Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Garden Report #3
• If you didn’t hear the big bang the other night around 1:30 a.m., you must be the world’s soundest sleeper. Everyone I spoke with thought it was either a bomb or a plane crash. Everyone was convinced it was right over top of their house, no matter what part of Regina they live in. I was up at the time and our windows rocked and our dishes vibrated. I can only recall one or two other times in all my years, that I have heard a thunder clap such as that one.
• Rain, rain, go away…Okay. I am a prairie boy and I am not supposed to complain about moisture, but I have had my fill, no pun intended. With all of this moisture, I am predicting that this season will be the worst one ever for powdery mildew. I predict that you will find it on caragana hedges throughout the province as well as dogwoods and some other plants. The treatment for powdery mildew is a fungicide but do not expect wonderful results. Slugs will also be a huge problem. Maureen says that her beer cups are full with the creatures and she is even considering a chemical alternative, so desperate is she.
• Chickweed is sprouting all over Lakeview and other areas. Perfect year for it. Did you know that you can actually eat chickweed? It has a sprout like taste to it and it is a breath freshener. I have a young man working with me this summer and I shared this information with him. Strangely, he would not try to eat any until I had ingested a large handful.
• My mixed bed along Angus Street has much lamium as groundcover. In early April, I had a different young man assisting me with spring cleanup. I asked him to rake the leaves from the bed. He did, but gingerly and carefully. I told him to give the lamium hell, that it enjoyed a good scrap. “Really clean up the leaves”, I instructed. He did. He really did. He beat the living you know what out of my lamium and I thought, “wow, this will never come back”. It came back stronger and more vigorous than ever before. There is a moral to this story, but I am not certain what it is, just yet.
• This was supposed to be our transition week in our own garden. That time when we pull out our tulips (we treat them as annuals and plant them every September) and replace them with impatiens. It was a gallant attempt, but we only got five of our twenty flats planted, again due to rain.
• My strawberries are showing signs of chlorosis which has been induced by too much water. If you have a plant, any plant, that has premature yellowing of the leaves, chances are that the plant has chlorosis. Susceptible plants include roses, apples, plums and pears, mountain ash and saskatoons, but any plant can be affected. The treatment includes reducing the water (good luck) and treating with iron chelate. I used to sell a lot of iron chelate but for whatever reason, it has become increasingly difficult to find. Email me if you need to know where it can be found.
• One of our readers, Marion Volpel, asked about bleeding hearts and where best to plant them. If you plant them in full sun, they are usually gone quite quickly as they will turn crispy brown, as do native ferns. If you plant bleeding hearts in a cooler, shadier area, they last much longer.
• Blooming profusely this week are Little Leaf Lilacs also known as Dwarf Korean Lilac. Growing between four and six feet tall, they have lavender, fragrant flowers. Other lilacs starting their blooming period include villosa lilacs, sometimes called ‘late lilacs’. The earlier blooming lilacs in May, are usually French Lilacs and common lilacs.
• Love to eat…love to talk about food. Due to my dialysis, I am not allowed to eat in restaurants very often (salt, potassium and phosphorus restrictions). But when I do, I love big, big flavor. Two of my favorite places are Siam on Hamilton Street and 13th Avenue Coffee House at Garnet and 13th. Both places pack a lot of flavor into their dishes. I did try The Afghan place on north Albert this week and I was a tad disappointed. I was hoping for much more. The samosas were really good but the other dishes were not memorable. They did not make me go ‘wow’. I will give it one more try to see if I can find a dish that puts me over the top. When we want a diner, we always turn to Nicky’s on Winnipeg Street. All of the staff including Nicky and Perry treat us so well. Nicky told me that his customers are not customers to him, “they are my friends”. And he is not just mouthing some slogan he heard on Oprah.
• Did you know that pansies make a wonderful bouquet for your kitchen. The secret is to cut them really short and place them in a low bowl with water, almost letting them float. We have done that for years and it brightens our kitchen.
• The five photos in the attachment you may have already seen. Patrick (number three son) took them last year and entered them in the computer. We hope to have some of the new ones in the weeks to come.
• In last week’s blog, I mentioned that Heather Lowe, Donna Burton, Mike Liske and Brad Crassweller were all excellent choices if you were needing design or landscape work. I omitted one other excellent designer, landscape architect, Ingrid Thiessen. As an architect, Ingrid really knows her plant material and she has a Master’s degree. Also, we shared the same mentor, Dieter Martin, and we have worked together on a few projects.
• Farmers’ Market Tip: The finest honey I have ever eaten is available from Wink Howland, the fellow who wears the pith helmet. Wink says that his honey bees feed off of clover and that is the taste I love. As an aside, when I was a Leader Post paper boy in 1965, Wink was my District Manager.
• This one is for Lynn Goldman. Murphy the cat disappears every night for a few hours. I found out that he hangs out at O’Hanlon’s on Scarth Street, downing a few Guinness. His excuse is he is part Irish. Get this: Maureen leaves the porch light on so he can find his way home!
Happy Gardening…Rod McDonald