The fruit season in my yard started with Haskap honeyberries, followed with strawberries which are just finishing, and now the first cherry bush 'Carmine Jewel' is starting to ripen. It is 4 years old now and really starting to produce. (Cherry 'Crimson Passion', also planted in 2008, didn't produce this year but it died to the ground last year and I subsequently moved it to a less exposed spot and I expect better next year.) The raspberries are ripening now too, and soon it will be Saskatoon time... I love summer!
I haven't tried making anything with these cherries since my kids eat them off the bush and don't leave any behind. But that's the point, for now. Maybe someday I'll have enough extra fruit for a pie!
The spinach is going to seed, the carrots and beets need thinning, the peas will not grow up their trellises but instead insist on flopping around all over the place. But despite all this, my veggie garden is giving me great satisfaction for minimal input! This is the second year I've had these raised beds and I've gotta say, I couldn't imagine vegetable gardening any other way from now on. It is so easy! There is a bit more weeding to do this year compared to last year when the soil was purchased fresh and clean, but it's still pretty minor. And so easy to just pull a weed when you're walking by as you don't even have to bend over. A few poppies and other annual flowers have appeared as well and I am letting them stay and am looking forward to their flowers adding some colourful, self-seeded chaos to the garden soon.
Above, clockwise from top left: long view of the veggie garden; red orache; baby corn which I planted for a lark but with all this heat lately, we might actually get a good crop!; nasturtium flower. Elsewhere in the yard we are also enjoying lots of ripe strawberries right now. Yum!
A few clouds finally rolled in yesterday so I had the opportunity to take a few pictures without crazy shadows everywhere! I can't believe I'm complaining about the weather but it has been a wee bit too much on the hot side for my taste.
Above, the north side: feather reed grass 'Avalanche' is getting tall enough to be noticable.
Above, the south side: Coppertina ninebark was new last spring so will take a few years before it really takes off. Still love that foliage colour, though!
I've never taken a picture of the house and garden from this view before, as up until last winter, there were two big spruce trees in the way and you couldn't see a thing! Now, behind this pretty and extremely sweet-smelling mock orange shrub, there is a brand new garden. Preparing and planting this garden has occupied most of my gardening time so far this season. Frankly, I think I've already used up my gardening energy for the year!
Here it is from another view. I know it doesn't look like much yet. We gardeners (at least, those of us on a budget) must learn to be patient! The shrubs I've put in are teeny but will eventually help screen the veiw of the neighbour's house. The perennials are still small so there are large spaces between them - but I always tell people that planting perennials the proper distance apart will save time and energy later on, as they won't need to be moved when they get too crowded in only a few years. Plus, of course, you save money on not buying too many plants.
I was hoping to do the patio this year as well (roughly outlined by bricks at the moment) but at this point, after all that work and all this heat, I'm not feeling like doing much of anything. Perhaps in September I'll have the energy and motivation!
Yes, I realize that putting the patio in after the plantings is the complete backwards way of doing things and I wouldn't actually recommend that to anyone else! But I wanted to get those plants in ASAP to they start growing and maturing. It's all about the plants, for me! And since I'll be doing the patio myself there won't be any big machines needing to get in here. Besides, I'm just tired of this area being such an ugly, barren space - this is what it looked like last year:
Delphiniums are my absolute favourite flower (how could they not be for someone who loves the colour blue?) but they are a bit of a pain as they need to be staked, so I grow them here in the Side Garden on the south side of my house where it is sheltered from the wind. That way I don't have to be quite so meticulous in my staking method. Also, they aren't very much in view here so I have no hesitation cutting them and bringing them inside for bouquets!
I have Therese planted at the top of my Adventure Garden, on a hill, where she is planted near the height of the back fence and fully exposed to the west wind. She is super hardy and does just fine over winter. In fact, I appreciate her in winter just as much as summer, as her lovely red stems add colour to the garden in the long winter months. So if you're looking for a tough, flowering shrub which will provide winter interest as well, consider Therese!
Here's a straight-on shot of the Adventure Garden taken yesterday, with painted daisy, peonies, blue salvia, catmint, perennial geranium, pinks, and roses in bloom.
However, the thing I love about this garden (and the thing that makes it most challenging) is that it is seen from so many different views. Here it is from 'England' (the vegetable garden) looking toward the back Shade Garden in the bright afternoon light:
and here it is, backlit in the evening, looking the opposite direction:
Gotta love that evening light!
Here's one more close-up of the catmint, blue salvia, pinks, irises (not in bloom), and peonies, as they are some of my favourite plants. I'd highly recommend any of these plants for any sunny Calgary garden!