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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #274 - The crew of construction gardeners has returned to my front yard.
October 10, 2016

The front yard became a no-garden zone about the middle of June. I showed you pictures of the garden disappearing under the care?? of the road construction crew. Weeds grew. They trampled through it to put in their many stakes, pipes etc. The layers of dirt and dust accumulated; we can almost see out our front windows. We are not spending any time cleaning them until the crew have packed up and gone. They came somewhat closer to that this week when they started the remediation process. To my delight and surprise they actually dug out a considerable amount of the very rough gravel that they left there in June. They were a bit aggressive about the area they worked in and I lost a nice piece of my Thyme groundcover but it will grow back quickly. The real joy and surprise was the generous depth of top soil that they supplied in the areas that had been torn up.
The gravel path that used to lead to the road, now terminates at the edge of their work and rebuilding it does not seem to be in their plans. The upside to this, is the quantity of new topsoil and sod that I will be able to relocate when I rebuild that path. I mention sod, not because it has appeared yet but in the fervent hope that it will appear before the snow does. I suspect that paving the road happens first but then we will no longer have an excuse for not cleaning the windows. I’m planning a rather thorough redesign and rebuild of the neglected front yard beds. Stay tuned.

Today is Thanksgiving in our part of the world and that means a great feast enjoying all of the wonderful things that the garden produces. These Baby Honey Nut Squash from Renees Seeds have become a favourite of ours. They are the perfect size for two Squash lovers and their dark colour and rich flavour are a great treat. We bake them with a little butter, maple syrup and pepper in the cavity and then devour them. The garden is producing a wealth of edible treats that overflow our dinner plates this Thanksgiving and most other nights as well. We have second crops of early treats such as Pak Choi and Beans as well as a wealth of midsummer Tomatoes, and Peppers of varying colours, shapes and heat ratings. Eggplant appear in a variety of delightful colours, shapes and sizes while the Squash provide a richness for the palate. The Leeks and Brussels Sprouts present us with a conundrum. They are growing well and looking delicious but we know that they will be even more delicious after a couple of light frosts but those frosts will also end the supply of Peppers and Tomatoes. We can wait for a while yet.

One of the joys of wandering the garden early in the day, with my camera in hand, is to take the time to enjoy the interplay of light and shadow that makes that walk interesting and exciting. The Dahlias are at their best in early Autumn and the house is continually filled with bowls of them. I have many pictures of them but this morning the light was behind this huge bloom and illuminating it so well that it was impossible not to photograph it and share it with you. It is difficult sometimes to see past the weeds that need pulling and the path that needs rebuilding and the leaves that need raking and see the actual beauty that results from all of that effort. A visiting son, last week, stood with me in the garden and asked me if I realized what an amazing little ecosystem I had created in my back yard. I started to tell him about the weeds that I see and then realized that he didn’t see any of them and maybe I should try, more frequently, to see the garden through his eyes. Pulling weeds, shoveling soil, pushing the wheelbarrow are all part of the gardening experience along with eating squash and admiring the sunlight pouring through a Dahlia that fills my days with meaning and delight. Thank you Tim for reminding me to enjoy and appreciate that overall delight.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Claire Asks? I have bags of Tulips to plant but my annual flowers are still beautiful and I don’t want to disturb them. What do I do?

Ken Answers! Procrastinate ! The Tulips will be fine no matter how late you plant them. The lack of frost to kill the annuals means the soil is still quite warm. That soil will remain warm enough for the Tulips to establish their roots well after that killing frost. Enjoy the annuals until Mother Nature removes them and then it’s time to plant your Tulips.

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