Monday, April 26, 2010

So What If I’m A Month Behind With My Stories!

As you can imagine, Springtime is a very busy time of year, especially if you’re a school bus driver, guerrilla gardener and mural artist like me!!! I love sharing stories about things that I’m learning about with regards to my home garden. Every time I work on a small project my camera is close by to take pictures that will go along with my stories. I’ve noticed that I’m getting a little behind with these efforts and because of that, this story is almost out of date already! HA!

A month ago, many people were enjoying the early warm weathers that took away the winter. For many it was the time to rake the lawn – to get rid of dead grass and bring the new grasses to life… kinda like giving the Earth a much needed back scratch! The ‘green’ debris that got piled under most rakes will end up at the curb for ‘yard waste’ garbage days, but as many of you know me, I try to avoid such wastefulness. Yes, this waste will be turned into compost to be sold back to citizens but if everyone knew that they could use these materials then we wouldn’t have to have huge trucks wasting fuel as they go from house to house.

Here’s what I did with my dead grass and leaves…

This is about as far as I was able to dig, last November, before the winter weathers came.

After I had finished raking my lawn, I continued expanding this front flowerbed. This photo was taken just after I finished removing and reusing the sod. I still need to dig down and loosen the soil before I can plant. That’s when I will use the dead grass and leaves.

First, I create a trench at one end on my garden.

Then, I fill in this trench with a large handful of the dead grass and leaves. The next line of soil is then dug up and placed onto this fill. Then more fill is added, more dirt on top of it and so on…

After my back has become a little sore from all of this bending, digging and lifting, I rake the flowerbed nice and smooth and that’s it! I’m now ready for planting. To get a sense of proportion – 2 ½ large bags of dead grass and leaves were added to this relatively small flower garden. That’s 2 ½ bags that don’t have to be picked up by city workers!

So… what to plant? Because I’m poor I rarely spend any money on plants. It’s easier to steal plants from friends and neighbours and it’s even easier to steal from yourself! I went to take a look at an existing flowerbed, in my backyard, to see what I would find. This bed is in need of a little cleaning before I’ll be able to see what’s underneath all these leaves.

I start by cutting off all the dead growth from last year. Again, none of this will be put to the curb – in a month or so I’ll have a small fire to burn this kind of debris, in my vegetable garden, to add nitrogen to the soil before planting. Everything has a use – you just have to use your imagination to see the other benefits that ‘garbage’ can bring to your garden!

Already, this year’s growth is beginning to show itself.

So… after a light raking – I don’t want to hurt any of the flowers that are growing underneath the dried leaves – I’m able to see what is growing in this garden so that I can determine what I’ll be stealing for my front flowerbed. Hmmmm… I see Daffodils! Lots and lots of Daffodils! Perfect! This is what I was hoping I’d find.

Soon, after some careful digging, I have quite a large supply of bulbs to plant in my front flowerbeds. You’ll notice a variety of sizes. When I replant them I’ll mix them up to get a healthier gathering. I’ll plant a large and mature bulb with a ‘teenager’ bulb and a ‘baby’ bulb, thus bringing several generations together! My gardening pursuits parallel my Earth saving ambitions as I’m always trying to bring generations of people together, as well, so that we can all work in unison to preserve and protect our planet for future generations!!!

With my gardening ambitions I try to follow the same ideologies that governed the North American Indigenous tribes, before technology blew them apart, by ‘Giving Back To The Earth’ a little of what I took. Now, I have many flowers to plant at the front of my house and I’ve kept and maintained the original area from which these flowers came.

Through my previous experiences of flower transplanting I’ve learned to be patient. I’m hopeful that I will see a few flowers, this season, but the true fruits of my labours won’t be seen until next year. This year, the bulbs are healing and adjusting to new soil conditions. Next year, they will come in stronger and fill this same area with four times as many flowers!!!!

This photo was taken about a week later. To the left of the Daffodils you can see a few small green specks. These are some of the Day Lilies that I stole from a friend while I was pursuing my guerrilla gardening ambitions ( At the bottom of the garden you can also see a few reddish specks. These are an interesting flower that I stole from a friend, last year. I’ll have to find out what this flower is named as I really like it and I can see myself using it in a number of different applications in the future.

You don’t have to know everything about the flowers and plants in your garden to be successful and to have fun. Just by working with them and learning from them you will gain knowledge and this pattern simply keeps me humbled to realize that the more I come to know the more I come to know that there’s so much more that I don’t know!

See… I told you I’d get a few Daffodils to flower. Next year I will have four times this many flowers and then I’ll really be smiling! The Day Lilies have grown considerably… and in another month they’ll have filled in their space completely. You can see that I’ve been very busy filling in the rest of this garden with a small bush, a Bleeding Heart plant, some Violets (that will fill in as ground cover – keeping weeds away), hostas, Lily of The Valley (another ground cover) and some other plants that I know nothing about. HA!

Well… I’m one story closer to being caught up! I hope that you’ve enjoyed watching my garden grow.

But, before I go… I have one quick news update. Several blogs ago, I told the story about how I had planted sticks from a Gooseberry bush into the ground (link) hoping that they would grow shoots and roots and eventually berries. Well, as you can see, my experiment is working. Each of the sticks has begun to sprout tiny leaves. I’m expecting to see the bush concentrate on growing for the next two years with the third year bringing the first small handfuls of berries to my table!

“Yeah!” to Mother Earth for the bounty and joy she will bring into our lives!!!

‘Nuf said!


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