Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Backyard Harvest -- Book Review

Normally I have a problem with picture gardening books. These books are pretty to look at but are lacking substance. Not so with Dorling Kindersley Backyard Harvest by Jo Whittingham. This book is so beautiful it inspires you to grow and try other varieties you have never grown. Many varieties in this book are those I would strongly recommend as well as some I am not familiar with. I like this as an old gardener, it encourages me to try something new. The recipes are simple, practical but this is not a cookbook, it focuses on growing and harvesting. This is a good book to add to my library to inspire and use as a reference. In Canada with our wide range of environments some gardeners may have to adjust their procedures accordingly.

Grow Plants in Pots -- Book Review

Grow Plants in Pots covers the selection basics of pots, growing media, location and general care. This can be expected, what was not expected was the wide variety of plant material it covers.  This book covers fruit trees, trees, broad-leaf evergreens, herbs, perennials,citrus, houseplants, orchids and small water gardens.
Obviously not all varieties in this book can be grown in  your area.  Some plants are best for summering outdoors while others may need to be sunk or buried in the garden for winter with a heavy winter mulch.
Again this book sets a high standard for photography--I only found one photograph of a missed named plant, that being Yucca filmentosa 'Bright Edge' on page 67.  The photograph is actually Yucca filmentosa 'Golden Sword'  The only difference in the varieties is the variegation in the leaf --even so the photographs combined with its good information, this is a good cost effective book to add to yours and  my library.

Take Apart Garden Shears -- Product Review

Bruce likes these to cut flowers from the garden, but what he really likes them for is slicing open bags of manure, fertilizer, pinebark or peatmoss.  They do a really good job.  The finger openings are a little small if you are wearing heavy gloves. 
They are really easy to keep clean and sharpened

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What is Missing in my Vegetable Garden?

As you can see there is nothing in my vegetable garden.  
It is ready to be dug and planted.  

So what is missing?

The Double Scarlet Fernleaf Peony has been MOVED!!! I am so excited!!

As you can see from the pic below it has a permanent place in another part of the garden!!
Bruce must have Spring Fever as he was NEVER going to move that fernleaf peony.  
You are actually supposed to move these peony's on August 15th.  
He didn't divide it, just took it in one clump. 

At least it is OUT of my vegetable garden!!!
Now I have room for another tomato!!

What is Blooming in our Garden, Easter Weekend.

Here is what is blooming in our garden this Easter Weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Saturday that we dragged out the patio furniture and ate outside. Cannot wait to do more of this!!

Double Scarlet Fernleaf Peony.
This is in the middle of our vegetable garden.  I am NOT happy!! 
but Bruce will not move it.
Yes it is beautiful when it blooms but  it is very temperamental.  
He did divide it once, the other piece is doing ok after being babied for over 2 years.

  Helleborus or Christmas Rose




 Our Inukshuk

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Kitchen Garden Cookbook -- Book Review

This cookbook is set up differently than others.  It has the recipes set up by season and then by edible plant.  This makes it easy to flip to the vegetable or fruit you are ready to harvest of if you decide to cheat a little, the grocery store.  At the beginning of each new plant recipe section it tells you when to pick, how to store fresh, how to preserve, and how to freeze.  Also a large section on 'Techniques' at the end of each season with advice on things like oven-drying fruits, making freezer jam, how to dry herbs and preserving in oil.
One of the most important features about this cookbook is the ingredients are typical kitchen items.  In The Kitchen Garden Cookbook there are a few exceptions but most recipes are simple enough and look and sound delicious.  

It is very knowledgeable with many recipes for all types of fruits and vegetables.
Daughter #1

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Japanese Barberry: Canadian Grower Industry Declines to Pursue Addition of New Cultivars.

Japanese Barberry: Canadian grower industry declines to pursue addition of new cultivars at this time.

"Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) was once again make aware by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the threat posed by a new and virulent strain of wheat rust known as Ug-99 (the name relates to Uganda as the country of origin and first discovered in1999)  Although Ug-99 was previously considered to be a factor in the decision to not pursue the registration of additional barberry cultivars, more recent scientific studies continue to reinforce the threat of Ug-99 to the billion-dollar Canadian wheat industry". (CNLA Newsbrief  January-February 2011)

Complete article at:  CNLA -

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gardening With Color - Book Review

The Lone Pine book 'Gardening with Color' Creative Design Ideas for Canadian Gardens by Rob Sproule should really have a longer title by adding the words 'in Containers' 

This book concentrates on colour in containers.  It uses colourful plants from all over the world and its various climates in new and exciting combinations.  One of my favourites sections is "the untamed Canada".  His use of tropical, subtropical, annual, perennial and water garden marginals add a spice to containers that will thrill most old jaded gardeners.

This book has been added to my library.

Beginning Gardening For Canada -- Book Review


The Lone Pine book 'Beginning Gardening For Canada' by A. H. Jackson is a good book for the beginning gardener, no matter what age the gardener is.  The Beginning Gardener book gives the gardener the basics of soil,sunlight, fertility,and pruning.
This book helps with the selection of plant material as well.  Sometimes her choice of plant material avoids the problematic issues with a plant, an examples the use of Barberry (Berberis thumbergii) as a hedge.  As a boy my job was pruning them, a nasty job!  I was not upset when this plant was banned.

The new voluntary cessation of introducing of new varieties by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) because a new virulent strain of wheat rust Ug-99 from Uganda is not addressed and may misguide a new beginner gardener.

Overall a good book for the very novice gardener.

Nessie Topiary Green Piece Wire Art -- Product Review

Bruce has been coveting 'Nessie' for quite some time.  He finally broke down and bought Nessie for our garden.  It is still in the box at the moment as we all have to agree where Nessie will be placed in the front garden.  Bruce wants to put it in the middle of the front lawn but we will see.  He is also not sure whether he will be getting another hump.  I am not sure what the neighbours will think, but that's ok as guests to our house say, we don't need to know your house number, we just drive down the street and look for the garden!!  Will post pictures when we have decided where to put Nessie.
Mossed Nessie

Update: April 22, 2011
Bruce has ordered another hump for Nessie.  This will make her even longer.  This should be interesting!!  The hump arrived yesterday, April 29, 2011.

Update:  May 21, 2011 
It's official.  Directions to our house.  Just look for the house with a Loch Ness Monster on the front lawn!!
Nessie has officially been set in place in the lawn & anchored.  She is going NOWHERE!!

Nessie was placed on our front lawn & positioned with all family members in attendance.  Once she was anchored there was no changing your mind!  Bruce spray painted around Nessie so we knew exactly where to put her.  The tail & second hump were anchored.

Bruce anchoring the tail 

Bruce putting the finishing touches on Nessie

Nessie still needing a few finishing touches.  
Decided we didn't like the gills looking like ears so changed those.

Official Pic of Nessie on our front lawn.

Now is the hard part!! What to plant on her & if we are going to leave her in the lawn or make her part of a garden.  Time will tell!!