Summer is here! The alternating days of rain and sun are promoting a wonderful abundance of growth and a profusion of colour. And it is the therapy needed to overcome ‘the virus’ of the year. Calm, kind and safe are winning! All we need now is time.
Canada Day is just five days away and Canada is a country of gardeners.
Long before the explorers and settlers arrived, the Indigenous peoples grew their own food. The daily diet of the Hurons was beans, squash and corn, grown in mounds over dead fish. This sustainable diet was passed on to the ‘newcomers’, in friendship.
In the 1880s, the Europeans who settled along the railway line competed for the best public flower garden at the stations to welcome new immigrants. The beginnings for Communities in Bloom!
In Toronto, a community garden was established in a culturally diverse neighbourhood where gardening was the only common language, and ideas and methods were shared, crossing all boundaries. At harvest time, the people were encouraged to make a meal from their country using the fresh produce, and to dress in their native costume. How Canadian.
Despite the variation in weather – rain on the West Coast, hail on the Prairies, permafrost in the North, salt wind in the Maritimes and rock in Newfoundland – Canadians rise to the occasion and have won the titles of ‘world’s largest pumpkin’, ‘sweetest corn’ and ‘most abundant tomato crop’ several times.
Gardening is a social experience and, in Canada, is the most popular outdoor pastime, second to walking. Happy Canada Day.
We Dig – Do It Now Tips
Fertilize lilacs with a ‘flowering’ (15-30-15) fertilizer
Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs
Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4 years
Deadhead annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering
Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom
Deadhead and feed roses
Remember to water trees and shrubs using a watering can if necessary. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly
Fuchsias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold night
Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product. Spread ground egg shells around the vulnerable plants
Sow late vegetable crops. Remove decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required
Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks
Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered
Dead head annuals to keep them blooming
Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply
Feed foliage, add a little liquid fish fertilizer to a water spray
Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip
When picking berries, it is just as important to remove moldy berries as to pick the good ones
Did you know…
… the flower of the month is larkspur; pink represents fickleness; white – happiness; purple – first love?
… slugs love – celery, hosta lettuce, petunia, runner beans, dahlia, gerbers and peas? … slugs hate – ladies mantle, bleeding hearts, foxgloves, fuchsia and nasturtiums? … slices of cucumber on aluminum plates, placed around the garden will repel slugs?
… planting used plastic forks with the tips showing above ground keeps animals away from your plants? (and gives plastic a purpose)
… plants that attract butterflies include mint, lavender and thyme?
Pick of the Month – Buddleia (butterfly bush) also known as Summer Lilac
Native to Central China and Japan. A beautiful, fast growing, deciduous shrub with long spiked trusses of flowers. It comes in many colours but the butterflies prefer the mauve species. A low maintenance shrub requiring only deadheading and annual spring pruning after buds appear. Enjoys full sunshine and well-drained soil. No mulch or fertilizer required once established.
AND … whoever said money can’t buy happiness has clearly never been to a garden centre.