Archive for August, 2010

Crazy, For Loving You

Crocus tommasinianus

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, I am crazy, crazy that is over tommies.      

We are on a first name basis, crocus tommasinianus and I, tommies are the most gorgeous (I think) of the crocus bulbs.      

Crocus tommasinianus are (supposed) to be one of the most squirrel proof crocus, and with the squirrel mafia that hangs out at Kilbourne Grove, I need that.      

This past spring Gail, posted the most amazing picture on her blog. Millions of crocus tommasinianus in flower in a wooded area near her house.      

I fell in love.      

But I could not find any supplier of crocus tommasinanus in Canada, and my dream just slowly faded away.      

But a month ago, Gail once again posted the picture and awakened my lust all over again. She was going to buy (and plant) not 50, not 100, not 500, but 1,000 crocus tommasinianus.      

Ooooh, I wanted them too!      

So I sent out a few emails too a couple of Canadian suppliers. Could they get me them as a special order? One of them came through. I now have 1,000 crocus  on order.      

Stay tuned!      


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Garlic Fe(a)st

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I love garlic. I love it in all ways, raw, sautéed but I especially love it roasted. I am getting hungry just thinking about it.

I do not grow a lot of different vegetables and herbs, my garden is quite shady, but I do grow garlic every year. It is so easy, that I feel slightly guilty even writing about it.  In September, I just push a clove of garlic in, point side up, in rows about 6 inches apart with the cloves 6 inches apart as well.  Thats it, that is all I do.

In the spring they start growing, and growing.  I do cut the scapes off when they start straightening up, they are quite curly at first.  The first year I grew the garlic, I didn’t cut them off, I wanted to see what they looked like.  They were nice, looked like a chive flower, but larger. 
What a mistake, they went to seed, and I had/have a million little garlic seedlings growing in my Kitchen Garden. Never again.

In August, when the 3 or 4 sets of the lower leaves start browning, I dig them up, shake most of the soil off them and lay them out to dry.

After they have been drying for a week, I rub a layer of the old dirty skin off, revealing the fresh white skin underneath, cut the top off and the roots.

If you are curious to see what my garlic looked like last year, I think the bulbs were even larger, you can read about it here.

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The Great Wall

There is an old saying that ‘practice makes perfect’ and Ian is taking it to heart. 

When we laid the limestone path and drip strip beside our garage, we had to sort the multitude of rocks that we find all throughout the garden.  The round ones we used in the drip strip, but the flat ones we put aside.  At the front of our house, the lawn down to the sidewalk is in two tiers. There is a grassy slope between the two, and I find it difficult to cut the grass on it.  I have long admired the stacked stone retaining walls in the neighbourhood and thought that one would be lovely here and solve the grass problem.

I suggested to Ian that we should get an idea of how much stone we will need to build this wall.  So he decided as he was moving it from beside the garage to build a small freestanding wall, just to give him the practice. He was like a little kid with a new toy, I guess it is like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

He actually did a great job, especially for his first attempt.

We discovered that we do not have enough (duh). The wall needs to be thicker. longer and just a bit taller.  Now the decision needs to be made, do we purchase the balance of the stone needed, or do we wait and see how many more we can discover in the garden.  I bet Ian votes for waiting, lol.

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Drip Strip

There is a big drip at my house.  Actually at my garage.  We have a metal roof on the garage and when it rains, the water just pours over the edge of the roof.  We had a bark mulch on the ground beside the garage, and the rain would splash it on the side of the garage, not attractive.

Just a few of the rocks we find, everytime we dig a hole in the garden.

When I was changing the paths in the Flora Glade, we changed this as well.

After raking up the bark mulch we raked the limestone screening smooth.

When it rains really hard, not only do you get splash marks on the garage, but the rain would actually dig a line into the ground. I found a design in a magazine where the homeower had actually made a splash pad to prevent dirt splashing on the side of her house, so I thought that I could do the same with my garage. I used some of the 50 million rocks that we had found over the years and made a narrow strip next to the garage. I only used the cobble like rocks and a few chunks of brick, the larger flat stones we are saving for another project.

Now, when the rain water hurls itself over the edge of the garage roof it hits the cobbles and bounces away harmlessly.  I would love to have some kind of garden beside the garage, but it would have to be herbaceous perennials only, in the winter huge sheets of ice can fall from the metal roof, and they could crush anything in its path. Or maybe I could make a garden around the base of the silver maple beside the garage and just have a narrow path between it and the garage. Or I could espalier something on the side of the garage, or there are the shutters I found at the farmers market…

 I have lots of time to think it over, Ian thinks I have enough garden beds now, and should stop. Is he crazy?

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On The Beach

I am not really on the beach, but every time I look at my new path, it reminds me of sand.  It is not ‘sandy’ coloured, so it must be the texture. I am not sure that I like it, I am hoping after all that work that I just have to get used to it.

When I laid out the Flora Glade, 4 years ago, I used the very lazy mans method of gardening. The lasagna method.  I laid out all my beds with bricks, placed a very thick layer of newspapers down, and then added a deep layer of topsoil.  For the paths, I also laid newspapers, then covered the newspapers with a thick layer of bark chips. I never wanted to leave the bark chips as a permanent feature, but we had a lot of them when a tree came down on our property. So I used them. 

They weren’t a perfect solution. As they decomposed, they turned to soil, which is good, but not for paths, and weeds grew in it, which is also not good.

So last week, I finally did something about it. We changed our paths.

First all the wood chips were raked up, and used as mulch on the existing flower beds. 

 Then I had to weed. Oh, it needed to be done.

Then the stone was wheeled in. I gave this a lot of thought, It might not appear like I did, but I did. There is not a huge selection of places in Owen Sound to get stone for paths, but I went to all of them, and looked at what they had. I decided to get what I call limestone screening, but might also be called stonedust. I had pea gravel paths in Kingston and really loved them, but I found that they were not firm enough under foot. I thought maybe we had laid it too thick, so this time I would have a layer of stonedust under it, and then the peagravel could be a very thin layer over top.

The stonedust was laid down

Do you think Ian deserves a new pair of trousers?

 and raked smooth (kind of) and became firmer the more I walked over it.

The  path is much wider here, although that is temporary. One day we hope to attatch a pergola to the back of the garage. That will be 6 feet deep, and will take the path down to a normal width. The clay pot is there, marking a high tree root. The tree had been cut down before we bought the house, and the stump removed, at least all of it except this one root.

We got rain one day and that really caused the stonedust to pack down, it became as hard as stone, lol.  I am hoping that the weeds will grow much more slowly in this, as it is such a hard surface, but we will see. Maybe next year, we will add the peagravel.

While we were at it, Ian even built a step up between his new pillars.


I was really proud of myself until my dad came by later in the week. I proudly showed him the new paths and felt really pleased until he told me we should have laid the pea gravel at the same time. That way, when it rained, the peagravel would have sank into the stonedust, and when it dried out the peagravel would have firmed up, and it ‘would not roll around so much’. Now he tells me!

I am hoping that I will get used to the pale paths, and they will stop standing out so much, I mean they are stone coloured.  What do you think?

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