Friday, July 19, 2013

Feed the pollinating insects! No blooms cut before their time!

Hello everyone,

I hope you are well, and the 33 degree celcius temperatures (London, Ont. and Ontario) haven't taken too bad a toll on you.

I was out in the garden this morning, looking around at the varied plants in bloom.  Catnip grown to the size of small shrubs have taken up residence between the burgundy day lilies in what is - or was - an almost formal perennial flower bed several years ago.  This same bed also has a plant called Elecampane.  It should be called Elephancampane, from the size of its lower, largest leaves: 70cm long and 30 cm wide.  At almost 2m tall it's beginning to flower.  For all the leaves it produces the flowers are maybe 10cm across, multi-petal yellow. They are in bloom and they stay.

The herb garden has an established hedgerow of agrimony, which sends out long stems and blooms with yellow flowers all along. I'm discovering it would be a weed in another location.

So alkanet might be described as a weed in a farm field locale.  Bugloss, it's called too.  It has the most astounding blue flowers on long stems. 

Avens spreads and blooms.  Another weed by another name.

There are also daylilies in yellow, burgundy, and organge standard blooms, blue balloon flowers, parsley about to come into flower, catmint getting to a second flowering, red burgundy, what I call sun drops (not sure if they are a form of evening primrose).  Two rescued butterfly weed are recovering and taking on size.  I'm hoping for bloom.

Everything is about bloom right now. Everything is about food for pollinating insects.

Without getting into reference articles - a first for me! - if a plant is blooming or about to, it stays.  Never mind that usually I'd prune back things for show-off space, or wider paths, or just because it's invading (like the Jerusalem artichokes!).  If there's pollen and nectar for the pollinating insects, the plant stays. 

A week or so ago the Ontario Beekeepers Association actually called for a halt to the use of Neonicotinoid pesticides.  This adds their voice to many others in Canada who want to get rid of a bee-killing herbicide.  Colony collapse disorder continues.  European countries are several years ahead of us in banning these pesticides.

The important thing I can do in my own yard these days is to let the plant life happen, and wonder at the  dozens of fat bees that feed in my purple burgamot and the insects feeding throughout the various other blooms.

Very best regards,

Why's Woman

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ecological Gardening, Marjorie Harris and James Hansen

Hello everyone,

Here in London, Ontario, we had a pleasant day.  Temperature in the low 20's celcius.   No heat wave of the sort in British Columbia and in the U.S. where some areas are having temperatures in the 40's celcius ... which is beyond ridiculous into scary.

And I happened to take off my bookshelf a copy of Marjorie Harris' book Ecological Gardening: Your Path to a Healthy Garden (revised and updated 1996 from its 1991 first edition).

Seventeen, or perhaps even 22 years ago, Harris put a section about xeriscaping in her book - gardening for drought.  And included this quotation by James Hansen, (then) Director of NASA's Goddard space center:

"As the greenhouse effect increases we will see hydrological extremes. Some areas, especially mid-continental regions, will have more frequent and extreme drought."

Harris is a garden designer and writer, and a proponent of organic gardening.  She's Canadian!  She's just started posting some new garden videos (done for the Globe and Mail newspaper) on her website 

Harris is always ahead of the trend, or, more accurately, she knows when a trend isn't a good idea and tells us something useful instead.  She obviously knew who James Hansen was well before many environmentally savvy people (me included!) had any inkling who he was, and before his name began to really be associated with climate change - global warming.

Hansen's recent book, Storms of My Grandchildren, is in the London Public Library.  I've mentioned him before too:

Thanks Marjorie Harris and James Hansen.  Even if you are talking about things that scare me.

Sincerely, and with best regards,

Why's Woman

Monday, July 1, 2013

Go read Stephanie's blog for Canada Day

Hello everyone,

I hope this note finds you all well and that you had some down time this Canada Day. 

I seem to have taken a month off.  Not that I didn't have anything to say.  It's more that I've had so much in my head that I haven't been able to find where to start ... or how to continue in a succinct way when I did start writing.

And I'm taking an easy way back in to blogging, by referring you over to Stephanie Pearl McPhee's blog Yarn Harlet.  She's talking about the positives of Canada's health care system, which - despite problems and some slowness - does give us all health care we don't have to pay for.  For me and my family, that means a lot too.

She says it way better than I will tho' so check her out ...

Very best regards,

Why's Woman