Home Gardening Course @ Riverwood: Week #1 on Basic Plant Science Held April 1st

Alice Bur lectures on the importance of soil


Martha Kantorczyk teaching about organic gardening

The first week of the MMG course at Riverwood Conservancy is in the books; 5 more weeks to go.  We reached maximum registration of 20 students, with a wait list of several more. That tells us  public interest runs high in learning the basics about home gardening in Mississauga.

In week #1, participants learned that good soil is the foundation of all gardening and the different aspects of soil structure and texture from Alice Bur.
Martha Kantorczyk spoke about what plants need to grow, including light, water, nutrition and how to diagnose deficiencies and excesses of all of these.

The prime mantra of the session was “Feed the soil…and the soil will feed the plant”, a motto we should all follow in our gardens.

The Riverwood Conservancy  is sponsoring this course, which Mississauga Master Gardeners developed and are delivering for the next 5 weeks.
Future topics include: growing vegetables and planting seeds, pruning, pruning tools and their care,  garden biodiversity.
Participants will also take part in  two outings. At Centennial Conservatory, we will enjoy the spring flower display and then discuss  different
plants growing conditions as we learned in the classroom earlier.  On our final weekend session, we will meet  at a nursery to learn how to choose the
right plant for the right site.

Our course will finish just in time for the gardening season to be in full swing, so our participants will be able to put their newly acquired garden
knowledge into practice right away.

Using soil to sink carbon may be our planet’s best hope to combat climate change

Agriculture, with its unique ability to sequester carbon on, as Carl Sagan might say, billions and billions of acres, is the only industry poised to reverse global warming. Improved management of cropping and grazing heals land, boosts soil fertility, prevents flooding, enhances drought resilience, increases the nutritional content of food and restores wildlife habitat — while sequestering carbon.

Reforestation, too, plays a key role in the biological solution for clean water and climate change. Trees are an integral part of the water cycle and lock up carbon that would otherwise be warming the planet. As well, they provide habitat to birds and mammals.

For too long, we’ve been diminishing the quality of our land, waterways and atmosphere through agricultural practices that degrade soil. Fortunately, alternatives are available. The growing scientific and policy consensus is that improving soil to retain rainfall and capture carbon makes sense for everyone. Vermont’s leadership in this agricultural revolution, capitalizing on the environmental and market opportunities it provides, makes ecological and fiscal sense.

Read more here Rutland Vermont Herald : http://www.rutlandherald.com/articles/using-soil-to-fight-climate-change/

Growing Delphiniums from seed

Larkspur (Delphinium elatum)

When starting delphinium seed: freeze the seeds  for 2-3 days in the freezer and then scatter then in a 5 inch pot with damp promix.  

Keep them at 15 degrees C and cover them.  Do not let them dry out.   The cool temperatures start the germination process.  They do not like bottom heat.

  In about 21-30 days sprouts appear, transfer these to 4 inch pots until the leaves grow to the size of a looney.   When the roots appear at the bottom of the pot its time to harden plants outdoors on a deck.  Plants may be planted in the garden while temperatures are still cool.  

  The Ontario Delphinium Club is inviting growers to offer garden space to secure seed production locally for the future as seeds from England may decline.  Web site: www.ondelphiniums.com   Email:  info@ondelphiniums.com     

Thanks to Marie Pearson for this post. 

Riverwood Conservancy’s new “Pine Sanctuary” Artwork

Pining for a sanctuary from busy city life?
Try Riverwood Conservancy

New sculpture design unveiled.

“A sparkling new piece of public art will be erected on Burnhamthorpe Rd. W. at the entrance to The Riverwood Conservancy this spring.

Artist Marc Fornes will create an “otherworldly” green, blue and yellow pine tree from aluminum sheets that will appear to shift shapes in varying seasons and weather, depending on your vantage point.

His artist’s statement proclaims that the 25-ft. high work , called Pine Sanctuary, will be “a contemporary update in the natural landscape that forms an iconic and playful signal – creating a unique identity for Riverwood.”… read more  from John Steward/Mississauga News

You can VOTE for Canada’s National Flower

Did you know that there is no official national flower for Canada? And after 150 years, don’t you think it’s time we had one?

The Master Gardeners of Ontario do and you can help us make the final choice of the three candidates.

Vote in our national online survey before midnight June 30, 2017 and learn the outcome on Canada Day.

For more details and the link to the survey, click here.

To just go right ahead and vote, click here.

Thanks to Toronto Master Gardeners for this post.

Plant of the week: Porcelain Vine

porcelain-vine-mp-1                            Porcelain vine from Marie’s November garden

What is it? The best thing about variegated porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata var. maximowiczii ‘Elegans’, if you relish a tongue-twister) is its startling berries. Borne in abundance in autumn, they remind me of those tiny speckled Easter eggs, in every shade from palest green and turquoise through to shell pink and amethyst. The height and spread is 3m x 1.5m but I’ve heard of specimens topping 5m each way.

Plant it with? Avoid mixing it with other variegated leaves. It’ll look good twined in with another green-leaved flowering climber. Try the annual cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens), or for a perennial, plant with Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’or ‘Étoile Violette’, both with deep purple flowers.

And where? Think like a clematis. Roots in shade, foliage in the sun. For the best-looking fruit, provide a warm, sheltered spot with poor soil, and restrict the roots by planting it into the ground inside a large pot.

Any drawbacks? It is hardy but it will die back in winter and start back to life in spring. The green flowers produced in July and August don’t amount to much.

What else does it do? Use the beautiful leaves and berries in autumn flower arrangements.

Info courtesy of  Jane Perrone, The Guardian