Since 2020, I have been including more outdoor time in my life. While gardening is Daniel’s passion, for me, it’s pretty to look at but balancing cyber time with real-time is always a challenge.
Watching the plants develop is very much like taking a ball of yarn and watching a project grow from it. I have been getting more involved in gardening.
One of my grandfathers was handy as a hobby to make things for the gardening. Grandma had a green thumb and my grandfather would make things to compliment the garden. My grandfather worked in the mines in Elliot Lake, Ontario and moved over to Labrador. He died a painful death of brain tumours at the age of 55 which is only 5 years from how old I am now.
Their home in Labrador had the iconic red/white colours of Canada as their base. White picket fences and rocks were painted white with garden accessories that included a wooden lighthouse of red and white. I don’t know if he was good at it as I was paying attention to specifics like that.
I’m horrible with wood but it gives me joy and to see it in the garden mixed with the plants, shrubs and trees feels wonderful. My goal in the garden isn’t to make it a hobby to teach others as in most things I do there is an instant kick-back of “where’s the pattern.” I have a gift of picking weird colours because I lack a sense of colour coordination and I add crap to things that make me happy but it can be a wrong move from a decorative point of view. Daniel has coordination and vision.
One of the things I wanted to fall back on in college was landscaping design as I was fascinated by it. Daniel is making me watch Gardener’s World and different British gardening shows. It’s painful to watch! These people talk about plants like there’s more to them than throwing seeds into the ground!
Dare I say that I am learning something? Maybe but don’t tell anyone.
We couldn’t help but notice the amount of older people into gardening. Growing older, I’m getting more into it meanwhile it has been a lifetime obsession for Daniel.
Gardening takes money, unfortunately. However, Daniel has been able to navigate around some of those challenges such as doing this propagation garden of storing plants in a dedicated section where the plants can grow, then be divided to make 1 plant suddenly be 5 to 10 plants in a year or two down the road.
We live near a vintage wood mill where we can score off-cuts of wood. The wood is far cheaper than doing a conventional store and it’s just over the hill from us. I cannot be any closer and you can leave with a truck full of food for fractions of the cost. Some wood, we will buy first quality when we need the wood to be part of a support structure to hold things up but other more decorative can be the crap wood.
One of the biggest projects ever is the pond. With the vision to control water to the advantage of the grounds. We live with clay as the soil conditions. Very tough to dig into and terrible for the planting without having topsoil. Daniel started digging it in August 2021 after we checked to ensure nothing was in the soil such as wires or plumbing.
That is the major project of 2022.
The pond will be bigger on the base pond with waterfalls cascading. The water you see is naturally filling as we live on the side of a valley ridge and the water runs downhill. Daniel started digging last year but with the rainy season starting up soon after he started, the pond filled up in a few days on its own.
The pond isn’t deep enough and needs to be drained out to continue to dig down. It’s too shallow that the entire pond will freeze. The brown water is from the clay surface and is very slow to drain through due to the clay naturally. The pond needs a liner and filtration to change the water. Once the landscaping is back into place and there is no exposed clay mud, the water will naturally run into the pond as clear water.
The pond will serve as water service for the dog and ducks. It gives a breeding ground for frogs and other insects that are helpful for the garden. We hope one day to see things like dragonflies and more.
The Hardest Thing For Me Is Advice
With being connected to the globe and sharing photos, what works for one person is completely different for another. I want to build a snake habitat, not that I love snakes as they startle me but the advantages to the garden are exceptional. In posting that desire, I got people telling me never to do it as I would end up with cobras and other snakes. Fact is, Nova Scotia has 5 species of snakes and none of these are poisonous or venomous.
We have a country setting where moles, mice, and rats live freely. They are a food source for other creatures. Snakes help control the population of frogs. They have an advantage. Also, turtles would be highly advantageous as well.
What works for one person, may not factor in our location, soil conditions and limited time to start a garden and watch it phase off.
Spring is Delayed in the Maritimes
With the ocean pretty much surrounding us, the delays of the spring is about 2 weeks pushed versus where we lived in Ontario. For us, it feels late where someone that has lived here it feels normal. However, due to the ocean, we had a longer warmer fall than where we were from. So fall here is majestic from our point of view.
It’s May 18, 2022 today and the leaves just started popping on the trees about a week ago and are still filling out. You can see the seasons changing in the photos I provided. You can see the June 2021 version of the difference the trees make once they are full.
Online I get people telling me we should have already planted when our climate isn’t ready. With warmer falls, some of our flowers need to be planted later due to the later spring but continuing the warm into fall.
In August, it can be ugly hot here causing near draught temperatures without rain. Over 100 degrees is typical. The plants need to figure out a way to survive it. A lot of the decisions such as mulch are required to help the soil keep its water longer.
So anything online for advice has to be considered for where we live and the conditions. One side of Nova Scotia to another is very different in temperatures and conditions. Over the valley ridge, the weather to the north of us is completely different from the reactions to the Bay of Fundy with lots of fog, cooler temperatures and wind. We are shielded by most of that being in the valley with this being a region of wine, beer, agriculture and essentially the harvest Valley of Nova Scotia. You can eat locally throughout the year here.
For me, I don’t want to become an expert in gardening as I am years behind the rest. However, I want to have a place to go to that doesn’t involve notifications and allows me to get some fresh air and watch my efforts come to life.
We have a few short weeks to plant the seeds and then allow the summer to take shape.