Saturday, 24 September 2011

Final Harvest

The final harvest of lettuce and Dahlia 'Park Princess' favourite that does extremely well in containers at the lake. I suspect they love the extra humidity offered in this location.

As the cottage is closed before the frost strikes the dahlias, I cut off the flowers to enjoy and then cut the stems about six inches above the soil. The tuber is dug out, soil hosed off and then set in the sun for a few days to dry off before storing. The tuber is placed in a closed paper bag with peat moss and placed in an open plastic bag and stored for the winter in my cold room which hovers at about 40c. I periodically check the moisture in the bag making sure that it is not becoming too damp. If that occurs open the bags up a bit more. On the other hand if the tuber looks to be drying, sprinkle some water onto the peat moss and close the bag a bit more.

Monday, 12 September 2011


The 'in' lettuce to grow in one's garden. I brought the seed from France, although it is now available in North America. Some might know it as lamb's quarters. I love it because it is a late season lettuce crop so when the mesclun is waning, Mache is in its prime.

I always wash and spin my lettuces immediately after picking. I use Ziploc reusable sealable plastic vegatable bags and find all lettuces keep in them very well. Bonus is that they are always ready to use. Mache keeps extremely well in these, up to a week.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Summer Harvest

Today was a wonderful summer harvest from the garden. The tomatoes I grew from seed inside under lights until planted in the garden. Lettuce planted directly into the garden. My favourite Park's Whopper tomatoes, Sungold, and a new variety this year that I tried, Black Cherry. They are a bit larger that Sungold, but very tasty, juicy and a fun colour. The lettuce is mesclun and the red frilly leafed is Lolla Rossa from seed that I brought back from Italy. All this makes for a very colourful gourmet salad.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Vegetables at Last

Well I have finally harvested some vegetables from the 'varmint' garden. I did harvest one meal of lettuce early on but guess I bragged too much and the varmint said...'I'll fix her!'

Last week I harvested the first of the french filet favourite. Seed came straight from France....thank you daughter. Although OSC seeds now has the variety and have heard they are very good too. And again more regrown lettuce. Thank heaven for 'cut and come again' variety by Renee's Gardens. Yesterday another season first...the sugary taste of Sungold cherry absolute favourite. Sooo sweet and tender skinned and a fun colour, orange.

The Sungold tomato plants are gigantic this summer....a hot one, perfect for them. They do get watered every day. I severely pruned them yesterday as they would grow to heaven if not done and would never ripen before winter. Besides my dear deer friends are now leaning over said garden and nibbling on the tall plants. Two bucks are calling the cottage area home and I am suspecting them.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Woodchucks and Gardens

Mesclun mix was enjoyed once before our unfriendly local woodchuck chewed through two layers of chicken wire on my raised bed vegetable garden at the lake. Next night he chowed down on some lovely French filet bean plants.
Now the beautiful 'Martha- like' garden has boards around the base of the chicken wire in hopes of deterring said varmint. Temporary for now as the next plan is to use some heavier landscape wire (at least that is what they call it here). Or Annie Oakley could appear from nowhere.....oops did I say that?!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Summer Garden Tour

On Saturday I toured the gardens of the Steinbach area. What a beautiful selection of gardens! The Friends of Gardens Manitoba who organized this garden tour, arranged for a bus to transport any who wanted not to drive themselves.

One forgets how beautiful Manitoba is in the summertime. Travelling on the back roads finding the gardens, I loved the brilliant yellow canola fields as far as the eye could see. One garden had a canola field as its backdrop. Not many gardeners can boast having such planted beauty.

This same garden had the best examples of interspersing vegetables amongst the annuals and perennials. So often touted as the 'in' way to plant I can see why it is becoming so popular. We forget what beauty through colour and texture vegetables can bring to a garden. Plus, the added benefit of harvesting said plants for our eating enjoyment. Nothing compares to your own homegrown vegetables.

At the lake I have finally planted curly kale in two of my ornamental planting combinations. I love its look! A few months to decide how I will prepare to savour it.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

On the Hunt

Still checking out my garden Asiatic lily plants everyday. Today an entomologist from the University of Manitoba came for the second time to collect any lurking red lily beetles and the larvae. Lots of larvae this time and last, but only two beetles. If I don't squish those larvae....more beetles on the way!
The entomology department is doing a study and dna testing on these samples with hopes of discovering a parasitic insect somewhere in this world that would devour these beetles/larvae. They also note exactly which genus,species and variety of lily they are discovered on. Fortunately, every time I plant any lilies I use a metal plant marker with the variety and planting date. I like to do this particularly when I must dig and separate/thin the lilies and replant or giveaway.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Succulent Living Wall

Planted a succulent living wall today--my first attempt. I am using succulents hardy to Zone 3, planting them in an old wooden box with a back and landscape wire covering the top. I mixed the soil myself using approximately 1/3 soil,1/3 perlite and 1/3 coarse sand. I tore apart the succulents and took off all the soil and left a little stem to poke into the wire squares. Made this process easier by using a pair of scissors to move the soil back to where I had put in the succulent stem.
I am leaving my 'wall' laying flat for 3 to 4 weeks until the succulents root and then will be hung without fear....hopefully...of any falling out.
The pictures tell the story.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Gardener's Challenges

The challenges with gardeners are never ending. Even being a Master Gardener I am not without many failures and this picture points to this spring season in and wet. Coleus plants hate this kind of weather and it will maybe teach me to not plant them so early.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Planting Time

With the oodles of seedlings and plugs that I have been growing it was now time to plant this past week both at home and at the cottage.
The picture shows my 'cold frame' when it is warm enough to put them outside and subject them to higher light and humidity. The inside grow lights just do not work as well.
I have had two of these in spring operation for a number of years. The benefit is that they disassemble readily and can be easily stored. One I set up on my back deck and this one is 'portable' placed on a wagon so that it can be wheeled inside the garage when temps. dip too low. Both have worked beautifully for me.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


So how do these grow so beautifully and prolifically at the lake with absolutely no attention other than enjoying their pure beauty at this time of year?! These do a hundred times better than the ones I have at home and they continue to naturalize. There is something to be said to nature's pure fertilizer from the forest floor and heaven's rain offerings. What is also wonderful is that deer don't eat them....and we do have a few families of them here. Cute to look at but not when they eat my plants.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Monte Don's Italian Gardens

Monty Don conducts his personal 'grand garden tour' around Italy, including the retreats of the affluent north and horticultural gems of the south.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Mother's Day Joy

Along with talking to my adult 'children' and two grandchildren, nature gave me some lovely gifts....a goldfinch (first sighting for this spring), a Blackburnian warbler and a Merlin for Mother's Day.
Also, had a wonderful time volunteering at the Friends of Gardens Manitoba(previously Friends of the Assiniboine Park Conservatory) annual Mother's Day plant sale. Always a large crowd seeking unusual and difficult plants to buy. Good to see many gardening friends and exchange garden thoughts and hints. The Friends website is

Friday, 6 May 2011


Fun at work today as a new shipment of succulents arrived at the greenhouse. I was in my glory! Wonderful to have carte blanche and design whatever my heart desires! Readying the shelves for Mother's Day.
A big change for me from my normal job at Schriemer's at the service desk interacting with customers. Planting by myself in a back greenhouse puts me in the zone and readies me for tweaking my overwintered succulent containers which have now been introduced to the outdoors after their winter home under lights in the coldroom.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Red lily beetle

I had heard a few days ago that these lily beetles were out already and I did have my doubts. But no longer, as a customer who came into Schriemer's greenhouse brought me in two to verify....fortunately in a nice closed sandwich bag! Watch out for these! Even this early with the lily plants barely 6 inches tall they are in your lily bed. So far there is no perfect way to rid your garden of these pests other than hand picking and squishing. I tried to put them in water to drown them but they float very well and then crawl out.
Neem oil sprayed on the lily plant is touted to be somewhat of a deterrent. I am toying with drenching the soil with cabaryl or btk on the lily leaves in hopes that I can kill the larvae.
Fortunately their bright red colour are a sure giveaway alerting you to their presence.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

May Day

What an awakening this morning out our windows! Poor daffodils and sulking to show it, but hopefully they will revive.

Came home from work with more plugs to plant. Papyrus 'Baby Tut', Carex 'Toffee Twist', Fusion impatiens 'Heat Coral' and many new varieties of petunias. Now to get busy but in the basement today not outdoors, sadly.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Spring Again!

So much to blog about with spring in all its full glory! A glorious wedding day for William and Catherine in England and time for us to celebrate with friends for an almost all nighter.

Here in Winnipeg an unusual bird sighting for us....a brilliant red male cardinal. It was enjoying our feeding stations as much as our resident mallard duck couple.

Time spent today outside planting up all varieties of annual plugs from Schriemer's greenhouse. This is the bonus of working there......having ready access to the selection as they are placed on the tables. Now where oh where to keep them all?!

My three tier light fixture is still in use for my overwintering succulents. Although I have taken my large variegated agave and one echeveria container out from under them. The weather has been in the upper teens and to the mid 20's. A perfect reintroduction time for them to come outside and acclimatize. I am still always closely watching the overnight thermometer and if there is any risk of close to zero, they come back inside.

The crocuses were blooming gloriously in the front flower bed and untouched for 2 weeks by the bunnies. Alas, I guess they couldn't resist anymore and voila!.....they were gone. I must be more vigilant in sprinkling on blood meal.