gabriola garden

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Campanulas, Calendulas, and Kittens

The scent of the blossoms on the butterfly bush is delicately sweet and pungent. The lilies that I call Tiger Lily are probably not that, but they are robust and beautiful. The Sweet William is close to the ground, but it perks up the edge of Sara’s flowerbed. My beans are starting to fill in the bamboo structure, and Sara planted some marigolds to keep them company.

The blazing red of the healthy roses is living proof that Iguana Juice Bloom does work its magic. The heatwave in this part of the continent has broken, and we had a few cloudy days with a huge drop in temperature. But it’s still pleasant to spend time outdoors and the garden still has to be watered, since precipitation is practically nil.

Sara’s Campanula latiflora is drying up already, but three other campanula varieties have yet to burst into bloom. Campanula “Pritchard’s Variety,” Campanula Blue Bell, and Campanula Birch Hybrid are yet to bear flowers, I guess they’re late bloomers.

We’re also waiting on a Mullein (Verbascum Phoeniceum “Violetta”) and a Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) bearing chartreuse flowers. Also yet to burst forth is a Peachleaf Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia) with its light blue petals. The Lavender “Ashdown Forest” is already thriving and attracting honey bees, and the hardy perennial Petrovskia atriplicifolia “Filigran” or Russian Sage, is also growing like a good shrub should. It’s flowers are purple, and it’s billed as “deer resistant.”

Sara’s got a couple of Hostas growing in window boxes, along with a Viola Sorbet mixture of perennial Pansy. The black-eyed Susans have yet to open, neither has the Purple-Leaved Jacob’s Ladder with its star-shaped rich blue flowers.

Hedgehog (our 10-year-old daughter, June) picked out two purple Baloon flowers at the garden store, to make up for the one that was eaten by slugs last month. Sara bought a purple Passion Vine (Alato-Caerulea) which needs a trellis to grow on and requires full sun to flourish. It also requires a well-balanced fertilizer, so we nourished it with Iguana Juice Grow and once it flowers we’ll be giving it Iguana Juice Bloom.

During the heat wave it was dangerous to turn on the hose, because the kids would inadvertently appear and want to have a water fight. I bought a battery-powered water gun for Jim (our 8-year old son) and a water shield gun for June, figuring that she needed more protection, she’s not as aggressive. Was I surprised when she grabbed the hose out of my hand and attacked her brother with such vehemence, that after a few minutes I had to put a stop to it. But it helped all of us to cool down in the extremely hot sun.

Some of Sara’s flowers weren’t meant to be exposed to such blazing sun, so we utilized a beach umbrella and created shade for that part of the flowerbed. Usually the trees provide enough shade during the hottest part of the afternoon, but the sun stayed burning hot well into the evening.

Sara has been doing housekeeping in her flower garden. She transplanted a few of her flowers, figuring they would look better in a different part of the garden. I tried to tell her to wait until late fall to do this, but she was impatient. She noticed that some of the roots weren’t as strong as she would have liked, so we started using a product called Voodoo Juice, which is billed as a Microbial Rhizosphere Colonizer. It contains five strains of microbes that not only help the roots to absorb nutrients better, but also dramatically increase the size of the root mass. We’ll report back about how well this works.

The kittens are growing and cat feeding time at our household is a family affair. Nina, Pinta, and Maria show up, but so do the four kittens, Snowball, Snowstorm, Dusty, and Domino. The young ones join in for the Friskies adult meal and leave their kitten food untouched. Then our Golden Retriever Max appears and licks the bowl clean. Not a morsel wasted!

Pinta and Maria are fixed, as is Max, but the kids wanted to see kittens being born, so Nina has yet to undergo the operation. Did you know that they have a birth control pill for female cats? Our vet bills tend to be astronomical, so now I hesitate to take any of our pets in, since I’m sure to come out a couple of hundred dollars poorer.

IMO a lot of it is unnecessary. When I was growing up in Europe, we rarely took our pets to a vet, and they lived healthy, happy lives.

posted by Tim at 1:01 AM


  • Tim, thanks you for your lovely comments on my blog. Your blog is wonderful. Would you be interested in adding it to Garden Voices? Drop me an email and let me know.

    By Blogger OldRoses, at 3:03 PM  

  • Your kids want to see kittens being born, but there's a massive problem with pet overpopulation. Thousands of cats will be euthanized this year because they have no homes. I think there's a better solution here than to bring more kittens into the world.

    The SPCA often has pregnant cats who need foster homes. If you take in a homeless mama cat, your kids still get to see kittens being born, and you get to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Once the kittens are old enough, the SPCA will put the kittens and the mama up for adoption, so you won't have the worry of finding homes for them all.

    Seems like a good solution, and a better example of responsibility for your kids as well.

    I agree with your feeling that a lot of vet care is unnecessary.Annual vaccinations, for example. Can you imagine if your doctor told you that you - or your kids - should have every vaccination repeated every year? Nonsense. Humans build up immunity, and that's why we don't nee yearly vaccinations. I think it's the same for animals. But that's another soapbox.


    By Anonymous Marie, at 6:20 PM  

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