Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city.

Category: Gardening (page 1 of 6)

May 26th: Plant giveaway in the Sud-Ouest borough

This is just a quick note to announce that it’s tomorrow when the Sud-Ouest, and many other boroughs in Montreal, give away flowers and herbs in their annual Bellissement campaign. 

It begins at 9 and lineups are long, but sometimes, depending on where you go, coffee and snacks are graciously provided by a sponsor.

Bring a bin or box to carry home your plants, and a bucket for compost.

Check the above link for location details and search out whether your own borough (if not Sud-Ouest) is offering the same this weekend.

If you found this post useful and would like to see a mailing list that announces things like it, get your email on the list.

Once I have enough subscribers, I’ll start a newsletter for weeks between blog posts, with DIYs, Q&As, and event announcements.

A clutter of resources to help you design your garden

Well, here we are, late March! Are you ready to get down to designing the layout of your garden? For those who have space – such as those who’ve not planted a garden before, or those who get to plan theirs anew every year – you need to have a rough plan. This’ll let you know how many seedlings you should start or have on hand of each kind of plant. Know first that we gardeners always get overambitious, and end up tending tonnes of seedlings we have to give away! What’s worse is planting seeds that never germinate, or else germinate and fail. Planning helps deal with this disappointment.

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A seed library catalog at the Westmount library

Once upon a time when I was at the Westmount Public Library, I saw something to get excited about: they’re reusing their old card catalog, situated near the main circulation (borrowing) desk, as a Seed Library.

I spoke with Daniel, who is responsible for it. It started in May 2016, and last year they reopened it in April 2017, when they learned that’s way too late for most gardeners. So this year, they’re opening the seed library on Monday, February 26. The quick explanation of what it is? “Free seeds for members for more than 50 varieties of plants. ”

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Butterflies to see and links to share for Pollinator Week

It’s said that birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammal pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of our food. Pollinating flowers is a serious job. For this reason, the Pollinator Partnership organization created an event called Pollinator Week, every year around the third week of June – this year (2017), it’s June 19-25. I blogged about it a few years ago, with a bonus DIY Mason Bee house project.

It’s very important to give honeybees and native insect pollinators as much habitat and food as we possibly can, because of Colony Collapse Disorder. In absence of remedies to prevent this disease from killing the honey bees that pollinate our non-native food crops, only natural resistance, the kind where survivors (in particular, survivor queens) go on to create new hives, will improve the survival rates of beehives. In addition, honey bees are very competitive with native pollinator species, so we need to make sure that the natives get a fair crack at food sources – specifically native plants, which honey bees are less adept at pollinating.

So, to inspire people to do something to appreciate or even help our pollinators, I found a few links to share. Nature herself also motivated me: the cover photo for this post came from my recent trip to the Adirondacks, where I found a bunch of Eastern Swallowtail butterflies mud-puddling on the beach.

  • If pollinators had dating profiles, these would be those. This is an article by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, on my favourite publishing platform, Medium. It’s cute and clever and I learned a few species.
  • Updated in 2018: there’s also an Irish website, “Don’t Mow, Let it Grow,” dedicated to education about helping pollinator species such as bees. They have an animated cartoon series suitable for children to explain what bees and other pollinating insects do. (Note for little children: it would be helpful for a parent to read the titles on the animation!)

What more can we lawn-owners and gardeners do to help bees and other insect pollinators, such as butterflies?

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