Chaos and progress.

Well, remind me next time I go away that I need to leave explicit instructions on watering.  All my indoor seedlings are dead.  Argh.  Have to start from scratch with my herbs and I’m down to my last two tomato plants (I had already given one away to a friend).

I have one other, in similar shape.  Fingers crossed, yall!

I have one other, in similar shape. Fingers crossed, y'all!

In other news, the front garden and back yard look completely mad, but largely in a good way:

Total violet and periwinkle dominance.

Total violet and periwinkle dominance.

Except here, where the coral bells (which I had forgotten about) are going mad.

Except here, where the coral bells Bleeding Heart (thanks Jackie!) (which I had forgotten about) are going mad.

Squirrels decimated these marigolds completely.

Squirrels decimated these marigolds completely.

Man, there is a lot of stuff in here.  Gah.

Man, there is a lot of stuff in here. Gah.

A mix of nasturtiums and wildflowers. Guess whats dominating? (I have another of these boxes, but it needs more drainage - everything is drowning.)

A mix of nasturtiums and wildflowers. Guess what's dominating? (I have another of these boxes, but it needs more drainage - everything is drowning.)

Whats the story?

What's the story?

Also, things are justjust sprouting in the latest garden box.  Squirrelproofing was a total success.  YAY.

No, really, that thing is a sprouting plant!

No, really, that thing is a sprouting plant!

One wee broccoli!

One wee broccoli!

There’s also one beet sprout.  And the lettuce continues, against all odds, to thrive.  Holy craps.

I really should harvest some soon.

I really should harvest some soon.

I will update again soon. Was defeated by a vicious cold for the last week (including while I was in Reykjavik).  Much to do this week.

So, no garden updates right now because I’m in ICELAND! I couldn’t resist taking photos while walking around Tjörn (wee lake in the city centre), despite the clouds of midges.

Trees!  And pretty little white things!

Trees! And pretty little white things!

It was pretty weird/cool coming in from Keflavik this morning because the landscape is all lichen, volcanic rock, and, well, not much else.  So little height from plants.  The above shows that there are still trees, though!

Pretty happy with this macro experiment.  New camera = much confusion.

Pretty happy with this macro experiment. New camera = much confusion.

Those have got to be some kind of sedum cousin, right?

Speaking of plant cousins, these two are very rhubarb-esque, no?

Phalluses!!

Phalluses!!

Only one here!

Only one here!

I wish I knew a) what these are and b) whether they would grow chez moi.

I wish I knew a) what these are and b) whether they would grow chez moi.

More soon!  Gonna have a nap before dinner.  Almost might be going on a “Haunted Walk” later.  WOO!

This means war.

Morning.

Phew, less than twelve hours later and I’m back!  Daylight is pretty.

Anyway, established plants are always squirrel-resistant:

Honestly, I do *not* remember this hosta being so huge last year. Maybe I have a greener thumb that I thought?  Or ripping out violets helped?  Or maybe its just matured and I have nothing to do with it.

Honestly, I do *not* remember this hosta being so huge last year. Maybe I have a greener thumb that I thought? Or ripping out violets helped? Or maybe it's just matured and I have nothing to do with it.

Spooky. With added shadow!

Spooky. With added shadow!

The success of the above makes me happy.  Under this lie the disintegrated corpes of pet hamsters, gerbils, and a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. Don’t want to go digging around under there. Pet Semetery!

Something old, something new.  Planted blueish one yesterday.  Lower left corner is three years old (or so).

Something old, something new. Planted blueish one yesterday. Lower left corner is three years old (or so).

I had forgotten about that fern-y looking thing as well.  It was obscured by violets.

Years-old clematis still trying hard, but looking sad.

Years-old clematis still trying hard, but looking sad. (This was one of my mum's favourites.)

Sedum gone wild!

Sedum gone wild!

And now the established, but unwanted.  Virginia creeper.  Originating under my neighbour’s patio, it cannot be killed.  We’ve tried.  For more than a decade.

I mean, creeping vine-y things are nice, but not when they start spreading across the whole yard, tripping you up, and generally being a nuisance.

I mean, creeping vine-y things are nice, but not when they start spreading across the whole yard, tripping you up, and generally being a nuisance.

Onto to the veggie battlements, since vegetables don’t have the advantage of age to defend them:

In addition to the pumpkin cage, I have pinned down chicken wire with sticks and taken advantage of a collapsed shoe rack to protect my leeks.

In addition to the pumpkin cage, I have pinned down chicken wire with sticks and taken advantage of a collapsed shoe rack to protect my leeks.

Not only that, but I sprinkled red pepper flake is stuck in bits of cat fur to keep the fuckers out.

Not only that, but I sprinkled red pepper flake and stuck in bits of cat fur to keep the fucking squirrels out.

My tomatoes were big, but leggy, so they are stilted.  Note, again, the cat fur tuft tucked into the pot.

My tomatoes were big, but 'leggy', so they are stilted. Note, again, the cat fur tuft tucked into the pot. This has worked in the past.

On notes (almost) completely other, I bought a Black-Eyed Susan for the big barrel.  Fingers crossed.  Mum was not black-eyed, but her name was Suzan.

Planted on Mothers Day.

Planted on Mother's Day.

C’est tout for now.  Building more boxes in the next week or two for beets, parsnips, broccoli, and something I’m not remembering right now.

Invasions.

My front and back yards are under constant threat from invaders.  I will talk about three today.  First up, the violets:

This is a wee part of the front yard.  Violets everywhere.

This is a wee part of the front yard. Violets everywhere.

No, really, they are fucking everywhere.

No, really, they are fucking everywhere. I don't even care about the dandelion.

Yup, they are all over the front too.

Yup, they are all over the front too.

Next up, the maples:

No lie, I rip up some of these suckers every day.

No lie, I rip up some of these suckers every day.

I don’t have photos, but I also sawed down two trees that had grown to my height.  There are three or for more to go.

However, I did have fun tackling these two invaders, plus some of the vine-y periwinkle today.

This is a tall wheelie bin full of garden detritus, composed almost entirely of maple and violet corpses, with a few periwinkle thrown in too

This is a tall wheelie bin full of garden detritus, composed almost entirely of maple and violet corpses, with a few periwinkle and bits of lemon balm thrown in too. Note the woody roots on those violets. It's almost like the whole yard is a single organism. A single organism trying to eat my brain.

I’m also putting some clumps of lemon balm and periwinkle into pots to give to brave friends, especially those with balconies.

The cull was in large part a first step in my quest for a path to the garage and composter.  I think I made great strides:

A path!  A path!

A path! A path!

A totally heinous photo, yes, but it was night time.  All told, I probably spent about seven hours in the garden this weekend.  And it rained yesterday.  Addiction!

Anyway, the other day, on a whim, I bought some cauliflower plants and put them in the box.  Within 36 hours, this happened:

Squirrels.  Again.

Squirrels. Again.

Detailed damage.  So frustrating.

Detailed damage. So frustrating.

So I bought provisions.

A heap of marigolds from the local farmers market and a fake owl (!!!).

A heap of marigolds from the local farmers' market and a fake owl (!!!).

This actually confused the hell out of my cat.  Hes perched atop a steel pole that has been in the garden for years, but seems to be immovable.  Finally, it shows its usefulness.

This actually confused the hell out of my cat. He's perched atop a steel pole that has been in the garden for years, but seems to be immovable. Finally, it shows its usefulness. The owl's head moves in the wind, by the way.

The marigolds were put in pots in strategic places throughout the yard.  But then this happened:

Shredded!  What the hell?  Squirrels are supposed to hate them!

Shredded! What the hell? Squirrels are supposed to hate them!

They also tried to dig UNDER the veg box:

Notice all the roots despite the clearing?  Lemon balm remnants, mostly.

Notice all the roots despite the clearing? Lemon balm remnants, mostly.

So, the owl hasn’t caught on yet. Nor have the marigolds done their job.  Now’s the time for the big guns:

This is my first chicken wire experiment, over the pumpkin plants I started indoors a few weeks ago.  I fail at arts & crafts.

This is my first chicken wire experiment, over the pumpkin plants I started indoors a few weeks ago. I fail at arts & crafts.

Coming soon, more chicken wire experiments and weird sculptures/barriers I worked on today.  Got too dark to take good shots tonight.  But I leave you with some good news:

Combo of tall pot and marigolds did the trick for this.  Hurrah!  Fingers crossed that it holds up.

Combo of tall pot and marigolds did the trick for keeping the squirrels out. Hurrah! Fingers crossed that it holds up.

Also?  My twig battlements are still holding up, though I suspect that this pots perch atop a stack of patio chairs is partly responsible.

Also? My twig battlements are still holding up, though I suspect that this pot's perch atop a stack of patio chairs is partly responsible.

Also coming up: Hostas!  They look amazing.

Wee update.

Our box is built!  We’re going to do another.  This one will contain leeks, carrots, broccoli and spinach.  Assuming we can keep the squirrels out.

This box is two feet by four feet.  It has some cedar chips in the bottom in this photo.  We added three bags of soil and a half-bag of Land & Sea compost.  Its half-full.

This box is two feet by four feet. It has some cedar chips in the bottom in this photo. We added three bags of soil and a half-bag of 'Land & Sea' compost. It's half-full.

I have a roll of chicken wire to lay over the top of this while the seedlings are sprouting.  But I have to figure out how to keep the squirrels out after that.  And outta this:

Squirrels already got into my cucumbers like the little bastards they are.  This is a temporary solution (?!) until I figure out how to make a cage to go around it.

Squirrels already got into my cucumbers like the little bastards they are. This is a temporary solution (?!) until I figure out how to make a cage to go around it.

And finally, what is this plant?  It leaves near the weirdo pseudo-patio in the backyard.  It’s a wee shrub with nice flowers.

Nice, huh?  Slightly insect-bitten, though.

Nice, huh? Slightly insect-bitten, though.

Tomorrow, I get to buy more soil/compost/etc.  If the rain holds off, I will start planting!  Hurrah!

Can I get a Hallelujah?

Amen.

Amen.

Good days and bad days.

So, it’s been a while.  Lots of new stuff happening, some crap, some surprising, some awesome.  Got a good chunk of prettifying done before the drizzle began today.

First, here’s the crap news:

See what these assholes do?  Eat my tulips!  I hate them so much that I wasnt disgusted by the dead one being eaten by crows at the end of the street.

See what these asshole squirrels do? Eat my tulips! I hate them so much that I wasn't disgusted by the dead one being eaten by crows at the end of the street.

At least the tulips got their leaves out.  This bulb never stood a chance.

At least the tulips got their leaves out. This bulb never stood a chance.

This is the back porch.  Itll be nicer soon, I promise.  We dont have enough space for all that wood.  Heh.

This is the back porch. It'll be nicer soon, I promise. We don't have enough space for all that wood. Heh.

Also, dumbly didn’t take a photo, but I have a bin nearly full of violets that I dug up from proper flower beds.

There’s also good news!  I forgot about this plant:

Are this miniature roses of some sort?  This plant doesnt bloom for long and Im really not sure.

Are this miniature roses of some sort? This plant doesn't bloom for long and I'm really not sure.

Also?  I went shopping!  Hit up Canadian Tire and Loblaws this morning to buy some already-blooming and other awesome plants as well as a proper spade and a rake.

I cant be trusted in a garden centre.

I can't be trusted in a garden centre.

Included in the plant mix are pansies, geraniums, daisies, wild thyme, a hosta, cucumbers (!!!!), and lavender.  I also bought a hanging basket for the back porch.

Not a bad first effort.  Not 100% happy with the sides; didnt stagger layers super well.  I likes it, though.

Not a bad first effort. Not 100% happy with the sides; didn't stagger layers super well. I likes it, though.

I also planted the two planters that live on the porch all summer.  We share planting duties with our neighbour, normally, but she’s done it the last two years.  I didn’t consult, so I hope she’s okay with my choices (she never consults with us either).  Regardless of who takes care of it, spikes and geraniums are always involved.

Okay, I could have brushed off the dirt, eh? I didnt go for a theme this year apart from colourful.

Okay, I could have brushed off the dirt, eh? I didn't go for a theme this year apart from 'colourful'. Depending on space constraints, I might add a couple of more things later in the summer.

About ten years ago, I had a traumatic incident with lavender.  A bottle of essential oil exploded in my backpack while I was traipsing around Scotland for a couple of months.  Everything reeked of it the whole summer and I vowed never to touch the stuff again.  I guess I lied, because I am super keen on having this on my porch:

Hopefully, I can bring this indoors in winter.

Hopefully, I can bring this indoors in winter.

And cucumbers should be ready by the end of June!

Yes, okay, I am going to grow things from seed too, but I couldnt resist these.

Yes, okay, I am going to grow things from seed too, but I couldn't resist these. I've since sprinkled some red pepper flakes in to (hopefully) keep the squirrels out.

Finally, speaking of vegetables, my tomatoes are still doing quite well, though my leeks seem to have dried out entirely.

1. Look!  Real leaves!  2. Why am I growing these if I am allergic to them?

1. Look! Real leaves! 2. Why am I growing these if I am allergic to them?

More work tomorrow.  The garden box isn’t ready yet for lack of the right size of Robertson screwdriver. Doh!  There’s now an area cleared for it, though.  I also started some pumpkin seeds, but they haven’t sprouted yet and are therefore not very interesting to look at.

I’m getting much more excited now that there is colour in my garden.  Fingers crossed that the daffodils or tulips will develop bulbs soon; all my neighbours’ are already in full bloom.

Pilot series.

Welcome to the first (of an expected many) episode(s) of the exciting new game show…Name that Plant!

Yes, such is my ignorance that I don’t know what’s growing in my own yard, even though I know I have been told at least some of these plants’ names in the past.  Please help.

Just to make things interesting, these are shoddy camera phone images.  My camera went on vacation without me, but will be back Monday.  I will be borrowing a friend’s this weekend:

Name that plant!

This is growing at the back of the rock garden. To keep, or not? What is it?

This is also growing at the back of garden, under and around the neighbour's shed.

This is also growing at the back of garden, under and around the neighbour's shed.

Another shot of the under/around shed plants.  They look like wee green tubes.

Another shot of the under/around shed plants. They look like wee green tubes.

This is has a tulip in the middle of it (yeah, I dunno how that happened either).  It's growing in the front garden, right next to the Ground-Hemlock/Yew bush.

This is has a tulip in the middle of it (yeah, I dunno how that happened either). It's growing in the front garden, right next to the Ground-Hemlock/Yew bush.

Okay, this is a diabolically bad photo.  These are growing next to the barrels in the backyard.

Okay, this is a diabolically bad photo. These are growing next to the barrels in the backyard.

And finally, a bonus photo of the massive expanse of periwinkle growing in the rock garden.  Methinks I will have to do a bit of a cull.  Maybe I’ll put it in plastic tubs on my front lawn and offer it to any interested parties.

That is a lot of frickin' periwinkle.  Anyone want some?

This represents about half of the periwinkle in the rock garden. I am not interested in rigidly manicured gardens, but this is ridiculous.

The one good (?) bit of news I got while wandering this morning is that even though the squirrels kicked all the bulbs out of the backyard barrels, a few ended up on the grounds.  I now have daffodils popping up at random locations around the back yard.  Which is better than nothing.

Laziness.

So, I will update later this week.  It’s been raining coldly for the last two days, so I haven’t done much anything since the weekend.

I do have this stuff, though.  I am tempted to mix the heavy clay soil in that blank, maple seedling-infested patch with compost and top soil and then spread a mixture of the wildflower seeds with grass seed, just to see what happens.  It it takes, it would be nice, but if it doesn’t, eh, I’ll live.

Grass really is a total waste of time, though, so maybe I’ll skip that bit.

I also bought about $35 worth of pine and some patio screws to build my first raised garden bed.  Hopefully, I can work on that this weekend.  I don’t know how to use power tools (ridiculous, I know), so I might wait until I have a supervisor and/or helpermonkey (besides the cat).  I am not known for my coordinatory skills.

I also bought a lovely cedar window box for growing herbs on the porch.  Suggestions?  I have basil seeds and..well, I think that’s it.  Unless catnip counts.