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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Although the origin of this nursery rhyme has nothing to do with gardening, but rather thought to perhaps describe the reign of Bloody Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VIII's daughter or to chide the heirless Queen Mary of England.  It was the same Mary, by the way!
It has a nice lilt and when I was a child I was certainly not thinking about any queen when I rhymed it.
I am planning my first garden in eons.  As gardens should, it will evolve over the years and this is only year one.  I have a planter beside the patio and I plan to make that my kitchen garden.  It will be filled with aromatic lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage.  I will have edible nasturtiums and some feathery corianders and parsleys.
Hopefully I can find a sunny spot for some sunflowers and sweet peas.  Geraniums are a must and they will probably grace my front steps. I have the perfect spot for Scarlet Runner Beans.  I have spinach, lettuce and beet seeds.  And, not to forget, I have shallot sets.
I think that is enough for year one.  The climate is great but I will be watering.  As I write this I am listening to winter storm warnings.  
Ya gotta love Canada!  That is why we have a hard and fast rule for most of the country that we don't plant tender things until the May long weekend.   The Victoria Day weekend holiday is also celebrated after a queen.  Queen Victoria was a much more loved monarch than Queen Mary.

Are you planting anything new this year?  Is anyone in Zone 3?  I would love suggestions because I am also in a Zone 3 area.


  1. I wish I could grow a garden. Growing my own herbs and veg would be a dream. But, I live in a condo and have no yard. Plus my wonderful cats eat every flower I ever purchase for my wife, so no indoor growing either. What can you do? Good luck with your garden, keep us posted.

  2. I would definitely plant some purslane or mâche; it is supposed to grow like a weed (heck it is a weed), is delicious in salads (fattoushe) and it super nutritious; the mexicans call it verdolaga and use it like spinach cooked in stews.

  3. Lazaro - check out this website for apartment gardens Unless your cat is also a monkey, it might work for you.

    Taste of Beirut - I should have thought of mache after reading your blog on fattoush. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I'm a gardener :) This year is my 3rd garden and I'm expanding it to the front yard. I'm a zone 5 here, but really I think realistically I'm closer to a 4, we have such a short growing season at 6,000 ft above sea level! If you'd like check out my garden blog:

    happy gardening! You've got a great selection of veggies & herbs Sarah. I wish I had though of shallots. Looks like I'll me taking a trip to the nursery for shallot bulbs :)

  5. Thanks, Andrea. I'll add it to my favourites. I am surprised you a Zone 4,5. Calgary is a Zone 3,4 and it has a very difficult growing season. The chinooks really wreak havoc.

  6. Scarlett Runners - You'll attract hummingbirds, how wonderful. Enjoy!


  7. One of my favorite things is a cake with scented geranium.. so good!!! I hope you enjoy doing it.. I used to love gardening in a zone 4. There are problems (so many roses had trouble) and no melons but what the heck. If you have any sandy area grow chervil.. it was happiest between the stones in the patio ( after years of trying it unsuccessfully in beautiful garden soil... and it grows in the winter under the snow!!!).

  8. Andrea - actually I'll take that back. I think Calgary is really considered Zone 5.

    JJ - hummingbirds! Never thought of it. Great.

    Deana - chervil in sandy soil. I did not know that. Thanks. I do have a patch that is sandy. Where they put the kiddies pool they threw down a bunch of sand. What a pain to clean up. I think strawberries also like sandy soil.

  9. J'espère que nous pourrons suivre l'évolution de ton jardin.
    Bon weekend.

  10. I think I'm in zone 4 or 5. Last summer I started a square foot garden, and the boys and I will be starting it up again, perhaps in about 2 weeks. I'm just dreaming of garden and sunshine today, because it's raining and 42 degrees, and expected to stay that way for the next 3 days. Phooey! My little local library is holding a "herb Garden Talk" in mid May, and I may just attend, and buy some of their already started plants. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. Oh, and Thor tells me that you need to plant a little catnip for Miss Sugar. He says four footed family members need spoiling, too!

  11. Yesterday, my colleague/friend just gave me a fully grown "stalk?" of basil, so I just bought a clay pot, organic soil, and a hand shovel. I plan to plant the basil, and if I manage to keep it alive for at least a week, then I'm going to add other herbs. I'm looking forward to seeing how your veggies turn out. I will need your guidance haha.

  12. Marjie - how could I forget to mention the catmint that I bought. It looks like lavender. I wonder if it is like catnip? I better check it out and if not, yes, I'll plant some catnip. That will keep her home!

    Memoria - hey, good for you! Keep it in a sunny place and let the soil dry before watering again.

  13. Don't you just love this time of year! I finally found all my saved seeds in the garage!

  14. Pam - I do! Spent the afternoon doing yardwork and I didn't make a dent. I am exhausted. But eventually it will all come together.

  15. Thank you for the kind words. Any white rice will do, bazmati would be great I think. And black-eye peas would be great as well. Cheers!

  16. Awesome! Your going to have a new garden, I hope that you wll keep us in the loop on your progress.
    I wish there was some advice from me but, I live in zone 8 (I think). I did plant this Spring in between my bushes and trees plenty of herbs, tomatoes, hot peppers and squashes. We will see if I am successful this season.

  17. Pretty sure we are in Zone 3 in Sudbury Ontario. so it will be a while we think of planting.

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