Friends John and Ann often worked in my garden weeding with me. We would chat about the silliest of things and tease each other mercilessly. One of our goofy activities was planning a “naughty garden”. In this imaginary spot we wood plant all manner of things with risqué names…like Hemerocallis ‘Big Kiss’ or ‘Turkish Night’, or Solidago ‘fireworks’. Well John has not been able to come lately, and so imagine my surprise yesterday when I was weeding, to find Cimicifuga ‘Black Negligée’ next to Hosta ‘Striptease’! I wonder if that was a secret surprise from his last visit here…. or simply one of nature’s tricks.
Another friend of mine shares with me a love of growing most anything. We share garden talk, garden destinations, and garden surprises. This week I met her lovely sister for the first time and we WALATed together at my place. (Walked Around Looking At Things for those of you who don’t know our vocabulary) My friend has been known to give me a surprise bulb (a Voodoo lily!) and I brought her a surprise plant from Toronto. This time she surprised me with…this!
Yes, it’s a lovely heart-warming potato!
I think it’s a hoot. It reminds me of my daughter in a way. Sarah has been working fiercely on her backyard in Edmonton with her family lately. It is a bit of a reverse renovation. She’s a biologist and wants to grow her own food. (That includes potatoes!) So out with the deck!
Being over 6 months pregnant has not stopped her energy. Her dear husband (DH) has returned from work each evening only to remove cement, boards and more. Here’s what she says:
DH just can’t stop saying how the whole feel of the yard has changed, and he wants to be out there constantly. I can’t wait until our veggies start growing (I planted a whole bunch of seeds yesterday), and it will be even nicer. DH is also very happy about how his body has re-shaped itself over the past 3 weeks due to all the heavy physical labor! And our two little ones are just awesome helping out with building raised beds and stuff. It’s wonderful!
There were several reasons for taking out the deck, and part of it was that it was needing some serious attention quite soon (it probably would have lasted another couple years with only minor fixes), but I REALLY wanted to have a decent veggie garden since before we moved in. I’m also taking a Permaculture (permanent agriculture) class right now for a design certificate, and where better to practice and learn than your own backyard?
Since the deck has been removed, it feels way less ‘exposed’ to be in the back yard. The back deck was SO HOT in the summer that you couldn’t go out there without shoes or you’d burn your feet. We’d frequently get temperatures in the mid 40s (115f), it would dry everything out very quickly, and we had to water everything several times a day. We’ll see how this new design works. I suspect it will get warm, but not as warm, and keep the temperature in the evenings much better preventing frost as early in the year (at least that’s part of the hope!). I’m also trying a whole bunch of natural pest attractant stuff (flowers attracting parasitic insects that eat the bugs we don’t want)
I’ve already planted tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans (bush and pole), zucchini, courgette, melons, carrots, onions, lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, beets, broccoli, chives, sage, sunflowers, marigolds, petunias, nasturtiums, zinnias, sweet peas, snap peas and potatoes. I’m hoping to add asparagus (in the fall), radishes, strawberries, turnips, rhubarb, field peas, dill, cilantro, and several other herbs.
Here’s an almost “after” shot with a few more things needed to make it complete – insofar as any garden is complete! I like the tiny chairs for my grandchildren, and look forward to more photos of things filling in.
Do you suppose she was actually watching and listening to her mother all those years? It astonishes me when she asks for advice. I think it is wonderful that she is absorbed by gardening and is teaching her little ones to love it too.
PS: The sign at the local nursery: All good gardeners wet their beds.