Spring Has Sprung – VI

I realize I have become a trifle obsessive about the garden – perhaps it’s because I know at the end of July I will turn it over to other people to care for.

A colleague asked me why, if the house was sold, would I waste my time working in the garden?

Good question. Possible answers:

  • Pride – damned if I’ll turn over the garden in a sorry state to its new owners.
  • I enjoy it.
  • Plants are living things that, like all living things, need care and nurturing.
  • It keeps me off the wild streets of Aylmer!

Bishop's Scourge to meLynette (Big Ass Belle) was asking what the pretty variegated ground cover was on a previous post. I knew it as Bishop’s Scourge but it is commonly known as Bishop’s Wort or Gout wort. Lovely but invasive – I’ve needed a machete to cut it back the odd time. But it is still a spectacular ground cover for the ferns, hostas and day lilies.
Tall Bleeding Heart
Spreading Bleeding HeartThere are several types of Bleeding Hearts – I believe the low, spreading one is a Japanese variety. The two by the shed have become a good size in the past four years.
Raspberry canes
A few strawberry plants

    When the house was built back in 1885 the kitchen garden was where part of the family room and deck are now. Most of the back was vegetable and fruit gardens (there’s an aerial photo from the ’40s in the City Archives showing the garden and fields down to the river bank.) Every year the remnants of the strawberry and raspberry patches spring up. I just leave them – they bring extra colour and life to the garden.

    Stuff – III – The Kitchen

    I’ve gone through the kitchen and realized that between the house and Laurent’s apartment in Beijing we have enough kitchen “stuff” to open an intimate bistro. Do we really need all those pots, pans, casseroles, the two woks, the bamboo steamer? I certainly haven’t used them much in the past three years – but then I haven’t been entertaining all that often. And when was the last time I used that ginormous wire whisk? As a kitchen utensil? ….. Never mind!

    A design on Hunting SceneAnd the dishes!!!! We have Tante Fernande’s china (York Rose – a rather lovely set that she collected in DUZ detergent during the 40s and 50s, a cup, a plate etc per box), my Crown Staffordshire (Hunting Scene, “a favorite of horse lovers….”) that cannot go in the dishwasher, the old Robertson Stoneworks every day set, the Chinese blue and white set, the…. well you get the picture. And Laurent just bought another set in Beijing to go with those celadon rice bowls we just had to buy in Hong Kong at Christmas.

    The one item I am loathed to chuck out is my Cuisinart Food Processor. I bought it when I first moved to Ottawa over 31 years ago – it came with a James Beard Food Processor cook book that included a recipe for Gazpacho. Gazpacho? Thirty years ago nobody in Ottawa served gazpacho – except at 210-1833 Riverside Drive where it became a find-a-boyfriend-for-the-winter-dinner-menu staple. I even got all the attachment – and of course ended up using only the chopping blade. The motor still runs fine, the blade is still as sharp as a newly-stropped razor but the plastic bowl is cracking and finding a replacement is next to impossible. Question is: do I want to cart it all the way to Italy? Something to think about.

    As a sidebar: In this week’s NYTimes Style section the Minimalist maintain that a good no-frills kitchen can be equipped for $300.00 USD. And he’s right – so maybe I’ll just throw everything out and start all over again!

    Spring Has Sprung – V – Trilliums

    A single trilliumWe were always told as kids that it was illegal to take a trillium out of its natural setting in Ontario. According to the Wikipedia entry this is not the case though it is the law in a few States of the Union and Provinces of the Confederation. Though it may not be against the law, picking or Two trilliumstransplanting a trillium can cause permanent damage or arrest growth. It takes a plant fifteen years to reach the flowering stage and if a flower is picked chances are the plant won’t bloom for another seven years. The seeds are disseminated in a strange way – in ant excrement (see the link above for an explanation, I found it fascinating.)

    I do not know how the three in the corner of our garden got there but Trilliumsthey have bloomed the four springs we’ve lived in the house so I can only assume they’ve been here for at least eleven years. This is the first year they have been so predominant and I only wish there were more of them. Maybe if those ants get busy the new owners will end up with a glorious ungrowth of white in the spring.

    Shortly the entire back of the yard will be covered with a jungle of ostrich plume ferns – at last count there were 51 of them – and the trillims will be hidden as the flowers fade. That back bed is wonderful come early July – shades of green and white with the odd flash of yellow, blue or purple: periwinkle, hostas, day lilies, ostrich ferns and even the accursed Bishop’s Scourge.

    Ferns in the South West corner

    I Have My Doubts…….

    My “blog mama” Lynette over at Big Ass Belle posted her Tarot Card results and the link. And if its on BAB I will always take a look.

    I swear I answered the questions as honestly as I could but there are a few things I question about me being the SUN: intellect? youthful energy? clear thinking? Maybe we should deal again?

    You are The Sun

    Happiness, Content, Joy.

    The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.

    Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.

    The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon’s Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

    What Tarot Card are You?
    Take the Test to Find Out.

    Spring Has Sprung – IV – May 4, 2007

    Conversation the first spring we were in the house – April 2003:
    Blue flowers called???? Laurent: Oh look at those blue flowers. They’ve bloomed over night.
    Me: Yeah, very pretty.
    More blue flowers called???? Laurent: What do you call them?
    Me: Fred and Mildred.
    Laurent: No seriously, they must have a name.
    Me: Damned if I know.
    And more blue flowers called ???
    And I call myself a Gardener!