Did you know & This Season's Crop of Apples
October 15, 2009

Did You Know..?

• This is very sobering – please read The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming

• Michel Trudeau Memorial Rose royalties aimed at life-saving education and services. Proceeds from the propagation and sale of the new plant will benefit avalanche awareness. Since Michel’s death, 83 have died in Canada in avalanche-related incidents

• Falkland wins RHS Britain in Bloom Champion of Champions award

• Genome of Irish potato famine pathogen decoded A large international research team has decoded the genome of the notorious organism that triggered the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century and now threatens this season’s tomato and potato crops across much of the US.

• John Valleau -It's time to let our readers know that I am now officially part-time with Valleybrook Gardens, a decision that our owner John Schroeder and I reached not too long ago. The reason is that my partner Alan and I have just started a brand-new shop in our home here in Jordan Village, outside of St Catharines, ON. We are selling spinning wheels, spinning fibres of all kinds as well as my own line of hand-dyed yarns under the brand name of DYEGUY. Our shop is called appropriately, The Fibre Garden. You are most welcome to view what we're up to over on my Flickr Page.

• Perennial Gardening in Containers Some excellent information from Heritage Perennials

• Evergreens, Trees & Shrubs in Containers!

• David Austin Roses debuts five new varieties for American gardens

• America In Bloom Winners

• Communities in Bloom Winners – Way to go Canada, right across our nation there are winners…and happy days to Edmonton, Alberta – a National Award Winner!

• Perennial Plant Assoc. members have begun voting for the 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year. Voting ends on Oct. 15. The 4 nominated plants are: Amsonia hubrichtii, which has feathery, needle-like foliage, and can be grown in full sun to partial shade. In mid to late spring, the 2- to 3-foot plant becomes covered with powdery blue, star-shaped flowers. In fall, the foliage turns a golden color with hints of orange. It is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9. Heliopsis helianthoides is a compact, upright, clump-forming plant that reaches 2-3 feet tall. Its variegated white leaves with extensive green veining turn darker green as the season progresses. Golden yellow daisy flowers are produced from July to frost. It is hardy in Zones 4-9. Heuchera ‘Caramel’ is a vigorous, clump-forming plant with apricot-colored leaves and light pink flowers. This heat- and humidity-tolerant cultivar reaches 15 in. tall and 20 in. wide. It is hardy in Zones 4-8. Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ is a tall, erect switchgrass that produces olive-green to bluish-green narrow 4- to 5-ft. leaves. In late summer the plant is topped by airy, finely-textured, yellow flower panicles that bring the total plant height to 6 ft. The full sun plant is hardy in Zones 4-9

• About 4 billion pounds of chicken feathers are generated by the poultry industry each year. Researchers at USDA-Ag. Research Service and the Hort. Research Institute have been collaborating on a project to formulate growing containers using feathers. The containers, which contain no petroleum components, would degrade over a variable amount of time from 1 to 5 years. ARS scientists have developed feather fiber which has numerous uses including air and water filtration and as a component of feather-derived plastic, which has properties similar to commercial polyethylene and polypropylene. The goal of the ARS and HRI researchers is to develop biodegradable keratin-based resins that can be used by container manufacturers to produce sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based flower pots. The scientists are also conducting biodegradability and composting trials to meet ASTM standards for bioplastics.

• Dutch discover pheromone that detects banana borer Researchers at the Wageningen UR discovered the new sex pheromone which can detect infestations and contaminations of the banana borer in a wide variety of crops. Application of the pheromone in a trap will enable early detection and deployment of control measures.

Susceptible crops include Aechmea, Alpinia, Araucaria, bamboo, banana, Beaucarnea, Begonia, Bougainvillea, Bromeliaceae, Cactaceae, Capsicum, Chamaedorea, Cordyline, Dieffenbachia, Dracaena, Euphorbia pulcherrima, Ficus, Gloxinia, Heliconia, Hippeastrum, maize, Maranta, Pachira, Philodendron, pineapple, Saintpaulia, Sanseveria, Strelitzia, sugar cane and Yucca.

The banana borer has a quarantine status inside the EU and must not be imported or spread and caterpillars and moths must be controlled where found. The tropical and subtropical moth comes from Africa but will survive in greenhouses.

• Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association Horticultural Therapy (HT) uses plants and the natural world to improve the social, spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing of individuals who participate in it. They will now be offering the classroom content in an alternative format - live on-line. Starting March 2009, we will be offering the virtual classroom part of the Home Farm Horticultural Therapy Certificate available to Canada and the Americas, England, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

If the Canadian student completes all 5 courses, the assignments and a 30 hour practical component, the student will earn a Horticultural Therapy Certificate worth 2 points towards professional registration with the CHTA. Contact Christine for more information and course descriptions or for an application form: at

This Season's Crop of Apples

New and old varieties can be found at your nearest grocery store or farmers market for an incredible value. Are you a tart and crunchy apple fan? Or do you favor sweet and juicy varieties? No matter what your taste buds crave there is bound to be a variety that will satisfy you. Here's a list of the top 10 varieties from across the nation:

1. Red Delicious - sweet, crispy and juicy; great for a snack or tossed in a salad.

2. Golden Delicious - mellow and sweet; a wonderful pie apple and also good in a salad.

3. Gala - crispy, juicy, very sweet; good for snacking or for applesauce.

4. Granny Smith - green flesh, very tart flavor; best for baking and pies.

5. Fuji - sweet flavor and firmness; try it in a salad, for sauce or just to snack on.

6. McIntosh - juicy, tangy, and tart with a tender, white flesh; a great applesauce apple.

7. Rome - mildly tart apple; primarily used for cooking.

8. Empire - crisp, juicy with a delightful sweet-tart flavor and creamy white flesh; a well known snacking apple.

9. Idared - tangy flavor and firm texture; good for snacking and baking.

10. Braeburn - crisp, juicy with a rich, spicy-sweet flavor; great for baking and on salads.

Drying Apples

Autumn Decorations with apples in them

Fall Care of Fruit Trees

Apple Lore

What to do with the harvest, including recipe for spicy apple butter!

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row