To Autumn

With autumn nearby, I’ve decided to put this blog to long-term hibernation. Most likely close it down for good.

I very much enjoy gardening and will continue it offline. Blogging about it however, is not as fun as I hoped. I would still like to show images of the garden, as I enjoyed sharing those, so I’m working on a grand idea for that.

In the meantime, you’re free to hang at my concept art website if you want to know what I’m up to now.

Grow well, folks.

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Meadow Achieved

Last week I gave a sneak peek in the last Silent Sunday‘s images of the garden’s meadow progress. Today I wanted to show you a full aerial view of the back garden this time. And now that I look…oh dear that bird bath looks like a big bird (or squirrel) sat on it!

I think the garden looks chaotic, messy…and beautiful. There is no other garden like this one for miles around; everywhere else has dreary manicured or dying lawns and only a few display plants left to themselves. I literally have more flowers in my backyard than all my neighbours’ yards combined. :)

There are quite a few invasives in the pretty meadow, but they turned out to be a lifesaver this summer – Not only did they help shade my sun-scorched vegetables, but the medicinal ‘weeds’ helped to strengthen my bunny’s immune system as she pushed back a stressing URI this month.

Looking over the meadow as it is, I’m happy it turned out so well-considering July’s scorching heat threatened to turn everything brown. Some of the regular grass died off in the center where it hadn’t been mowed since last year….but that’s fine. I do see the need to add in the trees and shrubs where I can. I’ve even got a new plan I’m cooking up for it. But I’ll leave that story for the next blog post.

Until next time!

Silent Sunday – August Meadow


Need More Shade

It’s getting hot, real hot. The grass, hardy thing that it is, is drying up outside our border and even within our lot. We don’t water it directly; it gets runoff from the garden spraying and the way we mow seems to help.

I think it is okay if some grass dies though, the clover is more than welcome to take over as it’s drought-hardy and does help the bees.

The forecast teases us with expected showers or thunderstorms but on the day of the ‘big rain’ we get nothing but clear skies and more heat. Once a week we might get a little bit of rain, if we’re lucky. Our rain barrels are getting close to drying up again. I’m watching the garden with nervousness, worrying what might give up.

I’ve been mulching, watering and shading where I can but the sun seems to be in all corners of the garden now. Scorching everything without a care. My little shaded area for the hosta bed is no more, the sun has managed to reach what I thought would be safe. I’ll have to find a shady place to re-plant them, or they’ll soon be scorched beyond recognition.

Of all the things I’ve learned about gardening this summer, my #1 realization is that there is always more room for shade. It’s no longer a passing thought to have some shade near the center of the yard, it’s now a necessity. I’m convinced the only reason why the garden beds (which house my herbs and veggies) are doing so well is because I let the vineing weeds overgrow and shade out the veggies – the weeds themselves getting scorched in the process. I’m grateful for their help, and a little sad that they’re suffering as well.

I need to find a way to put more shade-giving plants on the south end so that it’ll filter over through the center. Something that overhangs well and reaches up at least 20’…or, a bunch of 10′ tall shrubs scattered about. That could quicken the food forest plans. Hmm.

I’ve got at least another month and a half of full sun headed my way. I’ve got to figure out some more shade soon. Even if temporary.

Stay cool, people!

Grass-Carrying Wasps

Seems we’ve got some grass wasps taking residence on our back porch. The research we’ve done says they’re normally solitary but the ones we have appear to be a hive. There are at least a dozen.

They’re gathering up the wet wood inside the small overhang (both sides) and the posts outside – it rained an hour before that picture, which is why it looks so moist.

Not sure what to do right now. Normally I wouldn’t mind a little hive somewhere out of the way in the backyard as they are good pest consumers but they’re so close to the back door that having a wasp fly in the face is a big possibility. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet! We’re waiting on our local housing area to bring in a pest controller but in the meantime we thought we’d try a couple tricks to deter them.

El and I read that wasps are territorial and would fly away from a fake nest. Instead of running they went straight for it as a free source of pulp. The nerve of them. :)

We also mixed a spray of peppermint, lavendar and tea tree oil and applied it to the wood in hopes that would deter them. They seem to be enjoying the lovely scents.

We’re now waving our white flag and will use an alternate door until they decide to leave or the pest control guys clear them out.

Note: They are not as aggressive as normal wasps, but they can repeatedly sting and anyone allergic to wasps/bee stings would do best to avoid them.

Wannabe Aster [Identified]

Update: This plant is identified as being a type of Fleabane. Possibly Erigeron Philadelphicus or Erigeron Annuus. From what I am researching right now it appears to be a native plant to Ontario. Much thanks to Elerah who figured it out in the comments section below.

The title is the best I’ve got. I’ve looked through some plant databases and cannot find a match for this plant. If anyone has a clue as to what it is please let me know!

What I’ve noticed about it:

  • It blooms in a flower cluster at the top of the plant
  • Only about 15 inches tall – or at least it grows that much every two weeks (when the lawn is mowed)
  • Is hiding in the North/shaded area of the yard
  • It’s sitting with the daisies so I’m guessing loves an acidic soil

If it is a native plant I’ll be transplanting it to a shaded area in the inner circle of the Bee Garden. If you can tell me what it looks like (other than Aster!) but don’t know the exact name for it that’s fine. Thanks either way!

Rain, Rain, Come Back!

El and I have been working on a big garden project over the weekend; a large hosta bed with a 4’x12′ lattice to help shade the bed.

While the weather over the weekend had threatened to thunderstorm, nothing came of it other than hot/dry sunny days. This weather is not the norm here (usually it’s hot/moist) and isn’t so good for the newly transplanted hostas (I’ve still more to plant!).

Painting the lattice has been challenging for two reasons. One is that it’s too hot to stay outside for more than 20 or so minutes with the sun shining down on me. The other challenge is I cannot easily paint in the evening or early morning since every bug in the neighbourhood seems to be attracted to the paint during that time. And I really don’t want to paint the little bugs, either. So I paint in short sessions. Slowly but surely..

City Water By-law/Watering Restrictions

Due to the scarcity of rain in the summer, the city has asked home owners to water their property on even/odd days based off their house number. Our rain barrels have been helping to keep the garden moist for all the days (I don’t want to strain the city’s water resources) and I’ve also added mulch on top of mulch to make sure the beds do not dry up too fast.

The weeds in the garden have been suffering as well and I feel a little guilty when I walk past them with a watering can. I can almost hear their pleas, sometimes I ‘slip’ a little and some water splashes their way… :S

I do hope it will rain soon or our barrels will dry up by July. I think perhaps I should also look into some cheap, lidded garbage bins to store around the garden as extra water reserves for our non-food plants/shrubs.