Trowel Talk

November Trowel Talk Newsletter

The November edition of Trowel Talk opens with an article by Candace Dressler that introduces us to her pet worms and the practice of vermicomposting. We answer your questions on how to safely bring your tender houseplants back inside without also bringing in pests; and how to rid your lawn of creeping Charlie. I wrote an article about seed documentation, which can be a dry topic except for the fascinating glimpses of social history we get from researching a specific type of seed.

Heather Clemenson writes on the fascinating topic on botanical art, including some gorgeous samples of her own work. I love the intertwined parsnips! We offer tips on food sources for Slivery Blue butterfly caterpillars. If you’re looking for gift ideas, Julianne Labreche reviews a wonderful new book called “A Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee” – a species rescued from near extinction by caring gardeners like us. Gail Labrosse continues her series on invasive species with a profile of Siberian Pea Shrub, and suggests native alternatives. As the gardening season ends, we end this edition with tips on garden tool maintenance.

As usual, we include links to our gardening and veggie growing calendars, and a list of places where you can find us, including giving talks at your local garden club.

Trowel Talk is a collaboration between Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton and Lanark County Master Gardeners, so you get both urban and rural perspectives.

Trowel Talk is a free monthly newsletter of the Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton. You can sign up for it here.


Fall 2022 – News and Events

There’s a nip in the air and the days are so much shorter now. I’ve harvested the last of my tomatoes and am waiting for the fall radish crop to mature. Winter is coming!

Spring and fall are always the busiest times in my garden, which explains the tardiness of this month’s update. Aside from the usual gardening and science news posts, I have several other exciting developments to report. Firstly, thanks to Caroline Koehler, a wonderful new addition to the team, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton are launching a spiffy new website. You will find most of our old content, plus exciting new images.

There’s also some news for my loyal readers. I’m now working with a wonderful designer from Nova Scotia to develop a blog, which I hope to launch about New Year’s. At that point, you will have to sign up to get future notifications. Don’t worry, I’ll give you lots of notice.

In view of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, this month’s humorous image is wishful thinking. Thanks to Jon Last for sharing it.

Did you know? 2022 has officially been declared as The Year of the Garden.

Canada’s Garden Route Map: The COVID-19 pandemic restricted travel opportunities for Canadians and also for visitors from around the globe. Canada’s Garden Route is not a ‘route’ per se, but a comprehensive listing of Canadian gardens and garden experiences that eagerly await visits from their surrounding communities and tourists from afar.

On Line Learning, Gardening Events & Resources

Note: All event times are given as Eastern Time (US and Canada).

Ecology Ottawa 2022 Tree Giveaways: Ecology Ottawa has 20,000 trees to give away, including 22 species of native coniferous and deciduous trees—including more fruit, nut, berry, and sap-bearing trees than ever to help address food security in the region. But this Tree Campaign is about more than putting trees in the ground. It’s also about engaging residents and public organizations to help nurture a greener community, a greener Ottawa, and a greener future together. Together, we can help Ottawa become healthier and more resilient! Check out the Tree Giveaway Calendar for more details. 

Starting Monday, September 19:  Canadian Museum of Nature presents Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large. Moths explode in colour and size with the return of large-format photographs by Jim des Rivières. These extraordinary works, which débuted in 2010 and then toured to numerous venues, reveal the diversity and astonishing beauty of moths from the Ottawa region. Visitors will be struck by the detail, patterns and colours in 20 captivating photographs. Included with museum admission.

Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 pm: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society annual general meeting. Mark your calendars! More information will become available in the months to come.

Tuesday, September 27, 7:30 pm: Ottawa Horticultural Society presents Urban Homesteading: Channelling our Pioneer Ancestors. OHS president Jeff Blackadar, together with Master Gardeners Judith Cox and Rebecca Last will describe their efforts to practice sustainable urban agriculture and living. Jeff will discuss gleaning on greenbelt land and tapping trees to make maple syrup. Judith will introduce us to her “turkey-turned” hügelkultur and “the girls” – chickens Peony, Dahlia and Calendula, who produce multi-coloured eggs. Rebecca will discuss the various ways she uses her small suburban garden to make food, crafts and gifts for friends and family. This event is available in person at St. Mark’s Church Hall, 1606 Fisher Ave, Ottawa, and on line.

Wednesday, October 5, noon to 1:00 pm EDT: Webinar: Arborists Are from Mars; Garden Designers Are from Venus. Working around trees in a landscape is a delicate and careful business that is often overlooked, much to the detriment of the trees over time. It can be hard to spot what gardening practices cause trees harm, as it might be a decade before one unfortunate trench kills a tree. Chris Roddick will explore how Arborist and Garden Designers can work together when designing, developing, and managing gardens and lawns around trees. Registration required.

Thursday, October 6, 6 pm: Carleton University and Canada Museum of Science and Technology present a Geodiversity Symposium: The Foundation for Diverse Ecosystems on a Changing Planet. The symposium is free and can be attended either in person or virtually. However, pre-registration is required.

Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm: Old Ottawa South Garden Club presents “Selecting Trees for Your Property”. Starting with municipal programs and requirements related to trees, this presentation encourages people to look at their property’s environment, as well as their own needs and values in order to select trees to enhance their property for years to come. Meetings are held at the Old Ottawa South Community Centre (The Firehall), 260 Sunnyside Avenue. Membership: $25 per year; $40 for a family; drop-in fee—$7 per meeting. Information: Old Ottawa South Community Centre at 613 247 4946

For more gardening events in the Ottawa area, including a useful selection of virtual events, consult the Gardening Calendar.

Trowel Talk

Trowel Talk – Sept 2022

Master Gardener’s Trowel Talk Newsletter

  • The September edition of Trowel Talk opens with Andrea Knight’s article on a lovely fall native, the smooth aster. We answer your questions about funny coloured leaves on a maple, rejuvenating soil where tomatoes have grown for years. Lanark MG Dale Odorizzi explores the fascinating and complex life cycle of aphids. You may never look at these pesky critters the same way again! Claire McCaughey shares her tips for late season gardening. Mary Crawford continues her series on weeds with purslaine – another weed with super-food potential. Gail Labrosse continues her series on invasive plants with a look at that fall classic, burning bush or winged Euonymus. We end by publishing a letter from Trish Murphy, proprietor of native plant nursery Beaux Arbres, who suggests a couple of big, bold and beautiful native plants to add to the garden.
  • As usual, we include links to our gardening and veggie growing calendars, and a list of places where you can find us. This year, Master Gardeners is returning to your local farmers’ markets to offer free gardening advice. Stop by and say “hello”.