2016 – The Year of Flowers by Garden Girl FEB 3



It’s February and already I’m tweaking my garden planning for this year. Last year I took on flower-scaping for our property. The running joke was that all the work I did was to buy tickets for this year’s flower show on our property! And trust me, it was a lot of work!!! Fingers crossed it turns out half as great as my “blueprint”!

I’ve also been studying and identifying the insects we have and trying to mitigate the problems we’ve been having. Like aphids and weeds to name the major ones… The fun stuff!

February is the month for seeds to go on sale for all of us garden anticipators! Vandermeer is one of my favourite nurseries, located in Whitby, and their seed sale is on for the first 2 weeks of February.

In the fall we moved two rosebushes to a full sun place. Originally I planted them along a walkway, but I didn’t take into account that our walkway is on the north side of our home and doesn’t get sun until noon. In my mind they were to be these glorious, flower-filled bushes by now, 3 years later, but the reality is we had flowers the first summer I planted them and none for the following two years. When I transplanted them I amended the soil and added a full serving of rose fertilizer into the soil beneath the bushes. Fingers crossed that 2016 will be an epic rose year for us! I am thinking primulas would be a welcome walkway plant. They truly are one of the happiest flowers and they love shade and moisture…

We planted over 100 bulbs in the fall as well. Mostly daffodil species, but some crocus’, hyacinths, tulips and muscaris. My new direction is aiming more towards having blooms all season so that we encourage more bee species and more song birds to hang about. At this point I will attempt anything to keep the rampant mosquito population in check!

2015 was definitely filled with gardening ups and downs. A major up was the success we had with our seed starting. The first year we tried roughly 100 seeds and less than a quarter of those were fruitful. Last year we did close to 200 seeds- with some program tweaking, and we saw over 85% success! So, the plan this year is to have more faith in our seed starting and hopefully we can transition to embrace seed-saving. We love to grow heirloom vegetables and seed saving would definitely be most economical, especially considering how much we love our veggies! And the thought of seed-sharing does get me a little excited!!!

I have plans this year to categorize the different bee species that I find among our flowers. As well, for the first time, I plan to go out between 10pm and 2am with a flashlight to see what’s up. I hear it is fascinating the see the night shift on the garden, and apparently it is a great time to remove slugs from areas, seeing as they are only out at night when their skin won’t dry out from the sun and they are better hidden from predators.

Every year we get a little more of our property under control. The first two years were spent perfecting our food production, and now we’re more focused on adding trees and flowers. We planted at least 10 fruit trees last year and 4 the year before. Hopefully some bee hives will be part of the 2017 garden plan!

More and more I now stop to look at other’s gardens. I love seeing masses of flowers in bloom and the funny thing is now I seem to embrace all flowers whereas before I really only loved a handful. But I guess it’s like food, if you always eat the same things you are bound to eventually tire of them. Where if you mix in other things it is truly a treat to have your preferred “thing”… Same goes for flowers.

I missed the boat on planting snowdrops and a few other bulbs last fall, but I sense it’s for the best. I am now imagining more flower beds and those flowers would be a perfect addition. One of the flower beds I am planning to begin will be for a Moon Garden. Basically, it’ll be all white flowers and supposedly under the moonlight it looks quite magical. Regardless of the moonlight aspect, I am sold. I am already gathering a list of white flowers that I am categorizing into bloom times so we have nice balance all season long.

Garden education never ends! I have amassed quite the garden library and I am really into books by Ontario gardeners. Mark Cullen, Marjorie Harris and Trevor Cole are just a few worth naming. I also find I am getting more into the biology side of the garden now too. I find it so fascinating how many things contribute to a healthy, beautiful garden.

GG 5A couple last things worth mentioning… If you’re having issues with poison parsnip and golden rod, you are not alone. The root systems on these baddies can make a person nuts! I have learned that if you pull them after they go dormant they pull up quite easily. (Do cut the flowers off to prevent seeds during the growing season! Half the battle is not letting these invasive seeds blow into your garden!)

GG 3The goldenrod really puts up a fight, but it’s a fight worth fighting if you want to control these voracious weeds! I pulled a bunch in October and I was amazed at the root systems these guys boast! No wonder these plants come back so aggressively!

GG 4

We left our kale plants to winter in our garden and every night as of late we have been treated to deer visits. I love the fact we are helping them eat! But, I also pray they forget where my garden is during the garden season… I have heard some horror stories… Like waking up to find all the lettuce gone…!

Happy gardening!!!

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