Edmontonians start planting en masse during the May long weekend when chances of frost have passed. But northern Europeans apparently plant in the fall. So, I decided to experiment and planted a half of my vegetable garden today. The part past the stepping stones is still frozen so I didn’t go there. Let’s see if we get carrots in July!
The best outcome of this long winter is that I discovered orchid gardening. I bought a wire shelf and scavenged several orchids on half price sales. The source of my inspiration is this orchid from Felicity. It started to bloom some time in the late fall and is still going and going… I have never heard of flowers blooming this long. My husband even asked if it was plastic.
A bit of snow melted along the pathway and this creeping veronica got exposed to the elements. Instead of shrivelling up in our -10 nights it decided to bloom. Those delicate purple flowers are coming out while I am still putting on my parka. And it’s blooming right next to four feet of snow! Even the spring bulbs are nowhere to be seen. I admire such optimism.
This is the day of the People’s March. Perhaps in solidarity with the million Brits who came out – and just at the very moment they were gathering – London fog covered Edmonton. Our house is on a bit of a hill so this view from our garden doesn’t do it justice: the air was as white as I have ever seen. I was with the marchers in spirit and I am glad the weather concurred.
There is nothing more cheerful than the sight of dirty, brown water running down the street in the spring. Fascination with spring run-off never ceases. My husband and I had to fight for the ice pick and who gets to clear the water pathways. Our neighbours are out there poking away too. For us almost seniors it’s a return to childhood.
I don’t know if archeologist Marija Gimbutas was right in asserting that Upper Palaeolithic people of Europe worshiped an earth goddesses as the source of all life. However, if they didn’t then someone surely should have. The idea that my entire colourful garden emerges out of this muck is sufficiently miraculous to warrant at least some worship.
Our garden is protected by white buildings on all three sides and forms a powerful microclimate. Today I wore a parka to run errands but then drank tea in the back yard and had to peel off layers down to a skimpy T-shirt. All the poor pedestrians blown about by the wind must have admired my nordic “stamina”.
Bad news is like an invasive species of house sparrows. It comes in flocks, makes a loud, annoying racket and eventually departs. The garden usually provides solace but it’s covered under several feet of snow. At least there are puddles, looking into their blue reflections is an extra strength dose of happiness.
I went out onto the balcony in my housecoat and slippers today as the snow was gone and it was mostly dry. (Of course, we helped it along and shovelled away two feet of the stuff.) I managed to stay out there three minutes tops, but in that time I heard the best music of all: the sound of water dripping. It’s the best Prozac nature provides.
This has been the coldest February in 40 years. With windchills as low as -40c on an almost daily basis going out has been… well, uninspiring. I have been longing to see sings of life amidst all the whiteness and found a solution at the Wild Bird Store. We now have five different bird feeders by the dining room window. The silence is gone, there are dozens of bird couples keeping us company as we eat.