Thursday, January 22, 2015

Haste Makes Waste

It seems to be a pretty easy winter so far in this part of Ontario.  It's been cold - but the storms are either to the north or south of us.  The warm and cold systems usually collide several times in January giving us snowfall.  This year they're running parallel to each other - not great for so many folks in the US to the south and for Canadians further north.  

With the colder weather Bart has been getting lots of use of his new sweater for which he seems remarkably ungrateful. Could almost see the smile on his face as he realized that this would be a naked-dog-walk-day which always makes him infinitely happier. 

Pretty grasses down the street:


Amazing how close in colour this vine is to the tree trunk:



Just noticed that little black bit stuck in the tree?  What on earth is it?  Almost looks like a wine cap.


Which brings me to the title of this post.  Last fall I did a rather poor garden tidy-up.  With the ash tree coming down and waiting for ice-storm repair, my heart just wasn't in the final stages of gardening for the year.  I just dumped tender potted plants into the garage - including my Amaryllis bulbs.

Kevin had given me a beautiful pot of three of varying heights and colour arranged by Forget-Me-Not - a very fancy florist - here in Oakville for Valentine's Day.  I had had great success getting Amaryllis to rebloom last year.  So I figured I would be able to enjoy this treasure again this year.  I combined it and my first re-bloomer from last year, plus three end-of-season bulbs from Mum. Today was the day (long overdue) to bring them into the house and coax them back into bloom.

This is when the sad death-march music begins.  Because I discovered much to my shame I should have looked behind the magic curtain to see how this beautiful arrangement was put together:

The beautiful copper pot:


The plastic gizmo that kept the pot from being soaked:
In my defence, I thought that the bulbs where planted in this plastic gizmo and that it had drainage holes.


Oh no.  Each bulb was in its own pot:


There was pretty moss on top to hide the mechanics:


The pots were stapled together:
Now this is the sad part.  While our garage is part of our house, it gets its heat by association rather than by direct vents. And, I discovered 2/3 of these glorious bulbs, each the size of a good pot-roast were frozen.


These bulbs, though closer to the garage door, were not.  It would seem that the difference was drainage.


So I repotted the one non-frozen Amaryllis in a big-boy pot and positioned them all on the light table. Fingers crossed that I'll begin to see some life soon and I won't be completely punished for not taking better care of them.


Here's a shot from last year's rebloomer - sitting gloriously in the middle of what looks like the morning after the night before.  Lesson learned - should I ever wish to keep something from any sort of arrangement I must take it apart.  And, as tired as I am in the fall, I need to remember how I was rewarded by taking a little extra time at the end of 2013 garden's for last winter's spectacular blooms.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Landscape Ontario Congress 2015

This 8-acre green industry trade show and conference is a great way to start the new year - it is always on the first full week of the new year, giving you the perfect opportunity (as the promotional literature says) to, "re-connect, re-invent, re-energize".  Last week's conference was one of my favourites.  The first speaker I heard was Evelyn Browning-Garriss and she spoke on "Our Changing Climate:  the Impact on Horticulture".  She is a climate historian who has traced climate influences and historical events using raw data such as early monks' ancient records, Hudson Bay Company's trade outpost diaries, Nordic herring records combined with natural events such as volcanoes, ocean temperatures, and polar ice levels.  Her newsletter is sadly out of my snack-bracket for something that is just an interest/want, rather than a crucial/need.   The Browning Newsletter promotes the idea that by "understanding climate conditions, you can use the momentum of change to your advantage in the future." (Congress 2015 Speakers)  Her clients are economists at world banking institutions, insurance brokers, cattle ranchers, etc - anyone who has a financial stake in knowing what weather is going to do. While she briefly mentioned man-made global influences (ruinous crop practices of burning forests, overheating of cities (They're deathtraps!) and the ooze of ill-weather 40-50 miles downwind from large cities that creates a worsening effect of storms), her main focus during the short period she spoke was on weather cycles and how combined with numerous other events overlay to create our climate.

From Evelyn B-G:

We are in a climate cycle that will likely provide hotter summers (except during summers with major volcanic cooling) and stormier spring and summers around the Great Lakes and in the Eastern provinces.  Expect hurricanes to travel further north, even into Canada, just like they did in the 1950s when Toronto experienced hurricane Hazel (killing 81 in Ontario in 1954) and double in number. This current effect/cycle should last 15-20 years.  Former drought-afflicted areas in Australia will understand why some homes were built on stilts many years ago - and those on the coast of North Carolina, who have built beautiful large homes during a period of benevolent weather, will learn how Cape Fear got its name.  There will be more floods and drought around the world and there is an increased probability of dry weather in Eastern Canada.

So, one more thing to add to my pile of considerations for my new garden design - something that will handle flash-flooding, wind, drought - oh, and the circumpolar winds are weaker, so factor some of that escaped cold air into the mix and chose plants that will handle colder weather.  The good news is that if I get it right, I won't have to do anything else other than a bit of tweaking, because this 15-20 year cycle should take me right to the end of my life-cycle of wanting to garden on a 50x150ft lot!

More on other speakers later - here are a few things I spied on the trade show floor.  There were fewer plants sadly, because the growers have migrated to the October show - but still lots of trucks, tractors, and landscaping gizmos:

Some of the colleges with landscaping schools exhibited some of their handiwork:

Niagara College's garden featured some cool ideas where you can un-Wine...




I'd like to see this in action, wouldn't you?


Over in the New Products area - I've found a new Rittenhouse gizmo I want to play with:  Frostbite.  I defy you to find anything more comic-book in your quest to rid your garden of those dastardly weeds!


Custom-zippered-burlap. Now your trees can know the angst of a putting on a little too much around the middle...."No Mr. Evergreen, the cover did not shrink in the garage over the summer."  (Note to self....it must be time for a new burlap crimes post.)


A couple of pretty cheerleaders with the Grey Cup - which is awarded annually to the winner of the Canadian Football League championship game.


Good to find something for properties looking to add shade on open lots.  This Nesling shade curtain operates with a simple pulley.


Am always on the look out for planters for my clients - these large permanent planters from Greenville Designs can be used inside as pot-covers or outside - drilled with drainage holes.  Look at the colours (car-paint) they come in.  Black is classy, but what fun to do something wild with one of the brighter colours.


No more cheerleaders in front of Kubota - but still lots of great colour - and who can't use a nice new bag?


These are the prettiest, softest, loveliest garden kneelers (Kneelo) I've ever seen & they're washable:


You can buy them at Terra in Ontario this year.


They're not just growing tomatoes up-side-down - it looks like this company is growing all their nursery products that way!  Actually, no they're not, Braun is just looking for a bit of attention and kudos to them on their head-turning booth for their nursery basket system.


That's it for now - more later - am headed out into that -30C with the wind-chill.  Which is so much easier to face now that I know why - weaker circumpolar winds - and what to do about it - new hat and wooly mitts.  Me & Bart on Sunday (-1C) at the Royal Botanical Gardens Cherry Hill Trail - bird feeding:




Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Just back from a seven-day-cruise.  It was divine.  Hot.  Sunny.  Lovely.  Back to cold, cloudy, and not so lovely.  One of my top resolutions is to be a better blogger in 2015 - so as we head out for dinner with friends, I'll leave you with a few vacation photos:

A sweet little Florida squirrel:


The glorious island of St. Maarten:


Lunch on the beach:


Kevin posing with a gorgeous gal (it took her 3 months to make her costume) for Junkanoo:


The Nassau Botanical Gardens that I had hoped to share with you - alas, everything is closed on the 26th of December in Nassau:


and a Fort Lauderdale blossom just outside our hotel:


May 2015 be filled with good health, joy and many wonderful gardens!

My very best wishes to all my Blogging Friends.