Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring, Sunshine and Serenity

I am unaccustomed to having my time taken up with something other than home and cooking, writing and gardening. I have been busy with volunteering for Hospice this week, and the work I do around the home has shuffled its way to the back of the line.

And Spring has arrived in the Cariboo.  Warm days and nights have suddenly decided to visit for awhile; there will still be nights, no doubt, where Frost might rim the hardy, perennial plants which are beginning to show through the soil.

I have begun to utilize the little greenhouse Graham built last Spring.  It was built too late, really, to start seedlings and tubers and bulbs then.  But this year, I have it there...all ready in which to plant.

Its warm inside my little greenhouse.  During the days when Sun shines, but a cold Wind blows, it is beyond words wonderful. It provides a buffer from Wind, which can wreak havoc on my body. And it has the unique greenhouse scent...that wet earth and new greenery smell.

Yesterday, on the way home from another volunteering job, I stopped at the nursery.  It sounds like that might be a great, fun thing...but it's always a bad idea for my finances when I stop at a nursery in early Spring.

I don't have the huge garden I once had on the Coast; the cold and dry conditions here take care of any great ideas I might be nurturing about large gardens. Another drawback is the absence of good Soil.

And so, with the inability of the thin Soil which covers the Rocks and Boulders in this place to sustain anything other than Rocks and Pebbles, I do a lot of gardening in containers and built-up beds.

With the greenhouse, instead of waiting until night time temperatures correspond with plants and planting, I can start my containers earlier, with little plant plugs. These plugs are much cheaper, I tell myself as I stand at the cashier's counter, than if I'd had to wait for more clement weather. Because by that time, all that would be left in the nursery would be the larger, more expensive plants.

Cheaper or not, I still plunked down a fair bit of cash, for these tiny baby plants.

I picked out heavenly, deep blue Petunias, white Petunias, red Geraniums, minuscule filler plants like Bacopa and Alyssum, Osteospermum and Calibrachoa. My favourite filler plant is the ethereal Diamond Frost Euphorbia, which is rather new.  It shines with an unbelievable, Snow-flake-like glow in the early evening. And I could not forget white Pansies...the small plants grow enormous here, all Summer long.

For the vegetable garden, I bought tiny Tomato plants, Walla Walla onion sets (even though they won't be the same in taste and texture as the onions which actually grow in Walla Walla), Strawberry plants, Red Cabbage, Squash and Kale. I planted Lettuce and Mesclun seeds about two weeks ago...and I discovered they decided to pop up through the soil just yesterday.

I want to grow Carrots.  The Carrots which grow here are unbelievable for the crunch, texture and sweet taste. It must have something to do with the climate, because I have not tasted Carrots quite like the ones which grow in the Cariboo. But the Carrots will be seeded directly into the built-up ground, as will Cucumbers, Beets, Peas and Sunflowers.

Last year I planted Raspberries, Rhubarb and a Gooseberry bush.  All are doing very well. The Apple tree Graham dug in through Stony Soil looks to be full of fingers are crossed that we will not experience a deep Frost, which will surely decimate those tender pink flowers.

I plan to buy a Weeping Willow this year. It will be planted on the East side, between the house and the new Woodworking shop Graham just built last year.  It will give shade to the deck during those hot, still afternoons we experience in the Summer. I identify strongly with the Weeping bends but rarely breaks.

And even if I bought the majority of the plants required for the pots and built-up beds...there will yet be visits to the nursery, possibly each one after a volunteering visit. Nurseries calm me...there is great peace to be found wandering the aisles, smelling the good, earthy, humid scent which is so identifiable.

I still intend to buy Snapdragons, Echinacea, and Sedums. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a supply of different Grasses, mostly Carex...all do well here, once established.

I am accustomed to having an Herb garden. I don't have one as yet...all of my Herbs are planted here and there throughout the Flower gardens. But this year, Graham has plans to build another garden bed...and it will be large enough for all my Herbs to be transplanted into it. Some Herbs will overwinter, while others must be treated as annuals in this harsh climate.

My mouth is watering already at the thought of fresh Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Lemon Balm and Dill. Parsley is already planted, has come up well, along with Chervil, which has seeded itself. I am going to try to grow Lemon Grass...a first for me.

I intend to be in the greenhouse all weekend, planting the Window boxes in order for them to be ready and full for their debut outside. Perhaps there will also be time for seeding.

And in so doing, I will find strong serenity...even if laundry has piled up and the bathrooms need cleaning. Those jobs will wait.

They must wait, because my itchy, green fingers need to feel granular, moist Soil, Water and  tender baby seedlings.

And my mind, body and soul require the serenity I will surely find in the little greenhouse...


  1. Marion! I love your beautiful flowers. You and I have many of the same flowers growing. :-) I always find peace and solace in my garden, too. I picked my first ruby red Strawberries this week and am eagerly awaiting my luscious, fat Blueberries. Happy Gardening! Blessings!

  2. Anonymous9:49 a.m.

    So've inspired me to dream of a garden again. I had a gorgeous one here, but those peculiar unforeseen circumstances and a few renegade sheep put a quick end to it. Your post reminded me that it still beckons. Perhaps I will transform it into an acre of wildflowers....

  3. you are my dearest weeping willow friend, marion. i am smiling at the thought of you finding shade from such a magnificent tree, even though it may be tiny when first planted.

    i am going to LOVE seeing and sharing our gardens! when you mention it caribou, it sounds so exotic (not erotic--heehee)everytime i imagine where you live.

    i am happy for you. i know you know that.

    love grows.


  4. Dear Marion:

    I'm so glad to hear that you're out gardening this weekend! The garden is a place of solace for me as well, and the weeping willow is one of my favourite trees as well. The tree I planted last year is an Ohio Buckeye - It reminds me of a chestnut tree a little - a slow grower with the same leaves ... leaves that turn blazing red in the fall ...

    I suppose I could discuss Cariboo gardening all day with you! Good luck with your garden - you have inspired me to visit the nursery with the kids today! Thank you ~ Nicole

  5. Oh Marion, I sooo wish I had your green thumb. Your description of your garden and your spring routine transports me (there's a word, LOL) to daydreamland. I have very little gardening area (by design) but what I have just seems to go to waste. On the upside, post June 17th this year, I plan to start gardening. I will needed to figure out how to get around my bum knee that does not like to take any weight on it. Perhaps you have a suggestion regarding that?

  6. A most inspiring post. We have warm March days that seduce us into planting tomatoes then April always brings a week of chilly weather that tomatoes hate. I do have my herb garden in and some flowers. This year I am concentrating mostly on alyssum, verbena, impatiens, and geraniums. All beautiful, but dumb flowers.

  7. Marion,

    Your garden is so far ahead of mine, I can't imagine it will ever catch up,lol! This weekend, I planted teeny little slips of strawberries...and you are already harvesting them! But with the longer days we experience here, because of the more northerly latitude, our late Spring garden catches up very quickly.

    Blueberries have never done well for me, no matter where I live. I've never minded because the Fall colour of the bushes is amazing! Happy gardening right back at ya!


    A field of wildflowers would be so gorgeous! This year, I planted wildflower seeds in certain areas...I hope they take.

    I can sympathize with your sheep problem...I have rabbits who love seedlings! But, as you say, there is still time...perhaps you could plant a container or two...


    Hahaha...the Cariboo is not exotic at is a land which beckoned because of gold back in the early days and now is settled by ranchers and loggers and miners. But it is beautiful and vivid and has a great light which is wonderful for art and photography. It also has extreme temperatures at either end of the scale, making it one of the harsher climates.

    And the longer daylight hours are great for gardens!!!But the gardens are still little at the moment...

    Love to you, as well, kj!


    An Ohio buckeye is not a tree which is familiar to me. I bought some shrubs and trees last year which I'd never heard of, due to the more northerly climate. These shrubs all are supposed to have beautiful colour; I was waiting to see last year and then, do you remember that early frost we had? All the leaves froze before that gorgeous colour could appear!

    That's the game of gardening, I suppose. Let's hope this Summer will be a little longer this year. I hope you did take your little guys to the nursery...there is nothing better!

  8. Annie,

    There are gardening stools out there. And then there are those knee pads for gardeners.

    I don't use either. I usually bend over, and plant...I don't think I could get up again from one of the stools, and the same goes for kneeling, lol. That's partially why I have built up beds!

    But perhaps you could garden in a large container or two...that way, you could stand and garden! I'll bet that would be enjoyable!

    You could even grow vegetables in containers...and those containers wouldn't take up much room.


    That's the way it is here, as well. But that frost mostly happens in May. This year, we are so far ahead in gardening, most nurseries are still closed. And I am very leery of putting my seedlings out because it is so early for the Cariboo, and also because we could still get some hard frosts.

    So my little greenhouse is full to bursting! There are window boxes and containers and flats of plants on every surface and even on the ground.

    I love all those plants you mentioned...tried and true. They have never let me down yet!

  9. I would love to have a greenhouse, but don't have a spot for one right now. Plus the wind really rips across the deck, especially in winter. I haven't given up on the idea though. I planted rhubarb for the first time this year. The only place I have is in a pot so I'm not sure how well it will do. It's still alive but hasn't grown much yet. - Margy

  10. Anonymous9:36 p.m.

    Hello Marion,

    It is exciting to read your post, so I got outside to do a lot of catchup work, still clearing Winter's fallen fir branches! I know what you mean about stopping by the nursery in early spring, you can spend a fortune if you are not careful. I agree the plugs are the way to go. I try to grow from seed, not always successful or prompt.

    Thanks for a lovely walk through your Spring gardening fancies!

  11. Margy,

    You amaze have the most wonderful little garden right on the deck of your float! My neighbours grew Rhubarb in a pot and had fantastic results, although the stocks weren't as thick, if I recall correctly. But it was more than enough for a pie or two.

    I'm not sure if I've ever seen Rhubarb grow as big anywhere as it does here in the Cariboo. It never grew as big for me, at any rate, when I lived on the Island. It's a two year old plant which has now completely taken over a corner just behind the greenhouse, with great long stalks.

    Our greenhouse is made out of sheets of heavy plastic over a wooden structure. Even with the incredible Wind that blows up the draw, it is still standing well. It is not heated, a small drawback, but the Sun warms it very well, even in the middle of Winter, if it is out.


    You and Margy had such huge Winds on the Coast this year, it is no wonder you have branches lying about.But I'll bet your garden is bouncing up with that warm weather you've also had. Do you know, yesterday it got over 35C on my deck...those little seedlings almost got roasted in the greenhouse...and then it is supposed to go down to -5C this weekend. Crazy weather!

    I envy you, living so close to all those nurseries on the Coast. I see them on the news and salivate and remember how lovely they were to visit in the early Spring. There are not many nurseries here; they open closer to May, usually in the supermarket parking lots. But there is one that is open already...and so nice to have!

  12. You have a great advantage where you are in that the duration of sunlight is extended in summer as compared to ours here in the middle states. When we visited Fairbanks Alaska awhile back they were growing enormous vegetables in the three short months they had available. I was truly amazed. It's the Sun does it!

  13. Geraniums, Rhubarb and Basil... my kinda heaven X:-)

  14. Well, I can certainly identify. I always spend too much at the nursery. I miss a nice yard for planting. My herb garden is a plastic planter. I plant my flowers in containers these days. But they are still beautiful, just a bit confined. Lovely post as always, Marion.

  15. Future heat pump that is free from pollution !Geothermal Heat Pump !

  16. Goatman,

    Yes, we do have those longer's quite a lot different from further south! We do not have quite as much daylight as Fairbanks, but the days sure seem long to me, quite often I'm in bed before the Sun goes down! Graham, who lived in the far North, tells me about days where Sun shone for twenty four hours...can you imagine? They used black out curtains in order to sleep.


    Nolly, my kinda Heaven as well. Nothing tastes as good to me as Rhubarb pie.


    Happy Spring to you, my dear friend! I remember your garden. I think it is great that you have containers, I'll bet they are beautiful. I plan on planting cucumbers in a huge tub container...last year they did very well!


    I agree with Heat pumps! Thanks for the chance to look at yours.

  17. gorgeous photos! I am envious of your greenhouse - love the smell as you describe it. My fingers are itching to plant, too - stay well and happy!

  18. Giving all things a chance to be born and grow or re-birth is always a spiritual and wonderful human experience. How truly blessed the universe is to have individuals like you to help with life in all stages of growth. Be it a seed ready to plant or a spirit that has an obstacle to overcome or a new journey about to commence. It is always a comfort to have someone there to nourish, and give love a love that will continue to give to all.
    Thank You

  19. Pauline,

    We've had very warm temperatures and very cold ones...during the day I itch to go out and plant, but the nighttime temperatures would kill them all. I've gotta practice patience, it seems, for another month yet.


    Spring is very spiritual, I find. When I look up after a day spent looking down at the soil, and see the new leaves beckoning to the sky...I feel as if I am in Nature's cathedral.

    Thank you for your loving comment...Blessings to you!

  20. Hi good day ! nice post you have . It's very nice , I have plan to setting up my garden can you give me an idea or steps on how to make it beautiful. i have heard some garden accessories such as garden spinners , wind chimes , wind spinners and many more . I want to try this things in my garden but i don't know how to get the right accessories . I hope you can help me . thank you .