Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Garden Report #132

Sunday, May19th, 2013

A fresh cut bunch of tulips from my garden
• Writers write: Coming this week is our annual Cathedral Village Arts’ Festival. Along with The Fringe Festival and The Folk Festival, these are my three favourite gigs of the summer. People who live in Regina are often the first to complain that there is nothing to do, yet this Arts’ Festival wears me out, going from venue to venue, each May. Artists, poets, writers, musicians, dancers and performers present new and established work. We get to see everything from the fantastic to the ‘not quite ready’ for public display stuff. Most people think of The Festival as being the incredibly successful street fair coming up this Saturday. Not true. From Monday to Saturday, there are gigs happening all over the 13th Avenue area. Get yourself a program (available online) and we will see you there.

Just a short rant: Each year, The Festival organizers ask two things of people attending The Street Fair this Saturday. Due to the massive crowds, they ask that people not bring their dogs or ride their bikes through the crowds of people. It’s just not safe. So, last year, who do I see riding his bike, with his dog being pulled behind on a leash, but one of our local lawyers. Now, I understand that going to law school requires some decent, high school marks but you might think that at law school, they would have a course called ‘You have a brain so please use it!’ What the (insert bad word) was he thinking? And seeing as he is a lawyer, perhaps he could answer this question: Why, is it illegal to knock stupid people off of their bicycles, while riding through a crowd? Why is it against the law? Should it not be categorized as a public service? Just a note for all my cyclist friends: Be cool and ride your bike to the Festival, not through it.

• Readers write: Jean McKay sent along this interesting tidbit. “Do my G.R. fellow readers know that rhubarb is technically a vegetable, related to buckwheat?”

• Audrey Drummond had this nice thing to say: “Good morning, Rod. Thanks for your Report and the picture of your granddaughter-beautiful. Her smile is heart warming.”

• Roberta Nichol remembers her mother, who now resides in heaven. “Ah yes, our moms. Great ladies. I will always and forever appreciate my mom for her gift of music. One of my earliest memories of her encouragement was that at age three or four, I got my first record player. Up every morning, around 5:30 or so, playing Brenda Lee's ‘Jambalaya’, or Doris Day's ‘Que Sera Sera’, which was a 78 rpm! Without that record player, I don't know what I would have done. I guess, maybe she had seen an inkling of the talent in that raucous, little girl with the juicy, spitty lisp, who always got the words mixed up.”

• Laura Pettit sent this thank you along: “Thanks Rod! I truly enjoyed your story and memory of your mother. We all have many fond memories of our mothers, grandmothers and aunts, in addition to those that come with the job of being a mother. It truly is the hardest job one can ever hold and one never has the time to attend the interview!”
A shot of my woodland garden

• Georgia Hearn sends along this message: “Wonderful issue! You give recognition where due, you add humor, interest in food and coffee sites, and most of all, an appreciation for gardening and love of life. It is a pleasure to be part of your readership. Your mother would be proud. And thanks again, your advice never garden is better for it.”

• Sherrie Tutt loves her coffee. “Loved #131, as always. I'd like to add a good coffee house. The French Press (beside Shoppers Drug Mart on Albert South) makes great coffee, breakfast burritos that are addicting as well as assorted sweet and nutritious goodies. Best of all, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming with your choice of big easy chairs or small bistro tables. The owner cares for the place lovingly with fresh flowers on the table and nostalgic prints on the walls. My daughter and I head there for a great visit the minute she hits town, especially when the weather is a mean minus thirty.”

• Ray Morgan works with pest control at The City. I asked him about their tree banding time lines and here is Ray’s response. “Typically we take the bands off at the end of May. Crews have completed banding a couple of weeks ago and are now on the final stage of monitoring the bands for female moths. Very few numbers so far, it may mean very low cankerworm populations this year.”

Canadian Artist Rose 'Felix Leclerc'
• Garden Tip: It is okay to start your fertilizer program this week. For young trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, I use 10 30 20 or 15 30 15. Either one is good. For my lawn, I use 17 19 0 with 14% sulphur. This odd ball fertilizer is available at CPS on McDonald Street, north of Ross Avenue. Now, as to fertilizer recommendations. There are those gardeners who swear up and down by a certain fertilizer and only that one. Here is what I have observed over thirty-five years of working with thousands of gardeners. The regularity of the gardener in applying the fertilizer is of greater importance than the numbers of the fertilizer. Good gardeners are consistent with all of their gardening activities and the plants show the result of that consistency.

• Garden Tip: I am not thrilled with the lawn fertilizers that are being sold by the box stores. You know who I am talking about. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Rona, Costco, Superstore and Canadian Tire. All the bags I have seen are high in nitrogen and offer very little else. Here is the kick. Nitrogen will always green up your lawn but what about the other requirements such as root builders.

• Garden Tip: Very important is the aeration of your lawn. You can rent equipment or you can hire someone with a power aerator to carry out the task. Aeration removes plugs from your lawn and the holes allow water, fertilizer and oxygen to penetrate into the root zone. Aeration helps to soften the hard packed clay soil that we have here in Regina. I do believe in this important step and I had my lawn aerated on Tuesday.

'Jackpot' tulips from my garden
• Downton Abbey fanatics: This in from CJ Katz: Downton Abbey returns on January 5th. Breaking news: O’Brian will not be back.

• Tulip time: The incredible display in Ottawa has been in bloom for several weeks now but mine has just started. So far, so good. I have a few early doubles up as well as the purples and whites in my ‘sun trap garden’. The rest will follow, as the garden soil warms up.

Canadian Artist Rose 'Campfire'

• A booth, really?: Every year, we go to The Street Fair on 13th (coming up this Saturday) and we talk and we talk and we talk. One year, we did not make it to the end of 13th as we were talked out. Every year, I tell Maureen that it would be easier for us to rent a small both along 13th and set up two extra chairs, a small table and set out a sign that reads ‘Talk to Maureen and Rod-$2.00’ and we could sit there, drinking our tea and chatting away to friends we haven’t seen forever and a day. It would be much easier on our legs if not our larynx.

• Reseeding time: For gardeners who have lawn damage, this is a perfect time to reseed. This year, my back lawn was very thin due to last year’s intense shade and this winter’s snow mould. I spread a layer of peat moss, about half and inch thick over the entire lawn. I sprinkled a mix of grass seeds that contained both a Kentucky blue grass and a Creeping Red Fescue. I then applied a 17 19 0 fertilizer and lightly watered. Now I wait for Mother Nature to perform her miracle.

• ‘Sweet’ on Broad: No! Read this again. I was at ‘Sweet’ on Broad Street, a cappuccino/bakery joint. Reader Kirk Bellamy and I had lunch there on Friday. It was okay. Not great, but okay. We both had the chicken noodle soup which was rather bland, nothing special at all. Kirk had a prosciutto Panini which was tasty. You have to know, before you take your first bite, that this sandwich is going to be salty. I ordered the chicken salad and it was served on a multi grain bread. It was good, not great, but good. Service was excellent. Kirk had a decent dark roast coffee and we passed on their baked desserts, which looked really, really tempting. There cinnamon buns are excellent (I have had them many times before) and one of the few places where they are made in the baking powder biscuit style. Total for the two of us including tax was thirty bucks. ‘Sweet’ is located in the heritage building across the street from CBC, close to College Avenue.

• Misappropriation of words: I wrote, last week, that one of our boys called underwear “hunger wear” when small. Rob Van Zanten responded with his kids waiting for him at the Vancouver Airport, as he came down the “alligator”. Added into this mix, when Number Three Son was four or five, we drove by a television dish and he responded, “look, they have a plate!” Close, very close. 
Rob Van Zanten is geting ready to ship his shrubs

• Early bird special: I was zonked out on Friday night. Zonked? Is that a real word? Spell check is letting it go. I digress. I was asleep early and up early, as in a little after four a.m. I checked out my front lawn with the aid of just a hint of the dawn yet to come. Two robins were hunting for worms and immediately I thought of the adage. If I have to tell you, specifically, what the adage is, I will lose my writer’s licence for over explaining. They are very strict at The Guild these days.

• Not a sweet old lady: About five years ago, I was a volunteer at The Street Fair for The Cathedral Village Arts’ Festival. The City expects the organizers to keep each intersection open so that fire trucks and ambulances can pass through. Now you know why there are no booths at intersections. Makes sense, right? An elderly woman parked her car, right in the middle of the street, blocking access to and through the Garnet Street intersection. Myself and another volunteer saw her and we said “It is important that you not park there as you will block emergency vehicles if they have to get into The Festival.” Her response: “You two are shit heads!” Nice language, Grandma.

Rayanna is now writing for The Garden Report

• Rayanna’s Report: This is my first time as a writer, seeing as I am only six months old. My Grampa Rod, he’s the funny looking dude with the grey beard, usually does all the writing, but not today. Can we share a secret? I have a plan to wrap him around my baby finger. Actually, that is already done. He keeps talking about setting aside money for my university education. What a drag! Here is my order of priorities: First, a bike when I am three. Second, a pony when I am seven. Third, a Mustang Convertible when I am sixteen. Of course, a diamond tiara because he thinks I am a princess, goes without saying. The rest of the details I will fill out later. And just between you and me, sometimes I pretend I am asleep so he will stop singing me lullabies. Have you ever heard the dude sing? He can write, I will grant you that, but as a singer, OMG!

Canadian Artist Rose 'Emily Carr'
• Canadian Artist Series Roses: There are now four releases of this wonderful series including the new 'Campfire'.  I would not recomend these roses if they did not include the finest of Canadian breeding. 

• Thanks for reading…see you at The Arts’ Festival…Rod McDonald in it’s ‘kind of summer time’, Regina!

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