Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Garden Report #142

The Garden Report #142
Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

• Writers write: Driving home from Saskatoon this Thursday, I was once again struck by the beauty of our province in September. Fields had been swathed, awaiting the combine’s arrival. The trees were turning their autumn colours and all seemed as it should be. This is indeed a beautiful month. Perhaps that is why I chose to be born in September, as if my parents had no say in the plan. There will be no Garden Report next week as I am heading up to Saskatoon for one more surgery, this Friday. I don’t know how long I will be in the hospital, perhaps a day or two or three. 
Rayanna is learning to stand upright

 • Readers write: No shortage of responses to The City’s handling of the P3 Sewage Treatment debate. There were thirty some responses, all but one, opposing The City’s handling of the debate. I chose a handful as space did not permit all being published. Mike Liske is upset with our Mayor. He writes “Rod, it’s nice to see someone else has the same opinion on the P3 referendum as I do. We have gotten those outrageous calls every night for a week at 9:30pm. What really annoys me is the recording says to call Mayor Michael any time at this number. I tried to call this number, during regular office hours of City Hall and you don’t get the mayor. You get a chance to leave a message for him, again with an automated recording. Every night we receive the call, I then call and leave a message explaining that I do not wish to receive any more calls or any automated calls. If the mayor would like my opinion on the P3, he can call me directly, I leave my cell number so he may reach me at any time. In three weeks now I have not received a call back.”

• Alan Bratt had this to say. “Talk about mismanagement. The Council has turned a relatively reasonable issue into a revolt against their high handed attitude toward issues of public concern. They may have been elected by some of the people but they are to serve all of us. The mayor and council have confused being a public representative with being a CEO.”

• Gail Bowen’s opinion is this: “I agree with you absolutely on our city's disgraceful use of tax dollars to promote a single point of view about a contentious issue.”

• Jackie Arnason had this to write: “Rod - it's so good to have you back - Sunday morning is again my favourite time of the week! I certainly agree with you that the city has no right to use our tax money to fund their view on a public referendum. If the money spent on robo-calls, billboards, TV spots etc, had been put in a special fund to be used in building the waste water plant, we would have been better served.”

• Joanne Crofford says “Only one observation for today, don't get me started on the P3 debate. Since when did Ottawa start making Municipal funding dependent on dictating the development model. I thought municipalities still had some power or at least some guts. Apparently they are moving away from defending their autonomy and getting into advertising their subservience to Ottawa.”

• Dave Calam lives across the street from me and he was The City Engineer prior to his retirement. He supports City Council, both in their P3 choice and their ad campaign. I include all viewpoints as democracy thrives on debate. “I held off replying, for the sake of both of our blood pressures, to your piece on City Council's responsibility to present the information and the reasons on which they, as our elected representatives, made their decision. Overnight, all of the ‘Vote No’ signs disappeared from this end of Regina Avenue. The ‘Vote Yes’ signs remain. If this is another of the gamut of questionable tactics and half truth messages that the ‘yes’ campaign is using to influence the referendum result, it shows why Council is right to speak directly to the voters. Believe me, if the referendum result is yes, the amount Council spends supporting its decision will be nothing compared to the cost of lost opportunities for competitive design, operation and management, delays in meeting environmental regulations, added project management, not to mention forfeiting the federal funding.”

Rod's note:There were several responses to the Quebec proposed Charter of Values. I chose the one from Frank Flegel as being representative of most responders. “And amen to your rant about Quebec's really stupid Charter of Values. Considering that two former PQ premiers Parizeau and Landry criticized the Charter and the folks in Montreal said “up yours” to the Premier, it probably won't pass in the National Assembly.”

Rod's note #2:There were many responses wishing me well and expressing delight in the return of The Garden Report. Thank you for your kind wishes. I could fill up at least a page or two if I published them all. I have enjoyed them quietly.

Garden Tip: Doug Gummeson wants to know if he can seed his lawn this fall. The answer is a simple no. It is too late for most seed to germinate and that which does runs the risk of being damaged by the cold. Best to wait until the spring. My own personal cut off for seeding is August 15th.

Garden Tip:I managed to get my column in to 'The Gardener' for the winter edition. It is on the care of poinsettias and what to look for when purchasing this Christmas plant. It will be available at newsstands in December. The fall edition of the same is now on newsstands and that copy has an article on fall bulbs. The title of my column is ‘The Anecdotal Gardener’.
A sea of poinsettias

A rose by another name: According to my mother, when I was three years old, she took me to the old Sears customer counter on 4th and Broad. We were waiting our turn and a lady made a face over something she smelled. Mom said that I looked up at her and said “relax lady, it’s only gas.”

• Garden Tip: You can grow pears in Regina, but most people don’t know that. I planted a pear tree at what is now the ambulance depot over on Hill Avenue in 1987. It is a thriving specimen. Larry Levensen from Sherwood Greenhouse sent us the photo of the fruit of another hardy pear called ‘Early Gold’. A special thank you to Larry.

'Early Gold' hardy pears
Book launch: Reader and writer Jean Freeman has been working on a Florence James book for some time now. The launch is October 16th and the invitation is in the attachment. Now you know why I refer to Jean as ‘The matriarch of the arts scene in Regina’.

• The Broadway Cafe: In Saskatoon, there is a retro diner that I have frequented for many years called The Broadway Cafe. You can get a decent plate of liver and onions or fresh, roasted turkey for supper. Their fries are hand cut which is always a bonus for me. It is definitely a diner, nothing gourmet, but oh, so very good. Somewhat similar to Nicky’s in Regina except no rice pudding.

• Garden Tip: If you have had a tree infected with Forest Tent Caterpillar, best to prune out the damaged branches this fall. You will recognize Forest Tent by the webbing wrapped around the branches.

• Garden Tip: No doubt you have seen The City blowing out their sprinkler systems along the boulevards and the parks. It is much too early for you to have your sprinklers prepped for the winter. I always get Glen over at Green Lawn Irrigation to blow mine out and ask that I be the last on his list. We can get some really warm days in October and my lawn and plants need water.

• Tulip time: I have some tulips for sale in bags of fifty for $25. Colours are pink, white and blue. I also have a few boxes of specialty tulips that you can purchase in groups of ten. If you have an interest, let me know before this Wednesday as I will be off line starting Thursday for a surgery in Saskatoon.
'Rajka' tulips

• Lily divisions: Every five to seven years, you can divide your lilies. After a frost or two, dig up your lily and you will find the one bulb has now grown to include five to ten bulbs. Separate those bulbs, it is quite easy to do so, and replant the single bulbs into the garden, about eight inches deep.

• Good things to eat: On Saturday night, we picked up a #24 from The Copper Kettle. It is our favourite and the toppings include spinach, black olives, red onions and feta cheese. Lip smacking good.

Regina Sympony: The RSO opened their 105th season on Saturday presenting the greatest hits from the world of opera. I have rarely seen the audience as enthusiastic as they were that evening. If you haven’t been to a performance, try a ticket or two for their Pops Series. It is a great introduction to The RSO and a wonderful Saturday night out.

'Angelique' tulips
Free:It is the most powerful word in the English language. I still have around twenty-five strawberry plants to give away and five or six Boston Ferns. Send me an email and we can arrange a time for you to pick them up.

Very important garden info:This arrived from reader Michel Touchette who is an outstanding grower. He has an answer for the poor showing of impatiens this year. “Great to have your Garden Report. Presently in Montreal heading to Quebec City for a few days of holidays. Stopped at my friend Tom Witcher, a 35 year employee at Sheridan Nurseries. Tom was sharing that the impatiens have a serious problem this summer . A new blight has attacked all impatiens in Ontario and Quebec . He suggested it may last up to three years in the garden soil. First indication was it came from the propagation stage. Greenhouse growers in Ontario and Quebec may start germinating and do their own cuttings to prevent the spread of this new disease .

Spent three days in Ottawa and 80% of all ash have been attacked by the Emerald Ash Borer. Very, very sad to see all of these beautiful large ash trees dead. Warn your audience, when camping, do not move fire wood from one site to a new site. You might be giving a ride to some uninvited pests.”
'Flaming Flag' tulips

Thanks for reading...Rod McDonald in a lovely and sunny Regina

Fall color of a Manchurian Ash