Stylocycle’s Blog


What’s up, Buttercup?
May 17, 2010, 12:38 pm
Filed under: around town

Astonishingly, gardening is keeping me off the internet on week-ends. It’s really lovely.
When we bought our new centre-of-the-city house last year, we really did not realize how big our lot was. Our house, garage and back deck manage to run pretty much down the centre of the lot, sort of obscuring the true size of the surrounding area. We had sort of thought that we had just two narrow alleys down either side of the house, but it turns out that each strip as roughly 20 feet wide, and our house is set back from its front line by about 30 feet. That all translates into more ground to care for than we had realised.
But we are not complaining. For one thing we have a lovely combination of basswood (lime tree) and silver maple trees that keep the house shaded and cool — so we don’t need A/C (which means: very low utility costs in summer). We also have a lovely combination of yew and cedar hedges around the house, so that was a good base from which to begin our work.
We’ve planted hostas at the base of a few of the trees, and all round the hedges for some visual difference, and we’ve put a rock garden on our front lawn to start the process of getting rid of grass. All the plants we’ve put in will spread… so we should be able to just keep expanding the low growing flowers and mosses and keep getting rid of grass each year.
Yesterday Dear Spouse bought me a lovely rhododendron (with violet flowers) to put on the side yard, and it it makes it through the winter, it should bring lovely flowers for many years.
However, we’ve not only been workign on aesthetic gardening.
We’ve also dug up a section of the back/side yard about 4 feet wide and 12 or so feet long, added new soil and sheep manure… (and fed the robins the white grubs that we plucked out of the ground by hand). Into the new bed went a row of snow peas, a row of Roma tomatoes, a row of arugula and a square of bush basil. And if we succeed, we will have a salad garden. The ingredients for a salad garden also translate in a pesto garden, and a pasta sauce garden.
If our plot is successful, we will double its size next year, and raise the beds so that they are easier to work.
I’d also like to add some quince bushes because I adore quince preserves.
A bit of rhubarb would be lovely too.
So here’s what I’m growing for eating this year:

Meyer lemons (this is year 3, and I have a 2nd tree now)
Bush basil
Lettuce basil
Oregano
Purple sage
Lavendar
Cilantro
Thai coriander
Lemon balm
Thyme
Roma tomatoes
Snow peas
Arugula

Next year I’ll add:

Rhubarb
Quince

And I’d love to have an apple tree. We have one up north that has been struggling along, and I’m considering transplanting it here because it’s a graft from a very old spy-type apple, which means that if it ever fruits, the fruit should taste like the apples did when I was a kid: tart, juicy and crunchy, not mealy and pallid the way so many apples are now.

So we spent our week-end digging and trimming… and it was lovely. The work puts us out of doors, and we talk to people as they go by… (some are a bit odd to be sure, but everyone is nice). The elderly people who attend mass on the week-end at the church directly across the road were well-acquainted with the home’s previous owner, herself an elderly woman who had the basics from which we have begun our work. We’re sure that the church-goers have been watching to see what we would do with “Helen’s house” (she lived here for 60 years), and so it’s nice to get their nodding approval for our efforts.

Sticking with the theme of being more connected to the real world of people than to the virtual world:

Our Saturday night was spent with a new friend who was recently hired into a discipline close to but not identical to mine. We have just enough in common to talk about interesting stuff together, but not so much that we get embroiled in griping abut work. She has bought a house just a kilometre from ours and has come by a few times… and we ended up drinking wine into the wee hours on Saturday night. Very nice…

We finished off our Sunday night with a visit with our neighbours and the use of their spa-tub, which was just
what our ageing joints needed after two solid days of working in the dirt.

We slept last night like people who had actually worked all week-end, and yet it didn’t feel as though we had laboured; rather, it felt as though we had lived.

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