Guest post by Emira Mears
Sometime around last weekend the lilac in my backyard burst into bloom. Since then we’ve been enjoying stunning cut blooms and scent in the house. As I was bringing the cuttings into the house, I was reminded of last year around this time when I made my partner go out under the cover of night stealing blooms from alleyways for me (none of the neighbours I was friendly with on the block had lilacs).
Perhaps as evidenced by my willingness to push someone into theivery, lilacs are among my favorite flowers/plants, and when we found this house last summer the large health lilac tree beside the garage was among the “pros” on my feature list (it kind of made up for the very bad wall to wall brown carpeting). In fact, last Spring, when we were beginning to think about buying a place “must have, or have room to plant” lilac tree was on my list of qualities that would make the ideal home. And I’ve been looking forward to this season when I would get to experience its blooms since last summer.
Funnily enough though, while I’m certainly enjoying, it is no longer really the centre of the garden the way it was when I first identified it. As I continue to put work, thought and plans into the garden I’m finding that I’ve got so many favorite corners that delight me in slightly less ostentatious ways. Everything from my well monitored seeds in the veggie garden, to the successful reclaiming of my rosebushes from an aphid attack occupy my gardening thoughts deflecting my past obsession with the showy splendour of a lilac in bloom. I think I like it better this way.
This year will go down in history as the year I not only started seeds on time, organized all seeds by category (direct sow, indoor starts, and never-going-to-grow-it-so-trade-it-already), AND managed to draw up some kind of “plan” beyond casual (and quickly forgetten) mental lists. I rule. For now. We’ll see what happens when transplant buying season begins. I have a little problem with plant-related impulse buys that completely throw well-made plans out the window.
Regardless, bear witness to my awesomeness.
Nine containers were washed, filled with seed-starting mix and planted up with nine carefully chosen veggies:
- Hot Pepper ‘Fish’
- Sweet Pepper ‘Pepperoncini’
- Eggplant ‘Turkish Orange’
- Tomato ‘Broad Ripple Yellow Currant’
- Tomato ‘Sunrise III’
- Tomato ‘Silver Fir Tree’
- Tomato ‘Black Pear’
- Tomato ‘Ceylon’
- Tomato ‘Costoluto Genovese’
Two smaller 4-cell packs were washed, filled with seed-starting mix and planted with annuals:
- Nicotiana sylvestris
- Pansy ‘Can Can‘
The humidity dome pictured is actually a used plastic container that once held salad mix. I just flipped it over, making the lid my tray, and the container my dome. Good-sized take-away containers also work well.
I also transplanted the African violet seedlings that were grown from leaf cuttings. Some of the original leaves had good-sized stems so I recut them and started again.
The weather was beautiful a few days ago so I headed off to the community garden and popped in a few sugar peas ‘Carouby de Maussane’ (sweet peas with ornamental, purple flowers).
And finally, my newest seed shipment arrived this week along with a few recent trades. I couldn’t resist a pack of ‘Baie Vert’ pole beans from Colette’s stand at the Farmer’s Market this week. I am easily enticed by the words “rare heirloom” and back stories that involve trades between Acadians and Native groups. I just put in two additional seed orders today. The only thing I didn’t manage to get on my list was ‘purple mizuna‘. Regardless, if the stacks of seed packets are any indication, all of my bases are pretty much covered.
I spent the day selling t-shirts and books at the Toronto Seedy Saturday event this weekend. It really is growing bigger and better every year (see a pic here). The aisles were packed with excited gardeners from 10 am on and I got to meet a lot of great people, talk gardening (my voice is hoarse), and get rid of extra seeds (gotta make room for the new). Even though I only had a few short minutes to run around and shop, I still managed to bring home the motherlode.
I know it’s geeky but I like to stop in bookstores to check for the book. If I’m in a new city I’ll check in stores I pass on the street, and in my own city I’ll check in stores I know carry it just to see it on the shelf. It’s still a huge thrill almost a year later. One time my brother was with me and he yelled out, “This is my sister’s book!”
Here I am in the Chapters in Ottawa:
Here it is in a store window:
And taken with a really bad camera phone:
Things are coming along swell on the rooftop garden. In fact, this is turning out to be my best year ever! The weather has been incredibly hot and dry, and as a result I have been out there religiously watering containers, sometimes as much as twice per day. But the combination of heat and consistent watering has resulted in a stellar turnout, especially for plants such as basil and tomato that suffered in last summer’s cool, grey weather.