Spring is Finally in the Air! By Garden Girl (Dawn Jane Guay) APRIL 13, 2015

Secret GardenCFN – My, oh my, oh my, oh my! Hibernation ends! It has been so absolutely beautiful these past few days and I find myself here, struck fully and completely by garden fever. This may be the worst case yet! I am so glad to feel I am finally taking a turn for the better and actually learning (quite quickly!) from past mistakes.

Instead of procrastinating, like every other year, this year I happily layered up and went at it. This has paid off big time! I dare say my garden is just about ready for this year’s inhabitants! My husband continues to hint that we don’t need 28 tomato plants like last year… I say we had the best tomato crop ever last year and this year I imagine will be even better. Maybe this year we’ll preserve more… In other words, I liked 28 plants…

I love, love, love gardening. Which is interesting, considering that just ten years ago I couldn’t even keep a houseplant alive…!

The past few years we have focussed mostly on produce, with a few flower bulbs added to the ones that were already here and some rosebushes. This year I have taken it a step further to plan floral/fragrant additions. This has me so excited! I have drawn up countless designs of how I want it to look, I have categorised all the new planned additions according to height and I am even learning a little Latin too! I feel now that we have something of a rhythm when it comes to our veg garden and we can now explore further into landscaping this vast property. Last year everything seemed to go amazing and the things that didn’t we knew the reasons why. Especially when the drowned garden of 2013 comes to mind… Ugh.

Speaking of that drowned garden disaster of 2013, one would think a rose hedge where said garden drowned would be a horrible idea. It is a horrible idea and I cannot believe that detail escaped me when planning my glorious hedge. With some emergency trench building and a few prayers we have yet to see if I’ve completely murdered any of the 4 bushes that were submerged in Lake Guay, just a few days ago. My husband provided hope when he reminded me that the roots were still frozen and if we can divert the lake we may be able to save them. Needless to say, my muscles have been shaking the past three days and I find it very difficult to get in and out of vehicles. Even that hasn’t stopped me from bounding outdoors today just after sunrise. I should dig the new holes to move them out of the floodplain tomorrow…

On another note, I get the greatest joy seeing the tiny crocus’ pop their bright yellow heads out from the dead grass. The first one has been out for over a week which is so nice because my tulips and hyacinths were still completely covered in ice at that point. Easter Sunday I found myself envying Riverdale’s tulips, already out of the ground, standing proudly, charging towards the sun.

Today found me pulling the tiny steadfast weeds from around my tulips just barely poking out of the ground. I swear, when you have a garden, every day seems like Christmas. Every morning I hurry out to see the new growth. I can’t wait to see last year’s additions come to fruit and I can’t wait to add the bulbs that are flowering in our house to next year’s show. This year I made it a point to take pictures so that I have something to compare the grown in pictures to. I always seem to remember taking pictures of my grown garden, funny how that works…

With the ground being so wet this early in the year, it takes almost no effort to pull the weeds up and our corn that was too hard to pull last fall came out with barely a fight! I wish now I left the sunflowers too, instead of cutting them at the base last fall in frustration. I was so mad at the sunflowers for being so difficult that I defiantly left the corn… Who knew it would work in my favour?!

As well, the lilies and iris’ were also no trouble to clean up in comparison to doing it in fall. I feel like I have got off to an amazing start by just taking advantage of the water logged ground! By the time I got to the garden last year the bugs were out in full force and the ground wasn’t so water logged, making the pulling so much harder than necessary.

My next venture is round two of starting seeds indoors. Last year I made the mistake of not taking the plastic dome off when the sprouts emerged (I planted multi seeds in the flat, not paying attention to germinating periods… Rooky mistake…). I ended up killing most of the tray, twice. Not this year! No, this year I am the (wo)man with the plan. One type of seed per tray and pray!

I learned about something last week that I’ve NEVER heard of. I have been having problems with bugs (aphids, sawflies?) on my roses. Eating the leaves and basically making a skeleton of my favourite bushes. Thankfully the insects are not strong enough to completely kill them, but come October, there is nothing left but leaf spines. Reading a column by another Ontario gardener who preached the benefits of “Dormant Spray” I was dumbfounded. How have I not heard of this?

Immediately I looked it up and was amazed. Apparently this refined mineral oil and lime sulphur spray (all natural) kill overwintering insects on the dormant roses! I am so hoping that this is the missing piece to my rose nirvana.

Recently I watched a movie that I’ve seen once but not watched for over 25 years, The Secret Garden. This version in particular was filmed at Highclere Castle in England (Downton Abbey) and has a very young Colin Firth in it. Immediately I remembered why I loved it. The garden went from brown and drab to colourful and bright. “Fountains and curtains of roses” is a favourite line from it, describing the garden when in bloom.

Ultimately, I find a great garden, no matter how small or big, feels like a bit of heaven on Earth. One day I hope to look at my own and feel that feeling but right now there is way too much room for improvement. Mind you, it does feel closer now than it’s ever been, and I look forward to the slow journey of getting there.

Is it wrong that I’ve already imagined afternoon tea and cakes by the foxglove/delphineum stand that doesn’t exist yet?

1 Comment

  1. A very entertaining and informative article by Dawn
    Wish she lived closer to Durham to be able to feature her garden in an annual garden tour that supports Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre.

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