Monday, November 29, 2010

Tea and Treasures

Yesterday's 'Tea and Treasures' event was well attended and a lot of fun. Besides the beautiful tea laid out in the old kitchen and enjoyed in the parlour and front room, there was a holiday boutique in the gallery, full of a wide variety of treasures - Christmas decorations, including a set of collectible carollers, a Pakistani tribal rug, jewellery, the sweetest little Penny Bright doll with all her outfits and accessories, some lovely watercolours, glass, china, and much more. While everyone else was either shopping or imbibing, Sherry Eldridge was giving a wreath-making demonstration, and the end results sold, to the eventual benefit of the Hart House Garden, as quickly as they were made. Meanwhile, out in the cold, one little yellow iris was bravely blooming.
The shop will be open during the Old Saybrook stroll and the Wassail Event.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November Continued

I’m looking at our last blog and seeing that big pile of topsoil west of our new herb garden layout.
That big pile, 2 ½ yards , has long since disappeared. It was spread over much of the new herb garden as well as over some sunken areas of Flavia’s beds. The herb garden beds are now raised and surrounded by soldier bricks. Some of the paths are sodded and over-seeded, the rest will have to wait for spring. Three brains are wheeling with ideas for what household herbs will be planted in these new beds for the edification of next year’s visitors.
Two beautiful, comfortable garden chairs arrived in the garden, a surprise gift from a generous, anonymous member. We heard several benches comprise the rest of the gift. What a pleasure to relax in the sun on a warm, wooden seat after some hours of labor.
Last Saturday a troop of strong and energetic boy scouts arrived and under Linda’s direction performed a much needed fall clean-up, pruning, cutting, raking, hauling, and carrying, stomping smooth our thick pine-needled paths and even driving Pippin into ecstasy with their masculine skillfulness at stick throwing. Thanks guys! We hope you will come again next year.
Members of the committee responsible for preparing the Hart House for the Christmas season were also in the garden on Saturday, cutting greens for decoration.
And this Thanksgiving week Sherry, Sheila and I are busily making Christmas wreaths to be sold at the various member and public events at the Hart House between now and Christmas. Money earned can help stock our herb garden.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Still Working

A good many days have passed since our last entry, but not because we have been inactive. We have had some rain, some snow, wind and frost, but have made good progress with Linda’s herb garden. Our longed-for load of top soil finally arrived allowing us to level the area, lay out the beds once again, raise their level and edge them with bricks. Only one bed to finish and portions of the paths to sod. Next spring herbs will be growing here and Linda will lecture.
Our persimmon trees have been dropping some of their sticky fruit over the wild flower paths and garden, but their leaves never turned the lovely gold we saw in other years, frost and wind destroyed the display.
Old Blush smiles with a few pink hopeful buds; mums, both the short compact kinds and tall lanky ones defy the changing season here and there; Edna’s garden still glows with its scarlet pineapple sage, gold nasturtiums and white chrysanthemums.
Yes, winter is on its way but for those of us who love nature, gardening, and the seasons there is plenty to enjoy and do.
And if we get cold working there is always the coffee shop across the street.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Raised Beds

A beautiful morning, if a little on the nippy side. Andrew arrived with his tools, and had the ends of the raised beds all pre-drilled and ready to go. In fairly short order we had two long boxes sitting on a length of landscape cloth, waiting for our delivery of soil to arrive. We won't fill them to the top as we want to leave some head room. When we cover the beds with plastic to give the plants a little protection from the cold we don't want to be squashing them.

Now that the leaves are starting to fall the hawthorn in front of Hart House is flaunting its berries, very red against the shrivelling foliage.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Odd Jobs

I can't say the results of today's work in the garden were exciting, but at least they were steps on the way to something worthwhile. We cleared the ground and laid landscape cloth behind the shed in readiness for the raised nursery beds, which Andrew Pfeiffer will assemble tomorrow. There will be two beds, each eight feet by three, and they'll be an immense help in wintering over new plants, and starting seedlings in the spring. Afterwards Marianne worked on laying sod on the grass paths of the new herb garden. We also mulched the new boxwood bushes, which have a satisfying tidy look now.
Sherry Eldridge brought us three monkshood a few days ago - a slightly darker, brighter version than the one already in the garden, and a nice complement to it. They were still looking good after last night's frost, and will be wonderful next autumn, with all the new mums. The tulip tree in the wildflower garden was like a shower of gold in the late afternoon sun, against a sky even bluer than the monkshood.