Angela Lassam - It's Still Just Dirt
Patience is hard for gardeners this time of year.
The clocks have gone forward giving us more evening time and El Nino has provided much warmer days than is normal. Frosty mornings should remind us not to uncover those tender new perennial shoots.
Lawns are greening under the winter debris and it is time to dethatch and tidy up. The leaves that have appeared to have been glued down need a good rake and go into the composter. Remember not to compost anything from under walnut trees as they are toxic.
I am sure we have all noticed our feathered friends have returned early. How do they know when to come?? There have been sightings of bluebirds, robins, grackles even a killdeer in a corn field.
Of course the annual Tundra swans have stopped over in the Police College in Aylmer and surrounding fields. One day the fields looked very odd as if huge snowballs had dropped down, there were so many feeding.
The Spring shows that most of us try to attend were once again differently focused. Stratford Festival is always popular, not large but well planned and a good array of speakers. The displays were full of whimsy and color and as always good ideas. Solar lighting has become brighter and larger even lamp posts are available.
David Hobson gave a presentation on the famous Chelsea Flower Show in London England. Frankie ‘Flowers’ Ferragine did a presentation on food to grow. He is a family man raised at Holland Marsh north of Toronto so he grew up on homegrown produce. He said we can all grow vegetables even in pots and larger containers, even a novice can buy transplants at the local nursery. Children can plant seed and watch them grow into food they all know (cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and if you have the space for them even pumpkins). By growing your own you know where it came from and what has been put on it. It is fresh and the taste is so much better than any from a store. He commented about a grocery chain that will be selling imperfect produce and I wondered if the marketing gurus have realized that the public are buying more and more from local markets and roadside stands where it is fresh and good. Market gardeners and farmers are becoming bigger competition-what a thought!
Canada Blooms has become smaller but still gives some great ideas. A good marketplace as usual. A presentation on pollinators was very informative and thought provoking. Honey Nut Cheerios have a new program where they are giving away free wildflower seeds and want every Canadian to plant at least one seed – that is 35 million according to them. Go online www.bringbackthebees.ca to see their program and lots of good bee information.
Also there is a blog on the Breck’s website titled Bee-Buzz. Bees and other pollinators go for all bright colors. Early summer coneflowers and yarrow are good, then in mid-summer beebalm and hyssop and for fall asters, sedums and sunflowers are popular.
A sad footnote - the monarch butterflies have had another disaster in Mexico where reports of freezing rain has hit them hard.
Due to the March meeting being cancelled the April one will be full of information about our garden volunteer signup, reminder about the annual plant auction and Christine Nagy will tell us of the upcoming trip. The guest speaker will be Kevin Kavanaugh from St Williams talking about ‘Growing magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas in Ontario.’
Next meeting is April 5th at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Centre Auditorium, Tillsonburg Community Centre. Members and non-members welcome.
For information about the Tillsonburg Horticultural Society visit tillsonburghorticultural.ca online.