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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In bloom this second week of July

In bloom this second week of July in my zone 4 to 5 gardens are these showoffs:

 

 

In addition to the beauties above, more roses are in bloom this week:

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!

Canada Day weekend

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In case you haven’t heard, Canada celebrated its 150th birthday this past weekend.  Although Mother Nature had to put her two cents in with a few thunderstorms and torrential rain, the party atmosphere was rampant coast to coast as Canadians young and old, rich and poor, lifelong citizens and new immigrants celebrated our wonderful country, together.

 

 

The fireworks lit up the skies across the country, although some displays were a bit rain delayed (and in some areas rescheduled)…

 

 

This video is just one of the many fireworks displays:

 

 

Even royalty showed up to help celebrate our country.  Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall attended the ceremonies on Parliament Hill and were escorted out of the Ottawa area Sunday morning by fighter jets and other military aircraft.  We heard the roar of the engines overhead as we came out of Canadian Tire (appropriately) and I quickly but blindly (into the sun and clouds) snapped a few pictures into the general vicinity of the noise…

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Some Canadians started the celebration Friday and had to return to work today, while others have today to recuperate.  Those of us who are self-employed have an extra long weekend! Regardless, I think it’s safe to say everyone had a great weekend!

 

 

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.

Allow the Wonder Wall to captivate you!

 

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Recently I attended a book launch to support a friend who has co-created a masterful piece of work named the Wonder Wall.  With my gardening business in full swing, I don’t usually get much reading done in the summer months, but I am so impressed with this book that I am making an exception this week.

The Wonder Wall is aimed at formal and informal educators of all kinds.  Teachers from kindergarten to university, scientists, managers, team leaders, administrators, parents, and volunteers alike can learn from this.  After all, we humans are all educators of some sort.  Whether you want to motivate and encourage children or adults within a school, start-up business,  major corporation, office, hospital, police force, daycare, or community association, the concepts within the Wonder Wall are easily applicable.

As much as I tried to put the ideas from this book into my own words to share with you, I found that my efforts could simply not do justice to the witty, inspirational way this masterpiece is written.   So, I am cheating; these (just a few of many) excerpts are literally straight from the book…

CONDITIONS THAT FOSTER CREATIVITY

three imperatives:

  • recognize there is a seed of brilliance in everyone
  • adopt a strength based approach
  • create cultures of belonging

four conditions:

  • storytelling and listening
  • moving beyond diversity to inclusivity
  • making it personal
  • celebrating

IDEAL LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS:

  • good listener, approachable, personable
  • understanding, empathetic, respectful, caring
  • motivational, inspirational, visionary
  • honest, trustworthy, dependable, consistent
  • knowledgeable, informed, displaying expertise
  • good communicator
  • positive, enthusiastic, energetic

IDEAL LEADER BEHAVIOUR:

  • leads by example
  • provides support, encouragement, motivation
  • seeks input
  • inclusive/fair
  • approachable/friendly
  • professional/responsible
  • positive/energetic
  • respectful
  • sympathetic/understanding
  • team player/builds relationships

To learn the details of these compelling points, plus many more insightful strategies and how they can apply to your life, you will have to read the book yourself!

Get inspired!  Purchase the Wonder Wall at your local bookstore or online through Amazon.   I promise you will be captivated, both amused and motivated as you read and reread through the pages.

 

 

The ultimate price

The headlines read: “two dead, one injured in Ottawa’s Byward Market shootings”

The 43-year-old man that was shot and killed paid the ultimate price believing he was helping his friend.  When his friend was shot and wounded after an argument with the gunman, the victim and several other witnesses chased the shooter.  Why would he do this?  No one will ever know what he hoped to accomplish.   As the details of the tragedy continue to unravel,  the media is quick to point out the victim’s failings.  Nothing, however, has been said about the suspect.

Although the victim had a shady (drug related) past, I only knew him as the beloved brother of my grandson’s mom.  Why is that?  Because he and his family were trying hard to put that shady past behind them.  He had turned his life around so we (my family) knew him as a loving son, husband, father, brother, uncle, and brother-in-law that would do just about anything for anyone in need.

What the media fails to mention is that no one, nowhere, deserves to be gunned down in cold blood, unless of course they have just shot and killed someone themselves.  The fact that some people resort to the use of a gun to settle their arguments sickens, and in this case deeply saddens me.

For the sake of the victim’s shocked, grieving family, I hope the investigation wraps up soon and reveals that the victim’s alcohol induced actions were confrontational and foolish, but valiant and well intended.