Sunday, April 15, 2018

Spring Ice Storm 2018 - Garden Woes

This isn't the first time I've experienced snow/ice in mid-spring.

I have recollections of snow falling in May. Global climate change may be a factor but I think this is just a strange meteorological blip.


Our gardens are covered in little ice pellets.


Nonetheless, not to fret. I post this as friends have contacted me worried about what they should do with the garden.


The interesting fact is: snow and ice are great insulators as long as the ice coating around the foliage and flowers will thaw in a day or so. It's the COconcentration that remains in the cell structure of the plant that is more worrisome.

Citrus growers and fruit farms use sprinkler systems to ward off heavy frost damage.

Ice is a good thing. Frost isn't.


Ice insulates as it prevents cell tissues from bursting or getting damaged from frost - frigid below -0°C temperatures.



As the ice rain pelts down, I continue to read the weather reports indicating the ice rain will turn into just rain later this evening. That's a good thing. Temps are to go up to 7°C. It will melt quickly. Hoping for the best and looking forward to seeing how resilient my bulbs/plants are.

#whereareyouspring ?


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Garden Inspiration - Collaging

Sometimes the length of the winter just drags on....all I want to do is dig in the garden.

Over the years I have collected many gardening magazines and if I were to have kept them all, I'd have to buy a bigger house to store them.  Instead, I cut out memorable snip-its of what caught my attention for the moment.


Collecting them for ages, I have seen how my tastes have changed and how much I have learned over the years.



The easiest way to get started is being organized.  I have categorized items based on colour and based on my knowledge of plant requirements. Groupings: sun vs shade conditions, garden designs, specific  cultivars and contrasting colours. This way arranging photos is simplified.


Beginning with a blank canvas, I just arrange plant photos, laying them out on the page - rearranging until they click.  I have come up with many plant combinations this way. Complete garden inspiration.


I go back to the collage scrapbook each winter and engage in arrangements, plant variations and it refreshes my love for gardening every time.


By doing this, you find plant cultivars that catch your eye and help you remember them for any future gardening plans.


Pure eye candy for me.


I get so engulfed in arranging that I lose all track of time.


In the spring, I keep it as a invaluable resource for gardening ideas.

It's a great way to recycle old gardening magazines and it keeps me inspired. Try it yourself!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Living Walls - Still not sure...

When I first came across a sample of an indoor living wall 2 years ago, I thought - that's awesome!  But now... well,  I'm still not sure of their environmental value. I truly like the concept, but reality hits when you see the project months later after it's been installed.


This week, whilst waiting for a colleague, I had the privilege of being able to examine this living wall up close. For a few minutes or so, I examined how the plants were arranged and even helped them along, with some TLC; removing dead leaves and repotting two that were popping up from the trough container. To say the plants were thriving, well, some were and others not. I couldn't help but intervene on the behalf of those plants struggling.


From what I have read about living walls, they range in cost of $95-300 per square foot. I wonder if living walls will gain more popularity, given their expense. I guarantee, maintenance is key to their success and that won't come cheap either. I can foresee many plants will need replacing time and again. Then there is the cost of the water pump, grow lights and growing mediums...

Each plant is situated in a trough container, angled towards the light. A mixture of gritty compound is placed in each trough where roots feed off of water and nutrients/fertilizer.

On the positive side, I will admit - it certainly is a conversation starter. It is a welcomed sight to those of us that have green thumbs working in confined spaces. It does have a tranquil sound coming from the oscillating water. For this, you cannot quantify its beneficial attributes.

Ferns placed at the bottom, as they require less light.

The fact that this wall requires added grow lights, makes me wonder if it's in the right location or whether it should be moved closer to a better natural light source. It can't be that cost affective. And what happens when the walled unit parts break down or material needs replacing? Is this something we have to think about for the future? Is it recyclable? At least regular flower pots are.

Mixture of Philodendron vines, dwarf Spathiphyllums, Hoyas, Ferns and Dieffenbachia make a textured green wall of interest. 

Nonetheless, I realize I camp too often on practicality.  I have to remember: it is a far better view a living wall like this, rather than a brick wall.

Hopefully people will be drawn to it and be encouraged to grow plants at home or in their office.

Will update later in the year, to see how this living wall comes along.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

In The Bleak MidWinter - Not Bleak At All...

Yes, IT'S COLD!  But let's be thankful!

We had a true white Christmas! You can hardly tell we made up our winter planters with greens - the snow depth has been really great!

Southern Ontario and pretty much all the northern portions of Canada are experiencing a deep freeze.


Many are groaning over the extreme cold temps. I agree, it's been hard not to be outside for very long without your finger tips getting frost bitten. God help the homeless among us!

Plants are showing the effects too.  Several broadleaf evergreens are curling their foliage to keep in whatever moisture they can.


Seed heads and winter interest are stunning against a deep embankment of snow.


I shutter to think of what plants in the garden may succumb to the deep freeze. At least we have a good depth of snow to blanket and insulate them!


The GOOD NEWS:  this deep freeze is a GIFT. YES, a GIFT!

The increase of foreign invasive insects and diseases that are slowly pervading our landscape, will be hampered in this frigid winter.  Many insects, like Tics and Japanese Beetles will be reduced in number.  Molds and mildews will be less come spring. A true gift to the gardener.



Here's to hoping this deep freeze will benefit the garden in more ways than one.

Looking forward to the 2018 growing season.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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