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A few more comments on our garden here and what is to come; as well as ideas for later in the year.
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale

email: art@artdrysdale.com

Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at http://www.artdrysdale.com


July 3, 2016



‘Kiri te Kanawa’ is an unusual double blue/purple Clematis and is in full bloom now; and a second shot that goes back to this time in 2013 when it was in flower on Canada Day amongst our Ca-nadian flag display. Below, Rosa Mme. Alfred Carrier near our front door and our Hummingbird nest from 2006. Author photos.





 


 



 

Even though I am starting to write this article on what is often considered the first official day of summer, here in B.C. we have been enjoying summer days for the last two months!

Almost everything we grow has flowered or bore fruit earlier than normal. There are some exceptions to that—specifically our double blue Clematis ‘Kiri ti Kanawa’ which is usually in full bloom on Canada Day is slightly behind that schedule this year.

The climbing roses are all doing superbly well, but all are now nearly finished their first flush of bloom. More is expected from some of these.

Something, not in the flower category that we’ve been blest with this year is hummingbirds. The experts on this subject have told me that in B.C, we have three different species present! [In Ontario they see only one, the Rufus.] This year in our garden we find there is almost always at least one ‘humming’ around the different water sources. They seem to love to fly right into one of the jets of water for their bath before flying off to another part of the garden.

We also have a resident garter snake that is helping with insects, not to mention a number of tiny frogs which create quite a chorus at nights from various parts of the garden.

Have I mentioned the rabbit? He is not one of our favourites, and he has not really done much damage to our garden. Our next-door neighbours, on the other hand, have installed a little veggie garden this year and the rabbit is causing considerable damage. Our (stray) cat does not seem to want to get him for them; but you never know when he may decide to pounce.

As to other perennials in the garden, right now not everything is as far in advance as many of the earlier genera and species were. The lilies seem to be about their usual time, some are out now, and many, many are in full bud stage so we should have a good showing.

For those readers who have a vegetable garden (which we do not!) you folks should be considering sowing more green (and yellow) beans as well as Okra if you are a fan. With the warmer weather, these late-sown crops will develop and produce much faster.

As the summer crops begin to wind down, it's a great time to dust off your seed flats and put in some quick crops for cooler weather.

Many greens come into their own in cool weather, with some even improved by a touch of frost on their leaves! Autumn (and winter in warm climates) is the ideal time to grow spinach, mustard, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, and kale. Some varieties, such as Swiss Chard Bright Light and Kale Glamour Red, are so ornamental that they belong in the annual bed, right be-side the Mums, Pansies, and other cool-season flowers.

Others, such as Arugula, Cornsalad, and Lettuce, are super-quick, so you can sow the seeds every week well into autumn to stagger your harvest. Try growing some traditional long-season varieties as "baby greens" in half the time too—Mustard Red Giant, another beautiful ornamental veggie, can be harvested at just 20 days for tender gourmet greens!

Of course, there is much more to be grown in autumn than just greens. Peas stage a fabulous encore to their spring performance—the quick-finishing "mangetout" or snow peas as well as the podded types. Root vegetables such as beets do well even after the soil turns cold. Try a quick-finishing variety such as popular Red Ace for a faster harvest.

And for the quickest finish of all, rely on the humble radish! Perfect for containers as well as the garden, radishes are the closest vegetable we have to "instant gratification," and even children love looking for those rosy-red shoulders to push up through the soil just about a month after planting.

Growing a vegetable garden in autumn is so rewarding. As the days grow shorter and thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, the idea of stocking our pantry shelves and veggie bins becomes even more appealing. Keep your garden productive right up to snowfall with big, delicious fall crops!

   

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