Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Garden Musings


Outside my window pale yellow and orange are fading into grey as the sun sets below the Sooke Hills. It's been a lovely day, sunny, but cool enough for a light jacket. I spent a few hours this afternoon in the garden, transplanting some tomato starters (into deeper pots) and setting a few hardier tomatoes into the garden under cover. 

Garden work is so satisfactory. I find that I must do fulfill my inside chores before going outside, for if I do not I will spend all day puttering in the garden. 

The fig tree is leafing out and I always think the new acid green leaves look like butterflies about to fly off, or old-fashioned nuns' caps like in The Sound of Music. 

I've attempted gardening almost everywhere we've lived, although I soon learned that it was fruitless to do so in the jungle. I once planted several rose bushes along the front porch. They did well for awhile, but then the leaf cutter ants came along and decimated the plant entirely overnight. Amazing creatures they are, cutting and carrying off pieces of leaves far bigger than themselves. 

Outside one of our jungle homes impatiens grew in a lush heart-shape around a group of trees alongside the drive. I loved seeing it from my kitchen and dining room windows, and mourned when it was regularly cut down by the maintenance crew. However, it wasn't long before it grew up and flowered once again, bright shades of pink, fuschia, red, and orange. 

This oh, so fat bee and his mates have been buzzing about the flowers lately. The rosemary bush is blooming and another sort of bee loves to congregate there. 

At another home, this time in the mountains outside of the capital city of Quito, I was able to garden more successfully. Lemon and avocado trees were already established in the garden and how we enjoyed them. Lemon trees are amazing for they fruit and flower at the same time. I learned there to plant judiciously, for everything grew year round and needed constant trimming back. There was no dormant season. 

Above, the wisteria is blooming on the garden shed. Just now as I walk to and fro with plants, shovel, clippers, and buckets, I catch a whiff of lilac here, and sweet wisteria there. It's such a lovely time to be out there. 

From inside my house yesterday I watched an Anna's Hummingbird alight in the lilac bush. They usually take off after a brief stay, but this one remained long enough for me to go get the camera and take several pictures. Even then he hung around for awhile. 

The usual date for setting tender plants out into the garden is after mid-May. With an eye on the calendar and the temperature, I started squash and cucumber plants indoors today. Already growing outdoors are carrots and beets, Swiss chard, radishes, red onions, and spinach. 

I have a new flower bed this year, and in it are cosmos and foxglove. I'll transplant zinnias and sunflowers as they sprout. Sweet peas are a favourite of mine and I started some seeds indoors and some out. Something came along and nipped the outdoor plants right off at the ground and left the green growing tendrils lying on the dirt. What could have done that? I've netted the ones that remain and they seem to be doing fine. 

What is it that is so satisfying about gardening? Being outside with a purpose is what I like - I'm not one to lie about in the sunshine. I do enjoy a cup of tea and reading a book in the shade, but I find that my eyes stray often to the garden beds and I'll soon get up to pull that weed that caught my eye. 

I know that many of my readers garden. What is it that you find fulfilling about gardening? 


  1. We can’t really plant before mid May, so I also grow my sweat peas inside for the moment.
    I have planted pumpkins and butternuts outside and waiting for milder weather, but again so cold!

  2. Such beautiful flowers and leaves, Lorrie!
    Here the soil is still frozen, so not much gardening yet. Some plants are carried out during the warmest hours of the day and back indoors for the night. :)

    What is so satisfying about gardening? Never I feel so much alive than with the first smells and colours of the spring and the new growth.

    I often quote Gertrude Jekyll's beautiful words:
    "Let no one be discouraged by the thought of how much there is to learn. Looking back upon nearly thirty years of gardening (the earlier part of it groping ignorance with scant of help), I can remember no part of it that was not full of pleasure and encouragement. For the first steps are steps into a delightful Unknown, the first successes are victories all the happier for being scarcely expected and with the growing knowledge comes the widening outlook, and the comforting sense of an ever-increasing gain of critical appreciation. Each new step becomes a little surer, and each new grasp a little firmer, till, little by little, comes the power of intelligent combination, the nearest thing we can know to the mighty force of creation."

  3. It's something to do with Creating, with planning and planting. Often there are discouragements, when you realise you've planted in the wrong place, or a plant has been eaten, but there is nothing that can't be re-done. The joy of seeing planning coming to fruition is like no other.

  4. Your garden sounds lovely and so colourful already! I like growing a few vegetables but that is the extent of my gardening prowess.

  5. I think for me it is the joy of growing, and enjoying the beauty. Also I think being made in the image of the ultimate Creator, we are following in his steps as creators.

  6. The only reason I attempt to garden (I really do not enjoy the process) is to have the joy of seeing the result. My goal is only to have something blooming throughout the gardening season. I do not sit out in the garden much, but I enjoy it occasionally. I don't know what took your plants off, but it was a rotten thing for it to do.

  7. I have gardened in every home we have had as well. Now living in the condo in Florida, I have a small herb garden on the lanai. Next year (winter time here) I will try a patio tomato plant. I am enjoying the smaller gardening, with less work and since my lanai is screened in I am not worried about the critters that try to eat my veggies!

  8. I've been a 'constant gardener' since childhood in England. . . . .everyone gardened, flowers and vegs, after WWII I think (the 'Victory Garden'). As we were rationed until 1952, at least some items, growing ones own food became a necessity. My mum was an avid garden, not so much dad, so she and I would dig and delve happily for hours on sunny days - rainy ones too I bet!!!!

    Love your wisteria - mine decided only leaves this year, not a bloom appeared - still lovely draped over the arbor though!

    Glad your fig is leafing out - they are such beauties. My gigantic fig tree, after the heavy pruning by a professional last year, is splendid and in full leaf now - figs later hopefully.

    Mary x

  9. I love flowers (and fresh from the garden produce) but I have to admit to not being a gardener at heart and am happy to no longer have the responsibility. I only steal (pictures of) other people’s flowers and patronize local farm markets as much as possible . Someone has to be the designated admirer and appreciator! .... Besides admiring your lovely hummers and flowers, I always enjoy hearing snippets of your “past life” living in the jungles and cities in South America. What a wonderful opportunity and what memories you must have!

  10. I do enjoy light gardening, by now. I used to have a large vegetable garden and canned and pickled all summer. Now, it's a few flowers that I enjoy. I love your pictures.

  11. Your wisteria is so pretty. I don't see it often but I do enjoy coming upon it in travels, etc. Your photos are lovely.

  12. You've lived ( and gardened) in such different circumstances. I can only imagine the wonder of having a lemon tree bearing lovely lemons right in the yard.
    Your Wisteria is beautiful.
    Like you I have to make myself do inside chores before I go outside. As the weather becomes warmer I may have to change my routine.

  13. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to gardening! =) Last spring I had so much fun choosing what we wanted to have in our new yard. I was a very young mom when our other yard was planted and I did not care as much. Now I am surprised how fulfilling it is to keep plants flowering in the garden all summer with simple regular deadheading. Today I moved some perennials around and planted some new ones in bare spots. I'm looking forward to seeing the rotation of blooms.
    One challenge we have here is deer. They took me by surprise last year and really did damage in our front yard. This year I'm trying to be ahead of the game by spraying a homemade concoction that I hope works. They love the fresh new growth.

  14. Lorrie - for me, gardening is mainly about the result - seeing the beauty of the foliage and the flowers - and knowing that I played a small role in it. I also like the planning because I am an organized person who needs a plan, but it is only a means to the end! The snipped plants is a bit of a mystery - a caterpillar or beetle of some sort?

  15. Some of my earliest memories are being with my mom as she gardened. I remember her introducing me to the jack in the pulpit plant and sending me off to show and tell with a quince apple. Fast forward to the early days of raising my family. My sister and I enjoyed taking various gardening classes and attending local garden walks. With the maiden name of Green I wonder if we don't naturally come by our Green thumbs. There were years when the garden became the best therapy when dealing with losses. As any gardener knows, we can set out to do one task and soon half the day has passed. Bringing order and beauty to one's garden as the birds chirp and the fresh breezes blow seems like a little slice of heaven on earth.

  16. There is nowhere more healing to the spirit than a garden.

  17. I agree about enjoying wonderful scents as you garden and May has to be one of the best months for that. It must be special to have different garden memories in such diverse places. We are lucky living in the climate we do as so much can grow. Love the hummingbird :) B x

  18. I’m always puttering about in my garden as there’s always something that needs picked up, pulled or rearranged, Lorrie. I do enjoy eating on my patio everyday, by my little waterfall and watching for birds to take a dip, take a drink, or cool off.
    How fun for you to have a new flower bed to tend to. Happy Mother’s Day, Lorrie!

  19. What a lovely gardening post Lorrie. You have had some interesting gardens, and a lot of variety. The wisteria and lilac are beautiful, and I sure wish I could grow them here. On the other hand, we have had a wet Summer and a lot of growth of hedges, tree ferns, roses, and everything else! We have just been on a garden tour of Autumn Gardens in a temperate climate west of Sydney, and enjoyed it immensely. The thing I like best about gardening is the overall design and structure of it, like making an immense piece of art.

  20. I think I'm in the minority in that I don't have a green thumb...but that's why I always enjoy your pretty garden pictures!

  21. Good morning, Lorrie. This is such a lovely post. I enjoyed reading it and your photos very much, as I enjoy everything in your garden. I will say, "I am envious of your fig tree." We left two mature trees in our VA garden. It is too cold for them here and I do love and miss them. But, I have learned every area of our world has its gardening joys.

    What I love about gardening, is the peace and listening to bird songs and the little critters(although sometimes they can be annoying). I enjoy planting something in the warm earth and watching it come to bloom. And, seeing my vision for the garden come to maturity.

    PS. I adore sweet peas. Please take photos when yours bloom and enjoy them for me.

  22. It was a beautiful and interesting post. I loved your adorable pictures of gardening. What I like most about gardening is the seedlings which is the beginning of the process. Then comes the waiting time to see the beautiful blooms and the harvest. And not only counting the days, but watering them from time to time. And while taking care of them, it is like we talk to them, and they know our language, touch and care we give to them. Then the blooms happens with all colours of the earth. The flower arrangements play a role too. Suddenly the harvest season speaks to us. The vegetables, the fruits, ooh mixed fruit and green salads are my perfect way to serve them with my family at dining time. Gardening reminds me of my late mum and her watering can - a picture I will never be able to print. Thank you for this fascinating post, I enjoyed reading it.


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