Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Garden Report #139

The Garden Report #139

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

The Regina Fringe Festival-July 10th to the 14th!

A few leftover plants in clay pots
• Writers write: Stress is an internal emotion yet when we experience it, we tend to blame it on outside forces. On a good day, I handle everything that comes along. Nothing bothers me. On a bad day, little things get to me. I react to situations that I should find laughable. Stress comes from within and not from others.

• Readers write:

• John Huston is coming to town, with his show ‘Now What I Want Is Facts’. John had this to say, in remembrance of when Maureen and I were getting The Fringe up and running and he was one of the many actors who would stay in our house. “Thanks for plugging The Fringe and for many fond memories of your (including in this pronoun Maureen and the late Murphy) hospitality. If memory serves we were usually out of pyjamas by the crack of two p.m.”

• Brad Crassweller was checking out the plants at Wal Mart. He took a few photos of their plants and forwarded them to me with this comment “I think I can compete with this quality. Ouch!” Brad also had his first day at The Farmers’ Market on Saturday and he sent us a photo of the booth.
I find this all too often, at the box stores

• Alan Bratt compares The Garden Report with Randy Bachman. Thank you. “When I listen to Randy Bachman's ‘Vinyl Tap’, I am reminded of your blog. There is the same mixture of easy conversation and real information. Now, it could be just a generational thing or you two could be doppelgangers which could be a real problem if you were ever to meet. I think you're supposed to explode or something crazy like that. That could really spoil your day.”

• Jenifer Cohen asks a very, good question. “Good morning Rod...wonder whether you know the answer: ‘The Rooms’ is a signature spot in St. John's (now featuring a wonderful exhibit of Mary Pratt's work). You'll see the huge sea of dandelions. They have a much different attitude to what we regard here as something to kill before it gets going. In Newfoundland, the dandelion is used in salads and as a herbal remedy. Why the different attitude?” Rod’s answer: The dandelion was brought to Canada by European immigrants as a herbal tea and salad ingredient. Obviously, the dandelions did not stay put in the Europeans’ gardens and escaped into lawns. Keep in mind that the classical definition of a weed is ‘an unwanted plant’. By that definition, dandelions became a very unwanted plant as North Americans value their green, weed free lawns greatly. Thus, the negative attitude towards dandelions. Obviously, there are parts of the country where this yellow bloomer is valued and parts where it is not. For what it is worth, baby’s breath and Virginia creeper, which are valued by us are considered noxious weeds in other parts of the continent. Again, a weed is an unwanted plant so a rose growing in wheat field is a weed.
Dandelions are regarded as a good thing in parts of the country

• Joanne Crofford is tickled to have a photo of her new, rock garden published in The Garden Report. She writes “Thanks for including our photo. It is sort of like ‘The Flower Oscars’, getting a photo in The Garden Report, or maybe Playboy, if anyone still remembers that!” Rod’s note: We do not publish photos of naked flowers here at The Garden Report. This is a clean, family ezine run by a respectable gentleman who behaves himself, most days.

• Betty Jane Hetland has a beauty of a peony growing in her front yard. Here is her story on how it came to be there. “This peony root was given to me by Donna Gullickson, a gal I worked with in 1996. I have not seen her since then. I am reminded of Donna when the beautiful peonies bloom in my front yard, each summer. What a wonderful memory to leave with someone. I guess that is why God made perennials…. to share with friends! I love your newsletter! Keep up the great work.”
Betty Jane loves her peony

• Jim Tomkins sent a note that best describes how many of us garden. “I'm getting close to finishing the June weeding and fertilizing ... probably just in time to start the July fertilization process. In the meantime, we're swimming in strawberries and they're wonderful!”

• Heather Lowe is a good gardener and a picture is worth a thousand words. You can see the results of her skill in the photo below. Here is her story. “This was originally one plant. I was given it for my birthday, seven years ago. My friends purchased it in the flower department of one of the grocery stores. Once it was finished blooming in the year I got it, I decided I would pop it into the ground but expected minimal performance, if it even survived. It is far and away my favourite lily.”

Heather grew this from one bulb

• The Fringe is coming: What to see? You can usually count on veteran performers John Huston, Rob Gee and Erik de Waal to put on a great show. That leaves another sixteen shows to see and I guarantee you will find some fantastic stories being told by truly outstanding performers.

• Government House/A great party: Unlike the thousands and thousands of people who filled up Wascana Park on Dominion Day (I had to put that in there for the old school readers) we headed over to Government House on Dewdney Avenue for their celebrations. No insane crowds, free cookies, lemonade and popcorn, great music, chairs set in the shade and a laid back, family audience. Cool. This is the third or fourth year we have been there and it is definitely worthwhile.

• Insanity by The Park: As most readers know, we live three doors from Wascana Park. We love the neighbourhood, the people and of course, the park itself. Except once a year. July 1st, every year, this area becomes the most insane neighbourhood outside of New York City. People invent parking spaces. A fire hydrant or a no parking sign means absolutely nothing, as do alley ways and drive ways. People park in front of driveways, blocking access, and when you ask them not to do that, they are no longer polite Canadians. “Well! Where am I supposed to park?” yelled one mom when I pointed out that she was blocking our drive. “Gee, I don’t know. How about in a legal parking spot where you don’t get towed or ticketed?”

We walk the hundred feet to The Albert Street Bridge and join the neighbours and thousands of others for the fireworks. That is always a good time. We ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ with each explosion. This year, Greg Morley and Susan Hardy, joined us after the show and we waited in our back garden for the crowds to subside, before they ventured home. The pedestrian traffic after the fireworks is similar to Taylor Field after a the big game, but confined to one block, ours! There is a literal stampede of people racing down Regina Avenue. People are all over the street and walks. By midnight of Canada Day, the neighbourhood is back to its lovely self, with only a bit of garbage to pick up.

• Blue bins are here: This past week was the first week of the city wide and City owned recycling blue bin program. We totally support it, having done the Crown Recycling blue bin program for years. It will take a bit of getting used to as the rules are slightly different. In the City’s program, you cannot use garbage bags of any description in the blue bins. We read that, a little late, and had to head out to the lane, and take out all the plastic bags to be in compliance. Now the neighbours thinks we are ‘binners’. Also, you are not supposed to include any lids or bottle tops. I know there will be glitches for the first little while, but then everything will settle down. The City hopes to reduce the landfill volume by forty per cent with this program. Here’s hoping!

• Male pattern blindness: I ran into reader Marg Hryniuk at Lakeview Fine Foods this week. She suggests that when men cannot find something in the fridge, or a clean pair of socks, that this condition is a nameable one, male pattern blindness. I am not certain if I should be offended or pleased that my condition has a diagnosis.

• Mosquito control: The numbers of these critters is climbing, what with the rain storms we have had. If I am spending a good amount of time in the garden, I like to spray Trounce around the yard. The fats within the soap component of this organic product wrap themselves around the mosquitoes and that finishes them off. I find, in my garden, that one application in the morning keeps me relatively buzz free for the rest of that day. Do not spray Trounce on ferns or impatiens.

• Tulip sale: Many of you have talked to me about my tulips this year. Finding good tulips is getting to be a difficult job for most home gardeners. I order straight from Holland through Van Noort’, but this option is not open to most people due to the large minimum order required. I have ordered some extra tulips for September and they will be available to readers of The Garden Report. I have ordered single colours of pink, white and a bluish purple, bags of fifty bulbs will be $22. I also have some different tulips coming in for myself and if someone wanted something different or new, I can spare ten here and there. Those ones are more expensive. If a few of you are uncertain of how to plant tulips, I can arrange an on hands seminar for sometime in September, in my back yard. Planting tulips is actually a lot easier than most people think. If you can dig a hole, you can grow a tulip. If you want to purchase fall bulbs from me, please place your order now.

This was Brad's first time at The Farmers' Market

• New Dance’ ‘Secret Gardens Tour’: This is a fundraiser for Regina’s premiere dance troupe and has been going on for several years. Buy a ticket and you get to visit several beautiful and interesting gardens. It is always a good time.

• It’s a hot day: This week, we had two, very, hot days. How hot was it you ask? I went to work for four hours, in the morning, and when I arrived home, I weighed myself. I was down three pounds and I had had a coffee, a mint tea and a glass of water. Now, if wishes were horses then beggermen would ride, and those three pounds are easily replaced with water and not a permanent state of affairs. However, if any reader runs into me and wishes to say in a loud voice “have you been working out? You look great!” then please feel free to do so. I carry a cheque book with me just for such comments.

• Rider Green: Wow! What a great start to the season with wins over Edmonton and Calgary. I love the running style of Cory Sheets with his stutter step, waiting for the hole to open. Durant only got sacked once and there were no picks or fumbles during Friday’s game.

A 'Morden Sunrise' rose in our garden this week
• Red Sox Red: If you want a good time for ten bucks, sounds shady doesn’t it, take in a Red Sox game at Currie Field. We went four times last year and enjoyed each game. Thursday night, The Red Sox were playing Yorkton and we got our money’s worth. The ballgame is decent, you share the stands with some nice people who are not calling for blood and will applaud a good play by the opposing team. How Canadian we are. We were sitting along the first base line at Thursday’s game and a foul ball missed Maureen by two or three feet. After that, we were a little paranoid, ducking for the next half dozen zingers.

• Thanks for reading…Rod McDonald, somewhere in the deepest part of Regina!