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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #024
June 15, 2023
Nothing is so rare as a day in JUNE
“There’s a lovely urgency to these bright warm days, the grass has never been so soft, nor the sky so ripe with clouds….”
But here I stop… because as I write this, the sky is grey
and filled with the smell of burning fires
all over Ontario, Quebec, the east coast and the west
…. the sun is an orange ball, desperately
and unsuccessfully trying to burn through the thickness.
Breathing is difficult and I worry for those who need to work outside.
A few minutes weeding and I am done.
Praying for rain and for the stamina
and strength of those valiantly fighting those fires.
But in spite of this, there are glorious things about June
… some things to do, and not to do.
I was kindly given permission to include this poem,
written by a talented member
of the Brain Injury Assoc.
.… with my sincerest thanks.
My Roses are Blooming...
Every blooming tree is full and lush
from Lilacs to Cherry blossoms…
Heady and delightful
Things I learned about June
FEED the SOIL: NOT the PLANT:
For perennial roots to be strong, they need to forage for their own nutrients
which means if you feed the soil, they can find them on their own
If you fertilize them, why would they seek what they can find by staying in one spot?
No need for them to spread out and look, which is why some roots
just keep growing and tangling in a forever circle.
Feed the soil and encourage your perennials to stretch and seek what they need.
Spread a good layer (2-3 inches or more) of compost on top of the soil
and water it in.
Doing this spring and fall will make great soil
and a healthy garden with disease resistant plants,
great root systems and loads of foliage and blooms.
When a little bee lands on a tiny Forget-me-not flower,
it immediately knows which ones have pollen
and which have already been used up.
If the centre ring is yellow… there is pollen…
if it is white, the pollen has already been taken….
WAIT: before you pull all the random Milkweed
in your flower bed, look carefully
to see if there are tiny white balls
on the undersides of the leaves
…. these are Monarch eggs
If you see them please leave the milkweed for them
and SEND a PHOTO and YOUR LOCATION
After The Chelsea Chop
WHY DO IT?
- plants are not so tall and leggy - need less staking - side-shoots branch out
HOW? - cut back by one third to a half using shears or secateurs. - cut back a few, but leave others as it will prolong l flowering time - or cut half the stems back at the front of the clump - it will flower all the way up
It works best with plants like Sedum (Autumn Joy) and Phlox
Sedum has stronger stems that don't fall over and the Plot will bloom at differing
SEE BELOW ...where my phlox has already begun to leaf out in only a few weeks
When the SALVIA bloom is done,
cut back down the stem to a new set of buds
and voila… more blooms
Keep water on your property - without flooding
and use a rain barrel
My gardener/writer/artist friend Claire
was asked to display her water-wise garden the other day
… she uses no city water and when she does need to water
she uses what is in her rain barrel.
She chooses plants that once established,
will fend for themselves
and her garden is glorious any time of year
She makes good use of leaf litter and lots of compost.
Claire's Bartzella Itoh Peony
in her "water-wise" garden... glorious
Water rushes down this bare hill
… so a row of Easter White Cedars at the top
will do two things:
soak up the water before it washes out the hill
and provide some privacy from a neighbour
The slope will be planted with other fibrous rooted plants
which will also hold the soil
along with lots of arborist wood chips.
Keep Birdie-Baths Clean
A bird bath with fresh water daily is a boon for our wee thirsty birds
... a flat dish with small pebbles and a bit of water will help thirsty bees..
It is daunting when weeds get the better of us
… but here’s a trick I use when I don’t have time to do a full weeding:
Start by edging the bed-
Nice sharp edges that divide lawn from garden
and then start there, working toward the centre of the garden.
… a few minutes a day can make a big difference by the end of the week.
Start with what you see first… either from your favourite spot - inside or out
- or the first thing you see when you walk or drive up to your home.
And, if you plant your beauties close together
there will be no room for weeds.
In the 17th century, those who could not afford gardeners
spent their lives growing a few beans,
but mostly weeding their gardens
and were called “weeder women”
… I like to think I am a gardener and not just a weeder
.. but I confess there are days I wonder.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be known as someone
who has the knowledge of a professional
and the eye of an artist…
who is also opinionated but humble
while sharing with other gardeners
a happiness and satisfaction after a day of digging
and making plans for future gardens.
If that is what a ‘weeder woman” becomes with all that weeding
… then I want to be that.
On that note, I think I hear my weeds calling my name…
So many questions about invasives
with no simple answers and no simple solutions.
Do your best, recognize them, keep at it,
and take it out a bit at a time
… but when you dig out a clump
replace it with a healthy perennial
and lots of mulch… little by little you will win.
A new Mantra: dig, plant, mulch
I Love Great Customer Service...
And, I love these long-handled shears from Lee Valley Tools..
But, alas, my favourite hedge shears were not clipping... the blades would not meet and so pruning the hedge was more than a little frustrating.
Last week we were in Burlington, Ontario and went into their LEE VALLEY store.
I thought they might just need a new set of blades (buy the best and replace the parts... how great is that?)
I took them in and explained my problem,... they could easily have sold me a new set of blades...I was expecting that... but no, the very kind gal at the counter, called one of her colleagues who took the trimmers into the back room to take a look.
He came back: they were cleaned, oiled, sharpened
... AND FIXED... and he showed us what to do if it happened again.
THAT IS GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE.. ABOVE AND BEYOND.
I wrote to express my thanks, and receive emails from both the store and head office... the next day.
... again, that is the type of customer service along with their quality that makes me a life-time customer.
So, check Lee Valley for all things you need to make your gardens work...
and if you are in Burlington, drop in and tell them Cauleen sent you...
Until Next Time....
Lucy says wear your sunscreen
and your UV protecting sunglasses.
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