2018

I’m a little behind on getting some kind of ‘New Years’ post written. So here I am with some brain/word vomit.

2016 was terrible for me, we don’t need to rehash it.

So 2017 was about recovering from the devastation that was 2016.

That is kind of the reason I didn’t post here much. I didn’t post anywhere much except for Instagram, or if the mood/inspiration struck. I tried to take as much of the pressure off myself in anything. I wanted to remove any fake. I didn’t want to pretend that I was ok when I wasn’t. Because I wasn’t. But I also didn’t want my not-ok-ness to be enshrined on the internet forever, just because the day I promised to post something was a bad day. I wanted (and still want) to keep highlighting the positive and happy things. ESPECIALLY for posterity. I don’t want to remember how sad I was… I want to remember the good things that happened DESPITE how sad I was. I want to be able to focus on those happy things. Because sad and shit and devastation are always going to be there, and they are so easy to focus on and just keep delving deeper and deeper into them. But focusing on the positive side is so much harder, but so much more worth it.

“Do something today that will make tomorrow better than yesterday”

2017 was kind of a mental reset, and kind of learning a new normal. Kind of building up to what I hope will be a fantastic 2018.

So rather than lay out my plans for this year, I’m just going to say that I will try and write when I can.

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Buttons for Days…

I have severely neglected this poor little blog.

‘Black Cherry’ Tomatoes were fan-freakin-tastic! I will definitely be growing them again.

 

These were either ‘Beefsteak’ or ‘Cherokee Purple’ or likely one of each

I’m sorry.

I just didn’t have to energy or motivation to document my garden this year. I did have a decent crop of tomatoes. I made tomato soup with the ones we didn’t have fresh. I even managed to save seed from 4 of the varieties. But I didn’t take any photos. I grew 5 or 6 Zucchini plants and ate every single one. Well, that is a lie, I made soup that is in the freezer with some, and I have one that I need to get the seeds out of.

Even in a photo of my clematis bloom, I have buttons in my hand.

My freakin’ Clematis even bloomed a bit! and My hollyhocks that I grew from seed a few years ago, bloomed and were incredible! The Delphiniums bounced back and even bloomed too.

Sweet Williams

The Lavateria, Sweet Williams, and Carnations that I grew in memory of my grandparents were also amazing. The icing on the flower cake was my ‘Iceberg’ Rose.

‘Iceberg’ Rose (My birthday present to myself)

But I mostly just spent all my energy making things. Especially buttons (Thus the title of this post). Like hundreds of them. All from beautiful, unique and local wood. It is amazing the beauty inside the tree. Why buy plastic generic buttons made in China, when you can get something one of a kind and made by a local artist.

I make more than just buttons, but they are the best seller. Check out the etsy shop I have with my friend: Iceberg Empire

Poplar
Custom order. Poplar (3 different branches), Choke Cherry, Tamarack, Black Spruce, Willow, and White Spruce
Poplar
Custom Order. Poplar, Apple, Crab Apple, Willow, Tamarack Black Spruce, Manitoba Maple
Bark-on Tamarack
Interestingly spalted Poplar
Buggy Willow
Willow
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Black Spruce (and my lavender that has overwintered twice now in the background)

So…

I’m bad at being a garden-blogger. It’s the height of summer, my tomatoes are growing amazingly, I’ve had handfuls of raspberries, my hollyhocks I started from seed last year are blooming like crazy (even though they are all butter-yellow I’m still obsessed with them), I have cooked a few meals with fresh herbs that overwintered, and eaten a mountain of fresh peas (I even shared some of them!)… and I haven’t written a word of it here.


Like seriously, the last thing I talked about was squishing caterpillars. Speaking of, the Delphiniums are bouncing back! They aren’t their usual 6 feet tall, and amazingly full towers of blossoms, but there are some flowers, and there is a lot of life!

Hollyhocks!


I will legitimately try and get some posts written. I’m impressed with my garden so far this year. Things I sowed from seed last year and flowering and I’m just amazed at how bountiful my lazier approach this year has been.

Sweet Potatoes!! They are loving our HOT (AF) Summer.
Potential Pumpkin!! 😀
Raspberries. These take me back to childhood. My grandma and her neighbour had a raspberry patch between their houses and I remember picking raspberries with my grandma…
Nasturtiums
Tomatoes!!!!! No squirrel thieves in this area of the yard
Serrano Chillies
‘Black Beauty’ Zucchini

Squishy Squishy

 

A few weeks ago, I started to notice that my normally beautiful delphiniums were not thriving like they usually do. Something was eating them and also using them for a baby bug nursery.

I thought it was maybe aphids or some kind of fly, so I tried an organic spray that I had been given. Everyday I sprayed every inch of my delphiniums. I did this for an entire week and there was NO difference. There was also zero activity on my rose that is right next to the delphiniums. So I looked a little closer and there was little caterpillars covering both plants. The little buggers were the exact same colour as the plant. So I went to the internet and tried to find out what these caterpillars were, and what was the best course of action.

My best guess is that they are delphinium worms or ‘delphinium leaftiers”. They are the caterpillar of the Golden Plusia Moth. Apparently there is not much chemically that will be as effective as just picking them off and squishing them one by one.

They overwinter in the stems of last years growth, and since I typically just leave my plants standing all winter instead of trimming them back to soil level in the Fall; That is likely why I have a big problem this spring. So I will try to get my delphiniums all tidied up this fall, so there is no home for the worms this time around.

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Now that it has been a couple weeks of squishing every caterpillar that I see, my plants are starting to come back. I ended up cutting everything back to the base because of how bad the caterpillar infestation was. Then I grabbed a set of gloves and got to squishing. Don’t squish them near your face, because they are quite explosive, and you’ll be covered in electric-green coloured caterpillar guts. Not that I speak from (multiple) experience ;). Now I just check on the plants at least once a day to squish any caterpillars that have surfaced. I used a pair of the thicker nitrile grease monkey gloves, and just hose them off and re-use them.

I don’t anticipate my plants being able to flower this year, but I do think I saved them from destruction. I wish I hadn’t tried the spray I had been given, and just started squishing things from the beginning, but now I know for the next time.

Not many photos, because I wasn’t intending on blogging about this whole situation. Mostly because I thought my poor beautiful delphiniums wouldn’t pull through. Now that they are, I feel confident in sharing my squishing technique. Sorry Golden Plusia Moth, but you are going to have to find a safer home for your next generation.

 

 

Peas & Beans (2017)

This is a super low-photo post, but I hope to update you all once things start growing.

PEAS

Initially, I planned to get the Peas sown around the beginning of May (as they can take a little cold and frost). But, as you can tell, I’m writing this post on May 22, and I just finally got around to sticking them into the ground yesterday.

I was going to sow a few different varieties. I do have a good collection of seed to pick and choose from. However, I stopped myself at 2 varieties because I was struggling to find homes for them all. I had some self seeded peas popping up, conveniently right where I wanted to put a little tee-pee. Since they are probably ‘Sugar Snap’, I sowed more ‘Sugar Snap’ around them.


The second variety is ‘Blauwschokkers Blue Podded Pea‘. I grew them last year, and while they are not the best tasting pea, they are beautiful. Plus, to give them the benefit of the doubt, I never got around to tasting them as a mature, podded pea.

BEANS

Since I never got around to sowing any Beans last year, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss them this year. Beans are one of my favourite garden treats. I sowed 4 different climbing/Pole varieties, and 2 different bush varieties. Since some of my seed is quite old, I over seeded in the hopes of good germination.

Bean Varieties this year (and some quick notes in the brackets):

  • ‘Enorma’ Runner Bean (green with HUGE pods, if you let them grow)
  • ‘Cobra’ French Climbing Bean (green beans… delicious taste, lots of beans)
  • ‘Trofino Violetta’ Pole Bean (beautiful purple beans. Personal Favourite)
  • ‘Scarlet Emperor’ Runner Bean (green beans, large pods if you let them grow….with beautiful red flowers)
  • ‘Royal Burgundy’ Bush Bean (deep purple, good taste, LOTS of beans)
  • ‘Gold Rush’ Bush Bean (yellow beans… First year growing them)

I am always amazed at how different beans are. Since my hands were covered in dirt, I didn’t manage to get a photo to show you just how different they all were, although I wanted to. I would recommend grabbing a few different kinds of beans for your own garden. You can grow a rainbow of varieties. You’ll never want beans from the store after you have grown your own. Bonus… they are one of the easiest things to grow.

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Sometimes getting photos is hard when the feline is starved for attention. Such a good helper-cat. 😉

Someday I will have a HUGE garden where I can have more than a handful of each plant.