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  • March 01, 2021 17:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in February! Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. Please contact John for more information, or to purchase a copy of the calendar of the full year’s tips.

    March 2021
    Things to do for - or in your garden in March:

    • Start tuberous begonias & caladiums in pots.
    • Plant brassicas (cabbage family) seeds and hardy annuals for April - May planting.
    • Start tomatoes, lettuce and other fast growers from seed in late March to early April.
    • Make a list of spring chores in the order they should be done, if you haven’t already done so.
    • Order summer flowering bulbs.
    • Order/buy seeds for summer planting NOW! It is reported that they will be in short supply this year.
    • Check, repair and sharpen gardening tools.
    • Apply combination dormant oil spray to fruit trees & pest-prone shrubs when above-freezing weather permits.
    • Bring Spring indoors. Start forcing branches of spring-flowering shrubs like Forsythia.
    • Prune summer-flowering shrubs and vines.
    • Loosen up packed winter mulch and press perennials that have heaved, back into place.
    • Plan to plant a few bird-attracting, native berry plants.
    • If there are any students out there who are Interested in garden work this spring, please get in touch now. There are lots of jobs available. Contact  John Hethrington john@casacarole.com
  • February 01, 2021 12:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in February! Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. Please contact John for more information, or to purchase a copy of the calendar of the full year’s tips.

    February 2021

    Things to do for - or in your garden in – February

    • Now there is lots of snow cover. But if we get a February freeze/thaw, mound up all the available snow and any new snow that falls, around tender plants like roses. If you have a few bows left from your Christmas tree, put them over tender plants to catch the snow. It is the freeze/thaw that kills plants, not just the cold.
    • Start planning your garden projects for 2021. Make a list for the Spring. Then you will know what you didn’t get done when you check it in June. I have mine done and I am tired already. A garden is never finished!
    • Start propagating stem cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias, etc. by the end of the month.
    • Plant slow germinating seeds inside, like impatiens, peppers, eggplants, etc.
    • As the weather warms, you can start pruning shade trees, fruit trees and shrubs, if you can get to them through the snow. Leave trees that “bleed” like maples and birch until after they have leaves.
    • Visit local nursery greenhouses when we are allowed and smell the coming spring. Stop by the Garden Gallery just west of Barrie on Hwy 91 on the way to Angus to just inhale the SPRING.
    • You can forget about the big garden shows like Canada Blooms and the Peterborough Garden show this spring, they have all been cancelled because of COVID. Think Spring 2022.
  • January 06, 2021 15:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in January! Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. Please contact John for more information, or to purchase a copy of the calendar of the full year’s tips.

    January 2021

    • Inspect houseplants for white flies, spider mites and aphids.
    •  Apply insecticidal soap and spray with water.
    • Inspect spring bulbs in storage. Discard soft or mouldy ones.
    • There has been lots of snow, but if there is a thaw and the snow melts away, mound any remaining snow over roses and tender perennials. It’s the freeze/thaw cycle that kills the plants.
    • Cut the limbs off of your now discarded, natural Christmas tree and put them over tender perennials to catch the snow for added protection.
    • Expand personal knowledge through on-line courses and catalogues, etc.
    • Think about and start planning your garden for next spring.
    • Make detailed lists; BIG projects, regular maintenance, new plants to buy, plants to donate to the St. George’s Plant Sale June 5 or 12 2021.
    • Google “Seed Catalogue Websites” and see hundreds of seed sources.
    • Order flower and vegetable seeds. Decide which seeds should be started inside.
    • If you can find them, try forcing amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus for indoor winter bloom.
    • At the end of the month, start the slowest germinating seeds like begonias and geranium, also seeds for early spring bloom e.g., pansy, verbena, alyssum and dianthus.
    • Pick up some Triple-19 agricultural fertilizer at the CO-OP in Markdale or Dundalk. This is the strong agricultural fertilizer to put on top of the snow on your flower beds (not your lawns) in March, before the snow has melted. It will fertilize your flower gardens all summer long.


  • December 01, 2020 20:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in December! Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. Please contact John for more information, or to purchase a copy of the calendar of the full year’s tips.

    December 2020

    Here are the things that you should have done before we had all the snow! Just in case we get a mild spell and some rain to wash away the snow, here are a few things you still can do.

    • I usually recommend a little last-minute deep watering, but with all the rain this year we should be OK until spring.
    • Loosely wrap evergreens and especially rhododendrons with burlap. It is better to use 3 tomato stakes and make a triangle of burlap 6” away from the plant. The objective is to break the wind and shield it from the winter sun.
    • Protect young trees and shrubs from rodents with spiral plastic wraps. I know they are ugly, but they are white to reflect the sun and minimize sun scalding.
    • Wash all your garden tools. Wipe the metal parts with a cloth soaked in 3-in-1oil. If you really want to be fancy, wipe the wooden handles with boiled linseed oil.
    • Make sure you have stocked up on firewood for the winter.
    • With all the snow cover that just arrived, the ground will not be frozen yet. That means, if we get a break in the weather, you can still plant those spring bulbs that you forgot in your garage or basement.
    • I’ve planted tulips on Christmas Day in my garden by the sidewalk in downtown Toronto. An elderly gentleman passed by and asked me, “Whatever are you doing?” I told him “It’s an old Hethrington tradition. I always plant tulips and daffs on Christmas Day”. He shuffled off shaking his head, but there were blooms in April. So, stick them in the ground before it freezes.
    • Inside, check to see that your house humidifier is maintaining the humidity at over 40% to benefit both house plants and people.
    • Put lots of garden tools and garden books on your Christmas list!
    • Order seed catalogues and start dreaming about SPRING!


    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

  • October 30, 2020 12:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in November. Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, or your own copy of the 11” x 17” calendar of the full year’s tips, for a $1 contribution to Master Gardeners, call 519-599-5846.

    November

    • I usually recommend a little last-minute deep watering, but with all the rain this year we should be OK until spring.
    • Buy discounted bulbs on sale and get them in the ground. I just got a bag of 40 daffodils for $20 at Home Depot. Your extra efforts will bloom in the spring.
    • Remove plants from your pots and other containers and empty the soil. Dump plants and soil into your compost pile; clean them thoroughly and store them.
    • There is an annual argument as to whether you should cut back your perennials, grasses etc., in the fall, or leave them long for “winter interest”. Up here, most perennials are covered by 2 feet of snow, so you can’t see them anyway. Since Spring Clean-Up can be daunting and there can be wet weather, a late spring and/or instant summer, this year I am opting for a BIG FALL CLEAN-UP to get a jump on spring 2020. Suit yourself.
    • Dig up and bring in dahlia tubers, tuberous begonias and gladiola corms when the leaves turn yellow. Remove the soil and wash the tubers. Remove little cormlets from gladiola corms for more plants next year. Cure the tubers and corms for 2-3 weeks in warm dry place. Place in trays and cover with dry compost, peat moss, sand or perlite. Store at about 5 C in a cold-cellar, or slightly heated garage.
    • Try potting up some spring bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus and force them into bloom for Christmas and/or for late winter indoor colour. Different bulbs will require various lengths of cold to flower, so read the product packaging carefully. Store the bulbs in an area where they will not freeze (about 5°C). A fridge or cold cellar will work well for this.
    • Complete winterization procedures for plants, containers, drain hoses and clean all other garden equipment. To be a perfect gardener, sharpen tools and put linseed oil on wood handles. Paint small hand tool handles RED so you won’t lose them next spring.
    • Protect young trees from rodents by using wire collars or plastic protectors.
    • Hill up your hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses with 10 inches of compost covering the stems, or use a metal or plastic “Rose Collar” and fill it with compost before the ground freezes.
    • Create one or more Winter/Christmas urns using a variety of evergreen branches. Find branches with berries and add colour with red dogwood and dried hydrangea blossoms.
    • Check mulch levels in gardens. Pull mulch back 2”-3” from around shrub and tree trunks to discourage rodents. Add more compost or leaves to beds if you have them. This provides winter homes for pollinators and other insects.
    • Order seed catalogues for next spring.
    • And finally, buy your supply of Triple-19 fertilizer from the Co-Op in Markdale for March application ON TOP OF THE SNOW on all your garden beds. Then, you will have the fertilizer when the time comes to apply it in March. Many times, the Co-Op’s summer supply has not arrived until after the snow has gone from your garden beds.


    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

  • October 02, 2020 15:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in October. Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, or your own copy of the 11” x 17” calendar of the full year’s tips, for a $1 contribution to Master Gardeners, call 519-599-5846.

    October

    • After a warm summer, 2 more weeks of summer in September, fall is definitely here with the nightly risk of FROST.  
    • There is an annual argument among gardeners as to whether you should cut back your perennials, grasses, etc., in the fall, or leave them long for “winter interest”. However, up here, most perennials are covered by 2 feet of snow, so you cannot see them anyway. Since Spring Clean-Up can be daunting, there may be wet weather, or a late spring like this year. For these reasons, this fall I am opting for a BIG FALL CLEAN-UP to get a jump on spring 2021. 
    • It is time to trim back perennials and divide them as needed for your garden, or to give to your neighbors. Make sure it is a cool cloudy day and fertilize with a “transplant fertilizer”, like Bone Meal, with a big middle number. 
    • Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. Add a little bulb fertilizer, like Bone Meal-one with a big middle number for lots of Phosphorus (P). Your efforts now will bring big dividends in April and May 2020. 
    • For a longer bloom season, plant a variety of bulbs, not just tulips & daffs. Also, plant early, middle and late blooming tulips and daffs for a much longer season. 
    • Place chicken wire just under the surface of the soil over any tulip bulbs you plant. The squirrels will hate you. Daffs should not need this protection. 
    • Divide and plant your perennials and evergreens, and/or buy new ones. Early October is a great time to plant perennials. 
    • If there is an early frost warning, cover tender annuals overnight with an old bed sheet. They should make it through and keep on blooming. 
    • Bring in house plants when the evenings start to cool down, or you get a frost warning. Give them a thorough spray first with insecticidal soap, so that there are no unwanted hitchhikers coming into your home. 
    • Fertilize lawns with a low “first” number and high “middle” number “Fall” formula. The Phosphorus promotes root growth. 
    • Start cutting your grass much lower than in summer to avoid winter matted long grass next spring. 
    • Water shrubs, evergreens and trees weekly and deeply, at least until frost. 
    • Buy the Triple-19 fertilizer now, so you will have it to put on the snow that will be covering your perennial gardens in March. The Co-Op may not have any in stock before the snow disappears. It is available now at the Markdale Co-Op for $23.50 a bag.


    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

  • September 03, 2020 12:01 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in September. Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, or your own copy of the 11” x 17” calendar of the full year’s tips, for a $1 contribution to Master Gardeners, call 519-599-5846.

    September 2020:

    • Fall is the ideal time to divide and plant perennials, particularly Iris, Daylilies, Peonies and many other perennials. Share extra plants with neighbors.
    • Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. You will be rewarded next spring. Check out Botanus on line at www.botanus.com. Add a little bone-meal fertilizer or special bulb food to the bottom of the planting hole. Water well after planting to start root growth.
    • Fill in any gaps that may have developed in your garden with new perennials, shrubs and evergreens.
    • Bring in house plants when the evenings start to cool down. First give them a thorough spray with insecticidal soap so that there are no unwanted hitchhikers coming into your home.
    • With cool nights and fall rains, it’s the ideal time for lawn repair. Dig out weeds, add clean, weed-free topsoil and re-seed.
    • Fertilize lawns with root building “Fall Fertilizer” with a low first number (nitrogen) and a high third number (potash).
    • Don’t use the lawn fertilizer you have left over from the spring, probably with a high first number (nitrogen). Save it for early next spring.
    • Trim back perennials and divide them as needed. Make sure it is a cool, cloudy day to divide and replant – add Bone Meal when planting and water well.
    • Even with the rain we have had, water perennials, shrubs, evergreens and trees deeply. Dig a little test hole, say 14” deep. Check moisture levels. If the hole is dry, water weekly until frost.


    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

  • August 02, 2020 11:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in August. Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, or your own copy of the 11” x 17” calendar of the full year’s tips, for a $1 contribution to Master Gardeners, call 519-599-5846.

    August 2020:

    • A cold wet Spring, followed now by a sweltering Summer, has made the weeds incredible.
    • Keep adding mulch as it starts to work into the soil. Keep it at least 2 inches deep. It works to suppress weeds and keeps the soil cool and damp and protects any rain we get. 
    • If we don’t get rain - water, water, water - but water deeply.
    • Sow vegetable seeds for a fall harvest e.g. spinach and some varieties of lettuce. Tidy up plants and shrubs with a little judicious pruning, but early in the month.
    • Stake tall perennials against the wind.
    • Cut your grass at least 2’’ high to combat drying out. Water well when needed, or every time it’s allowed.
    • Check out bulb catalogues (try www.botanus.com from BC).
    • Order spring flowering bulbs for planting in October.
    • Fill in gaps in your flower garden with fall-flowering perennials, like mums and asters. Did we say, water and weed as necessary?
    • Start drying flowers and herbs. Start to divide daylilies and peonies later in the month.
    • Collect seeds that have matured but not fallen from the plant. Once they have completely dried, store them in air tight containers in a cool location.
    • Take a hard look at your garden and decide where there are empty spaces, identify any plants that have not performed well and plan a fall planting program of shrubs and perennials.
    • Early Fall is a great time to sow grass seed, plant perennials, trees and shrubs. You’ll get a big jump on next Spring!

    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario
    More information about Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc

    Click on the image to see the Master Gardener's Corner Slideshow!


  • July 03, 2020 15:43 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in July 2020. Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, or your own copy of the 11” x 17” calendar of the full year’s tips, for a $1 contribution to Master Gardeners, call 519-599-5846.

    July 2020:
    • Watch for the Japanese beetle on your Lilies, Roses, Rose of Sharon, Dahlias, Hollyhocks, and numerous other plants. Handpicking and squeezing, combined with a beetle trap, are the most efficient way to limit these ravaging critters. Some lily gardeners have given up and pulled out their real Lilies (Lilium). Luckily, the little red devils don’t eat Day Lilies (Hemerocallis)
    • Watch for earwigs. Spray plants with a 40:1 mixture of water and dish soap.
    • Ants are also a problem. The ant powder does not seem to work for me. Maybe they didn’t read the instructions to take it back to their nest. Boiling water works, but will burn the grass in a lawn.  
    • Trim evergreens, cedar hedges, etc., as needed.
    • Pinch back and/or stake straggly annuals and perennials.
    • Raise lawn mower blades for summer mowing. (Grass should be at least 5 - 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) high to stay healthy and weed free.)
    • Prune spring flowering shrubs after blooming, like Forsythia and Spirea. If you really want to be picky, remove spent lilac blooms.
    • Try a second round of weeding and add mulch again to keep the weeds at bay.
    • Mulch your tomato plants. Then, when a ripe tomato falls to the ground, it won’t get muddy.
    • Thin, hoe, weed and water vegetables as required. This is why I stick to flowers.
    • This has been a cold and wet April and May and now little rain in June & forecast for July. Tackle weeds before they go to seed.
    • Stake tall perennials that may be weakened by too rapid growth.
    • Turn compost regularly and check moisture level - not too wet, not too dry. Like Goldilocks, just right.
     

    A big thank you to everyone who turned out for our COVID Plant Sale at St. George’s, the Anglican Parish for the Blue Mountains, in Clarksburg. It opened at 7 am and by 10:20, the 637 potted plants were all gobbled up! Next year’s sale (hopefully NON-COVID) is set for Saturday May 29 2021. See you there.

     John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario
    More information about Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc


    Shown above is a marvellous Agapanthus plant in the Hethrington's garden.
    This is a South African plant that Fred Young had much success with and gave one to them! 

     

  • June 01, 2020 22:10 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in June 2020. Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar by John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario. For more information, or your own copy of the 11” x 17” calendar of the full year’s tips, for a $1 contribution to Master Gardeners, call 519-599-5846.

    June 2020
    • Prune spring flowering shrubs, like Forsythia, after flowering.
    • Prune evergreens and hedges, as needed.
    • Stake or cage tomato plants, dahlias, glads and tall perennials, like peonies, and delphiniums.
    • Mulch flower beds 2” to 3” deep to control weeds and conserve moisture.
    • Thin vegetable seedlings and plant successive crops.
    • Plant seeds for flowering cabbage & kale between rows of early vegetables for later transplanting.
    • Seed fast growing flowers like cosmos, calendula, lavatera and marigolds directly in your garden.
    • Move houseplants outside to a protected location. Water well.
    • For my money, June 1st is the earliest to put out tender annuals.
    • Deadhead the blooms and flower stocks of spring bulbs when blooms fade, so the plant won’t waist energy making seeds.
    • Do not remove the foliage of spring bulbs until they fade, flop and turn yellow. The foliage builds bulb strength for next year through photosynthesis.
    • Pinch back late bloomers like mums, snapdragons, asters and dahlias to promote strong, bushy plants.
    • Water garden beds deeply on a regular basis.
    • Weed beds after rain or watering on a regular basis. Don’t let weeds get ahead of you and out of control.
    • Prepare cuttings of perennials, shrubs, roses, etc. for rooting.
    Giant Church Plant Sale in Clarksburg is Approved:
    St. George’s, the Anglican Parish for the Blue Mountains, will hold Its Annual Plant Sale on Saturday June 20 2020

    The giant annual Plant Sale will be held on Saturday June 20 at St. George’s, the Anglican Parish for the Blue Mountains in Clarksburg. The sale has been approved by the Bishop, the Municipality and the Bruce Grey Medical Officer of Health. Strict Covid Crisis Controls will apply, so everyone can be safe. The buying process will take longer, so your patience and co-operation will be appreciated.

    It’s the 140th anniversary of this annual summer event. A number of enthusiastic St George’s gardeners have already potted 600 unique perennials, including over 90 named daylilies from a well-known local garden.  The church parking lot at 166 Russell St. E. Clarksburg will open at 7 AM and will continue all day, or until the plants are sold out.

    There will be a number of safety precautions and procedures in place. Entry to the grounds will be by automobile only, with a maximum of 20 cars allowed at a time. You will be assigned to your personal St. George’s plant volunteer who will be on the other side of the plant tables. Only 3 customers at a time will be allowed to select (but not touch) the plants they wish to buy. The St. George’s plant volunteer will place your plants on a wagon, take them to your car and place them in your trunk. Special no-contact Covid Service! Payment by CASH ONLY. Please have adequate cash, as change will not be available. Patience and co-operation will be needed by all. But the wait, the quality and the variety of plants available will be well worth any delays.

    For more information, please call 519-599-3074.  

    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario
    More information about Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc

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