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Kate's Blog

Dec 12

End of the day for popular Lake Simcoe orchard

Here's an article I just wrote for the Lake Simcoe Living Magazine website, about an apple orchard giving way to development. It's been where I go every year to get the fresh cider I then freeze, as well as the less common varieties of apple. This is not a festive story, but it is seasonal. Winter marks an end. And then spring will come. Follow the link... Our best wishes to you for the holidays! 

There’s a popular orchard on Yonge Street south of Barrie called Carpe Diem -- “Seize the Day.”

That day is drawing to a close.

This area is part of 5,600 acres annexed by Barrie almost a decade ago. Now, ploughed fields proliferate with "For Sale" placards proclaiming them to be prime development land.

There’s no sign that the city is about to engulf the orchard lovingly planted 40 years ago by Henry Boer and his son-in-law John Juffermans. But news is getting out and long-time customers arrive to learn that this is the last season for stocking up on fresh-pressed cider and favourite varieties of apples.

“Yes, it’s sold,” Juffermans says. “You can’t farm in the middle of development. A lot of people are upset that we’re ending it - this is a very social business, and we’re part of many families’ traditions. But it’s time.”

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Nov 5

Kate Harries at Wasaga Beach Garden Club

I'll be speaking about gardening with native plants on Wednesday, November 7 at the Wasaga Beach Garden Club - 7:30-9:30 pm at the Lighthouse Community Church.
I'll talk about how important it is to birds and other creatures in our outdoors spaces that we grow native plants - and I'll highlight some of my favourite beautiful and easy-to-grow natives.
Light refreshments will be served.
Sep 24

To rear or not to rear: the Monarch debate

Jason Kay, who gardens in Evanston, Illionois, near Chicago, kindly gave me permission to reprint his  blog about the pro's and cons of raising Monarch caterpillars.

By Jason Kay Garden in a CIty

I am a strong believer in listening to people who know what they are talking about. Unfortunately, sometimes people who usually know what they are talking about shoot themselves in the foot, often by insisting that they know more than they really do.

An example is the current controversy over captive rearing of Monarch butterflies. This is an increasingly popular hobby for many gardeners and others who wish to help restore the population of this beautiful species. The rationale is that 90%+ of Monarch caterpillars do not survive to adulthood (due mainly to predators), but a large majority of those raised indoors do survive so that they can be released as mature butterflies.

Judy and I raised a few Monarchs indoors this year for the first time (fewer than 10), and I can attest that it’s exciting and fun.

But then along came the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, certainly a worthy organization. However, they published a blog post that was highly critical of captive rearing of Monarchs. This has caused a lot of people to become pretty upset.
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