Monday, March 28, 2011

The Garden Report #42

Sunday, March 20th, 2011
Sharon Wallace's Garden

Writers write: I am sitting here in my writing room looking out at the falling snow. There was some melting this week and puddles were forming all over the city, heralding the arrival of spring. Today, winter has announced that we need not be too hasty in our assumptions and celebrations. The coffee had some bite this morning and the sourdough toast with orange marmalade filled the spot. The cat is asleep somewhere and the sounds of silence echo across the house.

I reached out this past week to the readers of The Garden Report. I had promised The Regina Fringe that I would sell fifty tickets for this Friday’s fundraiser. You assisted me in my efforts and as of this writing, collectively you have purchased sixty-three tickets and there are still more of you who are calling this week. My gratitude for your support is appreciated beyond the words required to frame my emotion.

Readers write: Daniel Redenbach let us know that he is in Alberta working on a feature film there. Sadly, some of our best talent has been forced to leave the province to find work. “Thanks again for the Sunday connection,” so writes Gail Bowen. Roberta Nichol writes that if I perform Glory Days in the nude, it would well be worth the money to attend the performance, just for the comedic value. Writing of comedic value, Georgia Hearn responded to my jokes for eight year olds with “ I think you could entertain any age, and make them smile and laugh. I know I did.” John Ciotucha wrote “More good stuff.” That is what I specialize in writing today, more good stuff. Playwright Vern Thiessen, who authored The Globe’s last show ‘Shakespeare’s Will’, received a copy of #41 that praised the show. He appreciated the good vibes. Reader Steve Kesslering and his wife were in Phoenix during February. Steve writes that he could not find decent bread comparable to what we have in Regina. Steve suspects that the good quality wheat grown by the local farmers is a contributing factor to the decent baked goods. Bill Johnson has joined Cheryl Hutton in chastising me for spelling theatre the American way, theater. I must be bilingual. Dean Ast writes “We are enjoying your blog.” Lyn Goldman, while picking up her Fringe tickets, had the opportunity to pet Murphy, praising him for being a handsome cat. Murphy has never suffered esteem issues.

Ticket Angels: Without an audience, actors are nothing more than neurotic people speaking to an empty room. Due to the generosity of the readers of The Garden Report, we will not have an empty room on March 25th. The following people have purchased tickets from me and rest assured, it is greatly appreciated. They include Bill Johnson, Colin O’Brian Men’s Wear, Wendy at The Dermatology Clinic, Laura and Terry Ross, Chris and Karen Pasterfield, Dave and Liz Calam, Glenda Michalski, Bernie and Jennifer Cohen, Frank Fiacco (took six for his friends), Bob Anderson, Catherine Parker, Ann Anderson, Neil Vandendort, Heather Lowe, Mike at The Classic Landscape Company, Joanne Terry, Brad from Outdoor Expressions, Leanne Mann, Susan and Ross Keith, Marsha Kennedy, Lyn Goldman, Andy Idema, June and Dave Blau, Don at Lakeview Fine Foods, Morag Armbruster, Candace Holmstrom, Georgia Hearn, Ken and Michelle McCaw, Jack Tunnicliffe at Java Post, Lynn and Jim Tomkins, Dean and Lynn Ast, Murray and Sharon Wallace, Georgia Hearn and Ina Field.

Sex and the gardener: I have nothing here to add. I just thought it made for a great heading. Why are you reading?
Homestead Buckeye

Garden Tip: Three new plants from Dr. Phillip Ronald at Jeffries Nursery in Portage. Homestead Buckeye obviously has intense fall colors. Buckeyes are rarely seen in the prairies. Hahs Viburnum appears to be a lovely shrub. Viburnum is the fancy name for the cranberry family. Scarlet Jewel Red Maple appears to have incredibly intense autumn shading. The begonia basket and the mixed planter are from reader Michel Verheul’s greenhouse.

Scarlet Jewel Red Maple
Regina Home Show: This event is starting Thursday. Lots of interesting products and services. If you get out, make sure you look for Mike from The Classic Landscape Company, Brad from Outdoor Expressions Landscaping (he is usually hanging around the display gardens) and Steve at The Rusty Shovel. All three are regular readers of The Garden Report and they know lots about landscaping. Introduce yourself to them as being Garden Report readers. You don’t get a gift but they are interested in saying ‘hello’.

Certificate required: One of our boys took a babysitting course when he was twelve years old. He wanted to make some spending money. He got his first job from a couple, down the street. His mother advised him, on his way out the door that if he had any problems, to call. Keep in mind his mother had raised three children and was a Registered Nurse who at one time, had worked at ‘Sick Kids’ in Toronto. He dismissed her offer with disdain telling her “Mom, you didn’t take the course. I did.”
Hahs Viburnum

A certificate is proof: I had a friend who had been locked up on the psychiatric ward for a few months. Prior to being released, he needed two doctors to sign a form, testifying that he was of sane mind. He kept the document in his back pocket. He would take it out and tell us “you guys think you are sane but for you it is only a suspicion. For me, I have the legal proof.”

Garden Tip: As the snow melts and your garden is more accessible, it is time to start the spring pruning. My three steps of pruning are a) remove dead and dying branches, b) prune for the future health of the tree by removing cross over branches and anything that could be a problem down the road, and c) prune for the aesthetics of the tree. The problem is that most homeowners start with c first when it should be last.

Horror on Elm Street: Just a reminder that there is a provincial wide ban on the pruning of elm trees from April 1st until August 31st. Without active control of Dutch Elm disease, much of our urban forest would be lost. That would be a tragedy.

How to meet nice people: One of the benefits of volunteer work is meeting some of the finest people. I did a miniscule one hour of work for The Kidney Foundation this week. I had to call ten other volunteers. All ten were very polite and positive people. Negative people don’t volunteer. They do not see any benefits, so why bother. I would much rather surround myself with positive people.

Begonia Baskets in Michel's Greenhouse
Koko’s: Stopped in on Friday and picked up a loaf of their very tasty, rosemary/sourdough. Seeing as I was already there, I purchased one of their incredible lemon tarts for myself and a chocolate/peanut butter tart for Maureen. While my lemon tart was its wonderful self, Maureen was disappointed with her treat. I had a taste and it was just not that good. Better to try something else. Also worth noting, Koko is now selling mini loaves at The Italian Star as well as at Lakeview Fine Foods. I am pleased to see good bread being sold in different places. And seeing as we have just mentioned The Italian Star, they are selling cans of plum tomatoes with no salt for a good price, $2.25. The tomatoes are large and plump.

Ultimate tough guys: All over the news this week was the story of the young woman who was buying groceries at Superstore in the east end. Four men in their twenties, beat and kicked her into submission, causing her severe injuries. For their efforts they acquired seven dollars in cash and twenty-five bucks worth of groceries. How tough are four guys who jump on one woman? If there were any real justice in this world, they would not be looking at a jail sentence. Nope. They would have to fight their way out of that parking lot, but it wouldn’t be just one young woman as their opponent. I am willing to wager you, they are not all that tough, when facing someone who is not so vulnerable.

Garden Tip: With the occasional warm spring day, our thoughts turn to planting. It is not a good idea to be purchasing bedding plants this early unless you have the capability to look after them. Every year, enthusiasm carries people along and sitting on the kitchen counter are several trays of plants…but planting season is still two months away. Best to delay your purchase unless you have the space and the knowhow to look after plants this early in the season.

To be or not to be: I was reading an article about the reduced attendance at The Globe this year, due to the construction ‘smozzle’ that is downtown. We attend The Globe and have not found it difficult to find a parking spot. We park by The Hotel Saskatchewan and walk the two short blocks to the theatre. Sadly, The Globe is looking at a deficit this year and deficits can eventually lead to demises. The adage is if you don’t use it, you lose it and The Globe is an important part of the cultural mosaic of this city. It deserves your attendance. And the difficult parking is more of a myth than reality.

Cultural mosaic continued: We are fortunate to have an active art’s community in Regina. Two of our shakers and movers are Bob Evans, the guitarist who is involved in different concerts around town, and Jodi Sadowsky. Jodi is busy producing and promoting The Regina Fringe and in her spare time, she does the same for a new theatre company called ‘The Golden Apple’. If you see either of them, give each a pat on the back for what they do for this community.

A mixed basket in Michel's Greenhouse
Garden Tip: When considering an evergreen tree, keep in mind that for the most part, pine trees do not do exceptionally well in the heavy, clay soil of Regina. They do grow quite nicely at White City or Pilot Butte because the soil tends to be sandy in those locales. Your best choice for an evergreen tree in Regina is a spruce.

To be young again: When I was fourteen, I spotted an ad in the paper for summer employment. A local warehouse wanted a student to work for the summer. I filled out the application and I was granted an interview with the manager. He asked me “what do you expect for a salary.” I knew that my father made a salary of $350 a month at his job, and I knew that I was smarter than my dad, so I deserved more pay. I told the manager I expected at least four hundred a month. He stared at me and said the job paid $225. I told him I could not possibly lower my expectations to that number and I walked out. Reality was waiting for me around the corner.

Thanks for reading…I will see many of you Friday night at The RSM…Rod McDonald in Regina

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