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