Tuesday, 20 March 2012

First Day of Spring!

Daffodils poking up in the lawn.

Happy First Day of Spring!
So far, the deer haven't found the crocus, and they don't like daffodils, so as you can imagine, I'll keep planting lots of those!
It sure is nice to see all the new growth on this lovely sunny day. Enjoy : )

Monday, 12 March 2012

Garden Trends 2012 - Native Plants Top the List!

The growing season is upon us and it looks to be an exciting one!
Every year brings stimulating trends worthy of following in our homes and gardens. One can always look forward to brand new, appealing plant material, and one can count on the many landscape designs we see in those glossy magazines as being totally worthy of emulating.

It can be very tempting to jump on every gardening band wagon that comes along, however to pinpoint the most encouraging one to date, it would have to be the commitment many gardeners are making towards the cultivation of native plants. One reason it’s a good band wagon to jump on is because planting native species is best done in partnership with organic practices. 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 wetlands, makes native plants a wonderful addition to our gardens. In some cases, with respect to soil stabilization, native plants are highly effective. The roots help prevent erosion. All this is especially poignant 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 a large degree, they provided food and refuge for our native creatures, including butterflies, birds, pollinators, and other small animals. More importantly, this means our gardens also become a sanctuary of sorts for the many native plants that are becoming increasingly rare in their natural habitat.

Using native plants helps to conserve water and eliminates the need for pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that we now realize are unhealthy practices towards our planet. Native species create less work in the garden too, as the many beautiful native flowers available are, for the most part, drought tolerant. This is good news for cottage country and its part time residents. They can be absent from here, back in the city for days, or even weeks at a time, not having to worry that their garden won’t be alive upon their return.

The native plants of Haliburton have evolved here, adapting to this environment in which they grow. That means weather patterns and the other flora and fauna that have evolved here 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. Consider adding native plants to your garden!

A Few 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

Gaillardia aristata - Blanket flower - zone 3

Quercus rubra - Red Oak - Zone 3

Friday, 9 March 2012

Meet My Friend Jack!

Meet my friend Jack! Aka: Jack-in-the-pulpit. His official name is Arisaema triphyllum.
This lovely little woodland native hangs out at the fringe of my yard. He's a bit shy and really prefers the shade.
You'll never meet a more unusual species, mainly distinquished by his dark stems jutting out like arms, containing leaves with three sides to them, hence the "tri", meaning three, in triphyllum. He usually appears here in Haliburton about mid-June.

Even tho' he's a bit shy, Jack does likes to show off a couple times a year. First he flowers, (and I can't help but think his bloom looks a bit like a duck-tail, made popular back in the 1950's by Elvis and 'greaser' types), then the other time he struts his stuff, once he's finished with that 'hair-do', a headdress of red berries appears in a big cluster, like a 'beehive do', but be warned, the seeds in those berries are poisonous if ingested.

Jack will eventually spread, and before you know it, he'll have more friends to keep him company, also by the way, named Jack. They'll hang out near him in the same patch of earth!

Happy Gardening!