Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Next Meeting

The next meeting features Karl Hancox (Village Green Landscaping)....
Topic - Ponds....Mon. March 19th...6:45pm at the Railway Heritage Park...See you there!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Removing last year's Hellebore leaves

People often ask whether you should always remove last years leaves prior to the new flowering season.

I have routinely removed the foliage each season without encountering any problems. 'Evergreen' perennials are not exactly the same as a broadleaf evergreen shrub -- by the end of a full growing year, the foliage is inevitably tattered, shopworn and often distressed by various leaf spots or fungal lesions. The vitality and energy of the plant is stored in the root system - what photosynthesis taking place in midwinter is minimal. Removing the old foliage in late winter that has paid its dues and before any harboring pathogens can take hold of the new growth is a relatively common occurrence with a variety of plants, including acaulescent hellebores, epimediums, various evergreen ferns and evergreen grasses or grass-like plants.
Every grower and hybridizer of hellebores I know follows a similar procedure. It is a widely accepted and harmless practice.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Protecting Rhodos from weevil leaf damage

A perennial leaf-disfiguring problem. I use two methods other than the ultimately effective, but expensive, beneficial nematode soil innoculation...these critters gobble up the hatching larvae in the spring:

- I use 'Tanglefoot' paste; but it is extremely sticky and should not be in contact with the bark directly. So, I use foam split pipe insulation, cut up into 3 inch lengths. This product is split on one side to allow you to wrap it around the base stems...available at any building supply in various dimensions.. Use a flat piece of wood to apply the paste as instructed...wear gloves! The weevils will meet a sticky end on their journey up!.
- Quick method for smaller stems: Use double-sided adhesive tape; wrapping in a tight spiral...apply paste if possible, but it will work without. Use a bread tie at the top and bottom ends to stop it unwrapping. Since doing the above, I have no leaf damage.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Overwintering Cannas

After the tops of Cannas have been killed by frost, allow them to dry for several days. Then cut back the tops to 3-4 inches of stem and carefully lift the rhizomes  with a fork or spade. Turn the clump over and allow to dry for a few hours. Apply a fungicide* according to label directions (sulphur powder is good...shake and bake without the bake!), and store in a cool, moderately dry area where the temperature will not go over 50°F.
Place on shelves or racks or hang in mesh bags so that air can circulate freely among the clumps....you can use supermarket plasitic bags but leave them open. Do not allow the rhizomes to freeze.... if you feel that they are drying out mid-winter give them a spray to increase the humidity.Cannas do not like being too dry.
In the spring, each clump can be planted as a full clump or divided. Be sure that there is a portion of an old stem base in each division since the new growth buds are in the old stem.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caring for Windmill Palms over winter in marginal climates

Windmill Palms grow well in Vancouver unprotected near the ocean but further inland may be subject to very heavy frost which, if  lasts for several days in a northerly wind, could cause damage.
 My solution is to dig out some of those old incandescent Christmas light strings, top up the bulbs (which are still available) and wrap the stems with them....turn them on when the weather is very cold. If you leave them on permanently, the trees with love it and will grow throughout the winter. The light will also add cheer to your otherwise bleak garden.  Also I wrap the crowns with synthetic cushion stuffing...the white cottony stuff...during really cold snaps. This is all very important to young palms as they are more delicate. In exposed areas you can also provide some wind protection depending on the aspect of your plantings. Avoid plastic protection of the crown because there must be some air circulation. Windmill Palms are pretty tough so don't fret overly. If you feel you must shake off the freshly fallen snow be very careful, as you might actually do more damage to the frozen/thawing delicate foliage. These plants are used to snow, they live in the asian mountains.

With this method you might even be successful with more exotic palms...good luck!

Don't take off the lower leaves until they look almost dead....removal can stunt the growth rate. People are tempted to do this when there is only slight winter damage to the leaves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Open Forum

This Post is designed to give visitors a space to ask any Gardening Question. Readers can then give answers or help on that question.We have many knowlegeable members in the club and this Forum is also open to the general pubic, which certainly includes Master Gardeners. It might take a time for them to find us but I will try to keep this post prominent.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Check this out

One of my favorite blogs is found at www.reneesgarden.com. Not only is this an eye catching web site, it's full of useful information about growing from seeds, some great recipes, and new varieties of vegetables and flowers for 2012.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Some Cartoons


Friday, November 11, 2011

Lasagna Gardening

Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work from the gardener. The name "lasagna gardening" has nothing to do with what you'll be growing in this garden. It refers to the method of building the garden, which is, essentially, adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time, resulting in rich, fluffy soil that will help your plants thrive. Also known as “sheet composting,” lasagna gardening is great for the environment, because you're using your yard and kitchen waste and essentially composting it in place to make a new garden.

Try this link: http://organicgardening.about.com/od/startinganorganicgarden/a/lasagnagarden.htm