Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From Sophie's Perch

Yesterday was a beautiful day. As soon as Ron headed off to Dad's in the morning, Sophie and I headed out to the garden.

Of course Sophie thought this was great! The whole morning to play with Jim! Sorry Sophie but I have some things to do that have to get done before May.

After trying her best to 'help' me (she really does pick up sticks and believes she IS helping, but wants to eat them first!), she went to her favourite 'perch' to keep an eye on things while I was digging.

Two summers ago I discovered that the Rhododenrons I had layered the year before had 'taken root' along with a few 'volunteers' that had layered themselves. I put them in the nursing beds to get established.

They have done really well in these beds and are now ready to be transplanted into a permanent location in the garden. This is a great time to do it.....coolish not cold, and the frost in the soil almost all gone.

So where to put them? Last week I found a pretty good place along the western side of the garden under, but not too close, very large Spruce trees. They will get morning to noon sun throughout the summer which should be enough.

Rhodoenrons grow very well here in Nova Scotia mostly due to the acidity of the soil and they are relatively easy to grow.

So I needed about 10 holes dug. Good thing about these plants is that their roots are shallow and do not go very deep......they spread out instead of going down deep into the soil. This wouldn't take too long.

I will not be planting them until the weekend, besides I needed a couple of large bags of peat first to mix with the soil. I read that rhodos don't like rich soil but do well in lots of peat moss. It's true and this has worked for us over the years.

I kept checking on Sophie and she was either at a neighbours fence waiting for their dog to come out or over at her perch.

So the holes were done. Now to pull out the two year old pine trees I put in the compost bin over the winter to protect them. Most had survived the winter. I think I may have lost a couple. You can see a brown one there on the right.

I pulled out maybe half. The others were still frozen into the compost!! That's right, we still have some frozen ground here.....but not much. Hey, it's early April here in the north Atlantic!

By this time I wanted a rest. The sun was shining and it was about 11 degrees Celsius. Sophie was very comfortable in 'her spot'. I thought what a smart dog, if we humans could only look so relaxed. I thought why not give it a try.

So I went over by her and sat down next to her. She was happy, the birds were singing, I could hear the flag from across the road flapping in the breeze. Everything was there that I needed to sit and relax.

So I did for about a half hour, just the two of us looking and listening to what was around us. Of course Sophie would be sniffing the air constantly picking up scents that would get lost in my olfactory system.

Usually I would have 'kept going' in the garden till lunch. I was glad I looked over at Sophie and let her show me the way to just stop and enjoy what is happening around me.

And I did.


  1. Beautiful shots of Sophie enjoying the sunshine-I must admit I`am always on the go -especially when in the garden-I sometimes have to remind myself to take five-sit back and relax ,and enjoy the sun and fresh air and the bird song and activity- glad you did too !

  2. No one better than a dog to remind us to relax.--Inger

  3. Clever putting your pine tree starts in your compost pile! :O). Looks like you had a very productive time! I keep threatening to dig up some small cedars from the back woods and move them to the front! Its on "the list" :O).

    A blog I read, the gal is moving to Nova Scotia, she has purchased a Blueberry Winery on 66 acres there, she also raises fiber animals and will continue to do so there, selling her fibers with her wine. I thought of ya'll when I read she was moving to Novia Scotia.

  4. yes, we need to take lessons from cats and dogs, they know what they need to do for themselves! she is soooooooo pretty.

  5. So what you're saying is, that it's actually possible to sit and relax for a half an hour? I don't understand. Do you have a manual on how to do this?
    Your Friend, m.

  6. Sophie is a smart dog. Sit, watch, smell. We'd do good to follow her advice.

    When you're done there, how about heading out to CA and working in my yard?? :)

  7. I love your blog posts, I do. Your bloody fab photos have inspired me to try and do better on my own blog ;-)

    So, how big is your bloody garden? Every time you post about it, you are in a different bit, and today was no exception - you seemed to be in a forest! Great post Jimster, I like the chilled bit at the end..... ummmmm nice and calm!

  8. P.S. Did you get my comment? I don't think I typed the captcha in properly.....!

  9. Annie, it is not very big compared to what we'd like to have......maybe about a half acre. There are some very large spruce trees which are getting this disease which was 'kindly' sent from the Orient on a container ship about 20 years ago. It is devastating a lot of trees in Nova Scotia.

    Barbara, OK! We'll be right out! Put on the kettle!

    Texan, I bet I know what area in NS she is moving to......NS is the blueberry capital of Canada.

    Mark, I will forward that manual ASAP. You're going to need it after this week!!!!

  10. Bet your garden will look great with all the transplants you have going on! Glad Sophie talked you into taking some time to enjoy the sunshine.

  11. Your climate is milder than ours - our ground is still frozen. And you have trees! Sigh. It looks lovely.

  12. i like just how well organized you are with your gardening. love the birch trees. and glad you took some time to enjoy the day, as it should be.
    keep well!!

  13. I have ONE rhodo--when we moved here there were several but over the years they've died off due to my neglect. The last one is a hardy soul, however, and when I went outside yesterday there it was, in full bloom and just gorgeous. Love the pix of Sophie--such a pretty puppy!!!!

  14. Whenever I get frustrated doing a job around the house, I look over at Pugsley. He gives me that, come over here look. And we sit and think it through so that I can finish. He's the best helper that I've ever had.

  15. Bravissimo, Jim...I see you are an outstanding gardener......and what a fantastic "Rhododendron-plantage" will be growing in your garden...!!!!

    Your sweet helper did do a few holes....?

    I am looking forward to see the Rhododendron bloom........!!!!

    Wonderful garden - and - Sophie pics, Jim.....!!!!
    Have a great time and enjoy spring in the garden!!!!!!!

    ciao ciao elvira

  16. Babies, dogs and cats can teach us so much about enjoying the present moment. Thank you for sharing your time with Sophie, letting her teach us, too!

  17. Ahhhhh, that was a lovely, peaceful entry. You're so right about the animals teaching us that we need to slow down and relax. Not that I need many lessons. I'm a great one for taking my time. Work a bit, sit down and rest a bit. Repeat and enjoy.


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