How and when to water your garden and lawn

In drought conditions like we have been experiencing here in the Ottawa (and most of Ontario) area, it is important that you know how and when to water your garden and lawns if you feel you must do so.

  • water plants in your garden at ground level, at the base of the plants.  Don’t spray the leaves of plants.  The hot sun will burn the wet foliage. (see pictures below)
  • water early in the morning or just before sunset so the water does not evaporate as quickly as it leaves your hose.
  • water well less frequently.  A long soak every few days is much better than a quick daily spray.  This encourages deep roots for your plants (and lawns too)
  • don’t forget to water your trees too.  Let water drip from a hose at the base of the tree for an hour when no rainfall is received for 4 or 5 hot days.
  • remember, lawns will recover, but many plants and trees will not

Drought conditions in Eastern Ontario

On a recent trip along the 401 between Ottawa and Kingston in Eastern Ontario, I could not help but notice the toll that the drought conditions have taken on the trees.  Usually beautiful, lush green against the magnificent limestone rock cuts, many of the deciduous trees are currently a toasted, brown color.  The rocks absorb the heat from the sun making the high temperatures that much more dangerous for the trees.  The rocky landscape is not able to retain the limited moisture we have had from rain…

 

 

Even though this was mid-August, it looked more like October when the leaves have changed color and are about to fall.  Although we have had more rain this past week, I don’t think these poor trees will recover.

How to repair burnt lawns

If your lawn is burnt like mine is, late summer or early fall is the best time to repair it.  MARK CULLEN, a Canadian garden expert, has the following advice on the best way to make those repairs:

  • Spread Mark’s Choice Lawn Soil (found at Home Hardware stores) over the area you wish to re-seed, 2 cm. thick
  • Rake smooth
  • Broadcast Golfgreen lawn seed [Canadian for our lawns: 0% weed seeds] by hand
  • Rake smooth to incorporate into the soil.
  • Step on it or roll it with a roller 1/3 full of water. 
  • Water it every day that you do not receive any rain until established.  Do NOT let the seedlings dry out!  It is best to water first thing in the morning or in the evening.

 

I am willing to give his advice a try since my lawn looks terrible in its burnt condition.  I have tried overseeding (adding soil and seed to an existing lawn) before, but always end up with more weeds (left picture) than grass (right picture).

 I am not sure whether the weed seeds are in the soil or grass seed I choose, but I know they are in the MULCH  I have used recently.  Hopefully, I will be more impressed with Mark’s choice of products.

 

 

Mulch full of weeds

This is another rant, based on a pet peeve of mine.  I advise gardening clients to use mulch to keep their gardens from drying out and to help reduce weeds.  The problem is, some products out there are full of weed seeds, so when I go back to check out gardens two weeks after planting them I see more weeds than were there before I planted!  A dead giveaway is that each use of mulch seems to have its own species of weed, today’s was horsetail weed mixed with a coarse grass:

 

This is not the first time this has happened with this particular brand of mulch.  I will be contacting the manufacturer of Scotts Nature Scapes to complain and will avoid this brand from now on.

Scotts-Nature-Scapes-Color-Enhanced-Mulch-FamilyShot-88402440-Lrg

Too bad, because I do like their choice of colours, and the colour does not fade in the sun like some other brands.  My favourite is the dark brown as it looks like wet earth so I think the most natural looking.  I also like the size of their bags, big enough but not too heavy for me to load, unload and carry from my van to my gardens.

If anyone can recommend an alternative (weed free) brand (available here in Ottawa) for me to use and recommend to my clients, please let me know!  I do use a lot of mulch in a season!

Melamagic clean

Melamagic is my favourite in the many cleaning and other products  MELALEUCA has to offer.  It is the only product that works well for me on the soap scum and dirt that gets embedded in the fibreglass of our main shower.  It also works on toilets, countertops, floors, outdoor furniture and more.  Recently I used it to clean many years of dirt off our back deck.  Here is the proof in pictures, with the “befores” on the right, and the “afters” on the left.  The last picture shows the “during” where you can see the difference as I am working on it.

 

I also used it recently, or at least my husband did, to clean off years of grime on our old boat in preparation to sell it:

 

The best thing about this product and all other Melaleuca products is that they are made with tea tree oil, a natural substance, so you do not have to worry about toxic effects on yourself, your children, your pets or the environment.

Weigela shrubs, three shapes

Shrubs are valuable in a large garden bed, especially because they offer a variation in shapes which adds visual drama to your garden.  Recently I have been experimenting with shrubs that can be trained to grow in different forms or shapes.

The most common form of a weigela is the rounded, shrub form…

Photinia_fraseri_A

 

This weigela was purchased as a standard, which some call a “ball on a stick.”  This shape variation makes a great accent in a small garden or in a tight corner of a larger garden as it is here …

IMG1250

 

 

This weigela was purchased and planted in a shrub form.  Upon maturity, it was an overgrown, unpruned shrub that was crowded into a corner of an entrance to a backyard.  I removed most of the lower branches, so it now looks more like a tree and suits the location much better…

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These are great examples of a weigela shrub grown in three different forms to add variation in the plant shapes in your gardens.  I love the tree-like shapes because you can add some low growing at the base for additional color and texture.

Hopefully, I have inspired you to experiment with your own shrubs.

 

Rock on Andrew Waines!

andrew2

 

Andrew Waines is a young man moving up quickly in the music world, currently focused on the soft rock/blues genre as a solo artist.  Andrew was one of my youngest son’s best friends in grade school here in Kanata (west end of Ottawa) until Andrew and his family moved from our neighborhood.

Andrew’s mom and I are friends on Facebook  which has been instrumental (pun intended) in allowing us to follow our children’s (her four and my three) endeavors. When I heard of Andrew’s success and amazing progress in the music industry, I was thrilled for him, but not really surprised as he was always the kind of kid that excelled in any of his pursuits.

Please check out these links to Andrew’s official website, SoundCloud, and Facebook page to discover just how talented he is!

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  for his bio, contact info, scheduled shows, blog and more

YOUTUBE CHANNEL  for tracks, albums, and playlists of original songs and covers

FACEBOOK PAGE  for more info and updates

 

Rock on Andrew!

Andrew