Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fruit and peonies!

 Summer is in full swing and I've been spending a fair bit of time weeding! This includes a bumper crop of self-seeded violets (in the wrong spot) and some very aggressive growth by perennials.

It looks like the fruit crop will be a good one this year. The apples seem to coming along well and the raspberries and Saskatoons have both set fruit.

Our flowering baskets are also beautifully colourful.

I'm thrilled to see the potatoes blooming. I've never tried to grow potatoes from seed but I might try to snag a few seeds this year and try in the spring.

The real star of late June is the peony. We have half a dozen of these (mostly gifts from Jenn's mom).

The have just started opening and we'll have likely two weeks of blooms. The bees have gone mental for them and it is hard to walk along the side of the house without colliding with fliers.

The intensity of the colours has been amazing this year. And the subtle shading looks like water colours.

Around back we also have a huge bunch of mock orange bushes in bloom.

These need to be cut back each year so I feel free to bring in as many blooms as we have vases for.

The rhubarb wine is still cooking in the basement. It is a bit of a slow ferment but progress is being made. Apparently we also have enough points to buy a free beer kit. I need to drink my way down to enough free bottles before we do a beer kit. I have some more oregano in the drier today and we harvested enough gooseberries last night to make jam.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rhubarb, irises, and peonies

Good weather meant I got a touch behind in garden blogging this week. We had a wonderful father's day trip to Elk Island Park, with cycling, hiking, and kayaking.

We also did a lot of things this week. I sugared the rhubarb, then juiced it, and it is cooking away in the basement. 

We also wrapped up the chive vinegar experiment and bottled it. I used the remaining chive vinegar from last year to make some pink pickled eggs.

The strawberries have formed berries and I' just waiting for them to ripen. I'm hopeful we'll get out to Strawberry Creek Farm in the next few weeks so I can make jam and wine and pie filling. We're just about out of strawberry-rhubarb pie filling from last year!

The garden has been growing. I was thinning the beets and ran across this pineapple weed. I am waiting for this plant to get a bit bigger before harvesting the buds for salad.

The perennial flowers are also starting to bloom, including this daisy (which has seeded itself everywhere).

It is also iris season. It is a bit hard to capture the sheer number of irises that are blooming. There are ta least 500 flowers in the front and side yard. 

Working from home, I often get to listen to passersby during the (the windows bounce sound from the street into my office) and the front seems to be a ht. Shame it only lasts about 1o days. But man, is it amazing.

The vegetable garden that is in behind is starting to really take. The tomatillos are flowing and setting fruit alongside the pepper plant. The garlic are also doing well and the rest of the tomatoes seem to be pushing up (finally).

The violas have seeded themselves everywhere and I've now started to weed them out o the veggy beds when they get too close to the vegetables.

We're also awaiting the start of the peonies. The flower heads are full and the ants are all over them.

I got this shot after a shower. Not the best peony picture I've taken, but a nice one with the water and the sun.

I'm hoping to rack off the rhubarb wine this weekend and also do a later sowing of peas and bush beans (the corn bed was a bust). We should also be harvesting lettuce this weekend. And maybe gooseberries.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Vinegar, oregano, potatoes and irises

It is the beginning of the iris season. The front border of the house is almost all irises and we're looking at more than 1000 blossoms this spring. It will be lovely for the next two weeks.

The chives are blooming, which means it is time to make chive vinegar. This is a task Jess can now do on her own while I make cheese. We'l be bottling the vinegar this week and I'll be pickling some eggs with what is left over from last year. We also racked off the wine last week and are ready to start a batch of rhubarb wine this weekend.

The oregano came back quite strongly this year so we pruned it back and broke out the dehydrator to put some away. The basil is slowly growing so we're a ways from drying it or making pesto.

The river valley is full of high bush cranberry blooms.

And, to my delight, the potatoes are up and really leafing out (these guys are more than a foot tall). Alas, the corn looks like a bust this year so we'll plant some beans to fill in the gaps. The carrots have been slow but have finally started to really grow.

This week looks like we have goose berries ready to pick. The rain this week should fatten them up. If we get enough, I will combine with the ones I froze last year and make some jam.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The end of spring flowers

We're coming t the end of the spring flower season. The barberry is in bloom as are the lilacs--and the neighbourhood smells wonderful.

Some of the perennials are also starting to put on a show. The phlox is blooming in the shade of the hedge (and everywhere else it has come up).

We had a day of rain this week, which was much needed. Jess and I used the day to make Christmas cake. The yard used the day to sprout dandelions.

It looks like we'll have a good crop of Saskatoons this year. The raspberries have also started to flower, which is promising.

The chickadees in our bird house seem to be fledging their young There are still lots of robins around, using the bird bath and sunning themselves on the window box.

After knocking down the grass and the weeds and putting in a second sowing of peas, I'm kind of pooped out. This weekend I plan to make some more chive vinegar (using what is left of last year's to pickle some eggs).

We also need to rack off the red wine kit we made. This will free up the fermenter to start on some rhubarb wine next weekend. The rhubarb needs another trimming tonight so I'll put some more in the freezer in anticipation. I wonder if any of my neighbours also have some to spare? I also see that the oregano is big enough to pick and start drying. Maybe tomorrow... .

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May flowers

Spring may be a few weeks late, but it is coming on like a mother! Most of the bulbs are up and the tulips are blooming like crazy.

I've had my first go at squaring up the hedge and knocking back so we have a bit more room in the driveway.

The rhubarb is also growing like crazy. I've been lopping the seed heads off and we've been harvesting to make another batch of rhubarb wine.

Both apple trees are in full flower. I am hopeful we'll get a good crop this year. I would like to dry more apples for winter eating. The blossoms survived the insane wind storm we had (with the power out for five hours).

We finally finished planting out the flowers we grew from seed this year. Jess is now tall enough to plant the window box below her room.

 The strawberries are also blooming, hopefully with the promise of spring fruit.

 We're also seeing the early lilacs are blooming.

The Canada 150 tulips Jenn was keen on have also come up. An interesting bit of breeding but a touch underwhelming. We'll be touring the neighbourhood this week to pull together some Front yards in Bloom nominations for the gardening club.

More exciting is that the potatoes are up and are jumping each day. I've been weeding the back bed with a vengeance to try to get the bell flower under control this year.

We also put on a new wine kit to cook this week. It is fermenting away in the basement. I'm currently freezing rhubarb until we have enough to make wine with. Probably about the time we rack off the red we have going.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Flowering shrubs and retaining wall

With most of the garden planted, we spent much of this week admiring the flowing shrubs. The alpine currant hedge we have on the south side of the yard has such understated blooms that you can miss them if you don't look carefully.

That is less of a problem with the Saskatoon bushes which have a nice early showing before getting down to work making berries.

About the only thing to come up in the yard this week was the early planting of beets. Good old reliable beets!

We walked around the neighbourhood a lot this week and the edge of the valley has lots in bloom. I can't recall what this bush produces. I'd guess soap berries.

 The crab apple trees are also in full bloom (regular apples seem a touch behind).

The cherries are almost done as are whatever these pretty blossoms are.

The MayDay trees are really going great guns (albeit several week later than last year!). The grape-y smell is lovely.

We've also seem the raspberry bushes fill out.

About 15 year ago I built a small retaining wall in the back yard to hep level the ground out. It needed replacement and was on my list of things to do this fall. Unfortunately, the east-west part of the wall that keeps the potato bed off the path gave out on Wednesday.

So I pulled the old wood out and replaced it. I've left the near end uneven so I can interlace the north-south part of the wall when I get around to replacing it this fall. I have a bit more clean up to do on this today and then some weeding.

I noticed the red elder berry on my evening walk is also about to bloom. I've made a yucky jelly from the berries before but I hear you can make a delicious syrup from the blossoms. I'll see how ambitious I get in the next week.