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My Other Distraction

It's been quite a few years since I last took gardening seriously. I know it's a cliche, but the Quar really brought it out of me. The focus is herbs and vegetables. Not nearly enough space to feed our family in any meaningful way, but good for me and for us in many ways. What you can't see are the many solar lights around. I bought and installed a 250 light string yesterday, powered by solar. Only $20, 50% off. It looks magical after dark. I want to buy ten of them.

I found that rocker in an alley near our place. Needs some work.

This little garden is as close to a shrine as I get. Lots of meaningful things in here.

The long view. The steps on the left go down to our place, so the rock garden is the first thing you see when you walk out. That tree got wrapped in another string of solar lights yesterday. All very special.

This is actually in our driveway on an upper level. I'm using these old bins as repurposed containers for the stuff that needs room.

In my garden, currently:

  • Tomatoes - At least 4 varieties, mostly cherry and grape, but 2 "Chocolate Rainbow" so we'll see how they turn out.

  • Snow peas - Lots, and they are doing better than I have ever seen.

  • Strawberries - Both cultivated and wild. My in-laws gave me some wild strawberry plants from a field in Abbotsford a few years ago. They are still going strong.

  • Spinach - Never grown spinach before, going gang-busters

  • Beans - No idea what kind.

  • Zucchini

  • Pumpkin

  • Radishes - So many radishes. A packet of radish seeds showed up mysteriously one day and I planted them all. I actually don't care for radishes that much, they're okay. Now I have an embarrassment of radishes.

  • Corn - Never grown corn before. An experiment.

  • Green peppers - Never grown these before, either.

  • Hot peppers - Not sure what kind. 2 medium and 2 hot. Never had much luck with them before. Seem to be doing well.

  • Assorted mystery vegetables - My mother-in-law sprouted a bunch of seeds in about 60 little starter cups, then gave the whole thing to me. Nothing is labeled, so I have no idea most of them are. I've transplanted them all and they are doing great. Peas, beans, and pumpkin are obvious, I think there's a few tomatoes, lots of radishes again maybe, broccoli? Chard? We shall see.

  • Thyme - 2 kinds. One is clearly a spreading ground cover so I have to find a good ground spot for it.

  • Oregano - It's kind of hilarious that I have oregano in pots because it is growing wild all over our yard. There is a patch in one lawn that is 8 feet across. Alex refuses to mow it.

  • Rosemary - Once again I try my hand at rosemary. Never had much luck. Apparently they don't like to be transplanted.

  • Parsley

  • Dill

  • Chives

  • Green onion

  • Basil - I bought a raft of basil a couple of days ago, plus a neighbour gave me a bunch of starts. I'm making pesto.

  • Mint - 2 varieties. One mysterious that I think our upstairs neighbour planted a couple of years ago. Since I moved it into the sun and cleaned out its pot, it has been scarily prolific, almost alien in how lush and verdant it has become. The other is orange mint, intense citrus mint flavour, good for tea apparently.

  • Blueberries and raspberries - My in-laws again. One bush each in large pots.

  • Stevia - I never expected to run across stevia in a nursery, but there it was. I couldn't say no. It is doing very well. The leaves really are super sweet. Alex is fascinated by this.

  • Wheat grass - I bought it at Save On. It's gone feral.

  • Lavender

  • Hydrangea

  • Marigold - To keep pests away

  • Pansies - So many pansies. Cheap and cheerful, I love them. Two of them are wild lawn pansies, one purple and one white edged with purple. They think they died and went to heaven.

  • Gardenia

  • Fuchsia

  • Chrysanthemum

  • Osteospermum

  • My "forever flower" - I have no idea what this is, but it was given to me by an elderly Chinese woman with very little English in our neighbourhood while I was out walking Rowan. It has a place of honour in my garden and is loving that place. She mentioned a yellow flower. We shall see.

  • Salvia - I don't know if this is Salvia divinorum, the trippy kind.

  • Stargazer lily - A gift that Lisa got last year. (?) They are coming back, big time.

  • Iris - a big pot of them. No blooms yet.

  • Bluebells - A very pretty wild species. Lisa brought a big pot of them home from work last year.

  • Sunflowers - From seed, and I started them just 5 or so days ago. But they are bursting out of the soil. It's an almost spiritual experience watching them spring up, some of the sprouts still wearing the shells as little hats.

  • Hen and chick - In our special little rock garden, the one with the frogs, I have 3 different hen and chicks. One is around 13 years old, originating at our first house on Mary St. One I found on the sidewalk one day. Turns out that bit of sidewalk was in front of the house belonging to the elderly Chinese woman mentioned earlier, and when I thanked her for leaving out the plant, she gave me the "forever flower." It was a very sweet moment. And one is from a friend of mine's garden. So that's nice.

  • Poppies - The jury is out on the poppies. They are "Flanders Field" poppies, from seed. I planted them in fresh soil in the rock garden, but I don't know. Iffy.

  • Tulip and daffodil - From a mixed pot I bought for Lisa a few months ago. Also with some pansies. These are the plants that kicked this whole thing off. I put them in a big pot we had by the front door. It already had a couple old pansies and chrysanthemums in it that were questionable. I cleaned it out, aerated the soil a bit, added the new stuff. Then I put more pansies and a bit of ivy in there, and I was off to the races.

  • Roses - 2 medium-sized bushes in big pots. Haven't bloomed yet.

  • Mysterious bush? Tree? - It belongs to our upstairs neighbours, and there is a translation problem.

  • Weeds - After I planted the first big container, I began cleaning out the many pots of weed-choked dirt that littered the back yard, my previous efforts, neglected for at least two years. All the weeds went in the compost, I dumped the old soil into a pile and pulled out all the rocks and gravel. I then used the stones (I love stones), along with new soil to fill the old pots and plant new starters from the nearby Rona (initially). The whole thing was very cathartic. I kept one pot of weeds, though, an especially prolific one. I have done nothing to it except water it, and boy, are those happy weeds. It's a pretty potent symbol for me. I like having it around as a handy reminder of how much I've changed over the past five months. For the better, glad to say.

This is Rowan. His quality of life has just increased dramatically.

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