Thursday, June 14, 2018

Summer Is Right Around The Corner . . .

In about a week, it will be officially summer. There has been consistent rains for the last month which has delayed garden tasks that would have been best done before June such as sowing annual flowers like varied-coloured, long-term-flowering cosmos and zinnias; the last of the edible crops, graceful, stylish Tuscan kale with its smoky green-black leaves; fast-growing cover crops like mustard and tansy to revive the completely harvested pea beds (they provided about 5 litres of pods!). Hopefully, if we can believe the forecast, the next week will be sunny and the soggy soil should be workable fairly soon so those postponed tasks can be eventually completed. Regardless, the garden is humming along, with beloved-by-the bees, aromatic lavender, punchy poppies that reseed themselves through the years, and haughty Queen Elizabeth roses.

The potato variety, Daifla, flowers profusely. (That's the raspberry patch in the background, and if you look closely you will see the berries.) Potato blooms signify that the tubers are being formed. In about two months, when the haulms (the growth above ground) have wilted yellow, it will be time to harvest.

The dark green of ivy makes a good backdrop for rhubarb and potatoes. In the upper left, a drooping branch of a Mirabelle plum tree can be seen with its immature fruit looking like green olives. When ripe, they will be a glorious gold flushed with red.

Most of our potato blooms are pure white but there are a few which are tinted mauve. An interesting aside is that Marie Antoinette, a passionate lover of flowers, was known to have tucked some potato blossoms in her hair during the time Antoine Parmentier was trying to convince the movers and shakers that the New World upstart wasn't poisonous. 

Every other day, there's enough raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries to fill up the dessert bowl. Since blueberries must have acid soil to flourish, our bush is grown in a pot with the desired potting mix.

The rambunctious wild area which harbours lizards, hedgehogs, birds, and insects is festooned with bramble blossoms. The middle bed is filled with bushy Roma tomato plants and in front of them are beets which since have seen the trusty cultivator tool which has cleared away the prolific clover.

During a month these well-established daylilies put out many blooms, each lasting just a day. There are cultivars which are everblooming from early summer to autumn which will soon find a place in our garden.

David Austin climbing rose, Falstaff, is beginning a second round of flowering.

In the front garden, yet more lavender and also Shasta daisies are just starting to bloom. The other day, our neighbour across the street told me that she loves seeing, as does her visitors, the small green haven in front of our home. After all this time, it is known by a few that je jardine comme une folle (I garden like a madwoman). The English lavender is putting on the show right now while the late-blooming French lavender waits to take the spotlight in about a month.

From the vantage point of a reclining, cushy chair under the pergola, this is what I get to see: foliage of mums, rose of Sharon, calla lilies, ivy, two enormous, neighbouring spruce trees, and the imperious blooms of a Queen Elizabeth rose. All of this exuberant growth exists in an urban space. Though I can hear the distant din of traffic, I pretend that it's the sound of ocean waves.

À la prochaine!

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