The Past is in Our Shadows... Rolly A. Chabot
Ever have those days when the past pops up in your mind. You know those moments when they appear. They give you that moment of pleasure and yet there are some that bring back past pains. We all have them.
The mind is a powerful organ. It can move quickly from today to yesterday in a split second. Hard to control at times. It can be a very busy place with thoughts running so closely together all we want to do is find the switch and shut it all off.
Welcome one and all to the Fireside, chilly here today and the fireplace is roaring. Quigley is spread out and waiting for some company. I wonder what they have going through their minds. She must be chasing a cat this morning as she is woofing and her little legs are going but sound asleep.
Gather around, get settled in. Coffee is on and a fresh batch of Peanut Butter cookies are in the oven, compliments of Mrs Quill. The smell is filling the house.They should be ready soon. There is a box of Kleenex in the table to catch all the drools. Sorry like me you will just have to wait...
If you are anything like me you are awaiting spring and summer even though this winter has been a breeze to this point. This morning I have been sorting through some old photos and ran across a few I though might brighten your day. They have all been taken from the many flowerbeds that have graced our yards over the years.
The house we own now is only 8 years old. There were no flowerbeds here when we bought it and the sub soil used for landscaping is terrible. Any flowerbeds I create require much modification and take time to establish. It is situated in a new area in the southwest of town with a view of a farmers fill and the rolling hills to the west. Any new broken soil is a magnet for any weeds looking for a home and trust me they seem to find their way in what I create.
My backyard is all fenced and never has had anything for beds. I have been planning for a few years and will get started this year with some trees. Thinking I will plant several Larch. They are soft needled and grow well here wit no concerns of killing the lush grass with high PH. Planning a water feature as well with a fire pit and creating an artificial rock display. A young fellow came up with an idea I fell in love with years ago. Building a frame with wood and mesh wire. Then covering it with a mixture of concrete, sand and poly. It is light weight and can look just as it would in nature. Here I go again creating a pile of work for myself.
The value of a home increasing with just the smallest of effort when you create and atmosphere pleased to the eye and the ear with just some simple aesthetics. Am array of colours is always an eye catcher and pleasing to the people who live there and those who pass by.
I love to mimic nature when ever I can. This was created by the master in a location atop a mountain we climbed years ago and it caught my eye. The old creating a haven for the new. When out hiking I find myself coming back with an array of old stumps, rocks and anything that catches my eye and can be used in the future.
If you love to garden well would say keep your eyes peeled as there are many treasures to be found. Wildflowers, Moss, Ferns, Mushrooms and the like can be turned into something spectacular. Be careful with purchasing what are called wildflower mixes as they can contain anything and everything and they can become very unruly after a few years.
Should you decide to go with all perennials be sure the beds are well maintained and cared for. Many times I see people go through all the work of creating a masterpiece and within a few years it becomes a mass of overgrown vegetation. Plants need to be constantly split and reduced depending on the look you want.
The last house we had in the city was an oasis in itself. The people who bought it let it slip into a weed garden the first year. It was painful to go back and see. Glad we were able to enjoy it while we owned the house.
Find a reputable greenhouse supply store and choose carefully. Avoid the big box stores as they bring in almost anything that looks good in their greenhouse but are not at all suited for your area. The best way is to confirm the zone you are living in and buy accordingly.
Again I go back to nature and while out hiking always have a tool capable of digging up the unusual and bringing it home and finding a place to plant it. There are many great ground covers and they are free and easy to grow. They are the tough ones as they have had to learn to battle the elements and know when they are to reserve for the lean times.
We have a shale rock area along the river close by and I have found a cache there to create a tiered wild area. I will be collecting a few loads this year and getting it started in one corner of the yard. We have many Brown Eyed Susan's, Wild Tiger Lillie's, Fiddle Heads and low bush cranberries and cactus. We find most in the ditches around this area I will be borrowing and placing there. A few old fence post, a few strands of rusty barbed wire and it is complete and all it has cost is a little time.
Flowering shrubs and bushes always add appeal. Many will flower for months on end before they begin to go dormant. I have a preference to choose the ones that do for the simple reason the add colour.
Again there are small wild shrubs that grow and are very hearty especially when they are given moisture and nutrients on a regular basis. My major was in Turf Management and I began years ago to deal with organic fertilizers and compost. I stay away from anything chemically created. Just make sure the organics have been cured as some will contain weed seeds. Untreated manure is very bad for weeds. I use a product called Maloganite. It is from out of Milwaukee. What it is comes from sewer sledge which has been cured and has a rating of 6-2-0. It is very high in iron and all plants love it. A warning it is expensive but a bag will last for years.
Sheep maure tea works very well. Just take the raw product fill an old panty hose leg and let it steep in a watering can for a few days. This keeps all the seeds out of your flower beds and the plants think there is a party happening when they get a taste. Keep a few stockings ahead and when you are done dispose of the used in the trash.
I like to loom at weeds in flower beds and lawns as an indicator of poor soil conditions. I never use chemicals. I dig them out before they have a chance to flower. Keep it up on a regular basis and eventually you will win. It also means you need to be doing something like topdressing or aerating and detaching your lawn. I do mine in the spring and the fall and will top dress a few times a year using commercial compost and raking it in after and watering.
You can combine natural or wild with commercial and create a look like this one fro last years flowerbed in the front of the house. Ground cover and some taller popping up here and there. Colours for contrast and well some sweet scents add to it all.
Just a few thoughts during the winter months from Canada and all the work I may have created for myself. When you stop by wear you old jeans, have your gloves and should we not be home help yourself and lend a hand. If you call the operator looking for me just ask her to connect you to the guy on the river fly fishing... smiles.
By the way the cookies are ready. Quigley is sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for Dad to come and give her a treat. There are plenty so help yourself.
Father I thank you for the day You have given and may the eyes that read this today be blessed. Fill all hearts with Your love and peace. We live You Father and all that You provide. Know that you are all loved and such a blessing to those here in this home. Leave a blessing and take one with you.
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