Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

‘Miss Garden Froggy’ joins us in wishing everyone a very

           Merry Christmas !

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Gardeners, probably more than most folks, are concerned about the weather. And, because of the particular weather challenges, Yukon gardeners pay a lot of attention to forecasts, frost warnings, and hours of daylight. Speaking of the latter, today we celebrate the Winter Solstice!

This is our shortest day of the year. In Whitehorse today the sun will rise at 10:09 am and will set at 3:47 pm. That’s a pretty short day.

Which might make you wonder why it’s a reason to celebrate, when it will be dark from about 4:30 pm to 9:00 tomorrow morning. For those of us whose glass is always half full, it means we are now on the downhill slide. Starting tomorrow we start gaining more and more hours of daylight, at a rate of about 5 minutes per day. This might not seem like a lot, but it’s more than an hour increase every two weeks. Which means by the time February rolls around, the sun has a say in the matter. And by the time we get to June, you’ll be able to read a newspaper outside at midnight. Okay, not in actual sunlight, but it will still be light enough to do that.

In the meantime, we enjoy our winter weather. And here’s a unique bonus that Northerners can enjoy – the parhelion effect when the sun is low and ice crystals in the air produce what we call ‘sun dogs’. (See: for more information on sun dogs)

This photo was taken on a wooded trail just behind our neighbourhood.

Happy Winter Solstice!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What I like about 'Blotanical'

It's been just over 3 weeks since I discovered Blotanical - an online blogging community for those with a common interest in all things botanical.  I'm really grateful to the many people who welcomed me into this great community of gardeners.

According to the Blotanical directory map, I'm the lone representative of Canada's Yukon Territory.  A dubious distinction, perhaps, but a wonderful opportunity to dispel some myths about this corner of our country.  It actually isn't the frozen wasteland many believe it to be.

With Blotanical, I've found myself getting caught up in the excitement of not only sharing my gardening pics and experiences, but also the challenge of accumulating points and levels of recognition within the complex scheme of picking my favorite blog posts, communicating with other gardeners through messages, gathering my list of favorite blogs and bloggers ... It's almost as preoccupying as gardening itself.

Actually, I get the sense it can become quite addictive.  One of my fellow bloggers recently described waking up almost hourly during the night with thoughts and inspirations for her next blog post.  It puts me to mind of David Foster Wallace's humorous description of his editor (an obviously obsessive individual), picturing him as "... scarcely more than a vestigial support system for an eye-brain assembly ... living full-time in some kind of high-tech medical chair that automatically gimbals around at various angles to help prevent skin ulcers, nourishment and wastes ferried by tubes, surrounded by full-spectrum lamps and stacks of magazines and journals, a special emergency beeper Velcroed to his arm in case he falls out of the chair, etc."  All, presumably, in support of his editing obsession.  In our case, perhaps, our blogging preoccupation.  Let's hope it doesn't come to all that!

All kidding aside, Blotanical is a wonderful virtual gardening environment.  I'm learning lots about what other gardeners are doing - around the world, as this community grows - and a great way to share my own experiences.

Here's the link:

Closed for the Season

Winter is definitely here, and this little bird bungalow will remain vacant for the next three months or so.

As inhospitable as it looks, the season's snow and frost does bring its own beauty.  Something to photograph and appreciate during our gardening downtime.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas tree

The spruce tree in our back yard was suddenly decorated with a flock of bohemian waxwings.  It isn’t exactly like a ‘partridge in a pear tree’, but you get the idea … It’s still kinda like an early Christmas present!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and share with you this poem by Frank Ockert:


It's Christmas time, I'm sure you know,
The way we all are on the go
There really is no need for me to say;
But, none the less, I wish to you,
In spite of all there is to do,
A little peace, at least on Christmas Day.

When all the cards are in the mail,
Though, if like me, you'll no doubt fail
To remember some to whom you should have sent;
When all the gifts are wrapped and tied
And those you love are all inside
I will suggest how a moment might be spent.

Just find yourself a quiet spot
And read again, if you've forgot,
How angels sang of peace to all mankind;
Then breathe a simple prayer for peace,
Just for yourself, it will not cease
To bless your heart and calm your troubled mind.

Then, as you close your tired eyes,
Direct your last thoughts to the skies
And sense the love of God that comes your way;
His love will bring sweet quietness
And those you love His name will bless
To see His peace, in you, on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The 2010 Seed Catalogues Have Arrived!

Stokes Seeds and Dominion Seed House catalogues have arrived. And so starts the planning for next year's garden. What new annuals should we introduce?  What worked well last year that we want to continue?  Do we need a bit more punch here or there?

And, by the way, we'll ignore the less-than-helpful notation on the back of the Dominion catalogue that tells us "your hardiness zone is 1".  Who knows where they pulled that from.

Oh well, there's still plenty of time to ponder all these things before the seed order goes in.  In the meantime the holiday season is here and we turn our minds to time with family, to meals together, and perhaps a toast to another successful gardening season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Welcome to a "Work in Progress"

This blog has entries from when we designed and built out backyard garden a few short years ago.  Check out the slide show for photos from the last two growing seasons. Clicking on the slide show will take you to the Picassa photo album with all the photos.