Hello everyone, where has the summer gone? That time just flew by. Also after such a long absence I don’t really know where to begin. I suppose I could start by saying that one of the reasons for my lack of posting this summer was because I went WWOOFing, which is basically a farm volunteer experience where you do labour in exchange for food and shelter. And that experience gave me some new perspectives and directions for the future. Anywhos’… This meant that I was away from my garden during its best show time. Which is generally June and the beginning of July, when the Irises and Oriental Poppies are abundant. And I don’t know if I could bear being away for that again. It makes me feel too guilty, as no gardener wants to truly miss out on their gardens peak, and this resulted in me feeling a bit less motivated when I came back.
I think to experience a garden from the beginnings of spring and snow melting until the first major frost is really the only way to be invested in it. But instead of focusing on what I missed out on in my own garden I want to focus on my successes, accomplishments and new directions.
This years main goal when I was planning my garden was to grow a lot of my annuals from seed. Which I did and have had many successes with as well as some failures or things that I know I won’t bother with in the future. Zinnias, Snapdragons, Climbing Black Eyed Susans, and Cosmos were some of my successes from seed. There were others that were successes as well, but I have planted sweetpeas from seed in the ground in previous years so it was less exciting than what was new to me.
This year I started tomatoes from seed that I collected last year and they have set fruit and ripened and been eaten by us. That gave me a real sense of accomplishment as well as figuring out the perfect place to plant Basil in our dry prairie Canadian climate for a generous harvest. Those are some of the food highlights from my garden. But lately I have been reading and watching a lot of Alys Fowler’s work. Her gardening philosophy is to have a garden that is both beautiful as well as edible. So really embracing edible plants to garden with in a non-traditional kitchen garden type of way. So I might have planted more edibles that I have ever tried to grow before, but I did not really plant them in my flower garden. Which is an idea that I am rolling around in my head for next year. I am thinking beautiful Swiss Chards planted in with my Zinnias and Snap Dragons, and all complimented by purple Kale.
So that’s a bit of what I am thinking about for next year (look at me. This years garden is still growing and looking sweet but i am fast forwarding. But I really can’t help myself, honestly I have tried). As for things I do not think I will bother with next year is too many annual bedding plants, which is what ninety-five percent of the flowers I started from seed were. Cosmos are something I don’t think I would grow again unless I grew the Chocolate coloured ones for pure white cosmos. This year I grew a mix of white and pink and I think it was more of a disappointment than anything else. They felt stuffy in my garden. Perhaps they reminded my too much of the old English Gardens with white daisies. And they were too similar to a Pepto Bismol pink, which is not I colour I fancy. Ever.
I would also not start Sweet Peas, Nasturtiums, or Morning Glories from seed indoors again as the seeds I planted in the ground directly grew much better than the ones I started indoors, all of which mostly perished or were feeble in comparison.
But I have thoughts on things that I would start indoors in the place of these. I am also thinking that after three years of gardening with the aim of natural dye colours from non-tradional dye plants I have have discovered the key plants for key colours. For example, I know I can achieve green dyes from both red Petunias and fuchsia Snapdragons, so I know I would want to grow as many of these as I can since green is a difficult and rare colour for a natural dye. Whereas yellow Snapdragons look delightful but only result in a yellow dye, which can be useful but at the same time rather common. So they would not be a necessity in my Garden. So for Next year I want to focus on only planting dye plants that give me specific colours that are rare and I cannot achieve any other way. Which opens up my garden for more edibles and flowers that I grow just for the sake of beauty.
What are your goals for your garden?