Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's the love, love, loveliest time of the year

Gardening is gearing up. Lilacs are out, vegetable garden is half-planted (more tender things go in this weekend). Grass is growing, mosquitoes and black flies breeding - summer on The Island!

I have one of the tree peonies planted, in the bed by the driveway. Fred suggested the perfect spots for the other two: on the lawn to the south of the house, above the rock wall which is the backdrop for the flower beds below. I think I'll have to dig right across, and place them in the middle of each bed. Then fill up the rest with the plants we have in abundance - phlox, shasta daisies, geraniums.

This will result in slightly less lawn to cut - yes, I did see his cunning plan to eliminate even more grass cutting from his agenda. However, they will be ideally placed there, with lots of south exposure. And it's been hard to mow by the rock wall without inadvertently dulling the mower's blades. It's hard digging, though, as this area has been lawn since 1977 or so. And before that it was the Connors' "patio" - a big pile of dirt with railway ties on top. It will need much amendment before the peonies go in. They seem perfectly happy on the deck in their pots, for now.

I've been working on the Meandering Vines shawl in Knit Picks Shimmer, in fennel colour. I got season 2 of Lost from the library and have been trying to see as much of it as I can before it goes back - tomorrow! It's fine to knit to, because there's not much to have to look at, in order to follow the story. And the knitting is pretty straight-forward too - I've been adding beads, but I think I'll stop now and save the rest of the beads for the other end. I don't know if I'll bother trying to see any of the other seasons of Lost. TV series viewing seems to be more of a winter activity; however, when I'm aching from digging it's good for breaks!

Another garden project almost completed is mulching the rose berm - as usual, it's hard to get enough newspapers for the project. I put layers of newspapers under the cedar mulch to keep the weeds down a bit. I bought 26 bags of mulch, and have - I think - 5 left. And about 1/8 th of the berm to go. Some of the roses are looking rough - William Baffin had a poor showing last year, and doesn't look great yet - very slow to come out. And the Grootendoorst is not showing much progress at all. I cut Sir Thomas Lipton down to the ground; there are a few new shoots coming from the roots now. The berm looks quite different without his looming presence! However, Blanc de Coubert was rehabilitated last year and did wonderfully well, so I have hopes of Sir T. The rose in the bed by the driveway (forget its name at the moment), which was gnawed by mice, is sprouting up from the root. I hope it's own root! The two reds climbers on the rose trellis are growing, the Henry Kelsey especially well.

I've been having fun with my little reel mower - it is just ideal for small areas like the south lawn, or the triangle below the spruce hedge - even Fred likes it. I ordered a sharpening kit for it from Lee Valley last night as the local repair guy didn't know how to sharpen it - and I understand that they probably need sharpening fairly regularly. I noticed that even when new, it couldn't cope with dandelion stems. But it loves cutting the grass!

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