And the Winner is…

 White Rock used to participate in the national Communities in Bloom program, but as far as I can see they haven’t done so for a number of years. It’s a shame because there are so many lovely gardens in our pretty little City by the Sea.

The long growing season, the lovely sunshine, the (normally) ample moisture all contribute to copious blooms and rich green foliage. Not everybody knows how to harness and choreograph all those elements, it’s a true art and takes lots of time, energy and patience. 

If I was awarding the prize for the best condo garden display in White Rock, hands down it would go to this building on Merklin. Bold color, changes of height, and the use of texture all convene to make one of the finest displays in town. With both staple perennials and the addition of carefully placed annuals this wall of blooms has been flowering incessantly for the past two months. I love to walk by and see what’s new every week.

   

  

 Whomever is responsible should be proud of what s/he has accomplished. You get five stars from me.

   
   
   
 

Semiahmoo Library’s Green Wall

A couple of blocks from my home there’s a library that features North America’s largest and most diverse living wall. Designed by Green over Grey a Vancouver based company with projects across Canada and the USA, the wall was installed in 2010. With 2680 sqft of space and over 10,000 individual plants the “sky wall” is a living work of art.

From the Green over Grey website:   
 

The original design is difficult to discern now that it has grown in; I took a few pictures of it this week. It’s really something to behold, although I think our extremely hot and dry spring/summer to date has taken its toll on some of the plants. That being said I saw birds enjoying the wall, insects buzzing around the flowers, and even some ripe ready to pick blueberries too high to reach.

My photos this week:

 
  
    

 

Green over Grey has done projects at numerous airports including Edmonton International and Vancouver. They do both interior and exterior walls and have corporate and residential clients. Inspiring! 

Fall Clean-up: Mulch and Protect

Fall is arguably Edmonton’s most beautiful season. No mosquitoes, lovely warm afternoons and calm evenings with spectacular sunsets. The foliage changes to shades of red, yellow and orange, and the air is crisp and fresh.

It’s also the time of year when we have to put down our spades and pick up our rakes, cleaning up the garden beds and protecting them for the upcoming cold winter months.

It can get as cold as -40C in Edmonton during the most frigid nights of winter, so having a good protective mulch over the hibernating plants is a must.

I take a simple approach, first slaying the perennial foliage with my clippers, then pulling all the annuals that won’t survive the winter. Once I’ve done that, I collect the leaves and mess on the lawn and run it down with a mower. I’ll do the same with the leaves from my trees as soon as they’ve come down, and sometimes I’ll borrow from neighbors if I feel I need even more browns.

The resulting mulch is returned to the garden to cover the plants with a 10-12″ airy quilt which will provide that extra layer of warmth they’ll need to get through the coming months.

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Perfect Roma Tomatoes. Every Time.

I have to give a shout out to T&T Seeds of Winnipeg for their amazing Roma tomato called Momma Mia. It’s been a staple in my garden for years, producing beautiful paste tomatoes that I love to make into sauce for those bland winter months. The quantity of fruit can’t be beaten, and I’ve never had any issues with the health and virility of the plants. Highly recommended.

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A Simple Way to Harvest and Preserve Garlic

I like to make my life easier, so I’m always looking for the simplest ways to preserve and consume my garden produce.

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Today I dug up half of my garlic. Garlic is ready when the bottom four leaves of the stalk have turned brown. For Zone 3, this is usually mid to late August.

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After separating the cloves I carefully washed and patted them dry with a towel.

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I then tossed the cloves into my tiny food processor and added enough vegetable oil to cover them.

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I used the pulse button to control the chopping until I had the consistency I wanted, just slightly larger than a mince.

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I put the resulting mixture in a jar, topped it up with a bit more veggie oil and that’s it. The mixture lasts for several weeks in the fridge and after I’ve used up all the garlic I have fabulous oil to use as well.

Note: Storing garlic in oil at room temperature can result in proliferation of botulism, and botulism poisoning is a potentially fatal condition. Always store the oil at less than 3 degrees C and use it only if cooking thoroughly.