I’m always impressed by the strength of perennials. Bleeding hearts—particularly the pink ones like those in the picture below this musing—love the soil in our yard and thrive not only north-facing, but also east and west. The west-facing white bleeding heart plant is shaded by tall, advancing delphiniums which also grow like weeds here.
Those of you who know me or read my musings regularly know that I am dangerous in greenhouses where the brilliant colors and intoxicating smells can result in a spending spree. I’ve actually been quite contained this year. We did plant a couple more sandcherry shrubs this spring. I love their tiny pink flowers. They have proven to be the hardiest of the purple-leaved shrubs.
The other day I was crawling around on rocks like a mountain goat weeding the rock garden and pulling out some plants in order to have others thrive. I realized that what seemed like a good idea ten years ago to plant three thyme plants and two strawberry plants has expanded into quite a tangled mess. The strawberry plants were flowering profusely, but with the squirrels, raccoons, and goodness knows what else around, we humans never see a strawberry.
We dug and pulled grass and thistles for a total of ten hours out of the raspberry patch in the garden. The raspberry patch in the yard doesn’t require quite as much time, but both are extremely productive. We also have about fifteen Saskatoon bushes—the fox and coyotes eat the saskatoons on the bottom third of the branches, the birds eat the berries on the top third, and we try to get the ones in between. We have a few native Saskatoon bushes on the acreage as well, but we leave those for the birds and animals. Usually, I freeze about 40 one-litre containers of raspberries and saskatoons which last us most of the winter. If all the berries ripen that are now showing, we’ll be in for an extra-large harvest this year.
Doug and I talked about this being our last vegetable garden. We can only grow selected root vegetables—potatoes, carrots, and parsnips—because we don’t have a high fence to keep the animals out. There’s too much crawling around on my hands and knees thinning carrots and parsnips to make it worthwhile. Plus, we go to the Farmers’ Markets for peas and beans so we might as well buy all the fresh vegetables there.
We may keep the pumpkins as the grandchildren like them. We have five plants which will spread to fill the rest of the garden space. This year I purchased the pumpkin seeds labelled for jack-o-lanterns; previously, we had the regular pumpkins in quite unique jack-o-lantern shapes—mainly tall and skinny. I only rescued eight last year out of about 30 pumpkins that grew—the deer and moose took bites out of the rest. The least they could do is eat the entire pumpkin instead of randomly sampling a bite here and a bite there.
I can see and smell the nightshade petunias—deep purple with white blotches—as I sit at my desk writing this musing. Although I seem to spend most of my time either taking the pots of annuals down or putting them back up depending on the whim of the winds, summer wouldn’t be the same without their bright colors. The bleeding hearts and other hardy perennials remind me of the need to endure while still sharing beauty during our short growing season.
Happy Gardening everyone!