21 April 2012

Once the Spring Has Gone (from your grass that is...)

Now's the time of  year, here in our corner of the world (the prairies), that you begin to see spring clean up crews all over the city. Raking, de-thatching, aerating and fertilizing are all jobs that should be addressed early spring.

If your lawn is no longer springy or spongy underfoot (no footprints), you may rake it.  Raking with a fan rake will remove debris while raking with a "thatch" rake will remove the dead and dry grass otherwise known as thatch.  This may be done by hand with a rake every spring or every three years with a power rake.

Now is a good time to aerate as well.  Aerating and detaching may be done in the fall, but is equally, if not more, effective in the spring.  Aerating pulls up small plugs of soil, creating holes which will allow absorption of water and fertilizer to the roots of your lawn.  This is especially beneficial on lawns five years and older and may be done every spring.  Leave the plugs on the lawn to slowly disintegrate back into the lawn.

A slow release fertilizer should be applied now.  Select a fertilizer with a high middle number, which is phosphorus, which encourages strong root development and growth.  Something like a 10-20-5 would be ideal.  Use a broadcast spreader and apply evenly all over the lawn.

You may also want to consider overseeding your lawn this spring but do not do so within six weeks of using a herbicide for weeds as this will inhibit growth of your grass seeds as well.  Psst:  Take a little hint from me:  If your neighbourhood has an active community of crows and seagulls, avoid using corn gluten as a weed seed inhibitor.  These birds love to eat it!!!  No kidding!  My weeds flourished and so did the crows and seagulls!!!

18 April 2012

Homesteader School Competes for Award of $20 000. How Can You Help?

Today I received an email I never would have expected.  My blog was forwarded to a local school and, as a local gardener, this same school has solicited my assistance in forwarding their cause, and I am delighted to do so! Homesteader School is a small elementary school in north-east Edmonton with a goal of constructing an outdoor classroom/garden.  What an inspiration to budding gardeners!  Competing in Majesta's Trees of Knowledge Competition, Homesteader School has progressed to the finals, being in 6th place and they are the only finalists in all of Alberta!!

Homesteader School needs votes.  When you visit Majesta, you can vote for the school of your choice from the selected entrants.  The winner receives an award of $20,000 towards their project. Contest closes in 24 days.  Here's a little added incentive:  when you vote you may also fill out the optional form to enter a contest to win $10,000 for yourself!  So everyone, especially Edmontonians, click away and vote for Homesteader School to win!

Homesteader School has been featured on the front page of today's (April 18, 2012) Edmonton Journal, previously on CTV, CBC Radio, the Edmonton Examiner and Metro News.  Voting is open to Canadian residents age 18 and over with a valid email address.  

Oh, and one very important thing:  Please VOTE DAILY for Homesteader School between now and May 11, 2011!

Catch the updates on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Homesteader-Elementary-School/204888616280449 and Twitter  (https://twitter.com/#!/HomesteaderKids).

Best Wishes to a most deserving school!


10 April 2012

Life of Flowers

Flowers were filmed while opening, the film sped up, and made into this.  Watch and enjoy!


06 April 2012

Spring Storm and Snowfall Warning

Thursday, April 4 was sunny and 16 Celsius here but yesterday we awoke to this sight.  The snow began at 2 am and continued into the afternoon reaching approximately 15 cms accumulation.  I took this photo at about 5 am as I was getting ready for work.  Areas throughout the city had power outages and as I took the transit to work, I saw my area black out as well.  In another area near work, a transformer was on fire so they were without electricity for a while.

Today is sunny and warm.  The accumulated snow on the streets has melted.  (yay!).  I hear, via my hubby, that it was gorgeous in Fort McMurray yesterday and my mom in Southern Alberta informed me it was lovely down her way.  I can't complain, though, as Calgary and Central Alberta got it worse than us.

Happy Easter!  I guess the Easter egg hunts will be held indoors throughout our city.

For Edmontonians, here are a few links to sites sponsoring Easter Egg Hunts this weekend:




01 April 2012

Typical Alberta Weather....

The first seven photos featured here were taken in the back yard yesterday afternoon. It was a glorious day, warm enough to be outside without a jacket as long as you were in the sun.  
Later in the afternoon the breeze grew a little stronger and cooler.

 It may not be obvious from the above photo, but we have a couple areas in the back with snow mold.  It is hard on the lawn and on people who have respiratory ailments and allergies.  Cure:  raking in early spring when the lawn no longer feels spongy underfoot.  I swear we did rake last fall but those lovely *@*@* Swedish Aspen next door had more leaves to shed....again and again.
 The rhododendron has unfurled its leaves to enjoy the warmth of early spring.  During cold weather, the rhododendron curls its leaves tight and remain that way through the cold winter.  It has also begun to green up a bit too, with obvious promise of this spring's blooms evident in plentiful buds.
 The grass in the back corner has begun to green up too.  (silent cheer:  I love spring!)
 This is what that cool breeze brought with it.  As the evening set in, the temperature dropped and this morning we awoke to this.  (Happy April Fools Day:  the jokes on us)
At the time of this writing, it is still snowing lightly, otherwise interpreted as light flurries.
This is today's garden.

It can't possibly last long, according to the forecast, but we do need the moisture.  

I was talking to a good friend Friday night and she was saying in her perfect world it would rain, rather than snow (and always overnight - never during the day), and never get cold enough to freeze.  Should she decide to let it snow, it would only snow on the grass and gardens.  Never on the road nor sidewalk. 
 I added rooftops to that.  Aren't we a pair?  Lol!  If only!  There was the one year we had to shovel our rooftops.  We had about 3 feet of snow on our house, thus necessitating the removal.  
How's that for a "make the world my way" idea?

I am so grateful for a mild winter this year because last year's (2010/11) was a doozy!!  Yet, in the same breath, I pray for adequate moisture for the garden but most especially for the farmers.  Oh, and please let it arrive at the right time, after seeding, and not too much at a time.  Is that too much to ask for?  Probably.

Pooches in the Garden Winter 2012

These two little guys love the great outdoors, as is evidenced by all the little footprints throughout the back yard.  Lilo, our little female Maltese, wasn't outside during this photography session but Stitch and his son Teddy (the white male) were taking full advantage of yet another mild winter day.  Photos were taken late February or early March.  I really ought to use the date stamp on photos.  Either that or post more regularly.  

How has your winter been?

Winter Makes a Brief Appearance (January 2012)

 I am finally getting caught up on posting some of my winter photos.  Here in central/north Alberta we have enjoyed an extremely mild winter.  In January, however, winter finally cloaked our little corner of the world in beautiful white.  The first five photos are taken from the front of the house.

 The last two photos here are taken from the deck looking to the south east portion of the garden.  I used an effect in iPhoto for the above photo, which I thought gave it an interesting appearance.
The pooches love the garden, as  you can well see from all the tracks they have made during their explorations.  The tree still holding leaves, albeit crispy orange, is the three-flowered maple.  It is possibly my favourite tree in the garden.  I love its fall plumage, with a variant of orange and red hues.

Hoar Frost March 2012


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