Tag Archives: Boxwood

Only Child looks at bleakness outside

Another look at this bleak tree photo. Bleak, bleak, bleak.

Another look at this bleak tree photo. Bleak, bleak, bleak.

There is an old traditional song called In the Bleak Mid-Winter, which Sarah McLachlan composed new lyrics to, arranged and sings on her 2006 CD Wintersong.

The song is so right about now, November, one of the bleakest, if not the bleakest, months of the year. The sun rarely shines. Each day is dark, grey, miserable. Even when the temperature does an unseasonable rise to 14 Celcius, there is little or no sun. Instead it is rain and wind at the worst and those clouds at the least. Inside the house you need a flashlight to go from room to room. You have to turn on the lights to see the dirt to vacuum and dust it away.

As I did on Sunday when the temperature rose to14 Celsius. I did revel in that warm temperature and wearing my running shoes and spring/fall trench coat while outside briefly in the garden, moving fallen leaves to under the juniper tree in front and putting up more burlap, this time around what is left of the boxwood after God’s destruction of last winter.

Still have to spray the big juniper – at least what came back after last winter – with the protection for windburn this winter.

The rest is all hope and a determination to press on with living and thinking of what is good when the weather isn’t.

For me that is my writing, planning the 2015 garden, indoor gardening, reading, listening to music, walking, even watching favourite TV programs. And friends and family.

Especially family.

Especially my son Martin and his girlfriend Juni.

They took me out to dinner for my birthday last evening. Afterwards we walked the few blocks to the Hudson Bay store and looked at the Christmas scenes in the windows. Christmas scenes of old-fashioned Christmases from the 1800s and how people celebrated Christmas then. And how Santa and the elves prepared before and recuperated afterwards. Some of the elves at Santa’s Christmas dinner table pound their cutlery on the table demanding their Christmas dinner.

One of my favourite scenes here is the basement scene, underneath the family doing last minute Christmas prep. This basement scene shows the house mice all tucked in sleeping in match boxes.

Not really how mice live in a house they infest. But it is in keeping with the scene.

An nary a nativity scene – which suits me just fine.

More on what Christmas means to me in my pre-Christmas Eve post.

Until then, listen to Sarah McLachlan sing In the Bleak Mid-winter at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phhRrGTKa5w

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, November Weather, Only child, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Trees and Shrubs, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child Prepares for winter

Magnificent juniper as it once was - slowly coming back some

Magnificent juniper as it once was – slowly some came back

The big bad winter is approaching too fast and I still have too many issues with house and garden. They must get done before the ground freezes and the snow comes.

First, what is done and getting there. The air conditioner is covered. It might as well have stayed covered with our almost non-summer. Most of the leaves from the neighbour’s two walnut trees have been cleaned from the eavestroughs. That’s two cleanings and one more to go. One of the two handy guys I “employ” is looking after this. I’m out there whenever I can (read not working, promoting my book, doing house chores, sleeping, etc.) to rake the leaves from the lawn, garden, patio and walkway on one side of the house. This is a continuous job. But that is the price I pay for having much needed shade in the summer, so I accept that.

What I don’t accept is winter – all five to six months of it (as last year’s was). I don’t think winters were that long when I was growing up. I remember Mom and Dad out digging in the garden in April. For fall, Mom and Dad were kept busy. Dad had to literally take down the screens and put up the windows. Mom had to clear out the garden and finish up the canning – she made some green tomato sauce which I wouldn’t eat because the tomatoes were green. Not sure if she made red tomato sauce but she made a mean pickled mustard beans, rhubarb jam (sometimes with strawberries), black and red current jams and jellies, and huckleberry apple, which was for pies. That’s what I remember. She would put them all in the root cellar in the basement and bring the jar(s) up when needed.

I don’t can anything. I’m afraid of food poisoning. And sometimes home canned foods can go bad. As I write in my memoir, Mom could open the canned jam, etc., sniff it and just know it was bad. We never got food poisoning.

Instead I dry herbs and blanch and freeze excess vegetables = when the garden produces them. This year when the carrots grew large for a change I didn’t plant enough to freeze. I had some beans for a change but only enough for a few meals. I did get some from the farmer’s market and froze them; same for corn-on-the-cob which I don’t grow – partly because of space and partly because the racoons stole the good crop of corn my ex-husband and I grew in our Aurora, Ontario garden in the mid-1970s. There are enough racoons in this area that even the meanest-looking scarecrow wouldn’t frighten. It isn’t called “scarecrow” for nothing.

The main outside issue is the big juniper tree in front – the one destroyed by God’s horrible winter weather. The juniper has come back somewhat and is still continuing to do so but not fast enough for next winter. God didn’t listen here so now I need to find someone knowledgeable to do something to protect this juniper so it will survive and next spring continue to comeback. I know what has to be done – burlap wrap, not against the tree but on high stakes around it, plus spray something (I don’t know what) on the tree to prevent winter burn on the green parts. The so-called arborist (retired) who promised to help me with tree damage kept putting it off. Yours truly had to do some trimming back of the boxwood and silverlace, with some help from Alex next door on the dead silverlace on his side of the fence. Some of the silverlace on another fence and the gate to my garden from the driveway came back somewhat and was looking nice with its white flowers as it twined through the part of the dead tree (from years ago – it was a silverlace prop) that I hadn’t cut back.

Finally a couple of weeks ago this fellow who I had called the Good Samaritan (GS)came and trimmed off the dead boxwood which I hadn’t been able to do – he did a good job of that, but really messed up the silverlace and took down most of the dead tree under it, except for the main stem (narrow) and two branches. He left it leaning over into the bushes (more juniper) nearby. I had to tie it with bungie rope to the fence. It will act as part of the stakes for that low-lying juniper – and that is something I can do, but not the big juniper.

The GS also left a mess of branches by the boxwood and at the back of my driveway. I had to pay one of my handyman to collect it and tie it all up.

The GS’s actions has taught me another lesson. Trust few people in your life. Be wary; be suspicious. I usually am (except for those close to me I know I should be able to trust), but this time I was so thankful that God had sent someone to help. Obviously the wrong person. Now God has to make it right for the winter with my trees, especially the big juniper in front – without me having to fork out a lot of money.

Then there is all the stuff inside but I won’t go into that now. I would like to go to the last weekly Farmer’s Market near me before it closes today for the season.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child memoir, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child’s perspective on gardens this spring

Only Child's front garden -  the way it should be with the beautiful juniper in front

Only Child’s front garden – the way it should be with the beautiful juniper in front

The terrible winter and early too cold spring wreaked havoc on my garden and the gardens of so many others. In my daily garden tours (excluding days of all rain), I keep finding more damage and I am sad and angry.

Saddened for the trees damaged and angry at a God who brought us all this weather mess – the ice storm, extreme cold so that almost everything in spring is a month or more late starting and damaged. The city of Toronto alone lost 20 per cent or more of its tree canopy – up to 2 million trees. And we can’t blame insect invasions for this one.

I can almost feel the pain my large juniper tree on my front lawn is feeling. Many of its branches and needle leaves are beige and a few are rusty. The rusty ones are dead – the beige – only time will tell. There is some green growing through and as long as that continues. I will not have that beautiful tree cut down. I do not like God’s damage here.

My silverlace may not come back. Only a few branches are starting to sprout leaves. If the silverlace by the fence into the backyard has to be cut down, at least there are large (and growing) bushy junipers there (the shrub kind). These junipers have a minute amount of beige and rust so they will grow taller and provide some privacy from people walking by on the street. What also irks me here is I might have to pay an arborist to cut the silverlace down. This would not have happened if not for the weather. And don’t give me the business about Mother Nature. No such person.

I don’t know about the other bushier silverlace that straddles the fence dividing Tanya’s and my property. It is always later to spring to life than the one by the driveway. If it goes there it will be somewhat bare unless the honeysuckle in front of it comes back. So far no signs.
Then there is my precious boxwood in front. The south part of it is all brown but there are signs of green leaves growing in from the back of the branches. This south and west winter burn, gardening expert Mark Cullen wrote in one of his columns, is from the powerful spring sun (from west and south) burning down on snow-covered evergreens. And we all know that snow rested on the branches way too late this year. (See http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2014/04/17/damage_control_in_your_garden_begins_now.htm. And yes, boxwoods are evergreens.

Mr. Cullen gives us some hope. He says to do nothing about this situation because in late May/early June “for the most part your evergreens will look fresh as daisies come late May/early June when new growth pushes past the dead, brown foliage.” He also adds that if we had applied Wiltpruf last fall the burn would have been avoided – sort of a sunscreen for evergreens. He didn’t apply it either. I didn’t know about Wiltpruf, but I will apply it this fall – if my evergreens all come back. Surprisingly, my two yews have very little damage – other years there has been more.

In my daily garden tours I look for new buds and more green. The grass is growing and is a bright green. Tulips and other bulb-flowers are blooming, albeit a month late. The raspberry branches are on time getting their leaves – probably my clearing out the dead branches and weeds a few weeks ago helped. The walnut tree hanging over from Tanya’s onto my patio finally started showing leaves yesterday morning. I can see it from my bedroom window.

One thing is on time – the rosebushes that flower early and flower only once per season are getting their leaves. And maybe planting vegetables – the ones that can take colder weather – is also on time. Sunday I planted the first batch of peas, radish, lettuce (the seeds) and onion sets. I have brought in some tulips and hyacinths for flower arrangements.

I continue gardening. Gardening will help me heal. In order to heal in my garden, I need the trees, the plants to grow, to be healthy and to be alive.

God owes it to us to make that happen.

More articles at http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2014/01/16/we_must_rebuild_the_canopy.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/12/30/ice_storm_damage_to_trees_may_take_years_to_heal.html

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4340352-toronto-tree-canopy-suffers-huge-loss-during-ice-storm-deputy-mayor-calling-on-millions-for-restora/

 

And another photo of the way it should be now in my garden.

Blue sea of Forget-me-Nots which usually pop up in May by my drivesay finished for this season.

Blue sea of Forget-me-Nots which usually pop up in May by my driveway.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Garden Destruction, Gardening, Ice storm Toronto, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto, Uncategorized, Weather, Winter Weather