Sunday, December 27, 2015

My 2015 Garden

I have been terrible this year in maintaining this blog, including sharing what was happening in my little garden. So now that it is buried under about six inches of snow, I figured I would get around to it now. Better late than never I suppose. 

Most of the projects that I wanted to tackle this season, were either started and never finished or completely deferred to next year altogether. I did however add some more toad houses, bee watering stations, and bird baths.

Jarrahdale pumpkin growing and Jack-o'-Lantern
This year I grew Jarrahdale and Black Futzu pumpkins for the first time, which both did quite well and will definitely be growing them next year! Both were great looking additions to the display I had on my porch for Hallowe'en and tasty additions to baking and soup recipes.

I tried Watermelon radish in the late spring/early summer and might be the yummiest radish I have ever grown. Another radish variety that was a first for me was Black Spanish, which is supposed to grow as large as a turnip, mine however was not quite as big. The original plan was to grow some to carve into Jack-o'-Lanterns, but being as puny as they were that did not happen. I will try again next year.

Indigo Rose tomatoes
For tomatoes I gave Indigo Rose and Old German a try, which both will be joining my herd of "old faithfuls" next year. Where I will have the room for about a dozen tomato varieties is something I will hopefully figure out over the winter. Heh.

Angel Wing poppies
Other new pretties include Tiger's Eye bush bean {fantastic for bean dip and soup!}, Multi-Coloured Broom corn {great for autumn decorations and the birds love it!}, Jasmine Scented nicotiana {wooooo, smells pretty!} and perhaps my favourite find, Angel Wings poppy. All will be grown again next year.

A new addition this year, anise hyssop.
Throughout the season I added more perennials to the "wild" garden bed that pollinators and other critters love. I am happy with how that garden has turned out and how much wildlife we have been getting there and in the rest of the garden.

Liatris {aka 'gayfeather' and 'blazing star'}

The stinging nettle plants were filled with cocooning Red Admiral caterpillars and one of our milkweed plants had a cocooning Monarch. In general I saw a lot more Monarchs this year, which is great news!

There was also solitary bees of various sorts making themselves at home in the critter hotel and there were so many ladybugs this year. In the trees surrounding our place and our neighbours' yards we had nesting crows, robins, waxwings, squirrels, warblers, finches and sparrows. And of course the chippies and skunks were camping out not too far away either. Heh.

Lily-of the valley and lungwort

Goat's beard
To my relief the perennials beds at the front of my house seemed to recover nicely after having to be dug up last year when we had to get our foundation repaired. I have thought about creating another bed in the front to add some heather and holly and maybe a contained yew and rowan next year.

Ghost fern

Towards the end of the gardening season I got a few more perennials to go throughout the garden, and I also inherited a rose bush from my Auntie's place, which I think is an old fashioned tea with white blooms. I guess I will have to wait until next year to know for sure.

Fall seemed to come late this year, making the overall growing season longer this year than the last few. Up until the last couple of days I could have probably gotten away with growing hardy greens, since we had a green Yuletide. 

But now Winter seems to be here and I will have to wait to garden. Until then I will be daydreaming of digging in the dirt while I am shoveling snow.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Solstice Wood

"That doire bheag air an druim
is that mi cinnteach,
gu robh i an còmhnaidh ann.
Nuair thig grianstad a’ geamhraidh
is cruinne ruadh a’ tuiteam air cul chraobh
is caomh leam creidsinn
nach eil mi gu tur nam aonar
ach tha sùilean eile thar tìm
maille rium, is an aon tlachd aca
on is e sin an là as giorra
is roth draoidheil na grèine
na rolladh gu luath dhan Earrach."


"There is a spinney on the ridge
and I am certain
that it was always there.
When the winter solstice comes
and a red sphere falls behind trees,
I like to think
I am not entirely alone
but that other eyes across time
are with me, and show the same pleasure
that this is the shortest day,
as the druid wheel of the sun
rolls swiftly towards Springtime."

~ Doire A’ Ghrianstad/Solstice Wood by William Neill from Caldenoian Cramboclink

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays!

It's hard to believe that the Yuletide season is already here! 

For interested readers, here are some previous posts on this blog that are relevant to the season:

Grianstad an Gheimhridh/The Winter Solstice {featuring a prayer to the rising sun}
Yuletide {featuring seasonal folklore, recipes and resource links}
Hogmanay {featuring a prayer and resource links}

As well, be sure to try and catch a glimpse of the otherworldly illuminations over at Newgrange and Maeshow. And finally, here is a lovely version of a traditional Sheltand Yuletide song Da Day Dawn played by Samantha Gillogly:

All the best to my readers this season and may you all be blessed with revelry, comfort and being surrounded by those you love!

Warm hearts and hearths,