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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #011
May 02, 2022
"There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder."
There's one Moment...
…and it’s the day I know Spring has really arrived.
That day the sun is particularly gorgeous, persuading even the smallest and bravest flowers to open.
Then, the day after a rain - the earth smells so raw, so rare and so special; it’s then I know Spring has won and Winter is on its way back home.
It is time to sit in the sun with perhaps that first summer drink
- and contemplate the impending garden chores.
Naked Gardening Day is Over...
Photo credit: Duane Bryers
… but in case you missed it…
Arthur Black, Canadian humourist and author, had some thoughts after reading the following in ‘Old Wives Lore for Gardeners”.
“The best husbandmen would have the seedsman under a waxing moon, be naked when he sows them and in sowing to protest that this which he doth is for himself and his neighbours” .
Arthur insisted he was encouraged to garden in the nude, in the middle of the night while shouting loudly he was only doing it for the other folks on his block”.
Personally. I think those old wives were spot on - ...get the seeds-man to do it.
AS FOR ME…
I’m not advocating for gardening in the buff - the sun, the mosquitoes and the bees may like you more than you might wish.
But I am advocating for “bare-bones-gardening” especially when it comes to watering. As the weather heats up, little plants and seedlings struggle to adjust to variable weather. Don’t let your plants dry out. Water the roots not the leaves. The rain we get now, will not be enough
So, just the bare necessities.
About the Rain...Roll out the Barrel
Roll it out, clean it out and let the rain collect it to use on your garden.
Lorraine Johnston (Landscape Ontario) says: “A rain barrel is a declaration that water is precious”.
Mark Cullen says:” A rain barrel provides one of the best favours you do for your plants. The water it collects is soft, oxygen-rich and generally much warmer than tap water.”
Shauna Dobbie: writer, says: “A rain barrel is the most elegant invention. It prevents water from going in the storm sewer, next to your foundation, or puddling on your lawn… and puts it where you want it when you want it there.
Planting Trees and Shrubs...
The best time to plant them is the fall, but the second best is now.... so consider these natives:
CANADA PLUM (Prunus nigra)
CHERRY (Prunus serotina, pensylvania, virginiana) EASTERN REDBUD (Cercis canadensis)
EASTERN FLOWERING DOGWOOD (Cornus florida)
and my favourite:
SERVICEBERRY (AMELANCHIER) (photo - Landscape Ontario)
Plant Red for Year of the Garden
But wait till the temps are consistently 10C or 55F before you plant...
The soil is still pretty cold and the roots will have difficulty growing.
Time to Talk Dirty...
Feed your gardens with GOOD COMPOST…
Put an inch or two ON TOP of your garden and let the rain and your watering soak it in…
Please don’t dig and disturb the soil.
There is a disturbing new reality in some city neighbourhoods - RATS -
Where do they come from?
Many local restaurants have been closed for some months during the pandemic lockdowns.
Where do all those rats go that snacked in the back alleys
To our composters.
Eek… most of you are wise and responsible composters and when you add kitchen scraps, you keep turning your compost and adding soil to it. However, there are some compost bins that are neglected and make the rats very happy.
Don’t be a rat attractor…. if you have an old composter and haven’t turned the contents for some time, consider emptying it and getting one on legs you can easily turn the barrel.
It’s a great investment and less costly than repairing roofs and eaves where hungry, sharp toothed beasties chew their way into your home. Some rats carry and spread bacteria.
Jumping Worms ?
Ah, but worms are good for the soil, right?
Not the latest invader: “jumping worms”
A few facts:
Invasive Asian Jumping Worms (JWs) were confirmed in multiple locations in Ontario in the summer of 2021.
JWs devour organic matter faster than other earthworms and strip the forest of the layer critical for seedlings and wildflowers having a detrimental impact on native plants, birds, salamanders etc.
They can severely damage the roots of plants in nurseries, gardens, forests, and turf..and change the soil texture to look like coffee grounds, stripping the soil of nutrients.
Prevention is the only known way to manage them.
What can we do?
Check all plants before you plant them into your garden - from nurseries, plant sales, big box stores, neighbours or garden centres
... BEFORE you plant…
Take the plant out of the pot and inspect the soil carefully before you plant.
DO: take a large glass jar with pickling vinegar (stronger) to your garden and if you find any, take a deep breath, gloves on and put them into the jar
.. close the lid tightly … leave the jar in the sun.
Dispose (when they are dead) in the garbage….
If you find any - please send a photo and note here: The Early Detection Mapping System (EDDMaps Ontario)
Yes, icky and gross, but please do your part.
I have an in-depth article I’m happy to share. Send me a note and ask for “Jumping Worms” article.
They are not on board ship, but here in our supermarkets.
These tasty potatoes live just outside the boundary of size standards and would have normally been cast away (discarded). Did you know: The average Canadian wastes 375 pounds of food in a year?
Here’s what Earth Fresh Farms from Burlington Ontario is doing.
And so can we....
In a 100% compostable bag,
they offer 5 pound of potatoes for $1.99.
Enough to feed a family of four for several meals.
This is sustainable gardening.
check out their website below....
Keep your sharpener handy in your tool bag or drawer…
you’ll need it over the garden season.
Keep your pruners sharp and clean
Prune your EVERGREENS, such as boxwood, yew or small junipers once the new growth comes out
BUT LEAVE TALLER evergreen hedges (like Cedars) until wee birds have fledged (or kicked out of the nest) most likely end of June
DECIDUOUS - take out dead, or crossing… leave flowering like Beauty Bush (Buddlea) but prune those within two weeks of flowering or you will remove next year’s blooms.
Let light and air flow through
If you are like me, I am eager to prune my roses and make those bud eyes sprout so I’ll have a bush covered in blooms.
And, yes, I know I said when the Forsythia blooms, but if you are in zone 5 or lower, we still get snow and, or cold nights.
When it does bloom, it’s actually just the BEGINNING of pruning season…
but some roses are not ready and you still have a couple of months to prune so hold off a bit till the temps are 10C or 55F consistently.
Some roses will still not be ready to prune, even then. Some are slower than others getting that green (nutrients and strength (up from the roots to the canes…
- leave them be unless they are broken or damaged
Too soon and you may stunt or slow the growth of that rose, delaying bloom time till much later and sometimes even until next season.
Let nature tell you when.
Until then, the 4D’s… dead, diseased, dying, or damaged…
- and see more here -
Stock up on Supplies...
Some favourites are sold out sooner than you may need them,
such as twine, gloves, garden soil etc
Paint wooden handles a bright colour so you can find them in the garden
- or tie surveyors tape on handles…won’t tear and is bright orange.
It's turtle time... time for these gals to lay eggs and cross busy roads to find the best spot.
In your travels on roads by water - streams or rivers especially, watch for turtles trying to cross the road.
Stop your car and others if you can safely, pick up the turtle with both hands behind its head and take to the other side, making sure you take it to the direction it was heading.
What if the turtle is injured?
A broken shell like this one can be repaired... incredible but true... we found one last year and it did survive and we were fortunate enough to be able to return it to where we found it... what a thrill...
Here is help from the Turtle Trauma Centre:
1. Carefully place the injured animal in a well-ventilated plastic container with a secure lid (turtles can climb!), and no water.
NOTE: Most turtles can be picked up carefully with two hands. When handling snapping turtles keep a safe distance from their head as they will snap at you if they feel threatened. You may want to use a shovel or board to lift the turtle. Watch our video clip for more tips for handling turtles.
2. Note the LOCATION (road, major intersections, and mileage) where the turtle was found to ensure it can be released according to provincial regulations.
3. Call us at 705-741-5000 (Peterborough ON. number)
NOTE: DO NOT EMAIL with information about an injured turtle. An injured animal needs medical attention as soon as possible.
4. Do not offer the turtle water or food, and do not try to treat the turtle in any way.
5. Wash your hands after handling the animal.
6. If you have to keep a turtle overnight, keep it in the well-ventilated container and place it in a cool, dark place, away from pets.
Leave us a message and we will get back to you when we open
Plant Buying Begins...
I am too impatient to plant most seeds in my garden,
but if you do, here is a seed planting guide
that makes a lot of sense ...
Here's a local garden centre you might want to check out if you live near us...
GARDENS PLUS is a wonderful gem of a little garden centre on the edge of Peterborough.
Since 1997 they have specialized in Hosta and Daylilies and easy-care perennials with a focus on native plants.
No wonder they placed at Platinum level in the local ‘Readers Choice Awards’ for the past 3 years.
Their motto is: 'Grow with us because we focus on easy-care perennials so you can enjoy your gardens not just work in them”
Open 4 days a week until June 26th social media channels @GardensPlus
One of my favourite plants from Gardens Plus is this gorgeous Pink Panther Heuchera (Coral Bells)
What great colour in a shady garden.
Great Book to read...
"The Sweetness of a Simple Life"
Tips for healthier, happier and kinder living from a visionary natural scientist
Penguin Random House
MY BOOK IS IN ITS SECOND PRINTING...
My sincerest thanks to Mark and Ben Cullen
for this kind review
in their March newsletter:
I am so excited !
This is the story of
a baby bird
who fell from his nest,
rescued by a boy, his little sister,
their Mom-Lady (who decided he would live),
and Nana & Papa who helped him fly into the woods.
I cannot wait to share it with you.
if you would like a signed copy,
please send a note to
Remember this....you are a
Bye for now...
Jen and Lucy are off to tour the garden.
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