17 Feb 2016

A Winter Sideline

As a Gemini, I tend to fly through life very much like a hummingbird, alighting here and there, willy nilly, resting only until something shiny catches my eye. I have only recently been reminded that, scatter-brained as I can sometimes be, I do not like having my daily routine upset in any way. Imagine my chagrin come December every year when business at the nursery slows until February! I thought long walks in the deliciously cold -30C, snowy weather would help to create a somewhat false sense of routine, my walking the trail as though going to work and all! Not so much. Winter still hasn't set in, and three weeks outside of March 1st, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing much of Jack Frost. What is a guy to do with himself?

Take up knitting of course! I learned how to roll a skein into a ball at about the same time that my Grandmother initiated me into the seductive world of gardening, and gradually I learned what would be considered the very basics. I can knit, purl, decrease and cast off. I never learned the four needle in-the-round, so have been somewhat limited to what I am comfortable with.

The world has come a long way in the last forty odd years when it comes to yarn! I learned on acrylic - that was Grandmother's stand-by for toques and mittens, and lets be honest, she would likely rap my knuckles with her plastic needles if she knew I spent close to $200 for thirteen skeins of yarn and two new pair of needles. But look at the colours!

Of course its been a while since I tried my hand at anything - I knit a scarf for my Mom five years ago, and it was at that time that I discovered the world of Noro yarns. Sweet baby Jesus is all I will say. With blends ranging from silk and cotton to mohair and wool, this ain't your Woolworth $2.99 skein. I am head over heels for their Silk Garden line, and now that I have a nearby enabler, I am sure I will be using my favourite yarn time and again. The top two photos are of a yarn that I found at a yarn outlet in Listowel. Its called Khaki Blues and is part of the Union line by Estelle. I have worn Merino wool socks before, but up until last week had never tried knitting with it. Truth be known I am a cotton guy myself, but I could not resist the colour schematic of this yarn. Oddly enough, it did not knit up as uniformly as these photos might suggest, leaving me on the fence as to whether I want to invest this kind money for a yarn that greatly varies from skein to skein. Live and learn. 

I am hoping to knit throughout the year and have enough product to sell it next Fall. I am doing a line of Faolan [Little Wolf] scarves: The Alpha [10ft], the Beta [7ft] and the Omega [5ft] - largely in response to my own personal frustration in locating a long enough, masculine enough scarf. The scarves will be knit in what is my favourite stitch, the basket weave, as pictured in all of these photographs and you will be able to choose the quality of the yarn. Its still in its infancy at the moment, and what with the garden season [work work work] ramping up, I will have to leave it to simmer for a few months as we get ready to open in April.

How do you deal with the winter months?

8 Feb 2016

Careful, You Could Poke An Eye Out With Those Things!

When the garden sleeps, the knitting needles come out! I gave up looking for a long scarf, found yarn in a variegation of colours that I liked and rekindled a friendship with a hobby that my Grandmother introduced me to about the same time she introduced me to gardening.

30 Dec 2015

That Was Seven Years Ago

Somewhere along the way, seven years have transpired! Thanks to one of FB's 'reminders' it appears than seven years ago I created a post stating that I was working on a gardening blog. At the time it was simply called 'Teza's Garden' - which led to some confusion, as when people responded or left messages [and to be honest, I never in a million years would have thought that anyone who might miraculously stumble upon it, would take the time to leave a response!] they referred to me as 'Teza.' 

Long story short: Outside of gardening, much of my life is taken up by reading, and as someone who works within the horticultural industry, winter was always my time to catch up with my reading regimen. But in 2008, the idea of creating a blog caught my eye, but I digress. One of my all time favourite books has a lead character whose name is Teza. 'The Lizard Cage,' by Canadian author Karen Connelly is a book that I re-read every year. Without fail.

It was my younger nephew, with who and whose family I reside, that steered me in the direction of a blog. I had at the time umteen hundred garden photos, many in albums [how many people remember photo albums?] and some decorating the wall behind my computer. Seemed very complicated at the time, and back then Blogger was not the most user friendly platform, especially for one who wasn't the least bit tech savvy. [How he lost one hundred of his earlier posts - I guess delete meant permanently! Huh!] Once I mastered the whole create and publish function, I put things into high gear and was churning out post after post after post. [ad nauseum!]

I am not sure which came first - my first comment, or my introduction to Blotanical, a platform reserved exclusively for gardeners and their blogs. I want to say Joy came into my life first, and then Blotanical. Regardless, I had my very first comment [outside of family] and even better, this person lived in Ontario! More readers and comments were soon to follow: Anna and Jodi, Grace , Barbara and Deborah. And the list and friendships continued to grow and grow and well... blossom! The local hort society has also given me the opportunity to attend their meetings and pontificate on the world which is my garden, and friends like Julie and Roberta, Kathy and Christine are always popping up at the nursery if only to 'toss the dirt' [garden speak for chit chat!] about some newly discovered plant, enquiring when I will have one for them!

I was lucky enough to get the chance to meet Barbara at one of my all time favourite woodland plant nurseries all of half hour from me - the very nursery where I first got my hands dirty as far as a potential career was concerned -  that of course being Lost Horizons, the penultimate gardener's wet dream if they also happen to be of the shadier, slightly eccentric [read plant snobbish] bent. You are how you garden, am I correct? I was thrilled to be mentioned in a garden memoir that Grace wrote and published [its all about the blues is it not?] and to this day, Joy and I email each other at least once a month. Kingston is on my bucket list for the coming year, as will be a treasure trove of some of the 'kids' that have outgrown their current homes. Fellow blogger Barry Parker, recently relocated to Montreal, gifted me with one of my favourite children, Polygonatum x 'Betberg' - he of the bruised purple foliage. Gardening has never been so thrilling, and is rarely boring!

Its been a lot of fun, this past seven years. Of course there have been trying garden seasons, this past one still rankles the hell out of me as I lost well over a dozen 'children' to weather that was anything but advantageous for them. My plants tend to be somewhat like me - divas when they want to be and downright petulant in the meantime. Hot, dry summers have proven to be anathema to many of them. Of course with me working within the industry, replacements are easy enough to ascertain, though, truthfully, for every death, there is a new challenge waiting in the wings. 2016 is all about the genus Cypripedium. I purchased two stunning Frosch selections this past September, and am hoping to increase that number substantially once I have mastered their equally diva-esque growing requirements. 

Just now discovered the Instagram app that allows you to create collages - you will be seeing a lot more of this format next year, as its the perfect way to document a plant's life cycle from the moment it pops out of the ground...... slow it down boy! Winter is only now showing his long overdue face, which I for am so looking forward to. Garden is safely bedded down so let the cold temperatures and snow fly with abandon!

Alas..... A million heartfelt thank you's to those who have made this journey so utterly enjoyable. To those mentioned earlier, and to those who are only now discovering the intoxicating world of gardening. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!