Saturday, May 21, 2011

Container Gardening

The Hired Help potting up the container garden.

More planting by the Hired Help

Isn't he good. Still planting!!

Some of the Finished Containers

Gerbera's, PC Gigantico
Coleus, PC Gigantico
Petunia Shock Wave 'Coral Crush', Ball Horticultural Company

Cordaline, PC Gigantico
Gerbera, PC Gigantico

Coleus, PC Gigantico
Marigold Bonanza Deep Orange, Ball Horticultural Company

My NEW Instant Water Garden
Same instant water garden as last year but a new pot!! Love it!!

Front Entrance to our house.
Hardy Banana Tree with PC Gigantico Petunias in front

May in the Garden 2011

 Hardy Orange Tree in bloom

Semi-Dwarf Iris & Iberis

Fernleaf Peony

 Fernleaf Peony doing very well. 
This is the one that was moved from my vegetable garden

Clematis behind the ladder.  
Crocheted Wasp's Nest in the Hardy Orange
Yes it does work!!

Tree and Twig Tomato Days, May 21 & May 22, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Miracle-Gro Complete Guide to Orchids - Book Review

Miracle-Gro Complete Guide to Orchids is a pleasant surprise. It is so good! The basics are well covered and accompanied with excellent pictures that are marked so that you can go back and forth from text to picture until you are completely familiar with the concepts. The sections on temperature, light and water are so good that I could have used this book when I was teaching Indoor Plants at Niagara College. The section on insects, diseases environmental problems are so easy to understand because of the matching colour pictures. Every section of this book is exemplary. The encyclopedia of orchids is no exception. The information is good, concise and with colour pictures as an example of the many different orchids you can review their needs before you purchase them. This alone will allow you to be more successful with growing orchids. This book will save you money and a lot of disappointment at $23.95 CDN/$19.95 US it is even less than the cost of one orchid. This book is truly a bargain.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taste of Niagara Lavender Festival

Niagara Essential Oils and Blends in Niagara-on-the-Lake is having a first annual 
"Taste of Niagara Lavender Festival"  July 16, 2011.  Tickets are limited!  

Click on the image to go to

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Malcolmson Eco Park Plant Sale, May 14 & 28, 2011

* Malcomson Eco-Park is a 36-acre park in St. Catharines, main entrance
on Lakeshore Road opposite the north end of Niagara Street, near Lock
One of the Welland Canal.

* The Friends of Malcomson Eco-Park are managing the park along with the
city's parks department, working to establish Ontario prairie plants in
the 6-acre open area, and a Carolinian forest in the remainder.

* To help raise funds for our operations, we hold a series of plant
sales every spring. One has already occurred on April 30th; two more are
scheduled on Saturday May 14th 8 AM to noon, and on Saturday
May 28th 9 AM till noon. Sales are held in the greenhouse enclosure at
the southeast corner of the parking lot by the main entrance.

* We offer a wide selection of potted wildflowers (most at $5) with some
grasses and pond plants, plus potted shrubs and trees (trees mostly at

For example we have butterflyweed and swamp milkweed, boneset and
Joe-Pye-weed, three species of silphiums (cup plant, compass plant and
prairie dock), three species of mountain mints, wild bergamot, marsh
marigold, wild ginger, red and white trilliums, and many more.

This year we have especially good deals on spicebush ($5) and small 40
cm white pines ($4). We have ironwood and chinquapin oak (a good yard
tree with edible acorns, especially for dry soils), among others.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fiskars Momentum™ Reel Mower -- Product Review

Fiskars Reel Hand Mower is a joy to push.  I have tested the following and know it to be true.  A 95 lb weakling (our daughter) can successfully cut my lawn with this mower.  It is important to set the blade height using the paper strip method.  When you perform this task use long paper strips and be very careful as those blades are fast and sharp!  I have also found that cutting a double mowing strip around the edges of the turf area to be mowed helps prevent the lawn clippings from being thrown on your sidewalks, gardens and driveway.  This reduces your cleanup and if necessary allows you to do those strips again to mulch up any buildup of clippings.  What I like best of all is I am not paying for hydro to run my lawnmower.  Bonus!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fresh Flower Arranging -- Book Review

Dorling Kindersley Fresh Flower Arranging by Mark Welford and Stephen Wicks is the best fresh floral arranging book I have ever seen.  The arrangements are up to date.  Their step by step with pictures and text makes this a good instructional book.  This book covers how to select fresh flowers, their preparation and maintenance.  I liked the pictures and text on how to wire and attach a rose to a man's lapel.  Very important today is hand tying bouquets, this is well covered.  Fresh Flower Arranging Step-by-Step Designs for Home, Weddings, and Gifts covers arrangements for every reason and season they use a multitude of containers in their  designs as well.  I have left the photography for last, the photography is exceptional.  In fact it is so good that you should leave this inspirational book out on the coffee table.  This one 'joins' my library.  Touch it and die!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Garden Sitters Wanted for Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society Garden Tour

The Niagara on the lake Horticultural Society is celebrating our 20th annual GARDEN TOUR on Saturday July 9, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5pm.
They have put together an incredible tour of 25 gardens showcasing communities that make up Niagara-on-the-Lake.

They need Garden sitters…..lots of Garden Sitters!

Garden Sitter duties:
Two sitters at each garden for a 3 hour shift between 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Garden Sitters will receive:
An invitation to our Thank You Wine & Cheese Party later in the summer.
A FREE ticket to tour the gardens. 
A FREE Ticket  for our "Garden Sitter Draw" to be drawn at the Wine & Cheese party.

If you would like to be a garden sitter we welcome you to join us, member or not.
Please email:   Gloria Thurston

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Craftsman Riding Lawn Mowers, Walk Behind Lawn Mowers - Sears Media Day

When the Niagara Region was being battered by the wind storm on April 28, 2011, Bruce was being chauffeured to Hasquvarna in Mississauga for the Sears Media day.

Fun Wow! The fast track Craftsman Riding Lawn mower, speed, beauty and power. (No picture as I was moving too fast!!)  I loved driving this beauty of a beast.  Give a boy a fast toy and what will he do?  Go as fast as I can!  Any faster and I would need racing gloves, helmet and goggles.  These Craftsman Professional mowers are fast and stable.  I did donuts at full speed on wet asphalt.  There was only very very minimal roll and no skidding. The mower deck is mounted with three pull pins and is easy to attach or take off.  It is all mounted such that stepping on it is perfectly acceptable.  The mower deck comes with a gardenia quick disconnect for your hose.  This attaches to the mower deck to wash the underside while it is running.  This cleans it just like your dishwasher washes your dishes.  The hydrostatic transmission is so easy to use but the best part is that when it is in neutral the brakes are automatically on.  This allows you to to get off and on quickly to pick up debris or move the lazy dog on the lawn.  This was the most fun I have had on a lawn mower.

The Craftsman lawn tractors have all the features of the Craftsman professional I liked the model with the cast iron front axle.  It is more durable and has a longer life.  The hydrostatic transmission, turf tires, neutral brake and washer for the deck make this the mower of choice for yards of an acre or so.  It just not as fast as the fast track models.  The Craftsman rear mounted engine model riding mower is a dream to drive.  The seat like all the craftsman mower seats are adjustable but his one has the best lumbar support.  The steering wheel is small and easy to grip.  With no engine or hood in front the visibility is the best.  The hydrostatic transmission makes this the easiest riding mower to hop on and off.  The machine is designed to go through gates with just a 30 inch wide mower deck.  Each of these models have right turn technology making them the best to go tightly around trees and similar objects without having to stop and back up all the time. For smaller large properties this model is the Cat's pyjama's (What aisle are they in?)

The walk behind Craftsman Eco Lawn mower have the over-sized wheels for better rolling but was most impressive was the fact that right out of the box after attaching the handle and adding tho oil then the gas the Craftman Eco Mower started on the first pull.  This Craftsman is the easiest pull start mower I have ever experienced.  The Briggs and Straton engines with the hotter spark plugs are more efficient and pollute the air less.  To make sure you are getting these models, always look for the green gas cap with no hole in them.  This reduces the evaporative emission of the gas tank.  I have never liked the self-propelled mowers.  They force you to walk too fast or too slow, the Eco Lawnmowers have an easy double squeeze handles that you squeeze to regulate your traveling speed.  Each Craftsman Eco Walk behind Lawn mower like their Big Brothers have a deck wash port to wash the underside of the mower deck.  The port on these models just thread on to your garden hose threaded end. Simple!
There are more models and accessories available but most importantly please pick the model that best suits your budget and your needs.  For those of you with the budget and need for boy toys get the zero turn technology Craftsman mowers.