In bloom this third week of July

More pictures from my zone 4 to 5 garden in Ottawa; these perennial flowers are blooming this third week of July…

new bloomers:

 

Many perennials that were blooming last week are still going strong…

 

…while others are showing promise of things to come…

 

The annuals I planted in containers and bare spots in the garden are also still blooming well.  I always choose annuals that offer interesting foliage as well as flowers…

 

This next plant with the large leaves is a mystery to me.  I did not plant it, I believe it has come from the vegetable garden in the backyard next door.  Any ideas?…

mystery b

 

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Thunderstorm season

The weather here in Ottawa has seen a few hot sunny days typical of our summer season, but thunderstorm season would be a much more accurate description.

 

Once again I was chased from a client’s garden due to a thunderstorm today.  I am averaging at least one thunderstorm per week this summer.  There has been a lot more than that, but I am only counting the ones during the day when I am out and about visiting gardens.

I do not mind working in the rain, in fact, rain helps keep me cool and keeps the mosquitoes away from me.  Wet gardens are also easier to remove weeds from.  If it rains too hard, I seek shelter under an overhang until the rain subsides enough to work in…

 

Thunderstorms are different though, they make me nervous when I get caught outside in one.   I am always worried that if I get struck by lightning, no one would notice or find me since I usually work in gardens where no one is home.

I do love to watch and listen to thunderstorms from the safety of my home though!

Row housing for the birds

Our new deck at the cottage currently has row housing (for birds) along the beam under the overhang…

bdfg

 

Eleven nests all in a row, protected (somewhat) from the rain by the overhang, in varying degrees of completion.  We have yet to see a bird using any of the nests, so not sure if they were all constructed by one slightly confused bird (all the locations do look similar) or a group of birds.

It does look like a new suburban housing development, many very similar houses all in a row!

Are grubs destroying your lawn?

 

Many people are discovering that grubs, the larvae of some beetles, can destroy your lawn if not detected early and treated.

Although the most common destructive grub in Canada was originally from the native June bug, recent introductions of the Japanese beetle and the European chafer within the Niagara region have resulted in their migration further east and north in Ontario, causing havoc to lawns in eastern Ontario.

Adult June bugs are a shiny red-brown color, reaching up to 1 inch in length.  The Japanese beetle is much smaller, less than 1/2 inch long, with a metallic bronze and green color.  An adult European chafer is similar in size to the Japanese beetle, but tan or light brown in color.

All of these grubs have c-shaped bodies and six legs, however, the June bug larvae are white, while the larvae of the Japanese beetle and European chafer are a beige color. Upon hatching the grubs are tiny but reach a mature size of up to 1.5 inches.

 

 

 

Another major difference between the types of grubs is that the June bugs take 3 years to mature while the Japanese beetle and European chafer only take one year.  As a result, infestations of white grubs (June bugs larvae) happen every third year, while infestations of the other two types can happen annually.

 

Chafer calendar (1)

 

Although grubs prefer the fibrous roots of your lawn the best, they do feed on other plants, especially carrots and potatoes.  Ryegrasses and fescues tend to be more resistant to grubs in your lawn, while geraniums and larkspur are immune to grubs in your gardens.

So, how do you know if your lawn is being attacked from below by grubs?  These are a few signs:

  • patches of lawn turn brown and can easily be lifted in chunks
  • skunks and birds, mainly starlings and blackbirds, will tear up chunks of lawn to get to the grubs
  • patches of affected lawn often feel spongy and soft to walk on

 

The best ways to prevent grubs are:

  • keep your lawn healthy as adult beetles prefer weak, stressed lawns for laying their eggs
  • aerate and remove excessive thatch annually to break up compacted soil and ensure good drainage
  • do not cut your lawn too short as adult beetles prefer short, dry lawns to lay their eggs
  • leave lawn clippings on the lawn and use fertilizers with high potassium and nitrogen
  • water your lawn deeply but infrequently to encourage deep roots and promote drought tolerant lawns
  • hand pick adult beetles putting them in soapy water to kill them
  • attract natural predators like blackbirds and starlings with birdhouses
  • use a mixture of ryegrass and fescues lawn seeds

 

To treat grub infestations:

  • apply nematodes (microscopic, parasitic organisms) to attack the grubs. Be sure to read package instructions on when and how to apply them
  • water your lawn heavily to bring the grubs to the surface so birds can eat them
  • apply composted manure and grass seed to replace the destroyed lawn patches

 

Hopefully, you will not experience the damage these grubs can do!  If you do, I hope these tips help get rid of them quickly.

Long sleeves and gloves necessities for garden work

In addition to gloves, I like to wear long sleeves to work in my gardens.  Most garden gloves do not protect much past the wrist area, and without long sleeves to protect my arms, I end up with scratches, scrapes and contact dermatitis…

 

My skin is extra sensitive, so I have kept some of my sons’ (outgrown) long sleeved, lightweight T-shirts and sweaters for this purpose:

20170430_203815

 

 

Now I just have to remember to quit pushing up the sleeves when I get warm!  That’s the problem I have when the weather warms up too quick in spring.  That seems to happen often here in Ottawa, Ontario.  I don’t get a chance to finish the spring cleanups in long sleeve weather.  It’s a tough problem to have, I know, but I do love the cooler weather for garden work.

 

Welcome to April

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Well, although our April here in Ottawa is (typically) not quite as colorful as this picture, it does bring signs of spring.  We drove up to our cottage this past weekend to check things out and still could not get in the driveway as it is covered in snow, but things are starting to thaw out:

 

Spring is here….finally!