09 February 2007
From the land of the frozen chosen....
This is getting interesting. It’s been about three weeks now since winter rolled in, and it’s stayed cold; and with snow cover, at least up here on the mountain. We’ve been treated to several sessions of our famous Fundy ‘Flurries where winds blow on shore’ which have accumulated nicely in some locales. Great for cross country skiing, apparently, according to those who still pursue the sport (I don’t). It’s been bitterly cold up here and that tends to put me into recluse mode, so that I’m not going outdoors much except to do errands and chores.
This, of course means it’s a perfect time to catch up a bit on my reading about gardening, and to explore lots of new-to-me gardening websites, thanks to the joys of highspeed Internet. I’ve spent a fair bit of time poring over nursery and seed catalogue websites, seeing what’s new—even though I don’t expect to see some of these newer plants in this area for a while, either because of hardiness issues or supply availability. This is an ongoing problem that some of our nurseries face; they aren’t large enough to order massive amounts of plants, so some of the propagating nurseries and plant suppliers leave them low down the list of customers, and they can’t always get the new exciting plants. Some of them fight this by joining together and making joint orders, which apparently helps them get what they want. This to my mind is all the more reason to support our local nurseries, who DO go that extra mile for us customers. Take that, bigbox bullies!
I mentioned receiving a catalogue from Renee’s Garden out in California. Renee’s seeds are now available in Canada, and I was attracted to them because of the gorgeous watercolour paintings that adore each package. Well, my order arrived yesterday, only a week after it was shipped—that’s pretty impressive, and kudos to the United States Postal Service for their prompt service, because I’m pretty durn sure it wasn’t Canada Post’s efforts that got that package here so promptly. AND, I noticed the cost of mailing this package was $1.15 US. I’m pretty durn sure it would have cost way more than that to have mailed a similar sized package to the US from Canada Post. We pay more for way inferior postal service, in my mind. Except of course for our own community’s post office in Canning, and our intrepid rural mail drivers—they’re heros.
So, what did I get from Renee to try? Given that this is the season of the plastic tomato, which alas I still end up buying (at least in hothouse-from-Ontario form) throughout the winter, I’ve already started craving real tomatoes. So I got a package called Summer Feast, a mixture of three heirloom types including my beloved Black Krim. Mmmmm. That’s all I got in the veggie department; other treasures included sweet peas, sunflowers (can’t wait to see ‘Chocolate Cherry’ in bloom!), Shirley poppies, butterfly scabiosa (should go well with the blue lace flower, shouldn’t they?) California poppies (Eschscholtzia californica, surely the most difficult genus name in botany), Little Ladybirds butterfly cosmos, and two types of Nigella; Persian Violet, in shades of blue and purple, and Mulberry Rose, because it’s been wayyyyyy too long since I had pink nigella in the garden. Nigella reseeds, but it’s been our experience that either they revert to blue after a few generations or else it’s only the blue that are real good at reseeding.
Watching the birds at the feeders outside my office window, as they hop from feeders to the definitely asleep rhododendron, I can’t help but think surely this time, this cold snap will help kill off some overwintering insect populations. So I’m not going to grumble too much about the cold. Yet, anyway. I’ll just sit, like the cats, watching bird television and dreaming of warmer, spring days. And digging in the dirt, planting new garden treasures.