Evergreen winterkill

Due to the extremely hard winter we experienced this year, many of the evergreens in the gardens I tend to are suffering from winterkill.  This is evident by rust brown tips and occasionally whole branches.  To remove this winterkill, run your gloved hand over the affected branches so the dead needles fall off.  If a bare tip is exposed, snip it off.  If a whole branch is dead, remove it to the base of the plant or at least back to where it is still green.

Evergreen shrubs can be pruned or shaped this way as well, by removing whole branches back to their base.  If you cut only part of the branch off you will be leaving an exposed stem which is unsightly.

Hydrangea leaf caterpillars

Hydrangea leaves that look like this contain a grub, a stage of the leaf curl moth.  The moths lay their eggs on the leaf then spin a fine silk like web around the eggs to attach them to the leaf.  The silk threads cause the leaf to curl protecting the eggs from predators like birds.  The eggs hatch into caterpillars that eat the leaf and soon become adult moths, continuing the cycle.

Moths prefer leaves of lilac trees due to their softer texture, but if a hydrangea is next to a lilac, the moths will lay their eggs on hydrangea leaves too.  As soon as you see the leaves curled on either lilac or hydrangea bushes or trees, remove the leaves and burn, crush or shred them to kill the eggs.

I saw some of these on hydrangea leaves last summer.  I tried to kill the worms and eggs by spraying with tea tree oil, but it did not seem to work.  I then cut off the infected leaves, which seemed to help.

Plan your encore career

Encore careers are becoming increasingly popular, especially within the baby boomer generation.  After a stress laden career, baby boomers are often not quite ready to retire completely, so find a way to continue earning money doing something they enjoy.  An encore career is usually something totally different from  the original career.  This change of focus to something more enjoyable and relaxing can be exhilarating and healthy for active baby boomers.

Growing Bolder's photo.


So, if you have been working for years in the same career or same type of job, consider a stress-free encore career.  If you can collect a partial pension or severance package when you leave the old job, all the better.  Find something you are good at that people are willing to pay money for, and start your own business.  It does not have to be a large business and is easier than you think.   You will be amazed at the improvement in both your physical and mental health.




What the heck is a Promposal?


What the heck is a promposal?  My youngest son tells me to ask someone to go to prom with him he has to plan an elaborate promposal.  At his school these invitations have to be performed in front of a crowd of people including of course the intended prom date.   What happens if the intended prom date is not interested in going with the poor sap that has planned the promposal?  Does she tell him in front of all his and her friends?  What happens to the guys that are a bit shy, and not willing to embarrass themselves in front of a crowd, but would still like to attend their prom?  Apparently these promposals are getting more and more extravagant with the guys spending lots of money to impress their intended date.

Times have certainly changed, but this seems a bit much, especially for the guys without a steady girlfriend.  Whatever happened to “hey Suzie, you going to the prom with anybody yet?” face to face, in a private moment?

Signs of spring at Gardens4u in Kanata, Ontario

I am finally able to get out into my clients’ gardens this week as the weather and ground has warmed up.  Here are a few of the first signs that spring has arrived in the Ottawa area…

hopefully you have your own signs of spring wherever you are…enjoy!

A valuable lesson on the power of education

Recently I was invited to attend a leadership conference put on by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board of Education. Between the keynote speakers and the breakout sessions, I learned an awful lot…

The first keynote speaker we were introduced to was Zita Cobb from Fogo Island, which is the largest off shore island of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.  Zita Cobb grew up on Fogo Island in a culture that believes that nature and animals know everything, with seven seasons celebrated each year.  Cod fishing was the sustainable way of life for generations of island dwellers until the 1960s when large English and Polish ships helped deplete the supply of cod, closing the fisheries and forcing many of the islanders into poverty.  The fishing industry has since been revitalized on Fogo Island with the addition of new organizations and laws, modern technology and fisheries harvesting shrimp and crab as well as a new generation of cod.   During the economic downswing, Zita’s father urged her to leave the island to further her education and broaden her horizons.  She did so, and was very successful in the technology world, but the early lessons learned on Fogo Island remain ingrained in her personality and outlook on life.  She shared with us that she has learned that a formal education is not the only form of education.  Elders in a community have their own ways of knowing how to do the right thing for its people and the planet without a formal education.  Money should not be the only measure of success; the amount of joy in a community or culture should count too.  Her passion and wisdom have returned to Fogo Island to create the Fogo Island Inn, a modern masterpiece complete with 29 stunning guest suites, each boasting a spectacular view of the shoreline and sky, as well as a cinema, restaurant and library.  Her new foundation called Shorefast was established to keep the economic future of Fogo Island looking bright.

A second keynote speaker was Gabrielle Scrimshaw, a young aboriginal woman who left her small town in Northern Saskatchewan hoping for a better life for herself and increased understanding for her people.  Living off the land in a society filled with rampant sexual abuse in residential schools, by a mother suffering from substance abuse and a father travelling to support his career as an artist, Gabrielle struggled to survive, as most indigenous children do.  Motivated by a talk at her school by a friend of her teacher, she left that life behind her, the first person in her family to attend university.  She spent years travelling and learning from inspirational people she met along the way.  Today, as the indigenous population grows in Canada, she hopes to teach the rest of the country that many of these first nations descendants can help shift their economy with increased education and a sense of pride.  This successful motivational speaker had her audience in tears with her sad, yet inspirational stories, receiving a standing ovation for her accomplishments and achievements at such a young age.

Both of these women gave powerful speeches, a valuable lesson stressing that all forms of education are instrumental in motivating the best leaders of the present and future.  As Gabrielle noted, we must “create good footprints so we can walk in a good way.”  Please take the time to follow the links to read more about these two amazing and powerful women!