Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Garden Report #63

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Dancing under the prairie sky
• Writers write: I always enjoy a get together, a happening, a cultural event that brings together old and new friends. The Folk Festival, The Fringe Festival, The Cathedral Village Arts Festival, and The Regina Symphony in the park are some of my favorites. Saturday night was one of those magical times for me. We were guests at Hawgarama, hosted by Gary and Audrey Drummond. We attended, along with Heather and Brian Lowe and Brad and Sandy Crassweller. We had a good feed of barbecued pulled pork and there were hundreds of homemade pies to choose from for dessert. But even better than the wonderful food, was being able to dance under the prairie sky to Rory Allan and to The Bellamy Brothers. There is something very special about an old time dance under the sun and the stars and being surrounded by grain bins. There were little children filling up the dance floor, dancing in what only could be described as a primal but hilarious fashion. Two and three years olds are predisposed to anarchy, refusing to be restricted by societal concerns. The moon was shining in its full glory, so bright that it actually cast our shadows, as we walked along the gravel road at the end of the night. In between the dancing and the eating, there was conversation. I ran into perhaps fifty readers of The Garden Report and each person had their take, their say on what they enjoyed best (and least) from this weekly blog. There were school friends dating back to the 1950’s as well as people I was introduced to for the first time. I have often written that you have to live somewhere and wherever that place is, a sense of community ensures that life is worth living. In a way, The Garden Report if I had only one word to describe it, is about community.

• Readers write:

     • Roberta Nichol writes regarding a Garden Tip. “Interesting you should mention scissors in the garden. I think they're great. Clippers, I find, are too clunky for a finer job, such as a stem that's really thin.”

Murphy taking it easy after a hard day
     • Daniel Redenbach who is one of our younger readers, and a rising star in the film community, sent this information along. This is in regards to a short film that he produced. “Close To Here" will premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival on August the 20th! I'm still awaiting specifics (time/location), but it is part of the first short film program on that day.”

     • I do not enjoy harping over the importance of aeration but reader Greg Morley is now a convert to the process. He writes “The lawn out front is back to perfection. The aeration is the key. I actually had a lady from the neighborhood stop by as I was cutting the grass a week ago. She and her husband wanted to know how I grew such a beautiful lawn. I said “Rod explained the aeration component”, I gave her the fertilizer mixture numbers and Drew's phone number. So, thanks for the encouragement and absolutely spot on advice. I cannot believe that the soil would be that hard after one winter.”

     • Jean McNeil who gardens near Ottawa had this to say. “Have been enjoying your weekly Garden Report and like some others, it takes me till later in the week to get it read. Always enjoy, the humorous stories, the factual gardening tips, and the social notes. My heart came out of my chest back in the spring when you listed some addresses where forsythia in bloom could be viewed. I thought I was the only one who kept lists of places to glimpse magnificent gardens. I recall the first time I saw forsythia and didn't know what it was. It was practically blooming out of the snow and I was just about knocked off the road. Now I have one of my own where I can gaze at it from my prayer chair.”

     • Another happy camper in Bev Cardinal. She writes “The Garden Report – informative, educational, and highly, highly entertaining! Cheers!”

• Garden Tip: You should be fertilizing your lawn for the last time this week. My recommendation is to use a fertilizer from Crop Protection Services on McDonald Street North, close to Global Television. The numbers are 17-19-0-15 with the last number being sulfur. Apply five pounds to a thousand square feet and water well.

A container filled with dianthus and bacopa in our garden
• Garden Tip: I convinced a new gardener to clip off the spent blooms from his roses. He did so and now his roses are filled with new buds, some even have twenty ready to bloom shortly. Deadheading, the removal of spent blooms really does encourage new blooms to develop.

• I need glasses: I was working away on my computer and beside it, I had a wonderful piece of poppy seed loaf. I noticed I had dropped some of the poppy seed filling on the desk. I dabbed it with my finger and stuck the sweet confection in my mouth. It was mud. They were similar in color and appearance but not in flavor. Next time, I will put my glasses on before assuming everything on my desk is edible. The one question I have not been able to answer is: how did mud wind up on my office desk?

• Farmers’ Market: I have my favorite vendors at the market but I also enjoy trying products from new operators. The maple walnut fudge from the vendor in front of City Hall is to die for. It is the best fudge I have ever tasted. Very creamy and a very strong maple taste. The other new item that I tried from a vendor in the same locale, was a poppy seed loaf. It was a bit pricy at ten bucks, but it was also amongst the very best, especially after it was warmed up. For those who enjoy tart and sweet, give a taste to the prairie cherries now available. They are grown at Lumsden.

• Not so good: Readers Jodi Sadowsky, Roberta Nichol, Maureen Hawley and myself went for a neighborhood walk on Tuesday. It was one of those random occurrences with Saskatoon pie at the end. We all live in the area. While we love old Lakeview and the houses, we were appalled at the number of homeowners who have allowed Creeping Bellflower to proliferate in their yards. It is truly a scourge.

Mandevilla and petunia in the full sun
• Tasty: The New Haven peaches have arrived and they are very, very tasty.

• Extra tasty: The feta cheese made from sheep’s milk has the best flavor of all the feta. Carlos sells it at The Italian Star.

• Fashion alert: The fashion police have returned. Do someone you know a favor, please. If you know someone who is over forty-five, wears shorts to his knees, with walking shoes, and socks pulled up to almost touch his shorts, tell him to stop. Wives, do not let your husband out to go shopping if he is dressed in this apparel. This is not only a fashion faux pas but it is repulsive and perhaps a mortal sin, though the bishop has not gotten back to me just yet.

• Garden Tip: If any reader sees signs of tomato blight, please let me know. Last year, it blew in with a wind and overnight, our tomatoes were stricken. Apparently, if you harvest your tomatoes green and process them, you can beat the blight.

• Job opportunity: I need a student, someone young and tough, to work with me on two projects for a few weeks. The student must be exceptionally hard working, be able to follow directions, willing to learn landscaping skills, and he/she must have a driver’s license and a vehicle. Again I stress, the student must be hard working as anyone who has worked for me knows, I have very, high standards. Send me an email as the projects begin immediately.

Daylilies in our garden
• Thanks for reading…Rod McDonald in sunny Regina

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