The Garden Itch for 2016 by Garden Girl MARCH 7, 2016



The countdown is on- Fourteen days until spring officially starts! That is the best thing I’ve heard in weeks!!!

For those not “in the know”, until March 9, 2016, Veseys has a deal on (50$ off 100, 100$ off a 200$ order OR free shipping!)!!! I was very happy with our 2015 order, and their customer service, that I have already placed our 2016 order! Last year we ordered a little of everything from trees and shrubs to bulbs and perennials. Our property happily takes updating and being able to sit at home and peruse plants is a great way to engage in early-season garden planning. I love nurseries, but I have a hard time planning on the wing…

Because we ordered last year, Veseys now sends us a new catalogue every season. I must say, it does help on those cold grey days to romanticise about the garden! And the last catalogue of the year is strictly things to plant in the fall for spring. They definitely know how to make a gardener dream with anticipation!

Last Wednesday I attended the Martintown Horticultural Society’s first meeting of 2016. It was absolutely fabulous and I loved it! I wish I started going years ago!!! They had Stephen Burgess (Honey From The Glen, Glengarry Ontario), speaking and it was one of the best seminars I have ever attended! He was honestly passionate in speaking about his experiences in beekeeping. I think the funniest part was when he was talking about talking to other beekeepers in late winter and they discuss how they actually miss getting the occasional sting while tending to their “girls”. He made beekeeping appeal to everyone in attendance. There were plenty of questions being asked and he had great answers for each one. He also clearly defined unpasteurised honey for us all, which was a real treat because in today’s world there seems to be no shortage of misinformation out there, especially when you throw the word “raw” into the mix…

Things to know: ALL honey is raw. What is really important is that it doesn’t get heated to a high temperature to preserve the medicinal qualities (DO NOT MICROWAVE HONEY!!!). Honey, if stored correctly, can last indefinitely. Unpasteurised honey is undamaged, including the pollen within it, which is said to mitigate allergy symptoms amongst other things. If honey is heated to a high temperature it kills all the beneficial components, thus leaving you with just a sweet syrup with no real actual benefits.

He also spoke of the importance of having diverse plants. Monoculture doesn’t give bees the array of nutrients they need to maintain a healthy population and production. Diversity in food is super important for all living things and bees are no exception. He really trumpeted the honeysuckle species of flowering bush for being a honeybee’s friend and also pointed out that honeybees even pollinate maple trees! There was no shortage of information that evening and I must say, it truly was a treat! I look forward to the next meeting!

(Martintown Horticultural Society has a facebook page for anyone looking to know more about their meetings. I believe the next meeting has Diane Lunan of Marlin Orchards coming to speak! I went to a nursery tour last spring that she hosted and it was truly inspiring! She is an amazing resource on gardening and plants! I look forward to this year’s tour! I picked up some plants I would normally never choose and I was beyond happy with the results!)

Beyond meetings and pre-season plant orders I am consumed with a tool called a mattock. I used one years ago at a friend’s cottage and I’ve wanted one ever since. It made short work of creating a new bed in an area filled with tree roots. I was mistakenly informed that the tool I sought was called a “pickaxe”, which is a helpful tool for getting into rocky ground, but what I really need is that axe edge to cut through roots. I have been looking at the options through Home-Depot and Lee Valley trying to decide which design is best suited for me. I would like it to have an axe size handle and I thought a 5 pound one would be great but my husband seems to think I should lean more towards the 3 pound version on a hammer-type handle…. Decisions, decisions….. (Suggestions? Anyone???)

Also, every morning there is a show on the KNOW Network called “The Secret Life of Gardens” and it is hosted by a biologist named Martin Galloway (An Ontario based gardener). It is a treasure-trove of information! Each episode follows a certain topic and I am yet to be disappointed with the information and visuals the show provides- especially the time-lapse photography. I recognise more now than ever the many facets and components to a healthy ecosystem, even one as small as my own garden!

Happy (almost) Spring 2016 everyone and happy gardening!

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