Around here, it’s cold, and more cold, which we call winter, then it’s spring..oh for about 2 weeks. It leaves suddenly, which makes it summer. Full on heat, until it’s Winter again.
My family warned me about this when we talked about moving up here from the coast so it’s not like I didn’t know what to expect.
If you only visit for a few times a year, April’s fresh faced beauty, and early September’s sultry nights are more then doable.
It’s the months of blah winter, and the intense heat of summer that will do you in nicely…along with the lack of a real spring. One day the ground is white, and frozen the next, it’s hot, and the mosquitoes are biting. The grass needs cutting every second day, until it turns golden toasted brown, which lasts until the next spring.
For me it’s a great trade off, the coast has so much rain, we floated away except for 2 weeks in August when it gets hot and sticky, humid dripping, and then summer ends suddenly.
But if there is one thing I just have trouble wrapping my head around, that’s the lack of lushness, the undergrowth of green, like a tulle petticoat missing from a ball gown, it’s everywhere on the coast, but lacking here.
That and the absolute plodding growth of plants…it takes years to grow a tree here. A shrub that would reach up with leaps and bounds in my old garden, is poking along here. Meagrely pushing out a few shoots, hanging around, taking it’s sweet green time.
It grows up here, but not in the snap of a fingers.
And while I have a little gardener’s patience, I don’t have tons of it. It’s balanced by the fact that I am a frugal gardener, and it bothers me to pay more for a plant that is twice the size, so I buy them small, and watch em grow.
And watch em, and watch em…
Take the humble, and hated with a passion by most gardeners Goutweed, considered by many to be the top of the ten most invasive plants. It’s pretty, creamy white, and bright emerald green foliage hides a thug, it will take over and not just invade, but divide and conquer most gardens.
Not here. Gardener that I am, when I first moved in saw a good sprinkling of the poor unloved Goutweed in a neighbours garden, and I warned him against it taking over the yard. “Oh, he said, it’s fine, it’s been here forever…”
I was sceptical, really, that stuff digs in, and it never leaves, even in Alberta…land of the cold and icy summers. He was right though, it’s still in the same well behaved, tiny never spreading patches that it was 3 summers ago. Go figure.
Ajuga, also known as Bugleweed, is one any good nursery should warn you about,”oh don’t plant that”…it’s tiny, teeny tiny well behaved, moderate growth up here. Pretty purple flowers in the spring, and bronzy green leaves…that don’t spread. It’s just too hot, and too cold here for most anything to get a foot in the door. Kind of a good thing I suppose, but what a difference from my old garden.
And unheard of on the coast.
That’s why I showed you the photos of the dry stream bed newly finished on my previous post, pretty, pristine, dark soil, green plants. Because you won’t recognize it in a few years, even a few weeks. Yes most of the plants will take their sweet time and fill in. but so will the rocks, and the soil. They will be covered with a layer of Fir needles, and I will have to regularly remove branches from the gravel by hand.
That’s life up here in the Okanagan, and you know, despite the obvious lack of green, I’m learning to live with it, and love it. Land of big skies, wide mountains, and even wider valleys.
I see cows, and horses every day, ducks in the ditches that line the fields. I have pheasants, and quail in my backyard all year round. Soon they will bring their babies to show and tell at supper time.
I love that. My heart soars when something crosses the road in front of me, like it did yesterday, and it’s not a farm cat, it’s a well, it might be a weasel, or a muskrat. I’m not sure it ran too fast to get the camera. When I go biking on the back roads, through the farm land, it’s not unusual to spook deer, and my husband has seen bear when he is out running his miles.
I used to get excited when we saw a raccoon in the condo, well not excited in a good way of course, I always worried about Bootsie our cat.
So yes, it’s a trade off, no airplanes overhead, no more seagulls waking us up at 4 am…just the Boo. Fields layered with the chirps of birds, the sound of tractors ploughing, and sowing next years wheat. The whiff of manure on the air.
Sun setting into the embrace of the mountains.
We call it home, gout or no gout.