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 are just beginning to ripen.  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 – 10% acetic acid.  This stronger vinegar is great for stopping weeds in their tracks.
  • 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 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 that’s what August is for – standing and watching the results of spring work

 

Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Gandhi 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 butterflies and native bees and other insects that pollinate plants.

Set aside a portion of your garden or maybe your boulevard to be devoted to native plants that pollinators will love. Plan your Patch in a sunny spot that will attract bees and other insects.   There is lots of information on the Web about what native plants you may want to choose. 

You might want to go beyond your personal bounds and plant a Patch on public ground.  You’ll need permission to do this but municipalities are conscious of the need for native plants for insects and may be very glad to have you head a native planting group.

Although your planting is designed to be a haven for butterflies and other insects, your focus right now should be on the Monarch Butterfly.  The butterfly has been assessed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

To attract and save Monarchs, be sure to plant a stand of milkweed in your Pollinator Patch.  Milkweed is critical to the life cycle of Monarch Butterflies.  Plants of the milkweed family are the hosts of Monarch larvae.  The butterfly will hunt for milkweed and only milkweed for egg laying.  It will lay its eggs on the underside of the leaves.  The resulting larvae will eat only milkweed leaves. 

For bees and other butterflies, yellow and orange plants of the composite type are especially interesting.  Rudbeckias and asters are the easiest to grow.  Coreopsis is another plant loved by bees and butterflies.  Research on the web for other plants for your Pollinator Patch.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Plant a Pollinator patch this year.

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

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!

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