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Jun 4

The end of the end for the Monarch?

No time to write - plants to plant, weeds to weed, wildlife to watch - but there's an important issue for all of us to reflect and take action on: Chip Taylor, the Kansas University scientist who founded Monarch Watch, has issued a chilling report on the dire situation facing one of our most cherished migrants, the Monarch Butterfly, which is at one fifth of its normal population. 

Below, I am reprinting the KU news release, with links to Chip's information. I have been a member of Monarch Watch for a few years, and have one of his Monarch Waystation signs, to alert Monarchs to the presence of a planting of host and nectar plants. Please plant some milkweed, and urge politicians to ensure milkweed is planted in public spaces like parks and road medians.Read more
May 30

Native plant sale on Saturday

My native plant sale is set for Saturday, two days away, so I’m hard at work getting everything ready – moving the star performers and choice acquisitions into prominent positions and relegating the less sightly (but soon to recover, I hope) to the holding area.

As my property matures, I’m finding my focus is moving away from trees – which is how I started in this business, growing trees from seed and finding I had more seedlings than I had room for – to herbaceous perennials.

That's because I’ve planted most of the trees I want, although I remain on the lookout for the rare and unusual (I would love some Cucumber Magnolia seed). I’m filling in with shrubs because of their immense value for wildlife habitat and food, but now, through my work at Tiny Marsh, where we are undertaking eradication of Garlic Mustard, I'm learning more about what should grow on the forest floor.Read more
May 24

Timing chancy for tomato, perfect for strawberries

I shouldn’t have planted that tomato. The strawberries, on the other hand, were perfectly timed.

It felt so wonderfully summery last weekend, I couldn’t conceive of the temperature dipping down to zero, as predicted for last night. But I should have known - because the rule of thumb here in Huronia is to expect frost up to May 28.

So yesterday evening I wrapped a towel around and over the tomato cage. According to my new min-max thermometer, it fell to 1 Celsius overnight. However, early today, I saw no signs of frost on the ground, which must be well-warmed after last week’s heatwave. And when I drove past an Orr Lake cottager’s garden this afternoon, I noticed very-healthy looking bean plants that had clearly not suffered damage. 

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