Storms Bring Challenges & Blessings

Gardeners everywhere are sometimes challenged and other times blessed by what nature and the environment delivers.

The South shore of Nova Scotia experienced an intense storm on January 4th that left not only coastal damage but also what many refer to as “ Gardeners Gold”. As we were in “Storm watch Mode”,  I thought of all the seaweed that would be torn, tossed and piled on our shorelines.

In May 2017, Betsy and Bob from Bear Cove Resources explained the Storm-cast process and production of an excellent, odour free fertilizer/soil conditioner to use in our gardens and on our indoor plants.

The following are a few shots of the ocean and coastline the day following the storm. The piles of “Storm-Cast Seaweed Mix” along the coast was impressive as were the pounding seas that created the impressive views and results.

Gardens that receive a gift of seaweed compost will flourish this coming gardening season.

Click on picture for slide show:

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Posted in Environmental issues, Gardening, Seasons, Seaweed, Weather | 7 Comments

Happy Holiday Season from Chester Garden Club

 

Chester garden club members and guests gather the third Monday each month and begin each meeting with a speaker or activity of interest. Our November, 2017 meeting included the later with early preparation of festive seasonal arrangements for the holiday. Each member provided enough materials for themselves and some to share. The tables overflowed with beautiful greenery and complementary decorations. Amidst the conversation, advice and laughter, working together and helping each other make choices, we all completed our arrangement to take home or gift to another. There were some that were donated to the seniors at Shoreham Village, a welcome addition to the seasonal decorations for our community senior residents.

Click on any picture for slide show:

 

 

A week later, Chester Garden Club’s participation in annual Village Christmas decorations, the bandstand received it’s yearly dressing up with greenery and lights.

November 27th 2017 image1 (2)

 

Bringing our 2017 garden club year to a close, and with excellent weather, our annual Pot Luck Supper was again held at Chandler Cove. Thanks, especially to Kay and Sheila and the set up crew. In beautifully decorated surroundings, members and guests enjoyed each others company, conversations and were treated to a scrumptious variety of tasty dishes.

Click on picture for slide show.

 

 

Warm wishes to all for a Holiday Season filled with Peace, Contentment, Love & Laughter.

We are looking forward to welcoming old and new gardener members to Chester Garden Club in 2018.

Posted in Community Service, Evergreens, Floral arrangements, Garden Clubs, Gardening, Seasons | Leave a comment

Groaning in the Garden

Contributed by member: Jocelyn Cameron who says:

“I’ll admit I wrote this”

Sometimes you just have to chill after gardening and think outside the box. Out there, you can tickle your funny bone and watch what happens. Here’s a glimpse:

  1. Any bee can balm.1 Monarda, Bee balm IMGP5675

  2. I sedum before.2 Sedum, Stonecrop 006

  3. I aster but she said no.3 Aster 020

  4. Why don’t trumpet vines make any sound?4 Campsis radicans, Trumpet-ground-cover

  5. Who punched those black-eyed susans?

     

  6. Why aren’t burning bushes hot?

  7. Globe thistles like to travel. Who knew?7 Echinops, Globe thistle MGP3573

  8. Hollyhocks anything she finds.8 Alcea, Hollyhock 010

  9. Spirea can’t see for looking.9 Spiraea IMGP2521

  10. Why don’t fleece flowers ever get sheared?10 Persicaria affinis, Fleece Flower Jocelyn

  11. Lamb’s ear can’t hear anything.11 Stachys byzantina, Lamb's Ears Jocelyn DSC02329

  12. Ribbon grass never made a bow.12 Phalaris arundinacea, Ribbon Grass

  13. Why is Zebra grass neither black nor white?13 Miscanthus sinensis, ‘Zebrinus Zebra-Grass

  14. Has loosestrife ever caused trouble? (rhetorical question)14 Lysimacha punctata, Yellow Loosestrife

  15. Why doesn’t goutweed affect your feet?15 Aegopodium podagraria, Goutweed 027

  16. Ever see dandelions caged in the zoo?16 Taraxacum, Dandelion IMGP3519

  17. Ever see a weeping willow cry?

    17 Salix babylonica, Weeping Willow

  18. Has crooked willow ever done anything wrong?18 Salix matsudana, Curly Crooked Corkscrew Willow Jocelyn DSC02325

  19. Rosemary won’t answer if you call.19 Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary, Hes's

  20. Joe Pie weed makes me hungry.20 Eutrochium, Joe-pye weed IMGP5349

  21. Ever hear a valerian speech at a convocation?

  22. Sit astilbe as you can.22 Astilbe 039

  23. Everyone likes the limelight sometimes.

    23 LadyLimelight

  24. It’s daphne to stop before you finish.24 Daphne 2010 003

  25. He never scratched so much as when he had chives.

  26. Some roses have large hips.26 Rose hips IMGP3992

  27. How can mint hold onto a spear?

    27 Mint

  28. Irises will never open their eyes.28 Irises 035

  29. Hit your head and you’ll be at risk of artemesia.

    29 Artemisia

  30. Take someone hosta and you’ll be in trouble.30 Hosta IMGP3808

  31. Have you heard the Bells of Ireland ringing at weddings?

I know yew can think of more examples, but it’s thyme to quit before we all go daisy!Shasta Daisy

Hope this makes your day a little more holly.Canadian Holly, Ilex vertcillata

Keep sharp!

Thanks to Jocelyn, Jen, Marion & Brenda for pictures.

 

 

Posted in Berries, Daphne, Day lilies, Gardening, Roses, Wildlife | 3 Comments

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.

11 Nov 2nd IMGP6222

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

IMGP6154

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 | 2 Comments

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