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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #022
April 07, 2023
APRIL SINGS OUT LOUD...
The birds wake me up singing....
I love that.... it is a bit too soon, but when Mother robins lay their eggs, they sing to them so the babies will know the sound of their mothers.
.. funny, we do that .
.. I love that too
And so we think of gardening...
"A GARDEN IS… not a place:
it is a passage, a passion.
We don’t know where we’re going,
to pass through is enough;
to pass through is to remain."
As I write about April these last days of March,
there is still a lot of snow in some spots
- especially on our north side of the street
but the light is wonderful
and the rain today is melting the snow
- giving water back to the soil
ROBINS and LITTLE BIRDS...
As I wake to the ”singing” robins….
it reminds me of the book I wrote
about the little robin who fell from his nest….
I still have a few signed copies if you don’t have one yet
…. makes a great Easter gift if you celebrate
and... if you buy one,
I will donate a second one for the school library of your choice
…so please let me know…
There is a form on my HOME page
We fed Little Bird with a tiny silver spoon
…. and why not? HOME
Levi, our beloved neighbourhood pig
has figured how to open the gate
and is nosing his way around the snow.
Soon, lured home with ‘Goldfish” crackers and bananas,
he was back snoozing on the sofa.
When the sun shines warmer,
he will snooze on the deck.
LET YOUR GARDEN SLEEP...
"I don’t get this….”this tidying up" mentality.
.. plants by nature are not tidy…
. gardens can be neat without being sterile,
losing the bounty of billowing blooms...
gardening is for everyone. to get a kick out of.
.. it is between you and your patch of soil, you and nature."
..Oh yes, this is my messy garden
... and I am itching to get in there...
beneficial insects, baby bunnies?
little birds and other weed creatures hide there
... with bits of twigs, leaves and feathers for new nests....
please - let us wait together.
YOU CAN DO THIS, THOUGH...
Clean your bird bath even though your garden is still asleep,
the wee birds are awake and they
are thirsty now the snow is nearly gone.
Leave a shallow dish
with small smooth stones for bees to land on
… chippie appreciates water too.
for HUMMING BIRDS
water and white sugar ONLY please....
CUTTING BACK GRASSES...
Yes, you can.... especially if they start to green up at the base.
... but check under long, folded over grasses
for wee bunny nests...
and cut above the green.
As for your perennials,
some have hollow stems
and some of you will find that a new plant is emerging
and you want to cut the old down...
Cut the stems at random heights
... not to the ground.
.. there will be small beneficial insects or nests still there.
.. and the new growth will soon hide the stems.
Take some dead, hollow stems
and put them in an old flower pot...
makes a small bee house
But NOT a good time to...
... prune your ROSES yet....
Wait till the Forsythia blooms or the nights are 10C or 50F consistently.
Pruning too soon can weaken roses and some other plants.
... be patient and wait for your garden to wake up.
Still leave hollow stems standing
for those beneficial insects who are still sleeping...
Here are some notes on when to prune roses..
"A majority of migratory birds - including many tanagers, warblers, and sparrows – migrate at night, and light pollution can cause these birds to become disoriented, fly into cities and collide with lighted buildings."
Make your environment safer for migratory birds by decreasing light pollution. Pledge to turn off all unnecessary lights between the hours of 11 pm - 6am, during peak bird migration times: March-May, and August-October.
Tracy Aviary - Thanks to Peterborough Field Naturalists for sharing this recently!
However, many of us leave our porch lights on for safety - so consider changing the bulb to yellow as shown in the chart.
OLD 'WIVES' TALES?
Sometimes they're based on experience and sometimes, just hearsay
Here’s one you may have heard recently:
“Till your garden a night… preferably during a new moon
… the exposed seedlings cannot germinate in the dark…”
Please don’t till… it disturbs the soil and the mycorrhizae (fungi) which the roots need to build strength.…
Besides, weed seedlings have
the uncanny ability to grow anywhere, any time.
Sometimes I have been know to pull what I think is a weed
and then find it is a perennial seedling… ugh…
If you know what they look like as seedlings - it won't be as easy to pull
a precious perennial…
Like Dandelions... or are they Dandy Lions?
I might just prefer these gents to the ones below....
how about you??
But for the rest of us who have a need to pull them
when they are seedlings (for salad, of course)
... here are some sketches of what they look like
before fully grown
PLANTAIN, or BROADLEAF PLANTAIN
makes an excellent poultice
for stings from insects or stinging nettle
and poison ivy.
So if you need it out of your flower garden,
transplant it to a place it can stay
- you never know when you or someone you love
will need it.
is one to keep.... sure it is big, and can be a bit of a thug,
but keep it in a clump in your garden.
..one of the last fall flowers to bloom for bees
and other sweet insects.
FIELD BINDWEED is really a thug
.... cute little white flowers but spreads like wildfire
with a vigorous underground root.
.. Looks a bit like Morning Glory.
.. but no glory in this one.
I confess to liking this one...
its lovely purple-blue bells in the late summer
but when it goes to seed,
there are millions
... well, perhaps not millions,
but when they come up the following spring,
it looks like it...
Pull them before they go to seed
- they also spread with an underground root
or better yet, when they are seedlings and look like this.
I could inundate you with many more seedlings,
but this is enough for now
... if you really want more,
let me know and I will send them to you
.... they will be on my site soon
but not sure what "soon" means yet....
Be sure to check them as soon as the soil warms up
as some of them will have lifted up, exposing the stem.
Gently dig them out, and shake off the soil….
You can split them if there are more stems
or a natural break between them
- either pull them apart or cut them
but be sure there are roots on both stems
otherwise one will not grow.
Take off dead leaves and replant them
so just the crown is above the soil.
Sean James has a video (Sean James Heuchera Division Video)
if you just search Sean James you will get lost down a rabbit hole of film stars.
- cut back all stems close to the ground and if up agains a fence or wall,
- cut the back stems longer, graduating them lower toward the front
- there will be blooms all the way up instead of just blooming all one height.
- if they are in the middle, stagger the heights of the stems for blooms all over.
- first look at the amount of growth from last season.
- they bloom on new growth
- If left unpruned, the new growth will begin where the old growth stops and continue out from there
…making your bush or tree huge with heavy blooms that can bend and break the stems..
- Cut back the old blooms to just above a tiny bud on the sides of the branch.
- cut any crossed or rubbing branches or those too small and weak to support heavy blooms
PRUNING TREE PEONY...
Tree Peonies can seem intimidating
… they aren’t -
Look for reddish buds like these
and follow up the stem to the last bud nearest the top of the stem,
cut just above that
WHEN THE SNOW IS GONE...
Lay down a nice thick layer of compost
and let the spring rains wash
the nutrients down into the soil
…. keeps little weed seedlings from sprouting too.
by my daughter from her grandmother's garden
still buried in dirty snow,
but they are brave and lovely nonetheless
"MUST READ" BOOKS...
Michael's funny, poignant and true story of his gardening journey.
.. a birthday gift from my thoughtful daughter
Grove Press ISBN - 0-9021-4011-4 1991
...and her second gift, also by Michael Pollan....
A plant's-eye view of the world....
Grove Press ISBN-0-375-76039-3 2001
So, UNTIL NEXT TIME....
Lucy says - it must be time....
to be sitting on the deck, right?
...but we may need sweaters,
and cozy shawls
oh, and snacks.
My Little Bird Book
When I sell a copy of my book
(The Little Bird Who Fell From the Sky)
for a child who attends a school,
I donate one to their school library.
If you wish to purchase one with another for a school,
please send a note to:
They are now in schools in Ontario, Labrador, New Brunswick,
Latvia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec, BC,
Arizona, California, Florida, the UK,
Massachusetts, Tennessee, Missouri,
France, and Nicaragua
You can order here: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish, also order a print of Little Bird for your Little one...
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