FINALLY…WE HAVE FALSE INDIGO

Last year, we had a bus tour coincide with the blooming of the false indigo. I love the way one of the passengers described the plant. ‘Pollinators just don’t love this plant, they attack it!’ And he was right. There were insects everywhere. Some were on the plant and others hover waiting for their opportunity.

I disappointed alot of people that day by saying we had no false indigo. We had been trying different recommendations from different sources but nothing seemed to work. Got lucky on the 3rd attempt. Finally…we have false indigo.

Seriously, there are plants that pollinators love and then…there is the false indigo.

UPCOMING EVENTS

People have been inquiring if the nursery is open and what events we might be attending. I promise, in the winter, I will create a calendar for all this information on the website. But for now this blog will have to do. I am super busy seed collecting, transplanting and going to sales.

So the nursery is open. Please do drop by but just let us know when you are coming since we are doing alot of offsite beekeeping. Here is a listing of places to find us in the near future.

Aberfoyle Farmers Market Saturday August 31 from 8 – 1 pm. 23 Wellington 46, Puslinch

Dundas Farmers Market Thursday Sept 19 and 26. Thursday October 3,10,17 and 24 from 3 – 7 pm 11 Millers Lane, Hamilton

2019 Native Plant Sale at the Royal Botanical Gardens Saturday September 21 from 9 – 3 pm. At the Arboretum at 16 Old Guelph Rd, Hamilton

Many customers browse through our current inventory and place an order to be picked up at one of these events we are attending. For some people this saves alot in time and travelling. Be sure to give us ample time to get your order together if you wish to take advantage of this shopping option.

Really, I promise. In the winter I will create a calendar of all our events. And remember – the fall is an exceptional time to be planting.

Happy planting.

LET THE SEED PICKING BEGIN

We absolutely love this time of year. A time to hike and get out into nature on a regular basis. A necessity, in our business, since we hand collect our seeds from Southern Ontario. People ask why we just don’t buy the seeds or seedlings.

To me, that would defeat our whole genetic program. The only way we know, for sure, where these seeds have come from is by picking them ourselves. It is not just about location but the way in which the seeds are chosen. We do not just pick from one tree or one shrub but from multiple shrubs or parent trees to diversify the genetics of what we are picking. Even though they are all from the same geographical location we pick as much as we can from varied parents at that site. In this way, we are diversifying that genetic base.

Is it more work? You bet. But I am convinced that we need to continue these seed picking efforts if we are to diversify our future forests and make them resilient towards climate change.

Have to go now. Seed picking awaits!

TO THE COTTAGE

We are always looking at ways we can diversify the Ontario landscape and enable assisted tree migration. For the past 2 years, we have intensified our efforts to find more southerly seed sources. These southerly sites will allow for tree and plant migration to the north. The more sites, and parent stock, available the greater the genetic diversity moving northward.

But what about cottage country? Climate change will not skip over this precious area. We decided to include more northerly locations to help assist our lake area with assisted migration. Not only does migration include vegetation moving northward but also laterally. Basically, expanding east to west boundaries.

Stay tuned.

FALL PLANTING

This is usually the time of year where customers phone in a panic wondering if it is too late to plant. Much to their surprise, I respond to them by saying they are too early – wait till September.

Why? It is more logical to plant in the Fall. By September, our weather changes from blistering heat and droughts to cooler temperatures and rain. This decreases the heat and water loss stresses on plants. Also, with the dropping of leaves there is less water loss since leaves are not transpiring. In the end, this equates to you not standing at the end of a watering hose everyday making sure your plantings are watered.

The most fascinating point about Fall planting is what happens below the ground. Ground temperatures stay at a constant 56F till December, depending on the weather. With the lack of activity above ground (no leaves photosynthesizing) the roots establish and grow undisturbed. By next spring, the roots are well anchored and the plant ready to burst into spring.

From a frugal point of view, the Fall is the best time to purchase. Most nurseries are down sizing their stock and usually great deals are to be had. So, bottom line, relax and wait for the Fall and then plant all those great deals.

THE STATE OF THE BIRDS

A very complex subject. 25% of our bird species are declining, and rapidly. Other species, such as waterfowl and raptors are increasing. Many, many factors from banning DDT to international agreements on bird breeding grounds have influenced bird populations.

At home, we have to realize one startling fact. Birds are starving to death. If you want to increase populations and save them from the brink of extinction you have to have food available. And lots of it – especially for migratory birds. Birds usually prefer their native berries since they have co evolved with these plants. However, there are some shrubs that our birds love that aren’t native.

I am referring to the currant family. We have purposely sought out the old heirloom black and red currants on farms that birds persistently visit. Now we have black currants ready. Remember, share the berry wealth. Or even better, every bush you plant for yourself plant one for our feathered friends. They will thank you for it.

Check our inventory for currant numbers and availabilities.

NORTHERN CATALPA TREE

Being a nursery, many people ask what trees should they plant. One of my top suggestions is the northern catalpa tree. When they are in bloom they are undeniable. A giant orchid! Needless to say, that when they are blooming they are pollinator magnets. Be sure to plant northern not southern catalpa since the southern type is too fragile for some of our Ontario winters.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This particular catalpa by our front porch is only 18 years old. They grow relatively quickly with very little maintenance. To find out more on the magnificent tree check out our website and the northern catalpa article.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MILKWEED FESTIVAL

There is still much work to be done to help our dwindling monarch butterfly populations. Just in the US, 150 million acers have been lost to Roundup ready crops. We are probably looking at the same acerage here in Canada. It is obvious that huge amounts of milkweed need to be planted back to the environment.

But we must always look to planting diversity. Did you realize that Ontario was home to 7 different types of milkweed? These diverse plants covered many terrains and made milkweed widespread to the breeding monarchs. Now the horticultural industry only supplies 3 types of milkweed.

We are determined, at B Sweet Honey Nature Company, to offer all the milkweeds native to Ontario. Our first new addition to our milkweed trio is the whorled milkweed. In September, we hope to have a massive milkweed sale and offer whatever has germinated and is ready for planting.

Be sure to check our inventories for the milkweeds. And happy planting.

THE COMING OF THE ANCIENTS

We launched our ancient tree program several years ago. This program realizes the need to save the genetics of these old trees. The longevity gene, in itself, is a mystery. Why are some individuals long lived and healthy and others not? A mystery. Whatever the explanations, we need to bring these genes forward to the present day plant populations in order to help them be more resilient.

Though we launched this program long ago, it takes time to find these trees, find their history and grow up their progeny. Factor in the fact that many trees are periodical in seed production and you are looking at many years before we could actually offer saplings for sale.

Last year was very sporadic for seed production but we managed to get some good quality, though not abundant, seeds from many of our ancient trees. We now have many 1 year old seedlings from the following:

The Niagara Treaty white oak

The Toronto Carrying Trail white oak

The Niagara Necklace Black Oaks

The Jordan White Oak

The Point Abino Red Oaks

Dundas Driving Park Oaks

We have most of the histories of these trees on the website. Happy reading.

SPRING



This time of year we yearn to be gardening and feel the soil around our hands and the sun on our faces. But remember that the leaf litter carries this years pollinators and butterflies. By removing leaf litter, and disposing of it, you are disposing of this years pollinators. Be patient, my rule of thumb is, ‘ When the dandelions start to bloom, we can start tidying up our gardens.’

Usually by the time the dandelions start to bloom, the weeds try to take over. Here is an organic spray recipe for unwanted garden plants.

WEED BE GONE – never buy Roundup again!

1 gallon vinegar

2 cups Epsom salt

1/4 cup Dawn dish soap (the blue original)

Happy gardening