Dunnville Horticulture Society

Take good care of trees: Dunnville Horticultural Society

This summer has been wetter than normal this year, and the gardens are loving it. The plants are lush with growth and look like an amazing jungle, but unfortunately, underneath all that beauty lies trouble.

Rot, mold and insects will thrive too, causing damage to your plants. Thinning out the foliage may help dry them out and allow you to observe any problems that might occur. Good drainage is always a benefit, too.

Another issue I observed in my neighbour’s garden was a plastic tree guard on a young tree. Upon removing it, I saw there were signs of bark disease and insects starting to affect the bark.

The owner was surprised, as he thought tree wraps were beneficial for stopping sun, weed whacker, deer and rodent damage. However, with all those benefits come grave disadvantages if you are not careful.

Rubbing, insects and mice between the guards can cause damage too. Guards that are too tight and not removed can girdle, choke and kill trees. Moisture trapped in the guard can also kill the tree.

The biggest issue with any guards is user error. People need to be more aware that your trees need attention, and if left unattended, they will suffer.

I usually take my guards off in the spring and replace them in late fall. Take care of your trees, and they will provide you with many years of beauty and shade.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact club president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

Note that 2021 club memberships are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 for a single, $15 per couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario, N1A 2X5.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Gas plants a unique addition to the garden

Marlene Link writes about an unusual plant that can ignite

 

The gas plant (dictamnus albus) is a long-lived perennial herbacious species. It is a member of the citrus family (rutaceae) and smells like lemon in the hot summer heat.

It has leathery, glossy green leaves and it bears upright spikes of blooms that are very showy and resemble mini orchids. It grows 60 to 91 centimetres (24 to 36 inches) high, and the bloom stalks add another 25 to 30 centimetres (10 to 12 inches) to its height.

Typically, the bloom colours are purple, pale pink or white. There is also a red bloom available, which is really hard to find.

As the common name might suggest, this plant does something quite strange. The fumes from the oil that the gas plant produces are highly volatile and can actually ignite if the air temperature is high enough or if you light a match to the plant. It will produce a burst of blue flame that does not harm the plant. Isn’t nature full of mysterious wonders?

The gas plant is very drought-tolerant and prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade. It’s hardy in zones three to seven (which includes Haldimand and Glanbrook) and the gas plant grows in all types of soil.

It’s not commonly found in garden centres, but this unique plant is out there and worth the hunt, as butterflies are attracted to it, especially the swallowtail.

One word of caution when around the gas plant: The resin it produces may cause burning and blistering rashes, so wear protective clothes and gloves to avoid contact.

They grow a long, deep tap root, so choose a permanent location when you plant it and sit back and enjoy the flowers.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact club president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

Note that 2021 club memberships are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 for a single, $15 per couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario, N1A 2X5.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Prairie smoke an attractive plant native to the area

Marlene Link encourages gardeners to plant more of these early bloomers

Geum triflorum (prairie smoke) is also known as old man’s whiskers, due to its appearance, with its long, pinkish, hairy seed heads. It also resembles smoke hovering over the plant, hence the name.

Some people may think they look like little Troll dolls, which I’m sure some remember from earlier years.

It flowers in the spring, and the reddish flower remains attractive for two to three months, then the seed plumes appear.

It prefers well-drained soil in full to partial sun, making it suitable for rock gardens.

Divide them in spring after flowering, or in the fall.

Prairie smoke is one of the first prairie flowers to bloom in the spring; a sure sign that the growing season has begun.

This native wildflower is an attractive little plant that should be utilized in our gardens more often.

They grow 30 centimetres (or one foot) tall and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

If you like different looking flowers like me, then this is the plant for you.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Baptisia and bear’s breeches can be great anchors for the garden

Marlene Link says she’s had these plants in her garden for years

Looking for undemanding plants to structure your flower beds around? Two plants that come to mind are baptisia and bear’s breeches.

They have both found their way into my garden for some years. I first planted the purple baptisia and then later acquired the yellow variety.

They both bloom in late spring. I prefer the yellow baptisia, as it is like a ray of sunshine after our long, dark winter. After flowering, the deep blue-green foliage acts as a shrub, growing to a size of about a square metre.

Baptisia tolerates some shade and dry conditions and does well in full sun.

Bear’s breeches is big, bold and beautiful, and can be used as a cut flower and for drying, too.

It should be cut at its peak bloom time. The flower spikes grow around a metre tall, with spiny purple bracelets emerging first before the white flowers appear. The blooms last for several weeks. The flowers resemble snapdragons; the glossy foliage resembles thistle leaves; and the plant has a mounding growth appearance.

The roots grow deep on both baptisia and bear’s breeches, and they are hard to move without leaving root pieces behind, which may regenerate. Keep them in check by placing a bottomless pot in the ground around them, as they will crowd out other plants near them.

Both plants make a great anchor in the garden to build the bed around. Be sure to leave lots of room.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Many plants can be dried for later use in cooking, decor and more

Lavender Farm
Plan now for your harvest later, says Marlene Link

There are a host of plants to consider planting this year to reap the seeds and flower heads to later dry and use in numerous ways. The most commonly used are dried herbs in cooking, e.g. oregano, tarragon, thyme and peppermint for tea.

Lavender is used in many ways, especially for its aroma and for essential oils.

The annual flowers, such as the strawflower (helichrysum bracteatum) was quite popular several years ago, but recently I have found it at only a couple of garden centres. The blooms are very stiff and can be used for potpourri. Their colours range from white to rosy pink, or purple and hot yellow to gold. They can also be easily grown from seeds. They love hot, dry weather and with regular harvesting of the flower heads, they will continue to bloom until frost.

Globe amaranth (drumflower) and statice are both favourites for flower arranging. Celosia and Nigella (love in a mist) and salvia can also be used for drying.

Sea oats is one of my favourites with its flat, pointed oval seed heads, and can be used in floral arrangements or pressed for cards and small framed pictures. It is a perennial grass, but be cautious where you plant it, as it will self-seed under the right conditions.

Harvest timing is important for drying flowers. For example, the salvia should be picked when the bracts are fully coloured, or when the bottom two or three flowers are open.

Now is the time to think about what you want to plant. So, plan ahead for what you want to harvest later in your garden and always have fun and enjoy.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Memberships for 2021 are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 for a single membership, $15 per couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario, N1A 2X5.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Plan now for your harvest later, says Marlene Link

There are a host of plants to consider planting this year to reap the seeds and flower heads to later dry and use in numerous ways. The most commonly used are dried herbs in cooking, e.g. oregano, tarragon, thyme and peppermint for tea.

Lavender is used in many ways, especially for its aroma and for essential oils.

The annual flowers, such as the strawflower (helichrysum bracteatum) was quite popular several years ago, but recently I have found it at only a couple of garden centres. The blooms are very stiff and can be used for potpourri. Their colours range from white to rosy pink, or purple and hot yellow to gold. They can also be easily grown from seeds. They love hot, dry weather and with regular harvesting of the flower heads, they will continue to bloom until frost.

Globe amaranth (drumflower) and statice are both favourites for flower arranging. Celosia and Nigella (love in a mist) and salvia can also be used for drying.

Sea oats is one of my favourites with its flat, pointed oval seed heads, and can be used in floral arrangements or pressed for cards and small framed pictures. It is a perennial grass, but be cautious where you plant it, as it will self-seed under the right conditions.

Harvest timing is important for drying flowers. For example, the salvia should be picked when the bracts are fully coloured, or when the bottom two or three flowers are open.

Now is the time to think about what you want to plant. So, plan ahead for what you want to harvest later in your garden and always have fun and enjoy.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Memberships for 2021 are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 for a single membership, $15 per couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario, N1A 2X5.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Haldimand gardeners encouraged to paint their gardens

Choose complementary colour combinations in the garden, writes Marlene Link

 

Take your garden from ho-hum to wow. Just like an artist choosing the right colour combinations, so too is the colour choice for gardeners.

One of the biggest challenges is to get the colours to complement each other. Here are four colour combinations that can help achieve this goal.

Combination 1: Crisp white plus orangey yellow plus fiery red all equate to a hot and happy palette. Specimen plants include cosmos, yarrow, dahlia and black-eyed Susan.

Combination 2: Mellow yellow plus pure white plus purplish blue all equal a fancy and frilly palette. Specimen plants include golden Marguerite, white echinacea, delphinium and blue globe thistle.

Combination 3: Soft white plus pale silver plus medium green result in a muted and mixed palette. Specimen plants include foxtail lily, artemisia, English yew.

Combination 4: Ruby red plus vivid violet plus deep magenta translate into a cool and collected palette. Specimen plants would include red penstemon, rose campion, hardy geranium, salvia, and rose salvia.

Of course, there are many other plant combinations that you can create on your own. Happy painting!

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact group president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Group memberships for 2021 are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 for a single membership, $15 for a couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario, N1A 2X5.

Marlene Link is a members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Search for hidden gems in Haldimand

Marlene Link encourages gardeners to seek out new sources of plants this year

A few years ago, I discovered an amazing place on Highway 3 near Simcoe. Having driven by several times, my curiosity finally got the best of me when I saw the “plant sale” sign, so I stopped in.

My stop was rewarded with a wonderful tour of a garden trials location. There were rows upon rows of beautiful, robust plants overflowing their containers. Most annuals and some perennials grown here are tested for their durability and performance in our southern Ontario summer.

This particular plant trials location started with 300 plants the first year and expanded to 3,000 in 2020. They supply several large big box stores.

When was the last time you searched out a new local garden centre?

Haldimand, Norfolk, Hamilton and even Niagara have many diverse plant suppliers to quench our thirst for something new in our gardens.

You will often be able to find unique and native plants that may have your neighbours green with envy. Watch for the signs, ask fellow gardeners about their “secret” places, and scour the internet for out-of-the-ordinary suppliers.

Make 2021 your year to explore new garden options. You may just stumble onto a gold mine of exciting new plants. As the saying goes, “seek and ye shall find.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings.

If you have questions or comments, please contact our president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com, or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

How do you care for miniature roses from the grocery store? Dunnville Horticultural Society member offers some tips

Miniature roses found in grocery stores are always tempting to buy, but after you get it home, you wonder if it will survive until the weather gets warm enough to put it outside. Usually, they last a few weeks in a sunny spot in the house.

Always remove the gift wrap sleeve, as it prevents drainage. After flowering has stopped, place the plant out of bright light and keep it slightly on the dry side, but not completely dried out.

After it has gone dormant, you can divide the rose, which usually has multiple plants in one pot. Use a good potting soil to allow for adequate drainage, but do not use peat moss, as it makes it difficult to manage watering. Too much water can cause the leaves to go yellow and drop. Use a rooting hormone compound when planting.

Some miniature roses are heartier than others, but they generally do well and are sturdier than they appear. Transfer them directly into the garden or use them in planters as an accent plant and enjoy them next summer.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the group’s president, Deb Zynomirski, at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society supporting species at risk

Debbie Thomas writes about work being done at the Thompson Creek Eco Centre

 

Driving down Robinson Road, you may notice something different at the Thompson Creek Eco Centre in the tallgrass prairie.

Two large, 2.4-metre-long roof structures that tower 3.7 metres above the ground stand ready for barn swallows to take up residence during the spring 2021 nesting season. The location offers water, mud and vegetation for nest building, plenty of insects for food and the structures are designed to provide shelter and protection from prey.

Barn swallows are designated as a species at risk in Ontario, brought on by nesting habitat loss, mainly due to the disappearance of traditional old barns that used to dot rural Ontario.

The purpose of this latest Dunnville Horticultural Society project is to replace some of the habitat for local bird populations, and to act as an educational demonstration site for other people to possibly replicate and do the same.

Prior to COVID-19, our group also added 30 birdhouses spread throughout the 23-acre tallgrass prairie to entice blue birds and tree swallows in time for spring nesting.

We are happy to report we had 90 per cent occupancy of tree swallows having multiple broods, and we are hopeful blue birds will follow. Both species are also considered at risk.

We’d like to thank our member and Thompson Creek Eco Centre project lead, Dan McKay, for researching and building these structures. As an added bonus, his design of the enclosed roof section will also allow nesting space and housing for the little brown bat, another species at risk.

Also helping on the project were Roger Egger, Doug Swick, Brad House, Nathan McKay, Charlie Hartsell, and Mark, Kalen and Rowan McCormack.

Debbie Thomas is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society and co-chair of the Thompson Creek Eco Centre project in collaboration with project lead Dan McKay.

You can save your geraniums

Favourite summer plants can overwinter says Marlene Link

It’s not too late to save your geraniums. If you had geraniums in your summer containers or in your garden, you can save them for next spring.

Overwintering your geraniums can be done in different ways. Some people bring in the whole pot and place them in a south facing window. Leaf drop may occur and you should water them weekly. In mid-winter you can take cuttings (slips) and pot them up in fresh potting soil.

Another method is to pull the geranium out of the soil and hang them upside down in a cool dark corner of the basement. Roots will go dormant, then wait for spring and repot them in fresh soil. I have also stored them in a brown paper bag.

Larger pots can also be placed in the basement on the floor to dry out and go dormant. About February give them a bit of water and watch for new growth. Then in the spring repot them in fresh potting soil, trim back to the new growth. By May, they should look strong and healthy and ready to go outside to enjoy.

Due to Covid19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact DHS President Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com.