Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Garden Report #147
Sunday, July 6, 2014

Stunning white peonies at Audrey's farm
       Writers write: Nothing. Not a thing.  There should be something but there is nothing.  Are you sitting down?  I have nothing to say, well, at least not here.  Maybe next week.
        Photos:  Heather Lowe took the picture of the Japanese Lilac at the old Regina Inn.  It looks great!  Maureen Hawley took the photo of the Morden ‘Sunrise’ rose, which appeared to be dead, all the way through the month of May.  The rose is in our garden.  I can’t remember who took the shot of the sedum.  It blooms later in the year, end of August and September and it is wonderful.  The stunning white peony was shot by Audrey Drummond.  Her peonies are incredible this year.  Our tulips are now officially finished for the season and have been replaced with annuals.  We replant every October (sometimes in September) after the frost has wiped out the annuals.  The next shot is of some calliper trees that Michel Touchette is growing in Portage La Prairie.  And last but not least, Penny from Calgary loves to share her  house with animals looking for a friend.  I get that.

·      Readers write:  Keith Carpenter is my tulip bulb rep, though his Dutch heritage is in dispute.  Keith writes to us from the Vancouver area. “I have been enjoying your pictures of the tulips in the last few Garden Reports.  It sure took them a lot longer, this spring, to get going with the cool weather that you were having.  With those delays it seems like you have to look at what you want for next spring, right after this spring’s blooming is finished.”

·      There were many emails regarding The Vietnam War.  Here are a few of the responses.  From Jim Tomkins. “Your recent reminiscences in The Garden Report about the Vietnam War brought back a lot of memories; they immediately brought to mind a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book about that conflict and what happened behind the scenes: ‘A Bright Shining Lie’ by Neil Sheehan. I read it about twenty years ago and it made a profound impression on me.  Joanne Terry’s email reads “Hi Rod – Thoroughly enjoyed your Garden Report this morning.  Your piece on ‘I have no dog in this fight’ really hit home to me.  You are so right that the Vietnam War was a senseless farce and killed too many young men and women and children.  You are a great writer and so interesting that it makes me want to read.” Rod’s note:  I did write a play about a Canadian soldier,  from Saskatchewan,  who served in Vietnam.  It was titled ‘Paradise’.  I wrote it in 2007.  It got rave reviews from CBC and my audiences, but The Winnipeg Free Press and The Winnipeg Sun flunked it. I really do prefer the compliments.  Robert Barbour writes: “Thank you for the new newsletter. I really enjoy it. Your editorial on the Vietnam war was right on and can translate to the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts especially in light of the events of this week. I am at a loss as to how our illustrious leaders think they can resolve a conflict that  is thousands of years old. What a waste of our soldiers lives and I can’t imagine what their families feel about it.”  Rob Gee resides in Leicester, England and his view is this: “I was wanting to compliment your thoughts about Vietnam, which I thought were absolutely on the nail. I think I might adopt the 'I have no dog in this fight' philosophy. Interestingly, one thing I've noticed about the North American dialogue on the subject, is that commentators almost always put the number of fatalities in the tens of thousands. It's actually closer to three million, but no one seems to count the Vietnamese.” 
Siberian Iris are stunning planted in the sun
·      Neil Slater continues our common struggle.  That struggle being waged by us so called ‘oatmeal savages’ throughout Canada.  Neil writes: “But bagpipes are forever, as is ‘Scotland the Brave’, alas. Make music, not war!”
·      Sherrie Tutt is filled with nice things to say.  I wrote last week that I am all in favour of people who write nice things about me.  “Thanks so much Rod. You are the gold standard in gardening information. Happy summer.”
·    I have not seen Morag Armbruster for several years, wherever she is hiding, but Morag is still a regular reader.  She writes: “Just a thanks for The Garden Report, I really enjoy reading it.  And also I shared your thought for the day on our white board at the drop in centre here at APSS and it seems  like everyone who reads it chuckles.  (We did give you credit for it.) ”
·      Our local ‘matriarch of the arts’ and my spell checker, Jean Freeman, writes “I love your mind, your passions, your plant-smarts and genial curmudgeonliess (you should see what my spell-checker has tried to turn THAT word into!!)  Thank you for all of it!”
A Japanese Tree Lilac planted by the old Regina Inn
Lyn Goldman references me as an inspiration.  Other references have been left out as this is a family magazine.  “How beautiful the photos are, Rod!  They tell me that I must get back out in the garden, despite the plague of mosquitoes.  I’ll try your suggestion of Trounce.  And the fertilizer.  You inspire me.”
      Kathleen Livingstone was the first to respond to #145 and this is what she wrote: “Thanks for another great issue of The Garden Report.  It seems somehow fitting that it should come out with the sunshine!”
        Boy oh boy:  Some of my best observations (I write, tongue firmly placed inside cheek) are of people in their normal habitat.  You know. People shopping at Safeway, eating supper at Siam, registering at the hospital.  These people give me such unlimited fodder for my writing.  One of my friends saw me as she exited a lingerie shop at The Golden Mile.  I cracked “so what do you have in your shopping bag”.  She hissed at me “so help me God, if this shows up in one of your columns or blogs, I will kill you!”  Nice talk for a well educated woman.  That is why I am not mentioning it.
·        Listening to other conversations: I am standing in line at The Italian Star, home of Carlo Giambattista, who is truly Romanian, masquerading as Italian, ‘cause the girls love Italians and not so much, the Romanians.  I have my sheep’s’ milk feta cheese and bucatinni in hand and I am number three from the front of the till.  A woman, around twenty years of age, is standing behind me.  She is bored.  She retrieves her phone, actually it was in her hand all of the time, calls someone and subjects me to the following:  “Yeah.  I am standing in line at The Italian Star.  God…I am so bored.  Really?  How much shame does she want to bring on herself?  Yeah…the grandparents are out of control doing their thing.  I know, I know, what can you do?”  I looked over my shoulder.  She had two chocolate bars in her other hand.  The home of some great Italian sandwiches, and she had not one, but two, chocolate bars for her lunch.  I have struggled my entire life with weight issues (and so does she) and all I can say in my defence is that I do not eat chocolate bars for lunch.  I cook bucattini and serve it with fresh lemon and feta cheese and perhaps, lots of  garlic.  The word ‘perhaps’ was not really needed.

      There was a part of me, the non Canadian part, that wanted to pull my phone out of my pocket, call anyone and begin conversing in a loud, conversational voice, “Yeah.  I am standing in line at The Italian Star.  I am so bored.  There’s like this chick who is yapping on her phone behind me, talking about stuff we really don’t care about and get this, she is eating chocolate bars for lunch.  As if!”  Of course, I didn’t.  As you do also, I endured, but one day I am going to snap and shake off my Canadian facade.   
·        It takes a drunk to bring order to chaos:  We take the bus or walk in Vancouver.  Very few people drive  because of the insane traffic and the parking fees.  It is much easier to get around on foot and bus.  It was just before supper and the bus was packed.  We all stood, hanging onto the top rail.  A drunk man gets on the  bus.  He might have been homeless.  He was not well dressed.  He spots an uptight dude in his thirties.  The man he spots is a lawyer or an accountant, probably from down town, as he is dressed impeccably. He hates the bus.  He has laid his brief case across the seat next to him  He radiates “leave me alone”.  And we do.  The drunk has no such social constraint.  He picks up the man’s brief case, hands it to him and sits down in the now empty seat.  The dude is vibing that his space has been invaded.  The drunk says to him in a voice that all of us can hear “you can’t claim two seats, it is not right!”  Yep.  All of us agreed with the drunk but we let this ass get away with lying his briefcase across the seat so no one else would sit beside him.  Three stars for the drunk.
Reader Penny P. shares her home with those who
need one
·        The Fringe is worth every cent:  This year is the 10th time there has been a Regina Fringe Festival.  I am perfectly aware that we are the smallest of the festivals in Canada.  Edmonton and Winnipeg have done an incredible job of bringing down the crowds.  My hat is off to them.  But, even though we are small, rest assured, we still attract the ‘A listers’.  Those shows that sell out at other festivals are easily accessible here and they are worth checking out.  For ten bucks a ticket, a price that I think is too low for the performers, it is a bargain for audiences.   The Festival is on this year from July 9th to the 13th and for those without a calendar, that is this Wednesday to Sunday. 
·        The Secret Garden Tour:  This year, the tour  runs this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  For the price of the passport, you have an opportunity to see some of the finest gardens in Regina.  It is worth the time and your support goes to our only pro dance company, New Dance Horizons.  Congrats to Robin Poitras for her efforts.
       Garden Tip:  With all the rain we have had here in Saskatchewan, plants are starting to show stress.  Usually, rain is good for our gardens and our crops but as with everything, too much of a good thing…and you already know how the rest of that goes.  Plant stress is showing up in a few formats.  If a plant is drooping, from too much water, there is not too much a gardener can do unless you are willing to lift it out and relocate it to dryer ground.  What I have been noticing around town are many plants suffering from iron chlorosis.  When leaves turn a premature yellow and the veins of the leaf become readily apparent, chances are there is iron chlorosis present.  The best way to treat that problem is with iron chelate, sold sometimes as ‘Tru Green’. Plants that appear to be affected include roses, geraniums and peonies.  Mountain Ash, apple trees, cherries and plums are also very susceptible to iron chlorosis so keep an eye on those species.  
       Garden Tip:  Several people have told me that trollius cannot be grown in Regina.  “Just not hardy enough.”  I planted a dozen trollius in Sandra Rayson’s garden three years ago.  Each June, they grow like ‘The Dickens’ and bloom profusely.  Sandra and I chuckle when I retell the same advice, again and again. “These are not really hardy for Regina.”
'Autumn Joy' sedum blooms late August
or early September
The old monk and the young monk:  In 1995, my mentor and I were touring The Lieutenant Governor’s Residence in Victoria. There was an elderly gardener who was planting.  My mentor wrote the book on perennials.  He asked the gentleman “so old-timer, what are planting.”  The gardener stopped his work and gave the two of us a ten minute lecture on the attributes of sedum, which he was planting.  He took ten minutes to tell us why and when you should plant sedum.  We left that part of the garden.  I burst at the seams.  I asked, no, I demanded from my mentor, an answer. “Why did you not tell him who you are?  You are known as a perennial expert, across North America, including sedum?”  My mentor said to me “all I did was let him tell me a story.  Why?  What did you hear?”  We kept walking along, one of us a little more chastened.

·      Garden Tip:  There is a ‘horticultural fact’ that is a myth, not reality.  The myth says that none of us should do any pruning or trimming of our trees, shrubs, perennials or annuals during July. It is too late according to the myth.  The reality is that I prune, nip and tuck plants all of the time, in July.  It is not too late and if it is supposed to hurt the plant, I have not seen any evidence of that being the case.  Of course, I could be wrong with this being only my thirty-eighth year.  I know, I know, I am getting a little snarly as I age.  Do keep in mind that it is illegal and unethical to prune your elm trees until September 1st.  This law is to prevent Dutch Elm Disease and has nothing to do with the benefits of pruning.
Michel and his calliper trees
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

·      Perhaps it’s an age thing:  I did volunteer work at Access for seven years.  A woman, who worked at Access, was twenty-eight.  One day she told me that she did not understand why anyone watched my television show on gardening. “It’s a dumb show”.  I asked her how old she was and she told me.  All  I could mutter was “uh huh”.  Two years later, the same woman spots me and asks me a dozen questions on gardening.  I got right up in her grill:  “Aren't you the same person who thought my show was a waste of time?  So why the change of attitude on your part?”  Her answer: “We bought a house.”   I had a friend who owned a nursery in Saskatoon.  His name was Pat and his favourite saying was “it depends whose ox is being gored.”  In other words, the woman who now asked questions was no longer going dancing and staying out all night.  She was a home-owner and she was wanting to make her place look nice.  She was now ready for me, or at least ready for my information.  I, also, do not go out dancing, late at night.  I am in bed early, up early, and out in the garden, early.  Not bragging.  Just saying I am making much better choices these days. 
'Negrita' and 'Maureen' tulips planted together
Now, they are finished for the season
Parking lot shaming:  There is a site on Facebook that posts photos of bad parking.  I get it.  On a very bright note, public shaming, something I am not opposed to, does work.  Since the page came out a month ago and was on television, I have been extra careful to ensure I park properly.  I certainly don’t want a photo, of my vehicle in an asinine parking position, posted.  Of course, the decent people out there will pull up their socks and ensure they park responsibly but the idiots do carry on.  Saturday night, at The Dairy Queen, a driver did not want to drive to the back parking lot so what did she do?  She parked in the driving lane, right by the front door, and went in.  There is, deep inside of me, a tow truck driver, waiting to emerge.  As an aside, Maureen goes off her nut, at the grocery stores, with people who use up four spaces to angle park and to protect their ‘special car’.  One of our readers writes that he likes to take a piece of chalk and draw an outline around the car with the words, ‘Reserved for Assholes’.  That made me laugh.
·      Mea culpa:  Last week, I identified my Mandevilla hanging basket, the one hanging by the back door, as a hibiscus in the attachments.  I know it is a Mandevilla and I don’t know why I labelled it as a hibiscus as we rarely grow hibiscus outdoors.  At least in Regina, we don’t grow them outdoors.  If you read this in Maui, don’t argue with me.  I know, I know what you grow outdoors there.
·      Thought for the day: I just keep forgetting what I already know.  Have you ever looked for your glasses only to find out you had them on?
This Morden 'Sunrise' appeared dead until
the end of May.  Now, it blooms!
·      Thanks for reading this week…Rod McDonald in sunny and humid Regina

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Garden Report #146
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

A bowl of pansies planted for Mothers' Day
Writers write: Sometimes I describe a situation, explaining what I have witnessed.  When I do that, I often use the phrase “I have no dog in this fight” to explain that I don’t have a side to the argument.  Not this time.  I do have a dog in this fight.  I had one forty years ago and I still do today.  In the 1960s, myself, as did many others throughout the world, protested the war in Vietnam.  We said that Kennedy, Johnson and Westmoreland were lying.  We said that they knew they could not win the war in Vietnam, yet they were throwing thousands of young men into a south-east jungle, to die.  Final death toll was over 58,000.  Most were young men around nineteen or twenty, the same age as I was at the time.  Add into the death toll, the wounded, the injured, and the families of those young men and you can now understand why this time frame was the birthplace of the divisions within America and Canada.  This period saw the rise of the generation gap.  It was a time when men who had served their country, bravely and with honour in World War Two, could not fathom that their government, those they had elected, would lie to them and to everyone else.  This was a time of The Great Divide. Families and neighbours would not speak to each other, it was that contentious.
A mandevilla hanging basket by the back door
     Canada saw an influx of one hundred thousand of the draft dodgers and deserters.  All were young men.  One who settled in Regina, told me that his father who had served with distinction in WWII, could not go down to the VFW Hall (the American Legion) because his son was in Canada. The war severed old ties within communities and families.
     There were marches in every city of North America, including Regina. I was there.  I have a dog in this fight.  The RCMP would send out  members in plain clothes to infiltrate the marches and other policemen were assigned to take photographs of the marchers.  They were actively attempting to scare the protesters, nothing less.  It did not work. The marches grew in size.  Newspaper articles, dismissing the protestors, were published.  Stories were promoted, showing the construction workers of New York City attacking the protesters.  The hard hats as they were known, were shouting “my country, right or wrong.”  Their country was wrong, there is no doubt about it.  
    Now, with the reflection of forty and fifty years, we know more to this story.  CNN has been running a documentary for two weeks titled ‘The Sixties’.  I watched it.  Kennedy knew he could not win in Vietnam, but he didn’t know how to get out. He said so, on tape.  So he kept it going.  Johnson also knew that it was not a possibility to win this ungodly war.  He also said so, on tape. He too, did not know how to get out of Vietnam.  So he kept it going. Westmoreland ran the war as a conventional war and he requested and was granted, again and again, more young men for cannon fodder.  He thought that if only he was given more men and more bombs, he could win this war.  He could not.  We were shocked when Johnson reinstated the draft because Westmoreland wanted to increase his contingent from 75,000 to 125,00 young men.  The shock did not end there.  He kept adding men until in the late sixties, there were close to five hundred thousand men, in country and two million stateside to service the chaos of Vietnam.  They lied, each one of those three men.  Then Nixon came along, also a liar. They were captured on tape, lying to the public.  All four knew and shared their knowledge with others, that the war was not winnable.  Not one of these men had the courage to do the right thing.  I had a dog in this fight and I still do. 
     The capture of the voices of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Westmoreland, lying on tape, only proves that what they said forty and fifty years ago was wrong.  We were right. Yet, there is no glory in being right.  The dead are still dead.  There were 5,000 Canadian boys, enamoured by John Wayne movies, who served with the Americans.  Some of them are dead.  A young man from my neighborhood volunteered.  He came back shot to pieces and for what?
     Today, in any major store, you can purchase garden pots made in Vietnam or eat a bowl of  soup in a Vietnamese restaurant.  Is that why it was invaded?  Is that why a generation was traumatized?  Is that why Vietnam continues to be a contentious issue that divides a generation?  There are those who still hang onto the idea that our leaders would never lie to us or that perhaps they did, but they have learned their lesson and will  never repeat those lies.  I wish that were true. 
Trollius are just about finished blooming
   Readers write: This note came from Rob Van Zanten out of Vancouver.  In the attachment, you can see the program he references. “ Hey Rod: Just doing some house cleaning here in my office and came across this ad on the back of the 1991 Regina Folk Festival program.  You haven't changed a bit...take care.”

·           Reader Jean McNeil from Ottawa is challenging my haggis story.  Jean writes “Just reading your June 8th Garden Report this morning. Always a shock to see one's name in some publication.  Belated Happy Birthday, Maureen. With Rod's description of your meal, we could celebrate the 'heat' (we were at Siam) right along with you. Haggis just for tourists? Are you serious Rod? I haven't had the opportunity to try it so can't really pass judgement, though I'm dying to try it.  Could you enlarge on why you hold your opinion?”
·           Sherry Tutt lives in my neighbourhood and she has a strong opinion about people who text while driving.  She writes: “Just weighing in on the cell phone debacle. Look out for the intersection of Regina Avenue and Albert Street at the south end of the Albert Street Bridge. Last winter, both my daughter and I were almost killed by drivers going blithely onto the bridge through a red light. On each occasion we were in the passenger seat of a cab and we were saved only by  the alertness of the driver who saw the texter and did not proceed.”
·           Bob Roy sent along a nice compliment.  I am never opposed to nice compliments.  “Joan and I are delighted to find your blog back in our e-mail box, even if on an irregular basis, as your hopefully improving health allows. Recovery from such operations is not always of the speedy type ... hence we wish you slow and steady gains.”
·              Doug Gummeson is from Moose Jaw and he has an alternative view point regarding cell phone users.  This is quite funny and I only reprinted the first part.  If a reader wants the entire description, I will forward it to you.  “The saddest thing to see, I think is when a  couple, usually older but not always, sits down in a restaurant and the husband either brings or buys a paper and she sits there and looks at it opened, in front of her, as this kind of guy will not sit beside her, always across.  It is usually too far away to read and the angle is wrong anyway.  She fidgets, asks him a question.  Rarely two.  He ceremonially semi crumples the paper and lowers it just enough to see her, gazes over it, gives a one or two word answer and uncrumples the paper back to the local news.  She fidgets , looks around the room and perhaps catches a waiter or two to ask a question she already knew the answer to. Finally, she succumbs and gingerly picks up one of the remaining sections and begins to look through it. They sit there, both with their paper towers separating them into personal self gratification.”
·         Gail Bowen is very kind as she writes “Thank you for the rants,  the restaurant reviews, the gardening advice and the beautiful photos of flowers, Rod.  To paraphrase that old chestnut from Hello Dolly. "It's good to have you back where you belong."
·           Neil Slater took in the pavilion of my people at Mosaic (written somewhat tongue in cheek by a guy who grew up on Dewdney Avenue).  Neil shares “I was also at the Scottish pavilion, for the Society for Creative Anachronism. I tried the Shepherd's pie, too, but I thought it a bit bland. It was good; it just didn't come with much spice built into it. The scone I had was very good, though, as was the fly cemetery. I've only been to Siam for the lunch buffet. Give an excuse, any excuse to go back and I'll be there instantly.  We're looking forward to the Fringe Festival; we already have a date with John Huston for a barbecue.”
Blue Onion (allium) flowered these past two weeks
·      Garden Tip:  The old timers, who lived through the 1930s, tell us never to complain about moisture, of any kind.  So, I am not complaining, but have we ever had the rain.  My plants, as no doubt yours are as well, are getting washed out. The next time you water,  stop your giggling, ensure that you add some 10 30 20 or 15 30 15 to your watering can and some iron chelate.  Many plants are starting to turn a bit yellow which means the available iron has been washed away with this much rain.  You should notice an improvement within seven to ten days.
·      Yes! The Fringe is coming:  From around the world and from across the street, The Regina International Fringe Festival will be here, soon.  This year, it is happening July 9th to the 13th.  I know there are some outstanding performers who are booked and without the audience, actors will be speaking to an empty room.  That means, get out there and see as many shows as you can.  It is a great price at only ten bucks a show.  If you take in a few shows, I guarantee that you will be a witness to some of the finest theater in the world.  Our collective hats off to Jodi Sadowsky who runs The Fringe for our benefit.
·      The Caraway Grill:  Maureen glared.  “I am not cooking tonight!”  I got the hint, after all of these years of marriage. I am catching on.  She had never been to The Caraway Grill, which has been reviewed here in another edition, and she loved it.  It was a culinary adventure because what we thought we had ordered and what arrived at our table was a pleasant surprise.  The tastes were wonderful and she is now, as are many of you, a true convert.
'Bridal Wreath' spirea
Garden Tip: The white blooming plant, about three feet high and cascading over, is probably a ‘Three Lobe’ spirea.  Lots of blooms this year.  If it is a bit bigger, chances are it is a ‘Bridal Wreath’ spirea.  Both are great plants and both enjoy more sun than shade.  Another great choice for gardeners is the ‘Little Princess’ spirea.  I have one of those in my own garden and I love it.  In the attachments, I have included photos. 
'Little Princess' spirea
·      New Dance Horizons Secret Garden Tour:  This year will feature several of Regina’s finest gardens.  Have you ever been a snoop?  Come on.  Admit it.  Now you can pay a fee of $40 to NDH, get a passport, and check out how other people garden.  Make sure you look in their tool shed to check if they have been sweeping.  What?  Isn’t that what snoops do? This year, the dates are June 11th to the 13th
This garden will be on the NDH tour
·      Steak Nights:  There are many of these nights available to us, as fundraisers and all for worthy causes.  I always buy at least two or more tickets for these things.  Usually, I give the tickets to folks who don’t get much of an opportunity to go out to eat.  They appreciate the tickets, as do the fund raisers.  A few weeks ago, we took in one of those steak nights at The Tap.  We don’t get too many occasions when we are in their neighbourhood and when we arrived, it felt as if we were in another city.  In the north west part of the city, they have everything from all the banks, the grocery stores, the chains and the independents.  After being there, I feel that my world is too shallow.  Comfortable, but shallow. 
     This review contains two distinct elements.  One that reads “everything was perfect” and the other part that reads “no it wasn't.” Maureen had one of their ales, the garden salad, the steak and a baked potato.  All was “excellent” she declared to no one but me.  I don’t drink (I am the neighbourhood designated driver) so I ordered a ginger ale.  It was 5% ginger ale and 95% carbonated water.  Only the slightest hint of ginger ale was ascertained.  Maureen tasted it, suggested that I send it back and my reply was “this is God protecting me from too much sugar” and I let it ride.  I asked that my baked potato be French fries instead.  Our server said she would check.  It couldn't be done.  I said, again, “this is God protecting me from cholesterol.”  I wondered why God let the guy across from me have French fries? Perhaps his cholesterol  was better than mine?  They do check when you enter the restaurant, but you already knew that.  I found out it was because he was not a  part of the steak night. My food arrived.  I didn't eat the baked potato, just not my thing.  I didn't order the garden salad.  I had ordered the Caesar, which was available to me in spite of it being steak night.  It was flat and wilted, prepared at least one hour prior to my serving.  Here is the kicker, the steak was amongst the best I have ever had.  It put a few other establishments to shame, especially The Diplomat.  We have not eaten at The Diplomat for four or five years, because their idea of a rib eye was so disappointing.  The Tap’s  steak was charred on the outside and succulent on the inside.  Absolute perfection.  Now, the other three components of my meal left me wanting but I have to give it to them for grilling a steak properly.  I would visit it again and who knows, this time, they might let me order fries with my steak, instead of the baked potato.  One can only hope.
Tulips at Night-photo by Maureen Hawley
·      Garden Tip:  Even though June has been a difficult month to garden and it is normally one of the favourites, you can and should keep gardening.  My own bedding plants were mostly in the ground and it started to rain.  This was early June.  No problem.  Let it rain for a night and the next day, carry on.  The plants still sit, waiting for a dry day to get out there.  I don’t like that I have not finished planting, but I also don’t give up.·
This 'Morden Sunrise' rose appeared dead, this spring
  Garden Tip:  Speaking of not giving up, many of you have shared about not giving up.  This winter was hard on our plants, no argument there.  Many plants appeared to be dead this spring.  Many people dug out their supposed dead plants but most still had life in them.  I had in the gardens I care for, thirty two rose plants.  Most appeared dead.  All but two are doing fine today.  This story is repeating itself over the city.  I am getting emails and conversations from many people that what appeared to be finished is now a ‘Lazarus’ plant.  It has come back to life.  Faith and patience has been rewarded, numerous times this season.
'Morden Belle' rose- a good one for Regina

·      Hats off to Jean:  I proof read and I proof read, and still something sneaks by.  Everyone who edits knows this to be true.
In the last edition, I wrote that Justin Trudeau was “stocking me”.  The word seemed so right. Jean Freeman was kind enough to point out that the word ‘stalking’ was a much better choice.  Mea culpa.
·      A tale of two genders:  I distinctly heard Maureen say to me this morning, “have a piece of my home made chocolate cake for breakfast.”  She claims that she said “touch the chocolate cake and you’re dead!”  I really wish you guys would make yourself more clear in what it is you really want from us men.
·      Garden Tip:  With the outbreak, again, of forest tent caterpillar, a great choice and still within the organic family, is any product with pyrethrums.  I have found them in Ambush and I have mixed that with a bit of Trounce in my sprayer and it was effective.  
·      Garden Tip: With the pooled water, we can expect one of the worst years of mosquitoes.  Either 1991 or 1992, the mosquitoes were so severe that when bike riding, I quit stopping at Stop signs and red lights.  That is a pretty big admission for a guy who doesn't jay walk.  In my defence, the moment you stopped, they swarmed and ate you alive.  As long as you kept the bike moving, you were okay.  To settle the mosquitoes down for the better part of a day, I spray my garden with Trounce.  The soap makes them sleepy and they become rare for the rest of the gardening day.
·      Great movie:  I am not a big movie buff but I do enjoy them.  Saturday, we took in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’.  After his history with spaghetti westerns and winning an Oscar for ‘Million Dollar Baby’ this movie appeared to be an odd choice, for him.  He had such a soft touch with this movie, not milking a scene and yet pulling back when needed, that if he doesn’t win an Oscar, his editor should.  It’s a great movie.   Tell Clint I sent you.
·      The Farmers’ Market:  I haven’t been getting there as often as I should or at least, not as often as I used to do so.  I did make it out on Saturday and I had a good time.  I have written before that going to the market is as much about being social as it is about commerce.  Two readers, Gwen Barschel and Debbie Cameron visited with me, thus the social part.  I bought a great jar of bread and butter pickles as well.  Brad grew some strawberries in his greenhouse that were amongst the finest I have ever eaten.  Go early.  He has been selling  out within an hour.  My life is so simple and not complicated, just the way I like it.
Brad Crasweller built this gazebo
Nice: Outdoor Expressions finished off a pergola, with brick work, that they stared for a customer last year.  It looks lovely and thought it should be shared with the readers. 
·      Some have it harder:  My heart goes out to all the readers who have had their basements damaged either by the rain water or by sewer back up.  Each night on the news, there is another person who has been hit hard.  In some communities, people have even had to leave their homes and move in with relatives or the community safe spots.   This has not been easy on them. 
·      Credit is due: The photos of the tulips, New Guineas, hibiscus and pansies were all taken by Maureen Hawley who has turned into the official photographer of this blog.  It was a very sought after job because while it pays nothing, the glory is immense.
'Thunderchild' in bloom
·      Thought for the day:  Even if you have pains, you are not allowed to be one.
·      The last word:  This week, it goes to Alan Bratt and his opinion of drivers who use handicap spaces and don’t need them.  “I think you are looking at the fellow who parked in the handicap spot in the wrong way. He, too, is handicapped but in a more profound way. He is both stupid and arrogant. Imagine what it is like to be him. In his mind the whole world revolves around him and his needs of the moment. It is his belief that no truly handicapped person is going to appear and need that space because if they needed it they would already be there. That lack of reasoning indicates his stupidity and the careless use of the spot his arrogance.” 
A 'Baby Blue' grafted spruce
Thanks for reading...Rod McDonald in the heart of the rain forest of Regina, Canada.