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The coldest weekend of the winter….

….and I’m thinking about gardening.

Last year I wasn’t able to do much at all in the garden due to my  injured ankle. I hope to make up for it this coming season. My ankle and leg are doing great. I’ve stopped going to physiotherapy and so far I just keep getting stronger. As well, I’m retiring from my job at Canada Post in April, and part of the plan is to schedule daily gardening time, an activity which can only refresh body and soul.

Thanks to hard work by Tuffy P, our front gardens have been doing very well, and so this season my focus will be on improving the gardens out back. I have some plans in mind and hope to accomplish at least some of them this season.

Our yard is pretty deep and we have a woodland area at the back. This includes a number of mature spruce trees around the perimeter, a path, and some old shrubs. The shrubs have grown away from their original planting, trying to seek some sun away from the spruces which grew up around them. The result is a lot of scrawny woody shrubs with greenery on the west side facing the yard. I’m going to think about ways to renew this area. I want to keep a woodland feel, but I think it’s time to replace some of the old shrubbery with some new things. I haven’t figured out what will work best yet, but it is after all just mid-February so I have some time to think about it.

I’m also thinking about building a platform in the midst of the woodland area – not a big one, just big enough to hold a bench, a place to sit in our little urban forest. This is still in the idea stage. I’m not sure yet if it is something I will construct or carve or something I stumble across and re-purpose. In the fall I planted two wooden pillars as an entry point to the woodland area. These are screaming for a mosaic treatment. There is also an opportunity to add to the tops of these pillars with sculptural elements or maybe more fun birdhouses. Lots of possibilities there.

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Garden Pillars

Then there are the imagination stations – there are three of them back there. Really there are two and a half as the most recent one isn’t so well developed yet.

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Imagination Station #2

Imagination Station #2 is doing very well. Some vines from our neighbour’s yard have crept over and found it and made the structure appear naturalized. The first station is in danger of collapse and needs some structural and dimensional stability, so I’ll have to see what I have around the yard to help with that. The most recent one will benefit from the work I plan on doing with the woodland shrubs as I can build it up with any plant material I take away during that effort.

Eventually I want to make a modest flagstone patio area in front of the deck, a more defined area for our old green egg bbq. Since we use a charcoal bbq, I’m reluctant to put it up on a wooden deck, and prefer it in the yard area. I’d like to give that area some shape and its own character.

We have a round garden with a birdhouse on a flagpole out back which I’d like to expand. Some time ago my friend Dena posted a link on Facebook about an African Style keyhole garden. These area both functional and attractive and I thought something like this might be an interesting addition in our yard. This is actually the sunniest part of the yard, and I want to plant a number of veggies there. At best our yard isn’t sunny enough for tomatoes or peppers to thrive, but it does pretty well for greens and herbs and carrots and onions and this year I intend to plant quite a few things. In fact I’ve already ordered up some quality seeds to start off on the right foot.

My first two shade gardens both need some work. One is in danger of being overtaken by the woodsy area and I have to decide if I want to go with that flow or fight against it. The other perennial garden needs a good clean-up job and maybe a little replanting. Two seasons ago I planted some shrubs on the north side in an area with some old tree stumps and roots. This is doing pretty well and is becoming an anchor in that area of the yard.

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. I imagine I’ll be adding to the back gardens for years to come. Meanwhile, I heard on the radio this will be the coldest weekend of the winter, a trend expected to break by Tuesday next week.

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