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Here we go again

April 21, 2017

Holy, moly, I am going to be so bloody sore tomorrow – from my calves to my ass. (I know all these muscles are connected, but it just doesn’t seem fair that several hours of squatting should give you a sore butt for three days.)

Yes, as you’ve probably guessed, I’ve just had my first full day in the garden. I know it’s late to be getting started, but after a long, freakishly cold and snowy winter, spring started late this year.

For the first time since I moved from Ontario to British Columbia in 1990, I am reminded of that song about April showers bringing May flowers. Here in the temperate rainforest it’s usually March showers bringing April flowers (or even February showers bringing March flowers). This isn’t usual. Today was the first day it hasn’t rained in I don’t know how long. Showers forecast to start up again tomorrow, so there was a lot to get done today. (Fortunately I did spend time in the garden, clearing out the branches, twigs and pine cones back in March, so I wasn’t starting from scratch.)

First job of the day is to weed the large raised bed and dig in some fresh sea soil. That accomplished, it was time to plant some peas.

raised bed

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Most of the bed is now covered with bed liner. Why? Because I know my cats and they consider a freshly dug over bed to be a lovely giant litter box. When I do get around to planting the rest of the bed, I would prefer not to have to begin by digging out cat turds.

Which begs the question of what to plant. Last year was a disaster. Granted, after two or three ridiculously long, ridiculously hot summers, normal weather service resumed last year. A lovely May followed by the return of Juneuary, which spread into July, but still.

Although I managed to grow a reasonable crop of beets in 2013, they’ve been pretty sad and stunted ever since. Ditto carrots. As for lettuce and rocket, pretty much zilch. So, with no greenhouse to get things started, do I try to grow things from seed again this year or do I just bite the bullet and buy small plants and if so, what? (Actually, I did buy a sort of greenhouse thingy last year, but, as you may recall, it turned out there wasn’t enough sun anywhere in the back to sprout anything except algae.)

Well, these are decisions that can wait, I suppose.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to say that,  despite the long winter and late, wet spring, things are ticking along nicely. The berry bushes all have leaves, the strawberries are coming along nicely. The roses seem to have survived the winter and are sprouting new growth. Giving them a good helping of compost was job number two today, although not until I’d put the cushions on the swing for the first time this year and had my first cup of tea in the garden. (Already looking to reading on the swing with Stella this summer.)

rhodo 1

As you may recall from last spring, my friend Rhodo Dave was horrified to learn that I was under the impression rhododendrons could thrive on water and sun. He’s taken on my two rhododendrons as a project and I am pleased to say that, thanks to his ministrations, both will definitely be flowering this year for the first time since I bought them two years ago. (Obviously Roxie is very impressed.)

I am even more excited to report a semi-miracle involving the twenty-year-old lilac tree that somehow survived with no attention from Mike for years. It is now a very decent height, but, as regular readers will know, only once in those years has the tree actually flowered.

2013-05-05 lilac

That was in 2013, when it produced three or four blossoms. My friend Krys had been in charge of the garden for most of April and I suspected she must have been feeding it steak (or something) in my absence. No blossoms since, but look!

lilac

Okay, you may not be able to make much out in this photo, but that’s an honest to god flower – and they are all over the tree. Thanks to Rhodo Dave’s suggestion that I might actually want to feed the poor thing, it seems I finally have a lilac tree that  produces lilacs!

A bloody good start that I think merits a G&T.

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PS: Oh, for fuck’s sake. Speaking of pains in the bloody ass… I just attempted to load this first entry for 2017 on the garden blog I’ve been writing for several bloody years and bloody Blogspot absolutely fucking refuses to recognise me as the author of my own bloody blog. So, as I’ve now said in the first entry of the new category, The Constantly Frustrated Gardener, I guess the horticultural news is moving here. Gah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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