the round hill tribe   14 comments

Although the weather of the past few weeks has often been wet and dreary, I’ve tried to make the best of it by working on the yard and gardens. The entire front yard is now fenced – some parts rather wimpily, but plenty strong enough to contain my collies. Fortunately, they are not much for testing boundaries by leaping over, crawling under, or pushing through any kind of barrier. They are quite content to patrol the garden, wagging their tails as they bark at anything that seems out of place, but soon returning to sit or lie next to me while I work. They are such great companions and friends often remark on how the three of us seem like some kind of tribe. Perhaps our nomadic life is responsible for our tribal behaviour, looking out for one another, and never wandering out of sight or earshot. Whatever, it is a comfortable relationship.

As described in my last post, there is now a strawberry bed where once was a heap of rotting planks. Fifty new plants are doing well. Never one to let unoccupied garden space go to waste, I stuck a couple of dozen red onion seedlings in between the plants, reasoning that they can spend the summer growing and provide me with green tops and the odd onion for a salad as needed.

The perennial flower garden has been greatly expanded to accommodate about forty new plants. Half came from a friend’s flower garden at Bear River. A few more came from the plant sale held during the Annapolis Royal Magnolia Festival. The most recent batch came from the Champlain Garden Society sale held at the farmers’ market last weekend. My bill came to an even fifty dollars, and everyone was of the opinion that I was probably their best customer of the day. I returned home with the van jammed full of foxgove, hostas, daylilies, lady’s mantle, and other wonderful plants. All of this goes some way toward lessening the sting of abandoning a good many plants when I sold our farm two years ago. Of course, it’s difficult to replace plants given to you over thirty-plus years by friends and family, but I’m feeling more philosophical about things these days and beginning to regard plants dug from new friends’ gardens as being part of something larger – a great web of old favourites that everyone has been sharing with fellow gardeners. Different faces, but the same roots.

Anyhow, added to all of the above are two new rhododendrons which join the three planted last year – the one in the above photo is Nova Zembla (click on all images for larger views).

To round things out, I purchased quite a few herbs and some tomato plants – medium-sized yellow “Taxi” and “Green Zebra” – as those are low acid varieties. Everything is doing well, thanks to all the rain. The garden actually looks pretty good – as befits a much nicer house. Although it may not look too bad from the outside, it’s still at the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” stage.

This year, I’ve made it my goal to try to visit the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market as often as possible. As most of you know, I am a notorious recluse when not traveling across the continent. It is not unusual for me to avoid going anywhere I can’t walk to on my own two feet, for at least two or three weeks at a time – which is actually not such a bad thing from an environmental standpoint. However, I’ve been thinking that perhaps a little contact with the human race could be beneficial, so I’ll make the weekly effort to drive the five or so kilometers to town on Saturday mornings. I’ve been twice now and have purchased excellent bread from a local bakery, the above-mentioned herb and tomato plants, some handmade soap from one of my Round Hill neighbours who got started into that business last summer, and two gorgeous glass insulators which I shall have to flaunt on m blog once I get round to taking some photos. In any case, I’m doing my best to help support the local economy.

To add to all of this excitement and activity, I’ve begun this season’s effort at photographing nocturnal moths and already turned up a couple of new (for me) species. More about that sometime soon. Also, I decided to sign up with the Maritimes Butterfly Atlas project to do the atlas square in which Round Hill is located. As many may remember, Don and I used to participate in several nature-related citizen science monitoring programs before our lives went to hell in a handbasket in 2007.
Little by little, I’m trying to carry on alone, picking up our lost trail. My hope is that, by getting involved in this and other similar programs, I will gradually feel more a part of this place.

Lastly, over the weekend, I began what will probably be one of those epic projects that takes a whole season of spare hours when a break is needed from working on the house. I plan to build a walking trail from the house down to the river – a steep and slippery slope – and from there, carry on along the shore until looping back through the trees. This would give me better access to this rambling bit of property which, although not all that large, seems bigger than its footprint due to the irregular shoreline and terraced woodland. The photo below is the view looking down the steep hillside from the house. I’ve progressed about a third of the way to the shoreline. It’s a start.

Written by bev wigney on May 30th, 2011

14 Responses to 'the round hill tribe'

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  1. Wow, I am impressed by all you have done. It’s been dreary here too and I’ve let it make an excuse to not do so much outside. Which if I don’t do some of it soon, I’ll have an excuse that it’ll be too late. The collie photos are gorgeous. What beautiful dogs.


    30 May 11 at 8:19 pm

  2. Bev, I’ll echo’s Rain’s comment…amazing what you’ve achieved in such a short time! I love the idea of a walking trail from the house to the river…I do hope you’ll continue to post pictures of your progress so I can enjoy your place vicariously through your photos.


    30 May 11 at 8:43 pm

  3. sage and a rhodo – that is an awesome photograph. Very noble looking.
    I grew green zebras a few years ago – pretty creatures, themselves. That year I also had a large crop of tomato hornworms – but I’d planted over 70 tomato plants, so I let them have some. Non-descript little moths they make, compared to the caterpillar stage.


    30 May 11 at 9:49 pm

  4. wait! I totally take that back, that comment about the moth stage. I just looked them up again.


    30 May 11 at 9:51 pm

  5. Inspiring to see how you are transforming your new/old house and land. Sabrina and Sage look very much at home. I remember my father creating trails on the hill behind the house we grew up in. Something wonderful about creating trails. Will look forward to seeing your photos of moths. I am guessing that there must be bird song that goes with your photos. The air looks fresh, clear. I like the idea of you three as the round hill tribe.


    30 May 11 at 11:23 pm

  6. How much has the Buckthorn I hacked down last fall sprouted? As part of your trail clearing, you might complete the job that I had to leave partially done when I went hypoglycemic. There’s been some discussion here that Deer may prefer the young shoots more than they do the mature foliage, and may be a factor in preventing regrowth of cut plants.

    Also, I think the kind of Onions you need are the perennial Egyptian kind – you can just snap off the leaves to use green, or harvest the bulbs for cooking. If you get some locally, consider them a contribution from my garden as a boy (which ours are descended from). Since they’re all genetically identical this shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.


    31 May 11 at 7:20 am

  7. fred – Egyptian onions were one ofthe things I left behind at the arm – I believe I got mine from Richters’ Herbs many years ago. Haven ‘t seen any at the farmers’ market yet, but thanks for he reminder as I will watch for tem.
    As for the buckthorn, no I have not been back down to fiish the job, but thanks for hat reminder too. It’s on a part of the property I don’t normally walk through, but will definitely begin to requent now that I’m doing the butterfly atlassing. So much to do and only one me. I need to become more like an Egyptian Onion and begin replicating myself and then delegating jobs to everyone.
    You may have to plan a return visit to inish off that buckthorn!

    bev wigney

    31 May 11 at 7:42 am

  8. It’s hard to beat a good, faithful dog for companionship.

    The rhododendron is nice. I have tried to get them to grow on our property but I think it’s too dry. Not too far away along the Appalachian Trail there are good stands, down deep along the creeks, but they just never do anything for us. I remember reading about the early settlers crossing the Appalachians and running into rhododendron stands so thick they called them rhododendron hells.


    31 May 11 at 9:13 am

  9. Your gardens look lovely and lush already. And, the doggies look quite content in their garden space. You remind me that I keep seeing hostas for sale at the local coop, and I tell myself to look them up when I get home to see if I should buy a few for the yard. Of course, I always forget. There’s something about planting a garden that really makes a place feel like home. Food and flowers, abundance, all that promise. I wish I were your neighbor!

    robin andrea

    31 May 11 at 9:42 am

  10. Love the idea of gardeners everywhere being joined in a non-mystical sense by “a great web of old favourites”! Glad to hear how well you’re managing despite the cold, wet spring. (Are you sharing the heat wave we’re having down here now? If not, count yourself lucky!)


    31 May 11 at 9:56 am

  11. Wishing I could share some of our garden plants with you! I love to send them off with friends to homes where they will be loved/appreciated. You have done so much already that it is astonishing, and I can’t wait to see more of the garden path! Beautiful photos, Bev. Aren’t rhodies exquisite? We just got a new one which looks like melted butter with strawberries gently splashed across the blooms. As they age, the blooms are becoming pale yellow tinged in a blushing rose along the edges. We enjoy our local farmer’s market, too, and investing in the community feels worthwhile. Hope you and the pups will have a fabulous summer and you will keep us posted in pics. 🙂


    31 May 11 at 4:08 pm

  12. Hi Bev, Glad to see you are staying busy and making great progrss with your new home. I know its going to be a lot of work, but just think once its all done you can sit back , relax and enjoy. I pulled up the last of the lettuce plants here as the heat is ON and the lettuce will not continue to grow in this hot the tomatoes are coming on tho…sure wish I could have them at the same time!! I have been harvesting Green onions for quite some time..I am wondering about those Egyptians for my area?
    The yard looks great, I have been putting the back yard of this place in order for the past 4 yrs since I moved back here from NY and this yr it looks pretty good-Im very much like you in that I love to travel I HATE to shop and get supplies–but I normally go to “town” once a week-
    Good luck with your trail…


    1 Jun 11 at 12:28 pm

  13. Hi Bev

    It is nice to see you have been able to make such great progress in the garden.
    The little sculpture you brought back looks lovely and really adds a nice shot of colour.
    The dogs seem to be enjoying themselves and pose very nicely. Good luck with your path, once
    we have our cabin up, paths through the woods and down to the slough will be the next step
    maybe next summer if all goes well. All the best.



    2 Jun 11 at 8:52 am

  14. Looking good, and you really HAVE accomplished a lot since you took possession of the place. I enjoyed seeing the garden and the dogs too, and the steep slope down to the river is a fine green leafy tunnel.


    6 Jun 11 at 5:15 pm

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