Thursday, November 16, 2017

Swing Low, Sweet Sun

On this cloudless day, the sun sits heavily in the sky, that is, when I am gardening behind the house. That's not the case in the front garden as the house blocks it out making working there a chilly endeavour. But in the larger back area, it is all warmly and softly coloured, suffused with mellow sunlight.

The mahogany sepals of the abelia in front, with golden foliage of edible asparagus in background

Asparagus is not only worth growing because those brave spears breaking through stark soil in late winter have such sublime flavour but also because the unpicked stalks grow into a graceful tangle of gold festooned with red berries (just on the females plants).

Pillars of the pergola are well covered in ivy

The ivy growing along a perimeter fence is being formed into what I hope to become a rectangle-shaped opening framing the distant golf course and public forest. Once ivy reaches the end of vertical support (in this case, fence posts), it becomes a robust bush about 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall and wide. There are now two bushes, left and right being clipped to encourage fullness. Once the right one catches up in height, I will let them meet at the top, creating a window with a view.

In the foreground, raspberry foliage colouring before leaf drop

My peeking around the atelier (studio) of our neighbour seems to reveal a precocious Sapin de Noël (Christmas tree) all gussied up in gold garlands.

Stepping back a bit, we get the true picture. Gorgeous in any case.

In the front garden, all is cool, shady, and restful.

Gold-speckled aucuba and ivy growing up a cherry plum tree

Green plants are essential to keep a wintry garden lush and inviting.

Calla lily, Italian arum, and sweet violet foliage.

Tulipmania reigns supreme chez nous. After getting acquainted with using a small amount of tulips as annual bedding plants last season, this time around I got way more, about 250 bulbs! Learning from my previous experience, I purchased them much sooner so as to get the ones I want before they sold out. An earlier purchase however meant storage as temperatures are cold enough just now for actual planting. So the babies began sprouting while waiting in the garage. Because such perkiness disrupts their normal cycle, into the small, cold, stone-floored cellier they went to keep the dusty bottles of wine company until . . .

. . . their home in the soil is ready for them.

Earth is spaded, compost forked in, and let settled for a few days.

Ernest the Sous-Sol Cat enjoys moulding himself into a pliable shape defined by one of the patio lounge chairs. It's been a year now since he first sauntered into the back of our garden; he was patient to wait for food, but skittish bordering on abject fear if I came too close. Nowadays, his facial expression is one of calm trust. Brushing him, and does he ever need grooming, remains challenging. I am allowed to do his back, but when I ease the brush along his flanks closer to his belly, forget about it. Being an older cat, most likely with arthritis, cleaning himself is not easy, not to mention he was besmirched by a constant deluge of dirt when he roamed wild. But as the months progress, he gets cleaner and cleaner, with less areas of matted fur. He also is grooming himself more as he now has help, is better fed, less stressed, and he wants to make a good impression with us. He's a lovely boy.

À la prochaine!

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