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  • August 26, 2021 4:33 PM | 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. Please contact John for more information, or to purchase a copy of the calendar of the full year’s tips.

    September 2021:

    • Trim back perennials like Daylilies and Iris. Divide them as needed. Make sure it is a cool, cloudy day to divide and replant, or pot up for your neighbors or fall plant exchanges.
    • Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. Your efforts will be rewarded next spring. Check out Botanus on line at www.botanus.com. Add a little bonemeal fertilizer or special bulb food to the bottom of the planting hole. Water well after planting to start root growth.
    • Take a critical look at your garden. Then fill in any gaps that may have developed with new perennials, shrubs and/or evergreens. They will get a huge head start over plants planted next spring.
    • 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 hoped for fall rains, it’s the ideal time for lawn repair. Dig out weeds, add clean, weed-free topsoil and re-seed. Water as required.
    • 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.
    • It’s been first, a dry summer and then lots of rain, so water perennials, shrubs, evergreens and trees deeply. Dig a little test hole, say 14”-16” deep. Check moisture levels at that depth. If the bottom of the hole is dry, water weekly until frost.

    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario


  • August 05, 2021 12:55 PM | 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. Please contact John for more information, or to purchase a copy of the calendar of the full year’s tips.

    August 2021:

    • A cool dry May and June, followed by thundering rain, 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, keeps the soil cool and damp and protects the rain we get.
    • 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 when it is allowed.
    • Check out bulb catalogues and order before they are sold out (try www.botanus.com from BC for lots of unique varieties).
    • Order spring flowering bulbs now for planting in October. 
    • Fill in gaps in your flower garden with fall-flowering perennials, like mums and asters. Start drying flowers and herbs.
    • Start to divide daylilies, iris 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 for new plants this fall. Identify any plants that have not performed well and plan to replace them with a fall planting program of shrubs and perennials.
    • Early Fall is a great time to sow grass seed and plant perennials, trees and shrubs. You will l get a big jump on next Spring!

    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario


  • July 02, 2021 1:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in July! 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.

    July 2021:
    • 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. Luckily, the little red devils don’t eat Day Lilies (Hemerocallis) 
    • Watch for earwigs and LDD moth (gypsy moth) caterpillars. 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 the ants didn’t read the instructions to take it back to their nest. 
    • Trim evergreens, cedar hedges, etc., NOW as needed, not later in the summer. 
    • Stake straggly annuals and perennials, or pinch them back to promote new growth. 
    • 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 like Forsythia and Spirea after blooming,. If you really want to be picky, remove individual spent lilac blooms. 
    • Water flower beds deeply and try a second round of weeding. Add mulch again to keep the weeds at bay. 
    • Mulch your tomato plants. When a ripe tomato drops, it won’t split or get muddy. Mulch holds moisture too! 
    • Thin, hoe, weed and water vegetables as required. (This is why I stick to flowers) 
    • Water lawns and beds as deeply as you can. May was a record breaking NO RAIN month. Now we get downpours in late June. 
    • Tackle weeds now before they go to seed. 
    • Turn compost regularly and check the moisture level - not too wet, not too dry, like Goldilocks, just right.

    A big thank you to everyone who turned out for our second COVID Plant Sale at St. George’s, the Anglican Parish for the Blue Mountains, in Clarksburg. You bought over 1,000 donated plants. Thanks to the many plant donors TOO!

    Come to the Frog Hollow Garden Tour of my many different gardens on Saturday, July 31 (Civic Holiday Weekend). Proceeds to St. George’s church. Pre-purchase your $20 tickets on line at www.froghollowgardentour.ca to see our 2½ acre Frog Hollow Gardens. It’s a safe, socially-distanced, self-guided, timed entry tour. Refreshments will be served.

    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario


  • May 28, 2021 2:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in June! 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.

    June 2021:
    • Summer is really here! Driest May in years! Get your annuals planted now. Add a little general-purpose fertilizer and water well.
    • Fertilize perennials, roses, shrubs and vegetables using a balanced fertilizer, not the one for your lawn. Pull back the mulch (that should already be there). Dig the fertilizer in lightly around each plant and replace the mulch.
    • Start cutting your lawn higher and leave cuttings on the lawn as “green” fertilizer.
    • Prune spring blooming shrubs and trees (lilac, forsythia) after they have flowered.
    • Prune evergreens and hedges now, not later in the summer.
    • Finish removing all daffodil and tulip flower stems. Leave leaves to mature and feed the bulb for next year. Add a little bone meal around bulb clumps to promote bulb growth for next year.
    • Stake or cage tomato plants, dahlias, gladiolas, peony plants, etc.
    • Thin vegetable seedlings and plant successive crops. (Plant a second crop as the first is maturing e.g. lettuce, spinach, radishes.)
    • Seed flowering cabbage/kale into garden rows for later transplanting.
    • Plant seeds of fast-growing flowers such as cosmos, marigold, calendula, etc.
    • If desired, move houseplants outside to protected areas.
    • Deadhead (cut off) faded blooms on plants such as petunia, rose, verbena, etc. This will promote continuous blooms and bushy plants for the second half of the summer.
    • Weed and water garden beds as needed.
    • Add mulch to suppress weed growth and hold in moisture. At least 2”.
    • Cut back by a third, late bloomers such as mums and asters. This will make them bushier and give them a mounded shape for the fall.
    • Turn compost regularly and check moisture level, not too wet, not too dry.
    • Take cuttings of perennials, shrubs, roses, etc. for rooting.
    • Watch for local plant sales like the Giant Plant Sale at St. George’s Anglican Church in Clarksburg on Saturday June 12, 2021. Approved by the Grey-Bruce Health Unit, it starts at a NEW TIME, 8 am. Entry by car only. Choose from a wide variety of choice perennials for sun or shade, named Daylilies, raspberry canes and shrubs at really reasonable prices. 599 Garden Club experts will provide advice. Also 255 tomato plants in 4 varieties. Your resident Master Gardener will be at the sale to answer your horticultural questions.


    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

  • April 28, 2021 5:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in May! 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.

    May 2021:

    There are lots of things to do in your garden, now that spring is here:

    • If not done already, clean up winter debris in the garden as soon as the soil is dry enough to work. Dig in manure or compost around perennials and shrubs and weed well. An extra hour weeding now will save 3 days later in the summer. Use a line to cut sharp straight edges for your beds. For curved edges, run hot water through a hose to soften it up and lay out a smooth curve. Watch you don’t chop the hose!
    • Take photos of your spring bulbs in the gardens so you will know if there are any gaps and where they are, when you plant more bulbs in the fall.
    • Plan to plant early blooming bulbs, like snowdrops and crocus, in the fall at places close to where you come in and out of the house. You will then be greeted by early signs of spring.
    • Add 3” to 4’” of mulch to flowerbeds and shrubs to conserve moisture and discourage weeds. Shredded cedar bark is best, but expensive. Try 13/Forty Landscape Supply (519-599-1340) for 3 grades of mulch.
    • Don’t walk on or roll lawns that are still full of water. It compacts the soil.
    • If your lawn is already compacted, rent an aerator and dig plugs out of the lawn. Let the plugs dry and rake them back into the lawn as a top dressing. Add grass seed to bare patches.
    • When dry, rake lawns vigorously to remove dead grass and thatch.
    • Spread weed-free topsoil on thin patches in your lawn. Apply grass seed, roll and water. Keep seed moist, but don’t flood.
    • If you find moss in your lawn, the soil is acidic. Apply dolomite lime before a rain.
    • If you have very big or deep pots or planters, put some empty plastic water bottles in the bottom of the pot to take up space the roots will never get to. It makes the planter or pot lighter and easier to move, if needed.
    • Prepare containers and pots for planting. Fill with a mixture of compost and potting soil. Add peat moss or better still, coconut coir to retain moisture.
    • Place pots with culinary herbs close to the kitchen door for easy access.
    • Pot up your extra perennials for spring plant sales at least 3 weeks before the sale. Use your best compost, not garden soil, in the pots. To be really fancy, add a little bone meal to the pot before you put the plant in. Add plant labels with the name (Botanical or common) colour, sun exposure, height, bloom time, etc. Water well and keep in the shade. 
    The St. George’s Anglican church annual COVID Plant Sale is planned for June 12, at the church in Clarksburg. Starts at 7 am. Info 519-599-3811.
    • Harden-off seedlings for at least a week before planting. Google the last frost date for your area and allow at least 2 weeks more before planting tender transplants such as annuals and tomatoes. This year, probably into early June.
    • Plant beans directly into the garden as they quickly germinate and will grow as long as the soil is warm. Maybe mid-May this year.
    • Install peony rings before the plants start to grow.
    • Monitor for the presence of slugs, cutworms, earwigs and tent caterpillars.
    • Control weeds in the lawn by hand pulling. Use nematodes to control grubs, which eat the grass roots leading to brown patches in the lawn in summer.
    • Prune roses according to type.
    • Dead-head faded tulips and daffodils and other spring bulbs, but do not cut or pull the leaves out until they are brown and decayed.
    • If you have any Fritillaries or Asian lilies (day lilies are beetle-free), now is the time to watch for the red lily beetle (adult, larva and eggs). So far, removal by hand is the best and only way to reduce the problem.


    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

  • April 05, 2021 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in April! 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.

    April 2021
    Things to do for your garden in April:

    • Cut down perennials and grasses. Put the cuttings on your compost.
    • Remove any weeds and add them to this year’s compost pile.
    • Prepare garden beds for planting by digging-in compost, well-rotted manure (if you can find some) and other organic material around each of your plants.
    • Remove rose protection, prune and apply dormant spray before the buds break.
    • Start planting trees, shrubs, perennials and biennials as soon as the soil warms up and the snow stops.
    • Plant seeds of cool weather vegetables such as peas, spinach, lettuce, onions, beets and frost resistant annuals like larkspur, sweet peas and calendulas outside.
    • Once the lawn has dried and no longer shows your footprint, rake to remove winter thatch, repair any damage and sow grass seed on bare spots.
    • Consider aerating your lawn if it is old and compacted.
    • Fertilize your lawn with slow-release fertilizer. It’s more expensive, but worth it for a greener lawn all summer long.
    • Apply pre-emergence crabgrass herbicide, if required, to stop last year’s seeds from sprouting this year.
    • Check your lawn mower and other power tools to make sure they start and the mower is sharp.
    • Start lawn mowing only when needed.
    • Organize your compost pile. Move uncomposted material from last year’s pile and start a new pile with it. Use last year’s compost on all your beds.
  • March 01, 2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here are the things to do for your garden in March! 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 PM | 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 3:00 PM | 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 8:00 PM | 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

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