Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Garden Report #20

The Garden Report #20

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

• Another week: After a summer filled with more rain than any of us can remember and a lack of sunshine, we have been enjoying the finest of Octobers. One of the neighbors and I were chatting about the canopy formed by the American Elms along Angus Street. Both of us remarked on the number of leaves still left. With the slowness of this autumn, there have been some pretty wonderful fall colors. The Dogwoods, Burning Bush, Spirea, Cotoneasters and Cranberries have given us some brilliant oranges and reds. Fall suppers are in abundance, the harvest continues and the crisp smoke from the fireplaces permeates the night air.

Our Legislature at sunset - Jan Pederson
• Readers write: Alan Bratt weighed in on the topic of weddings and graduations turned into over the top galas. Alan wondered if there is a direct correlation between how much money is spent on a wedding and how short the marriage lasts. Good point. Michelle Jackson says that she has made an apple crisp for me but so far it is only a rumor. Les Vanderveen from Vanderveen’s Greenhouse has informed me that he will be growing some heritage tomato varieties next season. While Vanderveen’s are located in Carman, Manitoba, they do sell their bedding plants all over Saskatchewan. I will pass along the variety names when I get that information. Robin Poitras of New Dance Horizons fame wrote “always a delight to read your report.” Georgia Hearn was touring through Tuscany and she read the blog during her travels. She wrote “it was so good to hear about home.” Marsha Kennedy wrote “what a lovely garden report” and then she described how much she has enjoyed this season. Roberta Nichol wrote: “I am now at the point where I look forward to Sundays as your report will be in my mailbox.” She also agreed with my take on spouses who belittle their partners in public. Roberta says it is embarrassing to witness. Paula Grolle writes “I love The Garden Report.” She did suggest that when people tell those stories about what we did when we were sixteen, we should sit back and enjoy them. Margaret Hryniuk says that she laughed out loud at my adage involving goats and bridges. Sure, it’s funny if you were the one building the bridges. The always lovely Denise Cook wrote in to say that she enjoys the blog. Several of you took the time to comment how beautiful Pascal is in the baby picture I attached. He is!

• Pretty girls: We have a new reader in Victoria, Sally Orr (formerly Pasterfield). Sally writes that she works in a retirement home and that she enjoyed my comments on kissing pretty girls when we are eighty-eight. I have told some of you this story before and here it is again. We were walking through The Fringe in Winnipeg. Three young performers aged eighteen or so, stopped Maureen and I. They told us they thought it was “cute” that we still hold hands at our age. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I hang onto her hand so that we don’t get lost. It would have burst their bubble.

• Forgiveness: Two old timers are sitting on a park bench. One asks the other if he ever cheated on his wife and the reply was “yes, once.” “Did she fine out?” The answer was affirmative. “Did she forgive you?” was the next question. “Many, many times…” he answered. I love that story. Forgiveness is something that is proffered once, not something that is used as a hammer over and over again. Move over Reverend Lovejoy.

• Number One Son: Bryan was home this past weekend for a visit. He had not been home since last February. He has built a life for himself in Calgary, but he still cheers for The Riders.

Legislature at sunset - Jan Pederson
• John Wolkowski donated to The Walk for Life Campaign (Organ Donation). Thanks John.

• Garden Tip: Do not let your lawn, trees, shrubs or evergreens go into winter without a good watering. One of our neighbors, new to gardening, had been told that you never water after September. She saw that I had my lawn sprinklers running on Thursday and why not? There has been no rain for three weeks. Evergreens transpire through their foliage even in cooler weather, so a good watering this month is imperative for them as well.

• Garden Tip: I have been a busy boy planting my tulip bulbs this week. I like to plant my bulbs using three things: Peat moss, bulb dust and bone meal. I could not find bulb dust anywhere but I did notice the active ingredients in Wilson’s ‘Rose Doctor’ Powder were the same, so I dusted my tulips with that product.

• Garden Tip: I have written before how plants come and go in a fashion cycle. I am surprised at how few people are planting fall bulbs. There was a time when I would sell seventy thousand every September and my seminars were filled with enthusiastic gardeners. But that ship seems to have sailed. If I could explain it, I would. They really are worth the effort.

• Garden Tip: You can move strawberries in the fall provided you dig a deep root ball. Take the entire plant, soil and all and make sure you water the soil ball in really well. If you are getting rid of a strawberry patch, remember that it takes two years to get them all out. The tiny roots that are left behind after you dig will sprout into new plants, so you have to dig those ones out the following year.

• Probably a wrong number: I got a text message on my phone. It read “Cant come out tonight. Too much homework.”

• Garden Tip: If you use lamium as a hanging plant in your boxes or baskets, you can transplant it into the garden for the winter. It usually survives and you can use it again next year. We had six plants in our window boxes and we dug them into a hosta bed until next spring.

• Garden Tip: Last spring, I advised gardeners to plant their amaryllis bulbs outside for the summer. Following my own advice, I planted mine underneath my Dolgo Crabapple. I kind of forgot all about them until I spotted the foliage on Thursday. I dug them up and they were well rooted into the flower beds, just what I had wanted. I let them dry out for a few days in the sun, then brought them into the basement for a rest period of six weeks. After the rest period, I will pot them up and hopefully get some new blooms.

• Not too pleased with Rona: Remember when each piece of merchandise had a price tag on it? Then computer scanners came along and the only price was the shelf card. Consumers were concerned about the switch to shelf prices only, but we were assured that if the shelf price was lower than the till price, the lower price would prevail. That was then, this is now. Every now and again, I will purchase an item with a shelf price card stating one price only to be charged a higher price at the till. Sometimes I let it go, sometimes I point it out with no change. Well, last week I was in Rona, buying a gas can. They had three models on display with corresponding prices. I picked out one advertised for $5.49 but I was charged $14.99. I told the cashier. “You have to go to Customer Service for an adjustment.” So I head over there and the young girl passes me along to someone else who informs me that the price on the shelf was for a different model. Except there was no “different model” available and there was no other price sign for the model I had. I asked the staff why I could not rely upon the price card in front of the display being the amount I was charged at the till. I got dismissed. Wow! So I sent a letter into Rona’s head office for a response. Have not heard a thing.

• Speeding by: Around 1995, there was a car filled with high school students bombing by the garden center, every morning close to 8:30. I assumed they were late for school. The car would be moving around ninety to a hundred k.p.h. in a fifty zone. I was more than a little concerned with some safety issues. Rather than call the police, I recorded his plate number and got the owner’s information from SGI. This was before the privacy laws had kicked in. As I suspected, the car was registered to the boy’s mother. I phoned her. Told her who I was and what was going on. She took the car away from him. That’s what a good mother does. No doubt he was miffed, but at least he was alive to be miffed.

• Attachments: Jan Pederson from Winnipeg took the two photos of our Legislature at sunset. Maureen took the photo of some bacopa in our garden on Saturday. With the long, cool autumn, the bacopa’s white color has become intensely bright.

• Thanks for reading…Rod McDonald in sunny Regina

Bacopa in the Fall

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