• As I sit here in the garden this Sunday, I am struck by how my neat and organized refuge has become more or less, a jungle. It happens around this time every year. As vigilant as I am, the vegetation starts to overlap, to interact with the neighbors. The ferns have leaned up against the dogwoods and the dogwoods have dropped into the lamium and the crabapple is getting lower to the ground, laden with this year’s abundant crop of fruit. Just a month ago, everyone had their place and they were proud of it. I could point out each specimen to my visitors as they inspected the troops. Now, it is much more a stew or a soup than anything structured. Even the tomatoes have gone crazy, sprawling over their allotted piece of ground. Had I not pruned them back, some would be in excess of six feet today. My next documentary will be ‘When Tomatoes Grow Wild’. It will be for mature audiences only.
|Silver Leaf Dogwood|
• Garden Tip: Ran into reader Margo Mack and her husband at the grocery store. He had a question regarding purple leafed trees. There are two that grow in Regina. ‘Shubert’ Cherry emerges in the spring with long, white flowers, then green leaves which turn purple around the middle of June. It produces chokecherries for fruit. It tends to sucker which means it has shoots emerging from the bottom of the tree. The tree finishes out around 20 feet tall. ‘Thunderchild’ Flowering Crabapple has pink blooms in the spring and the leaves are purple from the get go. It has small, ornamental fruit that is a quarter of an inch in diameter. It does not sucker. It grows fifteen to twenty feet tall. It was developed in Saskatoon by the late Percy Wright. Of the two trees, I would recommend the ‘Thunderchild’ in just about every situation. There was a few years ago a ‘Purple Rain’ birch tree introduced but I have not seen a specimen for many years.
• Garden Tip: And now for the color purple…a good purple leafed shrub is the ‘Diabolo’ Ninebark. It grows five to seven feet tall though it can be pruned back into a more compact form if you desire. It is hardy and a good recommendation. Purple Leaf Plum is also available for planting in the Regina area. While it is not as hardy as I would like it to be, it will come back from the bottom even in years of severe winter kill. Its leaves are shinier and it grows around four feet tall.
• Garden Tip: ‘Purple Palace’ Heuchera is a purple leafed perennial that needs a bit of winter protection. It is very lovely in the landscape. I find that it will survive for a winter or two or three then peter out. Nonetheless, it is worthy of planting a few, just don’t bet the farm.
|Bud's Yellow Twig Dogwood|
• Garden Tip: If you have Autumn Joy Sedum growing in your garden, it should be starting to turn either this week or next. If you don’t have it growing in your garden, you should get a plant or two. Absolutely lovely perennial for the fall. Also this fall, there are more and more garden shops carrying fall mums which add another dimension to the garden for September and October.
• Garden Tip: One thing that I have been very pleased with this year is my outdoor Boston Ferns. I bought five of the cheapest ones I could find and I potted them up in some traditional Roma clays pots. They looked lovely and I used them as accent plants in shady areas. They held up very well and they are something I will repeat again next year. Very much recommended.
• Is there anything more wonderful in this world than getting into a freshly made bed with flannel sheets?
• Garden Tip: I planted several twelve inch hanging baskets into fourteen inch clay pots. They looked lovely. Audrey Drummond planted the same baskets, but into sixteen inch clay pots and they were even nicer. The plants grew to fill in the extra space.
• Garden Tip: This is your last opportunity to fertilize your lawn for the season. Do not wait any longer.
• Sad news. Max Bortnik has died at the age of ninety. Max was one of those larger than life characters who pass through our lives every now and again. He owned Harmony Audio on Hamilton Street for many years. One day he was listening to some jazz which he adored. I wanted to buy some speakers. He told me that he didn’t feel like being commercial that day, and if I wanted them, take them. I could pay him next week. Definitely a man who did business on his own terms. He was alternately the nicest, kindest man I have ever met, and the rudest, surliest man I have ever encountered, depending on which side of the coffee cup he was facing.
|Galardia or Blanket Flower|
• I have an uncle in Nova Scotia who is Orthodox and alleges he keeps kosher. I am sitting in his kitchen, watching him fry bacon and eggs, in butter, which breaks more kosher rules than I can count. I challenge him. He explains ever so patiently, why this should be considered a kosher meal. It is an elaborate rationalization. The bottom line is he likes to eat bacon and eggs fried in butter. So, I tell him that we disagree and that we should call the local rabbi to offer up his opinion. The room goes very silent.
|Ian and Rod|
|Hydrangea 'Endless Summer'|
• Has anyone tried Google Chrome (an internet search engine). I tried it briefly. It was supposed to be quicker, it was not. But what made me uninstall it was the print was so blurry. Now Patrick, my techie genius son, says he has not had that problem.
|Champlain Rose - Explorer Series|
• Writing of computers. I have a fairly high wall and I don’t get spammed too often, but every now and again, one gets through. The funniest one I have ever been spammed with was a sex chat line that invited me to call because “sexy women in Zehner are waiting to talk to you!” Zehner is slightly north and east of town and it is a post office. No one lives there.
• Maureen gets spammed frequently with penis enlargement offers. I have never received one. She wondered why? I told her that they only target men who need the product. She laughed. She thought I was joking. That hurt. You can stop laughing, too.
• All this talk about sex. Stop it. What about love. One day at the garden center, I was working around back and one of the young employees said to me “a lady says ‘hi’ to you up at the front.” I asked him who ‘she’ was and he responded “I don’t know, some old lady with grey hair.” I found out later that the ‘old lady’ was one of my school mates. Not only were we the same age, but when I was fifteen, I had an incredible crush on her. She was so beautiful, and she still is. The years have been very kind to her. I should have sent that punk to the optometrist down the street. Obviously, he needed an eye exam if he couldn’t see how incredibly hot she still is today.
• Middle Age: Meeting a lovely twenty something and saying to yourself, “her mother must be really good looking.” Note for Jean Freeman: Yes, I could have written grandmother as well.
• Canadian Content: In order for a movie or a television program to be certified ‘Canadian’ it must meet certain criteria as established by Ottawa. No problem. I produced ‘Breakfast at Nicky’s Café’ and I had to get certification, prove that I was Canadian, Nicky, the camera operator, the editor, the musicians and anyone else who walked through the café. The forms were long and complicated and I needed assistance. I called their help desk. Got voice mail. Called again and got voice mail. Called for several days and got voice mail. So I sent them a letter, asking how it was humanly possible for them not to be at their desks some of the time. I understand breaks and I understand meetings, but to never answer your phone, ever? They called me back. Said they are in meetings all of the time. So I asked “why are you in meetings all of the time? Do they need to teach you how not to answer a phone? Look, you guys are bureaucrats. You push paper. You need to be at your desk to push paper.” They were very pleased that I shared my observations. I also challenged them on such a complicated process for such a simple, local film. This was an eight thousand dollar film, yet the forms were the same ones as a five million dollar theatrical release. “What is this” I asked, “ a make work project?” They got defensive. I asked the bureaucrat if he wanted to process my application or did we need to go to The Minister about this? He stream lined my request and I got approval right away. See how easy I am to get along with?
• Now we know. Maureen has a friend who is the granddaughter of the man who owned The Loyal Tea Room on Albert Street. When we were kids, the story was told and retold, that it was supposed to have been named The Royal Tea Room, but due to the owner’s Chinese accent, the sign painter heard the word ‘loyal’. The granddaughter says this is not true. It was always her grandfather’s intention to call it The Loyal.
• Ran into lawyer, historian and author Garret Wilson last Saturday. Garret has produced some fine books including one on Colin Thatcher, which Colin is not thrilled about. In fact, Colin no longer sends Garret a Christmas card, he is that hurt. Garret and I were chatting about turncoats in history. Two names came up, both of whom had switched their allegiance from The CCF to The Liberal Party. One was our former Premier Ross Thatcher, Colin’s father, and the other was Hazen Argue. Hazen left the CCF/NDP around 1961 when he lost the bid to be the leader and he joined the ranks of the Liberals. History has somewhat forgotten Hazen, but I remember him clearly. Whenever he would make an appearance on television, my old line CCF father would jump out of his chair and start cursing at the television with words not normally heard in our household.
• When I watch The Real Estate Channel or read the ads, I am always amazed at how the real estate agents describe a home as being in Lakeview or Cathedral. I have lived in Lakeview for thirty-seven years, and I have never seen some of those homes, at least not in my neighborhood. Turns out that Lakeview is a whole lot bigger than the we ever thought it was.
• We took in another film night at The Regina Public Library on Friday. If you haven’t been, go. For six bucks, you get to see some incredible films that never see the light of day at a commercial theater. The RPL Film Program has been running for many years and it is one of our favorite things to do.
|Little Princess Spirea|
• Checked out The Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. It was packed with people and it was apparently the largest one of the season. Lots of veggies in the stalls now. For me, our farmers’ market is a social outing as much as it is a shopping errand. If you get a chance, check out the farmers’ markets in Edmonton and Calgary. They are huge and highly interesting.
|Magic Carpet Spirea|
• We are on line at www.rodsgardenreport.com.
• Happy Gardening for another week…Rod in sunny Regina