Sunday, 7 June 2015

The state of the garden the first week in June

After the traumatizing weather in May, things seem to have settled into a more seasonal scenario with regular rain, sometimes accompanied by thunder and lightning, bright sun during the day, although not yet hot and humid, and cool temperatures at night. There is heavy dew which is really good for maintaining moisture al long as plants have a dressing of mulch.

Things are starting to come back after the late frost; the wild grape is putting out new leaves, the ostrich ferns are green again and even the catalpa seems to be forming new leaf buds.
The ostrich ferns are now bright green again
The garden too is recovering. While the radish seedlings were killed by the frost, the later seedings have germinated and are looking healthy. Successive seedings of lettuce, spinach, kale and mustard are all looking robust.
New radish seedlings on the left, spinach in the centre and lettuce to the right
The first potatoes I planted, the weekend of May 10, have broken through the earth and I hoed up around them.
Potatoes planted three weeks ago now have been hoed and hilled up
I prepared the bed and planted the heirloom bush beans, mulching afterwards with straw and grass clippings.
The newly sown heirloom bush bean bed with a mulch of straw or grass clippings between the rows  
I planted 30 more tomatoes on Thursday. There are 20 left at home to plant next weekend.

Fledgling tomatoes planted against Josh's tomato frames 
There has been a little time so far to do anything other than planting. I remember a farmer I had not met before, coming to take the hay off the field. When he stopped to chat he said he knew I was organic. Feeling somewhat pleased I asked him how. He said, "Because all I can see is weeds!" Put firmly in my place, since then I have always been acutely aware of all the weeds. This weekend I finally got a chance to do some weeding; the red currants are now free of their previous enclosure of quack grass, in addition to the straw I used in the fall to mulch the garlic, they now have weeds pulled and laying at their feet instead of competing with them.
The red currants weeded and now recognizable
The ornamental beds also were in desperate need of a little care. There's never enough time to do everything that needs to be done, so I start by edging the beds. That seems to guide the eye and restore the beds to three dimensions rather than two. Without intervention the weeds and grass just seem to fill in all the gaps and make everything the same height, colour and texture. There are so many more beds to edge and more weeds to remove farther back but at least I have started and feel just a little optimistic about how they might look if I just keep at it.
The shrub border has a crisp edge now
And the purple and orange bed was a treat to edge since the soil always stays moist and easy to work
I also started a new compost. There is just so much raw material and I've never really been able to successfully get good compost here like I can in the city. So, ever the optimist, here's one more attempt. All this material was collected on Saturday from my weeding efforts!
The latest attempt at composting - all this material was the product of one day's weeding!
Our native tree nursery seems to be doing well - the red oaks have leafed out and spruces are putting on new growth.
The tree nursery - spruce on the left, red oak on the right
More and more insects are showing up. There are dragonflies and the Yellow Swallowtail butterflies seem to time their arrival with the blooming of the Preston lilac.
Yellow Swallowtail feeding on the Preston Lilac
This bumblebee systematically went to every single blossom on the columbine.
It's hard to see the bee because it disappeared totally into each flower

I had two other exciting sightings; one of an oriole going from one shrub to the next in the Highbush Cranberry hedge. The other was of a hawkmoth at the Johnny Jump-Ups. But in neither case did I have my camera. Sigh, sigh.

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