Tag Archives: gardening

Master gardener

images-1As the weather is getting pretty nice around my part of the world, I decided to put in my bedding plants this week. Also, the weeds were threatening to take over my flower boxes, so that helped me decide, too.

I dropped into a garden shop on my way home from work. I had absolutely no idea what I actually wanted to plant, couldn’t remember how many pots I had to fill, had no clue whether or not I had used up all the bone meal last year, and didn’t have my trusty plastic sheet with which to protect my trunk. Yep, fully prepared, wasn’t I?

Undeterred by stark facts, I blithely picked up a trolley and proceeded to fill it with plants. As I wandered the aisles, things became clearer: a flat of pink petunias for the flower boxes (the exact number wouldn’t matter, as those suckers spread like peanut butter), a few impatiens for the huge pot on my front balcony that doesn’t get direct sunlight, a shade-happy geranium or begonia or whatever it is (I’m not much on the names of plants. Colours are my thing.) for the other pot that sits beside that huge one on my front balcony. For the sunny back pation, I wanted something white in a black pot, some blue trailing things (lobelia maybe?) with some taller yellow flowers for a long trough-like planter, and something purple for fun – and hopefully, I had an extra pot for that.

From a fundraiser at my school, I had already purchased two hanging baskets (one of which is my traditional Mother’s Day present from DD. Hopefully, she’ll remember to pay me this year. It’s rather awkward asking your own daughter to give you money for a Mother’s Day that you have already bought for yourself.) and a 12-inch mixed planter, so I was trying to coordinate with their colours. From memory. But I did pretty well, despite my pretty much total unpreparedness. There may be just a bit too much yellow, but I can just move the pots around as the plants start flowering more.

The only thing I missed was getting enough dirt to do all this planting.

And that is such a weird thing. My yard isn’t enormous, but I do have grass and a wide dirt border that contains a couple of tall cedar trees, a number of rhododendron bushes (or are they azelias? Not sure…), a heather plant, a rhubarb plant that was taken from a clipping from the rhubarb plant in the back garden of the house in which I grew up – a plant with historical value, obviously. And there are weeds. Lots of weeds at the moment. I have weeded a couple of times this spring, but the damn weeds keep coming back. I keep meaning to plant something like periwinkle that will spread and eventually choke out all the weeds while looking nice and green with purply-blue flowers, but that hasn’t happened yet.

So why do I have to keep buying dirt? I have dirt in that wide border around my yard. Plants grow in it, so it must be okay, as far as dirt goes. But every year, I buy dirt for all my pots. I buy dirt to add to my flower boxes. Where does it go year after year? Is one of my neighbours stealing my dirt in the night for their own gardens? Does the dirt go south for the winter and never return? I can’t believe that it just sinks. That doesn’t even make sense! And where do garden shops get their dirt anyway? From people’s gardens?

Anyway, as I said, I didn’t buy enough dirt. I didn’t feel like going back to the store. I wanted to plant right then. So I divided up my one bag of dirt so that all the pots got some, but no one pot was as full as I would have liked. Then I topped them up with dirt from my yard, threw in handfuls of bone meal, and planted all the bedding plants. The flower boxes got no new dirt. I dug bone meal into the dirt that was already there, so it looked fresh, but really, all I did was plant the petunias.

So we’ll see how all these plants do this year. We’ll see if yard dirt works as well as store dirt.

But I’ll tell you one thing: yard dirt definitely doesn’t look as good as the store-bought stuff.


Pre-garden party

It looks like the nicer weather just may have arrived around Vancouver, and so I decided it was time to finally purchase my bedding plants.

Yesterday after work, I stopped in at one of the local garden centres. I picked out a bunch of flowering plants of various colours to fill my various flower boxes and pots. I paid for everything (and every year I am astonished at how much a couple of flats of wee plants cost), and stowed them in the trunk of my car. I slammed the trunk lid and replaced the trolley in the correct spot. I went back to my car and stuck my hand in my pocket for the keys.

The keys that weren’t there.

I stood there, confused. WTF? I ALWAYS put my keys in my left front pocket. ALWAYS.

Well, apparently NOT always.

It slowly dawned on me where the keys were. When I had opened the trunk, for some reason, I had placed my wallet and the keys in one of the cardboard flats, beside the three pink impatiens, the yellow begonia and the dracena spike that I had bought, then I had carefully placed that flat in the trunk with all other stuff. I had taken my wallet off the flat and tucked it in its usual place in my school bag. Then I had closed the trunk. I had not taken my keys off the flat. So, I had just locked my keys in the trunk of my car.

And now I was one of those people who do that sort of thing. One of those idiots.

To make matters worse, even my phone was oh-so-safely locked in the car. I considered climbing in the open sunroof, but that wouldn’t get me the keys in the trunk. Besides, I’d probably set off the alarm, or break something either on the car or on my body.

So I returned to the cashier in the garden centre and asked to use their phone. I called DD, praying that she would actually pick up (she often lets it go straight to voicemail if an unknown number is displayed) and also that she was home. I got lucky. She did pick up and she was at home.

She hopped in her car and brought me my extra set of keys. Actually, she tossed them at me with a sigh, enunciating carefully so that I would understand, “You are an idiot.”

I can’t disagree with her. But at least I’m an idiot with a lovely garden now.

Snip, snip

It was a beautiful day Saturday, sunny and 6ÂșC. Almost all the piles of snow are gone (we had another small-ish dump of the stuff earlier in the week). I went for an invigorating walk around the neighbourhood, noticing that many spring plants are starting to come up.

I went past my own little yard, and realized that some of my plants needed trimming after being bruised and battered by all the snow. Particularly the little dracaena that lives in a blue pot on my back patio. I usually put a few red flowering bedding plants around it, and I quite like the way it looks, with the contrasting blue, red, and dark green. I’m not an artist, but I do know when a colour combination is esthetically pleasing to my eye.


And apparently I’m not much of a gardener, either.

Too much trimming, do you think?