What happens when an Audi, a Mercedes and a BMW fly by me on the highway? I add my Toyota van to the convoy and decrease my drive time. As I drove to Kingston from Ottawa this morning on hwy 401, a trio of these luxury cars approached my vehicle from the east. They appeared to be travelling together as they stayed in the fast lane, evenly spaced apart, purring along at 130 km per hour. It seems that I am not the only one that does this, by the time I got to the Kingston area, there were 7 cars in the convoy, with my Toyota van in the middle of the pack!
Be sure to check out my other blog, YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE , guaranteed to make you (LOL) laugh out loud…
I love my new garden toy. It’s a Toro Ultra Plus leaf blower, vacuum and mulcher all in one. I spent a few hours in a client’s garden today sucking up leaves with the vacuum attachment, then dumping the leaf bag full of finely mulched leaves onto her gardens. I then covered the mulched leaves with a commercially prepared triple mix of soil, peat moss and compost. This procedure is a great method for improving the quality of the soil in your gardens, especially if your soil is full of clay like most soil here in the Kanata suburb of Ottawa…
I also discovered, inadvertently, if you forget to zip up the leaf bag after emptying it, the leaves you suck up off the lawn will get mulched as they enter the bag, then go right through the bag back onto the lawn. I might try this on my own lawn, as mulched leaves are great for lawns too!
I researched this type of garden tool before purchasing the Toro Ultra Plus. I chose an electric one as I did not want to be hauling oil or gasoline around in my van. The battery operated ones were an option, but we have several battery operated tools at the cottage and the batteries always seem to need recharging, not to mention the batteries are expensive. The electric Toro Ultra Plus that I decided on was awesome to use; not too heavy (about 10 pounds), easy to assemble, and not too loud. The mulch came out incredibly fine; I estimate one bag of mulched leaves is the equivalent of at least 4 regular lawn bags.
With the beautiful weather we are experiencing this week, I hope to get a few gardens prepared for spring using this method, including my own. Perhaps I will do the lawn too…
November usually brings cold, damp weather to our Ottawa area with my gardening business put to bed for the winter. This week however, the weather forecast is awesome…
I will have to find something to do outdoors as the temperature is forecasted to reach a balmy 17 degrees Celsius (63 for you Fahrenheit fans) This is a perfect temperature for puttering around in the garden, with no bugs to annoy me. Raking, mulching, bulb (more, because you can never have too many) planting…hmmm, where do I start? The more I get done this week while the weather is nice, the less there will be to do in the spring.
Yesterday, as we drove from Ottawa to our cottage In Ompah, Ontario we hit several snow squalls. We drove through sunny skies and storm clouds and snow squalls. The first squall hit us in Carleton Place…
When we reached the cottage, the lawn and trees were snow covered and the island offshore was barely visible…
then, a mere ten minutes later, the sun was out again…
This is a weather calendar for the month of September here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. You can’t ask for any better weather for gardening. New perennials and shrubs can be planted now ensuring their roots have six weeks to get established before the ground freezes. Garden clean up can get started, but leave some for the cooler days to come. It is still a bit early to plant bulbs too; they are best planted just before the ground freezes.
I am heading out now to work in a client’s garden before it gets too hot LOL, never thought I would be saying that mid September. No complaints here!
This past winter was so cold our buried water pipe running between the lake and our cottage froze in Ompah, Ontario. This has never happened before and the cottage was built way back in 1972. Apparently the frost line was deeper than normal for this area of Canada this winter. Digging down to find the buried water pipe, we found the ground frozen solid six feet down! Fortunately, the soil at the cottage is sandy rather than full of clay as it is here in Kanata, although it was still a big job. The pipe was rerouted so it no longer goes under the covered patio, but instead will be snow covered for better insulation in winters to come.
The good news is we had planned (eventually) to rebuild the patio, so the frozen pipe turned out to be motivation to start the patio project…
Everything is blooming a bit later this season due to the long, hard winter we experienced here in the Ottawa area of Canada, but there is still lots of color this June.
The first clematis bloom has arrived, with many more to come on the six vines I have throughout my gardens. The lilacs are just about done. They are the late blooming variety, later than most lilacs. We pruned them back hard this spring as they were growing sideways due to the overgrown apple trees beside them. The pruning did not affect the blooms, probably because they are a late blooming variety.
The general rule of thumb for pruning flowering shrubs is:
if it blooms before June, wait until after blooming to prune
if it blooms after June, prune in early spring
Missing this June are the many roses usually in bloom. Four of my roses did not survive the winter, so will have to be replaced. The ones that did not survive are planted in front of the brick wall of our garage. The snow melts first in this area, and the bed is under an overhang, so with the many freeze and thaw cycles (mostly freeze) we experienced, the roses were often exposed to the cold without the insulation of snow. I tried to shovel snow on them from other areas of the yard as it melted from the rose bed, but to no avail. I have a few other roses planted elsewhere in my gardens that survived, but the blooms are still in bud phase.
The rain in the weather forecast for the next 10 days here in Ottawa brings the saying “April showers bring May flowers” to mind. The rain showers will water the spring bulbs and perennials, encouraging their bloom. A few days of rain makes the lawns so much greener too. All the rain showers and cool weather forecasted this spring is also good for planting grass seed or fertilizing your lawn and trees.
There are many products available for spring treatment, some with just seed, some with just fertilizer, and some that combine seed and fertilizer…
combination of grass seed, fertilizer and peat
pre-emergent treatment for crabgrass
fertilizer spikes for trees
Some combinations for your lawn even add peat which is beneficial in keeping the soil rich by absorbing moisture (first picture) These combination products can be a good thing for novice landscapers and home owners, as the research is done for you. The proper type of fertilizer and the amount to use is calculated for you.
Corn gluten (second picture) is a popular, organic, pre-emergent treatment for crab grass. Pre-emergent means it should be applied before the crab grass seeds germinate (start to grow) very early in the spring, as soon as the snow is gone from the lawn. I use corn gluten on my lawn in the fall, after the first frost, but before the first snow fall. I have found this practice convenient (one less thing to do in the spring) and most effective against crabgrass.
Fertilizer spikes (third picture) are efficient ways to feed your trees. Make sure you choose the proper product package for your trees though. There are packages for evergreens (pine, spruce, cedar etc), ornamental trees (crab apple, lilacs etc) fruit trees (apple, plum etc) and other popular trees (maple, elm etc) Simply pound the spikes in the ground around the perimeter of your tree’s dripline as specified in the package directions. Obviously, the larger the perimeter of your tree’s dripline (the outer edge of branches), the more spikes you need. It is best and easiest to pound these spikes into the ground when the ground is wet and more rain showers are in the forecast.
Make the most of the forecasted rain; your lawn and trees will thank you!