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Aug 31

Fall sale set for Saturday September 14

Time to get an early start on next spring’s plantings to create an even more perfect mini-ecosystem in your backyard - many items marked down, get great deals at the Return of the Native fall sale! It runs Saturday September 14, from 9 am to 5 pm. Location
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Aug 29

Tall grasses make a dramatic statement

Grass is beautiful – clean lines, delicate flowers, subtle colours, fluid movement… In conventional gardens, it has played an important but supporting role – mowed and contained to provide a setting for buildings, specimen trees and other plantings.
These days, however, grass is a star and garden centres are offering extensive selections from around the world.
Many of the more stunning species are North American. Andropogon (Bluestem), Sorghastrum (Indian Grass), and Panicum (Switch Grass) were the dominant grasses of the Tall-grass Prairie, which, along with the Mixed-grass Prairie and the Short-grass Prairie, once stretched across the continent’s central plains.Read more
Aug 8

Of Great Goldens and Little Browns

The Great Golden Digger Wasp - Photo  courtesy of Jennifer HowardThe Great Golden Digger Wasp is a large and colourful insect, shades of gold and orange and russet. We found her diligently digging a nest on a bare patch of ground on the Carolina Dyke in Tiny Marsh. Down she went, into the loonie-sized hole. Pause. Out again, backwards. In and out, with metronomic regularity as our group gathered to watch.

Then Jennifer decided to get a frontal shot and moved into the wasp's line of sight. I thought this might not affect the dogged activity, but no. The wasp stopped and started a dance – it reminded me of the Maori war dance – stamping her feet and waving her antennae at Jennifer. After which, she turned around and did the same at the rest of us. So we decided caution was the better part of valour and beat a retreat. Jennifer got some great pictures.

Despite the dance (or my interpretation of it), and despite its intimidating size, the Great Golden is not aggressive and minds its own business if left alone – though it will sting if you do something like step on it. It’s a beneficial and solitary wasp that does not live in colonies although several females may be found near each other in suitable nesting areas of bare ground, in full sun, with flowering plants nearby.

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