Joining in the fun with six things in my garden today, with thanks to The Propagator for this witty idea! Most contributors to this theme are showing images of spring — here in my part of Canada it’s still winter. It was -14 Celsius overnight, although much of the snow may well be gone next weekend as the experts are calling for a lot of rain and highs almost double digits in the coming days.
While I’ve spent the past six weeks with my head in the snow and my body in front of a cozy fire, other gardeners have been busy planning for the 2018 growing season. Yes, I’ve received and perused a few seed catalogues, with their glowing descriptions and lovely pictures of the wonders that could show up in my garden, but I haven’t ordered anything.
That’s because for me, the growing season starts in earnest with Seedy Saturday – the day when local(ish) seed sellers and gardeners set up tables and displays in a school gym or community hall to sell or, better yet, swap seeds. Some of my favourite annuals, perennials and vegetables have come from a Seedy Saturday table: Echinacea pallida, Silphium perfoliatum, Amethyst Jewel cherry tomato, Alcea rosea…. the list goes on.
For County dwellers, the Picton Seedy Saturday is next Saturday, February 24! Trenton is March 24, Cobourg March 17, Kingston March 10… You can check out Seedy Saturday dates for the whole province (or country) on the Seeds of Diversity website — in fact, check out the whole site. It has a ton of great information about seed saving and starting.
In the Toronto area – the first Seedy Saturday is this Saturday at the Toronto Botanical Gardens.Others, from Scarborough to Etobicoke and points in between, follow throughout February and March.
Often these events are more than just tables of seeds – there are educational displays, talks by professionals and lots of information sharing. It really is the perfect opportunity to get the gardening juices flowing after a long cold winter, to meet and share stories with other enthusiastic gardeners and to discover new plant varieties.
So mark you calendar, I hope to see you there!
It was a brilliant weekend on The County – just above freezing during the day, just below freezing at night, a bit of rain late Saturday, a lot of sun on Sunday. Pretty perfect.
Sunday morning there was a very light frost covering everything; I went out just before the sun hit and melted it away.
Part of the beauty of winter is discovering shapes, textures, colours and relationships in plants that you can’t see in the growing season. Tree trunks growing in weird and wonderful directions. Fat buds waiting to burst. Bronzed coniferous foliage or bright red deciduous branches. The weathered leaf of this Cup Plant (Silphium perforliatum) is an example. From afar it’s just a deaf leaf. But up close, for me, on a silent, cold, frosty morning, it’s a mini sculpture. In colour or in black and white.
I was pleasantly surprised recently to discover that Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) is native to my part of the world. There’s so much of it around here I just assumed it, like all the despicable buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), was introduced. The University of Guelph can provide a lot of information about this small tree, and it has a lot of positive traits, including providing food for birds. My favourite thing about Sumac is the leaf colour in autumn and how the flowers turn and stay such a brilliant scarlet all winter. It realy is nature’s perfect antidote to an otherwise grey and white season.
The winter of 2013-14 was pretty bad — cold and a never ending series of ice storms. Blowing snow that closed local roads, trees down, shivering livestock. These swans seemed to take it all in stride.