Archive for September, 2012


Finding Lost Apples

About a week ago I discovered an Apple tree hidden in the garden. There was a huge overgrown climbing Rose next to it and I’d missed the Apples that were up high until recently. After cutting down the rose, I could get to the Apples. I’m pretty sure that the Apples are an eating variety but they do taste a little sharp. I asked the previous owner what variety the Apples were but she couldn’t even remember planting it. So I’m still none the wiser. If anyone can name the variety, please let me know.

The Apple tree is planted right next to a Crab Apple tree. Infact, it’s so close that it looks like they were planted in the same hole. Sometimes people to do this to ensure good pollination but it’s a bit messy for my ‘neat freak’ tastes. There is another Crab Apple in the garden in a different location so I might try to remove the one that’s close to the Apple later on.

While I was harvesting the Apples a woman came over who works in a building opposite. She said she had seen me in the garden and was itching to come and talk to me about what I was going to do with the garden. She said she had looked at the garden for many years and felt sad that no-one was looking after it. Then a whirlwind of activity started and things began to happen. She was a fruit grower too and she suggested growing Asian Pears as apparently they do very well in Oregon. And she also suggested that I buy some seed from The Territorial Seed Company. She said they are a nice family-owned business. So I’ll be checking them out. Nothing like a recommendation to spur me on to buy seed!

I just love the way that gardening brings people together. I actually prefer being in my front garden than the back garden right now because every time I’m out there someone will stop and talk to me. And I always learn something, be it a tip on how to look after something or just a name to a nameless plant.


Back to the Beginning

So, we tried to do the weeding and pulling ourselves but honestly, it took us a whole day to do one tiny little corner of this area. The whole courtyard was full of Marjoram that had turned into a weed and had seeded everywhere – even in between the brick pathway. And the raised beds were full of sick Roses that had seen better days.

So we decided we needed some help to clear the beds and start afresh. Since this will be the main vegetable garden I decided to remove the raised beds to give me more room to grow things. The crew came, they pulled stuff up and left two days later. This was the finished article. It’s unbelievable to me how quickly this happened.

This is basically how the garden would have looked back in 1915 when the house was built. The fountain might have been flowing (which we’re working on) but other than that we’re back to how it all started.


Now You See It

On one side of the house we have a cute little seating area with a pergola above and some steps down into the garden. It’s a great place to sit at night with a glass of wine and contemplate all the things that I plan to grow in my garden next year. Ahem! it would be a great place to sit and contemplate if I could see anything that is. The view was somewhat oppressive with these two huge bushes smothering me.

So I cut them down. Ah… that’s better. A little messier perhaps until I finish replanting some low level, shade-loving plants. But, yes, definitely better. Now I can breathe again.


Housewarming Gift

One of our neighbours left this basket of fruit and vegetables on our front porch today. She had been to the farmer’s market bought some things that she likes, put them in a basket, wrapped it and tied it with string. It was a lovely home-made gift and it totally blew me away. The fact that she gave up so much time and spent her Saturday afternoon doing this meant so much to me I can hardly put it into words. Maybe I’m emotional because I’m in a different country and starting to realise that. But this was huge for me today. A little home-made goes a long, long way.


Epic Elm Tree

I’m not really a tree person. I like trees. I like to look at trees. I’m always happy that trees are there but I don’t think I’m the kind of person who would say, “Let’s plant an Elm tree.” I might say that about an Apple tree or a Pear tree. And infact I did say that about a Medlar tree just the other day. But when it comes to those kinds of trees that you really should be able to recognise the leaves of… hmm no.

So, the fact that I have inherited a garden with the most beautiful, epic and very, very tall Elm tree in it is a bit unsettling. I’m beginning to like it though. The squirrels love it. They climb up to the most wobbly of highest branches and throw things down. At me? Maybe.

According to some neighbours there is a raccoon family that come back every year to the tree to raise their babies. Raccoons are new to me and so I was looking forward to that.

Yes I was getting very attached to my epic Elm tree until the parks department sent me a letter that said the tree might have Dutch Elm disease and that if it did then it would have to come down.

All of a sudden, after having no feelings what so ever for this tree, I felt sad. I tried to imagine the garden without the tree and realised that it would make a stark difference to just about everything. And what about the raccoons!

Anyway, the tree was tested for the disease and the first results came back negative. After the second pass we’ll know for sure. But in the meantime I think I might just give it some water.


Green Hydrangeas

I found these hiding in the garden behind some overgrown bushes that we’re in the process of chainsawing!

Gorgeous colours. I’ve never grown Hydrangeas before but as I understand it they bloom either pink or blue depending on your soil type but then mellow to a gorgeous dusty green colour.

I love them so much I might try to get some paint in these colours for some of the rooms in the house. Nothing like using nature as inspiration.