Sunday, 16 June 2013


The coldest, wettest spring as far as I can recall, since we came to Canada 20 years ago.

Many of the seeds I started in May rotted instead of germinated, and I've had to start over on quite a few things. This is in direct contrast to last year, when I had an early start to the season and was well ahead. It's frustrating, but at least we don't rely on it to eat.

We do have radishes ready to eat however, and lettuces I shall use, even though they are small, because if they get any bigger, for some reason on our soil they get bitter, long before they bolt. I pretty much treat lettuce as mesclun. Spinach could also be used if I was desperate, as later sowings will take their place.

Some of the seed that failed may have been too old. Some seed stores better than others, and the cucumber seed seem to be no good this year, not a single one came up. Was it the weather or the seed? I really don't know, but it's too late to try again with those as the crop won't be ready before the frosts in September. This is a shame as home-made pickles are vastly superior, but we may have enough to last until next season if we are sparing with them.

So, I had a great day yesterday, got lots of weeding done and put various seeds in, but today it is raining hard. Once it dries out, I'll do more weeding as it's easier in wet soil, but I do get filthy. Martin planted some more trees, our goal is 99.

All the sunflowers I have grown are at exactly the point they should be to be on target for flowering for the wedding in September. But I'll sow a few more seeds in case the forecast hot summer brings them on too early. I'm assuming everything else that's running late will catch up then, but it'll probably mean duff broccoli (again). I am experimenting with growing a few "quick to bolt" plants in the shade of the runner beans, see if that helps.

For those of you who like flower photos, here are the "portraits" I took yesterday.

I have a passion for lupins, they take a whole year to flower but's worth the wait, and they will flower 3-4 years more if you're lucky. This apricot colour goes so well with these:

The "blue" is close to the wild type, and I am trying to get them established as wild here, no luck so far. We also have a few of a darker shade:

Plus yellow:

They all came from the same packet of seeds, some years ago now, and altogether they have a distinct "ice cream" colour palette.

We have some large poppies:

The flowers are short-lived but pretty spectacular, about 6 inches across when fully open. Another thing I'm trying to naturalize, and will keep trying.

So sign of the row of three aquilegia that were beside the poppies last year, but a young one has popped up nearby, and will flower later this week.

But my favourite right now is this blue iris:

The first of well over 20 blooms (I lost count, which is fantastic) on a well established group, all from one original rhizome about 6 years ago.

Less showy, but still adorable is this verbena, and I wish I had more.

The shade garden at the side of the house is coming along slowly. We have a foxglove in full bloom:

And some fancy pansies:

With promise of more to come soon.

By the time I photographed the lilac arch yesterday the light was going, but the blooms will come out more soon anyway, so I'll take another shot later in the week, but you get an idea of it here:

The fragrance is pretty heady, and my potting tables are right behind that, so I get to enjoy it a lot. I also need to prune out inside the archway again too, it keeps trying to fill in. My next project is to plant something where you see brickwall through the arch, that flowers at the same time and is a contrasting colour. Something in the orange range.

Michael created a small flower garden in a raised bed beside the deck. Raised beds here are a magnet for my barn cats, who think they are public washrooms, so when he'd finished putting in the seeds and a few plants we started in pots, he covered the area in cayenne. They hate that.

After this heavy rain we'll go back and put some more down, and will keep doing so through the summer as the flowers grow. Morning glory at the back, sweet peas at the side, and cosmos over the rest. Again, they may flower too soon, but we are aiming for September.

I had some casualties from the last frost, mostly zinnias and antirrhinums, which was a bummer, so now I have gaps. I have things in pots to fill in (I never take any chances) but also as usual, there are a few pretty weeds (viola tricolor, for example) that I just leave be, and they help out. No nigella came back this year as self-seeded volunteers, the first time in ten years, likewise marigolds. I think the weird spring messed with them.

I'm sure I've forgotten something, but thats most of the report, and I'll catch up next week.


  1. Fun to see your garden! It sounds like you had the spring we had last year. This year has been quite nice, with a warm spell in May. We are at a similar stage in terms of flowers, a bit ahead. Thanks for telling me that lupins only bloom three or 4 years. I thought of them as, like, you know, perennial. Mine are half tame, half wild. I'd better write my own blog:), but still too busy planting.

    1. They are either a short-lived perennial or a long-lived biennial, take your pick. But 4 years is about it. Of course, they drop plenty of seed so they do replace themselves. Once you've got lupins, you've got lupins for life.