Strawberry Social 2018
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Douglas Justice - Cherry Trees and Blooms
Wednesday March 4th, 2020 - 7.00 p.m.
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My hip replacement surgery was over 3 months ago and I have reached the point when I can resume ‘normal’ activities. I have to say that the glossy brochure provided by Fraser Health implied that at this point I would be 100% better but in fact I still have quite a bit of work ahead to regain my usual level of fitness. I am back to exercise classes and am hopeful that they will help my ‘core’ - that part of my body much worked upon by frisky instructors. I can see that there may have to be a few modifications, though, such as making sure loads of garden waste heading to the compost heap are not too heavy. At least I am now able to get outside to harvest winter vegetables and we are enjoying lots of these including our favorite leeks. The winter cabbages are nearly finished but they have done very well. The slugs do not seem as bad on the savoys as they are on the summer varieties. Today there are lots of signs of spring in the garden: bulbs are coming up and several flowering shrubs are out. The Witch hazel is always a great stand by and the Viburnum bodnantense seems to have more flowers than usual this year.

The challenge now is to consider the garden lay-out and wonder if it is time to try and lessen the workload somewhat. Right now we have a large area given to vegetables but part of this is really quite shady and could possibly be repurposed. At present we grow quite a few root vegetables including potatoes and although the home-grown ones tend to be slightly more flavorful there is not the difference that there is with things like beans. The question then is what to do with the area. Rhubarb grows down there and as it is a great favorite the area given to that could easily be increased. The “downside” of this plan is that the rhubarb is on the edge of the bed and if for instance the bed was planted with grass then the rhubarb would be right in the middle of a lawn area which would look very odd. I am not enthusiastic about increasing the lawn area either and am searching for the right “theme’ for the space. I did think of having grass but under planting it with an array of bulbs but since the area is out of sight of the house this would not really be a practical plan. Something that looks its best in summer or fall would be better as that is when we are outside all the time. A selection of grasses (the sort that do not have to be mown ) is one idea but that would need careful planning so that it did not finish up looking a mess most of the time. Dahlias are another thought and would have the advantage of being “free” as I could use divisions from varieties that we already have. None of these ideas really seem to have the “spark” that I am looking for and if any garden club members have better ideas input would be appreciated! I am at or 604 922 6915.

The seed catalogues have arrived and with them the promise of spring and hopes of amazing vegetables and interesting flowers. I intend of have a good look through the offerings of a UK company ‘Chiltern Seeds’ as they have a huge array of varieties and it is fun to try something different. Not everything works but the cost of seeds is not all that high and the postage is minimal. Things ordered from England have to clear customs and sometimes this takes a while so I hope to get my order in to them this week. There is something really special about perennials that have been started under the lights of the kitchen counter! Most of my vegetables will be ordered through Westcoast seeds but a few from other catalogues which offer preferred varieties. It always seems to be “swings and roundabouts” with the vegetables as with any weather some things thrive whilst others just look rather sad. An early spring seems to help lots of things along as then the growth gets off to a flying start.

I am still not able to do heavier work and tomorrow my granddaughter is coming over to turn the compost and tidy up the empty pots. She is working shorter hours at present so the money I will pay her should come in handy. I should be able to keep the empty pots and trays tidy throughout the season, but it does not seem to work like that. There is always so much to do that they just get thrown into an area which is out of sight and left until “another day”.

As I write this I see that the weather forecast is for a cold snap and so it will mean keeping “fingers crossed” that everything survives. The dahlias were left to overwinter in place but they are covered with fleece so should be unharmed. Most other things are hardy (as far as I know) and so it will be a case of ‘hoping for the best’. If we do get any amount of snow then I will be outside brushing it off the purple sprouting broccoli as if the heads of the plants get damaged it really reduces the yield. A friend tells me that ‘every death is another planting opportunity’ which seems a good philosophy.

Please contact me with ideas for replanting the vegetable garden!!! Inspiration is needed.

Lois Woolley