Kate's Blog

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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May 12

The transitory glory of an Ontario spring

Spring ephemerals offer a magical display of wildlfowers that are with us for a few weeks, springing out of the moist leaf litter to enjoy the longer days of sunshine while the trees are bare, only to disappear when the closing canopy brings shade to the northern woodland floor.

Come summer, no trace is left of these perennials: the foliage dies back and the plant goes dormant. Because they have such a brief time to gather nutrients, removing flowers and especially leaves from these plants can kill them. Enjoy the beauty but restrain your urge to possess it. 

It’s an Ontario tradition to get out to see the Trilliums that carpet our deciduous woods in white. The magnificent Large-flowered Trillium (T. grandiflorum) – our provincial wildflower - is the most common but we also have Nodding Trillium (T. cernuum), Red Trilllium (T. erectum), Yellow Trillium (T. luteum) and Painted Trillium (T. undulatum). Seed is dispersed by ants.

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