Friday, May 31, 2013

Snakes in the Garden

There are seven different kinds of snakes in the area around the house and garden. With time I should be able to show you all of them, since we have seen them all over the years. The most common is the eastern garter snake. Although they are completely harmless, I do not like to have them around as they make me jump.
Eastern Garter Snake

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bean Strategies

The vegetable I like best to grow is pole beans. I am not quite sure why, but these Jack-in-the-bean-stalk plants, which are so productive, have a definite attraction for me. The growing season is rather short in our zone 5 garden, so I have to make sure I put all the odds on my side to get as good a crop as possible and have green beans available for the longest period of time. Here is how I grow them.
Pole beans in August

Friday, May 24, 2013

Making Do

After three weeks of sunshine, it has now been raining steadily for three days and nights. Not only is the garden soaked, in some places the paths between the raised beds are flooded (this is the main reason why the beds are raised). Such weather provides an opportunity to do indoor jobs and perhaps some reading.

I am just as interested in gardening books as I am in gardening, and in my opinion, some of the most interesting and practical books, are the ones that were published roughly between 1930 and 1960. Read more to see why.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pavement Gardening (1)

The paths between flower and vegetable beds in this garden are paved with the local stone, Great Lakes dolomite. Tucked among these, are numerous rock garden and low growing plants. At first glance, as in the picture below, you might not notice the many small things that grow in between the stones. These paths are my version of a rock garden with some tough plants you can walk on, and, congregating near the hedges, where they are less likely to be trod upon, other slightly bigger or more fragile plants that like a hot spot in a tight space between rocks.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mulch & Hare

At this time of the year I do a lot of mulching with leaves. Usually our summers are hot and often dry, and mulch can make all the difference when water gets scare. This mulching also regulates the soil temperature and acts in large part as a soil conditioner and fertilizer once the leaves break down. For the strawberry plants below, the mulch also prevents the fruits getting splashed and sitting in mud when it rains.
I conclude the post with the picture of a hare.

Strawberry plants mulched with leaves

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Close Call

After over two weeks of warm and sunny weather, the last two nights have been very cold and produced a crisis of the kind northern gardeners have to face at least once most springs: a frost warning when many things are already up and growing. Our worst night was last night when the gods decided to remind us we live in Canada.

Empty pots covering plants to protect them from frost

Friday, May 10, 2013


Ruthie is a black bear and Roche Fleurie is part of Ruthie’s domain.  You can see her below. The reason you are not getting a close up is because,  if I can help it, I don’t get close to Ruthie. We have both decided to leave a large berth to the other.

Ursus Americanus
Ruthie the Black Bear

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Potty about Pots

I have lots of pots scattered around the garden. They are very attractive, but require a fair bit of management. They have to be emptied and put away for the winter to make sure they are not broken by the frost. They have to be refilled in spring, and filling up the big ones can require a lot of “filling” which has to be bought or has to come from the garden.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mrs Slocum Rises out of the Water

After having spent the last six months immersed in cold water, Mrs Perry D. Slocum has risen out to get ready to grace the garden once again with her great charm and beauty.
Rana clamitans melanota
Witnesses to Mrs Slocum's Rising