Dunnville Horticulture Society

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

Sandi Marr

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” [Indian Summer]” ― John Howard Bryant 

As summer winds down to fall, it’s time to think about autumn gardening tasks. If your summer containers are as bedraggled as some of mine, replant for fall. Garden centre shelves are full of colourful mums, pansies, asters, ornamental peppers, grasses, cabbage and kale.

You can even use fall blooming perennials such as sedums, for extra interest! Plant containers tightly so you have a good show right through to Thanksgiving!

When fall frost hits the annuals or if they look poor already, you can clean them out of beds and fill your compost pile. Water trees and shrubs less, allowing them to harden off before winter sets in.

Fall is the best time to get your lawn ready for next spring. Cooler night time temperatures, warm days and ample moisture make this the ideal time to get new grass seeds growing so your lawn can look its best next year.  


After soil temperature drops below 60° in the fall months, plant
spring flowering bulbs of Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Dwarf Irises, Anemone, and Crocus. Select healthy, disease free bulbs. Add Bone meal or Bulb fertilizer into the planting hole as you prepare the soil.

Tender bulbs like Dahlias should be dug up and stored in a cool, dark area after first frost.

     For more excellent gardening tips, visit our website www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org and Facebook page. Better yet, join us Sept. 20, 7-9pm for our Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) Monthly Program at the Optimist Hall. Doors open at 6:30pm. Our program nights are free and open to everyone, members and non-members alike. Join us for friendship, refreshments, Jr Gardener’s Flower and Vegetable Show and Awards Night. Hear an informative Speaker, Adrianne Lickers of Six Nations Market & Garden Coordinator. Topic: Sweet Grasses Gardening (history, basketry, craft and medicinal uses).

 

For more information, contact Debbie Thomas, President at (905) 774-3064.

Written by Sandi Marr, DHS member.  Photo by Sandi Marr.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Hanging Baskets All Summer Long

Sandi Marr

 

By July, our hanging baskets start looking tired. Here are a few tips to rejuvenate them for the rest of the summer.

Prune. Often the centre of a hanging basket begins to die out. Redirect growth to the top of your hanging basket by pruning. Trim about one third of the growth on the sides of your hanging basket to encourage growth in the centre. Be sure to regularly deadhead spent flowers.

Water thoroughly. A good rule of thumb is to water until water runs out the bottom of the container. It is best to water in the morning or evening (or both, in extreme heat).

Fertilize. High phosphorus (the middle number) keeps flowers blooming.

Rotate. Often hanging baskets are hung on a porch or other place where they are exposed to sunlight on only one side. In that care, it is important to rotate the baskets for even growth.

Plan ahead. When you purchase a hanging basket in May or June, be sure to look for a 12 or 14 inch pot size. A 10 inch basket will dry out too quickly. If you purchase a 10 inch pot, transplant it into a 12 or 14 inch size for best results.

As your hanging baskets continue to bloom and look their best, enjoy these warm summer months. After all, we deserve some hot days after our long Canadian winters

Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. For questions or comments, contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debzyn@gmail.com. We resume our monthly program nights in September. Stay safe and happy gardening.

-by Sandi Marr, DHS member

 

 

 

 

Gardening Tasks for May

Sandi Marr

 

We’d all agree. Spring has been a long time coming. But it feels like it is finally here. Let’s begin our gardening!

Rake up winter debris from flowerbeds. Break off wilting tulip or daffodil heads and allow the foliage to die back naturally.

Lightly side dress perennials with an all-purpose fertilizer. Avoid spilling the fertilizer on the plant, and use care not to damage the shallow roots when you cultivate it into the soil. Spring is a good time to divide perennials.

Prune back early flowering shrubs such as forsythias, weigela and spirea by one third when they have finished blooming.

Remove the wilting seed heads from rhododendrons and azaleas so that the plants’ energy
can go to foliage growth and next year’s flowers, rather than seeds.

Lilacs should be fertilized (10-10-10) and pruned after they finish blooming, removing sucker growths and dead blooms.

Roses, deciduous shrubs and trees may be fertilized (10-10-10). Be sure to water the fertilizer in thoroughly after it is applied. Keep an eye on the roses, spraying for aphids and other diseases such as black spot.

Remove any sucker growths from fruit trees. Cut out all the dead canes from your raspberry patch. The new canes that will bear this year’s fruit should have new, swollen buds along the edges. Thin these to five canes per foot of row to allow good air circulation and prevent overcrowding.

May is a perfect month to repair your lawn. Visit your local garden centre for a good quality lawn care seed and fertilizer.

You won’t want to miss our Annual Plant Sale 7am-noon, Sat. May 12, rain or shine at its new location 210 Main St E (bridge parking lot overlooking the river). Rise early to get great deals on annuals, perennials, as well as unique garden accents and fresh cut flowers for Mother’s Day. Memberships will be available for purchase. All proceeds dedicated to the beatification of Dunnville.

For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on May17 for ““Weeds: Good vs. Bad/Which Weeds are Which?” Speaker: Carla Carlson, Niagara Nature Tours. There will also be an Annual Rose Draw for Members.

 

Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debzyn@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Garden Flowers Indoors

Sandi Marr

 

I love to grow perennials so I have beautiful bouquets to bring into our house all summer long.

Lilacs grace our table with beauty and fragrance in May. A tiny bouquet of dainty lily-of-the-valley remind me of my grandma Gilmore. She had a large bed of these delicate flowers at their home on hwy. 3.

Peonies bloom shortly after lilacs. Their spectacular large, fragrant flowers are breathtaking. I make sure I bring a bouquet into the house before a rain knocks them to the ground.

By the time the peonies are done blooming, our roses are in full glory. As the summer continues we are blessed with  lupins, iris, daylily, hydrangea, yarrow, astilbe, coneflower, and phlox to name a few.

If you enjoy fresh cut bouquets, here are a few tips to prolong the life of your garden flowers indoors:

“Condition” your cut plant material to make foliage and flowers last and look their best. Cut flowers during the cool of the day (early morning or evening). Submerge stem immediately into TEPID water as you gather flowers. Once inside, choose a clean container with fresh water and floral preservative (1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. bleach, 2 tsp. lemon juice, water.)

Remove all leaves below the water level. Change the water often and recut the stems to prolong the life of the bouquet. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.  

For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on June 21 to hear Lester C. Fretz, DHS Member, speaking on “Introduction to Trellis Gardening….Learn to take your garden Vertical to save space & your back!

 

Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debzyn@gmail.com.

 

 

Gardening Tasks for May

Sandi Marr

 

We’d all agree. Spring has been a long time coming. But it feels like it is finally here. Let’s begin our gardening!

Rake up winter debris from flowerbeds. Break off wilting tulip or daffodil heads and allow the foliage to die back naturally.

Lightly side dress perennials with an all-purpose fertilizer. Avoid spilling the fertilizer on the plant, and use care not to damage the shallow roots when you cultivate it into the soil. Spring is a good time to divide perennials.

Prune back early flowering shrubs such as forsythias, weigela and spirea by one third when they have finished blooming.

Remove the wilting seed heads from rhododendrons and azaleas so that the plants’ energy
can go to foliage growth and next year’s flowers, rather than seeds.

Lilacs should be fertilized (10-10-10) and pruned after they finish blooming, removing sucker growths and dead blooms.

Roses, deciduous shrubs and trees may be fertilized (10-10-10). Be sure to water the fertilizer in thoroughly after it is applied. Keep an eye on the roses, spraying for aphids and other diseases such as black spot.

Remove any sucker growths from fruit trees. Cut out all the dead canes from your raspberry patch. The new canes that will bear this year’s fruit should have new, swollen buds along the edges. Thin these to five canes per foot of row to allow good air circulation and prevent overcrowding.

May is a perfect month to repair your lawn. Visit your local garden centre for a good quality lawn care seed and fertilizer.

You won’t want to miss our Annual Plant Sale 7am-noon, Sat. May 12, rain or shine at its new location 210 Main St E (bridge parking lot overlooking the river). Rise early to get great deals on annuals, perennials, as well as unique garden accents and fresh cut flowers for Mother’s Day. Memberships will be available for purchase. All proceeds dedicated to the beatification of Dunnville.

For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on May17 for ““Weeds: Good vs. Bad/Which Weeds are Which?” Speaker: Carla Carlson, Niagara Nature Tours. There will also be an Annual Rose Draw for Members.

 

Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debzyn@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Ian Steel.

Daffodils are the Essence of Spring

Sandi Marr

This happy flower signals our garden’s full awakening from its winter’s sleep. Nature has traded her winter-white cloak for a mantel of spring-yellow vibrancy.

Narcissus, the botanical name for daffodils, promise to brighten every corner with their brilliance of spring. They are fabulous in cut flower arrangements. If you are bringing them in from your garden, do not cut them. Instead, pull and snap them off at the soil line.

Whether you are picking them from your garden or buying them, do so when they are still a bit closed. They will begin to open after being in water and last longer.

Daffodils secrete a sticky sap, so cure them in a vase of warm water for 2 hours. Because they give off a sap that can be deadly to other flowers, it’s best to arrange them by themselves. (If you want to include them in a mixed flower arrangement let the stems soak overnight in water to release most of the sap.)

Partially fill a clean vase with room temperature water. Daffodils prefer shallow water. Add some floral preservative if you have it or make your own. In a vase of warm water, add:

·         1 teaspoon sugar

·         1 teaspoon household bleach

·         2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

Stand the daffodils next to the vase to see how long or short you want them to be. Cut each daffodil stem on an angle with a sharp knife. When in doubt, cut them longer than you think you actually want them. You can always re-cut them later.

Keep your arrangement in a cool place, away from heat and sun, and add fresh water daily to help the daffodils last longer.

For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on April 19 for “The Art of Pruning: Sharpen your Shears.” Guest Speaker: Jim Lounsbury, owner of Vineland Nurseries. Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debzyn@gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

 

 

 

 

A Taste of Spring

Sandi Marr

By March, we’d all agree. We’re eager for winter to end. While we patiently wait for Mother nature to gift us with spring, let’s bring springtime to our homes. Forcing flowers indoors is the process of causing a plant to flower before its natural season.

     The first step in forcing flowers is to determine which plants are good candidates for the procedure. Early-blooming, woody plants are best to force. Begin with forsythia bushes and pussy willows.  February and March are the best months to force flowers inside. By the end of March and beginning of April, they are ready to burst open outdoors, naturally.

     With pruning shears in hand, pick a day that is above freezing. Cut forsythia stems in 2 foot lengths. Bring the stems inside and put them in a bucket of warm water. With your pruning shears, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, on an angle, performed underwater where air cannot act as a drying agent, will promote water intake. Allow the forsythia stems to soak up the warm water for several hours. 

   Change the water and add floral preservative, if you have it, in the warm water. Once again, re-cut the stems, on an angle, underwater. Place the stems in a high-humidity, sunny environment to speed up the process. (Warning: forcing flowers may become habit-forming as you bring a bit of springtime  to your house. Confession: it has become an annual rite of spring for me!)

     For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on March 15 to hear Adam Chamberlin, Haldimand County Project Manager Forestry “What is Happening to Our Tree Canopy in Haldimand.” As well, Dan McKay will provide a short update on the Thompson Creek Project undertaken by the Dunnville Horticultural Society & Garden Club (DHS). Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski debzyn@gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

 

 

 

February spells S-E-E-D-S

Sandi Marr

 

In the gardener’s dictionary, February spells S-E-E-D-S. To ensure having garden ready seedlings when it’s time to plant, gardeners use the rule of thumb “sow seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost.” Seed catalogs and seed packages provide a wealth of information about germination and growth.

To start seeds indoors, gather an assortment of containers. Peat pots are excellent and can be planted directly into the garden. Recycled containers such as milk or juice cartons, coffee cups, plastic “roasted chicken” containers, or “Dairy Queen Sundae containers” work well. The last two recycled items work like a mini-greenhouse with their plastic tops. Beverage cartons may be used on their side with clear plastic wrap on the top to help with germination. Prop the plastic with toothpicks.

Place a good seed starting soil mixture into your container of choice. Add your seeds and cover the seeds (or not) with soil on the top (seed packages will provide detailed instruction). Water carefully to avoid disturbing seeds.

Seeds need WARMTH to germinate. Provide bottom heat for your containers. You may sit your containers on the top of a refrigerator or warm air duct. As they sprout, remove the plastic or cover. Move them to a sunny window or under fluorescent light. Keep the soil moist and apply a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once a week. Continue to nurture your seedlings until the risk of frost is gone. Plant them outdoors.

Join us 7-9pm Feb. 15 for our Dunnville Horticultural Society Monthly Program Night: Fresh Flower Arrangements…The Thrills, Fills, & Spills” with guest speaker: Kim Dickie, DHS Member. We will also be having our annual Seed Exchange.

 We meet at the Optimist Hall. Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski (416) 556-9337 debyn@gmail.com if you have questions or comments. Visit our Facebook page or our website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org for more excellent gardening tips.

 

Written by: Sandi Marr, DHS member

-photo by: Lester C. Fretz, DHS member

Spider plants purify our air.

Gardening that Warms the Spirit

Sandi Marr

It may be cold outside, but indoor gardening always warms the spirit. January is a perfect time to focus on our houseplants. Like people, they benefit from a little TLC.
Here are a few tips to pamper your houseplants during these winter months. Remember these words: neglect with respect. Simply put, most houseplants don’t need as much water during the winter season. Once a week test the moisture level. If the soil is dry at a 2-inch depth the plant needs water. Water thoroughly and allow the water to drain completely.
Fertilize sparingly. Dilute the fertilizer by 50 percent or more. Once you see the plant setting new growth (typically in late February or March) you may start feeding full strength again.
Wash your plants. A simple bubble bath by hand is all it takes. Be sure the water is tepid and use a very diluted solution of liquid dishwashing soap and water. Place the plant in a sink and sponge off the leaves with the warm soapy water. Finish by wiping the leaves once more with clean water.
Visit www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org for more excellent gardening tips. Join us 7-9pm Jan. 18 for our Dunnville Horticultural Society Monthly Program Night. Lindsay Stephens, HC Public Library Community Outreach Co-ordinator will be sharing resources for gardeners. Mini-demos will be presented by DHS members Lester C. Fretz and Gloria Hunter.
We meet at the Optimist Hall. Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Contact Debbie Thomas, President at (905) 774-3064 if you have questions or comments.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Sandi Marr

So many of us greet the holiday season with a poinsettia in our home. This most popular Christmas plant brings instant beauty. The colours are limitless thanks to science and devoted botanists. No longer just red, we have choices of pink, white, cream, burgundy, variegated white and red or pink and red.
Proper care begins with bringing your plant home. Poinsettias may be popular in the winter but they cannot stand freezing temperatures. In the walk from the store to the car, be sure to wrap your plant in paper or a plastic bag. A good store will provide you with cold protection.
Choose a bright room in the house for your new poinsettia but do not place it in direct light. Remove the decorative wrapping which looks pretty but hinders proper air flow and water drainage.
Keep the soil slightly moist. Watering will depend heavily on your home’s climate. If the leaves are turning yellow, your soil is too wet. Only water when the soil surface has dried out. If the leaves are wilting, you may have exposed it to too much cold during transport from store to home. Wilting leaves can also be a sign of a draft, either warm or cold. Keep the plant away from vents or drafty windows.
Finally, poinsettias have a bit of a bad reputation with many folks thinking they’re poisonous. They are mildly toxic but unless you are legitimately allergic to the plant, the most you’ll face is a bit of a stomach ache. If you are worried about kids and pets, simply move them out of reach.
Enjoy this wonderful season and don’t forget to bring some poinsettia beauty to your home or the home of a loved one! For more gardening information check out http://www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org/. We resume our monthly meetings Jan. 18, 2018.