Saturday, January 28, 2012

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~Proverb

Sweet Pea...she's watching for the squirrel who climbs on the side of the house and peeks in the window!

Sitting here at my computer, looking out the window over my desk and seeing the snow gracefully drifting down to settle on the trees, the driveway, the yard...and enjoying the cozy warmth of the woodstove with the kettle bubbling happily away on it...I am dreaming of springtime!  The snow is still piling up outside, and we aren't even through January yet, but I have an urge to be preparing for the time I can get my hands dirty and make things grow!
My garden...under 5 feet of snow!  It's the last place to melt...I usually end up digging the last of the snow off of it in May!

While trying to ease this feeling, I found a website which originates in my own province and looks to me like the ideal site to order my spring seeds from!  I have ordered bulbs from a few companies, but in reality, have found the bulk bags of daffodils and tulips from Walmart to be much more reliable and not so costly.  I planted several sacks of daffodils a few years back from Walmart, and they have come up faithfully each spring.  It is always exciting for me to come across the little green stalks in amongst the dead leaves, pine cones and other yard debris.  I use the term 'yard' very loosely here.  Our property consists of 5+ acres of hillside, mostly covered in fir and pine trees.  The ground is sandy, well drained and very rocky.  The yard is a small grassy area under which our septic field sits and where the horses like to eat!
When we left our home in Campbell River, BC, I knew I'd miss my garden the most.  It was well established when we had moved there, and we added what we called 'The Secret Garden' on the side between the house and the street.  It was a private little haven where I could sit and enjoy my flowers, the grapes and a good book, without anyone who might be passing by being at all aware that I was there.
The move here took me from a west coast zone 7 to a cold mountainous zone 2/3.  It's a whole new ballgame!  I have lived in several northern places, which also fall into zone 2/3, but up there, the nurseries are geared for that climate and carry the species that grow there.  Here, I am in the Okanagan, where we have hot dry summers, which are wonderful for growing fruit, but I live at an altitude that stays below freezing and covered in snow from December to March.  We can go into Kelowna or Penticton for shopping and leave behind the snow and cold and arrive at green grass and mild temperatures after only an hours drive!  The greenhouses and nurseries all carry plants that are great for the milder zone, but not so much for our colder area.  So, it's been difficult to find plants that will survive the winters here.
Vegetable gardening here is almost pointless.  The deer population takes care of anything they think is tastey, which includes many flowers and shrubs.  Also, living so close to the farmers who grow for a living, I prefer to buy fresh from them and just enjoy my flowers.
The rocks around the house are like this.
The 2nd summer we were here I went about creating a rock garden beside the front steps.  As the summers can be very hot, by afternoon it is a shady spot and a nice place to sit and look at the view, watch the chipminks and relax.  I first had to move very large rocks which had been dug up when the foundations for the house were poured.  The builders piled the rocks they unearthed all around the foundation, creating huge piles of boulders on 3 sides of the house.  The previous owners had hollowed out a few places to plunk in some dirt and a few plants, but nothing very impressive.  With the help of Alley and Zac, I cleared out an area down to the ground and we filled it in with dirt and manure.  Alley had the idea to create a path using some of the flatter rocks, and our garden began to take shape!
Rock path to the garden bench!
I ordered 80 Thyme plants from a wonderful place in Grand Forks called Blue Fox Farm and planted them all around the stepping stones.  After 2 summers growth they are doing wonderfully and covering the ground between the stone steps.
2nd year.
Now, back to the website I found!  It is called West Coast Seeds and has an amazing assortment of organic seeds for vegetables and flowers!  There is loads of information on growing all kinds of plants!  I'm already compiling my list to order!  My biggest problem now is making sure, once they are planted, that my dear husband remembers to keep them watered while I am away at work this summer!  Being away from home and garden is a major drawback to my job as cook in a tree planting camp.  I enjoy the job immensely, but it keeps me far, far away from home for 3 months...3 months that would otherwise be spent planting, watering and enjoying my garden.  When I came home last year, my little rock garden had survived, but was in sorry shape. I'm hoping to find seeds this spring that I can plant directly into the garden and that will come up without any care or attention aside from Trev watering them.  I also plan to leave my hanging baskets with a friend who loves to garden and has several greenhouses, for her to plant with Nasturtiums for me, so when I come home, I will have baskets to enjoy into September.  One blessing is that wild daisies and fireweed grow in and around my yard and garden.  I pull very few from my 'real' garden area, as they are deer proof and last all summer and into the fall.  They are better than nothing!!
Well, I'm off to do some more gardening in my head!!  Blessings!
Year 2..a few perennials in.

My little visitor!  Watch for a tutorial on how to make this sweet teacup feeder!

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