Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The lovely Rose - Herb of the Year - 2012

The Rose - "rosa"

Considering just how valued and coveted this flower has been to humanity over the centuries, it's no surprise that it has earned the esteemed title, "Herb of the Year".

Talk about your versatile flowers...

Not only do roses look good in the garden, but really, who wouldn't like to bathe in Rose Water? That just seems beyond luxurious! Rose water has been used by the reigning beauties of the day as a natural skincare product, pretty much since the beginning of time. Think Cleopatra! - Shown above are rose petals combined with lavender, submerged and soaking in vodka. - By letting this mixture sit for a few weeks tightly sealed in a jar, and in a dark closet to percolate, by straining it and adding it to a spray bottle, one has an eco-friendly room spray. - Much better than that horrible chemical stuff being promoted ad nauseam on television. But I digress...
Roses are a perennial (pardon the pun), favourite of Brides, and with good reason! They're quite simply the perfect cut flower for bouquets, (an example in my painting below), and, dried petals tucked in sachets, (above), makes for excellent wedding favors!

So, my hardy congratulations to the beautiful Rose. By any other name, I'm thinking it would still smell as sweet.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Native Plants - A Continuing Trend in the Garden - 2012

Native Plants in the Garden

2012 looks to be an exciting year for our gardens! In fact, every year brings new and exciting trends worthy of following. There are always new or interesting plant varieties to look forward to collecting, or sharing, as we gardeners seem to do, and of course, many garden designs we see in magazines are worthy of emulating in our own garden!
It’s very tempting to jump on many a gardening band wagon, however, most encouraging of all would be the commitment many individuals are making towards growing native plants in the garden. This is usually done in partnership with organic practices, as one does indeed compliment the other.
Aesthetical interest combined with an ecological mindset, especially with respect to the natural landscapes of our shorelines, woodlands, meadows, and even the wetlands, our native plants are a wonderful addition to our gardens, and in some cases, with respect to soil stabilization, highly effective. All this is especially true here in Haliburton County, where we witness and live amongst the beauty of the natural environment every day.
Native plants, including trees, flowers and shrubs, increase the biodiversity of our region. To some degree, they provided food and refuge for our native creatures, including butterflies, birds, pollinators, and small creatures. More importantly, this means our gardens also become a sanctuary of sorts for the many native plants increasingly becoming rare in their natural habitats.
Using native plants helps to conserve water and eliminates the need for pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that we are realizing are unhealthy practices on our planet. They also create less work in the garden, by being for the most part, drought tolerant, so even part time residents can be away for weeks at a time and need not worry that their garden won’t be alive when they return!
Native plants evolved here and adapted to the environment in which they grow. That means the weather patterns and the other flora and fauna that have evolved with them are equally comfortable together. These variations of adaptability to our regional environment are what make native plants so desirable and effortless to grow. So, consider adding more Native plants to your plot! These gems make a great addition to any garden on so many levels!

Some hardy Native Species for central Ontario:

  • Aronia melanocarpa - Black Chokeberry - Zone 2

  • Potentilla fruticosa - Potentilla - Zone 2

  • Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine - Zone 3

  • Arisaema triphyllum - Jack in the Pulpit - Zone 3

  • Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower - zone 3

  • Quercus rubra - Red Oak - Zone 3

Happy Gardening!