Dunnville Horticulture 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.

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.

Dunnville Horticultural Society has tips on what to do with that overgrown Christmas cactus

Marlene Link offers some tips on how to repot these plants

Many people wonder how and when to repot a Christmas cactus.

The Christmas cactus is a jungle cactus that prefers humidity and moisture. It’s not like its prickly cactus cousins that like warm and arid climates.

Usually a winter bloomer of different colours, they eventually require repotting.

So, when should you repot your cactus? In the spring when new growth begins and blooming ends. Never attempt to repot while it is blooming.

The Christmas cactus is happiest when its roots are slightly crowded. Usually every three to four years is adequate, or you can wait until the plant begins to look tired.

Use a lightweight potting mix, i.e. succulent soil. Repot in a slightly larger pot.

Remove the plant and gently loosen the roots and all the soil. Place in a new pot 2.5 centimetres (or 1 inch) below the rim and fill in with new soil. Pat lightly and water the plants to remove air pockets.

Place your plant in a shady spot for two to three days and then return to normal care.

Pink leaves indicate that your Christmas cactus has not received enough fertilizer, and unopened buds that dry up and fall off can be caused by changes in temperature and drafts. There are Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving cactus plants, and each one blooms when their names indicate.

Looking for a fun activity, or want to help out in your community? The Dunnville Horticultural Society is doing its annual Clean Up Day on Oct. 17. Join us by the east bridge parking lot at 9 a.m., when we will be removing all the annuals from our public flower beds in Dunnville.

Also, a quick shout out to all those weeders who assisted in keeping these gardens looking their best this summer – a big thank you!

More information about the Dunnville Horticultural Society is available on our website www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page. Happy gardening!

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Not your granny’s peonies

Marlene Link has tips to help your peonies thrive
There are a wide variety of peonies to enjoy in the garden. - Torstar file photo

Peonies are better than ever, with more varieties to choose from than the ones your grandmother had in her garden.

Peonies have been grown for over 4,000 years. The most common herbaceous ones will bloom for seven to 10 days and die back in winter.

The woody tree peonies from China have been around for over 2,000 years and were grown as a medicinal plant. They need protection from hot afternoon sun but are hardy and don’t need cutting back.

Itoh intersectional peonies are a cross between an herbaceous and a tree peony, and they also die back in the winter. They flower for three to four weeks and are more tolerant of heat and humidity.

While most of today’s peonies are fairly easy to grow, sometimes they might not perform and bloom as expected. What are some of the reasons why your peonies are not blooming?

• They may be planted too deep

• They may have insufficient sunlight

• They have been moved too often or divided too much

• They are cut back too early in the growing season

• You are killing them with kindness. Peonies thrive on scant fertilizer.

If you plan to divide your peonies, the fall is the best time to do so. Keep in mind, it can take a year or two for your peonies to flower again.

If you love gardening, or are interested in developing your green thumb, the Dunnville Horticultural Society is always welcoming new members. Check out our website at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org, our Facebook page or contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or 416-566-9337.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society shares tips on how to make slug traps

Using the right tools for the job can help control pests in the garden, says Marlene Link
Dunnville Horticulture Society is selling solitary-pollen bee nests as a fundraiser this summer. - Deb Zynomirski photo

Should you share your beer with your garden? Probably not. Beer does not make a good fertilizer and would be better consumed by the gardener.

However, beer does make a good slug killer. Beer not only attracts slugs, but it kills them too. At least they die happy.

Two simple slug traps can be easily made at home.

The first one uses a tuna tin set into the soil at ground level and filled with beer.

The second trap is made with a plastic pop bottle with the top section cut off, inverted and placed into the bottom section with the narrow opening inside; then fill it with beer and place it at ground level.

Other gardening tips are to use coffee grounds to acidify the soil. Some plants that prefer acidic soil are: azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, daffodils, and blueberries. Always work the coffee grounds into the soil.

When controlling insects, people have used dish soap for years.

But modern-day dish soaps are different than the old-fashioned varieties and some are antibacterial.

These can cause wax removal, which not only kills the insects, but leads to the loss of water, leaf scorch and perhaps even the death of the plant.

Commercial insecticidal soaps have been specially formulated to protect the waxy cuticle of the plant, so a little extra money spent on a commercial product is money well spent.

One insect to welcome to your garden is the solitary bee.

These non-aggressive bees provide valuable and necessary pollination for many of your garden’s plants.

Dunnville Horticulture Society is selling solitary-pollen-bee nests as a fundraiser this summer.

Group members can purchase one for $20; the cost for nonmembers is $25.

Contact group president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or 416-566-9337 to get yours.

Happy gardening to all you green thumbs out there.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Dunnville Horticultural Society offers suggestions on how to cater to different plants’ needs

Marlene Link describes the ‘pot within a pot’ planting method

Do some of your plants in the same container demand different care needs?

A simple solution to this problem is the ‘pot within a pot’ method.

Water-needy plants can be watered either by hand or drip line. Plants with low-water needs can be spot watered when necessary, as you can easily find the separate pot.

This method can also be used for different soil needs, fertilizing, and transplanting small rooted plants, e.g. succulents. This keeps the small root balls from falling apart.

This method also works great for removing tender plants in the fall, which need to go inside. Then you can pop in a replacement plant to spruce up your fall planters.

Now that the weather is improving and we can get our hands dirty in the garden, why not come out and help the Dunnville Horticultural Society with its planting days?

On May 25, 26 and 27, we will be planting the public gardens with beautiful, colourful annuals.

This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the company of other gardeners, while physically distancing, of course.

Meet on May 25 at 8 a.m. in Dunnville’s downtown core. Hope to see you there.

For updates on the group’s activities, or to connect with other area gardeners, visit us online at our Facebook page or website, www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

For questions or comments, contact president Deb Zynomirski at 416-566-9337 or debzyn@gmail.com.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society

The pot within a pot method of gardening can be a great way to give individualized care to your plants. - Torstar file photo

Create unique holiday decorations with evergreen boughs

Hey gardeners, ‘tis the season to start your holiday decorating.

There are so many festive options to use in planters and urns.

Ribbons, bows, white birch, fantail willow, curly willow, pine cones and seed pods. You can also include bird houses, watering cans or old lanterns. The list is endless.

A variety of evergreen boughs are usually used, but remember to water your planter and spray the boughs with water to keep them from drying out.

One really cute idea I found was DIY Christmas tree gnome decorations. Did you know there was such a thing?

They are so simple to make; all you need is a tomato cage, wire, red hat and mitts. The nose can be made from a seed pod, potato or an ornament.

Simply place the cage upside down and cover with evergreen boughs using the wire to secure them. Place the red hat and mitts, attach the nose — and there you have it: a cute Christmas gnome.

You can also use different sizes of tomato cages to make a family of Christmas gnomes.

On behalf of the Dunnville Horticultural Society, we wish you and yours and happy, healthy and green holiday season.

Why not join other happy gardeners and would-be gardeners at our next program night on Jan. 16? We will be welcoming local garden experts to share their knowledge on our panel.

 

The society meets every third Thursday at the Optimist Club Hall, 101 Main St., from 7 to 9 p.m. Or visit us online at our Facebook page or at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

For questions or comments, contact president Deb Zynomirski at 416-566-9337 or debzyn@gmail.com.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

Christmas gnomes can be a cute addition to the garden around the holidays. - Marlene Link photo