I rely on a month-by-month birthday calendar that hangs on the wall in my office. When google’s artificial non-intelligence kept multiplying birthday reminders, I stopped using my electronic calendar for this task. Perhaps a function of my advancing age, I now have as many dead people in my birthday calendar as live* people. This annual reminder is far from morbid, but gives me a chance to fondly remember family and friends who still mean so much.
Today, April 2, is Elizabeth Loomer’s birthday, one of the most devoted** gardeners I’ve ever known and my gardening inspiration. We first met in the fall of 1986, when I rented her basement suite. The small house in Cadboro Bay was surrounded by Elizabeth’s gorgeous garden and every window looked out on flowers and greenery. My parents were more practical gardeners and our yard was divided equally into lawn (with a few trees) and a vegetable patch where my parents worked hard to get things to grow. In contrast, Elizabeth’s garden was a verdant living entity that had to be tamed. Her garden and greenhouse were always full of wonderful things: enormous rhododendrons, unusual berries, and quiet corners where one could go to escape. She would bring the garden inside: gorgeous zen-like arrangements of branches and blossoms floating in bowls near the entrance.
In the years I lived there – and beyond – Elizabeth was second mother to me, and her daughters the sisters I always wish I had. Elizabeth’s enviable gardening talent (and the greenhouse) lives on with her daughters (both still in my birthday calendar). Today while I was working in the garden I thought of Elizabeth, and appreciated how much she changed the way I garden, with her encouragement and example.
In the garden this weekend
Whew, it was great weather, so I spent a lot of time outside.
- I installed a series of soaker hoses for the raspberries. I am short about 15 feet of soaker hose, so left the front of the raspberry batch without irrigation as that is the easiest to water manually. While the majority of canes are now budding, some seem slower and I worry that they are not well. I also sprinkled berry fertilizer throughout the patch in anticipation of the Big Spring Rains coming next week.
- It’s April, so I planted nasturtiums everywhere.
- I planted one row of Italian Endive, a row of Freckles lettuce (a slug favourite), a row of “Kale Storm” seed balls and two rows of Orion fennel in bed #1 next to the garlic (which is all up now). I activated the Slug Shield*** and am hoping for the best.
- I did a lot of general clean up, weeding and admiring of small blossoms including violets.
The forecast for Vancouver in the next week is rainy. I only hope that it stays warm and doesn’t freeze.
*Shameful confession: there simply isn’t space or time for the dramatic and self-absorbed, so every few years I transcribe only the deserving into a new calendar.
**Exactly how do you describe a good gardener? Talented? Gifted? Dedicated? Experienced? Visionary? A combination of some or all of those things?
***The slug shield is a woven copper ribbon that you can wrap around your favourite plants and around entire beds. One roll is enough for two – half raised beds. I also sprinkled around crushed eggshells in a sort of voodoo mojo slug repellent thing.