Oshawa Garden Club keeping our community green

Ted's Garden

by member Ted Brown

Hi Folks, I wanted to talk about where I’m at chronologically as it relates to my garden. How my garden is still evolving. A lot of you have seen my gardens and you’ll realize that I have a penchant for big showy plants , even flowers. Instead of a nice rudbeckia fulgida goldsturm or midsized blackeyed susan, why not a seven foot tall Rudbeckia nitida herbstsonne ‘Autumn Sun’ or cut leaf rudbeckia. Especially if it puts on a show and hides an area you want hidden. I use mine to hide the openings in a fence that has vertical alternating boards. And my yards are full of big showy flowers and shrubs, let’s not forget the roses. I spent a lot of years planting roses, all shrub or climber, and tons of small shrubs, some dwarf cultivars. So I thought. Well let me tell you, those dwarfs and other small shrubs get bigger than you assumed they would. That was the key word obviously. Those big plants take a lot of work to maintain. And more work as I get older doesn’t thrill me a whole lot so, time to start trimming. I know the plants that I like best after all these years and the ones that need the most upkeep.

So, time to start taking out a whole lot of those roses and shrubs. I’m down to eight rose bushes out of 31. I still have 27 shrubs and many of those big flowers are gone. I am down to three clumps of the cutleaf rudbeckia . And what have I been replacing them with to save me a lot of hard work. Instead of taking three or four days cutting most of it down every fall, other than the grasses and odd plants that I keep for the birds. What is my savior? Well, it’s daylilies, hostas and phlox paniculata. I don’t know of a better late blooming perennial that provides a lot of colour, fragrance and is also an easy plant to take care of than phlox . Neither does it require very much of anything to make it happy. While mildew used to be a big problem with the plant, no longer. It would still be wise not to crowd them. Make sure that the plant has some breathing room to control the moisture. And there are so many great colours. As for the hostas and daylilies, they’re perfect just about. They bloom for a decent amount of time, put on a superb show and also come in many great colours. More important in my opinion is that they both cover ground, the foliage provides shade to shade loving smaller plants but also blocks sunlight to a lot of weed seedlings. Should the odd weed survive and grow, it’s easily recognizable amongst the hostas and daylilies so easily picked and controlled. So they’re great ground cover, weed suppressors. And I love ground covers, things like deadnettle or lamium maculatum are excellent in many applications . I really like it around shrubs plus plenty of other places.

So, as you can see, my garden is still evolving, probably always will. It’s become much easier to take care of. With hostas and daylilies, you can just let the foliage die back and start deteriorating over the winter and clean it up in the spring before the new heads start popping through the ground. Meaning early spring while the ground is still a bit frozen. It's easier to take down the scapes too when the foliage has died back. No more days of cutting back big bulky plants. Very little fall cleanup at all other that the phlox and a few I’ll never part with plants. The shrubs that I have kept are special ones that serve many purposes and do not require yearly care unless truly warranted. My absolute favourite shrub for putting on a spring show is beauty bush, Kolkwitzia amabalis Pink Cloud although I’m looking for an even better cultivar called Dream Catcher because it puts on great fall colour which Pink Cloud does not. It might require minimal trimming. I have plenty of other great shrubs but I always try to look for three possibly four season interest. There actually are plenty. No less than two though, some twos are still keepers. That being said, I still have changes that I plan on making, always a game plan. I don’t want to take all of the tasks away, some of them are quite pleasurable. Don’t you enjoy a bright sunny day in the garden in the spring. Fresh air and sunshine in the garden at any time of year is something I always enjoy but I also believe that I’ll be pushing up daisies one day so there is more to think about in my case. While my wife might enjoy taking fresh cut flowers to the gym and picking fresh fruit and vegetables from the gardens, she is not a gardener per se. So, time to start thinking with both your brain and your heart, right? When in fact I succumb to destiny , she would be lost as to how she would maintain my gardens. Which means paying a fair amount of money to somebody that would maintain it. And would they even have any clue about some of the plants in my gardens. Improper techniques might not have an everlasting detrimental effect on most plants but it might on some or it might simply affect next year’s bloom. And that meant really analyzing the garden and doing whatever it took to minimize the amount of time and work that it took to maintain it all. Not the amount of time you spend in the garden though. Now we should have time to sit back and smell the roses. If you chose the right species and cultivars.

Happy Gardening Folks,


D17 AGM Show Schedule

The District 17 AGM 2016 will be held Saturday, April 30, hosted by the Brooklin Horticultural Society.

Humour In The Garden

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OGC Plant Sale Video

The Oshawa Garden Club plant sale will be held on Saturday, May 28, 9 -3, rain or shine.

Location: G.L. Roberts High School, 399 Chaleur Ave., Oshawa.

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Here’s a great video member Merle put together of what to look for.

OGC Volunteer Hours

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