Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gardener's Spring Planting Calendar Friday, April 20th

Offered with compliments of Master Gardeners Association of BC

1 to 3 Weeks After Last Frost

*     Plant beans, cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash
*     Depending on the weather, now is the time to transplant your hot weather plants, like peppers, melons, and tomatoes.  If it a cool May, do not be afraid to pot up one more time, and wait until the end of May to plant out.  You will have beautiful strong plants that will set more fruit, set it earlier, and give you a tasty crop right on time. 
*     And don't forget...Sunday, May 6th is the Powell River Garden Club's Annual Plant Sale.  What plants you didn't get started, you can purchase beautiful, big ones from the Plant Sale. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Invitation from The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society

Saturday, April 21st, 2012:  The Informed Gardener

The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden, located at 5941 Mason Road, Sechelt, would like to invite interested gardeners to "join us for two talks by one of our favourite no-nonsense speakers, Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott from Washington. Her morning talk will be “How Plants Cope”, and it will give us a deeper understanding of how to keep plants healthy. After a lunch break (bring your own, we’ll offer coffee, tea and cookies) she’ll present “Myth Debunking”, an entertaining topic sure to make us think twice about why we do what we do to plants". 

Tickets may be purchased online

Information kindly provided by Kathleen Hudson

Gardener's Spring Planting Calendar Friday, April 13

Offered with compliments of Master Gardeners Association of BC

April 13th
Frost Free Date for Zone 7b is April 15th

*     Direct seed more carrots and spinach; also endive, scallions, turnips
*     Transplant all hardened-off seedlings
*     Keep carrots protected with row cover against rust fly
*     Direct seed sunflowers, poppies, summer bulbs (lilies, glads) if you haven't already
*     Harden off celery, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, melons, pumpkins, tomatoes, winter squash so they will be ready to transplant when the soil is warmer
*     Watch the weather!  Sometimes a late freeze, just at mid-April, can undo all your work.  That row cover may look messy but it is worth keeping it over your tender plants.  It will warm the soil faster, keep out hungry birds -- and foil the neighbour's cat who loves to use your nicely-tilled soil as a WC
*     Don't be in a hurry to plant your warm-soil seedlings.  Our Northwest soil can be colder in April than it is in early November, and planting too early, even if there is no frost, only stunts their growth

Colourful Carrots

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seed Saving: How Canadian Gardeners Can Help

USC Canada has developed the "Canadian Gardeners' Survey" encouraging Seed Savers to help develop a better future for our seeds.  In 2012, The Bauta Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is surveying farmers and gardeners to understand the challenges, opportunities, and needs of individuals and organizations working to build a resilient and sustainable Canadian seed system.  For those gardeners interested, the survey is open from February 15th to April 30th, 2012 and takes about 30 minutes to complete. 

Smarty Plants: Uncovering the Secret World of Plant Behaviour

To view a fascinating episode on plant behaviour, presented on "The Nature of Things" with David Suzuki, click here. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gardener's Spring Planting Calendar April 6th

Offered with compliments of Master Gardeners Association of BC

April 6th
2 Weeks Before Last Frost

*     Sow:
  • Veggies:  eggplant, more peppers, and the last of the tomatoes if you have a spot that stays warm and bright in autumn
  • Thin your flats again. 
  • Pot up tomatoes and peppers
*     Begin to transplant the hardened-off seedlings, and uncover young plants now they are larger.  If you are unsure, or it is a cool week, just begin to harden off the squash and annuals.  Some of your radish and early lettuce will be used, so try parsnips, turnips, and beets in the bare spots, or reseed your salad greens.
*     Direct seed carrots, endive, storage onions, scallions, turnips.
*     Direct seeding zinnias, cosmos, marigolds is worth a try now as are sunflowers, poppies, and summer bulbs.
*     Watch the weather!  Keep old sheets or commercial row cover handy so you can protect a bed if a late frost threatens.
*     Direct seed more mesclun greens (arugula, corn salad, cress, etc.), kale, collard, more radish and spinach. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

PRGC Calendar

The Invasive Species Council of BC

Did you know that a key pathway for invasive plant introduction and spread in British Columbia is through horticulture? You can make your garden eco-friendly by selecting non-invasive plants for your garden, and in the process, you'll help to protect BC's beautiful wild areas, communities and economy.

Learn more about smart gardening choices with the second version of Grow Me Instead - a booklet that highlights non-invasive ornamental plants.   This booklet profiles 26 invasive plants in horticulture and recommends alternative plants suitable for growing zones across BC. 

The Invasive Species Strategy for BC is near completion and will act as a tool that will enhance the coordination of invasive species management, including plants, in BC. Version 10 of the draft strategy is available for viewing on the ISCBC website. The final version will be complete at the end of this month - stay tuned!

Cudos for Being Proactive:  The Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council has been in search and destroy mode over the last few years, working with landscapers, governments, landholders and its own crews to eradicate invasive species of plants before they can do lasting damage to the local ecology. Starting this spring, the SSISC is looking to involve private landowners as well, creating an incentive program for people to address invasive species in their own backyards. 

What We Can Do:  The Powell River Garden Club is encouraging all plant sellers at our 2012 Plant Sale to be proactive too by familiarizing yourself with invasive species and by not selling them.   Each one of us can prevent the establishment of invasive plants by following the recommended practices. 
  • Select non-invasive exotic or regional native plants for your garden.
  • Select the right plant for the right place.  Be suspicious of fast spreaders or vigorous self-seeders
  • Check with reliable sources to confirm plant not an invasive species
  • Use wild flower seed mixes with extreme caution as often seed of invasive species are included
  • Exchange only non-invasive seeds and plants
  • Replace any invasive species with non-invasive alternatives (see Grow Me Instead)
  • Control invasive plants using site and species appropriate methods

Surprising Climate Change News:  Antarctica's reputation as one of the most pristine environments on earth is being threatened by foreign plants and animals that are unwittingly being brought to the icy continent in the luggage of tourists and scientists.  Changing climates are making matters worse, and are making it easier for these plants to establish,  to become invasive, and to ultimately disturb the naturally occurring Antarctic ecosystems.  From:, Climate Change News, March 6, 2012

Invasive Species Watch: 
Common Tansy:  Native to Eurasia, common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) made its way to Canada and British Columbia in the 1600s as an alleged cure for joint pain, and for its uses as a companion plant to cucumbers, squash, and roses. It was known to repel garden pests like ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, and squash bugs. It was also used in early embalming practices.  Despite these uses, common tansy is an invasive plant in BC that displaces native vegetation, and infestations may be toxic to grazing livestock if digested in large quantities.

Information from the ISCBC Ebulletin March 2012 kindly shared by Master Gardener, Jo Canning. 

You can also follow Invasive Species Council of BC on Facebook. 


On June 22nd and 23rd of this year, The Friends of Government House Gardens Society and Government House will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the 20th Anniversary of the volunteer group, Friends of Government House, with a horticultural event, BC BLOOMS HORTICULTURE SHOW.  Beautiful flower displays by floral designers, large Land Art Floral structures around the grounds, and a judged flower and vegetable show under the "Big tent" will highlight the show. 

In addition, there will be garden-related workshops, tours, a historic costume museum, face-painting, seed planting, and plants for sale.  Everyone is invited to enjoy the events at the ceremonial home of all British Columbians.  Free cupcakes will be available to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Friends  (while quantities last.)

The Government House grounds embrace 14.6 hectares (36 acres), including 8.9 hectares (22 acres) of a rare Garry Oak ecosystem, and 5.7 hectares (14 acres) of formal gardens. All formal garden areas are wheelchair accessible thanks to the efforts of the Government House Foundation, the Province of British Columbia and private donations.   The site is a popular attraction for Victoria residents, visitors, and tourists alike. Thanks to the time and expertise of dedicated volunteers, The Friends of Government House Gardens Society, the grounds are a well-utilized, much-treasured greenbelt for the community. With occasional exceptions, the grounds are open daily to the public from dawn to dusk, free of charge.

The complete list of different gardens (a sample listed below) can be viewed at the above-mentioned link under Individual Gardens. 
  • British Columbia Native Plant Garden

  • Dorothy Lam Orchard

  • Fountain Pond

  • The Joy Flint/BC Iris Society Garden

  • Rhododendron Gardens


For individuals wishing to participate in the judged horticultural show, floral and land art displays, contact Bryce Fradley ( or 250-294-4402) or Diane Wallace ( or 250-383-2830),
Horticultural Co-chairs BC Blooms. 
Fountain Pond, Government House Gardens

Heather Garden, Government House Gardens