It’s November and …

It’s November and, although we have had two heavy frosts and it is cool now, up until a few days ago gardeners have been amazed by the warm temperatures here in the Chester and surrounding area.

The following are few pictures that were taken during the last couple of weeks, some as late as the 10th of November.

Summer pots still showing off.

The last of the fragile produce, only greens left in the vegetable garden.

Winter arrangements in the near future.

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We can now continue preparation for winter in our gardens, enjoy the birds as they make ready for winter and settle in with a good gardening resource for next springs plans. Fall temperatures have arrived.

 

Thanks to Kay B. and Brenda H. for the photo’s.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Annuals, Autumn, Autumn colours, Berries, Birds, Floral arrangements, Gardening, Seasons, Vegetables | 4 Comments

Putting Our Gardens to Bed

This is a beautiful time of year – leaves falling to the ground in colors of orange, red and yellow. Birds and other little critters running around doing their last minute preparations for winter, our greenhouse doors are closed and life begins to slow down just a little.

 

 

Herb Fraser, long time member and experienced gardener in many parts of the world reminded us that each zone and each garden is individually different and requires a plan. When we get our Zone 6a Chester Gardens gardens ready for winter they are prepared for an even more productive spring.

 

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Herb suggested this is a good time to take advantage of sales at local nurseries. The root bound plants can be teased and trimmed, possibly divided, watered well and planted for next seasons show.

We were reminded not to fertilize after mid August or cut back perennials too early as even though plants may appear dormant as fluctuating temperatures may stimulate the below surface activity and plants will produce new growth which will not be winter hardy. It is possible to divide and transplant perennials before the first heavy frost remembering they usually require about 4 to 6 weeks to settle in.

Following a couple of hard frosts, usually late October, early November in the Chester area, ensure that plants are well watered, especially evergreens which provide not only backdrop for our summer show but seasonal distinction and wind protection for our properties.

Thinking about our own gardens, Herb encouraged us to concentrate on clearing debris, checking for pests, damage and disease. It is a good time to weed, pull annuals, to compost any plants without disease, to save seeds such as Marigold, Zinnia, Sweet Peas, Morning Glory, Scarlet runner and to cut back to three or four inches perennials such as Siberian and Bearded Iris, Sweet Peas, Crocosmia, Bee balm. If you don’t cut your plants right to the ground, their stalks will hold new spring growth straighter.

Some gardeners choose plants to add visual interest to their gardens in winter and so leave some standing. Plants, including perennial grasses,ferns and sedems have a neat look, and the seeds of Joe Pye, echinacea and rudbeckia will attract and feed birds all winter.

We were reminded not to cut hardy geraniums or Hellebore.

Plant bulbs like daffodils and garlic now according to directions. The general rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to plant two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall.

One thing to always keep in mind is to remember it is all about soil. After the first hard frost, make big efforts to increase soil fertility by providing a fresh layer of mulch. Feeding and amending your soil with organic matter through the use of mulch, compost and other available materials (shredded leaves or seaweed, which is full of micronutrients that enrich the soil and feed the plants. And it’s free!) to increase the availability of the minerals in the soil and create more spaces for air and water will benefit next season’s production & show. Don’t put all those leaves in bags. Instead, run the lawn mower over them and use them as mulch or in your compost and the worms will help them enrich the soil. Also, now is the time to spread lime on lawns and gardens.

What about garden ponds/pools? Herb asked Joan C. to help members understand the winter care needed for garden pools. Joan reminded us that Goldfish and Koi are very hardy and can handle winter water temperatures which means they can survive in the pond during the winter as long as the pond is three feet or more deep, it doesn’t freeze solid and they have adequate water quality and oxygen.

Herb advised us to clean and service our gardening tools so they are in good condition for storage and to begin using next season, especially if we run out of time or the weather becomes challenging.

As a final note, we were encouraged to remember winter brings opportunities to enjoy warmth in front of our wood stoves or fireplaces planning for next gardening season.

Following the presentation and before the regular meeting there was time to view the artistic fall displays, for conversation and a snack.

 

 

Posted in Autumn colours, Garden Design, Gardening, Seasons, Seeds, Trees, Wildlife | 3 Comments

Chester, Nova Scotia. Is it really fall?

 

Many Chester garden club members have been sharing wonderful late season pictures that have both pleased and caused many of the gardener photographers concern. When spring plants bloom in the fall, what happens? Will the plant have more winter stress?

Many gardening experts tell us forsythias, and many of our traditionally spring blooming plants can flower in fall when their normal growing season of later spring and summer puts them under stress. Once fall approaches and the weather fluctuates and then begins to cool and regulate, the outdoor conditions might trick the plants into |”thinking” it is time to flower.

So, we are told, the good news with fall flowers is that it usually is not in full bloom and the buds that do not blossom should not damage our plants.

Lets have a look: click on any picture for a slide show of each group.

Mid September Sandy took a walk and noticed all the beautiful hydrangeas blooming around the village.

Sandy also noted a few interesting things at home in Chester.

 

Sandy tells us, for the past few years, Ramapo has been blooming in the fall. If it does so, it doesn’t have a great show the next spring, reminding us rhododendrons set their buds before winter.

Jane W, was both surprised and pleased with a self seeded nasturtium … look at it go. Have a look at other late colors in her garden.

Marion and Barry have created a wild area. The Painted ladies seem to be content with the plan.

Sheila KMR shares what has been happening in her garden.

Brenda also shares a few thrillers from early October.

 

Soon we will have to admit it is fall and start… our next post –

“Putting our Gardens To Bed”.

Posted in Gardening | 1 Comment

Stop, Look, Listen …

Stop, Look, Listen … touch, smell, feel

4 April a visit IMG_3126The world outside our doors are filled with things that buzz, squawk, flutter, scurry, build, burrow, chase and soar. The viewing is fun, free, available 24/7, and there’s always something new!

Many gardeners have been listening to the wild voices, watching their wild neighbours while they work, eat and play – birds gathering nesting material, feeding on berries, seed heads or insects, or enjoying a splash in a birdbath; butterflies and bees sipping nectar from flowers.

Touch a picture for a slide show.

What a thrill! We also have opportunities to feel nature first hand – to smell a flower, to capture silky milkweed seeds on the wind or a “whirlybird” maple seed twirling to the ground below and gather a few pine cones, oak nuts or leaves around us.

 

Some of our members have taken time to relax a little and get closer to nature in their gardens. They just stopped, occasionally, during the summer and early fall, sat quietly and watched what was going on around them; the butterflies, moths, bees, birds and other creatures. Some even created habitat to provide shelter, safe cover and winter hibernation sites.

 

Getting in tune with the living and breathing creatures that are in our gardens is a lot like meditation, a brilliant way to start, incorporate into lunch break or end the day.

Pictures shared : Sheila KMcR, Sheila C S, Sylvia, Jocelyn, Pam D and Brenda … thanks all

Posted in Butterflies, Endangered Species, Environmental issues, Gardening, Seasons | Leave a comment

” Produce to Preserve “

Whether our produce is a native plant, from our own gardens, a local farmers market, a farmer’s co-operative basket program (weekly baskets that include a mix of vegetables, fruits and herbs according to the season) whose objective is to grow fresh and delicious organic vegetables or from careful “Slow food” choices ( Slow Food – Nova Scotia was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the world around us), we have opportunities to eat and preserve local food that is fresh and picked at the peak of its season.

Jayne Campbell, our club president, a retired High School Administrator, who describes herself as a “Gentleman Farmer’s” wife and a food lover (especially home/locally grown), along with several club members treated Chester Garden Club Members to a “feast for the eyes and palate” presentation, Monday, September 18th .

The theme was ” Produce to Preserve – Enjoying the bounty of our gardens year round while growing and buying local”.

 

Traditional recipes, old cookbooks such as the “Dutch Oven”, “Out of old Nova Scotia Kitchen” and many others were on display.

We all have wonderful memories of the worn pages of the hand written recipes and the taste of family favorites that have been passed down through the generations with titles such as “Gram’s Pickles”, “Mom’s Pies”, “Aunt Millie’s Raisin Bread” .

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Thanks to Jayne, Esther, Nancy, Myra, Dave, Sheila S. & Jane W., many went home to reminisce and search out some of their old “comfort food” recipes.

 

Maybe there will be more samples to enjoy …

Posted in Environmental issues, Fruit, Gardening, Horticulture, Seasonal chores, Vegetables | Leave a comment

150th Celebration with Flowers

Gardeners and plant lovers are by nature generous, sharing people, quick to offer bouquets, cuttings, seeds and bits of wisdom gleaned from digging in the soil and nurturing plants. Whether celebrating successes or pondering near successes, they are as optimistic as and endearing as their gardens. Continue reading

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Ready for the Flower Show

Flower shows are fun, worthwhile activities for everyone, providing opportunities to display and view examples of the many beautiful flowers and plants grown in our area and shown as specimens or in beautiful floral designs. Each year, Chester Garden Club Flower Show committee organizes the annual flower show, ensuring opportunities for all members to assist and including members and community of all ages. The Show Schedule provides all of the details needed to prepare and stage exhibits for entry, including Entry Classes, Show Rules, Show Tips, Definitions and a summary of Trophies and Awards. Judging is done by NSAGC Judges whose decisions are final.

The team has been working together for many months. The theme, schedule, tags, ribbons, venue, tables and staging plans, tea, sandwiches and sweets are some of the details that have been finalized.

On Monday, at our July 17th meeting we were treated to information and demonstrations to help with this year’s schedule. Thank you to Nancy, Sidney, Jane, Jocelyn and Myra.

 

We are looking forward to our flower show, “Celebrating Canada 150” on July 27th, 1:30 to 5 pm., a show that breaks gardening boundaries and blends tradition with unexpected innovative design.

Posted in Community tea party, Floral arrangements, Flower Show, Gardening | Leave a comment