Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Garden Report #54

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

A lovely sea of purple in Heather's garden
• Writers write: With the wet and the cool, the garden filled out full and lush. The main weeds this year have been elm and maple tree seedlings and a touch of the dreaded creeping blue bell. I patrol for them every week. The tulips lasted a full six weeks with their staggered plantings. Staggered plantings refers to my planting the bulbs in warm and cool parts of the garden. In the warmer parts, the bulbs showed life in April and in the cooler parts, not until last week. The impatience are actually suffering from the wet and the cool. They need a bit of sun and heat to perk them up. As I garden, I am always reminded of the cycle of life. Four of my friends plus myself have lost our mothers recently. The mothers were in their ninety range and all five of them wanted to go, knowing it was time. It was us, the adult children who wanted them to hang on, to stay for another cup of tea and chat just a while longer. It is always at these times that words fail me. I never know what to write. My fingers click out words such as grieving, condolence and empathy, never able to portray my feelings. It is the passing of a generation and of an era. We are now it. There is no generation above us. The cycle keeps moving, sometimes slowly, sometimes with Godspeed, but always, it keeps moving. Gardening is life.

Readers write:

     • Theresa over at The Paper Umbrella on 13th had this to say about my tartan tie. “ Perhaps this is a little risqué, but, a simple tartan tie? As a fellow Scot, I think donning the kilt would be a more adequate gesture to do your mother proud. Some men can do this with more style and ease than others. It's a fact. I think you are such a man that could work the pleated garment.” Ed: If I did wear a kilt to these functions, I would have to make a choice in regards to underwear. I would have to decide if I would be dressing as a traditional Scot or as a modern one. I don’t think I could handle the risk or the stress.

     • Heather Lowe wrote in this response. “Regarding your two points in the last Garden Report, First Dates and Not a First Date, I want to let you know I have a farmer husband ( we’ve been married 28 years in July) who continues to be very good at asking how my day went and what did I do in that day. And he asks with interest and listens to my reply with interest. However, it is totally pointless to try talking to him if the TV happens to be on in the same room. That brings the “what did I just say?” reaction from me. Thanks for The Garden Report.”

     • Denise Cook sent this along. “I just finished reading the Garden Report and as always, got a few laughs.”

     • Chris Dodd tells us a story of a gardening dilemma. “I love having my cat for company while I garden. I am a fan of patience plants, but last year I was puzzled by why they weren't blooming well. I was looking down on them when Puss came along and reached over, bit a bud off and ate it. Guess I can figure out this mystery for myself......”

     • Linda Lyster who has been a reader since day one, has sent in her first response. “Hi Rod - I too would like to thank you for a year of useful and inspiring gardening tips, as well as many amusing and insightful anecdotes. I have been forwarding the Report on to my daughters, aspiring gardeners that they are. They comment on various tips they have found useful. Jack commented that he usually just reads the stories, but I've noticed he practices many of your seasonal suggestions, so he must be assimilating the gardening tips too! Thanks again for an enjoyable read, great inspiration to enjoy nature and life!....Linda”

     • Jean Freeman who is a writer in her own right, wrote this: “Happy June, Rod! Thanks as always for The Report and your pith and wit! I have always known that you are a philosopher, but today you conclusively demonstrated the depth of your wisdom in your comments about "Whose Fault?" Your observations about the success and longevity of plants and gardens explains exactly why some relationships thrive while others wither and rot -- not magic or good luck, but because of the care they receive. "The best plants in the world will not survive neglect", you say. Ditto for our relationships with friends and family. To quote my favorite philosopher again, "As I have written before, I lose plants just as any gardener does. Sometimes for apparent reason and sometimes I cannot explain why it happened, but it does. When it happens regularly and is widespread, there is usually a maintenance problem." Amen. And thank you for that.”

     • From Georgia Hearn comes this. “Hopefully, you do not mind, but I share your stories and garden tips with everyone I can. Thanks for a great edition. Funny, at our Sunday Walk Group, I promised a few of the girls I would send them a copy. They will enjoy it as much as I. Have a great week!”

     • Sarah Wills who gardens near Toronto had this to say. “Hi Rod - you've created a wonderful community with your garden report. I really enjoy participating from the fringe -- and will never question your fondness for dogs again! You've got my husband beat, hands down, as husband of the year. My birthday is sandwiched between Mother's Day and Victoria Day. As he owns a garden centre, I'm lucky if he even remembers it's my birthday that week. Hope you are enjoying some lovely weather. It's finally a bright Sunday morning and I'm just about to go help out at Kevin's garden centre for the rest of the day. This is his 25th year in business, and has been the latest start ever due to record levels of rain. We've had a couple of good weekends, but haven't caught up to where we should be.”

     • Michel Touchette writes from Portage and this is one of his favourite quotes regarding complainers. "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." - Bill Gates

     • Candace Holmstrom who has been a regular reader from day one wrote this: “ It's lovely to get your Garden Report on Sunday afternoons. Whenever I receive it, I am reminded of times past — when Sundays were a time to relax, tend to our gardens, our friends and our family. Stores were closed, there was no place to buy liquor — and we realized the importance of having a day to reflect. Whether a day of reflection is a Sunday, a Saturday - or any other day of ritual — I appreciate the time that you take to put this weekly report together! And...I love the photographs of flowers you often send along. Thanks. Candace.” Rod: Losing our collective day of rest and to be with our family was a direct result of legal action by Super Store in the 1980’s. They sued to sell 24/7. Sales before family. Today, a Sunday family dinner can be difficult to plan with all of the shift work.

     • Roberta Nichol had this to say about Mosaic. “My friend Peggy and I went to Mosaic (The Kyiv Ukrainian Pavilion). Supper was delicious!!!!! I also enjoyed the gift selections and displays. From there, we went to the Philippine and Greek Pavilions, as they were also on the Exhibition Grounds. Enjoyable. We had heard so much about the Aboriginal Pavilion, so we went! It was, by far, the best yet, in terms of ‘feeling good’ and ‘family’ and most definitely, the entertainment! That was a show! It was like someone's big living room, and the family reunion was there, cheering and dancing and playing. Brian Sklar was representing the Métis, playing his fiddle like crazy, while the Riel Reelers jigged.”

     • Number Three Son from Edmonton sent this note. “Thanks again for the Sunday blog Dad…The first date story made me laugh and (it) made Lisa grumble.”

• Garden Tip: If you find yourself falling behind in mowing the lawn, and it is quite shaggy, best to mow it twice. Set your mower at its highest level, mow and bag the clippings. Then lower the mower to its normal setting and mow a second time. The grass will look much better than if it was only mowed once.

• Garden Tip: If you forgot or just did not get around to aerating your lawn this spring, go ahead and do it now. You can aerate any month of the year and it will be beneficial to the grass.

A shrub bed planted just last year
• Garden Tip: It is illegal to prune your elm trees at this time of year. The law was passed in order to slow down the spread of Dutch Elm Disease. If you have elm firewood, it is also the law that you get rid of it. Elm wood cannot be stored or transported in or out of the province.

• A medical miracle: My dad only had one arm. His left one had been amputated below the elbow in the 1930’s. I never paid much attention to that fact because I had always lived with him having one arm. One day when I was six, one of my best friends informed all of my buddies that his dad only had one arm as well. He then went to on to say that his dad had grown his arm back, thus explaining why he now had a two armed father. I ran home, extremely upset, demanding my father explain why he had not grown his arm back as well.

• Reality bites: The problem with school reunions is that no matter how successful you have become, no matter how much money you have earned or awards you have been given, these are the people who will never let you forget that you threw up in Grade Two and that class was dismissed early.

• Garden Tips: Sitting on our swing, enjoying the garden, and I look over at my two bergenia plants. One is perfectly healthy and the other is suffering a bit of chlorosis. The leaves are a light green and the veins of the plant are visible as they are dark green. What is the remedy? A teaspoon of iron chelate. Also note that I have spotted chlorosis showing up in some peonies as well, and now you know what to do.

• Expectations: When planting peonies the first year, some gardeners are disappointed that they do not get a plant filled with blooms nor does it grow to a good size. Just keep the peonies, or any other plant for that matter, alive and in good health the first year. In the second year, you will be pleased with the growth. I planted several peonies last year in a garden and they remained small and unimpressive all year. This June, they are filled with buds and most are a very nice size. They will continue to fill out each year as their roots develop.

Tollius-blooms early and is colorful
• Garden tour: Regular reader Bobby Sue Nichol dropped by for a tour of our garden. She paid the appropriate admission price with six home made lemon tarts. She fell in love with my trollius, which I have written about in previous editions.   Bobby Sue also thought that Murphy (our orange, Irish cat) is a handsome bugger indeed.

• Never give up: Every year, there are always a certain number of shrubs or roses that have experienced what is commonly referred to as winter kill. Winter kill is when the stems of the plant die back, often to the ground. At the ranch, where I planted many roses last year, most died back all the way. An inexperienced gardener might have dug them out, thinking they were finished. I trimmed off all of the dead stock and fertilized them in early May. I was at the ranch Saturday afternoon and every rose is up, budding out and of a good size. Patience is rewarded in the garden.

• Today’s thought: No husband has ever said the morning after a big scrap with his wife “You know, I think I might have said too little.”

• New readers: I have received several emails from new readers who asked to be added to the list. Thank and welcome to The Garden Report. I hope you enjoy what you read.

• Smart kid: When my nephew Daniel was four years old, he came with Uncle Rod to The Dairy Queen. Blizzards (an ice milk sundae) were new to the market, and Daniel and I were enjoying one. My friend Jimmy Moore, owned the D.Q. on south Albert that we were visiting. Jimmy came over to our table to chat to Daniel and myself. When Daniel found out that Jimmy owned The D.Q., he told Jimmy that his goal in life was to come with his Uncle Rod every day, until we had sampled every flavor listed on the menu. Jimmy looked at me and said “Did you know that you have the smartest nephew in the whole world?” That wonderful four year old turned twenty-nine last week. He’s still pretty smart.

• Thanks for reading another edition…Rod McDonald in lush Regina.

No comments:

Post a Comment