Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Updates - Bus Trip and Evening at Alice May's

Members Evening
The evening at Alice May Laver has been moved to June 30th 7-9.
Rain or shine! Bring your own lawn chair and enjoy Alice May's gardens.

Bus Trip
The bus trip details have been finalized!
On July 9th the bus will depart from the Wellington parking lot at 8:30 am and head out to visit 6 rural gardens in the Grey/Bruce County.

The cost is $65 and includes the bus, gardens, lunch and gratuities. Lunch is a cold buffet.
The bus will return to Shelburne around 6pm.
Contact Brenda for more details and to secure your seat on the bus.

Pot Pourri of Gardening Suggestions by Monica Skinner

We heard many great suggestions from Monica Skinner at our last meeting!

Here are some of the great tips she shared.

When planning a new garden here are some things to consider:
- Check where the drainage and water flow goes on your property. If you are wanting to put a garden in the path that the water would take make sure you provide a way for the water to get around it.
- Travel Paths - make sure that you provide for paths to essentials such as sheds, pools, barbeque, play places, sand box etc.
- Make sure that all levels are incorporated - Depth, width and height
- Walls or trees for privacy - make sure that if you have a play area you can still see it from the house
- Soil type - do you need to add things to make your soil better? See the chart below that she shared

Basic Gardening Tips

- Sprinkling borox around beets provides boron
- 2 tbsp epsom salts with 1 gallon water provides magnesium to tomatoes and peppers when they flower
- Emptying coffee grounds near carrots may prevent root maggot
- Do NOT fertilize in late summer or fall as plants are getting ready for winter
- Create compost tea and use it to water plants
- Ground up egg shells will give brassicas much needed calcium if your soil is acid
- For deer and rabbits - mix 1 egg with 1/4 cup of water. Put into a 1L bottle and fill with water. Spray 2 -3 times a year. (Rain does not wash this off)
- A piece of No-pest strip laid on the soil of house plants will catch spider mites and white fly. Keep tape away from the stem.
- Steep 5 rhubarb leaves in 2 -3 quarts of boiling water. When cool spray on fungus, black spots, aphid, and june bugs.
- Sprinkling cinnamon on the soil of house plants gets rid of mouldy soil and prevents fungus
- Mix biodegradable soap with water and spray on plants to kill aphids, white flies, spider mites
- Don't prune in the fall
- If you prune fir, pine or spruce trees no new growth will come on the pruned area
- Mix up flowers and vegetables to confuse the bugs
- Parsley is a good edging plant for roses
- House plants do better on fertilizer with trace nutrients in them

Purchasing new plants
- Don't buy plants that are flowering, if they are flowering cut the flowers off so that the plant can focus on its roots when it is transplanted
- Check the root system in a plant before buying
- She prefers root balls on shrubs and trees

Reuse, Recycle
- Use styrofoam cups and then large yogurt and ice cream containers for seedlings so they roots have lots of room to grow (make sure you poke holes in the bottom)
- Cut up old vinyl blinds and use them to label your seedlings each year. You could also use model paint to color code them.
- Use a dish soap container to gently water seedlings
- Create cut worm barriers by cutting up old vinyl blinds and create a square around the seedling. This can be reused each year

Growing from seed
- Use different grade screen to separate potting soil.
- Use the heavier soil in the bottom of the seeding containers and pre-moisten this soil. Fill the container to the level leaving the seed planting depth at the top.
- Put seed in the container and then cover the seed with the finer soil
- Finally use a spray bottle to spray water on the seedlings
- As soon as the first green pokes through the soil put the seedlings 6 inches under lights for at least 16 hours per day

Children in the Garden
- Preschoolers like to get dirty and love texture. Let them squish their toes in the dirt
- Have them squish leaves, find worms, pick and eat vegetables.
- Build things with sticks
- Dig holes for the flowers you are planting
- Let them water the plants
- Harvesting vegetables
- let them have their own plot to plant and take care of

Thanks for all the great tips Monica!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hydrangeas by Colette Whiting

There are several different types of Hydrangea, some are better suited to the Shelburne area than others. The two most common Hydrangeas grown here are Hydrangea Paniculata and Hydrangea Aborescens 'Annabelle'.

Hydrangea Paniculata 'Grandiflora'
Hydrangea Paniculata 'Grandiflora' sometimes abbreviated 'PG' is the largest and is sometimes trained/pruned into a small tree form 8-10 feet in height. It blooms on 'new wood'-this year's growth-so is unaffected by extreme cold in the winter and can be pruned for shape or size in the spring. It gets its name from the shape of the blooms, they are panicle or cone-shaped. It blooms mid to late summer with blooms changing from creamy white to pink to beige in the late fall. A newer cultivar named 'Pink Diamond' is somewhat smaller in stature but still will achieve 6 feet in height. It has larger panicles-up to a foot in length-that turn a beautiful shade of deep pink as the temperatures cool in September. I have this one growing on the east side of my office building and last year many people stopped to inquire about it-with all the rain last year they were spectacular. Another new and popular cultivar is 'Limelight'. It has a similar growth habit to 'Pink Diamond' but the blooms are packed a little fuller and start out a greenish white before turning to a soft pink. All Hydrangea Paniculata enjoy some sun but will grow in part sun very well. They need moist but well drained soil.

Hyrdrangea Aborescens 'Annabelle'
Hyrdrangea Aborescens 'Annabelle' is an old favourite that grows extremely well here. It is very cold hardy and also blooms on 'new wood'. It can be hard pruned to 12-24 inches in the spring. Mid to late summer bring huge rounded blooms up to 10 inches across that start our light green and age to cream and then beige in the fall. 'Annabelle' can cope with considerable shade-but morning sun is best- and enjoys moist soil. One problem with 'Annabelle' is the tendency of the large blooms to flop after a heavy rain. Subtle support can help to minimize this problem. A new cultivar called 'Incrediball' claims to have much sturdier stems to support the 12 inch diameter blooms. I have no personal experience with this one. Also very new is 'Invincibelle Spirit', the first pink blooming aborescens cultivar.

Hyrdangea Quercifolia

Less commonly seen and marginally hardy here is the Hyrdangea Quercifolia or Oakleaf Hydrangea. I gets it name from the shape of its leaves. It blooms on 'old wood' and therefore may fail to bloom after a particularly cold winter, such as we often experience. But a local gardener tells me “ They flower occasionally, but the flowers are the least significant part of their performance. Their foliage looks good throughout the summer, but their glory really comes in the fall when they turn a wonderful mixture of orange and maroon, blazing red and yellow. Other than hardiness, they seem to be without problems.” Oakleaf Hydrangea can grow quite larger-8 ft x 8ft. But newer dwarf cultivars such as 'Pee Wee' are being introduced for those of us with smaller gardens.

Hydrangea Macrophylla
Hydrangea Macrophylla is the least commonly grown and least hardy hydrangea for our area. It blooms on 'old wood' and unless protected will often fail to bloom here. Newer cultivars that also rebloom on new wood hold hope for those of us who would love to grow the lovely 'mophead' blooms in blue or pink.

One final note, all hydrangea blooms dry well for use in arrangements or wreaths.

Written by Colette Whiting a Shelburne & District Horticultural member

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lorraine Roberts from Plant Paradise

At our last meeting Lorraine Roberts from Plant Paradise shared how to plant perennials for continuous bloom throughout the season.

Her garden and nursery, Plant Paradise, is a organic perennial nursery on 24 acres in the Caledon Hills. They do not water their gardens and rely solely on the rain.
They choose perennials based on their hardiness and their length of bloom and this year they started 4000 plants from seed! They generously offer our members a 10% discount.

See this link for a great list of the different types of perennials:

The following link gives some great tips on natural products that you can use in your garden for slugs, snails, deer and feeding your plants that don't hurt the environment . Organic Gardening

Here are some of the plants that she shared with us:

Photo by: Lorraine Roberts - Echinacea Razzmatazz

Photo by: Lorraine Roberts - Heuchera Paris

Photo by: Lorraine Roberts - Veronicastrum Fascination

Photo by: Lorrain Roberts - Delphinium Elatum Dark Blue

She shared that Delphiniums are long living and flower for 4 -6 weeks starting in June, if you cut them back they will flower again in September. Plant Paradise is hosting a Delphinium day on July 3, click here to purchase a ticket.

You can contact them at 905-880-9090 or at