Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nature's Calendar

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We all have some idea of what the last frost date is in our area. Over time a lot of data has been accumulated, because gardeners have paid a great deal of attention to the last frost date. Numerous lists will tell you what that date is for your area. However, these dates are based on averages and only give you an general idea of what to expect. The last frost date  not only varies from year to year, but with global warming it is estimated to have advanced from 5 to 10 days over the last 50 years.  So how are we to decide when to move our tomato or  begonia plants outside? I think it is best to follow nature's calendar.

When can you move tender plants out in the Spring?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wild Gardening

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A few years back, visiting the Agawa Canyon in northern Ontario, I saw some very attractive flower beds where garden flowers and native plants were growing together beautifully. It was a particularly good example of what Gertrude Jekyll calls "wild gardening," and I wanted to do something similar.

Wild and cultivated plants at the Agawa Canyon

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Short or Long Days

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I have just read about the effect of day length on blooming.  This might be very useful to know in the garden. Here is what I learned. 

Not surprisingly, plants have a biological clock that tells them when to start blooming. When we reach a certain number of daylight hours, a particular plant starts to bloom. I thought this internal clock triggered plants to bloom when days were getting longer, but in fact some plants are triggered to bloom when days are shorter. We all know about poinsettia that initiate flowers only when the days are short (shorter than 10 hours), but did you know that cosmos react in a similar way?

Facultative short day plant

Friday, February 6, 2015

More Stonecrops

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As I said in my previous post, stonecrops are difficult to identify because the taxonomy keeps changing, and many are very similar.  Another difficulty in identifying them from their appearance is that whether they grow in full sun and in some shade, or whether you are in spring or in mid-summer, they can look very different and change colour entirely as you can see from these two views of the same plant.

(Sedum) Phedimus spurius