We Dig Chemainus: A Monthly Column

WE DIG CHEMAINUS                                       MAY 2021

 

A REGULAR REPORT FROM COMMUNITIES IN BLOOM

A taste of summer in April!  What a treat!   Will we get another taste in May?   Communities in Bloom have had their first Zoom meeting.    Plants have been ordered and planting dates will be posted on Face Book.    We need new members please call Diane at 250-210-0396 if you are interested in joining us.  Changes have been made at the Henry Road Traffic Circle.   The Berberis has been removed and replaced with Heavenly Bamboo.     The overgrown existing grasses are replaced with a new grass called Karl Foerster.

Mother Day is May 9 – perhaps buy her a garden gift  and Victoria Day is May 24 another excuse to pick up something special for your garden.     Keep an eye out for our members working around town.   Come and join us.

WE DIG – DO IT NOW TIPS

  • Divide primroses
  • All general plantings take place this month: flowers, veggies and new perennials
  • Clean up and fertilize rhodos and azaleas after flowering
  • Plant up your hanging baskets, patio tubs and planters
  • Colour your hydrangeas – saltpeter for pink, alum for blue
  • Use straw as a mulch along strawberry rows
  • Lawns are growing fast – feed a little but often – a thick turf needs less water
  • Spread wood ash around daphne, lilac, clematis, roses
  • Lightly cut back early blooming perennials after flowering
  • Keep the slugs at bay: egg shells and seaweed
  • Be prepared to cover tender plants at night if there is a cold spell!

DID YOU KNOWGrow Lily-of-the-Valley Flowers | Garden Design

……the flower of the month is the Lily of the Valley?  Meaning sweetness and humility?

…….Plants really do respond to sound?

……To attract bees plant fragrant flowers?

……Rhubarb is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine?

……Rhodos planted in 1889 in Beacon Hill Park are still flowering today?

……Cut off chive flowers to encourage new growth?

……Saturday May 1 is World Naked Gardening Day?    Will you be participating?

PICK OF THE MONTH

Heavenly Bamboo Nandina Shrubs for Sale | FastGrowingTrees.com

 

 

 

Heavenly Bamboo – Nandina domestica.   Native to Asia – a lovely evergreen shrub with white flowers in July, followed by red fruits.    The berries contain cyanide and are toxic to all animals.

 

 

JUST FOR FUN

Here are a few flowers you might want to bring into your kitchen.  Violets, Hibiscus, Roses, Pansies, Dandelions, Marigolds, Lavender, Nasturtiums, Lilac.    Make sure they have not been treated with pesticide.    For fun put some petals in your ice cube trays before adding water and freezing.  Enjoy your summer iced drinks.

AND …… what new crop did the gardener plant?    Beets me !!!

Keep in touch with us through Face Book

 

WE DIG CHEMAINUS                                                                                            MARCH 2021

A week late but better late than never. Besides, it means Spring is closer, just two weeks and two days away. Our winter February looks like it has turned into a rainy March. We hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful snow moon on the weekend. St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, is recognized with the Shamrock, a symbol of good luck!  Daylight Savings Time begins March 14. Hooray.

For those of you interested in having fresh vegetables of your own the Old Farmers Almanac has an excellent article on vegetable gardening for beginners. This is the time of begin.

WE DIG – DO IT NOW TIPS

  • Pick a permanent spot for herbs in the garden, preferably with easy access to your kitchen, as some come up year after year.
  • Plant snapdragon, petunia and verbena seeds now as they take 70-90 days of bloom
  • This is a great time to move and plant trees and shrubs
  • Apply mulch and well rotted manure or compost to fruit trees, and bush and cane fruits
  • Cut off dead growth and divide crowded perennials. Replant only the outer pieces of a clump in soil replenished with compost and a little bone meal
  • Rake moss from the grass, top dress with peat moss, seed bare spots
  • Cultivate, weed and feed strawberries
  • Prune your roses when the forsythia blooms
  • Fertilize rhodos, azaleas and camellias
  • Bait the garden for slugs
  • Start planting out cool season vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage and kale.

DID YOU KNOWCare Of Daffodils - Planting Daffodils In The Garden

The blossoms of the skunk cabbage can become so warm they will melt snow and provide a warm place for insects.

Black, green, white and oolong tea all come from the same plant the leaves are aged and processed differently.

Before the 16th century carrots were purple.

Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms.

Popcorn lover’s day and potato chip day is the 2nd Thursday in March

The flower of the month is the Daffodil meaning affection and sympathy? Daffodils and newborn lambs herald the summer in Wales?

PICK OF THE MONTH – Shamrock – a symbol of Ireland. It is a three leafed white clover, and is derived Growing shamrocks indoors | Horticulture and Home Pest Newsfrom the Irish seamrog. It was traditionally used for its medical properties and was a popular motif in Victorian times. The four-leaf clover is often confused with the shamrock. The clover is a symbol of good luck, the three leafed shamrock is mainly an Irish Christian symbol of the Holy Trinity and has a different significance.

 

 

 

AND

A garden is a thing of beauty, and a job forever.

Check out our blog at wedigchemainus.ca.

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   February 2021

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! January was a lot quieter this year, so maybe February will be our winter month? And what will Mr. Groundhog have to say?

Valentine’s day and Chinese New year are on the same day…Time for a household innovation,,,,noodle hearts? This, followed Family day…hmm…a good day for everyone to tour the yard and draw up plans for the year? Add a pond, raised veggie garden or a mystery corner? Could be fun! Enjoy the month… smile behind those masks! This, too, shall pass!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Start hoeing and weeding to avoid overload later. The wet ground makes it easier
  • Shrubs, roses and deciduous trees can be transplanted as soon as the soil is workable
  • Cut away any broken branches from winter storms as close to the main branch as possible.
  • Create new rock gardens away from trees and shrubs.
  • Prune back lateral and side branches of wisteria to within 2-3 buds
  • Bring dahlias into the warmth; divide and expose new shoots to daylight.
  • must be done before the  sap runs
  • Sow hardy annual seeds, such as sweet peas, and california poppy where they are to bloom as soon as weather breaks
  • Plant broad beans and peas mid month and peas and radish late February.
  • Plan to grow a new vegetable that you have never grown before. Dwarf varieties use less space and produce more food per square foot!
  • Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms and discard any soft or diseased
  • Moss likes cold wet mild winters. Kill it now.
  • Clean and sharpen tools
  • Turn compost

Did you know…Image result for violet flower                                                                                

…the flower of the month is the Violet? meaning modesty, virtue and faithfulness

…that peas should be planted when the forsythia blooms?

…the rarest flower in the world is Middlemist Red Camellia found in New Zealand and England only?

…that your OLD electric toothbrush will clean the tiny feeder ports on your humming bird feeder?

…that Chionophobia is fear of snow?

Pick of the Month – Crocus

Image result for crocusA member of the iris family; it is a small but mighty plant bringing joy and cheerfulness to the winter grey . It is also known as a symbol of hope –  winter will end! Spring will come! Covid19 will die and life will go on! From Snow crocus (first to bloom) to giant Dutch crocus, all come in a variety of colors; reds, pinks, yellows, oranges, purples , blues and white.  They multiply and come back year with little upkeep! Crocus corms (not bulbs) can be planted almost anywhere in early fall in well drained soil. Plant 3” deep in groups of 10.Apply a balanced fertilizer in the fall. Wait for February!

AND…what does it mean when the groundhog sees a maple leaf on Feb 2nd?

Six more weeks of bad hockey!

 

 

Welcome to 2021!

 

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   December  2020

No snowbirds flying South this season! But the hummingbirds are here in droves! Such fun to watch…keep those feeders full!

The days are getting shorter and the nights longer…just 25 days until winter is officially here! Will we get a taste in early December? Often there is a hit of snow between the 2nd and 10th, only to be replaced with green by the 25th

Looking for an easy Christmas decoration? Find 12  pine cones and spray 6 red and 6 silver and arrange in a glass bowl for a coffee table centre!

Communities in Bloom has a busy and colourful year planned for 2021. Thank you for all the support.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Find the right poinsettia for your home
  • DECORATE
  • Watch a Christmas special
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • DECORATE
  • Make shortbread
  • Wear a Santa hat all day
  • DECORATE
  • Make gifts for your neighbours or shut-ins
  • Start a count down
  • Build a jigsaw puzzle
  • DECORATE

Did you know…

Grow Fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus in Your Indoor Garden…the flower of the month is the paper white narcissus, meaning formality, stay as sweet as you are?

…there is a full eclipse of the sun on Dec 14?

…Hyemalis is latin for winter blooming?

…In Medieval times Hellebores were  planted near doorways to ward off evel spirits?

…There are 1,872 christma tree farms in Canada?

Pick of the Month –

Taking Care of Your Poinsettia | Canada Bloomshas to be the poinsettia!…no longer just red but any colour! Enjoyed by all! Keep in a cool place and don’t over water and it will bloom on and on keeping spirits merry and bright!

 

 

AND…why does Santa have three gardens? So he can HO! HO! HO!

 

 Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next in March 2021. Watch facebook!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                              November  2020

So October draws to an end with a full blue moon, aka Hunter’s moon, on Hallowe’en!!! MISS IT and you wait 18 years for this phenomena to happen again!

Daylight savings rearranges the following day by falling back an hour and becoming standard. How will you spend that extra time?

Can you believe it? 2,600 daffodil bulbs are in the ground waiting for Spring! Kudos to all who participated.

November is a good month to relax, reflect and remember. .on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month…ceremonies will be different this year but we can each take time for a moment of silence to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve Canada and we can wear a red  poppy with pride.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Clean, repair and sharpen all tools before hanging them up for winter
  • Turn off your water to the outside taps and open taps to drain remaining water in the pipes
  • Give roses a final dead heading and prune lightly
  • Dig up gladiolas
  • A good time to transplant shrubs, plant new trees, and plant tulip bulbs using a bone meal fertilizer
  • Running a mower over dried leaves to chop them up hastens their decomposition in compost piles or on the garden
  • Cover flower and vegetable beds with leaves for frost protection and added mulch and nutrients
  • Apply lime to next year’s vegetable garden excluding the potato patch and lime lawns to help prevent moss growth
  • Mulch asparagus beds
  • Tie up shrubs and vines against wind or wet snow damage
  • Prune raspberry canes, cutting out the old and tying the new
  • Continue planting spring bulbs using
  • Plant garlic and over wintering onions
  • Plant paper white narcissus in pots for indoor Christmas flowers

Did You Know?…Why chrysanthemums are the French 'flower of the dead'

…the flower of the month is the chrysanthemum meaning desolate heart?

…the most photogenic plants are ones that are chartreuse, pink or purple?

…the name pumpkin originated from ‘pepon’, Greek for large melon?

…silver and Norway maples are not recommended for landscape planting?

Pick of the month…Winter pansies

Winter Pansies - Best time to plant, gardening tips and morePansies have come a long way…from alpine wild flower to a vibrant colour plant! They are members of the viola family. Pansies love cool weather. Plant in late Sept. while the soil and compost are still warm and encourage strong growth. Well draining soil is essential. Planting in September will produce vigorous roots and bushy tops, and because the plants are stronger they will produce flowers throughout the winter. The ’Matrix’series is rated among the best for fall planting.

AND…two for two moons….who helps the little pumpkins cross the road safely? The crossing gourd! and why don’t mummies take time off? They are afraid to unwind!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets on Tuesday, November 17th, at 7p.m. in the Legion Newcomers always welcome!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                               October 2020

First storm of the fall season is upon us. Smoke clogged our lungs and arteries. Covid19 numbers are spiking! Slugs and moths are attacking from above and below! …so much for September! WHAT will October bring us? Thanksgiving! A time to reflect and give thanks for the good ttimes, for the town we live in, for the birth of a baby whale, for good neighbours, friends and family. We are so fortunate. Enjoy the upcoming long weekend and Thanksgiving, October 12. It’s a good time to plant a tree!

Communities in Bloom continues to weed and prune and deadhead, AND battle the slugs.

Do It Now Tips                     

  • Dig and divide rhubarb
  • Leave fallen leaves in flower beds as protection from winter cold
  • Divide large clumps of perennials
  • Plant new trees and shrubs
  • Winterize your pond and stretch net over to catch falling leaves
  • Aerate and top dress lawns, apply lime, sow seed until mid October
  • Clear beds of annuals and add compost by the end of the month
  • Buy and plant spring-blooming bulbs and plant those winter pansies
  • Divide clumps of herbs, and pot up young plants of chives, mint, oregano and parsley for indoor use
  • Plant garlic, shallots and overwintering onions before Thanksgiving
  • After first frost or at the end of the month dig up dahlias, gladiolas, tuberous begonias and fuschias and store in frost free place
  • Wet muddy soil must be corrected before winter. Use sand and peat moss.
  • Winterize irrigation systems
  • WAIT until December to prune trees

Did You Know…Calendula Flower ⋆ FloraQueen

…the flower of the month is the Calendula, or pot marigold, depicting cruelty, grief and jealousy?

…peanuts belong to the bean family?

…gardening is considered an art and a science?

…grapes explode in the microwave?

…radish is from the Indo-European word WRAD meaning twig root?

…potted chrysanthemums from the florist are not bred to be hardy and should be treated as holiday décor?

…the cranberry is a relative to the blueberry and a native plant full of anti-oxidants?

Pick of the Month – Sunflowers!!  Helianthus annuus

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus). What Is Usually Called The "flower".. Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 67747604.There is nothing like a sunflower to brighten one’s spirit! The flower head is made up of hundreds of tiny flowers called florets. To grow well they need full sun and fertile, well drained, mulched soil. Plant directly in the garden from mid April to mid May, ½” deep and 2’ apart. Sunflowers are traditionally yellow but varieties include shades of copper, red, orange and bi-colored. They are heliotropism plants as the flowers face East in the morning and track the sun during the day to face West in the evening.

AND …what is another name for Brussell sprouts? Cabbage Patch Kids!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next, on Wednesday, October 14 at 7p.m. at the Legion. Newcomers always welcome! Covid 19 protocol will be in place

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   September  2020

August was one for the record books! Hottest day! Coolest night! Best lightning show, ever! Best shooting star performance! A sturgeon moon second to none accompanied by Venus, shining ever brightly in the night sky! Rain! And, sadly, a high covid19 count! Labour Day is Monday,  September 7th, and the Autumn equinox, Tuesday, 22nd, and just for fun celebrate Cheese pizza day on the 5th and grandparents day on 13th. Plant a tree to celebrate and remember the ‘less faces, more spaces’ slogan! We must try to keep those numbers down!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Rake up leaves, twigs and fallen fruit from apple trees and dispose in the garbage to control apple scab disease, and discourage bears and deer!
  • Continue to feed and water container plants to keep the blooms blooming! STOP fertilizing perennials!
  • Pick up large pots of ‘mums’ to replace summer color
  • Prune summer flowering heathers
  • Prune climbing roses, wisteria and grapes
  • Pull up tomato plants at the end of the month. Unripened fruit will ripen indoors
  • Harvest potatoes when the tops die down
  • Cut back dahlias, halfway, and water copiously for fall flowers
  • Divide spring flowering perennials
  • Pot up chives, parsley and other herbs to extend the growing season to the house
  • Prune evergreens NOW or wait until April, minimize watering
  • Bring house plants that have summered outdoors, inside
  • Apply lime to lawns before grass gets sour and moss sets in
  • Plant spring bulbs as soon as the summer flowers are over – refresh soil
  • Plant pansies, forget-me-nots and wallflowers over bulbs to flower with them in the spring

Did You Know…Aster Flowers: Tips On Caring For Asters

…that the birth flowers of the month are the Aster – symbol of  love, the Morning Glory, symbol of undying love and Foget-me-nots?

…September is a girl’s name?

…September means “seventh month”, as originally found in the ancient Roman calendar?

… butterflies taste with their feet?

…the caterpillar of the cabbage white butterfly is green because it makes it harder for the birds to see them on their green leaves?

…plants can drown if there is no air in the soil?

… the juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue?

Pick of the Month –  Autumn Joy (hylotelephium)– a large Sedum, aka, Stonecrop

How to Care for Autumn Joy Sedum | Hunker | Sedum garden, Sedum plant, Fall flowers gardenA popular low maintenance plant, whose succulent leaves store water making it good for areas prone to drought. It is an important source of  late-season food for pollinators. Well drained soil is a must. Cut blooms last for weeks in a vase.

AND…Eat, drink and be rosemary!

 

 

 

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                               August 2020

Summer time and the livin’ is Covid!

Our flowers are bloomin’ and the tourists are few

Lifestyles are a changin’ and our attitudes calm,

So, mask up, you locals, be safe and smile!!

Lots of fun events to celebrate: Aug 4 starts Farmers’ market week, Aug. 8 is sneak some zucchini onto your neighbours porch day (who knew?), Aug 13 is International lefthanders day, Aug 17 is Cat Night and World Honey bee day…just to name a few.

Most importantly, Aug 3 is National Watermelon day…eat and enjoy!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Keep deadheading
  • Keep baskets and planters well fed, watered and deadheaded
  • Fertilize broccoli and cucumbers
  • Keep water from shrub leaves while hot sun is out
  • Divide iris
  • Prune climbing roses and fertilize with fish fertilizer spray
  • Trim evergreen hedges, including laurel
  • Trim conifers to maintain shape
  • To toughen trees, shrubs and perennials for winter, STOP fertilizing!
  • Remove finished annuals, such as nemesia and schizanthus
  • When cane plants such as raspberries are finished, cut the old canes to the ground
  •  For winter harvesting plant kale, broccoli, kohlrabi spinach and brussel sprouts
  • Brush the soil away from the tops of onions to assist in maturity
  • Cut back stems of pumpkins and trailing winter squash. Make the cut just above the leaf growing beyond the last formed fruit

Did you know…Gladiola, Flower of Jupiter – Lunar Home and Garden | Bulb flowers ...

…the flower of the month is the gladiola, meaning ‘give me a break’?

…dahlias are named for Dr Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist of the 18th century?

…sunflowers can remove toxins such as lead, arsenic and uranium from contaminated soil?

…the hanging gardens of Babylon are part of the 7 wonders of the world?

…the month of August is named in honor of the first Roman emperor Augustus Caesar 63 BC – 14 AD?

 

Pick of the Month – Arbutus

Canada’s only Native Broad-leafed Evergreen tree!

Arbutus menziesii - Xera PlantsAlso known as Pacific Madrone, it grows along BC’s West Coast. Arbutus menzeisii is found in the dry southeast regions of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Very distinctive trees clinging to rocks and withstanding gale force winds. It grows up to 30m tall, usually with a leaning trunk that divides into several upright branches. It tolerates summer drought and prefers dry, nutrient poor soil. Likes sunshine. It produces small, bell shaped, fragrant flowers and their red berries are edible. It has long thick, dark and glossy leaves with a leathery texture. The bark is reddish brown, peeling in strips to show young greenish bark underneath. It restricts its growth to a narrow strip along the coast to as far south as Mexico and occurs within 8 km of the Pacific ocean.

AND…has anyone else’s gardening skills improved during this quarantine like mine have? I planted myself on the couch in March and I’ve grown significantly since!

Our next work bee is Thurs. Aug 6 at 3pm at the Henry Rd traffic circle if you would like to join us. Always happy to have more hands!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                               July 2020

Summer is here! The alternating days of rain and sun are promoting a wonderful abundance of growth and a profusion of colour! And it is the therapy needed to overcome ‘the virus’ of the year! Calm. Kind, and Safe are winning! All we need, now, is time.

Canada day is just five days away and Canada is a country of gardeners.

File:Flag of Canada.svg - Wikipedia

Long before the explorers and settlers arrived, the Indigenous peoples grew their own food. The daily diet of the Hurons was beans, squash and corn, grown in mounds over dead fish. This sustainable diet was passed on to the ‘newcomers’, in friendship.

In the 1880s the Europeans that settled along the railway line competed for the best public flower garden at the stations, to welcome new immigrants. The beginnings for  Communities in Bloom!

In Toronto a Community garden was established in a culturally diverse neighbourhood where  gardening was the only common language, and ideas and methods were shared, crossing all boundaries. At harvest time, the people were encouraged to make a meal from their country using the fresh produce, and to dress in their native costume. How Canadian!

Despite the variation in weather; rain on the Westcoast, hail on the prairies, permafrost in the North, salt wind in the Maritimes and rock in Newfoundland, Canadians rise to the occasion and have won the titles of ‘world’s largest pumpkin’, ‘sweetest corn’ and ‘most abundant tomato crop’ several times.

Gardening is a social experience and, in Canada, is the most popular outdoor pastime, second to walking! HAPPY CANADA DAY!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips 

Fertilize lilacs with a ‘flowering’ (15-30-15) fertilizer

Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs

Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4years

Dead head annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering

Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom!

Dead head and feed roses

Remember to water trees and shrubs using a watering can if necessary. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly.

Fuschias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold night

Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product. Spread ground egg shells around the vulnerable plants.

Sow late vegetable crops. Remove decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required

Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks

Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered

Dead head annuals to keep them blooming

Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply

Feed foliage, add a little liquid fish fertilizer to a water spray

Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip

When picking berries, it is just as important to remove moldy berries as to pick the good ones

Did you know…Growing Larkspur Flowers - Information On When To Plant Larkspurs

…the flower of the month is larkspur; pink represents; fickleness; white – happiness; purple – first love?

…slugs love – celery, hosta lettuce, petunia, runner beans, dahlia, gerbers and peas?
…slugs hate –  ladies mantle, bleeding hearts, foxgloves, fuschia and nasturtiums?
… slices of cucumber on  aluminum plates, placed around the garden will repel slugs?

…planting used plastic forks with the tips showing above ground keeps animals away from your plants? (and gives plastic a purpose)

…plants that attract butterflies include –mint, lavender and thyme?

Pick of the Month – Buddleia  (butterfly bush) also known as Summer Lilac

Buddleia Wisteria Lane -- Bluestone PerennialsNative to Central China and Japan. A beautiful, fast growing, deciduous shrub with long spiked trusses of flowers. It comes in many colors but the butterflies prefer the mauve species. A low maintenance shrub requiring only deadheading and annual Spring pruning after buds appear. Enjoys full sunshine and well drained soil. No mulch or fertilizer required once established.

AND…whoever said money can’t buy happiness has clearly never been to a garden centre.

 

Visit our facebook page!

If you see us out working/weeding feel free to join us!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                       June  2020

 

…and so the pandemic marches on! We are so fortunate to live on the West coast with the best of weather, scenery and health care, and, if we follow the guidelines the deadly virus will eventually be one of those “remember when…” conversations.

…and so the plan evolved to plant approximately 2,000 flowering plants; calmly, kindly and safely. Teams and shifts to cover two days were charted, deliveries made, pylons placed at 6’ intervals and the show went on! Kudos to all who participated!! The sun will come up smiling this summer because of you! There was no waiting for the storm to pass, just learning to dance to a different tune.

The summer solstice is June 20th followed by Father’s day on 21st. A good weekend to spend in the garden….just 23 days away!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Finish planting hanging baskets, patio pots and window boxes with flowers – keep them well fed and watered during the summer months
  • Prune lilacs after blooming
  • Plant gladiloas for late summer color
  • Feed vegetable gardens once a month now through September with an all purpose fertilizer
  • Thin heavy crops of fruit on apple, pear and plum trees to reduce branch weight and increase fruit size
  • Keep compost piles dampened, and well aerated
  • Keep grass long…set mower blades to 11/2 to 2 inches, to keep lawn green and roots cool and moist
  • Feed fuschias, they need water and fertilizer frequently
  • Plant heat loving veggies such as cucumbers, egg plant and peppers
  • Dead head spring blooming flowers
  • Cut off chive flowers to encourage new growth

Did you know…

…Flower of the month is the rose?… meaning ‘I love you’…

…Your birth flower is the rose and honeysuckle meaning gratitude and appreciation?

…the color of roses symbolize certain values: Red – love? Yellow – friendship?

Orange – enthusiasm –  White – purity?

Pink – Joy?

…bees are attracted to blue and violet colours, birds to red and orange and butterflies to orange and yellow?

…a worm breathes through its skin?

Humming birds consume 2 times their body weight in nectar? (For humans that would be 151 litres of your favorite beverage!  Hmmm?)

Pick of the Month  – Weigelia –family Caprifoliaceae-honeysuckle

A deciduous shrub, it grows 1-5m tall and is native to eastern Asia. It has prolific small, trumpet shaped flowers on arching branches. Loved by humming birds but not deer! They often re-bloom during the summer, like sunshine, and are low maintenance.

AND…my gardener talked to me about edible herbs I can grow. It was sage advice.

Follow our blog: wedigchemainus.ca  Visit us on facebook.

We Dig Chemainus                                                                  May 2020

Dark times, but Covid 19 forgot to tell the flowers! The sun comes up, the birds sing, trees dance in the wind, waves break on beaches and flowers bloom! There is always a silver lining and we are so fortunate to have that lining at our back door. The curve is flattening and there will be a new time, a new normal and to quote our public health doctor,” it is not forever, it is for now”. Patience is required and we can do that! Enjoy the moments. Look forward to the time when our conversations will start with…”remember when……”.

Communities in Bloom will be planting and weeding but they will be marching to the tune of a different band. We are not sure what the tune will be but the annuals are ordered and it will get done. Don’t forget to celebrate Mother’s day, connect by phone, facebook, zoom, through a window or an end of the driveway wave…turn that big smile into a virtual hug!

And to our friends in Nova Scotia, know that we care. Know that we feel your pain.

Do It Now Tips

  • Divide primroses
  • All general plantings take place this month; flowers, veggies and new perennials
  • Clean up and fertilize rhodos and azaleas after flowering
  • Plant up your hanging baskets, patio tubs and planters
  • Color your hydrangeas – saltpeter for pink, alum for blue
  • Use straw as a mulch along strawberry rows.
  • Lawns are growing fast – feed a little but often – a thick turf needs less water
  • Spread wood ash around daphne, lilac, clematis, roses
  • Lightly cut back early blooming perennials after flowering.
  • Keep the slugs at bay …egg shells and seaweed
  • Be prepared to cover tender plants at night if there is a cold spell!

Did you know…Lily of the valley - Wikipedia

the flower of the month is the ‘lily of the valley’? meaning sweetness and humility?

…the ‘witch’ in witch hazel trees is based on the belief  that the tree twigs could be used as divining rods to search for underground water?

…seaweed at the base of plants is an excellent slug repellent?

…scattered orange and lemon peels discourage cats?

…that there is a beautiful burgundy bloom, the Chocoolate Cosmos, that smells exactly like chocolate?

…the stalks of sun flowers were used to fill life jackets?

…the leaves, flowers and roots of the dandelion are all edible?

JUST FOR FUN

try making dandelion coffee from the roots, or salad from the leaves or

Dandelion Jelly from the flowers (use just the yellow blossoms, no stems or leaves and do not harvest any area that has been treated with pesticides!)

Ingredients: 1 quart of bright, fresh dandelion blossomsRoasted Dandelion Root - Traditional Medicinals - Herbal Wellness Teas

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 pkg powdered fruit pectin

                     5 cups of sugar

Rinse dandelion flowers in cold water and remove any green parts

Boil in 2 quarts of water for 3mins.

Cool and strain, pressing to extract all the juice

Place 3 cups of the dandelion juice in large saucepan

Add lemon juice and pectin (1 ¾ ozs)

Bring mix to a boil

Add sugar, stirring to mix well. Boil 2 ½ mins, stirring continually

Pour into jelly glasses and seal with paraffin when cool

Pick of the Month …Mexican Mock Orange

Phyto.Files.: Choisya ternata (Mexican mock orange)A  stunning, compact, rounded, evergreen shrub. Glossy leaves, and clusters of small star like fragrant white flowers, that smell like orange blossoms. Likes sun and partial shade.  Grows to 6’ with a similar diameter. Likes moist well drained soil and blooms in \May.

Makes a lovely informal hedge.

 

 

AND …What has Forests but no trees? Lakes but no water? Roads but not cars?

A MAP!!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                       April  2020

Spring has sprung! The birds are singing! Flowers blooming! Sun shining! What could possibly go wrong? Who knew Covid19 was lurking around the corner?

It’s a ‘grin and bear it’ situation and a great time to get out in the garden! Nothing like a good dig to relieve tension! And the silver lining will be the environmental improvement as we learn to make our own compost and grow our own veggies and drive less and take the time to smell the roses! Time being the key.

April starts with April fool’s day….what clever crafty trick are you going to plan to get the family laughing?  Easter is mid month, a time to reflect, and is followed by Earth day, particularly significant this year and a global commitment!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • All spring digging should be completed by the end of the month
  • Shear winter flowering heathers and forsythia after blooming
  • Plant glads and dahlias in Easter week
  • Plant porch and patio tubs
  • All plants and the lawns need help with spring growth…feed!
  • Conifers should be pruned before new growth starts
  • Sow grass seed
  • Rake grass before mowing, keep at 11/2 – 2 inch height
  • Herbs like lime and grit. Mix one handful of ground oysters shells into each herb planting hole
  • Remove, by rubbing, all soft buds now appearing on main trunk of young trees
  • Bait garden and flower beds for slugs…crush your egg shells and spread around the base of plants…slugs hate egg shells…
  • Deadhead spring bulbs but do not cut the leaves back
  • Plant fuschias and red hot pokers to attract hummingbirds

Did you know…

7 Pretty Sweet Pea Flowers Facts and Growing Tips…that the flower of the month is the Sweet Pea, meaning goodbye?

…if you have a gnome in your garden, it is an acronym for Guarding naturally over mother earth?

…one ladybug can eat 50 aphids a day?

…there are more trees on earth than stars in the milky way?

Just for Fun!!

Peanuts date back 3,500 years, originating in South America

Have you ever thought of growing your own? Here’s how!

Peanuts are healthful and nutritious… No cholesterol and plenty of protein!Peanut Fun Facts | Whitley's Peanut Factory

Peanuts are not nuts at all. They are related to peas and beans! They are a unique plant, flowering above ground, yet the pods, containing the seeds grow underground! They grow best in the Southern states but with some tlc and Chemainus sunshine, will do just fine right here.

  • Growing season 100-130 days = choose an early maturing variety (early Spanish)
  • Plant on a south facing slope. They can be started indoors and transplanted
  • Need full sun
  • Plastic row covers are recommended  to protect young plants from spring frost
  • Need fresh, raw, uncooked peanuts still inside their shell
  • To start inside, fill a large 4” bowl ¼ full with moist potting soil. Shell 4 peanuts and place on top of soil. Cover with 1” soil. Plants sprout quickly. Transplant when threat of frost has passed
  • To plant outside, place peanut seeds 2” deep and 8” apart in loose, well drained soil (add sand and compost to loosen)
  • When plants are 6” tall loosen soil around them so that the flowers can send down their stems known as ‘pegs’
  • Hill them like you would potatoes and mulch with 2” straw or grass clippings
  • Small, yellow, flowers will grow along the lower part of the stem and when the flowers  fade, the ovaries will swell and grow toward the ground and push into the soil
  • Harvest before frost, when plants yellow
  • Dig out the entire plant and gently shake off the soil. Hang to dry indoors for a month
  • The nut can be enjoyed raw or roasted. To roast, bake, shelled or unshelled, in a 350 degree oven for 20 mins
  • Pick of the Month… Pacific or mountain Dogwood  (Cornus nuttalii)

BC’s provincial flower!

Pacific Dogwood flower emblem of British Columbia Canada | Dogwood ...

 

 

It is a species of dogwood native to N. America. It is a small to medium sized deciduous tree reaching 25’. Flowers in April and May. Conspicuous in the fall by its clusters of bright red berries and colourful foliage.

 

 

 

 

 AND…

What did the tree say to spring? What a re-leaf!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets who knows where or when?

Check out our blog at wedigchemainus.ca and follow face book for notifications.

 

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   March  2020

Just 21 days until Spring!

Celebrate St. David’s day, and St. Paddy’s day! Keep the green by planting leeks, daffodils and shamrock (clover will do).

Remember to Spring forward with the time change on Mar 8. And save some of that rain water for the summer drought.

Chemainus Communties in Bloom will be back in action soon. Watch for info on fb or on our blog,

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Didn’t get that winter ‘prune’ done? Do it now.
  • Fertilize rhodos, azaleas and camelias
  • Cut down ornamental grasses and sword ferns
  • Prune your roses after the forsythia blooms
  • Start turning the soil in your vegetable garden
  • Apply mulch and well rotted manure to fruit trees, bush and cane fruits
  • Bait the garden and flower bed for slugs
  • Cut off dead growth and divide crowded perennials. Replant only the outer pieces of a clump in soil replenished with compost and a little bone meal
  • If gladiolas and dahlias are sprouted, expose to daylight and divide dahlias by cutting the bulbs between the eyes
  • Turn the compost pile and start new ones
  • Rake moss from the grass, top dress with peat moss, seed bare spots
  • This is a great time to buy spring flowering trees and shrubs
  • Fertilize lawns
  • Replace old overgrown lavenders and prune young plants
  • Make sure your humming bird feeders are full….one cup sugar to 4 cups water…boil well to ensure the sugar is dissolved

Did you know…Image result for daffodil

…the flower of the month is the Daffodil meaning affection and sympathy?

…the daffodil’s name is from old English, affo dyle, meaning ‘coming early’?

…lemons are technically berries?

…the first garden hoses were made of Ox gut in 400BC?

…the first lawns appeared in the 1st Century AD in Greece?

…watermelon is actually a vegetable and so is rhubarb?

…trees are the longest-living organisms on earth?

…vanilla flavoring comes from the pod of an orchid?

Pick of the Month – Anemone blanda

Image result for anemone blandaA bright blue, daisy-like ground cover, flowering in March. Commonly known as Balkan Anemone or Grecian or Winter Wind flower. Ranunculaceae family, native to Siuth Eastern Europe. Grows in shade or sun but must be well drained. Grows from bulb like tubers. No maintenance required….they appear at the end of Feb and over time form a beautiful carpet of colour.

.AND…if you GROW it for the FRUIT or the ROOT, you NEED full sun. If you GROW it for the leaves, PARTIAL SHADE is all you need.

Our first meeting of the year will be March 17th at 7p.m.in Steeples Activity room.

Newcomers welcome.

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                                                                                                    February 2020

January, January, January….rain! wind! SNOW! freezing temperatures, sunshine, and a howling Wolf moon! A month that kept on giving! A month of records to start a new decade.

What does February hold? How will Mr Ground Hog be able to compete?

It’s time to make your garden plan…are there empty spaces? Find unique or native plants to fill the gaps. Is it time for a new location for vegetables?…what about a shade tree? a pond? a hedge? Now is the time to plan, map, transplant and plant new!

The Flower of the year chosen by Communities in Bloom is the Blue Salvia….join us by planning a bed for your garden…

February is chock a block full of days to celebrate starting with Ground hog day, followed by Carrot cake day, Weatherperson’s day, Read in the bath tub day, Valentine’s day, Family day, AND Leap day……who knew?

2020 looks like a promising year!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Start hoeing and pulling weeds to avoid overload later. The soggy ground makes it easier.
  • Shrubs, roses and deciduous trees can be transplanted as soon as the soil is workable
  • Cut away any broken branches from winter storms as close to the main branch as possible.
  • Create new rock gardens away from trees and shrubs.
  • Prune back lateral and side branches of wisteria to within 2-3 buds
  • Bring dahlias into the warmth; divide and expose new shoots to daylight.
  • Prune and fertilize fruit trees before blossom time. All pruning of trees and vines must be done before the sap runs.
  • Sow hardy annual seeds, such as sweet peas, and california poppy where they are to bloom as soon as weather breaks
  • Plant broad beans and peas mid month and peas and radish late February.
  • Plan to grow a new vegetable that you have never grown before. Dwarf varieties use less space and produce more food per square foot!
  • Divide Pampas grass and red hot poker plants
  • Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms and discard any soft or diseased
  • Moss likes cold wet mild winters. Kill it now.
  • Clean and sharpen tools
  • Turn compost

Did you know…Image result for violet flower

…the flower of the month is the Violet? meaning modesty, virtue and faithfulness

…fertilizing, dormant spraying and pruning head the list of February projects?

…that half of North America’s coastal rain forest is found in British Columbia?

…that slugs start feasting as soon as shoots emerge? That to deter these pests, scatter ground egg shells around the shoots?

Pick of the Month – Daphne Odora (also known as spurge laurel or spurge olive)

Image result for daphne odoraShiny green evergreen leaves, blooming Feb-March with showy, very fragrant pink flowers. Best grown in well drained fertile soil in part shade in protected area away from wind. Often planted near a doorway where the scent can be enjoyed. Its berries are popular with birds but poisonous to humans!

 

 

 

AND…Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription and overdosing is encouraged!

Communities in Bloom meets next in March.

 

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                     Christmas Edition 2019

Time for our fourth annual Holiday gardening quiz!
Communities in Bloom wishes everyone a very festive and joyful holiday season and a
Happy New Year !

Question #1  In this popular movie, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson check into an Indian hotel that has this flower in its name.

Questiion #2  Most species of Eucalyptus are native to which country?

Question #3  What is pomology the study of?

Question #4  Saffron comes from which type of flower?

Question #5  It is a common custom to kiss under a sprig of mistletoe at Christmas. What is unusual about the plant?

Question #6  Why is reindeer moss so called?

Question #7  Anagram for ‘wanting care’ ?

Question #8  Which French impressionist built a great garden at Giverny?

Question #9  From which of the following does a dahlia grow? Bulb, Corm or Tuber?

Question #10  What are the three main types of real Christmas tree?

AND… What is the most popular Christmas whine?  “I don’t want any brussell sprouts! “

AND… one more… How do Christmas angels greet each other?      “HALO!”

 

 

 

 

 

Answers: 1…marigold 2…Australia 3…fruit 4…crocus 5…it is a parasite 6…a staple winter food for reindeer 7…watering can 8…Claude Monet 9…tuber 10…spruce, pine, nobel fir

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                                           December  2019

On the road to holiday festivities, dreams of a happy new year and hibernation! Time for the snow birds to fly!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Deck the halls with boughs of holly…
  • Rock around the Christmas tree
  • Sneak a kiss under the mistletoe
  • Roast your chestnuts on an open fire
  • Give an aromatic rosemary bush
  • Make swags or wreaths from freshly cut cedar and fir
  • Collect pine cones and holly berries…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Did you know…Image result for paper white narcissus

…the flower of the month is the paper white narcissus, meaning formality, stay as sweet as you are

…the largest Christmas stocking measures 35 feet 4 ½ inches long?

…in ancient times mistletoe was believed to have magical powers for healing wounds and was placed in homes to ward off evil spirits?

…Santa Claus is a legal Canadian citizen? He has a Canadian postal code,  H0H 0H0, a Canadian passport, and is considered a Canadian citizen by the Canadian government!

Pick of the Month – has to be the poinsettia!… no longer just red but any colour! Enjoyed by all!

Image result for poinsettia

 

 

Keep in a cool place and don’t over water and it will bloom on and on keeping spirits merry and bright!

 

 

AND…what is a skunk’s favourite Christmas song? Jingle smells!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next in 2020 on Tuesday, March 17th, 7p.m. at Steeples. Watch facebook for updates!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                      November  2019

Falling leaves are summer waving goodbye…

A time to remember…

21 folk came to plant on Oct19th. 250 daffodils were planted at the Henry Rd. traffic circle and another 250 around town in the adopt-a-beds. 650 pansies will add to the Spring show of color!

Kudos to all!

Exciting times recently as Chemainus Communities in Bloom was nominated for a Golden Brush award. The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary, very deservingly, came out on top, but we feel like winners! A big THANK YOU to those who nominated and supported us.

Now is the time to hunker down and enjoy the ever changing weather…..turn the clocks back, and remember those who fought and are fighting for our freedom.

Enjoy those goblins and princesses tonight and …. Christmas is just 54 sleeps away!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Clean, repair and sharpen all tools before hanging them up for winter
  • Turn off your water to the outside taps and open taps to drain remaining water in the pipes
  • Give roses a final dead heading and prune lightly
  • Dig up gladiolas
  • A good time to transplant shrubs, plant new trees, and plant tulip bulbs using a bone meal fertilizer
  • Running a mower over dried leaves to chop them up hastens their decomposition in compost piles or on the garden
  • Cover flower and vegetable beds with leaves for frost protection and added mulch and nutrients
  • Apply lime to next year’s vegetable garden excluding the potato patch and lime lawns to help prevent moss growth
  • Mulch asparagus beds
  • Tie up shrubs and vines against wind or wet snow damage
  • Prune raspberry canes, cutting out the old and tying the new
  • Continue planting spring bulbs….remembering that deer love tulips but not daffodils!
  • Plant garlic and over wintering onions
  • Plant paper white narcissus in pots for indoor Christmas flowers

Did You Know?Image result for chrysanthemum

…the flower of the month is the chrysanthemum meaning desolate heart?

…hard shelled gourds have been grown for over 5,000 years?

…cilantro and coriander, are different parts of the same plant? Cilantro is the leaves and considered a herb while coriander is the seed and considered a spice.

…that a full moon on Hallowe’en occurs only every 18-19 years?

Pick of the month…Ornamental gourds

Image result for Ornamental gourdsThey are part of the Cucurbitaceae family and arel related to edible squashes and pumpkins. They prefer full sun and rich, well drained soill. Sow seeds outdoors after frost is no longer an issue. They take about 180 days to mature. When grown to full maturity and dried they are very colorful and fun to use in fall décor. Varieties of gourds include: Speckled swan, Bottle, Dipper, Penguin, Powder horn, and Caveman’s club.

 

AND…what do you call a vegetable after an elephant runs through your garden? Squash!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets on Tuesday, November 19th, at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                               October 2019

Summer is officially over, which, of course, means that winter is around the corner! It will be difficult to dig up those sunpatiens and get ready for bulb planting. What a show they have provided. A big thank you to all the adopt-a-bed members for their dedication in helping to keep the town a floral showcase!

Thanksgiving is Oct. 14 …how will you give thanks? We are so fortunate to live in this country and in this climate! It’s a great time to plant a tree !

Vote, Monday, Oct 21….it is a privilege to live in a democracy! Every vote is important!

Do It Now Tips                     

  • Dig and divide rhubarb
  • Leave fallen leaves in flower beds as protection from winter cold
  • Divide large clumps of perennials
  • Plant new trees and shrubs
  • Winterize your pond and stretch net over to catch falling leaves
  • Aerate and top dress lawns, apply lime, sow seed until mid October
  • Clear beds of annuals and add compost by the end of the month
  • Buy and plant spring-blooming bulbs and plant those winter pansies
  • Divide clumps of herbs, and pot up young plants of chives, mint, oregano and parsley for indoor use
  • Plant garlic, shallots and overwintering onions before Thanksgiving
  • After first frost or at the end of the month dig up dahlias, gladiolas, tuberous begonias and fuschias and store in frost free place
  • Wet muddy soil must be corrected before winter. Use sand and peat moss.
  • Winterize irrigation systems
  • WAIT until December to prune trees

Did You Know… Image result for calendula

…the flower of the month is the Calendulla, or pot marigold, depicting cruelty, grief and jealousy?

…there are two types of sunflower seeds….black to make  oil and striped to eat?

…according to Guiness in 2012 the tallest sunflower recorded was 27’?

…potted chrysanthemums from the florist are not bred to be hardy and should be treated as holiday décor?

…the cranberry is a relative to the blueberry and a native plant full of anti-oxidants?

Pick of the Month – Sunflowers!!  Helianthus annuus

Image result for Helianthus annuusThere is nothing like a sunflower to brighten one’s spirit! The flower head is made up of hundreds of tiny flowers called florets. To grow well they need full sun and fertile, well drained, mulched soil. Plant directly in the garden from mid April to mid May, ½” deep and 2’ apart. Sunflowers are traditionally yellow but varieties include shades of copper, red, orange and bi-colored. They are heliotropism plants as the flowers face East in the morning and track the sun during the day to face West in the evening.

AND …What do you call the first of November? Octover!

 

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next, on Tuesday, October 22 at 7p.m. in  Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

Keep in touch through facebook!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   September  2019

Autumn is only 25 days away! Where did the summer go? It was wonderful not to have the fire and smoke problems and a treat to have the occasional shower.

Have you ever wondered about the dog days of summer? Traditionally they start July 3 and last until August 11, and are, according to ancient Egyptians, responsible for hot and humid weather. They are named for the dog star, Sirius, which shines brightly at this time of year and rises in the East with the sun.

The new Sunpatiens used around town have put on a good show, what will 2020 hold? Communities in Bloom continue to weed and are starting to plan for next year.

Enjoy the Labor day weekend and the Fall Solstice! AND celebrate September 8th, Grandparents Day!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • rake up leaves, twigs and fallen fruit from apple trees and dispose in the garbage to control apple scab disease, and discourage bears and deer!
  • Continue to feed and water container plants to keep the blooms blooming! STOP fertilizing perennials!
  • Pick up large pots of ‘mums’ to replace summer color
  • Prune summer flowering heathers
  • Prune climbing roses, wisteria and grapes
  • Pull up tomato plants at the end of the month. Unripened fruit will ripen indoors
  • Harvest potatoes when the tops die down
  • Cut back dahlias, halfway, and water copiously for fall flowers
  • Divide spring flowering perennials
  • Pot up chives, parsley and other herbs to extend the growing season to the house
  • Prune evergreens NOW or wait until April, minimize watering
  • Bring house plants that have summered outdoors, inside
  • Apply lime to lawns before grass gets sour and moss sets in
  • Plant spring bulbs as soon as the summer flowers are over – refresh soil
  • Plant pansies, forget-me-nots and wallflowers over bulbs to flower with them in the spring

Did You Know…Image result for aster

…that the birth flowers of the month are the Aster – symbol of  love and the Morning Glory, symbol of undying love?

…September is Happy cat month?

…sunflower seeds are best dried while still in the plant?

…zucchini is a fruit? Actually, the ovary of the zucchini flower…

…grapes do not continue to ripen once picked?

Pick of the Month – Grapes

Image result for home garden grapesA sweet and versatile fruit often overlooked in home gardens. They can created a wonderful focal point and give shade as well as fruit! They are vigorous growers and with the proper pruning, produce fruit for 50 years! French American Hybrids are cold hardy and disease resistant. Plant one year old plants in early spring. Build a trellis or arbour for them to climb. Soak roots before planting for 3-4 hours. Likes a sunny spot and loose, well drained soil. Plant 6’ apart in a hole 12” x 12”. Cover and tamp down 6” soil, leave the next 6” loose. Water well. Do not allow them to produce fruit for two years. Prune in March or April. Remove 90% of the previous year’s growth.

AND…What did the carrot say to the wheat? Lettuce rest, I’m feeling beet!

The next meeting of Chemainus Communities in Bloom will be Tuesday, September 13th @ 7p.m. in the Steeples Activity room. Come and join us.

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                               August 2019

A very unusual summer so far. Climate change is certainly giving us food for thought. It will take billions of trees to help stop climate change but every single one counts. Plan to plant! Enjoy your gardens.

Celebrate BC day on August 5th….

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Keep deadheading
  • Keep baskets and planters well fed, watered and deadheaded
  • Fertilize broccoli and cucumbers
  • Keep water from shrub leaves while hot sun is out
  • Divide iris
  • Prune climbing roses and fertilize with fish fertilizer spray
  • Trim evergreen hedges, including laurel
  • Trim conifers to maintain shape
  • To toughen trees, shrubs and perennials for winter, STOP fertilizing!
  • Remove finished annuals, such as nemesia and schizanthus
  • When cane plants such as raspberries are finished, cut the old canes to the ground
  • Plant winter kale and brussel sprouts
  • Brush the soil away from the tops of onions to assist in maturity
  • Cut back stems of pumpkins and trailing winter squash. Make the cut just above the leaf growing beyond the last formed fruit

Did you know…Image result for gladiola

…the flower of the month is the gladiola, meaning ‘give me a break’?

…planting basil with tomatoes helps repel flies and mosquitoes?

…one thousand jasmine flowers and a dozen roses go into a single bottle of Chanel #5 perfume?

…putting a piece of banana in a shot glass, covering it very tightly with a wrap  and poking a few holes with a toothpick can be a highly effective way to trap fruit flies?

…the juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue? It was used to bind books as its poisonous sap protected the books from paper-eating  insects?

Pick of the Month – Corn flower aka bachelor button (centaurea cyanus)

Image result for bachelor buttonBright blue small daisy like pom-pom flowers on  2’-3’ stems, with silvery green foliage. An old fashioned flower that thrives on sunshine and poor soil. The blooms are in clusters of up to five flowers along the plant’s stem and each flower blooms for only a day. Attractive to bees and butterflies. Commonly used in boutonnieres and herbal teas!

Sow seeds in the fall before frost to ensure early spring blooms. Long lasting and dries well.

AND…the seven stages of an Avocado are…not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, BAD!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next on Tuesday, August 20th, at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                               July 2019

July is upon us…how does your garden grow? Summer is here and in just 12 weeks it will be Fall! Enjoy each week, day, hour and minute. Start on Canada day with a walk-about in your garden.

Planting day was extraordinary….though a little damp! A good thing, as it hasn’t rained since! 21 volunteers and 2,000 plants hit the ground and seem to be thriving! The weeding sessions begin June 26 at 4 p.m. followed by a social time. Come join in the fun!

What grows when fed? But dies when watered? Fire!!! Be careful this summer…watch out for watering restrictions and cigarette butts!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Fertilize lilacs with a ‘flowering’ (15-30-15) fertilizer
  • Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs
  • Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4years
  • Dead head annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering
  • Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom!
  • Dead head and feed roses
  • Remember to water trees and shrubs using a watering can if necessary. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly.
  • Fuschias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold night
  • Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product
  • Sow late vegetable crops. Remove old and decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required
  • Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks
  • Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered
  • Dead head annuals to keep them blooming
  • Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply
  • Feed foliage, add a little liquid fertilizer to a water spray
  • Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip
  • When picking berries it is just as important to remove mouldy berries as to pick the good ones

Did you know…Image result for larkspur flower

…the flower of the month is larkspur; pink represents -fickleness; white – happiness; purple – first love

…your birth flower for July is the larkspur and the water lily?

the yam is actually a type of  sweet potato?

…yams are related to grasses and lilies and the sweet potato to morning glory?

…the word ‘peach’ or malum persicum means Persian apple?

…planting used plastic forks with the tips showing above ground keeps animals away from your plants? (and gives plastic a purpose)…

…that 4 ozs of cola (any kind) poured on the soil at the base of azaleas boosts blooming?

Pick of the Month – Larkspur (delphinium consolida)

Image result for larkspur flowerLarkspur is an ‘annual’ delphinium with finer textured foliage, blooming in July. A highly poisonous plant; new growth and the seeds contain the highest amount of toxins.

Grows 3’ tall and is loved for its tall spires of flowers. Works well as a dried flower.

AND…why shouldn’t you tell a secret in the garden? Because the  potatoes have eyes, and the corn has ears!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom will meet on Tuesday August 20, 7p.m., Steeples Activity room…new faces are always welcome!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                       June  2019

What does Dad get for Father’s day? How about that tree to replace some of the storm damage? Or a nice shiny spade? Diggin’ is good!

June is a good month to plant, re-design, think water conservancy, and climate change. Lots to think about and chew on. Get some ideas from the local, self guided, garden tour on June 9th  Tickets are available at Sandpiper gardens for $12. Proceeds to Harvest House.

Summer begins on June 21st…celebrate!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Finish planting hanging baskets, patio pots and window boxes with flowers – keep them well fed and watered during the summer months
  • Prune lilacs after blooming
  • Plant gladiloas for late summer color
  • Feed vegetable gardens once a month now through September with an all purpose fertilizer
  • Thin heavy crops of fruit on apple, pear and plum trees to reduce branch weight and increase fruit size
  • Keep compost piles dampened, and well aerated
  • Keep grass long…set mower blades to 11/2 to 2 inches, to keep lawn green and roots cool and moist
  • Feed fuschias, they need water and fertilizer frequently
  • Plant heat loving veggies such as cucumbers, egg plant and peppers
  • Dead head spring blooming flowers
  • Cut off chive flowers to encourage new growth

Did you know…Image result for rose bush

…Flower of the month is the rose?… meaning ‘I love you’…

…Your birth flower is the rose and honeysuckle meaning gratitude and appreciation?

…the color of roses symbolize certain values:

Red – love?

Yellow – friendship?

Orange – enthusiasm?

White – purity?

Pink – Joy?

…the tallest ever recorded rose bush stands at over 23 feet?

…the buds of the tiniest roses are the size of a grain of rice?

 

Pick of the Month  – the ROSE

Image result for pink rose plantFive Unusual Rose Tips that Really Work

  • Plant lavender at the base of the rose to deter deer
  • Dump coffee grounds and used tea leaves around bushes
  • Bury bananas skins or even the entire black mushy mess at the base of bushes to provide magnesium that plants crave
  • Scratch 2 tablespoons of Epson salts into the soil around to base to make flower colors more intense
  • Scratch ½ cup of rabbit pellets around each rose as fertilizer. This supplies a growth stimulant. Water well.
  • Today’s easy to grow roses (no more pruning, spraying and dusting!): Flower Carpet ground cover roses, Knock Out landscape roses and David Austen’s climbing roses…just plant, fertilize and water!

AND…

My fear of roses is a thorny issue. I’m not sure what it stems from, but it seems likely I’ll be stuck with it!

Next meeting for Communities in Bloom is June 18th, 7p.m. Steeples Activity room.

New members welcome! For more info call Maureen at 250-246-3626

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                                  May 2019

The show must go on come snow, wind and rain, and the daffodils and pansies have certainly done their part. Henry Rd and Oak St roundabouts have been a pleasure.

Victoria day is May 20th….get diggin’!

May 25 the summer planting will be full on ….this year featuring ‘sunpatience’.  Join in the fun…9a.m.at Henry Rd. rain or shine!

Make Mom happy on May 12th, with a flowering shrub, maybe a rose?, to celebrate!

The flower of the year is the Sensation Cosmos and free seed packs are available around town…..our thanks to Sandpiper Gardens for their annual donation of seeds!

And, did you know that May 2nd is WORLD NAKED GARDENING DAY?

Do It Now Tips

  • Divide primroses
  • All general plantings take place this month, flowers, veggies and new perennials
  • Clean up and fertilize rhodos and azaleas after flowering
  • Plant up your hanging baskets, patio tubs and planters
  • Color your hydrangeas – saltpeter for pink, alum for blue
  • Use straw as a mulch along strawberry rows.
  • Lawns are growing fast – feed a little but often – a thick turf needs less water
  • Spread wood ash around daphne, lilac, clematis, roses
  • Lightly cut back early blooming perennials after flowering.
  • Keep the slugs at bay
  • Be prepared to cover tender plants at night if there is a cold spell!

Did you know…

the flower of the month is the ‘lily of the valley’? meaning sweetness and humility?Image result for lily of the valley

…your birth flower for May is the Lily of the valley and your tree is the Hawthorne?

…a little baking soda applied regularily can help you grow sweeter tomatoes?

…the earth has more than 80,000 species of edible plants?

…Butchart Gardens is one of the top 10 most beautiful gardens in the world?

…there are at least 10,000 varieties of tomatoes?

…there is a garden in England called The Poison Garden, home to 100 murderous plants and visitors are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting?

Pick of the Month – Laburnum also known as the golden chain tree.

Image result for laburnumA beautiful sight, due to bright yellow pendulous flowers, blooms from May to June.

A deciduous tree belonging to the pea family, growing 20’. Needs well drained soil and sun.  ALL parts of the laburnum contain a toxic substance called cistene. Do NOT ingest.

 

 

AND – Can February March? No, but April May!

Our next meeting is Tuesday, May 14, 7p.m., Steeples Activity room….newcomers most welcome! For further info call Erica at 250-246-3395

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                       April  2019

Goodbye snow, ice and dark days! Hello Spring, warmer days and sunshine!

Such a lot of extra work getting rid of that winter storm in Dec! But it feels good to have the sun on your back and blisters on your hands!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom is back in action. Hundreds of blue pansies are planted, first meeting of the year behind us.

We have a ‘Flower of the Year’! It’s the mixed Cosmos! Again! Our first Flower of the Year was Cosmos and it was so successful we decided to repeat! Free seeds will be available in Chemainus in April.

Easter weekend is around the corner…time to open the doors to the greenhouses, prop open cold frames, take begonias, and fuchsias out of cold storage, repot and fertilize.

Let the fresh air do its thing…breathe!! Cut the lawn at the highest level of blade and once again…breathe!! There is nothing quite like the scent of newly mown grass. Refill your hummingbird feeder. Sow seeds, divide perennials, pick violas, narcissus and anemones in the early morning. Enjoy!!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • All spring digging should be completed by the end of the month
  • Shear winter flowering heathers and forsythia after blooming
  • Plant glads and dahlias in Easter week
  • Plant porch and patio tubs
  • All plants and the lawns need help with spring growth…feed!
  • Conifers should be pruned before new growth starts
  • Sow grass seed
  • Rake grass before mowing, keep at 11/2 – 2 inch height
  • Herbs like lime and grit. Mix one handful of ground oysters shells into each herb planting hole
  • Remove, by rubbing, all soft buds now appearing on main trunk of young trees
  • Bait garden and flower beds for slugs…crush your egg shells and spread around the base of plants…slugs hate egg shells…
  • Deadhead spring bulbs but do not cut the leaves back
  • Plant fuschias and red hot pokers to attract hummingbirds

Did you know…Image result for sweet pea flower

…that the flower of the month is the Sweet Pea, meaning goodbye?

…vanilla flavoring comes from the pod of an orchid? Vanilla planifolia

…avocados and pumpkins are fruits, not veggies, but, rhubarb is a veggie?

…iris means ‘rainbow’ in Greek?

…trees are the longest-living organisms on earth?

…pomology, is the study of fruit?

…lacanophobia is the fear of vegetables?

Pick of the Month – Camellia

Image result for camellia

There are 100-300 species, and 3,000 hybrids

Evergreen shrub or tree growing up to 60’. Blooms in April, Flowers come in a variety of colors from white to red. Like shade and the protection of a building. Need to be watered frequently. Cultivated in China and Japan for centuries before coming to Europe and N. America.

 

 

 

AND…in the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets, Tuesday, April 16th, 7p.m. Steeples Activity Room

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   March  2019

Well, it was difficult to garden in February with all that snow piling up. And pile up it did! Chemainus came out on top as the snowiest community on Vancouver Island!

The Super Snow moon, aptly named this year, was nearer, brighter and larger than it will be at any other time. It was, indeed, a beautiful sight.

And Spring is only 20 days away! So much to do!

Daylight saving arrives Sunday March 10 … hop forward!

Tomorrow, March 1, is St David’s day, Time for leek soup and a vase full of daffodils.   St. Paddy’s day is on a Sunday this year, a good day for planting and wearing the green!

Just one more date. Tuesday, March 19. Chemainus Communities in Bloom will wake up and hold their first meeting of the year – 7p.m. Steeples Activity Room – newcomers always welcome!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Didn’t get that winter ‘prune’ done? Do it now.
  • Fertilize rhodos, azaleas and camelias
  • Cut down ornamental grasses and sword ferns
  • Prune your roses after the forsythia blooms
  • Start turning the soil in your vegetable garden
  • Apply mulch and well rotted manure to fruit trees, bush and cane fruits
  • Bait the garden and flower bed for slugs
  • Cut off dead growth and divide crowded perennials. Replant only the outer pieces of a clump in soil replenished with compost and a little bone meal
  • If gladiolas and dahlias are sprouted, expose to daylight and divide dahlias by cutting the bulbs between the eyes
  • Turn the compost pile and start new ones
  • Rake moss from the grass, top dress with peat moss, seed bare spots
  • This is a great time to buy spring flowering trees and shrubs
  • Fertilize lawns
  • Replace old overgrown lavenders and prune young plants
  • Time to hang up your humming bird feeders….one cup sugar to 4 cups water…boil well to ensure the sugar is dissolved

Did you know…Image result for daffodil

…the flower of the month is the Daffodil meaning affection and sympathy?

…there are more micro-organisms in one teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth?

…that March is peanut month?

…the month of March was named for the roman god of war, Mars?

…according to an old superstition, it is unlucky to plant seeds on the first three days of March?

…March is the only month with three consecutive consonants in its name in English?

Pick of the Month – Japonica, aka Japanese flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

Image result for chaenomeles speciosaA bright reddish, pink beauty, flowering from March to May. Closely related to the rose. A round topped deciduous shrub, 6’to 15’ tall and 10’-15’ across, A native of Asia, these plants have been grown ornamentally for thousands of years. These old tangled plants persist for years without pruning. Maroon green foliage emerges as the blossoms are fading. They enjoy full sun and are drought resistant.

 

 

 

AND…speaking of snow…..what do you call an old snowman?     Water!!!

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                   February 2019

2019 is off and running! It will take time to clean up the remnants of the ‘storm of 2018’, though it seems never ending. How many trees do you suppose went down in  Chemainus? And how many will be replaced? Let’s take it upon ourselves to do the town, the Municipality, the Island, BC, Canada, and, yes the planet, a favour by planting one, two, three or more trees. It’s not asking much and the reward is a world for your children and grandchildren to enjoy!

The first big event of 2019 was that Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse. How very fortunate to have clear skies and to be able to witness such an amazing phenomena.

Now it is the time to plan your garden for the rest of the year….enjoy….

Valentine’s day and Family day are just around the corner. Celebrate with flowers….or plant a tree with the family.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Start hoeing and pulling weeds to avoid overload later. The soggy ground makes it easier.
  • Shrubs, roses and deciduous trees can be transplanted as soon as the soil is workable
  • Cut away any broken branches from winter storms as close to the main branch as possible.
  • Create new rock gardens away from trees and shrubs.
  • Prune back lateral and side branches of wisteria to within 2-3 buds
  • Bring dahlias into the warmth; divide and expose new shoots to daylight.
  • Prune and fertilize fruit trees before blossom time. All pruning of trees and vines must be done before the sap runs.
  • Sow hardy annual seeds, such as sweet peas, and california poppy where they are to bloom as soon as weather breaks
  • Plant broad beans and peas mid month and peas and radish late February.
  • Plan to grow a new vegetable that you have never grown before. Dwarf varieties use less space and produce more food per square foot!
  • Divide Pampas grass and red hot poker plants
  • Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms and discard any soft or diseased
  • Moss likes cold wet mild winters. Kill it now.
  • Clean and sharpen tools
  • Turn compost

Did you know…Image result for violet flower

…the flower of the month is the Violet? meaning modesty, virtue and faithfulness

…eggplants and potatoes are part of the same family?

…tomatoes are the most popular fruit in the world?

…cauliflower and broccoli are the only veggies that are also flowers?

… pineapples are actually berries?

…fig flowers are carnivorous?…that they trap and digest the wasps that pollinate them?

Pick of the Month… Abeliophyllum distichum or white forsythia (because of its similarity)

Image result for white forsythia

 

A wonderful fragrant flower blooming in February and growing 1 meter tall, sporting small glossy leaves in the summer.

AND…

Why did the gardener quit? His celery wasn’t high enough.

Communities in Bloom meets next in March.

 

 

 

We Dig Chemainus                                                      November  2018

The big bulb plant is Saturday October 27! The plan is to bury 2,000 bulbs in a morning! It should be a lot of fun. Come and join us …all you need are gloves, a trowel and a good pair of knees! Henry Rd traffic circle, 10 a.m.

Halloween is upon us…made for the imps and goblins….enjoy those  little ones…

The full moon this month is called the Beaver moon as the beaver fortifies its dams in readiness for winter, sometimes called a Frost moon. It will be in all its glory on November 23.

And time goes by…..the end of Daylight saving arrives November 4th. We gain an hour! Sleep in, go for an extended walk, have an extra cup of coffee and do a garden stroll…no matter….celebrate in some way.

And, lest we forget, November 11th is a Sunday this year. World War 1 ended at 11 a,m, on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. 100,000 Canadian soldiers died in the first and second world wars, and we shall remember them. Wear your poppy with pride!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Clean, repair and sharpen all tools before hanging them up for winter
  • Turn off your water to the outside taps and open taps to drain remaining water in the pipes
  • Give roses a final dead heading and prune lightly
  • Dig up gladiolas
  • A good time to transplant shrubs, plant new trees, and plant tulip bulbs using a bone meal fertilizer
  • Running a mower over dried leaves to chop them up hastens their decomposition in compost piles or on the garden
  • Cover flower and vegetable beds with leaves for frost protection and added mulch and nutrients
  • Apply lime to next year’s vegetable garden excluding the potato patch and lime lawns to help prevent moss growth
  • Mulch asparagus beds
  • Tie up shrubs and vines against wind or wet snow damage
  • Prune raspberry canes, cutting out the old and tying the new
  • Continue planting spring bulbs using
  • Plant garlic and over wintering onions
  • Plant paper white narcissus in pots for indoor Christmas flowers

Did You Know?…Image result for chrysanthemum

…the flower of the month is the chrysanthemum meaning desolate heart?

…the fall color of leaves is their true color? The sun takes over in Spring and summer providing chlorophyll which accounts for the green color
…pumpkins are grown in six of the seven continents of the world?
…that Halloween was once s festival of life and death? Orange represented strength and endurance and black the symbol of darkness?
…the world’s tallest tree, named Hyperion, is 360 feet. It is a coast redwood in California.

Pick of the month…Viburnum ‘Pink Dawn’

Image result for viburnum pink dawnA long flowering and tough shrub. Buds will start to open in October, often blooming until April! It’s small green leaves turn a burgundy red in the fall. Give it as much sun as possible. Grows to 2-3 meters.

AND…Why was the jack o’lantern afraid to cross the road?   It had no guts!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets on Tuesday, November 20th,ll at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                                               October 2018

Summer came to an abrupt halt this year! Adjusting is a little difficult but, hey, we could be in Edmaonton and dealing with snow!

Thanksgiving is Monday Oct 8. Celebrated originally by English seaman, Martin Frobisher, in 1578, to give thanks for arriving safely on Baffin Island. Just for fun, remove annuals from planters and replace with a Thanksgiving display of ornamental corn, kale, cabbage, gourds and autumn asters.

The full moon for Oct falls on 24th and is called the Hunter’s moon. Named for the best month to hunt deer and fox. Other names are Travel moon and Dying grass moon.

Weeding and soil prep is being done weekly waiting for the big bulb plant coming soon. Do It Now Tips                       

  • Dig and divide rhubarb
  • Leave fallen leaves in flower beds as protection from winter cold
  • Divide large clumps of perennials
  • Plant new trees and shrubs
  • Winterize your pond and stretch net over to catch falling leaves
  • Aerate and top dress lawns, apply lime, sow seed until mid October
  • Clear beds of annuals and add compost by the end of the month
  • Buy and plant spring-blooming bulbs and plant those winter pansies
  • Divide clumps of herbs, and pot up young plants of chives, mint, oregano and parsley for indoor use
  • Plant garlic, shallots and overwintering onions before Thanksgiving
  • After first frost or at the end of the month dig up dahlias, gladiolas, tuberous begonias and fuschias and store in frost free place
  • Wet muddy soil must be corrected before winter. Use sand and peat moss.
  • Winterize irrigation systems
  • WAIT until December to prune trees

Did You Know…Image result for calendula

…the flower of the month is the Calendula, or pot marigold, depicting cruelty, grief and jealousy?

…gourds are not edible? For 10,000 years they have been used for decoration, musical instruments and utensils

…that there are at least a hundred different types of cabbage throughout the world?

…cabbage has been cultivated for over 6,000 years, originating in China around 4,000 BC?

…that a cup of cooked cabbage has 33 calories, is high in fibre, has no fat, and has a high concentration of Vitamin C?

Pick of the Month – Ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea)

Image result for ornamental kaleOne of the toughest fall plants, tolerating frost and lasting well into winter, bringing colour and texture to the garden.  It is non-edible but the same species as edible cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

Plant kale so that the lowest leaves are flush with the ground. Do not let the plants dry out.

AND

Why do humming birds hum? They don’t know the words!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next, on Tuesday, October 16 at 7p.m. in  Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                                   September  2018

Another hot and smokey summer to remember! More fires…this time touching close to home!

Thank you to all the fire crews and pilots for responding so quickly and quenching those flames so efficiently.

Sadly, the removal of plants, a hanging basket or two and broken sprinkler heads continue to plague us. Please report any such activity if you come across it.
Labour day,  Sept 3 is around the corner; time for school, time to watch for fall colors and time to dig….Out with the old! In with the new!

Our weeding parties will be hard at it August 30 on into Sept as the heat slowed us down during July and August. Yoou will find us at the Henry road traffic circle most Thursdays at 4p.m. …feel free to join in!!!

The Harvest moon rises on Sept 24, so named for its bright appearance and early rise allowing farmers to continue to harvest into the night. It is also called a Corn or Barley moon….Enjoy

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • rake up leaves, twigs and fallen fruit from apple trees and dispose in the garbage to control apple scab disease, and discourage bears and deer!
  • Continue to feed and water container plants to keep the blooms blooming! STOP fertilizing perennials!
  • Pick up large pots of ‘mums’ to replace summer color
  • Prune summer flowering heathers
  • Prune climbing roses, wisteria and grapes
  • Pull up tomato plants at the end of the month. Unripened fruit will ripen indoors
  • Harvest potatoes when the tops die down
  • Cut back dahlias, halfway, and water copiously for fall flowers
  • Divide spring flowering perennials
  • Pot up chives, parsley and other herbs to extend the growing season to the house
  • Prune evergreens NOW or wait until April, minimize watering
  • Bring house plants that have summered outdoors, inside
  • Apply lime to lawns before grass gets sour and moss sets in
  • Plant spring bulbs as soon as the summer flowers are over – refresh soil
  • Plant pansies, forget-me-nots and wallflowers over bulbs to flower with them in the spring

Did You Know…Image result for aster flower

…that the flower of the month is the Aster – symbol of daintiness?

… there are more microorganisms in one teaspoon of soil than there are people on earth?

…when bees feel a rise in humidity they will return to their hives to avoid the coming rain?

…VanGogh loved sunflowers and painted 11 paintings of the cheery flowers?

…September is the 9th month and has 9 letters in its name?

…roses are related to almonds, apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, and pears?

…broccoli is a flower?

Pick of the Month – Celosia commonly known as Cockscomb

Image result for cockscombPrimarily grown as an ornamental plant it is a commonly grown vegetable in Africa. An annual with feather like blooms in yellow, orange or red. Grows and loves full sun but must be kept damp. Needs fertilizer every two weeks when blooms start. As it is tropical it also needs a thick layer of mulch to keep it warm and hold in the moisture. Some varieties can get as tall as 3’. Dead heading helps produce more flowers.

AND…Mel Blanc, “the voice of Bugs Bunny” was allergic to carrots…lol!

The next meeting of Chemainus Communities in Bloom will be Tuesday, September 18th @ 7p.m. in the Steeples Activity room

We Dig Chemainus                                                               August 2018

What a banner year for fruit! An over abundance is rare. Enjoy!

Celebrate BC day on August 6th….

Full moon or Sturgeon Moon will occur August 26…..so called by First Nations as sturgeon were plentiful in August, now an endangered species.

Join our weed and feed sessions August 9 and 23! Thursdays at the Henry Rd traffic circle at 4pm….see you there!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Keep deadheading
  • Keep baskets and planters well fed, watered and deadheaded
  • Fertilize broccoli and cucumbers
  • Keep water from shrub leaves while hot sun is out
  • Divide iris
  • Prune climbing roses and fertilize with fish fertilizer spray
  • Trim evergreen hedges, including laurel
  • Trim conifers to maintain shape
  • To toughen trees, shrubs and perennials for winter, STOP fertilizing!
  • Remove finished annuals, such as nemesia and schizanthus
  • When cane plants such as raspberries are finished, cut the old canes to the ground
  • Plant winter kale and brussel sprouts
  • Brush the soil away from the tops of onions to assist in maturity
  • Cut back stems of pumpkins and trailing winter squash. Make the cut just above the leaf growing beyond the last formed fruit

Did you know…Image result for gladiola

…the flower of the month is the gladiola, meaning ‘give me a break’?

…astronauts aboard the International Space Station are growing lettuce to study outer space gardening techniques?

…bananas contain a natural chemical which can make people feel happy?

…cabbage has a 91% water content?

…the first type of aspirin came from the bark of  a willow tree?

…there are 70-75 species of  hydrangea?

Pick of the Month – Marguerite daisy (Paris daisy) Argyranthemum frutescens

Image result for marguerite daisyA perennial native to the Canary Islands; they are great butterfly and other pollinator attractors. Vary in color from white or yellow to pink or purple. Grow 2’-3’ and prefer full sun. Do not over water as they can develop root rot, mold and mildew, but are not susceptible to aphids and the like. Although listed as perennial it only thrives 2-3 years

AND… when I bought a fruit tree, the nursery owner gave me some insects to help with pollination. They were free bees..

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next on Tuesday, August 21st, at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                                               July 2018

The moon is full on 27th of July and is known as the Stag, Hay or Thunder Moon.

Canada day falls on a Sunday…a time to celebrate our great land….a time to enjoy your gardening efforts!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Fertilize lilacs with a ‘flowering’ (15-30-15) fertilizer
  • Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs
  • Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4years
  • Dead head annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering
  • Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom!
  • Dead head and feed roses
  • Remember to water trees and shrubs using a watering can if necessary. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly.
  • Fuschias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold night
  • Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product
  • Sow late vegetable crops. Remove old and decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required
  • Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks
  • Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered
  • Dead head annuals to keep them blooming
  • Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply
  • Feed foliage, add a little liquid fertilizer to a water spray
  • Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip
  • When picking berries it is just as important to remove mouldy berries as to pick the good ones

Did you know…Image result for larkspur

…the flower of the month is larkspur meaning fickleness, or volubility?

…worm castings, when used as a fertilizer, reduce a plants susceptibility to aphids and whiteflies

…coffee beans are not beans, they are fruit pits?

…85% of plant life is found in the ocean?

…basil belongs to the mint family?

…peaches, pears, apricots, quinces, strawberries and apples are members of the rose family?

Pick of the Month  –  Marguerite ( Paris ) Daisy Argyranthemum frutescens

Image result for argyranthemum frutescensNative to the Canary islands, this sun loving perennial grows up to 3’. Comes in red, pink, and white. Attracts butterflies and blooms from mid spring to mid fall. Likes well drained soil. Dead head regularily.

AND….Whose garden did the Beatles sing about?      Octopus’s

We Dig Chemainus                                       June  2018

Planting thousands of plants in a few hours is a challenge, but many hands make it fun! The sun was shining and by 11.00 a.m the Henry Rd traffic circle had been transformed by 26 volunteers and approximately 3,000 plants! The bed preparation was done on Thursday, another two hours and twenty pairs of hands. Along with the flower of the year, the osteospermun (African) daisy, there is Dusty Miller and lobelia.

The full moon, also known as the strawberry, rose or hot moon, appears on June 29th. Summer solstice is June the 21st…..and let’s not forget Father’s day on June 17th!

A very busy month!

Water restrictions are in effect. Do you have water barrels attached to downspouts to catch roof run off? Are you recycling grey water? Food for thought!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Finish planting hanging baskets, patio pots and window boxes with flowers – keep them well fed and watered during the summer months
  • Prune lilacs after blooming
  • Plant gladiolas for late summer color
  • Feed vegetable gardens once a month now through September with an all purpose fertilizer
  • Thin heavy crops of fruit on apple, pear and plum trees to reduce branch weight and increase fruit size
  • Keep compost piles dampened, and well aerated
  • Keep grass long…set mower blades to 11/2 to 2 inches, to keep lawn green and roots cool and moist
  • Feed fuschias, they need water and fertilizer frequently
  • Plant heat loving veggies such as cucumbers, egg plant and peppers
  • Dead head spring blooming flowers
  • Cut off chive flowers to encourage new growth

Did you know…Image result for rose

…Flower of the month is the rose?… meaning ‘I love you’…

…that an average sized tree will make 170,100 pencils?

…an apple is 25% air?…that is why  it floats on water

…a banana is an Arabic word for fingers?

…hummingbirds are the only known birds to fly backwards?

Pick of the Month  – California Glory Fremontodendron

Image result for California Glory FremontodendronCommonly known as a Flannel bush! Yellow flowers all summer! Plant in full sun in a Southern location. It can grow 12’ to 20’ tall. Grows well in dry soil with very little water but requires good drainage, and needs regular watering when first planted.

AND…

Why wasn’t the moon hungry? Because it was full!

Next meeting for Communities in Bloom is June 26th, 7p.m. Steeples Activity room.

New members welcome! For more info call Erica at 250-246- 3395

We Dig Chemainus                                                                May 2018

A long coolish Spring and more showers and cool weather predicted for May! The up side is that the blooms last longer!!

Our year end is April 30. A new slate of directors are on board headed up by Graden McLeod. Many, Many thanks go out to the amazing leadership of Erica Prince!!

Appreciate Mother’s day, May 13th, with a flowering perennial to celebrate. And another excuse to put more color in your garden is the Victoria day celebration…and Prince Harry’s wedding another…it’s a good thing the full moon is called the Flower Moon in recognition of the abundance of flowers in May! No end of choices to pick from for all these events!

Communities in Bloom will be having their big plant at the end of the month…. Saturday, May 26, rain or shine! Come and join us, it’s a lot of fun! Watch for updates on our blog or facebook.

The flower of the year is the African daisy and seed packs are at various businesses around town…..but just two seeds per packet! They need to be started indoors.

Do It Now Tips

  • Divide primroses
  • All general plantings take place this month, flowers, veggies and new perennials
  • Clean up and fertilize rhodos and azaleas after flowering
  • Plant up your hanging baskets, patio tubs and planters
  • Color your hydrangeas – saltpeter for pink, alum for blue
  • Use straw as a mulch along strawberry rows.
  • Lawns are growing fast – feed a little but often – a thick turf needs less water
  • Spread wood ash around daphne, lilac, clematis, roses
  • Lightly cut back early blooming perennials after flowering.
  • Keep the slugs at bay
  • Be prepared to cover tender plants at night if there is a cold spell!

Did you know…

the flower of the month is the ‘lily of the valley’? meaning sweetness and humility?

…a regular sprinkling of baking soda into your plant soil sweetens up your crop?

…the bumps on raspberries are called “drupelets”?

…buttercups are poisonous and if ingested can cause organ failure?

…the juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue?

Pick of the Month – Azalea – family Ericaceae

Flowering shrub in the genus Rhododendron;  blooms in Spring for several weeks; shade tolerant; slow growing and likes well drained acidic soil. Highly toxic.

AND – driving down a country lane, a sign: “Free Weeds, Pull Your Own”!

Our next meeting is Tuesday, May 15, 7p.m., Steeples Activity room….newcomers most welcome! For further info call Erica at 250-246-3395

We Dig Chemainus                                       April  2018

Happy Easter! Time to dig with enthusiasm and joy! The smell of freshly turned earth is hard to beat! Are your seeds ready to go?…have you decided where to plant that special shrub you have wished for, for so long? This should be a fun year. The flower of the year is the Osteospermum daisy, commonly called African daisy. They come in a great variety of colours, are very showy and small enough for a pot, planter or hanging basket if space is limited.

Our full moon, known as a Pink moon, is April 29, named after a species of early blooming wild flower.

Celebrate earth day on April 22nd.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • All spring digging should be completed by the end of the month
  • Shear winter flowering heathers and forsythia after blooming
  • Plant glads and dahlias in Easter week
  • Plant porch and patio tubs
  • All plants and the lawns need help with spring growth…feed!
  • Conifers should be pruned before new growth starts
  • Sow grass seed
  • Rake grass before mowing, keep at 11/2 – 2 inch height
  • Herbs like lime and grit. Mix one handful of ground oysters shells into each herb planting hole
  • Remove, by rubbing, all soft buds now appearing on main trunk of young trees
  • Bait garden and flower beds for slugs
  • Deadhead spring bulbs but do not cut the leaves back
  • Plant fuschias and red hot pokers to attract hummingbirds

Did you know…Image result for sweet pea flower

…that the flower of the month is the Sweet Pea, meaning goodbye?

…that Anna’s humming bird over winters here on the South Coast?

…that members of the mint family have sqare stems? Check it out by rolling the stem between your fingers to feel the four flat sides

…oak trees do not produce acorns for the first 20 years of their life?

…that according to a recent study (Yale University) there are three trillion trees on earth?

…that the Provincial flower, the Pacific Dogwood, was chosen in 1956?

Pick of the Month – Ornamental Plum, also known as cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera)

Image result for ornamental plum treeA small to medium sized tree, native to Asia. Purple leaved trees with fragrant pink flowers, such as the Thundercloud, are most popular. Good in zones 5-8; likes partial shade; moderately drought tolerant; and prefers well-draining, acidic soil. Bees are attracted to the flowers and birds to the red fruit.

AND…Veggie  Definitions:

  • Kale, as in “..above and beyond the kale of duty”
  • Leek, as in “…it cost me an arm and a leek”
  • Herb, as in “…I herb it on the grapevine”
  • Lettuce, as in “…you’ve lettuce down the wrong path”
  • Lentil, as in :..it’s not over lentil it’s over|”

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets, Tuesday, April 16th, 7p.m. Steeples Activity Room.

We Dig Chemainus                                                   March  2018

Chemainus Communities in Bloom is still fairly dormant. Our Snowbirds are still in warmer climes! But seven hardy souls turned out to tidy and trim the Croft St., Spirit of the Earth and Henry Rd beds in the second week of February! Kudos!

And the Elves were busy at the Oak St. circle playing cupid and bringing love with their red hearts!

Daylight saving arrives Sunday March 11 at 3a.m…be prepared to hop forward! Spring (Vernal) equinox is Tuesday, March 20, 9:15a.m…the days are getting longer!

Thursday, March 1, is St David’s day, How about leek soup for lunch and a vase full of daffodils to celebrate with the Welsh?  Plant shamrock on March 17 to mark St. Paddy’s day!

And, we are not through with dates to remember! Like January, there are two full moons in March. The Worm Moon appears March 1. Why Worm moon? Legend has it that February has the heaviest snow falls and hunting is difficult hence ‘Hunger’ moon for the month of February and then the snow melts and the ground softens and earthworm casts appear inviting the return of birds! Then the Blue Moon (second full moon in one month) will appear on Good Friday, March 31.

The flower of the Year is the Osteospermum Daisy (African Daisy). Watch for our seed packets in local businesses in April!

See the source imageSee the source image

Just one more date. Tuesday, March 20. Chemainus Communities in Bloom will wake up and hold their first meeting of the year – 7p.m. Steeples Activity Room – newcomers always welcome!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Didn’t get that winter ‘prune’ done? Do it now.
  • Fertilize rhodos, azaleas and camelias
  • Cut down ornamental grasses and sword ferns
  • Prune your roses when the forsythia blooms
  • Start turning the soil in your vegetable garden
  • Apply mulch and well rotted manure to fruit trees, bush and cane fruits
  • Bait the garden and flower bed for slugs
  • Cut off dead growth and divide crowded perennials. Replant only the outer pieces of a clump in soil replenished with compost and a little bone meal
  • If gladiolas and dahlias are sprouted, expose to daylight and divide dahlias by cutting the bulbs between the eyes
  • Turn the compost pile and start new ones
  • Rake moss from the grass, top dress with peat moss, seed bare spots
  • This is a great time to buy spring flowering trees and shrubs
  • Fertilize lawns
  • Replace old overgrown lavenders and prune young plants
  • Time to hang up your humming bird feeders….one cup sugar to 4 cups water…boil well to ensure the sugar is dissolved

Did you know…See the source image

…the flower of the month is the Daffodil meaning affection and sympathy?

…in England, when someone talks about ‘lent lilies’ they are referring to daffodils?

…giving a bouquet of daffodils ensures happiness to the recipient?

…giving a single daffodil means bad luck?

…daffodil sap is poisonous to other plants?  Soak for 24 hours if you want to mix with other flowers

…squirrels and deer don’t eat daffodil bulbs?

Pick of the Month –Daffodil (genus narcissus)

Spring perennial plants in the Amaryllidaceae family, including daffodil, narcissus, paperwhites. Native to Spain. A hardy bulb, easy to grow. Plant in the fall.

AND…

What do you get when you cross a four leaf clover with poison ivy?  A rash of good luck!

And one more for St. Paddy….What do you call a fake Irish stone?   A shamrock!!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets on the third Tuesday of the month. March 20st at 7p.m., Steeples Activity room.

We Dig Chemainus                                                                    February 2018

A milder winter so far! Hibernation is going well for our members and snowbirds. March will see everyone come to life and get on with it!

Family day will be celebrated on Feb12….and Valentine’s day is a great day to celebrate with ‘blooming’ gifts!

See the source imageTry not to miss the super blue blood moon on Jan 31st! Fingers crossed for clear skies. It will be the first time in 150 years…the second full moon of the month (blue moon) is in its closest position to Earth, making it even larger than usual (super moon) and just happens to coincide with the lunar eclipse (blood moon)! Enjoy the experience!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Start hoeing and pulling weeds to avoid overload later. The soggy ground makes it easier.
  • Shrubs, roses and deciduous trees can be transplanted as soon as the soil is workable
  • Cut away any broken branches from winter storms as close to the main branch as possible.
  • Create new rock gardens away from trees and shrubs.
  • Prune back lateral and side branches of wisteria to within 2-3 buds
  • Bring dahlias into the warmth; divide and expose new shoots to daylight.
  • Prune and fertilize fruit trees before blossom time. All pruning of trees and vines must be done before the sap runs.
  • Sow hardy annual seeds, such as sweet peas, and california poppy where they are to bloom as soon as weather breaks
  • Plant broad beans and peas mid month and peas and radish late February.
  • Plan to grow a new vegetable that you have never grown before. Dwarf varieties use less space and produce more food per square foot!
  • Divide Pampas grass and red hot poker plants
  • Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms and discard any soft or diseased
  • Moss likes cold wet mild winters. Kill it now.
  • Clean and sharpen tools
  • Turn compost

Did you know…See the source image

…the flower of the month is the Violet? meaning modesty,virtue and faithfulness

…that pumpkins and avocados are fruits but rhubarb is a vegetable?

…that air pockets inside cranberries cause them to bob and float in water?

Pick of the Month… Winter Jasmine (jasminum nudiflorum)

See the source image

Native to China, ,It is an open plant growing up to 10’. Needs support. Likes shade and has star-like yellow flowers on leafless green stems producing a lovely scent. Blooms in January or February.

AND…

If a plant is sad, do the other plants photosympathize with it?

We Dig Chemainus                                                                    December  2017

Well, summer came to an abrupt halt and the rain and cold will rule for the next few months. Hopefully, the sun will peek through on occasion offering us hope for the Spring.

A full moon, otherwise known as the Cold Moon and representing the approach of Winter and the shortest day of the year, will preside on December 3. Enjoy!

And the winter solstice arrives at 8.28 a.m.December 21st.

For Chemainus Communities in Bloom it is time to be dormant. Several members seek warmer climes and some just kick back and enjoy local culture. Take time to reflect on your garden, the town’s gardens and the enjoyment and smiles they can bring. .

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Time to prune peach trees and begin spraying fruit trees with dormant oil
  • Plant successive winter flowering heathers to give winter color
  • Stake young trees
  • Plant Windsor beans and round seeded peas for early vegetables
  • If grass gets too long due to mild weather, cut it and apply lime
  • Watch for wet areas in your lawn and apply coarse sand
  • Remove dead leaves from your lawn
  • Keep off the lawn when it is covered with frost or snow
  • Cut back hardy chrysanthemums as soon as flowers are over
  • When buying a live Christmas tree, remember that the trees traditionally sold grow very large in time. If you have a small garden ask for a tree that stays small
  • Lightly prune holly and evergreens and use clippings for wreaths
  • Expensive ceramic pots should be emptied and brought inside as they crack with frost
  • If you are considering a live, potted tree, locate it in as cool a spot as possible, keep it damp, and only keep it indoors for 7 to 10 days. Do not use hot lights and move the plant out of the house to a sheltered place, such as a carport. to reacclimatize
  • Have you drained and put away your hose? Have you turned off indoor taps and drained pipes and sprinkler systems?

Did you know…

See the source image…the flower of the month is the paper white narcissus, meaning formality, stay as sweet as you are?

…the world’s tallest growing tree is the Coast redwood (sequoia sempervirens)?

…that bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world? Growing up to 35” a day?

… that grapes were grown to make wine about 8,000 years ago in Iraq?

…vanilla flavoring comes from the pod of an orchid? And are more closely related to corn than green beans?

Pick of the Month – Mahonia – Mahonia x media

A statuesque  hybrid shrub reaching up to 7’. Produces sprays of bright yellow flowers throughout the winter with some scent. Charity is the most popular species. Likes partial shade to full sun; hardy; and tolerant of various soil types. Generally pest and disease free.

.AND… what kind of motor bike does Santa ride? A Holly Davidson!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meet on Tuesday, March 20th, 7p.m. at Steeples. Watch facebook for updates.

We Dig Chemainus                                                      November  2017

The red and white is over.  Kudos to the Chemainus communities in bloom stalward who weathered the storm and cleaned out the beds at Henry Rd in preparation for the big bulb plant! The planting party at Henry Rd is on Saturday, October 28, 10a.m. Join in the fun! Daffodils and pansies are the order of the day!

Commemorate November 11th. Wear your poppy proudly and celebrate our true land strong and free.

And….daylight saving time ends, the clocks fall back Nov 5…what to do with that extra hour?!.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Clean, repair and sharpen all tools before hanging them up for winter
  • Turn off your water to the outside taps and open taps to drain remaining water in the pipes
  • Give roses a final dead heading and prune lightly
  • Dig up gladiolas
  • A good time to transplant shrubs, plant new trees, and plant tulip bulbs using a bone meal fertilizer
  • Running a mower over dried leaves to chop them up hastens their decomposition in compost piles
  • Apply lime to next year’s vegetable garden excluding the potato patch and lime lawns to help prevent moss growth
  • Mulch asparagus beds
  • Tie up shrubs and vines against wind or wet snow damage
  • Prune raspberry canes, cutting out the old and tying the new
  • Continue planting spring bulbs using
  • Plant garlic and over wintering onions
  • Plant paper white narcissus in pots for indoor Christmas flowers

Did You Know?..

…the flower of the month is the chrysanthemum meaning desolate heart?

…that hundreds of years ago, jack-o-lanterns were made out of potatoes and turnips?

…that Irish immigrants discovered the pumpkin and a new ritual was born?

…that pumpkins have been grown in N America for 5,000 years? And are indigenous to the western hemisphere?

…that pumpkins are low in calories?

…that pumpkin seeds should be planted the last week in May and take 90-120 days to reach maturity?

Pick of the month…Ginko Biloba – commonly known as Maidenhair tree

The original species date back to the dinosaurs! 270 million years ago! It is the only member of 19 species to survive.

It can grow up to 90 feet but grows slowly. Plant only males as females produce smelly pulpy fruit. Not bothered by disease or insects. It likes sun or part shade. Once established they can survive dry seasons. It is a graceful tree, late to leaf in the Spring; sporting lime green, fan shaped leaves turning a spectacular gold in late fall.  It is described as …”undoubtedly one of the most distinct and beautiful of all deciduous trees”

AND…..Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets on Tuesday, November 21st at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

Follow us on facebook…

We Dig Chemainus                                                               October 2017

Time to dig it and plant bulbs and pansies at the traffic circle! Watch for and/or join us at 9a.m. Saturday October 28. 500 daffodils will be going into the circle!

The extended summer is a bonus…enjoy!

Thanksgiving weekend starts Oct 7…a time for family get-togethers and a time to be thankful that we live on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada…truly the best place in the world!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips                

  • Dig and divide rhubarb
  • Leave fallen leaves in flower beds as protection from winter cold
  • Divide large clumps of perennials
  • Plant new trees and shrubs
  • Winterize your pond and stretch net over to catch falling leaves
  • Aerate and top dress lawns, apply lime, sow seed until mid October
  • Clear beds of annuals and add compost by the end of the month
  • Buy and plant spring-blooming bulbs and plant those winter pansies
  • Divide clumps of herbs, and pot up young plants of chives, mint, oregano and parsley for indoor use
  • Plant garlic, shallots and overwintering onions before Thanksgiving
  • After first frost or at the end of the month dig up dahlias, gladiolas, tuberous begonias and fuschias and store in frost free place
  • Wet muddy soil must be corrected before winter. Use sand and peat moss.
  • Winterize irrigation systems
  • WAIT until December to prune trees

Did You Know…

…the flower of the month is the Calendulla, or pot marigold, depicting cruelty, grief and jealousy?

…that it takes the energy from 50 leaves to grow one apple?

…that the apple was the earliest of all fruits to be cultivated by man?

…that 35 to 40 apples are needed to make 8 pints of cider?

Pick of the Month –  colchicum autumnale, better known as Autumn Crocus

Unrelated to the Spring crocus it adds color to garden beds that have faded and are ready for winter hibernation. They are larger than the Spring variety and are either pink or mauve. They are unique, as their flowers emerge from the soil in September with no leaves, and bloom for two to three weeks. Come Spring, long, grass-like leaves sprout up and slowly die down over the duration of summer. It is a low maintenance bulb that returns annually. Its downside is that all parts of the plant are poisonus.

AND …..overheard in a garden shop..”I want to grow my own food, but I can’t find any bacon seeds:….

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next on Tuesday, October 16 at 7p.m. in  Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus September  2017

‘Beat the heat’ is the buzz phrase this summer! The summer that won’t end! It will be a summer remembered. We are SO fortunate to live on the Island away from the wild fires. Those poor folk will be in recovery for years to come. We wish them well.

As usual the weeds don’t care about drought and are thriving and the weeding sessions are having trouble keeping up but doing a stellar job, nonetheless.

Once September rolls around Communities in Bloom will be deciding on a new flower of the year and honing in on maintenance and new projects.

Enjoy the upcoming long weekend….

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

    • rake up leaves, twigs and fallen fruit from apple trees and dispose in the garbage to control apple scab disease, and discourage bears and deer!
    • Continue to feed and water container plants to keep the blooms blooming! STOP fertilizing perennials!
    • Pick up large pots of ‘mums’ to replace summer color
    • Prune summer flowering heathers
    • Prune climbing roses, wisteria and grapes
    • Pull up tomato plants at the end of the month. Unripened fruit will ripen indoors
    • Harvest potatoes when the tops die down
    • Cut back dahlias, halfway, and water copiously for fall flowers
    • Divide spring flowering perennials
    • Pot up chives, parsley and other herbs to extend the growing season to the house
    • Prune evergreens NOW or wait until April, minimize watering
    • Bring house plants that have summered outdoors, inside
    • Apply lime to lawns before grass gets sour and moss sets in
    • Plant spring bulbs as soon as the summer flowers are over – refresh soil
  • Plant pansies, forget-me-nots and wallflowers over bulbs to flower with them in the spring

Did You Know…

…that the flower of the month is the Aster – symbol of daintiness?

…2-3 Tbsp of cider vinegar in a cup with 2 drops of detergent placed on the kitchen counter overnight will rid your home of fruit flies?

…Half a lemon studded with whole cloves deters wasps?

…’As cool as a cucumber’ is an apt simile…as the inside of a cucumber can be as much as 11C cooler than the outside temperature?

Pick of the Month – Canna Lily (canna x generalis)

It is a rhizomatous perennial with tropical like bronze colored foliage growing 4-6 feet. The flowers resemble the iris and can be orange pink, red, white or yellow and bloom continually from early summer until frost. They like sunshine and high phosphate fertilizer and moist soil. Winter outdoors in zones 7 to 10, otherwise dig up and store in a dry place at 8C…sprinkle rhizomes with sand and keep moist.

AND…

Does a Bok bring you Choy? Then Lettuce all smile!

The next meeting of Chemainus Communities in Bloom will be Tuesday, September 12 @ 7p.m. in the Steeples Activity room

We Dig Chemainus                                                                                      August 2017

Well, summer arrived and stayed….right on time and staying for the duration! The red and whites and the weeds are lovin’ it!

Celebrate BC day on August 7th….kick back and enjoy your garden from an easy chair…..you deserve the day off!

Weed and feed sessions will continue through August and we would love to have you join us! July 27th and alternating Thursdays at the Henry Rd traffic circle at 4pm….see you there!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

    • Keep deadheading
    • Keep baskets and planters well fed, watered and deadheaded
    • Fertilize broccoli and cucumbers
    • Keep water from shrub leaves while hot sun is out
    • Divide iris
    • Prune climbing roses and fertilize with fish fertilizer spray
    • Trim evergreen hedges, including laurel
    • Trim conifers to maintain shape
    • To toughen trees, shrubs and perennials for winter, STOP fertilizing!
    • Remove finished annuals, such as nemesia and schizanthus
    • When cane plants such as raspberries are finished, cut the old canes to the ground
    • Plant winter kale and brussel sprouts
    • Brush the soil away from the tops of onions to assist in maturity
  • Cut back stems of pumpkins and trailing winter squash. Make the cut just above the leaf growing beyond the last formed fruit

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is the gladiola, meaning ‘give me a break’?

…that the tiny product label on apples and other fruits indicates how the product is grown? 4 digits indicate grown in a conventional manner, 5 digits beginning with a 9 is organic and 5 digits beginning with 8 is genetically modifies

…the world’s heaviest tomato ever grown was in 1986 weighing in at 7lbs 12 ozs

… it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than it has in it to begin with?

…peppers contain 5 times more vitamin C than oranges?

Pick of the Month – Coreopsis verticillata 

commonly known as ‘pot of gold’ or tickseed – a rhizomatous perennial which typically grows in dense bushy clumps, 1’-3’ high. Features yellow, daisy-like flowers, blooming throughout July and |August. Deer and drought resistant but attracts butterflies! Low maintenance and likes full sun.

AND…Real gardeners know they’re going to live forever. Why else would a ninety year old gardener plant two oak tree seedlings, then look through a catalogue for a hammock?!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next on Tuesday, August 15th, at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                                               July 2017

The red and white is beginning to bloom in the traffic circle at Henry Rd. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CANADA!!!  The sun was shining and our ‘big plant’ day was a ’big’ success! Many thanks to the Horseshoe Bay Inn for providing coffee and sandwiches to the hungry crew.

The red and white adopt-a-beds are springing up around town and will flourish in the summer sun for locals and tourists alike to enjoy!

The bi-weekly weeding sessions start June 29 at 4:00 p.m., at the Henry Rd traffic circle. and will continue every other Thursday until the Fall solstice…come join us!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Fertilize lilacs with a ‘flowering’ (15-30-15) fertilizer
  • Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs
  • Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4years
  • Dead head annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering
  • Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom!
  • Dead head and feed roses
  • Remember to water trees and shrubs using a watering can if necessary. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly.
  • Fuschias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold night
  • Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product
  • Sow late vegetable crops. Remove old and decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required
  • Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks
  • Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered
  • Dead head annuals to keep them blooming
  • Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply
  • Feed foliage, add a little liquid fertilizer to a water spray
  • Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip
  • When picking berries it is just as important to remove mouldy berries as to pick the good ones

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is larkspur meaning fickleness, or volubility?

…avocados and pumpkins are fruits while rhubarb is a vegetable?

…tomatoes will be sweeter if regularly sprinkled with baking soda?

…Tango is the most popular geranium in the entire world?

… a sunflower is not just one flower? And the fuzzy brown centre and the yellow petals are actually 1 – 2 thousand individual flowers held together on a single stalk?

Pick of the Month  –  geranium – (pelargonium x hortorum)

There are 422 species of this popular bedding and hanging basket annual that does well in almost any garden setting. A sunny location is best but most will tolerate light shade. Dead head regularly to keep plants blooming and tidy.

AND….Flowers grow in inches, but are destroyed by feet!

We Dig Chemainus                                       June  2017

‘tis planting time at the Henry Rd traffic circle! Saturday May 27!  Join the fun…bring a trowel and a smile!

Important dates to remember …Chemainus Garden tour, Sunday 11

… Father’s day, Sunday 18….red and white gardening gloves, a must!

… Summerfest parade, Saturday 24th, watch for the  Chemainus Communities in Bloom float!

A busy, fun filled month filled with sunshine  (we hope!) and laughter

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Finish planting hanging baskets, patio pots and window boxes with flowers – keep them well fed and watered during the summer months
  • Prune lilacs after blooming
  • Plant gladiloas for late summer color
  • Feed vegetable gardens once a month now through September with an all purpose fertilizer
  • Thin heavy crops of fruit on apple, pear and plum trees to reduce branch weight and increase fruit size
  • Keep compost piles dampened, and well aerated
  • Keep grass long…set mower blades to 11/2 to 2 inches, to keep lawn green and roots cool and moist
  • Feed fuschias, they need water and fertilizer frequently
  • Plant heat loving veggies such as cucumbers, egg plant and peppers
  • Dead head spring blooming flowers
  • Cut off chive flowers to encourage new growth

Did you know…

…Flower of the month is the rose?… meaning ‘I love you’…

…the wheelbarrow was invented in China in AD 231?

…bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant? It can grow 35” in a single day!

…coffee grounds mixed with carrot seeds increase quality and size of produce?

…the average strawberry has 200 seeds? It is the only fruit that bears its seeds on the outside

Pick of the Month  – Spanish lavender or Butterfly Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Long blooming lavender with dark purple flower spikes and purple bracts (or wings)

Grown for its silvery aromatic leaves. Loves hot weather, attracts butterflies, and is deer resistant. Likes well drained, sandy soil and is drought resistant

AND…new gardeners learn by trowel and error!

Next meeting for Communities in Bloom is June 20th, 7p.m. Steeples Activity room.

New members needed! For more info call Erica at 250-246- 3395

”LIKE” Chemainus Communities in Bloom on Facebook

We Dig Chemainus                                                                May 2017

A long wet Spring! Dashing out between rain showers to garden is a challenge. Our flower of the year, Prelude Begonia, seeds are packaged and ready for you to pick up at various outlets around town. The seeds are microscopic and mixed with sand so will need to be scattered in a pot and transplanted when large enough. Our flower baskets are ordered and Canada’s  150 red and white theme should be in place by June. The Henry Rd. traffic circle planting will be Saturday, May 27th ….come one, come all…..

Do It Now Tips

  • Divide primroses
  • All general plantings take place this month, flowers, veggies and new perennials
  • Clean up and fertilize rhodos and azaleas after flowering
  • Plant up your hanging baskets, patio tubs and planters
  • Color your hydrangeas – saltpeter for pink, alum for blue
  • Use straw as a mulch along strawberry rows.
  • Lawns are growing fast – feed a little but often – a thick turf needs less water
  • Spread wood ash around daphne, lilac, clematis, roses
  • Lightly cut back early blooming perennials after flowering.
  • Keep the slugs at bay
  • Be prepared to cover tender plants at night if there is a cold spell!

Did you know…

the flower of the month is the ‘lily of the valley’? meaning sweetness and humility?

…there is a Garden Tour, Sunday, June 11th, 10a.m. – 4p.m.? Tickets are available at Sandpiper for $12.00 ea. Visit gardens from Dogwood Rd. to Bare Pt.! Mark your calendar.

…Mother’s day is Sunday May 7th….another excuse to celebrate in red and white!

Pick of the Month – Western Trillium (trillium ovatum, also known as Wake Robin)

Blooms March to May, a native plant, common in south western BC, growing 8”- 15” high. There are two varieties of this perennial rhizome in BC. It was considered endangered and was protected until 2002. The flowers are white with 3 petals, sitting without a stem on three large leaves; does well in woodland, and mossy locations.

AND – Everyone has these on their face?   Tulips!

Our next meeting is Tuesday, May 16, 7p.m., Steeples Activity room….newcomers most welcome! For further info call Erica at 250-246-3395

We Dig Chemainus                                                   April  2017

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz….or has it? We are certainly off to a slow start this year and the deer are nibbling the shoots as fast as they appear. Easter is just two weeks away and whether or not the trees will be in all their glory is a wait and see game. Communities in Bloom is out of hibernation and raring to go. The first weed and feed behind us. Planting will likely be a couple of weeks behind schedule but we are excited about our red and white theme. Our latest adopt-a-bed at Kin Park is looking promising.

The Flower of the Year , the Prelude begonia, seeds will be available at the end of the month. Happy Easter everyone….happy planting.

Our condolences go out to Frank Bollinger on the loss of his wife, Linda. She and Frank were very involved with the design of the traffic circle at Henry Rd. and Linda has always been a strong supporter of the group. Frank continues to be a steadfast member, and our ‘go to’ guy.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Check for winter damage and prune or replace,
  • All spring digging should be completed by the end of the month
  • Shear winter flowering heathers and forsythia after blooming
  • Plant glads and dahlias in Easter week
  • Plant porch and patio tubs
  • All plants and the lawns need help with spring growth…feed!
  • Conifers should be pruned before new growth starts
  • Sow grass seed
  • Rake grass before mowing, keep at 11/2 – 2 inch height
  • Herbs like lime and grit. Mix one handful of ground oysters shells into each herb planting hole
  • Remove, by rubbing, all soft buds now appearing on main trunk of young trees
  • Bait garden and flower beds for slugs
  • Deadhead spring bulbs but do not cut back on the leaves
  • Plant fuschias and red hot pokers to attract hummingbirds
  • Sow the Flower of the Year, the Prelude begonia seeds

Did you know…

…that the flower of the month is the Sweet Pea, meaning goodbye?

…coffee grounds are a great fertilizer and attract earthworms?

…crushed egg shells mixed into soil around cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower provide the extra calcium they need?

…most plants dislike fennel? Plant it away from your garden.

…soaking the seeds of swiss chard, beets, and peas for 15 to 20 minutes before planting helps germination?

Pick of the Month – the Camellia (camellia japonica)

A popular evergreen shrub; flourishes in acid soil; needs partial shade, cool roots and sheltered position. Flowers are single, semi-double or double and range from bright white to red. Choose from many, many varieties .

AND…my wife is a water sign. I am an earth sign. Together we make mud!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meets, Tuesday, April 18th, 7p.m. Steeples Activity Room

We Dig Chemainus                                                   March  2017

Where are the flowers? The big snows of 2017 will be remembered for some time! The witch hazel has soldiered on and is blooming as are the hazel nut trees. Communities in Bloom will have their first meeting of the year in mid March and the topics will centre around ‘red and white’ and the countdown to Canada’s 150th birthday. This is the time to plan your red and white garden…maybe splurge on a white lilac for spring and/or a Japanese maple with its crimson fall colour?

Daylight saving arrives March 12 at 2a.m. The first day of Spring is Monday, March 20…. time to start diggin’!

Celebrate with the Welsh on Tuesday March 1, St David’s day, with daffodils and leeks. The shamrock  takes over  on March 17th,  Ireland’s St. Paddy’s day.

Chemainus Communities in Bloom flower of the year is the Prelude begonia, white and red, of course, watch for free seeds at local businesses in April.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Fertilize rhodos, azaleas and camelias
  • Cut down ornamental grasses and sword ferns
  • Prune your roses when the forsythia blooms
  • Start turning the soil in your vegetable garden
  • Apply mulch and well rotted manure to fruit trees, bush and cane fruits
  • Bait the garden and flower bed for slugs
  • Cut off dead growth and divide crowded perennials. Replant only the outer pieces of a clump in soil replenished with compost and a little bone meal
  • If gladiolas and dahlias are sprouted, expose to daylight and divide dahlias by cutting the bulbs between the eyes
  • Turn the compost pile and start new ones
  • Rake moss from the grass, top dress with peat moss, seed bare spots
  • This is a great time to buy spring flowering trees and shrubs
  • Fertilize lawns
  • Replace old overgrown lavenders and prune young plants
  • Time to hang up your humming bird feeders….one cup sugar to 4 cups water…boil well to ensure the sugar is dissolved

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is the Daffodil meaning affection and sympathy?

…the Ginko (ginko biloba) tree dates back about 250 million years ago?

…that peanuts are not nuts but legumes related to beans and lentils?

…that the world’s tallest tree is the Coast Redwood (sequoia simpervirens)?

…that aliums are from the same family as a sweet Spanish onion?

…that St. Patrick was not born in Ireland?

…that there is one 4 leafed clover for every 10,000 3 leafed?

Pick of the Month –Red Flowering currant ( ribes sanguineum)

A member of the gooseberry family.  Many varieties, most 4-6 feet high, sporting a profusion of red flowers in early spring, attracting both humans and hummingbirds alike!

Native to BC, the First Nations knew it as a food plant. It does well in shade or sun.

AND…

What do you call a big Irish spider?  A Paddy long legs!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets on the third Tuesday of the month. March 21st at 7p.m., Steeples Activity room.

We Dig Chemainus                                                   February 2017

We saw snow! And we had a taste of winter. Will Groundhog day predict more or are we in the clear?  Only Mr Groundhog knows….  

Family day will be celebrated on Feb13….and Valentine’s day will follow on it’s heels…a good time to plan your red and white garden to celebrate Canada’s 150th.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Start hoeing and pulling weeds to avoid overload later. The soggy ground makes it easier.
  • Shrubs, roses and deciduous trees can be transplanted as soon as the soil is workable
  • Cut away any broken branches from winter storms as close to the main branch as possible.
  • Create new rock gardens away from trees and shrubs.
  • Prune back lateral and side branches of wisteria to within 2-3 buds
  • Bring dahlias  into the warmth; divide and expose new shoots to daylight.
  • Prune and fertilize fruit trees before blossom time . All pruning of trees and vines must be done before the sap runs.
  • Sow hardy annual seeds, such as sweet peas, and california poppy where they are to bloom as soon as weather breaks
  • Plant broad beans and peas mid month and peas and radish late February.
  • Plan to grow a new vegetable that you have never grown before. Dwarf varieties use less space and produce more food per square foot!
  • Divide Pampas grass and red hot poker plants
  • Check stored bulbs, tubers and corms and discard any soft or diseased
  • Moss likes cold wet mild winters. Kill it now.
  • Clean and sharpen tools
  • Turn compost

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is the Violet? meaning modesty,virtue and faithfulness

…Butchart Gardens is rated 4th in the top 10 most beautiful gardens in the world?

…a herb is from the leaf of a plant, and a spice is from the seed, bark, root, berry or bulb?

… the African violet flowers best when they are root bound?….use small pots!

Pick of the Month… the Violet

Over 400 species; easy care; likes filtered shade; makes an excellent ground cover, and has a dainty little flower. Divide in March. Bird’s foot violets are extremely beautiful and a little more difficult to grow but will thrive if planted in well drained soil and partial shade.

AND…

In keeping with our red and white theme: I dropped a bottle of ketchup on my foot. It caused immense pain To ma toes!

Communities in Bloom will be meeting on March 21st at 7p..m in Steeples Activity room.

We Dig Chemainus                                                                           December  2016

Once again it’s time to hibernate and let the snow birds in our group fly! It’s been a good year! Now is the time to enjoy the season, family and friends.

Winter solstice is Wednesday, December 21 marking the shortest day of the year. Notice your noon hour shadow, the longest of the year! Happy solstice!

Our Croft street project is almost complete and our newest adopt-a-bed at Kin Park is planted and ready for Spring. Who knows what projects our birthday year will hold?

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Time to prune peach trees and begin spraying fruit trees with dormant oil
  • Plant successive winter flowering heathers to give winter color
  • Stake young trees
  • Plant Windsor beans and round seeded peas for early vegetables
  • If grass gets too long due to mild weather, cut it and apply lime
  • Watch for wet areas in your lawn and apply coarse sand
  • Remove dead leaves from your lawn
  • Keep off the lawn when it is covered with frost or snow
  • Cut back hardy chrysanthemums as soon as flowers are over
  • When buying a live Christmas tree, remember that the trees traditionally sold grow very large in time. If you have a small garden ask for a tree that stays small
  • Lightly prune holly and evergreens and use clippings for wreaths
  • Expensive ceramic pots should be emptied and brought inside as they crack with frost
  • If you are considering a live, potted tree, locate it in as cool a spot as possible, keep it damp, and only keep it indoors for 7 to 10 days. Do not use hot lights and move the plant out of the house to a sheltered place, such as a carport. to reacclimatize
  • Have you drained and put away your hose? Have you turned off indoor taps and drained pipes and sprinkler systems?

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is the paper white narcissus, meaning formality, stay as sweet as you are?

…your cut Christmas tree can drink 1 quart of water for every inch of trunk diameter?

…Potassium based ice melting products are less harmful to plants than chloride based?

…Christmas trees are edible? Needles are a good source of vitamin C?

…Mistletoe was so revered by the early Britons it had to be cut with a golden sickle?

Pick of the Month – Bodnant viburnum ‘Dawn’

Known for its fragrant pink blooms in mid December to early Spring. Plant in an area that can be viewed easily from indoors against a dark background such as an evergreen hedge or dark stained fence. It can reach 3m high and is hardy to -20C. Cut branches will force easily for winter bouquets.

AND…

How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizaas?  One that is deep pan, crisp and even…..

Chemainus Communities in Bloom next meet on Tuesday, March 21st, 7p.m. at Steeples. Watch facebook for updates

We Dig Chemainus                                                   November  2016

The marathon is over….1385 daffodils, and 918 pansies have been planted in the Henry Rd traffic circle in under 2 hours by our hardy volunteers! Watch for an explosion of yellow in the spring. Thanks to the Shoe Pub for the much needed refreshments following the dig!  Our summer plantings will be red and white, celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday! Watch for flower of the year news and available seeds in the Spring. Join the party and plant red and white tulips, NOW! Just watch out for the deer…

The Croft St planting is well underway. Many thanks go to JEMICO for the soil and mulch.

Halloween is upon us….plant up those pumpkins with colorful mums as an outdoor treat!

Commemorate November 11th. Wear your poppy proudly and celebrate our true land strong and free. Red poppies would be a fun way to go to celebrate that 150th!

And….a gentle reminder… the clocks fall back Nov 6.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Clean, repair and sharpen all tools before hanging them up for winter
  • Turn off your water to the outside taps and open taps to drain remaining water in the pipes
  • Give roses a final dead heading and prune lightly
  • Dig up gladiolas
  • A good time to transplant shrubs, plant new trees, and plant tulip bulbs using a bone meal fertilizer
  • Running a mower over dried leaves to chop them up hastens their decomposition in compost piles
  • Apply lime to next year’s vegetable garden excluding the potato patch and lime lawns to help prevent moss growth
  • Mulch asparagus beds
  • Tie up shrubs and vines against wind or wet snow damage
  • Prune raspberry canes, cutting out the old and tying the new
  • Continue planting spring bulbs using
  • Plant garlic and over wintering onions
  • Plant paper white narcissus in pots for indoor Christmas flowers

Did You Know?…

…the flower of the month is the chrysanthemum meaning desolate heart?

…November is the best month to plant tulip bulbs?

… tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold in Holland in the 1600s?

…sunflowers follow the sun throughout the day from East to West?

…small pockets of air inside cranberries cause them to bounce and float in water?

Pick of the month…Sumac (Rhus)

Most common on the West Coast are the R. glabra and R typhina |(staghorn) varieties. Both are very hardy at extreme temperatures and are tolerant of most soil conditions. They can grow from 15’-30’ high and wide. Leaves are divided in 11-31 , 5” long , toothed leaflets, turning a brilliant yellow, orange and red in the fall.

AND…..How do  trees access the internet? They ‘log’ on……

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets on Tuesday, November 15th at 7p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                                               October 2016

Time to dig up the color and plant the daffodils! It has been fun! Next year will be Canada’s 150th birthday….. look for red and white in the flower beds!

Watch for fall planting on Croft St….more trees, not only decorative but helping our struggling environment.

Join us for the big bulb plant at Henry Rd on October 22nd

Enjoy Thanksgiving !!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips                

  • Dig and divide rhubarb
  • Leave fallen leaves in flower beds as protection from winter cold
  • Divide large clumps of perennials
  • Plant new trees and shrubs
  • Winterize your pond and stretch net over to catch falling leaves
  • Aerate and top dress lawns, apply lime, sow seed until mid October
  • Clear beds of annuals and add compost by the end of the month
  • Buy and plant spring-blooming bulbs and plant those winter pansies
  • Divide clumps of herbs, and pot up young plants of chives, mint, oregano and parsley for indoor use
  • Plant garlic, shallots and overwintering onions before Thanksgiving
  • After first frost or at the end of the month dig up dahlias, gladiolas, tuberous begonias and fuschias and store in frost free place
  • Wet muddy soil must be corrected before winter. Use sand and peat moss.
  • Winterize irrigation systems
  • WAIT until December to prune trees

Did You Know…

…the flower of the month is the Calendulla, or pot marigold, depicting cruelty, grief and jealousy?

…the world record for heaviest tomato is 3.51kg (7lbs 12 ozs) in Oklahoma?

…basil and yogurt and applying on the skin may clear up acne?

…Canadian Thanksgiving has been a holiday since November 6, 1875 but was officially  declared to be on the second Monday of October on January 31st, 1957?

Pick of the Month –  Cyclamen coum

A hardy, wonderful, groundcover. Tolerant of all average soils. Light pink blossoms 4” high, flowering from August – October and January – March. Leaves may appear before or with the flowers.

AND …..What do you call it when worms take over the world? Global worming!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets on Tuesday, October 18 at 7p.m. in  Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                                   September  2016

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Another wonderful, colourful summer! Fun in the sun!

Lots of weeds competing with our flowers this year, so the Weed and Feed sessions have increased, but the colour at Henry Rd is the best yet!

Plans will soon be underway for next year. Labour Day and Back to School, around the corner…where did the summer go? Enjoy these last few days!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • rake up leaves, twigs and fallen fruit from apple trees and dispose in the garbage to control apple scab disease, and discourage bears and deer!
  • Summer is not over, continue to feed and water container plants to keep the blooms blooming! Stop fertilizing perennials!
  • Pick up large pots of ‘mums’ to replace summer colour
  • Prune summer flowering heathers
  • Prune climbing roses, wisteria and grapes
  • Pull up tomato plants at the end of the month. Unripened fruit will ripen indoors
  • Harvest potatoes when the tops die down
  • Cut back dahlias, halfway, and water copiously for fall flowers
  • Divide spring flowering perennials
  • Pot up chives, parsley and other herbs to extend the growing season to the house
  • Prune evergreens NOW or wait until April, minimize watering
  • Bring house plants that have summered outdoors, inside
  • Apply lime to lawns before grass gets sour and moss sets in
  • Plant spring bulbs as soon as the summer flowers are over – refresh soil
  • Plant pansies, forget-me-nots and wallflowers over bulbs to flower with them in the spring

Did You Know…

…that the flower of the month is the Aster – symbol of daintiness?

…that nasturtium flowers are edible?….decorate a salad and enjoy

…that a flat stone placed under a melon helps absorb heat and ripen them more evenly?

…that a chrysanthemum in the vegetable garden is like a canary in a coal mine? The mum wilts before other plants, giving you an early warning to start watering.

Pick of the Month – Chrysanthemum

Native to Asia, the chrysanthemum is available in many shapes, colours and sizes. They are hardy with few insect or disease problems. Like full sun. Suggested varieties are ‘Helen’ – red bloom, 16’, ’My Favorite’ – vigorous and can grow up to 4’, ‘Nicole’ – white with spoon-like petals 16” and ‘Sweet Stacey’ – peach coloured daisy flowers, 16”

AND ….it being an Olympic year….which veggie plays  sports? Squash!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets on Sept. 20, 7p.m. at Steeples.

Newcomers always welcome!

A monthly column written for the Chemainus Valley Courier

We Dig Chemainus                                                               August 2016

Summer seems to come and go…quite a change from the continual heat of 2015.

The weeds are loving it and Communities in Bloom is having to add extra weeding times, well worth the effort, though, as our zinnias are putting on a good show.

Market day started well but became a bit soggy….we hope to have some new members soon.

Weed and feed sessions will continue through August and we would love to have you join us!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Keep deadheading
  • Keep baskets and planters well fed, watered and deadheaded
  • Fertilize broccoli and cucumbers
  • Keep water from shrub leaves while hot sun is out
  • Divide iris
  • Prune climbing roses and fertilize with fish fertilizer spray
  • Trim evergreen hedges, including laurel
  • Trim conifers to maintain shape
  • To toughen trees, shrubs and perennials for winter, STOP fertilizing!
  • Remove finished annuals, such as nemesia and schizanthus
  • When cane plants such as raspberries are finished, cut the old canes to the ground
  • Plant winter kale and brussel sprouts
  • Brush the soil away from the tops of onions to assist in maturity
  • Cut back stems of pumpkins and trailing winter squash. Make the cut just above the leaf growing beyond the last formed fruit

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is the gladiola, meaning ‘give me a break’?

…slices of cucumber in an aluminum dish and placed in the garden will repel slugs? When cucumbers react with aluminum it creates an odor distasteful to the slug!

…that when a wasp stings, the intense flash of pain is caused not by the stinger but by the venom?

Pick of the Month = phlox paniculata

Summer is at its peak when you see the tall stately colorful, scented flowers of the phlox.

Protect from deer and plant in full sun. Divide every 2-3 years to ensure healthy, disease free plants. To prevent mildew water roots and keep foliage dry. Best grown in large clumps.

AND…why do melons have fancy weddings? Because they cantaloupe!

Chemainus Communities in Bloom meets next on Tuesday, August 16th, 7 p.m. in the Steeples activity room. Newcomers always welcome!

We Dig Chemainus                                       July 2016

Our big ‘planting’ day has come and gone and the flower beds are already colourful….showing great promise for the summer. There was a turnout of 26 despite the grey skies and damp atmosphere, planting close to 4,000 annuals! Many thanks to the Horseshoe Bay Inn for providing sustenance to the shivering souls.

A shout out also goes to Jemico Enterprises for providing the bark mulch for the Golf Course parking lot berm.

The bi-weekly weeding sessions start June 30 at 4:00 p.m., and will continue every other Thursday until the Fall solstice…come join us!

Look for us downtown on Market day….just around the corner in early July.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Fertilize lilacs with a ‘flowering’ (15-30-15) fertilizer
  • Prune weigelia, mock orange and other flowering shrubs
  • Divide and replant bearded iris every 3-4years
  • Dead head annuals and perennials regularly to encourage flowering
  • Cut faded delphiniums to ground level to stimulate a second bloom!
  • Dead head and feed roses
  • Remember to water trees and shrubs using a watering can if necessary. Check hanging baskets and planters daily, as they dry out quickly.
  • Fuschias need plenty of water and protection from hot sun and cold night
  • Keep baiting soil for slugs using an environmentally safe product
  • Sow late vegetable crops. Remove old and decaying leaves. Stake and support plants as required
  • Continue to sow lettuce, peas and leeks
  • Stop cutting rhubarb so the plant can store energy – keep it well watered
  • Dead head annuals to keep them blooming
  • Spend some time checking plants for pests and treat before they multiply
  • Feed foliage, add a little liquid fertilizer to a water spray
  • Snap wisteria and grape vines at joint near tip
  • When picking berries it is just as important to remove mouldy berries as to pick the good ones

Did you know…

…the flower of the month is larkspur meaning fickleness, or volubility

…3 cups of used coffee grounds a season are recommended for rhododendrons and azaleas?

…potatoes do not do well planted near pumpkin, tomato  and sunflowers. The presence of these plants lowers the potatoes resistance to blight?

…that the Germans used to hang a jar with a little beer in the fruit trees in wasp season to let the beasties drown at their leisure?

Pick of the Month  –  Yucca

Evergreen perennials, shrubs or trees! Who knew? Also known as Spanish dagger, Soapweed and Adam’s needle. They grow over much of N. America and hardiness depends on the species. All have tough sword shaped leaves and large clusters of whitish flowers. Best in full sun in well drained soil Once established can be very drought tolerable.

AND….What do you get when you cross a canary and a lawnmower?   Shredded tweet!

We Dig Chemainus                                       June  2016

Join in the fun….planting starts Saturday, May 28….9a.m.  Come join us and bring a friend! The more hands the merrier

A local neighbour has expressed concerns about the struggling bee population. We are encouraging gardeners (and non gardeners!) to plant bee friendly blossoms such as wild flowers, thyme, lavender and daisies.

Don’t forget Father’s day…gardening supplies are always appreciated!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Finish planting hanging baskets, patio pots and window boxes with flowers – keep them well fed and watered during the summer months
  • Prune lilacs after blooming
  • Plant gladiloas for late summer color
  • Feed vegetable gardens once a month now through September with an all purpose fertilizer
  • Thin heavy crops of fruit on apple, pear and plum trees to reduce branch weight and increase fruit size
  • Keep compost piles dampened, and well aerated
  • Keep grass long…set mower blades to 11/2 to 2 inches, to keep lawn green and roots cool and moist
  • Feed fuschias, they need water and fertilizer frequently
  • Plant heat loving veggies such as cucumbers, egg plant and peppers
  • Dead head spring blooming flowers
  • Cut off chive flowers to encourage new growth

Did you know…Rose-Bush-800x500

…Flower of the month is the rose?… meaning ‘I love you’…

…The best time to water is just after sun rise?

…there is a safe and effective way to get rid of wasps?…6ozs vinegar, 2tbs sugar, one teaspoon salt ….place in bowls around the yard…wasps will go to drink and drown

…Aphids on nasturtiums indicate a lime deficiency in the soil?….dust with lime and the aphids will disappear

…Tomatoes, unlike other vegetables, like to grow in the same place, year after year?

Pick of the Month – Coreopsis also called Tickseed

Perrenial, summer flowering, a mounding plant producing masses of lemon yellow daisy like flowers, grows up to 2’

AND…What does the letter “A have in common with a flower?…they both have bees coming after them.

Next meeting for Communities in Bloom is June 21st, 7p.m. Steeples Activity room.

New members needed! For more info call Erica at 250-246- 3395

We Dig Chemainus                                                                May 2016

Another beautiful early Spring allowing one and all to get an early start on their gardens.

Communities in Bloom logged 1,082 hours last year, to provide the blooms so enjoyed this year. Once again the Henry Rd traffic circle and surrounds will be filled with colour for the summer. This year the work party will be on May 28….come join us…all you need are gloves and a trowel….gardening knowledge not necessary….this is a fun day!

Flower of the Year is the Magellan Zinnia…free seeds are available at 9 locations around town if you want to join in the colour fest.

We are pleased to work with the Municipality and appreciate their adding a new picnic bench to Gerry Smith park and adding the split rail fence to the new pear tree berm across from the Golf Course.

Happy planting!

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

  • Divide primroses
  • All general plantings take place this month, flowers, veggies and new perennials
  • Clean up and fertilize rhodos and azaleas after flowering
  • Plant up your hanging baskets, patio tubs and planters
  • Color your hydrangeas – saltpeter for pink, alum for blue
  • Use straw as a mulch along strawberry rows.
  • Lawns are growing fast – feed a little but often – a thick turf needs less water
  • Spread wood ash around daphne, lilac, clematis, roses
  • Lightly cut back early blooming perennials after flowering.
  • Keep the slugs at bay
  • Be prepared to cover tender plants at night if there is a cold spell!

Did you know…Lily of the Valley

the flower of the month is the ‘lily of the valley’? meaning sweetness and
humility?

…rhubarb is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine

chickweed is named for its use as food for chickens

…bright colors , like golden rubekia, attract beneficial insects to your garden

… mosquitos hate rosemary, lemon balm, garlic, lavender, basil amd marigolds?  

…Mother’s day is Sunday, May 8 th?

Pick of the Month – the Dandelion!

DandelionThe dandelion is the only flower that represents the sun, the moon and the stars. Its yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball the moon and the seeds the stars. It opens to greet the morning and closes at night to sleep. Every part is edible and can be used for food medicine and dye. In the 1800s people pulled up grass to make room for the dandelions!

AND – A New Age Veggie Song

Peas would rule the planets, and love would clear the bars. It was the dawning of the Age of Asparagus.

Our next meeting is Tuesday, May 17, 7p.m., Steeples Activity room….newcomers most welcome! For further info call Erica at 250-246-3395