Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Garden Report #80

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Canadian Artist Rose 'Emily Carr'
 • Writers write: Two things to share. First, I may be required to take a sabbatical from writing for awhile. I am due for surgery on my left wrist this Wednesday and my understanding is that I will be unable to word process for a month. If I am unable to write, I will get someone to send out a short message telling you this information.

     Secondly, I will soon have a new title to add to my life list of son, brother, dad, uncle, boss, garden guy and best husband in Lakeview. Sometime around November 5th, you may address me as Grampa. It’s true and you are reading the scoop here. I even beat The Globe and Mail on this breaking news, can you imagine? Patrick and Lisa are having a baby later this year. Maureen has been phoning everyone, even cousins we haven’t spoken to for fifteen years.

• Readers write

     • I referred to Chad Jacklin as one of those backbones of our community in #78. Chad wishes to clarify the backbone concept. Read on. “I give thanks for your glowing endorsement of my work. I must say that I wasn't really aiming for the backbone, but more of a rib or at most a thighbone type of role. But I guess that's what happens when you have lots of ideas and a big mouth! That being said I nominate you as the heart of the community. We all have our roles to play. And thanks again for connecting me with Brad the landscaper (Outdoor Expressions Ltd.). It is nice to work with people who are genuine and do their best!”

     • Robin Poitras from New Dance Horizons is a regular reader but only writes in once a year. Here is this year’s much appreciated contribution. “Thanks again for including NDH’s call for gardens in your Garden Report. We were delighted to get Marsha's enthusiastic response which we have added to our call for gardens. Interesting to hear of the Teilhard play. Some years ago I went with a Coleman & Lemieux Dance Company and several other artists to Mongolia, on a fantastic research project for a new work by Bill Coleman titled ‘Hymn to the Universe’. The work was inspired by Teilhard's book ‘Hymn to the Universe’. Thanks for all the connections. Your breadth of interest and knowledge is astounding!”

     • Gwen Barschel has an announcement. Here it is: “Enjoying The Report as usual this morning. I thought I would send along a promotion for Regina Little Theatre’s latest offering. They are presenting three one act plays, May 11th & 12th. Bar and food service on site, plus home grown talent. Please call 779-2277 for tickets. Why the promo? My daughter is in one of the plays! Keep up the good work. Also, Dutch growers has a lovely selection of Morden roses in this week. Faithful rose performers that they are.”

     • Roberta Nichol enjoyed two different passages from last week’s Garden Report. She writes: “I loved your passage about ‘The Shells that we Shed’. It spoke to me, for sure. Our bodies, and our homes are like jackets or coats. I also loved the CBC budget cuts passage. Honestly, what can one do but make these situations comedic?”

     • Dora Mushka had a few interesting comments. “I am smacking myself in the forehead. After 17 years of trying to get a nice row of cedars to line the pathway up to the house , I could ‘a been enjoying the upright junipers. This spring we tore up the front steps and landscaping so I will be incorporating the junipers this time. Can I give a shout out to Roberta Nichol? I was 17 years old when Roberta came to Rockglen, a little town south of Assiniboia, as part of a provincial Girl Guide Leadership conference. Roberta played the guitar and sang as part of the program. Her voice impressed me so much that I have never forgotten her. I hope she's still singing.”

     • CJ Katz, who writes the food and restaurant reviews for The Leader Post, sent this along. “Hi Rod – thanks a lot for the plug this issue! I really appreciate you trying some of the spots I write about! Love the forsythia photo.”

Doreen is on the left
     • Regular readers know that I am a strong supporter of The Marian Center, the soup kitchen located on Halifax Street since 1966. Christian sister Doreen, who has been a fixture for many years at The Center, has been transferred by her order to their main location in Ontario. She will be missed. She brought a sense of humility with her service to the poor and disenfranchised. Doreen has been a positive influence on my life even if humility has not been my strong suit. Here is her note: “The main reason for this email is to give you some news. I've been transferred to Combermere, departing May 28. This move seems like the right thing. It's been many years since I last lived in Combermere where Madonna House first began. I am peaceful and excited, but leaving is always heartbreaking.”

     • Terena Murphy Bannerman and I share a fat soul. Terena tips us off to a new place in Lumsden. Here are the details. “Thanks for another great Report, and for the advice about my not-so-blue spruce. In return, I will pass on news of a wonderful, small bakery that has just opened here in Lumsden. The Fourth and James Bakery is on the main street. Lesia Matheson is a local girl who graduated from the Vancouver Culinary Institute and has, halleluiah, come home. She bakes fresh treats daily and has a special bread every day. Her hours are from 8am to '5 or 6 ISH', because she has been selling out early. I can recommend the focacia bread, berry scones, brown sugar brownies...well, everything really! It's well worth the drive out to the valley.”

     • Sherri Tutt has been enjoying the brunch at The Mercury Café, on 13th. Here is her recommendation. “Hi Rod: Enjoyed The Garden Report as usual. A tip about the Mercury Café. They have a great Sunday brunch buffet. Fresh fruit, outstanding hash browns (never tasted any quite like these) and an array of sausage, bacon, scrambles with and without cheese (great for my gal with milk allergies). All kept piping hot. Our family has a new tradition. Walk the dog at the dog park then hit the Mercury for early brunch. Also to let you know that I have started a book of all the helpful garden tips as I can never remember them all. Have a great spring!”

• Old school nurserymen: I was talking with Ron Boughen who runs the family owned, one hundred year old nursery, north of Dauphin, Manitoba. I asked Ron about his father, Russ Boughen, who ran the operation for sixty years. Russ was so good to me when I was the young kid of the industry. He always reminded me to look for the silver lining in every cloud. Russ is doing well, at the grand age of ninety. He lives on his own and drives out from Dauphin to visit the nursery. Russ was well known for either developing or promoting many of the varieties that we still plant today. Some of his more popular plants are ‘Beta’ grape, ‘Skybound’ cedar and ‘Convoy’ cherry plum. Some of the plants that he was involved with that are not as popular but are still planted include ‘Moscow Pear’ apple, ‘Boughen’s’ phlox and ‘Manor’ cherry plum. There are many nursery people who live very healthy lives well into their nineties. I have always believed that it is their outdoor lifestyle and optimism that keeps them going beyond the national average.

An inground fountain
• Garden Tip: For those people who have suffered spot damage on their lawns over the winter, here is how you repair the damage. Give a really rough raking to the damaged area. Ensure it is loosened up. Apply a quarter of an inch of garden soil and rake that out. Then sprinkle the appropriate seed, sun or shade, into the garden soil. Top the area with a bit of peat moss and then step on everything, to compress the seed and soils together. Do a two step if you have a bit of country in you.

• Statistics don’t lie: Did you know that 34% of people believe a statement if there is a statistic attached? The remainder of the population simply remains gullible.

• Buyer beware: A flyer arrived with my newspaper on Wednesday. It was published by Lowe’s, the new box store in Harbor Landing. They were advertising plants. Gardeners should be advised that none of the apple trees listed in the ad are hardy for anywhere in the prairies. The apples should only be purchased in the warmer parts of B.C. and the warmer parts of Ontario. Also, some of the shrubs listed do not have good chance of surviving our climate. This has always been a problem with the box stores. They purchase plants for all of Canada, yet there are ten, distinct, climate zones within our country. Best to purchase your plants from a reputable, independent who understands the local conditions.

• Fertilizer time: Around the middle of May is a good time to be fertilizing your lawn, trees and shrubs. Most deciduous shrubs should be fertilized with a 10 30 20. If you cannot find that one, you can use a 20 20 20. Evergreens enjoy what is called an acid based fertilizer, so a 30 10 10 is a good choice. For the lawns, I am old school and I do not recommend any of the well advertised lawn fertilizers available at the box stores. I use a 34 17 0 for the sunny yards, and a 17 19 0 for shady lawns. The 17 19 0 has the benefit of 15% added iron which assists grass in greening up. These fertilizers are available at Crop Protection Services, 530 McDonald St. Their number is 721-6340.

• Far out: In 1985, we visited Roger’s Gardens, the premiere garden center in the Los Angeles area. They were selling, ‘imported from Canada’ peat moss, harvested at Nipawin, Saskatchewan. Their price? $20 a bag. That same product, is available around our city for eight or nine bucks a bag in 2012.

• Roses 101: There is much confusion as to the different rose series. Here is the thumbnail sketch. Parkland is the oldest series of roses and they were developed in Brandon and Morden by the late, Dr. Henry Marshall. The most popular of the series included ‘Cuthbert Grant’ and ‘Adelaide Hoodless’. After Parkland, there came the Morden series. Again, the breeding work was started by Henry Marshall, with assistance from Lynn Collicut. The Morden series includes ‘Cardinette’, ‘Morden Belle’, ‘Morden Sunrise’, ‘Hope for Humanity’, ‘Prairie Traveler’s Joy’, ‘Winnipeg Parks’ plus others. There is another series of hardy roses developed at the Ottawa Research Center called the Explorer series with ‘John Cabot’ and ‘Samuel Champlain’ being two of the more popular from this group. The newest series to be introduced is called The Canadian Artist Series with names such as ‘Bill Reid’, ‘Emily Carr’ and ‘Campfire’. Some of these are not yet released but will be in the coming years. The Canadian Artist Series was developed with expertise and financing from the private nurseries and breeders.

• Old school nurserymen #2: In 1982, I had the joy of being seated with Dr. Henry Marshall, the famous rose breeder, at a banquet. I asked him point blank, if he regarded his roses as being his legacy. His answer? “Yes. They are my children.”

'After Eight' Lilies
• Too social: I stopped into Lakeview Fine Foods to pick up a package of their ground chuck for supper on Wednesday. It should have taken me ten minutes, there and back. I bumped into reader after reader at the store and we chatted, as I am known to do. I arrived home one hour later. Perhaps I should get the store to deliver my needs. It would save me some time.

• Interesting: The originator of Cheezies, Canada’s cheesiest snack, has died at the age of ninety. His name was James Marker. No one admits they eat Cheezies, but the stores sure sell a lot of them. According to my math, Mr. Marker invented the snack when he was 26. When I was 26, I was drinking beer, eating Cheezies and chatting up pretty girls. I was a late starter.

• Nice plants: I noticed a new vendor at The Farmers’ Market this Saturday. The name was ‘Cherry Lane’ and they had bedding plants. Readers know how fussy I am. My standards for quality are incredibly high. I do not recommend most greenhouses, but this one met my standards. The other plant vendors at the market are, I am saddened to write, not up to snuff with most of their plants.

• A great sendoff: About a hundred and fifty former students of Miss Shirley Covey held a memorial service for her this Saturday afternoon. When I looked around the room, it was apparent that as a group, we had prospered in life. How much of that was due to Shirley and to the other teachers who looked after us? The tributes came from all over, sharing the same theme: ‘She helped me out when I needed it the most.” A few tears and a lot of laughter. She was such a delightful, larger than life character. Something out of an Agatha Christie novel or ‘Travels with my Aunt’.

• More of readers write:

• Jan Pederson, horticulturalist of great renown and our resident Dane, has discovered the joys of my people. Jan writes: “There was a gathering of the clans in Winnipeg tonight to celebrate 200 years of the Scottish ‘occupation’ of Manitoba. The Selkirk Settlers arrived here in 1812. Kris and I celebrated with haggis and neeps, the amazing sounds of Winnipeg’s award-winning Pipe and Drum Band & Highland Dancing. Your clansmen really know how to have a good time. A really fine evening learning about Scottish heritage …. including a large dollop of haggis. We left a wee dram of Scotch behind (didn’t want to drink it all). Regards, a secret Scot-wanna-be.”

A prairie quilt
• One of our many forwards, sent this in. “Hi Rod. I've been a reader of your Garden Report for a couple of years now, via your neighbor Kelly Pierson. I'm a third generation prairie gardener, and especially enjoy seeing the new varieties of plants and flowers available each year. I'm also a third generation prairie quilter, and wanted to let you know about a somewhat different kind of garden show happening next weekend at Conexus Arts Centre, Friday and Saturday from 10 am until 5 pm. The Prairie Piecemakers Quilters' Guild presents ‘My Quilted Garden’, a quilt show and vendor market. Saskatchewan is home to many talented quilters.” Signed, Brenda Caswell.

• Thanks for reading…Rod McDonald in rain soaked Regina

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