Category Archives for Gardening

Lilacs Need Their Flowers Cut

This is the week when I’ll be cutting flowers off my lilac bush daily.

Though this idea seems like rough treatment, it isn’t. I assure you that the lilac bush I have is at least 40 years old. The monster has been thriving since we moved into our house 23 years ago. This year its blooming with more flowers than ever before.

All plants should be pruned after they have flowered. In the case of lilacs and tulips, the plant will grow stronger if you cut off flowers before  seeds set.

Old-fashioned lilacs have the best scent, but they also sucker terribly. Those have to be trimmed also.

You can also prune long lilac branches to keep bushes low. If you have a lilac that’s trained as a standard (ie one main trunk so that it looks like a tree), aggressive annual pruning keeps the tree looking good.

Be sure to cut no more than one-third of the tree branches to keep the beast in shape. More than that, and you could kill a wonderful bloomer.

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When to sow seeds in Montreal

Are you wondering when to sow seeds in Montreal?

Here’s my guide to when you should sow seeds indoors before the season begins and outdoors when you see common plants blooming.

Date Bloom Sow inside Sow outside Other info
February 18, 2019 peppers, zinnias
February 25, 2019 datura, delphiniums, nicotiana
March 4, 2019 cabbage, tomatoes
March 11, 2019 brussel sprouts, celeriac
March 18, 2019 marigolds, green cauliflower
April 15, 2019
Spring 2012

April in the garden

daffodil, forsythia Cold hardy seeds such as: allysum, baby’s breath, chard, calendula, carrots, cornflower, hollyhock, impatiens, lovage, peas, poppies, radishes, rudbeckia, spinach, sweet pea flowers
lilac, dogwood Cold hardy seedlings such as: cabbage, broccoli, dusty miller, feathertop grass, larkspur, leek, onion, pansy, penstemon, salvia and snapdragon
May 20, 2019 summer savory
May 27, 2019 nicotiana
May 31, 2019 average last frost
June 3, 2019 datura, delphinium, brussel sprouts
spirea (all the pink types) Cold tender seeds such as: basil, beans, beets, borage, catnip, cilantro, corn, chervil, cucumber, dandelion, delphinium, green manures, lavatera, lettuce, okra, melon, marigold, mint, morning glory, nasturtiums, nicotiana, parsley, petunia, savory, sunflower, thyme, zinnia
black locust trees, Vanhoutte spirea (the white one) Cold tender plants, such as anise, datura, dahlia, dematis, grapes, ladies mantle, lavender, peppers, tomatoes
Mock orange, catalpa Fall seeds, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, cauliflower, fennel

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Seven Hardy Fruits for Montreal Gardeners

If you’re a gardener in Montreal, you’ll want to plant seven fruits that are hardy in our northern climate and make for great eating.

Crabapple (Malus ‘Lollizam’)

Lollipop crabapples grow 10ft-high and get white flowers in spring. Small yellow fruit appears in the fall.

Pear (Pyrus communis ‘Savignac’)

One of the three varieties I love is Savignac, a small round easy eating pear named after Brother Armand Savignac, a Joliette priest who got the then un-named cultivar from the Canada Experimental Farm in 1947.

Raspberries (rubus)

Yellow, red and black are available.

Saskatoon Berry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

The tiny blue berries this plant produces in mid-June aren’t quite as sweet as the woodland bush berries they resemble, but the plant grows easily because it’s so hardy and contains thousands of berries. The Saskatchewan city of the same name was named after the native plant. White flowers cover the plant in the spring, right after Magnolias and Forsythias.

Grape (Maréchal Foch)

These red grapes are a hybrid from Alcace and were originally called Kuhlmann 188-2 (one of whose parents was Goldriesling). The grape gets its name from a General who served in the French army during World War I.

Plum

Get some trees from Stefan Sobkowiak, one of Quebec’s permiculture experts and the owner of Miracle Farms in Cazaville if you can.

Strawberries

Who can deny strawberries. These ground-covering plants are so tasty and easy to grow as long as you move the patch every three or four years. I like the traditional June-bearing variety, because I find the berries taste much better.

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Spring Temperatures

The weather remains unpredictable this spring, but despite that, I highly recommend taking lots of photographs beginning this week. Things are beginning to bud, and perhaps as early as this weekend, you’ll be taking some of the prettiest shots possible.

Historical weather trends appear in the chart below.

Spring National Temperature Departures and Long-term Trend, 1948 – 2011

The national temperature departures table shows the full list of spring values in the order from warmest to coolest. It shows that 3 of the ten warmest springs occurred within the last decade, and 9 of the last 20 years are listed among the 20 warmest.

Source, Environment Canada,

http://www.ec.gc.ca/adsc-cmda/default.asp?lang=En&n=4CC724DA-1

 

Nature’s Spring Flower Show

 

Daffodils, magnolia, forsythia and hyacinth are just beginning to bud and I expect they’ll bloom together in my garden in the next week or so for a joy-bringing concert of colour and a pleasant break from the computer.

This glorious show appears regularly every spring on its own with very little help from me. I’ll need to spend an hour cutting down the grasses and raking some leaves off the carpets of purple crocus, and that’s it.

The wildlife in my region are also quite active at this time of year, as you can see in Jean-Marc Lacoste’s superb video. Lacoste took this footage along LaSalle, Verdun and Nun’s Island waterfront and in Angrignon Park between April 1 and 17, 2012, but it’s still well worth checking out. You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0sTQjGd7P4.

 

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