It's Still Just Dirt

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Angela Lassam - It's Still Just Dirt

It is time to visit local flower spots to buy those garden fillers and think about planters, flower boxes and hanging baskets.

After talking to the owner of Garden Gate about impatiens, it appears growers are working hard to develop a new variety as the old varieties were very prone to disease. The spores stay in the soil, especially in a mild winter. He did say it is OK to put them in planters as long as you do not put the old soil into your garden afterwards. A better alternative is to use vinca or waxed begonias. Petunias have evolved into bi-coloured and are more compact with even more choice of colours. Of course marigolds come to us in so many sizes and colours so can be used to contrast with any other choices with the bonus of protection from bugs.

David Hobson gave a great many ideas at the last Tillsonburg Horticultural Society meeting for unusual plantings in our gardens. The ones that drew my attention were the large ones – a staircase plant (Leonotis Leonierus) that grows from a single seed to reach up to 15 feet with flowers spaced on a main stem and white fleece flower (Persicaria Polymorpha), a perennial, growing up to 4 feet. If you are looking for unusual foliage look for ornamental elderberry (Sambucus), varieties include lemon and black lace.

Smaller additions to our garden include a sedum – Postman's Pride – with black foliage and a coneflower called Cheyenne paint.

Painted tongue (Salpialossis Sinuate) is an annual alternative to the petunia and more decorative. Ornamental black pearl pepper (Capsicum Annum) has dark foliage with black cherry like berries turning bright red in the fall. Tiger flower or Mexican shell flower (Tigridia Pavonia) is very delicate but showy with many blooms over a six-week period. Chocolate cosmos looked interesting with its dark colour, and even smells like chocolate we were told, and too many more to list.

A shrub that did catch my attention was a bottlebrush (Fothergilla) from the Hamamelidaceae family. There is one called gardenii growing up to 5 feet and a larger one named major at over 6 feet. The flowers are white and spiky just like bottle brushes.

The vegetable spot needs to be planted if not already done (earlier plantings need protection from frost yet.) It is still early for tomatoes, peppers and other softer plants.

At last we can get the garden pond going again. Leaves and any other dead debris need to be removed and the water topped up. The pump installed and started again to clean and oxygenate the water. Slowly start feeding the fish as they need the water to reach 10˚C or 50˚F.

All the summer birds are back, so place the feeders out for them. I have had success with dried mealworms for the bluebirds which is available at the pet store. The first of the chicks have hatched so more food is needed to be readily available. They all control the insects around our gardens and add so much life.

Just a reminder – did you plant for the bees?? Free wildflower seeds were offered from Honey Nut Cheerios website to plant for the depleting numbers of bees we need for pollination.

Denise Huck from Colour Paradise Greenhouses from Mannheim is our speaker for the next meeting talking about container planting – Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers for 2016.

Next meeting is June 7th 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. 

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