25 May 2013

In the Spotlight: Verbena (annual)

Did you know there are about 250 different species of Verbena?  There's the annual verbena, the trailing variety being the one I am spotlighting here, and the perennial (both herbaceous and the semi-woody).  Most of which are native to North America and/or Europe.
Genus: Verbena
Common name:  verbena, herb of the cross, holywort, vervain

Annual verbenas are available in a multitude of colours from rich burgundy, to lavenders, to bright pink, to white.

Verbenas require a full sun location, a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight, to flower at their best.  Fewer than that and verbena will have few to no flowers and that would be a shame because if you've ever seen them enmasse in a planter, they can be spectacular!

Verbenas will bloom from spring until frost so it's a lovely addition to your planters.  Think thriller, filler, spiller - verbena is your spiller!! 

Be sure to use well-drained soil.  A heavy clay soil can be amended with compost to assist in drainage, should you desire to plant directly in your garden beds.  Otherwise, select a good potting soil blend, water once a week, more if necessary, and fertilize with a 20-20-20 blend fertilizer once a month.  Place your pot in full sun, combined with other annuals of your choice or all on its own, and enjoy!

23 May 2013

I Almost Feel Sorry for the Gnomes!!

As you may recall, my husband gave me a gnome for Mother's Day as a gag gift.  He knows I strongly dislike garden gnomes.  After watching this video, which I of course laughed during, I almost felt sorry for the gnomes. Highly entertaining Ikea!!

Proven Winners | Flowers Having a Ball

Proven Winners | Flowers Having a Ball

How about a sphere of flowers to deck out your garden?  I'm sure not everyone has one but now you can be one of the few who can make your own stunning ball of flowers!

20 May 2013

Nesting Season

Last evening, after a wonderful supper with family and friends, we went for a walk to a little lake nearby where we spotted a pair of Canada Geese.  My husband and son got up rather close to the pair, one of which Tyler caught in the photographs above.  Canada Geese can be very protective and sometimes aggressive so caution was foremost in their minds.  Sure enough, there's a nest nearby.  I hope to get there again soon to get photos of the goslings.  They'll be so cute!

Hope you are enjoying this wonderful long weekend!

18 May 2013

Seen Around Town

Top two photos were taken using my IPhone camera.  
The bottom two photos were taken by my son Matt.

In another area of the city, I spotted two pairs of Canada Geese at a man made lake near my house.

Summer is just over a month away and we are finally enjoying spring.  My son Tyler just shared with me photos of a black bear that they saw while working on a road crew near Cold Lake.  He said they saw five bears in total, four of which were black and one brown bear.  

Near our house and to the south is a natural area with a fenced in water catch basin.  The last two mornings a light fog shrouded the area and I had to get it on "film," so to speak.

That's the extent of my neighbourhood walks this week.  What's happening in your neighbourhood?

15 May 2013

Oh No, a Gnome!

Look what my hubby got me!! He was determined to get me a gnome someday because he knows I dislike them.  This one is reading, though, so he figures that is its saving grace.  What do you think?

11 May 2013

Finally, Flowers Outdoors!!!

Is there anything more cheerful than flowers?  (thanks hon!) As the lawn slowly begins to green up (I still have to find the rake which I assume is buried somewhere in the garage following our move the beginning of February), and the tree and hydrangeas are beginning to show minute green leaves unfurling, I am so excited to have real growing flowering evidence of spring!!!  

I admit spring is my absolute favourite season of all!!

Included in this planter are a windmill palm, two varieties of osteospermum, a colourful grass and a pretty red flower that I cannot remember the name of.  Anyone out there recognize it?

Thanks Tyler
Thanks Amanda
Tomorrow is Mother's Day.  I have such fond memories of childhood and many of them are associated with time spent with my mom.  We made cookies together, cleaned together, gardened together. I enjoyed the sticky yumminess left in the bottom of the pan when she made cinnamon buns.  I recall walking home from school and smelling the wonderful heavenly fragrance of freshly baked bread and my friends would always say how lucky I was to have a mom who baked.  Frankly, I feel lucky to have her for my mom period.  For all the books we read, the summers in the sun, the fun times in the kitchen (not to mention the cookie dough stuck to the ceiling...remember that mom?), the warm meals on a cold day, for just being there, always, thank you mom!!  Love you.

I look forward to the phone call I will make tomorrow.  

Have a wonderful Mother's Day everyone!

07 May 2013

That's right, we're hot!!!

Well, not actually right now but yesterday afternoon, May 6/13 we broke records and we were the hot spot in North America!!

04 May 2013

Early Spring Don'ts

So, it's been warm, daytime temperatures in the mid-teens Celsius, and your green thumb is getting anxious.  You're dying to get out there and dig in the soil, fertilize, remove mulch....DON'T....not yet anyway.

The soil temperature is not nearly so warm as the air temperature and you are likely to do more damage than anything, particularly if mother nature sends a little frost your way, and you know she will.  (unless you live in the tropics or the southern states, then ignore this post.  Unless you like feeling sorry for those of us who cannot fathom being able to garden year-round :P)

  • Do not re-seed your lawn.  The soil temperature must be at least 15 degrees Celsius for lawn seed to germinate.  Anyone have a soil thermometer handy?  Frank Ferragine once commented that he'd read in an old gardening magazine of the bare bum test...I think that goes without explanation.
  • Don't plant tender annuals.
  • Don't prune anything that flowers in the spring.
  • Don't fertilize until plants are actively growing.
  • Don't remove rose collars.
Look for last frost dates in your area.  In Toronto that can be as early as the beginning of May, but in Alberta, especially Calgary and north, you are looking at the end of May.  Oh, and Vancouver, we won't even mention...cough .... their last frost date is ?  Do they even have one?  (jealous!)  Once your area has seen it's last perceived frost date, then you may get out there to start on those spring tasks.  In the meantime, how about a walk?

I know some farmers plant by the phases of the moon.  Catch my post on this at:  Planting By Moon Phases.  It's rather an interesting theory but I have yet to test its validity.  Has anyone out there tried it?


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