Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Garden Report #3

• Well, this is the second one and I really have no idea where I am going with this blog. I sent it out to about a hundred of you and I had very positive responses from a dozen of you who enjoyed it. Apparently that is a good rate of response. Thanks for your comments. Many of you told me that you forwarded it to your friends and that is okay with me.

• My tulips are into the home stretch and will be finished this week. My Maureen has actually taken several photographs of them and once she figures out how to download them to her computer and send them to me, I will include them as an attachment. Yes, it is true. We are Luddites at this household. This is what happens when your techie children grow up and move out.

• Canker worms are out in full force and it appears as if it will be rough year. I was out in the garden tonight and I killed several hundred of the critters with little effort. Buddhist, I am not.

• Several of you have inquired what is the larger bush blooming all over the city this week. It is none other than the very common Arnold’s Red Honeysuckle and it has never bloomed as strongly as it has this year. Each year has a different set of conditions that favor one plant and punish another. Also in full glory right now is Three Lobed Spirea which about two to three feet tall and filled with white blooms. It has a slight weeping habit.

• With all of the rain and cool this season, expect to see a lot of slugs and mildew issues. Not surprisingly, there are a few mushrooms growing in my front lawn.

• Maureen asked me to mention that an excellent approach to slug control, especially if you have hostas (and we have close to a hundred) is good old beer. She takes a Styrofoam coffee cup and plants the cup close to the hostas and then pours a few ounces of beer into the cup. For those detail freaks, she uses Molson’s Canadian but I don’t know why. I suspect the slugs do not get every ounce. Well, apparently, slugs have keen abilities to detect smells and they are attracted to the beer. They fall into the cup to have a drink and they drown which is also what happened to one of my uncles at the brewery. And he swam around for an hour or two, totally ignoring the ladder his buddies dropped in for him. Be forewarned that if your slugs have joined AA, this will not work.

• Little Princess Spriea is a great shrub that I have been in love with for fifteen years. It is such an anchor in my garden and the only care it requires is a light haircut every spring. Worth planting in many gardens.

• Michel Touchette over at Jeffries’s Nurseries in Portage la Prairie tells me that there is a new introduction from Rick Durand, who is a renowned plant breeder. It is called Gladiator Flowering Crab and it is an improvement from Thunderchild, which is one of my all time favorites. I am ordering a few from him and planting them at a project I am working on.

• A few of you have been asking if I am back in the trade and if I am available. Yes and no. I have one customer and he treats me well but I really don’t want any more than that one. If that changes, I will let you know. If you want some landscaping advice or work done, there are four firms that I can recommend. All four of the owners worked with me at Lakeview Gardens and I can vouch for their abilities. They include Heather Lowe of Heather Lowe: Landscape Design, Brad Crassweller at Outdoor Expressions, Michael Liske at The Classic Landscape Company and Donna Burton at The Urban Gardener. Each has their specialty so if you let me know what you are looking for, I will point you in the right direction.

• Found some basil at Sherwood Greenhouses, which is a very clean, well run greenhouse that I recommend. Larry, who runs it does a very fine job. It is on the east side of CKCK T.V.

• Also found some lovely basil and other herbs at The Farmers’ Market on Saturday. The good plants are available from the small booth on the south west side. There are a few other plant booths but their quality is not up to par, sorry.

• A few other greenhouses that meet my standards (and God knows I am fussy) include U and K out at Indian Head, Cory Park in Saskatoon and my beloved mentor’s place is at Langham, outside of Saskatoon and it is called Dieter Martin’s Greenhouse. Each of these have their specialties so again, tell me what you are looking for and I will tell you what your best choice would be.

• Bazart is coming up this week and The Mackenzie will be selling a 2011calander as fundraiser. The front cover is of my garden (proud parent that I am) and the photo for either April or May is of my tulip beds from last year. Our friend Jan Dockham, from The Leader Post gave permission for the gallery to use the cover photo as it belonged to the paper.

• Last but not least, for my fellow carb junkies out there, Carlos over at The Italian Star is selling loaves of the finest sourdough, rye I have eaten. It is baked by The Willow. I also had some to die for bread sticks from Koko patisserie. They were labeled olive, herb and parmesan sticks.

• Thanks for reading and enjoy your garden…Rod McDonald

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