Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm Moving

To all my fellow gardeners and bloggers. I'm moving blog locations to my own url at:

This blog will no longer be supported or used as I'm consolidating everything into my own website. Please feel free to come on over and sign up for the email notifications on my new blog.

I'll be answering questions, posting pictures (there's 50 new ones up there now with my newsletter picture contest) and having a blog-of-a-time.

Again - that's at

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What Blogs Do You Read/Write

One of the things I'm interested in is who reads this blog that also has a blog.

And if you don't write your own - do you have a favourite?

Tell me.

Put up a link in comments (or I will for you) and tell me something about what you're writing.

I'm interested in looking around the gardening blog world and this is the quickest way to start.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Old Endings - New Beginnings

As you can see from the picture, there's not much left of the annual garden. Oh well, tis the season and all that.

I'm actually a little tired of the garden this year. It has been a project all year to start a new garden and my expectations have always exceded my grasp. It was ever thus but I'm not sure I'd ever like it any other way.

And like the seasonal creature I've become over my years in this frozen North, I'll now hunker down and let the cold winds blow over my garden and around my snug house. Inside of course, I'll do all the things that garden writers do over the winter.

I'll sort all the digital images from this past season - all several thousand of them (right! as if that's going to happen in the near future).

I'll plan next year's garden (already in progress).

I'll dream over a warm woodstove about spring blooms (already in progress).

I'll take cuttings of the old plants to populate the new garden (if I keep them alive over the winter I will)

I'll write a best-seller - right after I finish figuring out Linux works (I'm transferring operating systems as we speak)

I'll work on my house and install plant lighting - got the aquarium lit and some plants overwintering there but need more.

I'll work on my Spitfire and fix the seat, the heat gauge and the cooling system just because I want to.

I'll work on my boat and get those hatches cleaned up so I can investigate different aspects of water gardening next summer. (Hadn't thought of that excuse to go sailing before)

I'll set up my shop so I can do the above.

But mostly I'll write and dream. And that too has already started.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fastest Flowers Around

I'm told that former NASCAR driver - the King Richard Petty (the winningest driver ever) is going to be the spokesperson for 3 garden products. If you're down South, you're likely to see him touting some lawn seed and supplements for the garden.

I knew Richard could go fast in a car but I thought it was Daryl that got to ride the mowing machine because Michael won't let him drive his car.

So other than a famous face -what's he got going for him in the gardening world.

Would you buy lawn seed from this guy?

Somebody thinks you would.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Organic Lawn Care Source

Safe Lawns is a coalition of companies apparently funded by Bradfield Organics that provide organic solutions for lawn care. Their new website is slick and informative and as much as I envy the money behind this operation - a good source for organic gardening and lawn care information.

The videos are professionally done by Paul Tukey (editor of People, Places, Plants) and the two I watched are accurate and well done.

Good for them.

Spread the word about the benefits of organic gardening and lawn care. We need tons more stuff just like this to get the word out and provide excellent info.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cutting Jack O Lanterns

Let's be safe out there folks.

Get rid of the knives when carving pumpkins.

The simplest way is to use a small electric sabre saw. Those little saws can cut compound curves, back up, reverse and can make any pattern you can imagine.

If you don't have one of those in your toolbox (you should - they're very versatile tools) then stop in at your favourite hardware store and pick up a hack saw blade or a stiff scroll saw blade or even a keyhole saw (I've recently seen keyhole saws on the "buck table") to make carving that pumpkin a safe job for even a small child. Not that you're likely to carve keyholes but they are fantastic pumpkin carving tools.

Get rid of the sharp knives and start using saws. Better, safer pumpkins as a result. Pass this thought along...

And post some pictures on your blog of your pumpkin with links on the comment sections here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

One Small Step

One of the things that strikes me about the entire environmental debate is that often the information is simply overwhelming. I mean, I've been doing some of these things for many years now (I built my commercial sized solar greenhouse in 1979) and I can still be overwhelmed by the choices and information rolling over top of me.

So - here's my thought.

If we do one small thing, we can make a difference.

Not only that - but if we all do one small thing, we can make a bigger difference.

I'm putting together a list of small things we can do in our own gardens that will make a difference. They don't have to be big things (in fact, I don't want big things). But I'm going to pass them along on my other blog and newsletter

My first project though was to pass along 12 small steps you can do right now. I've put them into a series of emails that I'll mail to you if you sign up for them.

I don't use your email for any other purpose than sending these small steps - (too busy being a gardener to spam).

Feel free to pass along these tips or the address of the other blog to your friends if you'd like to join me and help to make a difference.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Closer to the Spirit of the Place

maple tree
There is a side of me that is simply awed by what goes on in my garden. From one end of the season to the other (I take a day between the start of the garden season and the end of it to not-garden for one day) I am amazed by the goings-on out there.

I know that many others feel the same way. I got a note from a reader last week that said, “I feel closer to God in the garden than anywhere else”. I thought that just about summed it all up nicely.

Whatever your concept of God is. However that manifests itself for you in whatever religion or denomination makes sense to you, there is an ineffable spirit in the garden that touches us all.

Some don’t know they’ve been touched by this spirit (and that’s OK too) while others such as my reader know it all too well and intensely.

In my case, I do reach out and touch the spirits of the place. I do feel them on bright sunny mornings as they stir and start their daily work; their gentle morning caress makes us both feel good. I do feel them on rainy days like today as the wildness of the wind reaches out as I wander the blustery walkways between raindrops. I am calmed as I sit on moonlit nights in the silence of the place with waves and breezes for a gentle backdrop.

But today is for the wildness. It’s the power of wind and waves out there today as the rain and wind whip the water into whitecaps that curl and foam down the channel. It’s a day when the leftover perennial seedpods are crashing open and spreading their season’s bounty downwind for next year’s production. The trees are shedding their leaves at a furious rate and I’ll be surprised if the maple tree has a leaf left by nightfall. The shrubs are holding onto theirs for the moment but the banana tree doesn’t have a whole leaf left – they’re shredded beyond recognition.

It’s a day when you lean into the wind as it plucks at your coat fastenings trying to convince you to abandon reason and revel in its power with your bare skin. When you tuck your coat tighter to your throat or – just for a moment – relax and let the wind have its shivering way with you.

It’s a wild day in my garden and I love it. Closer to the spirit of the place indeed.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Storing Dahlia Bulbs

dahlia flowers
Well, the first thing is that they aren't really bulbs but in fact, they are tubers. Dig them, dry them in the sun for a day or two so the dirt can be brushed off. Don't wash them. Just put them into a cool, dry area. Keep them that way until you want to plant them next spring in pots or into the garden after frost.

It really is that simple. I note that heated basements aren't very good if they're kept warm. We're looking for 40-50 F temperatures in an ideal world.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So Now I'm Planting Bulbs

bulbsThe problem with planting bulbs too early is they start growing too soon.

You can see the image on the left where the leaves are just emerging from the bulb. If this happens before the ground gets too cold to support growth, then the bulb is going to freeze.

And then it is likely going to die.

I probably sound like a broken record here but plant those bulbs 6-8 weeks before freezeup in your garden.

And that unfortunately is pretty much here for me and mine.

On the other hand, planting bulbs is a promise for next year.