• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming and home schooling. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 17/Grade 12, 15/Grade 10, and 13/Grade 9.

    Contact me at becky.farmschool@gmail.com

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Sunday garden stroll

I’m fudging a bit today. These are my lilacs, not from my garden here at the house, but from the small field near our corrals, about a mile and a half from the house, where we hope to build a new house in the next few years. When we planted the lilacs — just the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), not any particular named varieties — several years ago when we started shelterbelts of trees and shrubs around the farm, they were little more than twigs. Now some of the lilacs are as tall as I am, and they’ve been flowering magnificently, and in a variety of shades, from white to the usual lilac color, to an almost reddish. The thought of living there before too long, in a house surrounded once a year by lilac blooms, delights me. And because I always need to gild the lily, after building the house I’d like to have a special spring/early summer bed near the house with peonies, lilacs beyond the common ones (gardeners in the U.S. can find a nice selection here), and roses.

Yesterday we again weeded our miles of trees. I replaced some of the little ones that didn’t make it with some rooted golden willow branches. Tom and the kids had been in town last month when they passed a hotel where someone was pruning the willows. My bunch asked if they could have the branches, then brought them home and stuck them in pails of water where they’ve leafed out and sprouted oodles of roots. Ta-da — free trees, and the branches didn’t end up at the landfill site either.

For more garden pictures, head over to a wrung sponge, where Cloudscome hosts the weekly Sunday garden stroll.

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13 Responses

  1. Planted branches! That is just too wonderful an idea!

    My grandmother had a hedge of lilacs on one side of her house, and the scent filled the house in the spring. The very idea of lilacs makes me nostalgic. They seem to belong to an older time. Your new house is off to a great start.

    I wonder if I could soak lilac branches, then plant them…?

  2. How delightful to think of building a house in the midst of lilacs you nurtured. I think I want to come visit you in the spring! And I love the idea of sprouting all those willow trees and planting them around your land. Good job!

  3. I like lilacs too! One of the ways to find where the privy was at an abandoned farm is to look for lilacs, which were often planted next to them. Perriwinkle is also a useful plant for archaeologists–patches of it, deep in the woods, mark where houses used to be…

    Thanks for reminding me that I must bring home a piece of pussy willow from my mother’s house next time I visit!

  4. I love lilacs too! Unfortunately every time I try to get one to grow in my yard my husband mows it over. After three or four attemps I’ve finally given up trying. I think he just doesn’t like lilacs. :)

    BTW, thanks for introducing me to a new phrase. I’d never heard “gild the lily” before and had to google to find out what it meant. I like that phrase!

    This post would make a great addition to the next edition of the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival, which is due to be posted in a couple of days and the suggested theme was gardens/gardening.

  5. Sounds lovely!

  6. Hey! We’re strolling together! How charming.

  7. Gorgeous lilacs! The idea of building your house among them is fantastic!

  8. A friend of mine in England was doing willow sculpture. She made a great garden bench for another friend. You make it with branches, all woven, but they do root and leaf out to make living sculpture. Very nice.

    Your plans for the new house’s spring garden sound lovely. We have a peony with single flowers that is quite lovely, maybe partly because it is so different.

  9. writer2b, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. That’s basically what we got from the shelterbelt outfit for free — rooted lilac “sticks”.

    Clouds, come over for a cup of tea, regardless of the season!

    Charlotte, in this part of the province at least, most lilacs are in long hedges/shelterbelts leading up to the farm. Maybe the hardy and doubting pioneers wondered if a month of scented flowers was worth it?!

    Jacqueline, I don’t know where in Canada you are, but here on the prairies lilacs grow so vigorously a lawn mower wouldn’t be able to thwart one for too long, especially if it’s more than a year old. Do you have a link for the carnival?

    Thanks, Lisa and Jenny.

    Sheila, I stopped in to stroll with you, too…

    JoVE, what an absolutely wonderful idea. I can imagine what that would look like in leaf. How charming in a quiet shady area of the garden, and what a lovely surprise for anyone new to the garden to happen upon.

  10. I have a friend who makes for the school auction every year a living tree house of corkscrew maple. It’s on my wishlist, that’s for sure. That’s fantastic that your tree branches have sprouted. I found a pussy-willow branch lying on the ground and stuck it in the ground– nothing happened of course, but I had hoped for a miracle.:) One of my favorite parts of the Chronicles of Narnia is that toffee tree….

  11. Alkelda, the only thing better than a tree house for summer is a living tree house. I don’t suppose you have any pictures of your friend’s work? Maybe next time just stick the pussywillow branch in a jam jar or vase with some water for a few weeks, then into the ground. Then cross your fingers!

  12. Your Lilacs are lovely … I can almost detect their lovely scent from here. Lilacs have always been my favorite !

    God Bless.
    MomToCherubs

    http://www.becksbounty.blogspot.com

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