a late winter beauty ..

Posted in from my gardens .. on March 9th, 2017 by grdnstff – Be the first to comment

there are humongous snow flakes falling outside right now .. it almost look as though they might stick around a while .. it’s amazing to see this .. again .. it’s snowed a number of times this winter .. something we haven’t been used to over the past few years of milder winters .. living on the coast we’re often graced with a snowfall that’s washed away before we know it by days of rainfall .. this year, though, we’ve had a few snowfalls stay long enough for it to really feel like winter snow .. the photo above was taken after one of those sorts of snowfalls .. it came just as the cyclamen coum were beginning to unfurl their flower buds .. then .. whomp! .. snow .. which didn’t stop these lovely little creatures from carrying on with their mission .. grow and bloom ..

a week or two later after a few sunny days, they looked like this .. this patch began with a few seedlings i planted probably five years ago .. the little maple came from a garden that was being dismantled .. they seemed an excellent pairing at the time .. and have proved to be so .. soon there’ll be enough cyclamen to spread around the yard .. for now, i’m absolutely delighted with the way they’re growing and filling this space under the maple ..


i was first introduced to these little winter beauties in the nineties when i was at university; before i started gardening .. i’d found myself a lovely secluded bench in a forested area of the campus, where i’d go between classes to sit and reflect .. or enjoy a morning coffee .. one winter’s day i made my way to the bench and saw all these interesting little leaves coming up around the sides and back of the bench .. poking up through the fallen and disintegrating leaves .. “how interesting,” i thought .. “and who are you?” .. over time i was rewarded with an answer to my query .. cyclamen .. i didn’t know them as ‘coum’ until later when i started working with phil in his winter flowering shade garden .. phil also introduced me to a few other cyclamens but coum remains my very favourite of them all ..

on the coast we are blessed with a completely different way of gardening .. over the years i’ve realized that coastal gardening doesn’t ever really stop .. throughout the seasons there is always something growing and blooming .. these little beauties are just one of the joys of winter growing ..



autumn composting ..

Posted in from my gardens .. on September 19th, 2016 by grdnstff – Be the first to comment

first maple leaves turning ..

in autumn .. when i’m in the garden .. my head in a bed .. my fingers are somehow .. as though of their own volition .. moving through the plants .. picking out dead leaves and debris .. cleaning .. hunting for dead, damaged and/or diseased .. yellowing leaves .. broken branches .. fallen stalks .. all in the process of decomposing .. dead leaves hanging on by a thread .. a web .. a filigree .. still taking energy from the plant to complete the process of dying .. my eyes and hands work together .. seeing .. picking .. cleaning the bed of what is now irrelevant debris .. taking that debris to the compost pile .. building and rebuilding .. eventually taking it back to the beds .. in a new form .. and repeat .. and repeat ..

i’m a maintenance gardener .. i have worked in many gardens over the past twenty plus years .. loved them all .. cared for each one .. as i care for my own .. there is nothing i would rather be doing .. and one of my favourite tasks in the garden is making space for composting to happen .. and no other season brings that to the forefront for me than autumn .. if i did nothing else in a garden .. this is what i’d do .. create spaces for this natural process to take place .. compost .. it’s alchemy .. of a kind .. turning garden debris to garden gold .. magic ..

a beauteous pile ..

i love cleaning garden beds ..  moving from plant to plant .. examining .. seeing what each plant might need from me .. snip a broken branch .. cut down dead stalks .. deadhead to eek out the last few blossoms .. meanwhile .. creating piles around me of debris .. leaving traces of my presence .. filling my wheelbarrow with the assorted piles .. filling the compost bin .. then .. filling my wheelbarrow .. taking finished compost back to each bed .. dumping .. spreading it lovingly around the plants .. across the bed .. feeding .. nourishing .. settling beds in for the winter .. lucky beds .. lucky me ..

autumn .. what a wonderfull season for a gardener ..

a wise old man ..