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.
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.