Friday, January 29, 2010

Name Change

I decided to change the name of the blog from Pomona's Garden to Gardening Pomona. Primarily because the URL is the latter- the former was unavailable. Less complicated, especially when telling people about the blog and then give them a different name in the address. Anyone think I should keep Pomona's Garden? Or care?

Here are a couple of photos of plants from my garden last summer. Something to brighten up a cold day. The top photo is Turtle Head, named because the flower resembles a turtles head. This plant prefers a wet-tish soil and some shade but does well in a dry semi shaded spot in my garden. Bottom photo is Butterfly Weed, a great drought resistant plant that does well in clay due to a long taproot. Attracts more than just butterflies too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Winters Day

Looking out my office window today you would not think it was winter. Plus 3C and not one flake of snow on the ground. The lawn is bright green and yellow with brown leaves mixed in. The flower beds have dried stalks of sedum, coneflower, shasta daisy, Annabelle hydrangea pom poms, some native grass and the remains of two autumn flowering clematis on their trellis. Not the prettiest site right now.
Without the snow my mind starts to imagine that spring is on its way and that there is imminent spring cleaning to do. I prefer a spring cleaning in the garden (forget the house). I have more energy and motivation to get out there and tidy while checking for new buds on branches and looking for evidence of green spikes pushing themselves out of the ground. Dead leafy debris pulls up much more easily and my secateurs are nice and sharp for when they are needed. Leftover leaves get added to the leaf pile and a first check on the compost goes without saying.
But that won't happen today. Instead today I have browsed through a seed catalogue ( I am considering planting pole beans where the tomatoes were last summer) and have decided to absolutely and positively yank out the butterfly bush that has been so disappointing. There is still plenty of time to plan for the spring and I do it over and over in my head every winter. What to remove, what to replace it with, a new bed perhaps. We want to add a flagstone patio in the first back yard behind the house. I have been planning this for a few years now, maybe this will be the year it gets done.
It is probably best to do all your thinking in the winter. You can plan out on paper or in your head and it will always look fabulous. You can never make a mistake while dreaming about your garden, only make changes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New guy in town

Up until the last two years, our area has had an overabundance of rabbits. Big ones, little ones and in between ones too. It did not seem to matter what time of day either, they were out there causing trouble. They have strange eating habits, have you noticed? They chose one Geranium sanguineum alba over the one next to it and returned to it over and over again, never touching the other geranium. Once the plant was devastated and down to bits they'd leave it until it started to recuperate and grow and then attack it all over again, still leaving the other plant alone. I am sure you have your rabbit horror stories too. Two years ago I found one bunny actually eating my weeds. Finally, I thought, evolution has caught up to them. All that hybridizing and I finally have the rabbit of my dreams. Not only did that critter eat weeds in my lawn but also weeds in my gravel driveway. Hallelujah!

Then all
that changed. Last summer we got a fox. He/she is a beautiful fox (see photos). A big one too. About the size of a mid sized dog. Pretty big fox. We used to have a couple of foxes in the area when we first moved to this house. Neighbours would complain about them and word would get around when there were sitings. Then they disappeared. Someone said they had Mange, a skin mite found on dogs and cats, and were destroyed by the city. Someone else said a resident called the city and had them removed because foxes are dangerous things in the city and should all be killed. In any case, the foxes disappeared and we got a rabbit boom.

Now I am not complaining. I like my fox. I am not scared of my fox he is scared of me. I do have to keep an eye out when he's around because I do have an outdoor cat. But I do miss my weed eating rabbit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Russian Blues

Wednesday evenings have been of late spent at the local pub for their trivia quiz night. Tim, our host and a fireman, came up to me with a big smile on his face and a grey plastic bag in his hand - he remembered to bring me a couple of Russian Blue potatoes from his dad. His dad is apparently an extremely enthusiastic gardener and sounds like someone I'd like to meet.
Russian blue potatoes are originally from South America, as are all potatoes, but these do come from Russia. They are considered Heritage plants and are known for their colouring. The skin and the flesh is purple all the way through. Pretty cool. Their texture is much like a russet so they are good to bake or mash, cook as French fry or even make into chips; but they also can be steamed or boiled. Roasting or grilling the halves will actually darken the colour and is most recommended, as the mild taste needs help with herbs and seasonings.

Mine are now in the basement waiting for spring when I can plant them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

So who is Pomona?

When we moved into this house on Pomona Avenue we wondered, so who is this Pomona. After a little searching around it turns out the name Pomona is very apt for our street.
After the second world war the veterans who returned were offered a choice of an education or a small plot of land on which they were required to grow crops. Many years ago there were cabbages and potatoes grown on streets nearby. Our property was used to grow fruit trees. Nine years ago we had two pear trees, two apricot trees, three black walnut trees, one apple tree as well as some black raspberry bushes. All that remain today are the walnuts, the apple and the raspberries. The pears and the apricot trees were quite old and dying at the time. We did get a few pears although the squirrels beat us to most of them. Only one of the apricots gave fruit that never matured. Probably not enough sun as it was overshadowed by a large silver maple. In contrast, the walnut trees are long lived and continue to shower us with nuts in the summer - literally. I love these trees. They are about 40 feet tall and the trunks are ramrod straight. They are one of our last trees to leaf out in the spring and one of the first to drop in the fall. Perfect for woodland plantings.

Anyway...Pomona is a Roman goddess of fruiting trees and orchards. She did not care for forests, she loved her cultivated countryside. She wields a pruning knife in her right hand for she is an expert in pruning and grafting. Despite the fact that she preferred to be alone to care and nurture her trees, this amazon-like beauty was besieged by suitors, in particular a god called Vertumnus. Vertumnus had the ability to take different human guises and made numerous attempts to woo Pomona but she turned him away each time. It wasn't until Vertumnus appeared before her in his proper person (apparently quite a good looking fellow) that Pomona gave in to his charms. Vertumnus is a god of gardens and orchards and so it appears they were a match made in heaven. I am sure there is a moral to their story however it won't come from my lips.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day One on the Blog

So here I am on a cold evening in January starting a blog. I was encouraged. You're starting a new business, my friends said, you need a website and a blog to link with. Well, the website is not quite ready to be seen but apparently this blog is. I don't know who will read this (everyone must say that) but here you are my friends.
Yes, I am starting a new Garden Coach business this spring. I want to be able to use all my new-found knowledge since graduating from the University of Guelph with a shiny certificate in Horticulture. Once that site is up I will post it here.
As far as this blog is concerned, I will ramble on about the trials and tribulations in my garden on Pomona Avenue and hopefully share some insights on this hobby called gardening.