I host my main blog on tumblr, so I've moved this one over there as well for ease.



"Did you know you have thistles in your yard?" -My mother in law. Trying to be helpful.


July 15th - it briefly stops raining

What's in bloom on July 15th.
Hosta. I just planted these a few weeks ago in a shady spot on the side of the house.
Lupines -- not quite in bloom, but they will be any day. Their colour is lovely.
Creeping Jenny -- I know many people consider this plant not much more than a weed, but I like it. The little yellow flowers are so delicate.
Pink catchfly, an heirloom variety from Heritage Harvest seed.

The pots behind the garage, in the alley. The succulents on the left having the beginnings of blooms on them, as well. This seems late compared to last year, but I guess that isn't surprising, with the way things have been going.


In bloom on July 9th

In bloom on July 9th - old-fashioned vining petunias. I raised these plants from seed, starting them in the house months ago. It was not worth the effort.
Sweet peas, of course. I planted a flat of these from Holes earlier in the spring, scattering them throughout my garden. They are now in bloom everywhere. Beautiful!
And a bizarre succulent that looked like Hen & Chicks in the store, but when I planted it it began to grow two of these giant spikes, and now the spikes have beautiful, delicate pink flowers on them. Since it didn't have a tag, I shall name this plant "Space Oddity."

I got at least three mosquito bites in the process of running outside and taking these few pictures. Also it is raining. Normally Edmonton has one of these shortcomings at a time in summer, so both at once is interesting.

Lots of other things are on the brink of blooming, including lots of other succulents and the lupines, but in order to photograph them I have to order a telephoto lens from Amazon since I am OBVIOUSLY not going outside.


in bloom july 1

in bloom july 1, originally uploaded by jocelynb.

sweet peas, arugula & yarrow, potentilla, something red (I forget)

the arugula bolted the first hot day. It's actually quite pretty. I tasted one of the leaves this morning and it was VERY spicy -- but I might still eat it. Depends how hungry I get, har har.


2 setbacks

i. This happened several weeks ago now, but I just remembered after reading posts about stolen plants on Apartment Therapy and Life on the Balcony. When I bring plants home from the store I tend to just set them in a space in one of my raised beds until I'm ready to plant them, and sometimes that takes several days as I tend to buy plants I'm not sure what to do with. One such plant was stolen out of my raised bed, IN MY YARD, and it was one of two the same. Someone stole one little $2 annual and not the other?? It wasn't the loss of the plant itself that was discouraging, so much as the knowledge that someone was wandering around in my yard. My neighbour suggested that maybe two crows carried the plant off, holding the pot in their beaks, and I've chosen to believe that story because I like it much more than the alternative.

In previous years I have used old pop or juice bottles, spray-painted black, to try to keep plants warm in the early spring. And I have had those stolen out of my yard as well (presumably for the deposit although I don't know if they can even recycle them once they've been spray painted). It's funny how your own yard feels like so much a part of your territory that it's hard to imagine anyone going in -- even though in my case, there is no gate or fence between the yard and the front street, so people do make their way through more regularly than I would like. (There is a narrow sidewalk between my house and my neighbour's which connects the front sidewalk with the back alley. This year we built a fence across it in the back, and later this summer I hope to put a gate across it in the front. I think a big part of the reason people wander through is psychological -- because it's not closed off, it feels like there's no reason NOT to explore.)

ii. Two days ago, I pulled out all my broccoli and cauliflower from the Back 40 (only 8 plants). The plants were full of holes and very droopy, so I could tell something was wrong. When I pulled them out, their roots were full of what I imagine must be cabbage fly maggots. It was pretty disgusting. I had inter-planted garlic among my brassicas to try to keep the bugs away, but apparently that wasn't enough. I have a half-dozen more growing in the East Farthing, plus some kale, all under floating row covers. I will see whether those become infested as well. I'm getting to the point where I don't think I'll bother with brassicas anymore. It's up to the last few cauliflower and broccoli, as well as the baby Kale, to change my mind.

(The way I wrote that made it sound like I have a baby named Kale. The weird thing is that, working in a public library, I am exposed to weird names for kids CONSTANTLY and the first thing that occurred to me was, hmm, Kale is kind of a nice name. And I imagine it could be for a boy or a girl since, let's face it, it's a vegetable.)


Bees in the garden

I just ordered one of these Mason bee boxes from AndrewsReclaimed on Etsy. I’m excited to take this next step in attracting yard wildlife. You can’t keep bees in Edmonton, and I don’t know if I would want to even if it were allowed – while the idea appeals to my pioneer woman sensibilities, the truth is that the jars of honey we purchase a few times a year at the farmer’s market are more than enough for us. If we kept bees, I don’t know what we would do with all the honey.

But the other wonderful function bees have in the garden, of course, is pollination. So I thought I would try a bee-box, mount it somewhere (maybe on my garage?) and see if I get any mason bees in residence next year. Mason bees are solitary creatures who like to nest in hollow holes or tubes. They are also pretty friendly (well, as friendly as a bee can be), since apparently they rarely sting. Plus I don’t think you can get in trouble for having a box for them. Because the City Bee Inspector (from the Department of Unexpected Wildlife, the DUW) might be like, “Ma’am, you can’t be keeping these bees,” and I would be like, "I’m not keeping bees. That’s a garden art object. I don’t know why it has bees in it."

I am also considering buying a box of ladybugs to help me take care of my aphid problem. Does anyone know where to buy live ladybugs in the Edmonton area?


In bloom | June 1

In bloom | June 1, originally uploaded by jocelynb.
Phlox (I think?? I forget), strawberries, chives, blueberries. 
My blueberries have never bloomed before (I just planted them last year). I was not expecting the tiny flowers. They remind me of old-timey bloomers.

I've been having a stressful time at work recently. The garden is a very welcome distraction. I wish it was more pleasant to be outside, but the bugs have been intense. Note to self: plant more carnivorous plants. Earlier today I killed a mosquito, and I gave it to Emma, just for revenge.


I hate you, Edmonton. I've been feeling a little warmer toward you recently, but that was just Stockholm Syndrome.

may29 (3), originally uploaded by jocelynb.
Hops vine growing on a cool trellis we got from Home Re-Use-Ables. I had never been to this place before -- it's amazing! I'm not sure what this trellis was in its previous life -- two long segments and two short ones. They're just kind of sitting on the ground now in the Back 40. Once I get some paving stones, maybe I'll do something more permanent to attach them.