Category Archives: Annuals

Pot, eh?

By Mary-Jane Parker, Master Gardener

This past growing season was my first foray ever into growing marijuana. I tried this because I want to attempt to make a salve that I have been purchasing locally for arthritis (which, by the way, seems to work for me!)

marijuana-101796_960_720I started my seeds inside under lights. When I planted the seedlings outside, one went into the ground in my garden and the other went into a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. The bucket plant went into my little greenhouse.

I did not fertilize either plant regularly – maybe 3 times the whole summer – but I did water the potted plant pretty well daily. I gather from other growers that I should have fertilized a lot more and then held back on the fertilizing later in season to clear chemicals out of the plants.

I thought this would be a good way to test growing techniques – greenhouse as opposed to outdoors but in the end it was not. I had planted 2 varieties that had very different characteristics. One had a beautiful bluish, reddish tinge to it and the other was twice as bushy.

Both plants ended up being well over 5 feet tall with lots of flowers. I cut them down before first frost and hung them in the greenhouse with shade cloth draped overhead.

So now, I am not sure if all the work was worth the effort and I haven’t even made the salve yet. I don’t know how the hippies from the 60’s and 70’s did it. I was told to trim off all the leaves before I hung the plants. That took an incredibly long time. And apparently I will have to trim the dried flowers off in the very near future. The marijuana plants themselves are kind of interesting architecturally but they stink. Birds for the most part avoided them and I don’t think I saw even one bee on them and I have lots of bees here. At any rate, I will make the salve and reserve judgement until then. We have to try new things, right?

Links:

How to grow marijuana outdoors: a beginner’s guide

How to Grow Cannabis in 10 Easy Steps

Master Gardeners of Ontario Information Sheet: How to grow Cannabis

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GreenUP Ecology Park Spring Sale

By Suzanne Seryck, Master Gardener

GreenUP Ecology Park Spring Sale – Saturday May 18th 2019

The GreenUP Ecology Park  has often been called a hidden gem, it has been in Peterborough in its current location for 25 years, but many people are still unaware of its existence. I first discovered the park approximately 8 years ago when I was researching native plants. At that time I wanted to plant a large perennial bed filled exclusively with native plants. I spent all winter researching the plants I wanted and where I could buy them locally and came across the Ecology Park and better still discovered they were holding a spring sale.

I dutifully arrived on the day of the sale 5 minutes after opening only to discover a very, very long line of people all carrying totes, boxes, bags, anything that could be used to carry plants. Even though it was incredible busy I was able to find almost everything on my list with help from the many knowledgeable volunteers and staff that were on hand to help. I was quickly and efficiently processed through the payment line, and was soon on my way home to start planting. The quality and choice of plants was extensive, and I knew then that I had found something special. I have been returning to the Ecology Park every year since either as a customer or as a volunteer.

plantsalecourtesyofGreenUpFBpage

Native plants are plants that grow locally in a particular area. Whether you are planting an entire garden of native plants or simply planting one or two, the benefits are numerous. Native plants tends to be more hardy to the local conditions, needing less watering, and next to no pesticides or fertilizers. They can improve air quality, help in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and help prevent soil from compaction and erosion. Native plants provide both habitat and food sources for wildlife, as many native pollinators rely on native plants. There are numerous interesting articles on the internet detailing the benefits of planting with native plants – I have listed a few below. There are also links to two other native plant nurseries (in addition to Ecology Park).

Why Native Plants Matter
Benefits of Native Plants
List of Native Plants in Ontario
(from Ontario Wildflowers – a comprehensive list)

Native Plants in Claremont
Ontario Native Plants (online only – ship from Hamilton)

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This year the GreenUP Ecology Park Spring Sale is being held on Saturday May 18th from 10 am until 4 pm. As well as trees, shrubs and wildflowers you can also buy vegetables and annuals at the sale along with compost, mulch and wood chips, but make sure you bring your own containers to hold the compost or mulch. A list of available trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses is available on the Ecology Park website.

Children are welcome, even encouraged. While you shop there is a large children’s play area complete with a willow trail and cedar maze to keep them entertained. Be sure to check out the latest addition to the park, the new children’s education shelter which has been built using sustainable practices.

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And finally, the Peterborough Master Gardeners will be on hand wearing their red aprons between 10 am and 2 pm to answer any gardening questions you might have. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Seed Starting Tips & Tricks

by Mary Jane Parker, Master Gardener

I have been starting seeds indoors since I was a kid. This was probably the fault of an early teacher for introducing me to Dixie cups and bean seeds or half egg shells as pots. I have run the gamut of single grow lights to a full-fledged grow room with a 1000 watt metal halide lamp on a track – serious stuff. I currently make do with a 3-tiered system which gives me everything I need.

First tip – Pay attention to seed packet instructions if available. They contain the best advice possible for timing. Obvious but a lot of people ignore that.

plant

Choice of potting mix is personal and requires a trial and error mode to find out what works for you. I personally use a local product because I witnessed someone who owns a commercial nursery trotting out of a store with multiple bags. I thought, hmm, I’m going to try this and have used it ever since.

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Damping off has to be the biggest issue I have faced starting seeds early. There is nothing worse than seeing your wonderful little seedlings wither and die. For years I mixed No Damp with my soil when potting seeds for ornamental (not food) plants.

When this became unavailable, I started using very strong chamomile tea as a soil drench and spray. Seems to work for me. I have also at times sprinkled cinnamon on the soil surface.

Two other important techniques/tools for indoor seeding are air flow – I use a fan when plants are a few inches high. This really strengthens the plants. And before I even start, I sterilize all my trays, etc. because I reuse them for years.

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That’s pretty well it and then it is as Garry Edwards of Meadowview Gardens says “You might as well forget it if they dry out. Seedlings do not thrive on neglect.”

P.S. Garry Edwards suggested that seed packets do not always contain correct info. He noted many instances where they were totally wrong. He also concurred that air flow is important.

Happy Easter!

By Sharleen Pratt, Master Gardener-In-Training

I hope that you have had a good weekend with family and friends and had a chance to enjoy a little time outdoors. This time of year brings thoughts of spring bulbs, budding trees and the sound of birds which are getting very active. It won’t be long until we see our first hummingbirds in the Peterborough area.easter-3123834_640

A planned outing to some of your favourite garden centres at this time of year can be fun and educational. We are lucky here in Peterborough and the surrounding area to have a number of excellent nurseries that carry quality plants and have knowledgeable staff to help with your questions.

Go to gardenroute.ca for some amazing local businesses that specialize in being growers, maintaining gorgeous display gardens and full service garden boutiques. Members of “The Route” are Anna’s Perennials, Avant-Garden Shop, Blossom Hill Nursery, Gardens Plus, Garden Style Bridgenorth, Greenhouse on the River, Griffin’s Greenhouses, Johnston’s Greenhouses, Keene on Gardens and Williams Design Studio.

PGS-logo-tinyAll of these businesses and more can be found this weekend at the Peterborough Garden Show. It runs from Friday, April 26th to Sunday April 28th. The Peterborough & Area Master Gardeners will be there giving gardening advice and are available to answer all your questions! Come visit us at our booth. We are the ones with the red aprons! This year’s show is in a new venue, Fleming College’s Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre. Lots of free parking and the cost is only $10.00 which gives you access to the show for the whole weekend. There are many wonderful speakers and workshops. All the proceeds go back to the community. Check it out at peterboroughgardenshow.com.  Hope to see everyone at the show!

The Peterborough Garden Show

By Mary-Jane Pilgrim, Master Gardener

It’s coming in 25 days.  It can’t come soon enough.  In our city, “The Garden Show” is a true sign of spring.  It’s an occasion that brings together speakers, workshop leaders, vendors, horticultural society members, master gardeners, exhibitors and many others for one reason:  “For the Love of Gardening”.PGS-logo-small

This year marks the 19th fantastic show: 
April 26 – 28, 2019 (Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday 10am-4pm).

And there’s great news ! The show has MOVED – to Fleming College’s brand new Trades and Technology Centre on Brealey Drive with lots of FREE parking and a $10, one-price ticket so you can enjoy the show all weekend.

The Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners will have a booth at the show, and will be happy to answer any gardening questions that you may have. Watch for our red aprons!

The theme “Coming Up Roses” is reflected in several of the amazing speakers along with educational and fun workshops and demos.

This award-winning show was honoured in 2017 with both a “Canada 150 Garden Experience”, and “Garden Event of the Year” by the Canadian Garden Council, so come and see what all the fuss is about.

You will find many of your old favourite vendors along with some new ones.

…and don’t forget the popular “Little Green Thumbs” Children’s Garden that is always teaming with liveliness and action! There are learning activities, face painting, crafts and even a take-home project. Their theme this year is “Miniature Gardens for Elves and Fairies”.

All the show profits go back into our community to fund scholarships for post-secondary students studying in horticulture-related fields,various local projects & Community Gardens.  Since 2002, the show has put over $200,000 back into our community.

Please save the date, visit and and learn why “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” in 2019.

Learn more about the incredible speakers, workshops, bus trips, places to stay and tickets here: peterboroughgardenshow.com.

 

Plants of the Year

By Lee Edwards, Master Gardener

In a few months, gardeners will happily be heading back into the garden.  Along with planting native plants friendly to pollinators, this year, gardeners may also want to include one or all the National Garden Bureau’s plants of 2019; the perennial salvia (Salvia nemorosa), the annual snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), Dahlia bulbs, and or the edible Pumpkin.  There’s also the perennial plant of the year, the betony (Stachys moneri ‘Hummelo’) chosen by the Perennial Plant Association.  Each one of these plants represent different classes of plants that are fairly easy to grow and are also relatively low maintenance.wild-sage-141575_640

Belonging to the mint family, Salvia nemorosa is a striking, hardy, ornamental variety of sage.  A full-sun, compost loving, easy to grow, drought-tolerant plant, it prefers moist, well-drained soil to produce tall, multi-branched, spectacular spikes of blue-violet flowers starting in the summer.  Once the blooms fade and the stems brown, cut back the plants size by two-thirds to encourage more blooms throughout the season.

snapdragon-20809_640Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are making a comeback with their fragrant, large, tubular, dragon-shaped flowers in a multitude of colors and heights.  Considered an annual in cold temperature countries, these early spring blooming plants can interestingly withstand cold weather and slow down flowering during overly warm temperature.  Great in containers, snapdragons require constant deadheading to encourage more blooms and often need staking.

Beautiful, tuberous, tender perennials, Dahlias thrive in full sun, well-drained, warm, dahlia-3964712_640slightly acidic, and moist soil blooming from mid-summer to late fall.  Outstandingly showy and dramatic, dahlias need to be fed often with organic matter once the plants begin to grow and deadheading is needed to promote blooms.  Flowers can grow from two inches to 15 inches depending on the plant variety.

pumpkins-457716_640Pumpkins are healthy edibles high in fiber and vitamins to name just a few health benefits.  Related to melons, squash, and cucumbers, plant pumpkin seeds indoors to start, then directly in the ground once the soil has thoroughly warmed up.  Pumpkins require constant watering, pollination by bees to fruit and take from three to four months to mature.  Like many other edibles, they must be replanted every year.

Betony (Stachys moneri ‘Hummelo’) is a herbaceous perennial that blooms in late spring to early summer, showing off its bee attracting, upright, purple flower spikes atop mounding, dense, clump-forming, dark green leaves.  Stachys moneri ‘Hummelo’ likes a sunny location with a little afternoon shade and evenly moist soil.  It makes a striking display when mass planted.

Reference:  National Garden Bureau (“Year of The,”  2019). Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https://ngb.org/year-of-2019/.

Have Fun Gardening!

 

And the winner is…

By Sharleen Pratt, Master Gardener

medal-1622523_640Did you watch the Oscars last night? It is one of many award shows and it fuels a fascination in us to know what has been voted the best movie, best song, what book won the Giller Prize or the Canada Reads Competition? We browse through newspaper articles, blogs or Facebook posts to find out who were the most influential people, or learn new trends in food and decorating. The Plant world is no exception. There are several plant competitions and our own Peterborough Horticultural Society has Flower, Photography and Preserves Shows where the members exhibit the ‘best’ from their gardens.

I have listed below just a few plant winners, one from a very prestigious show and a few chosen winners by plant corporations. You may not agree with the choices, but there is a curiosity in many of us to know what has made the list. It can also fuel discussion amongst friends and through all this, we learn, discuss and share a passion called Gardening!

Perennial Plant Association

Each year the Perennial Plant Association selects one plant that they find to have low maintenance, are pest and disease resistant, have multiple season interest and are suitable for a wide range of climatic conditions.

This year’s perennial, Stachys monieri ‘Hummelo’ is a cousin to the familiar Lamb’s Ears, but it is a clump-forming perennial which forms a low mound of crisp green foliage. It flowers in early summer with beautiful upright spikes of bright purple flowers that are attractive to bees. It works well in containers and can be easily divided in spring. Stachys prefers a sunny location and is hardy to zone 4.

Chelsea Flower Show, London, England

At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, England, the new Hydrangea Runaway Bride ‘Snow White’ was named ‘Plant of the Year 2018’. Hydranges are known and loved for their colourful lacecap flowers, but this winning plant, produces white flowers with a tinge of pink that appear from terminal and lateral buds in late spring into autumn. It is perfect for hanging baskets, patio containers and mixed borders. They have a graceful weeping habit. It is neat, compact and very hardy. Having been produced for the show by Ushio Sakazaki, this plant will not be readily available for a few years.

Proven Winners

Proven Winners searches the world for vibrant flowering annuals, perennials and shrubs that deliver excellent garden performance. They look for easy to grow, good flowering, health and vigor, length of blooming and they are all trialed and tested.

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Photo courtesy of Proven Winners – http://www.provenwinners.com

Their choice for the 2019 Annual of the Year is Sedum mexicanum ‘lemon coral’. It grows in part to full sun, has a beautiful lime green foliage, is compact in size and is very drought tolerant. It works well in hanging baskets or containers. It is very heat tolerant and doesn’t require deadheading.

One of Proven Winners 2019 recommended shrubs is Berberis thunbergii Sunjoy Mini Maroon. It is a sterile barberry, and therefore, not invasive. It has deep purple-red foliage on a dense, nicely shaped mound. It needs no pruning and is highly resistant to damage from rabbits and deer. It grows to a height of 2 to 3 ft. and is hardy to Zone 4.

Pantone Colour of the Yearcolour of the year

For 20 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries. Colour experts comb the world looking for new colour influences. This year’s colour is PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral. PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color. We can expect to see this energizing hue of coral and golden undertones popping up in our gardens. Some suggestions are: Calibrachoa Superbells ‘Coralina’, Canna Toucan ‘Coral’, Dianthus Fruit Punch ‘Classic Coral’, Rose Oso Easy ‘Mano Salsa’, and Verbena Superbena Royale ‘Peachy Keen’.

Caring for Your Houseplants in Winter

By Chris Freeburn, Master Gardener

For avid gardeners, winter months are a resting period with little to do but read about gardening and plan for spring. But we also need to take more care with our houseplants during this time as conditions in our homes have changed from months where windows are open and furnaces are not running.

To give your plants the best chance to stay happy and healthy, remember these four important factors.

Water

Most plants do drink less in the winter months so you can let them dry out between watering. However, plants like asparagus fern, anthurium, dracaena and ferns will still want to be kept moist. Check the soil an inch down or feel how heavy the pot is to be sure you are giving those plants enough water. Always fill your watering can and let it sit for a few hours before using. This allows the water to come to room temperature and also gives time for any chlorine or other chemicals to dissipate. Plants like jade, sansevieria, succulents and cactus will still want to be dry through the resting period.dscn6541

Temperature

Palm, croton, dieffenbachia and most tropicals prefer it warmer while ivies, wandering jew, cyclamen and jasmine like it cooler. So if you have your cyclamen in the same room as your fireplace, it might not be happy. Watch for drafts of cool air from open doors or from hot air blowing from furnaces. Many plants will suffer from this.

Light

Give your plants as much light as you can. That south window that burns everything in summer will give just enough light in the early months of the year. You may need to move some of the plants you keep in other areas to a brighter window. Plants like ferns, figs or philodendrons may want to be in that brighter spot. But be aware of how cool it is. You may have to move your plant back away from the glass

Humidity

dscn6545 (1)Most homes in winter are too dry for most houseplants and this is why we see them suffer by dropping leaves. To increase humidity, you can mist the plant, give it a shower (at room temperature – this also will dust for you!), or set in a saucer with rocks (elevate so the pot and roots are not constantly wet). Placing plants in kitchens or bathrooms where there tends to be more humidity is another idea. Plants that like it humid include ferns, palms, dieffenbachia and dracaena.

Fertilizing in the winter months when plants often rest is not recommended, however if your plant is actively growing with new sprouts, use a weak solution of water soluble fertilizer (20-20-20) once or twice a month.

It is also very important to have a good look at your houseplants on a regular basis. Besides removing spent leaves or flowers, watch for chewed leaves, spidery webs, or wet patches on leaves which can indicate pests. If you spot something, isolate the plant to avoid the pest migrating to the rest of your collection. Pick off the infested leaves, give the plant a good shower or gently wash the leaves with water or safers soap and get a good insecticide. Take your sick plant to the bath tub for a good spray. Remember to spray the soil as well as the plant as many pests lay their eggs in the soil. You can also use plant pest strips. These work very well for fungus gnats and other flying pests.

With a little attention and care over these stressful months, you can keep you houseplants happy and healthy and ready for the next season.

Winter Gardening

By Judy Bernard, Master Gardener

My jade plant is getting too large for my pot again! The last time it got too big, I tried potting it up into a larger pot, but it was too unwieldy and so I just cut off a few branches and potted them up in some new potting soil. Three years later, its  already over 50cm tall and wide, but stable in the pot. So, I’m just going to prune it and tidy it up.

And this is where my winter gardening comes in. Those pieces I’ve pruned are going to be potted up for new plants which I can give away or put into a plant sale. Just remember, they are succulents and therefore don’t need a lot of water.judys jade plant

It’s also a good time to clean up those miniature gardens that come from the supermarket or from the florist with several plants in the container. The plants can be removed and repotted individually, giving their roots more room to grow and allowing you to individualize their care.

Other winter gardening includes checking the tender bulbs and tubers that were dug up last fall for disease and rot and removing anything not healthy. They may also need a little moisture added to keep them from drying out but not enough to stimulate growth.

Have fun with your plants.

Here are some web sites for you to consult:
https://www.almanac.com/plant/jade-plants
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/jade-plant/jade-plant-care.htm

Caring for your Poinsettia

By Mary-Jane Pilgrim, Master Gardener

Christmas Day is tomorrow (gasp!) and with that we have a few tips on how to care for your Christmas plant — the poinsettia. This plant came to Europe from Mexico. Because of its bright red colour, it became a popular Christmas decoration and nowadays it’s hard to imagine Christmas without it. You may not know this, but the colourful parts of the plant are actually leaves, and that all poinsettias have tiny yellow flowers.

Having a poinsettia is a great way to brighten up your house this winter and if you follow the tips, your plant may last even until Easter.

Water your plant when it feels dry to touch, but take care not to drown it by ensuring that adequate drainage is available. Place a layer of pebbles on a tray beneath the plant to keep it out of water and increase the humidity. Avoid letting it sit in a water-filled saucer as this can lead to root rot.IMG_4312

Place your plant in bright, but not direct sunlight; give it a minimum of six hours of light each day. South, east or west facing windows are preferable to a north window. Maintain Temperatures between 18 – 22C in the day, and cooler at night. Avoid extreme temperature changes by ensuring that it’s not near near fireplaces, drafts or ventilation ducts.

If you notice that the leaves are falling off, you can usually still save the plant. Environmental factors such as a room that is too warm or too dry is most often the reason. Keep the plant in a coolish, draft-free area and provide plenty of water.

Fertilizing a poinsettia is never recommended while it’s blooming — and you should fertilize only if you plan to keep it after the holiday season. If so, apply fertilizer every two weeks using a complete houseplant fertilizer. While it is possible to keep the plant from year to year, it is a very fussy exacting process. Since they are not that expensive, you might just choose to start fresh next year.

For years poinsettias have had the bad reputation of being poisonous. They certainly are not meant to be eaten by humans, pets, or livestock and ingesting poinsettias would probably cause some stomach upset, as would eating most any houseplant. However poinsettias have undergone extensive testing and there is no evidence that they are toxic or unsafe to have in the house. They are also safe to put into the compost.

If you are interested in keeping the plant after the holidays, here are some tips:
https://www.thespruce.com/poinsettias-keepers-or-compost-1403587
https://landscapeontario.com/home-care-tips-for-your-poinsettia
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/poinsettia/poinsettia-care-how-do-you-take-care-of-poinsettias.htm