August Gardening

August is the time of lush and luxuriant growth, the time of reaping what you have sown.  I tend to become a lazy gardener in August and let things have their way. 

  • The tomatoes just ripening.  I have reduced the bottom foliage a bit to let the sun into the interior of the plant and those lovely clusters of tomatoes.
  • Weeds in the flagstones and at the edges of gardens call me or Mike.  They need a weed-whack to tidy the area a bit.  The dream of beautiful moss between our flagstones is beginning to materialize with this damp spring. To defeat driveway weeds, we’ve found that vinegar works wonders.  Apply full strength on a sunny day with no rain forecasted for another day. Loblaws is selling a stronger vinegar for cleaning.  This stronger vinegar is great for stopping weeds in their tracks.
  • The rose needs some tidying.  Spent blooms abound.  There is a decision to be made.  Do I cut the spent blooms off in the hope of having more blooms in September or do I leave the tiny rose hips to mature for the birds.
  • Our stand of milkweed has attracted a pair of monarchs this year.  The two of them flit among the plants each morning.  The female is left to lay eggs in the afternoon.  Sometimes some of the tiny, newly hatched caterpillars make it to caterpillars large enough to pupate.  We feel so lucky!
  • Planted some sunflowers but the Midnight Marauder ate most of them before they had a chance to bloom.  Two plants are gone without a trace.  Wish I knew whether the culprit was the chipmunks, the squirrels, the rabbit or a raccoon.  The same marauder pulled the lilies over and ate every single bloom! Is it the same one that leaves little nibble marks on the zucchini and the nibbles in the squash?
  • Update on the marauder – a groundhog has been seen in the garden.  Perhaps I should be blaming him for eating plants and blooms.
  • Bees have been busy in the garden.  Holes Mike drilled into wood blocks are filling up fast.  One kind of bee chews leaves into pulp and closes filled holes with that.  A leaf-cutter bee of some sort.  Another little bee closes up the holes with a clear substance – a resin bee?  We can spend hours just watching the bees come and go from the holes in our bee hotel. I was wondering if I was supposed to clean out the holes that were used last year, but crumbly evidence on the floor of our bee house points to the fact that the little bees clean out the holes themselves. I stand and watch bees frantically coming and going from the holes they have chosen.

And thatis what August is for – standing and watching the results of spring work.

And just for you, a link to my last presentation: A New Kind of Gardener

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Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Ghandi said that he must have been thinking about Pollinator Patches. You can make a difference in your world this year by creating a Pollinator Patch -- a habitat for native bees.

To help you build your own Pollinator Patch, see our Roadsides Guide.

Roadsides Guide to Creating Pollinator Patches

The first Pollinator Patch was planted in Barrie, Ontario, in May of 2010. Visit the Roadsides site, read the blog, and be sure to look at the gallery to see pictures of the creation of Pollinator Patch from Year 1 to the Weaning Year 5.

Roadsides web site


Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do. --Wendell Berry



Jottings contains some articles I wrote for the monthly newsletter of Barrie's Garden Club and other projects. I hope you enjoy them.


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams (1902-1984)


Hints & Tricks

This is a collection of neat ideas and crazy tricks that I've collected from various sources. Many are amusing, and most are useful. We gardeners just love to learn neat little ways of doing our gardening jobs more effectively. My most popular talk was just that: "Hints and Tricks."

Most of the hints I've used myself or know someone who will vouch for them. All of them are fun to read and almost as much fun to do.


We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)


Gardening Info

This is a miscellaneous section of odds and sods of information I've collected and would like to share. I've found most of the information in magazines and on the internet or in the many gardening books I can't resist buying!

The side column of this section includes some of my presentations using Adobe Presenter.

You'll also find some of my favourite links on the Gardening Info page.


"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job." ~ Philip Angell, Monsanto's Director of Communications (October 1998)


The Blog

I guess the whole site is a sort of blog, isn't it?

But this new section is a more conventional blog -- a space to put my thoughts and new ideas as I learn them or think them.