The Ontario Horticultural Society, District 2 AGM is being held this year in Cobden, almost just across the river from our farm in Bristol. It will be featuring talks on native plants and a talk by the always entertaining naturalist, Michael Runtz.
We couldn’t resist signing up to be a vendor at their marketplace. Although I have no idea whether we will have any plants ready to sell, if seemed a grand opportunity to reach some of the most enthusiastic and committed gardeners in eastern Ontario.
So, let us hope for some fine warm spring weather in the weeks before Earth Day, April 22nd. With luck, the earliest plants will at least have sent out a few leaves. We don’t have any heated greenhouses to force plants ahead of their season, so what we get is what the season brings. It does mean that nothing we sell needs to be hardened off before being planted in your garden.
If you live in the Cobden, Beachburg, Renfrew, Douglas, Eganville area, and you are interested in gardening and not yet a member of a Horticultural Society, now would be a fine time to join, to participate in what is going to be a fine AGM. Pre-registration is required to attend the event.
Celebrate Earth Day in Eganville
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Hosted by the Eganville & Area Horticultural Society
Opeongo High School, 1990 Cobden Rd. (between Eganville & Cobden)
Rankin Cultural and Recreation Centre, 20 Rankin Road, Pembroke
Back-to-back Seedy Saturday and Sunday this weekend. We will be bringing the Beaux Arbres Native Plants line of wildflower seeds to the Ottawa Seedy Saturday at the Ron Kolbus Centre in Britannia Park on Saturday.
On Sunday, we are heading out to Perth Royal Canadian Legion Hall for the Perth Seedy Sunday. This will be our first time at the Perth Seedy Sunday and we are looking forward to meeting enthusiastic gardeners looking to help pollinators, attract hummingbirds and butterflies and add beautiful wildflowers to their gardens.
We will be promoting Wild Lupin as our Seedy Special this year. We had abundant seed set on our wild lupins last summer. This beautiful blue flower requires sandy soil and is best started from seed as it hates root disturbance and it does not like growing in pots. At one time, Wild Lupin was the host plant for the Karner Blue Butterfly, which has been extirpated from Canada. There is a captive breeding programme using stock from the population in the US which still exists, although it is threatened by habitat loss.
Beaux Arbres will be opening the 2017 gardening season at Almonte Seedy Saturday on February 11th. We will have many species of wildflower seeds – dozens of easy-to-grow flowers for beautiful pollinator and butterfly gardens.
New this year are our starter seed packs for native meadows, based on the adaptable native bunch grass, Little Buestem, plus five quick-to-mature meadow flowers.
In March, we will be doing a back-to-back Seedy Saturday and Sunday. In Ottawa for Saturday March 4th and in Perth for Sunday March 5th.
Our silly, top-heavy Spike Blazing Stars in 4″ pots keep blowing over and diving onto the lawn, where they will sometimes be chewed on by our resident groundhog. I could transfer them into larger pots, but what they really want is to be planted in the ground in your garden. This has prompted me to offer them at a 2 for 1 sale to our customers.
Spike Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) is a wildflower in south-western Ontario, where it is found in sunny prairie sites, often where there is a high water table for part of the year. In the US, they are sometimes called Marsh Blazing Star, reflecting their wild preference for dampish sites. In gardens, however they are very adaptable to drier conditions, and in fact are quite tolerant of droughty spells in summer. They are completely hardy in western Quebec. In fact, these very plants that are on sale spent last winter in their overly small pots and I did not lose a single one to winter kill. (Lost a couple to having their roots eaten by voles, a fate to which Liatris are susceptible.)
Blazing Star flowers are very attractive to butterflies and other nectar seeking insects. They belong in every sunny wildflower garden. Spike Blazing Stars are the middling, mama bear member of the clan. At about three feet tall, they are taller than little Cylindric Blazing Star, and shorter than the imposing Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya).
We will be bringing a flat of Spike Blazing Stars, budding nicely and ready to bloom, to the Marché Bristol Market on Friday afternoon and to the Pontiac Farmers Market in Shawville on Saturday morning. Just in case anyone has room for the stunning 5 to 6 foot tall Prairie Blazing Star, I’ll bring one of those (in a gallon pot) to market as well.
I have some little seedlings of another Blazing Star, Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera) growing in the greenhouse presently. Rough Blazing Star is happier in drier sites and is probably my favourite for the pretty silvery button effect the buds make before they open. They are not fast off the mark as seedlings so they may not be ready for sale until next spring.
Top photo: A wild stand of Spike Blazing Star in a nature reserve near Windsor, Ontario.