Mama, How Does Your Garden Grow? Well…

Beautiful Front Flower Bed

Last year, I was nominated for the Kitchener In Bloom award.  I didn’t win, but it felt awfully nice to be noticed.  When we built this yard initially, we were just trying to not look like everybody else.  And given the plethora of ‘free’ rocks in the neighbourhood, how could we not take advantage of them?

Close Up Front Flower Beds

We keep tweaking the lay out each year.  That’s part of the fun – small bits of re-arranging, replacing the plants that didn’t make it, experimenting with new ones.  Overall, I’d have to say I think we have done a good job.

Sad Side Flower Bed

Except that I still have beds that look like this.

Second Side Flower Bed

And this.

Weed Filled Side Yard

And do not even get me started on this.  This bit, however, is not my fault, I swear.  With the chronically falling in nature of this side yard, due in large part to living next to an open hole, I feel justified in blaming someone else for this mess.

Maybe it is just that I have run out of ideas on what to plant there.  The soil isn’t great.  It’s rocky.  The first bed is mostly shaded, except for the last half of the afternoon, when it is scorched by the burning sun.  The second one has become an unfortunate depository for all sorts of plant ‘leftovers’.  I would rather plant perennials and bushes, but they need to die right back in the winter so that snow can be shovelled into that space.  And this last weed haven?  Planting anything permanent there would seem to be a waste of time.  Whenever a house is eventually built there, it will most likely be shaded.  But then again, maybe not.  And the dirt is so poor that even my rhubarb is barely hanging on.

It’s not that I forget I have those beds to look after.  I just get incredibly frustrated trying to figure out how to get something (anything!) to grow in those spaces.  The tags that come in the containers don’t always cover enough information.  There are some incredibly detailed gardening books out there, but that either means bringing a separate wagon through the nurseries to carry them all or developing a photographic memory.  Neither of these scenarios is likely.

DK Great Canadian Plant Guide and Coffee Mug

When DK Canada said they were going to send me some Canadian gardening guides a couple of light bulbs went off.  For starters, their compact size.  I could actually manage to bring these with me somewhere (or keep them in my glove box).

Canadian Gardening Guide

Their thickness means I am not likely to keep them in my purse, but I could manage a couple of trips.

A compact Great Canadian Gardening Guide

Secondly, these books are entirely Canadian.  Not American or British with Canadian edits.  They speak of four full seasons.  No one talks about growing your peonies in December or using your fresh outdoor rosemary in February.  And as a pair of books, What Grows Where in Canadian Gardens and Great Canadian Plant Guide work together like a pair of garden gloves and a garden trowel.  Use What Grows Where to determine your ‘shopping list’ by soil type and condition and then use the Great Canadian Plant Guide to narrow down specific choices.

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Gardening Book Giveaway Time!

The lovely people over at DK Canada are giving one of my readers a chance to win their very own pair of these awesome books, filled with every plant type imaginable, for every conceivable Canadian gardening dilemma.  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Open to Canadian residents only.  Closes July 10, 2014.  Good luck everybody!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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