Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Garden Report #50

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Morden Belle Rose

• Writers write: Spring continues to arrive utilizing the installment plan. A little bit here, a little bit there. Trees are just now starting to show buds and full leaf is easily two weeks away. Overflowing river banks have turned parts of the province into massive lakes and southern Manitoba is referencing this year’s flooding as a one in three hundred year event. It is strange for prairie people to complain of too much water as our usual concern is of not enough. How this season will play out for gardeners and farmers has not yet been determined. It is safe to write, things will be different.

Readers write:

• Joanne Terry writes “Keep up your good work.”

• Georgia Hearn writes “Another absolutely entertaining and very informative edition. The Insectigon is an excellent suggestion.”

• Sherri Tutt writes “Another crack at the ants! FYI, I never truly delete The Garden Report.”

• Roberta Nichol agrees that there are many, many layers to women that do not exist in men. So we finally have that settled.

• Lyn Goldman agrees with Paula Grolle from #49, that The Cottage prepares excellent liver and onions, never overcooked. Lyn reports she has two daffodils up which after a long winter and a slow spring, is something to celebrate.

• Jodi Sadowsky writes “Thanks for writing and sharing.”

• This one arrived from Mike Liske: “Hi Rod, I have a single tulip in our front yard that has a single bud on it......the unfortunate thing is this tulip is not supposed to be there. I excavated the entire front yard 2 years ago, installed a 4' waterfall, with a quarry stone wall, artificial turf and some plantings.......the tulip was never part of the design, and it's popped up each year right against the foundation. It flowers and then quickly dies out, I then think ‘oh well now it is done for’, and the next year it comes back.”

• This email arrived from regular reader Cary Rubenfeld out of Winnipeg. It is in response to #49’s assertion regarding the simplicity of men: “ Hello from the baggage carousel in Las Vegas, waiting for our luggage. I was reading your "subtext" paragraph out loud to the missus. It gave us a chuckle. ...... After which she asked "..... I never call you an idiot, do I......?” Sigh”

• Greg Morley wrote “Just read #49…totally true about subtext…I really do love and appreciate your blog.”

• Jan Pederson writes “You are a gifted wordsmith. Please carry on as long as you get pleasure from it.”

• Jean McNeil from near Ottawa writes “Have been enjoying your Garden Report, all the various angles.”


Morden Blush Rose
• Garden Tip: Yes, it is okay to start fertilizing your lawns now.

• Question: Why do I still see young girls texting as they drive down the road? The fine is something like $280. What is so important that it cannot wait another three or four minutes until they get to where they are going?

• Another question: Why are bicycle riders riding without flashing tail lights on their bikes after dark. It is almost impossible to spot a cyclist at night unless they have reflective material and a flashing light.

• Third and final question: Why is it that people who call and say “this will only take a minute” always talk for at least five, if not ten minutes?

• Garden Trivia: The soilless mixes that most of us use today were developed at Cornell University in 1948. If that question ever comes up during a game of Trivial Pursuit, you can thank me for the answer.

• Garden Trivia: Today’s large hanging baskets are made possible by the soilless mixes. When I started in the trade in the seventies, hanging baskets were often six inches with eight inches being a large one. Using real soil limited the size due to weight issues. Then soilless mixes started being used and the sizes increased to eight and ten inches. Today, we often see twelve, fourteen, sixteen inches and even larger hanging baskets.

• Garden Trivia: When I started planting perennials in hanging baskets and containers along with annuals in the 1980’s, some of the old line gardeners were ready to hang me for heresy. Now today, anything goes. We are no longer as rigid as we once were.

• Garden Tip: There is a forsythia in full bloom on the 2800 block of Albert Street as well as the 2800 block of Angus Street. Forsythias usually bloom yellow and before they leaf out.

Morden Cardinette Rose
• New rule: As of today, any person who tells a story longer than ten minutes or involves sums of money greater that ten thousand dollars, must have my permission prior to beginning said story.

• Random thoughts of a new MP: “Wow…man…I thought I was going to have to flip burgers at McDonald’s this summer cause my dad said I had to get a job but now I got myself elected and it pays way more than ten bucks an hour…let’s see now, I have my suit from Grade Twelve Graduation and dad says I can borrow some of his ties…maybe mom can be my Executive Assistant and like cook supper for me and my new friends in the caucus…is that how you spell it, caucus? Like my mom does a killer version of Kraft Dinner with chopped up little olives and everything in it…this is so cool. Hey dad…can you give me a ride to Ottawa, my car is like low on gas.”

• Garden Tip: I have seen too many hanging baskets already out in the wind and exposed to the elements. Baskets need to be acclimatized to the outdoors after being grown in a greenhouse. Don’t let them swing in the wind for at least two weeks after hardening off.

• Garden Tip: Of all the herbs we can grow here, I would venture to say that basil is the most useful. I use basil in my soups, stews and salads. I use it in Thai cooking, Italian cooking and Greek cooking. It is at its finest when you slice fresh garden tomatoes, drizzle the tomatoes with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh ground black pepper, and then chop in some fresh basil. It is as close to paradise on earth as one can get. By the way, I am not opposed to rosemary, thyme or oregano. They are good as well. I don’t want to get nasty letters from disgruntled herbs.

• Guessed wrong on this one: Before The Beatles hit the big time, they auditioned for Decca Records in London, hoping to receive a recording contract. Decca sent a letter to the band advising them that Decca had no interest in signing them. The reason? Decca asserted that a four boy/guitar band was passé and that no one would be interested in that type of music.

Morden Sunrise Rose
Another judgment lapse: A friend of mine was given some shares in Ipsco. When the shares hit fifteen dollars, a friend told him that the company would not go any higher, so he sold his shares. The final share price for Ipsco when it was bought out a few years ago was $176!

• Coming attractions: The Cathedral Village Arts’ Festival, one of my favorite weeks. The Secret Gardens Tour organized by our first lady of dance, Robin Poitras. The Regina Fringe Festival and The Regina Folk Festival. Lots of great stuff happening this summer.

• Television land: The last few years I have not been getting much work in film or television. Just the way things happen. Jodi over at The Fringe office asked if I would produce a commercial for this year’s festival and my brain said “why not?” I hooked up with a wonderful film editor who is also a blog reader, Adrian Dean, and we set to work. Adrian is one of a number of young film people who have arrived on the scene in the last few years and he knows his stuff. Watch for our commercial coming to Channel Seven in about a month’s time. I’ll give you a hint. Think: John Phillip Sousa.

• Television land years back: Two of our faithful readers, Jean Freeman and Lyn Goldman, were active in the television community long before tape had been invented. Translation: Much of their work was done live, which made for some interesting television. There were no second chances.

Top graft Little Leaf Lilacs at Byland's
• Farmers’ Market: The outdoor version is still operating at City Hall until the construction on 12th Avenue is complete. I took in Saturday’s event and lots of people were out. I go for the social aspect as much as for the pickles and the baking. I ran into Dan de Vlieger and we had a discussion regarding the federal election. Dan taught Political Science for many years and I was one of his students in 1971. In that particular class, the students for the most part had long hair, wore torn jeans with tie dyed t-shirts. After all, it was 1971. Seated beside me was a student who kept his hair cut short, and he wore a white shirt with a tie to every class. That was my introduction to Ralph Goodale. Having Ralph sitting beside me made for an extremely interesting semester, and even back then, his sense of decency always shone through.

• Thanks for reading and enjoy your garden…Rod McDonald in Regina


  1. This is my first time reading your blog and I already love it! There is a forsythia on the 2700 block of Broder Street as well. I took a picture of it the other day because I thought it was such a funny looking plant. Flowers before leaves! So neat. Thanks for the info!

  2. Rose, the flower of love. I love it.
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