one of my all time favourites.

As of now, the veggies are outstanding. I had my first feast of lettuce this evening and it was wonderful... Normally you couldn't pay me to make a salad, but there is just something special about growing it yourself. It doesn't get any fresher.

The Veggie Garden
June 5th - Tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, red and green onions, cucumbers and herbs.

I've added a few more delights for the senses as well. In my visit to the nursery the other week, other than the peonies, I also picked up some jasmine pots, some lavender, alyssum, astilbe and three different colours of lobelia. They have made welcome additions for the eye and the nose.

One pot of "Edge of Joy Dahlia", a pot of jasmine and blue and white lobelia. I have this arrangement on either side of my french doors.

As of this morning, my pink calla lilies are poking up, the begonias are doing very well and one of the astilbe bulbs that I planted on Mother's Day (in a fit of gardening desperation) is coming along. The tomatoes have all jumped again with the rain and my Tiny Tim cherry tomato plants actually have blossoms!

One small area of discontent right now is my tomato hangers. According to the directions (which I heartily ignored last year) you are supposed to use "soil-less potting mix". Well, I have no idea what the hell that is, but I picked up some coco-peat mulch stuff from the co-op thinking that it might work. It comes completely dehydrated in a (surprisingly heavy) brick that, as the package explains, you mix it with water, expanding it five times in size. They had a plastic fishpond full of an expanded brick with a plant growing in it, just to give you an idea of how much growing medium you got for your $5. Right! I got two. I was still a little skeptic when I crumbled a little into a bucket and turned the hose on it. What I ended up with was a mini peat bog! I could fill these pots in no time and still have enough left over to sacrifice a celt. I filled the hangers and crumbled the rest into pots. I didn't touch the second cube and gave it to Skye for her to try.

Fast forward to this week... the tomato plants in the hangers look like crap. They are yellow, they are dry, even with the patented wicking system and the constant rain we've had, they suck. I had a bag of potting soil left over and emptied out most of the peat and substituted it for soil. I added some tomato fertilizer as well, sandwiching all the layers together. Then I watered the crap out of all of them and turned them so the leaves got the maximum amount of sun (what little we had today). I hope this will do the trick, as I will hate to replace them with store bought plants. At best, these planters are really a fad, but they do provide a bit of promise to those without a lot of room.

We shall see what else crops up over the next few months. For now however, my garden is providing a calm oasis in a life that is anything but.

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

Jasmine Buds
Jasmine buds - June 5th

He's Growing up Fast

I can't believe how much Quinn has grown, especially in the last little while.

I know, I know... he's four. Daily he still shocks me with how much he has developed and how fast he is learning new things. Right now, we can:

- Read over 50+ words (It's probably a lot more)
- Count to infinity by ones
- Count to 100 by tens
- Recite most of Dr. Suess by heart
- Understand number relations (Ie: 3+3, 4+2 and 5+1 all equal six)
- Run, jump, skip, hop, catch a ball, kick a ball
- Listen for the "music" in everything (and make music with everything)
- Sing a multitude of songs a capella
- Recognize, spell and try to write his name

...and the list goes on and on and on. I forgot to mention his counting in Spanish and Manderin as well. French just upsets him, for some reason and German he just laughs at. All in due time.

Hot, Happy and Hydrating
Hot, happy and hydrating after a week with gastro (4 yrs)

One of the skills we are currently working on is learning to ride a bike. He will do it for a little while, but he gets tired. Slowly, he is getting it; he just has to learn to keep going!

Rockin' the Bike
I has a bike! (4yrs)

The biggest milestone occurred May 27, when we visited his new school for Kindergarten orientation. My baby? Going to school in September? How the hell is that possible??

He had a fantastic time whilst Mommy clicked away on the camera and tried not to cry. We got to meet all the teachers and went around to a few stations to see what the activities and learning style areall about. So far, so good. He responded well to his teachers (they all seem to gravitate towards him, which is nice) and helped the other kids where he was clearly ahead. My biggest challenge, I am sorry to say, will be keeping him engaged as I know he will bore easily. Since French Immersion is not an option until Grade 1, I'm going to have to fill his time with music lessons and activities.

Because that's how I roll...
Because that's how I roll... Quinn workin' the playdough.

Sigh... this summer will be a bittersweet time, methinks. On one hand, I am overjoyed that he will be moving on to other things. On the other, my little Frog isn't a baby any longer.

"While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about." ~Angela Schwindt