Monday, May 25, 2009

Boulders, Weeds and...Greenhouses

It is difficult to believe May is almost over. For the first half of the month, the weather was capricious...Snow and Hail fell, the temperatures remained cold and Frost each morning was a given. I continued with Spring chores, regardless of the weather, because I could no longer stay housebound.  If it was cold, I wore heavy sweaters and gloves, until the afternoon when Sun allowed me to shed layers of clothing.

But I believe the days of Frost and Snow and Hail are over for a few months.  We have had days of warm weather, with night temperatures going no lower than 3C. My hanging baskets are out and I have planted all the window boxes...with red Geraniums and deep blue Petunias.

Now there's a flower...Petunias and I were never all that friendly when I lived on the Coast...perhaps because I could never find a spot where it would not be rained upon. But here, with the dry climate a bane for other plants, the Petunia shines.  Each small plant becomes a flowering mountain of colour which sends out a delightful perfume, with very little work on my part.

Those are the kinds of plants I really love...the ones which take over their spaces and travel far, sending their stems into unknown territory. With a large piece of property on which to garden, a plant like this can cut down on costs considerably.

There was no garden here when we arrived; I can certainly understand why.  Weather is against us gardeners here; if we are not on top of our game when Spring arrives, it will be over and we will be in the heat of Summer. Spring in the Cariboo seems to me to be a very short season.

And our Well is not the largest...yesterday I tried to water in Grass seed I had spread in grassless areas. I also overseeded what passes for a lawn, which was damaged by the layer of Winter Snow. Very quickly, it seemed to me, I reached the lower section of the Well.

With very little Water in the Well left over for gardening, one must be creative.  I save the little amounts of Rain, which can really add up, in a barrel by a downspout. I use leftover herbal teas to water the new baby plants. Water in which I wash vegetables is sprinkled over the newly planted beds. Any water which can be used is...

But this gardener is determined, as most true gardeners are. I read labels on new plants carefully, checking the zone and drought tolerance of each plant. I try and buy the hogs...the ones which leap over boundaries with great glee, so that large areas are covered. I do not give in to the beautiful plants who beckon to me in the nurseries...the ones who will require coddling and much precious Water, even as I admire their lush greenery.

Instead, Sedums, Poppies, Daisies, Sunflowers, Asters and Zinnias find their way into my cart. There are shady spots, so my old friend Hosta finds homes here and there. Cold and drought tolerant Roses are planted along the drive. Black Elder grows well here, so a few shrubs dot our garden, where we can enjoy the pink and white blossoms. And of course, many, many Lilacs, who love the climate here much better than in any other area I have ever lived.

It seems a little strange, when I live in a Forest, that I hankered for Trees.  But I wanted a few deciduous Trees, just for the unearthly, beautifully tender, green leaves which arrive in Spring. I picked a purple Crabapple, a Battleford Apple, a Tartarian Maple, a Mountain Ash, and a Weeping Pea. All have fiery Autumn colour, which will glow against the gold of the Aspens dressed in full Fall finery.

The challenge here will be to find a spot to plant these Trees which is not full of Boulders, as we have very stubborn stony land. Determination to the fore, once again.

Even Graham has been bitten by the Spring bug.  Out of nowhere, with scrap lumber, he decided to build a greenhouse...and did it in one weekend. There must have been some divine intervention, since Graham as well seems a little boggled by how quickly it was built, with no forethought of any kind. The greenhouse went up beautifully; close to the house, it will give me at least a month more in Spring and Fall to harvest.

And so, tomatoes and cucumbers will grow in warmth and security. No longer will I have to pray and wait for the hard, green tomatoes to ripen, with frost in the forecast. I overheard a lady at a nursery who was buying a few flowering plants.  She said...These plants are just for the outside; the plants in the greenhouse are for my sanity.

She's right.

I, however, have no experience with greenhouses.  If anyone has any hints, I would very much like to hear them.

If I still lived on the Coast, all this planting and clearing and building would have been done months ago. But I am only beginning to garden here and May is almost over. I hear hammering and machinery in the distance, as my neighbours also take advantage of a fleeting Spring to do work required, before the awesome heat of Summer arrives.

The sense of urgency, floating here on the Wind, is strong.

So with this in mind and joy in my heart, I am out in the garden, planting the new and greeting the old. 

Every day, regardless of the weather. 


  1. You sound like such a dedicated gardener. I'm sorry about all those boulders. Greenhouses have their own particular challenges. Plants may grow lanky and weak, yet others may thrive. I have a small greenhouse - the so called Lizard House - where my dog loves to spend time, studying the walls for any hint of movement.

  2. What be the story of the stone with the hole into it? Looks like a well-worn hole and reminds me of the Anasazi ruins in northern New Mexico which usually have such a hole in the floor stone of the ceremonial area from which the spirits emit from the underground.

    Your greenhouse will be a valuable extender of spring and fall for your short growing season. Everyone seems to be going "green" these days. Solar is free if you can catch it!

  3. Hi Marion,
    Check out my greenhouse site. And if you have any questions, you can email me or post a comment on the site.


  4. You'll have great fun pottering around in the greenhouse. It will give you a head start with plants. Your description of your garden sounds great looking forward to seeing some pictures when the flowers are in bloom.

  5. As the weather warms so does your soul. You words tell us of the beauty and the newness that happens this time of year. We all that anticipation of a new warming life. Thank you for reminding us we have so much to be thankful for. The cold and the snow have created memories of the winter and the flowers and trees give hope to the future of the spring and summer.

  6. Prospero,

    Our dogs love the greenhouse, as well. So far, I have tomato and cucumber plants, all doing well. We still have work to do in the interior, benches, etc., but what a boon for us...especially since we've just gone through a heat wave. The plants in the greenhouse came through the heat much better than the just planted babies outdoors.


    I took photos of the outside planting progress, but they are all floating around in the bowels of this computer. I couldn't find them once I'd downloaded, so substituted ones I had already taken.

    Now, there are many stones and boulders here with odd holes in them, some that go right through like the one shown here. I have a collection and I am wondering how I am going to transport them, when the time comes to move.Their weight, you know. I will have to remember to take photos of them once again.

    I don't believe I took the photo of this stone shown on my blog. It was in my collection; but I don't remember taking might have come from clip art in Adobe.

    I feel these stones have power, just as you say, and I have placed them in good positions throughout the yard.


    Thank you so much for placing such great info right at my fingertips. I'm positive I will have questions...proper ventilation being one of them.


    I have been so busy! What a great thing after that long winter where I sat and dreamed of landscaping this raw land. Lilacs are blooming now, along with Iris...and Rose is budding out all over! The yard is beginning to look as if a gardener lives here.


    You've hit the nail on the head. My soul is indeed warming...I didn't realize how it was suffering, at the end of that long Winter. I feel joyous, much like the exuberance the plants show as they seem to grow a foot each day. Spring seems so fleeting, here. We've just gone through a heat wave bar none; plants which were just set out crumpled a bit in the heat. Most of them made it, however, just like me!