|Posted on February 10, 2013 at 9:55 PM|
On Saturday, I went to the Kingston Farm and Garden Co-op Giving Garden to take a look at how things were going with our over wintered crops and to do some initial thinking on what we should be doing at an upcoming pre-season work day planned for February 23rd. While there in the garden, I was joined by Kathy and Paul who are the owners of Farrago Farm and Vineyards and who donate the land for the Giving Garden use; the water for irrigation; snacks for the volunteer workers; and a large amount of their own time to the work effort. We had a lovely visit just standing in the garden and getting caught up after not seeing each other for a while. One of the wonderful things about the Giving Garden is that I am able to work alongside so many truly fine people. They all live such unique and interesting lives and are very hard working people who care a great deal about others in our community. While I am proud of the organically grown produce we provide to the Share Net Food Bank from the Giving Garden, I think the real benefit of volunteering time there is the solid friendships formed and the wonderful time had by everyone as we work together. Before I left, Kathy surprised me with a small gift of whimsy for my garden. Garden ties shaped as frogs and praying mantises. They will be very useful and just plain fun to have residing in the garden - a reminder of my personal good fortune to spend time with the many volunteers at the Giving Garden.
I did not get any time in my own vegetable garden this week other than to do a very few light harvests, instead I chose to use Sunday to work on a tidy up of the front landscape gardens and plantings. Our landscaping is very naturalized and low maintenance, but low is not “no” maintenance and a few times a year I have to tear myself away from the kitchen garden and give some attention to the front yard. I spent 3 full hours working on the front area on Sunday. I got almost done with everything I set out to do, but ran out of energy before I was completely finished. There is about another hours’ worth of work to do to get the terraced perennial flower beds weeded and cultivated and I will being making that a priority for next weekend, before I once again resume my slow but steady work to tidy up the vegetable garden beds in preparation for the coming spring planting. I emptied out the hanging basket planters and composted the spent plants and used garden soil. I then turned my attention to removing a horrible evergreen shrub that has been here ever since we bought the house more than 8 years ago. It had sections that were dead; blocked the view and sun from a reasonably nice azalea bush; and was too close to the front walkway to make passage comfortable. Here’s the offending shrubbery.
Armed with a good hand saw, I proceeded to remove it. The ground cover flowers in that bed will fill in where the shrub was previously. I think it made a great improvement getting it gone. Not sure why I never did that before as I have always detested that shrubbery!
By opening up this bed area my garden fairy (who has resided here ever since we moved to this place) became easier to see for those walking along our front sidewalk. I bought her years ago at Butchart Gardens. She is sitting on a rotten stump that has become completely overgrown with moss and lichens. I think the effect is charming.
Once that task was done, I then gave the tree rhododendron in front of our shop a good pruning before turning my attention to pruning back the hardy fushia bush on the other side of the shop front area. One of my sisters gave me the start to this lovely bush many years ago. It produces beautiful delicate flowers in the late summer through fall but will take over the world if not given a complete hair cut down to a few inches of growth each spring. I skipped pruning it last spring out of pure laziness and it turned into a monster as a result – completely covering up the bird bath positioned next to it. Here’s what it looked like before I tackled the massive pruning work.
And here it is after I cut it down to the growing crown.
This bed has several primroses, clematis, and astilbe plants, as well as the rhododendron and hardy fushia bushes.
The final things I worked on was to use a scythe to knock down the worst of the tall weeds in the naturalized area above the terraced beds; trim the overhanging salal plants from the top edge of the terraced bed; and grubbed out about 1/4th of the terraced bed. At which point I quit for the day as I was weary and getting cold. I have the rest of the terraced perennial flower bed to finish weeding, but that should not take me too long to finish up.
Each Monday Daphne’s Dandelions hosts the “Harvest Monday” blog hop. Everyone participating submits links to their posts summarizing the week’s harvests. It’s always very interesting and inspiring to see what other gardeners are producing from so many different growing regions. Here’s my contribution to the weekly harvest recaps for the week of February 4th through 10th, 2013.
I harvested some lettuce earlier this week from the containers on the deck. The majority of the lettuces are spent but there was enough good new growth there to provide us with a small salad for one of our evening meals. I failed to get a picture of it though. On Sunday, I harvested some Siberian Dwarf Improved kale.
The fresh harvests are rather minimal right now as we are busy using up our storage and frozen items from the prior year’s garden. For those of you on the east coast of the United States digging out from the recent blizzard... I send my wishes for a fast return to more pre-spring like conditions.