Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ladybird Ladybird, Fly away home.

"Ladybird, ladybird fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children all roam."

In many cultures the precious little ladybug (called ladybird by the English) has been believed to bring good luck. To the English farmer and the French vintner it signals good weather. They received their name centuries ago in Europe when farmers found aphids invading their grapevines. Prayers to the Virgin Mary for help were answered when thousands of little red beetles appeared and ate the aphids. The farmers named the helpful beetles in honor of Mary, also knows as "Our Lady."
If one lands on a person’s hand or dress it will bring good fortune, and If one lands on you when you are ill, it takes the illness away. The more spots on the back the better the luck; each spot represent a lucky month. If a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come. In Sweden, a ladybug on a young woman’s hand signifies that she is being measured for wedding gloves. And children just love them, and seem to communicate with them directly.

Gardening makes Berners very sleepy...

Can I sleep here tonight Mom? Puh--leeease????

Friday, May 26, 2006

There ain't no flies on us!

There ain't no flies on us!,
No there ain't no flies on us!
There might be flies on some of you guys!
But There ain't no flies on us!

I know I had written about protecting your dogs at the cost of an arm and a leg, but this is you now. Thankfully we scathed through blackfly season unharmed for the most part, but the worst is yet to come... Mosquitos should be at peak come May 31, but the deer and horse flies are in full swing come tommorrow.
See I KNEW why I had planted all that freakin lavender!

How to make your own Organic Bug repellent.

1o to 25 drops essential oil
2 tablespoons olive oil (Grape Seed Oil/Walnut Oil work great too!)
1 tablespoon aloe gel / 1/3 cup water (spray version.. just watch clothing)

Combine the ingredients in a jar. Shake to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.
Here are some beneficial essential oils:

Bug Repellent Essential Oils

Caution: Pregnant women should consult with their doctors before using.

Ticks First Choice: Rose Geranium Other: Palmerosa, bay, eucalyptus, European pennyroyallavender, tickweed (American pennyroyal)
Mosquitoes: Pennyroyal, lemon balm (citronella), thyme, lavender
Blackflies: Sassafras, lavender, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, cedar, lemon balm (citronella), peppermint
Head Lice: Tea tree, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, rose geranium
Fleas: Orange oil

The Hideous Ones..

Here is my submission for Gardening While Intoxicated - Your Least Favourite Plant: pelagonium or geraniums.. I used to plead with my mother everytime we attended a nursery to replace those hideous plants. My aversion to them really has no logic except for the fact that I can't stand them. When you mention geranium I always think of those potted white plastic hanging baskets left out to wither and die, murdered by most Canadian homeowners for their ease of care. It says easy to care for, but it doesn't look after itself. Many Canadians buy great numbers of these hideous white plastic hanging baskets and then leave them out to die, by mid-June these scorched martyrs look pathetic and beyond quenchable thirst. I believe that these sacrificial geranium plants are provided in nurseries across the land just for the sole purpose of sacrifice to the sun gods and warn many plants to not grow here. In defense of my mother, she never purchases or keeps them in these white geranium coffins, but instead always in a tasteful display with much colour and care. I know these can be beautiful flowers and have seen them in great arrangements. The Martha Washington variety never lasts on the nursery shelf for longer than 1 week, and most scented varieties are gone within 2 making the killing almost sport like. I will just not be participating in the geranium sacrifice this summer.
Photo from Martha Stewart Living

The Tomato Files

This Just in...

I have decided to follow many a garden book advice and plant my tomatoes in pots on the premise that they actually enjoy this location and that tomatoes flourish in containers. We shall see...That is, if I can get the fence up before the first hint of a tomato peaks through, otherwise I am sure the child of the corn will quickly help himself, I know he was eyeing them and asking a great number of questions, followed by "I don't have any tomato plants, I sure like tomatoes".

Evening Light

Taken this eve on a drive by the lake..

Pansy Paradise

If you look close there is a hint of that easter Hydrangea hiding in the pansies

Thursday, May 25, 2006

On a Sadder note..

Anyone know what this could be on my clematis? I think one is a bit of frost damage, but the black I am not so sure...

I've got Rythm!

The last bloom of the "I've Got Rythm" Iris has bloomed. I was really impressed with this flower from start to finish.. Definitely will be a favourite for years to come. This is a VERY tall bearded iris, the stem on mine managed around 3 to 4 feet in height. Not bad for a first year planting. I still have that pale pink iris to come, but for some unknown reason I have misplaced that plant tag.

Growth Spurt

Only a couple weeks ago my decorative cabbage looked like this..

Now it has flourished somewhat and the changes are happening quickly.

The Nematodes are coming, The Nematodes are Coming!

With wet weather setting in yet again and the appearance of a few European Crane Flies The time is pressing to lay the nematodes so after a dry out scorcher of a day yesterday I soaked the lawn and flower beds and then sprayed the nematodes. In a similar note it would appear that the powdery mildew succumed quickly to the heat of yesterdays sun, I am not sure if it will return with a vengance with the cloudcover for the next few days, but there is hope.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Lawn of Epic Proportions

I feel as though I should just put it out of its misery.
Pull and cut and till away every blade at this point. I awoke this morning to an infestation of powdery mildew on the lawn.
Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe graminis):

Powdery mildews are common on many kinds of plants. Although they may look the same, each kind of plant is infected by a different species of powdery mildew fungus. Powdery mildew fungi on grasses will not infect lilacs, phlox, roses or other garden plants.

Symptoms: Powdery mildew may appear quite suddenly, usually in shaded areas, and most commonly on Kentucky bluegrass. The grass blades look as if they were dusted with flour or lime. The white to gray powder is a combination of the mycelium and spores of the powdery mildew fungus. The mycelium grows over the surface of the leaf, absorbing nutrients from the plant. Later, the leaf may turn yellowish and begin to dry up and die, but the leaves often support the presence of the powdery mildew fungus for some time without significant injury. Powdery mildew is most common in turf from July to September, and occasionally in the spring. It is most common during overcast periods of cool, moist weather.

Powdery mildew on turfgrass Close-up of powdery mildew fungus
on grass leaves.

Life Cycle: Powdery mildew fungi overwinter on infected grass plants and in survival structures on dead grass. Spores can infect leaves in less than two hours, and new spores are produced in abundance in about a week. Air currents carry the spores to new grass plants. Disease development can be so rapid that powdery mildew may seem to appear very suddenly.

Cultural Management: Powdery mildew is usually a disease of shaded turfgrass. Similar grasses growing nearby in full sun usually will remain free of powdery mildew. To reduce shade and increase air circulation, prune shrubs and tree branches. If grass is thin or weakened in shady areas, re-seed with shade-tolerant grass species and select cultivars resistant to powdery mildew. If grass is growing very poorly due to shade, consider its replacement with shade-loving ground covers such as hosta, pachysandra or lily-of-the-valley. In moist, shaded areas of lawns, powdery mildew may be prevented or reduced by careful lawn care. Avoid excess nitrogen fertilizer, raise the mowing height and water deeply but infrequently. Avoid frequent, light sprinkling.

Chemical Management: Fungicides are not recommended for powdery mildew control on lawns. - Environment Canada

Hmm, I really hope that this clears out soon. There is a few articles relating to watering the lawn with Milk (1 part milk to 9 parts water) to remove powdery mildew from plants, but I am not sure how effective this is on Lawns.. I can only hope that warm dry weather nips this pest in the ass.


I was too late. I did not cross my driveway until 0536 hours and the cold weather had already claimed its victims. It would appear that my clematis did not like the cold snap of weather we had and a few exposed leaves have some frost damage, a ranunculis also gave sacrifice to the frost gods, but thankfully all other plants seem to have managed without Scathe.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Victoria Day Snow

Instead of a show of fireworks mother nature has decided to hammer her own celebratory confetti to celebrate the Queens Birthday. Snow!! Just when I thought I was safe, Environment Canada has yet dropped another Bomb. Snow!! Tonight! With a risk of frost, this means at 4am when I get home from work I will be running around the yard putting up sheets.

New Look

I'm tired of the forget me not display..had to stay up late to change everything.. again.

Big BUG!!

I have a HUGE bug in my garden!! It is infested and it threatens to steal all the enjoyment I get from my garden. It is one of the most annoying pests I have ever seen and eradication from it can only be done through moving, and even then there are no guarantees that you will not get a repeat infestation. One of these bugs alone can destroy everything in the garden, worse than Deer damage, this pest can overturn every rock remove every bud and kill every blade of grass. They can be found world wide and years of infestation may allow your garden to recover, but reinfestation could recur at any time. These garden killers are usually attracted by the biggest, showiest, brightest blooms, it will swoop down and cut the bloom from its stem in its powerful claws. My infestation comes in the form of a Daniel, a male of the species, can also be commonly named a Chris, Adam, Derrick, Taylor etc, females commonly can be Tanya, Julie, Sandy or any other human name. Daniel is at the peak of destruction at the age of four years, and is capable of sending C or I to the loony bin at any moment. This pest will insistently ask "WHY?" regardless of the response it is IMPERATIVE that this pest be stopped before you get to my level of infestation. I cannot step over the threshold of my doorstep before he is standing on my driveway wanting to know what it is exactly that I will be doing outside my house. He will follow C or I around while we do yardwork without words. We have no fence, he has no boundaries, he stands at my kitchen windows looking in and sits on my porch while I BBQ and talk to my mom on the phone. He pulls out plants he thinks are pretty and my poor ranunculis blooms have been a casualty today, followed by an "oops".. The dogs are also a target, he peers in my window with others of his breed and make faces, no shade or window covering is helpful, and I am afraid that he will hang from the deck framing and fall and hurt himself someday soon. Then I will be liable. I have laid grass seed and compost down only to return the next day to find a layer of gravel on top. I am considering sending the parents of this Daniel a bill for daycare, it $25 an hour standard fees? It might cover soon of the damage already inflicted on my garden and sanity.. My biggest fear will be when the peonies bloom.

If the next after shot you see has a for sale sign, you'll understand.