April Gardening

    T.S. Eliot wrote, “April is the cruellest month.”  In the midst of a CoVid-19 pandemic, April does indeed seem cruel.  We all thank those essential workers who continue to serve us in the midst of a pandemic.
    Even if you are self-isolating, a pleasant spring day makes you ready for a walk in the garden. Spring is so close.
    My tulips have poked their heads out on the sunny side of the house, but the rest are watching the weather. 
    April, the beginning of our outdoor gardening year, comes with many chores.  Here are some of the things I intend to do this month.

    • House plants will begin to actively grow this month.  It’s a good time to start feeding them on a monthly basis – or weakly weekly.  They also might enjoy a repotting. I’ll check the roots to see if they are crowding the pot.
    • I didn’t buy begonia bulbs this year.  I decided to start my begonias from seed.  The seeds are so small, smaller than the head of a pin.  They came from the seed company in a tiny plastic vial in the seed envelope., too small to just place them into the envelop or a glassine envelope.  In 3 weeks, tiny leaves proved that the seeds I sowed on February 25 are ready to grow.  By March, the second leaves were evident, but the plants are still very small.  Will they be big enough to plant by the first of June? 
    • Those veggie seeds I plan to start indoors need to be sown by the second week of April to be ready to plant in late May.  Seeding six to eight weeks before they can be set outside is a good rule of thumb.
    • As soon as the soil has thawed, I have some perennials to lift and divide.
    • If I can find a source for corn gluten meal, I’ll add it to the bit of grass I have left on the boulevard for a quick nitrogen boost. And I’ll remember to resist the temptation to sow grass seed for a least 6 weeks after applying corn gluten.  Corn gluten inhibits the germination of seeds – a good thing for preventing weed seeds from germinating, but a bad thing for grass seed.
    • I’ll tidy up the front and clean up the branches that came down during the winter.  The “gardens” in my natural front need a rethink and some reorganization.
    • The raised beds should thaw quickly with a few warmer days, and we can start preparing vegetable beds as soon as the soil can be worked.  I won’t jump the gun, however, and work soil before it dries out somewhat.  Working wet soil absolutely ruins the soil texture.
    And each day I plan to walk in the garden to see what has popped up overnight.  I’ll look for Corydalis ‘George Baker’ and for signs of Trilliums, for the flat leaves of Daffodils and the early growth on the Honeysuckle.
    Hurray – It’s April!

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

Note: It takes a while to load and uses Powerpoint. Please be patient.


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


The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us. --- E. O. Wilson



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.