Due to our family needing to social distance even more than most I am avoiding in-store shopping altogether and subscribed to the Organic Box. It arrives weekly with some great local produce. This spinach arrived with its roots in tact – it may have been grown hydroponically. Instead of tossing them out, I put them in a bowl of water until the frost receded and planted them today. Let’s hope they survive the frosty night!
Edmontonians have never longed for spring as much as this year, and it has been long coming. We still have a few feet of snow in the shady part of the garden, but the wait is over. Spring is here and the nasturtium plants I seeded indoors are now happily soaking in the light. It’s still below 0 at night but they are doing just fine. In the midst of global turmoil these little plants seem almost angelic, like winged messengers of good cheer.
Between my daughter’s move to Calgary and community projects there has been no time for the garden. Weeds are thriving, and looking throughly happy, but me not so much. I can’t walk home without thinking that the neighbours are upset as my house is lowering property prices in the neighbourhood. Thank goodness for this strawberry hydrangea. It creates such a startling focal point that it’s hard to look at anything else.
Ligularias are bog plants. Since Alberta has extensive badlands, even an occasional native cactus can be found outside of the city, it’s not the best place for these water loving plants. Poor things have been struggling for years. This summer they are finally having the time of their lives. They grew taller than me and spread through the garden taking over other plants. I can feel their joy.
One of these lilies was growing in the back of the garden. It never bloomed and looked remarkably ugly. Taking my cue from the story of the ugly duckling, I gave it a second chance in a more sunny spot. It not only bloomed profusely, but also multiplied. Now it’s growing all over my garden. In fact, I am looking for someone who can give the baby lilies a new home. Any takers?
The back of the garden is largely neglected so I let a bunch of unusual looking weeds grow among bushes. These bellflowers were among them. This is the first year in the past seven years that they bloomed so gloriously. It’s almost Biblical. Perhaps there is a message in their resilience.
I had to go to an art gallery yesterday in connection with a somewhat stressful community project. Within minutes of the meeting I realized that I had met a kindred spirit. We bonded over gardens. As my new friend told me, most artists have gardens. Perhaps nothing we do in art school compares to the joy that our gardens offer communities. Years ago that would have been a depressing thought, now it’s just liberating.
The family who owned our house bought it in 1945. The husband was an avid gardener but he passed away in the 60’s. Many of his plants survived but some were covered over by bushes. Whenever I find an usual looking weed, I replant it and watch what happens. This is the result of one such foundling: a beautiful martagon lily.
We have been planting garlic for years but threw out the green bits. My new son-in-law told me that garlic scapes sell at high prices at specialty markets. So, this year I made a pesto. It was great but a bit strong – apparently putting it in the freezer reduces pungency. It was very simple: garlic scapes, lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts, sprinkle with parmesan. I never follow exact amounts as it’s far more interesting to see what turns out.
The prairies are not exactly known for vibrant colour so most Edmontonians love annuals. I am one of the few gardeners that’s saddened by them. After all, they only last a few short months in our climate. Perennials survive deep under the snow and are “reincarnated” every spring. Yet, I can’t resist planting begonias, exuberance overcomes their fragility.