Archive for December, 2010

John’s Garden and Milkweed

December 1, 2010

Milkweed Seeds and Silk

It’s funny the turns life takes sometimes. A few years ago I was hosting a booth at an out of town garden show, representing my local garden society. A very nice lady joined the society although she lived over an hour from where we met. I think it was a few years before she actually moved to the city and we have become friends and had some lovely garden adventures.

A few weeks ago I received a notice from a nursery near Uxbridge that was having a bulb sale. Of course I don’t really need any bulbs, but that wasn’t going to stop me visiting the nursery. I called my friend to see if she was up for an adventure and she agreed. She had heard ‘John’s Garden’ was a good nursery to visit, but had not had the opportunity before. We had a warm, sunny November day and were soon at the nursery. I found some Amyrillis’ I ‘had’ to have as well as some spring bulbs. After I got home I wondered why I hadn’t taken any photos of the plants at the nursery. After all, we spent about an hour wandering among the container plants and planning to return next spring. Then I realised, most of the plants were going dormant. Many of them were leaf-less and brown, yet we had spent a wonderful time studying the labels and looking at what plants still had leaves. Gardener’s are a strange bunch.

You can find more information about the nursery at: http://www.gardens.com/go/view/20848/
Yes, he usually has lavender.

Milkweed
A few weeks ago, Dr. Doug Tallamy from the University of Delaware, spoke at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. He was a wonderful speaker and his topic was ‘Bringing Nature Home’. He spoke about the importance of bio-diversity in our landscapes to attract more native insects and native birds for a healthier ecology. He would like to see nearly 20 million acres of suburban USA planted with native species, instead of acres of lawn. This would be more acreage than nearly all the US National Parks combined, however it is only 1/2 of suburbia. For more information visit his site: http://www.bringingnaturehome.net

What can I do?
I live on a small city lot and do not have enough space for large plantings. I do like to have plants that attract butterflies and bees. During spring and fall migration I get the occassional hummingbird. Dr. Tallamy mentioned a dogwood (Cornus) shrub that has white flowers in the spring and purple berries in the fall that I am going to look for next year. Milkweed plays a major role in the food chain of Monarch butterflies, so I decided to plant some. Dr. Tallamy said during his talk, ‘you can’t help everything, help some things”. I purchased a plant at John’s, but as we were leaving, there were quite a few plants, loaded with seedpods along the road. We stopped to photograph them and I took an open pod with beautiful brown seeds perfectly arranged. I placed it carefully on the backseat of the car and was amazed when I got home that it had ‘poofed’!! I have to look up how to start the seeds.

If you decide to visit John’s Garden and are coming from the west, the bakery in Goodwood is a MUST. It will be a slight detour, but is well worth it. Also near Goodwood is Richter’s Herbs and if you have not been there, you are in for a treat. I don’t know another nursery that has the selection of herbs, including lavender plants, they carry.

I hope you can have a garden adventure and look for a few plants that will help native species in your area.

Next time: Lavandual latifolia