Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Grab Bag of Winter Reading

While our gardens are sleeping we can turn to other pleasures. Some of us like to have a stack of books at hand for the deep winter months. Here are some fun reads suggested by our executive.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bokashi for Heating Compost

At the recent Homesteading Bootcamp I learned how to make my own bokashi. Bokashi is an anaerobic composting system, using fermentation, to break down meat and dairy products that would otherwise go in the garbage. Plant based composting materials can be handled this way too.

I knew a little about bokashi but my ears pricked up when Rob Hughes, our instructor, mentioned it was wonderful for heating up the regular compost pile.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Uses for Invasive Species

There was some discussion about invasives at our last meeting. This post introduces a new angle.

Like most Powell River residents, you are probably fighting a battle with blackberries and English ivy, trying to prevent them from taking over your yard. This spring, instead of attempting to dispose of the plants you pull out or cut off, why not

Friday, November 28, 2014

Outside Decorating Ideas


If you weren't at our last meeting you missed an event full of cheer and goodwill. A member panel answered questions from the audience as we described our successes and failures. We applauded and commiserated and offered advice. A table was packed with tasty morsels to share. Our cookbook was launched and over fifty sold. $600 was raised and several large boxes filled for the Christmas Cheer Fund.

It seems like garden club members have Christmas in their hearts. If you are in the mood for

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Merry Busy Meeting

Do we ever have a packed meeting planned for Tuesday:
  • we have an interesting panel of 4 speakers, Joyce Bredo, Lin Morrison, Kevin Wilson, and Helena Bird. The plan is to discuss Successes and Non-successes in our gardens this year and consider solutions for next year. We will start off trading a success or “non-success” story with another member, then we’ll have a chance to direct questions to our panel members.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

BC Council of Garden Clubs article about Powell River Garden Club!

At the beginning of October, we posted a visit from Sandy Peters of the BC Council of Garden Clubs. Below is the article she wrote for the November/December Bulletin of the BCCGC.

Riviera of the Sunshine Coast: on the beautiful rocky shores of the Salish Sea, a mild climate, almost non-existent snowfall, sunshine galore and vistas to ocean, sky and mountains, sandy beaches, wooded fishing holes. Truly stunning: Powell River, home to the Powell River Garden Club, 160 warm-hearted members.

The PRGC functions as a dynamic force of gardeners from all walks of life. Having settled on solid rock and sand, these gardeners have had an enormous challenge. As a result, there exists, among the PRGC members, an accelerated problem-solving gardening culture. Part of their credo is: buy “tried and proven” specimens grown locally but also experiment, constantly share ideas, offer advice and ask questions in a very affable social manner. All this in Canadian Plant  Hardiness Zones: 7b to 9.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

“Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts”

Our speaker for the October meeting, Gwen Odermatt is on the Great Plant Picks (GPP) committee. Gwen gave an engaging talk on suitable plants for small spaces. She included photos of many options. We've put together a small selection of her ideas for developing gardens with big impact.
In choosing plants for small spaces, Gwen suggests looking at those that are attractive as much of the year as possible. The first thing to choose is a tree. It will provide height, shade, and privacy. A deciduous tree is a better choice than an evergreen which can be too dark and closed in, especially in winter, and will not allow as much planting beneath it. The chosen tree should be slow growing and have a winter look, such as interesting bark. Some examples are Acer griseum which has paper bark.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Small Spaces

The speaker at our Oct 28th meeting will be Gwen Odermatt from Langley who will present on 
Small Spaces, Big Impact. 

Here are a few images to start you thinking about how you would

Friday, October 3, 2014

Our Club Gets Noticed

On Wednesday and Thursday Garden Club hosted Sandy Peters from the BC Council of Garden Clubs.  Sandy said she would like to meet some members of our 'very active club' and get some

Friday, September 26, 2014

Love Your Purslane

Doreen's presentation on aromatic herbs at our meeting on the 23rd was very informative. She included a demonstration of how she makes herbal vinegars and explained how she uses them and their benefits.

She also told us about the benefits of purslane, yes, the weed that covers our veggie beds. The rest of the world eats it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Maggot

Apple Maggot is now in Powell River!

As mentioned in Bulletin #12, in early September we discovered larvae in Gravenstein apples
growing on Invermere Court. We recognized right away that these were not codling moth
caterpillars, with which most of us are quite familiar. These damaged apples looked

Summary Of Summer FF Activity

In this bulletin I am trying to pull together a summary
 of how things have gone for us this summer in Powell River
with regards to all the various fruit flies -
 including a new one we have just discovered!

My observations are only based on the feedback that I have received, but here is what it is
looking like. . .

Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Meeting Of The Season

Doubtless everyone is still busy in the garden but Fall is approaching and that means our monthly fix of learning, chatting and swapping. 

The speaker for our first meeting is Doreen Bonin from Texada Island.

Doreen will be speaking about

Monday, August 25, 2014

Storing Root Vegetables In The Ground

Have any of you left vegetables in the ground through the winter? How well did it work? What varieties work best?

Here are some tips I picked up from  Organic Gardening and The Royal Horticultural Society.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Fun Day Out?

Gary Lewis from Phoenix Perennials has sent some info regarding his

Fourth Annual Heritage Tomato Festival.

Saturday September 6th, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cookbook News

As most of you know a group of dedicated members are putting together a cookbook using the recipes we donated over the past year.  While they are working hard to pull it all together they have tasked the rest of us with two fun projects. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Invasive Species-There's An App For That

The mobile Report-a-Weed BC app is available free of charge for iPhone and Android platforms. It lets you report weed sightings anywhere in BC, in just a few simple steps. Your report will go to one of BC's invasive plant specialists, who will coordinate follow-up activities with the appropriate local authorities. 

The app can be used off-line to create submissions as well; simply complete the report, click ‘Submit’ and the report will be sent as soon as you are back in cell coverage. Features include a map of BC that displays the 500 most recent submission details, statistics on the number of locations reported for each species, and the ability to search through images of all 202 invasive plant species on the list.
Simply take a picture, indicate the infestation size with the handy slider, and add your contact info (this will only be necessary the first time you make a report).

Download the app from

Here is a small sample of the plants on the list.

Monday, July 21, 2014

FRUIT FLY BULLETIN #11 Signs of SWD in Raspberries

Just a quick bulletin. New development.

Up until now, we had been keeping up with the raspberries nicely by picking each day.
But yesterday several of us found the first signs of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)
damaging our raspberries. There is some suspicious soft fruit on our canes now - we notice an
unusual softening at the bottom of the fruit - it just loses its normal texture, gets mushy. Then
upon examination, we find the tiny white larvae in the fruit. Last year I observed that this
softened fruit would then just hang there and shrivel up. I saw the same thing happen when the
SWD started into the blackberries.

courtesy University of Wisconsin

So what do we do now with our berry crops?

Friday, July 11, 2014

FRUIT FLY BULLETIN #10 Developments

There have been some developments in the two days since I sent Bulletin #9.  Some identification is coming in.  Update as follows:

1.  From the entomologist, Tracy, who is with BC Ministry of Agriculture in Abbotsford:

Tracy has replied about the specimens I mailed to her:
(a) Re the cherry specimens from garden on Michigan Avenue in vicinity of Fire Hall: oviposition scars, egg filaments, and drosophila larvae, indicating the presence of SWD in fruit.

(b) Re specimens of cherries and larvae from Brunswick Avenue in the vicinity of VIU: 
    - cherries:   oviposition scars, egg filaments, and drosophila larvae, indicating the presence of SWD in fruit.
4-5 larvae from these cherries:  these look like small cherry fruit fly larvae.  

2.  The bee inspector, Caroline, is helping me and given me the use of her microscope.  On Wednesday we examined larvae from cherries from

Thursday, July 10, 2014



The battle is heating up with cherries in Westview.
This week I’ve had a number of reports of grubs in cherries from almost all corners of Westview: 

• Grief Point area: two reports (one on Hernando and the other near Marine/Penticton) but I think these growers have been keeping up with the picking so the grubs have not been too 

• VIU area (within a few blocks of the college) - quite a few grubs and we also seem to be finding exit holes so I have put up a Cherry Fruit Fly (CFF) trap with lure. This grower is doing a good job of getting all fruit off the tree and destroying the larvae 

• Mid-Westview, within a few blocks of the Fire Station - beautiful trees, heavily laden, badly infested so that 75% - 90% of the fruit is spoiled. Holes, oozing juice, rot, mold, grubs. The owner was doing a valiant job yesterday of getting all the fruit off the trees and into black plastic bags which he will tie up and put in the hot sun to destroy the larvae. Not sure if it is Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) or CFF; I have set CFF trap with lure there too. 

• Near Post Office - owner was not aware of grubs being present but the person who obtained some of these cherries found them. 

• No reports yet of problems from other parts of Powell River yet. 

• Today I mailed off specimens of larvae and infested cherries to the entomologist, and we hope she can give us some identification by the weekend. 


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Edible Garden Tour

Here is some info from Powell River Food Security Project:

One of the summertime's more popular events, the Edible Garden Tour, is back for its sixth consecutive year on Sunday August 3, 2014. This year the tour will showcase a set of gardens in Edgehill/Cranberry in the morning ( 9-12 noon) and another set of gardens in Wildwood in the afternoon (2-5pm).The tour is self-guided and visitors can see the gardens in any order, so long as

Tuesday, July 1, 2014



It is the end of June as I write. The weather is getting warmer. Strawberries are ripe, raspberries
are coming along fast, and early cherries are ready.

1. It is still early in the season. So far I have had no reports of Spotted Wing Drosophila sighted,
nor have I picked up any in my vinegar traps – although I am starting to see suspicious small
flies hanging around raspberries. We will be able to identify male SWD by the spots on wings,
but females do not have spots and it takes a microscope to identify them. The SWD start to get
active and begin to deposit eggs as soon as fruit has ripened enough for the skin to be soft
enough for them to pierce the skin with their ovidepositors. We expect their numbers to steadily
increase through July and August.

2. With fruit ripening, we must right now be picking as soon as it is ripe, even just before it is
fully ripe. Once picked, store it cool. Then keep picking regularly through the harvest period,
and at the end pick the tree/bush clean of all fruit. Also clean up all fruit that has fallen to the
ground. Do not throw it into your compost. (Hints below on getting all the fruit picked.)

3. If you have not yet

Thursday, June 26, 2014

20% Off Sale and Auction

Here are some photos of the bargains at Springtime Garden Centre . Remember the proceeds of the auction are generously donated to Garden Club. Prices shown will be reduced by 20%.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Now that your social media gal attends the exec meetings I have seen first hand the hours and hours and hours our executive offers to our club each and every week. Our club is enriched by their skills in so many ways. A HUGE thank you to you all.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden Party on June 21

The social event of the season is coming up. The annual Garden Party will be in Gwen's lovely garden on June 21, 11 am to 1 pm. Bring your lawn chair, coffee mug, and any weather-related items (sunscreen, umbrella). Members will receive an email with directions to Gwen's.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Garden Visit: Joyce

Remember Joyce's talk on container gardening in March? Now we have the chance to see her garden in action. The vegetables are doing great. Wait till you see the potatoes! She has 13 Hostas in raised beds and they are very happy this year with minimal slug damage. Some of them are just starting to bloom, as is the Astilbe. Maybe the Clematis will cooperate and start blooming too.

June 17, 4:30-6 pm
Directions will be emailed to club members soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June Meeting

Our next meeting is Tuesday, June 24 at 7pm. The featured speaker is Jamie from Valley Succulents in Comox. He will give a presentation on succulents. His website is If you are looking for succulents or cacti, you can order in advance and Jamie will be able to bring your selection with him. Contact Jamie to arrange this.

We are also having a Silent Auction of garden-related items. Please bring your donation at 6:30 so Diane and Laura can get everything arranged.

Chris Webb will give a short presentation on Humic Acid. There are various ways it improves the soil and helps plant growth. He will be selling 1 kg bags of humic acid for $15.

At our last meeting, we announced the winner of The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley was Laura. She was very pleased with her win!

This is the last meeting until September.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Heart and Soil by Des Kennedy

Des Kennedy has a new book out, Heart and Soil: The Revolutionary Good of Gardens. This is a collection of 60 stories, each about two pages long, originally written for GardenWise magazine and the Globe and Mail. Anyone who saw him in action last year at the Patricia Theatre will appreciate these tales.

The theme of the collection is developing harmony with the natural world and the community. The stories “reflect upon gardening as an active engagement of the human spirit with the natural world.” Many of the articles are based on his experiences establishing his garden on Denman Island.

Kennedy describes an “ivy pull” and his battle against English ivy, and incorporating old western red cedar stumps from early logging into his garden. His experience with ladybugs to control aphids in his greenhouse includes valuable information on the lifecycle and habits of the ladybugs and aphids.

He talks about his original mulching system for the vegetable garden, its pros and cons, and why he no longer uses that method. The article on trees that shed outer layers of bark, such as the arbutus and paperbark maple, includes the explanation of why they do it.

The stories are entertaining but also educational. And if you want to review information you read on sempervivums, for example, the index in the back of the book will take you straight to the page you are looking for.

Heart and Soil is published by Harbour Publishing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May Meeting

Tuesday, May 27 -
• The speaker will be our own Lin Morrison speaking on
  "Principles for Growing Vegetables and Other Things".


• Plants left from Plant Sale will be available ‘for a donation’

• Fertlizer Order Refunds: If you did not receive part of your fertilizer order, Carla will
have your refund ready at the May meeting

• Pots available to start plants for next year’s sale

A lucky winner will be receiving The Cut Flower Patch book which was the prize in our last social media contest. Listen up for our next contest.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Garden Days Canada is having a contest to find the best garden street/road in Canada. We have so many beautiful streetscapes in our area wouldn't it be a shame to pass up on bragging rights? I know of many beautiful streets in Townsite, Wildwood, Cranberry and Westview. Rural roads are sometimes a little harder as the gardens aren't always out front but Southview Rd would be perfect. If you think your locale deserves a mention read on for the info. If anyone doesn't like the technical stuff just email the blog and I'll forward your information. Pictures too, please.


Do you live on Canada’s Best Garden Street? Tell us all about it . . .

In the spirit of Garden Days event, and in celebration of Canada’s National Garden Day we want to know about Canada’s ‘Best Garden Street’.

In 150 words, or less, tell us why your street/road/avenue/lane is Canada’s Best Garden Street. Tell us how gardens, private or public, contribute to the quality of life on your street and in your neighbourhood.

Contest prize: The ‘bragging rights’ of being named Canada’s 2014 ‘Best Garden Street’ and $1,000 worth of Mark’s Choice Lawn and Garden products from Home Hardware.

Deadline for entries is: midnight EST, June 9, 2014. Enter at

Canada’s Celebration of Gardens

June 13 to 15, 2014

Kicked off with National Garden Day, Garden Days is a three-day celebration that takes place over the Father’s Day weekend. The program’s objective is to draw attention to our cultural garden landscape, history and innovations and to underscore the importance of public and private gardens, the values of home gardening and the promotion of environmental stewardship. Garden Days is a joyful, country-wide celebration of the role of gardens in our communities and in our lives.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rhagoletis: Western Cherry Fruit Fly etc

May 10, 2014

This bulletin will concentrate on the Western Cherry Fruit Fly (CFF) rhagoletis indifferens -
and its rhagoletis relatives, the Currant Fruit Fly and the Apple Maggot Fly. These rhagoletis
species are all native to North America and have been known for a hundred years or more,
although their spread to different areas has varied.

These are all true fruit flies (unlike the Spotted Wing Drosophila [SWD] which is a
drosphila/vinegar fly). Rhagoletis do cause damage similar to SWD but only to specific fruits,
and their life cycles - and therefore control methods - are different from SWD. If we
understand the life cycle of rhagoletis, we have the key to control methods. What I discuss
about CFF can be applied to the others because of the commonalities.

Rhagoletis Species we are concerned with locally: 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kids In The Garden

Take a look at these beautiful raised beds designed and built by Denise's son in law. They are constructed with corrugated metal framed with wood.

A while back Denise recommended The Square Foot Gardener by Mel Batholomew.  The author has just published a new book, Square Foot Gardening With Kids. It is an excellent guide for spending time in the garden with little, and not so little, ones.

The activities are presented like lesson plans which makes the information easy to retain and pass on. The approach incorporates art projects, science questions and discoveries, math problems, carpentry, writing tasks, vocabulary and ethical concepts. Each section is divided into levels for Preschool, Early Learners, Tweens, and Teens. The focus is on kids thinking for themselves, taking responsibility, developing practical skills and having fun.

Here is a run down of some of the topics covered:

Good seeds for little fingers
Learning to shop (what kid doesn't love the lumber store and garden centre)
Getting dirty
Keeping a Journal
Fun with Art
Rewarding plants for kids
What's in a seed
Soil composition
Safety First.

This book would be useful for young families but I think even better for Grandpas and Grandmas. Soon the summer visitors will arrive and this book could come in handy for keeping the younger set busy and engaged.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Cut Flower Patch-Win The Book

To win this book, read the review and then leave a comment at the bottom of the article. Instructions for commenting are at the foot of the  page. You do not have to be a subscriber, follower or have a google account, just use the name option. The contest closes May 21st. The winner will be announced on the blog and at the meeting.

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

Planning a cutting patch-has planting plans, from easy to advanced, and shopping lists
Recommended flowers -all the flowers included in the book will last at least five days, some up to two weeks, before beginning to flag. This section also covers abundance and length of blooming. There is extensive information about each and a colour photograph:

-Annuals & biennials

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley
Bulbs, corms & tubers

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

Foliage & fillers
Dianthus barbutus 'Green Trick'

Making your cutting patch

    A page from Chapter 2 of The Cut Flower Patch

    • Caring for your patch
    • Cutting time
    • Showing off

    The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

    The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

    The invaluable tips page takes any stress out of flower arranging-Louise is a proponent of quick and simple.

    Rich pickings-plants to pick for each season
    The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley
    opium poppy seed heads
    A year on the patch-Louise takes us through a year in her own cutting garden
      Louise is a master of her craft. The book is crammed with detailed practical steps however her writing dances lightly across the page making it easy to absorb. The images, a delight for the eye, are used well and complement the text.

      As with all books written on one side of the pond or the other, Louise is in England, the resource page is specific to that country. Don't let this put you off, however, as the book has a depth of knowledge which will be appreciated and useful to gardeners everywhere. All the plants mentioned grow well in most parts of the northern hemisphere.

      Louise is the writer behind wellywoman a respected blog out of the U.K. The beautiful and abundant photographs in the book, some of which are featured in this post, are by Jason Ingram.

      For anyone who understands the destruction caused by the commercial cut flower industry, but still wants flowers in the house, this book is the answer.

      The Cut Flower Patch
      Author: Louise Curley
      Hardcover: 224 pages
      Publisher: Frances Lincoln (March 6 2014)
      Language: English
      ISBN-10: 0711234752
      ISBN-13: 978-0711234758
      $21 average price

      For those of you unsure about leaving a comment: Click on the blue "comments"
      click on the gray "enter your comment"  type your message into the box
      Move your cursor to where it says "comment as", click on the little triangle
      You will get a choice, go down to "name/URL" in the name space put in enough info so we can get the prize to the correct person
      ignore i.e. leave blank, the URL part,
      click "continue" then "publish". Done

      Tell us about your favourite cutting flower and why/how you grow it. If you have photos send them to the blog email or to our facebook page (not required to win but it would be nice to see them).

      Sunday, May 4, 2014

      At The Plant Sale

      Congratulations to everyone involved in today's plant sale. You did a great job.

      Ready for the crowds:

      Home baked goodies for the volunteers:

      The rain isn't going to stop these folks

      The crowds, or was that a swarm of locusts, kept the cashiers and parking lot crew busy.

      2 hours later it was time for clean up:

      Volunteers treat yourself to a little R&R, you deserve it.

      Saturday, May 3, 2014