IMG_4048 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Well, we apparently are still in the season of toothaches and heartaches.   Winter.
  Myrrh and the moon took care of the first.
Frankincense and the Sun will, I hope do well for the second. 
    So on that note…..…….
  According to my friend’s emails, spring is already in full swing in England.  I assume, because they are graced by warm Gulf waters. We, in Ontario, however, have no such buffer and will wait for weeks yet till ice, snow and permafrost  move on and allow us to engage the soil productively.  You can’t sow seeds in soil that is as hard and cold as ice.
       This post is for us poor ice-bound farmers and gardeners, still waiting and longing for  warmer fertile days, for Ladybugs and Daffodils.  On the bright side, it gives us more time to plan, be creative, prepare ourselves, to anticipate,,,and, I wonder if we enjoy our summer more than those spoiled Brits with their extra month of summer and their balmy winter. Ha!    Either way, best to enjoy and make the most of what we have .  This post is for those who wait with me, living physically close to  “The Apothecary’s Garden” at the Teaching gardens at Churchill Park. Those who can plan, dream and break soil with me in Westdale when it is finally released to us again.
Butterfly Bush and Viceroy Butterfly, Hamilton 2010

Butterfly Bush and Viceroy Butterfly, Hamilton 2010

Hi everyone;
 Another season is about to start. We can all feel it in the air. Though we may yet get a late March or April dump of snow, I am sure I’m not the only one smelling that inspiring aroma of the soil stirring and waking beneath our feet. Not the only one already preparing strategies for this years gardens.
    Between roots, shoots, seeds and cuttings, we will have a bounty of new young plants to share with the community. Spring culling will be one of our first jobs in the garden. As a teaching garden our focus is on maintaining a representative plant or grouping of each specimen showcased in the garden. This means we will be composting or giving away a variety of medicinal, culinary and aromatic plants. Our first choice is to share as many as we can.
  So tell your friends, share a link to this page, spread the word. There is no obligation associated with the plants we are sharing, though we do need volunteers in the garden for  spring and fall “cleanups”, and for ongoing summer watering and care.
If anyone can contribute in some way to the garden this season, we would welcome the support.
If not, no worries, just enjoy the plants. This is after all a community garden.
 We will post the dates of the culling and plant “giveaway”, ( and call for volunteers), on this Facebook page once we get our calendar organized.

Though the Apothecary’s Garden’s focus is on medicinal, culinary and aromatic plants, there is another beautiful old garden on the grounds that we have not had the time or manpower to reclaim.

"Plant Lovers Garden" Churchill Park 2010

“Plant Lovers Garden” Churchill Park 2010

   “The Plant Lovers Garden”, is a  lovely walled-in courtyard that houses a variety of growing environments. Originally built and maintained by the RBG auxiliary, It featured a spectacular collection of exotic and unusual specimens nestled among its rock gardens, stone paths and water features. After years of neglect, overgrowth and theft, it is a sad sight. Each season we manage to keep most of the weeds from choking out what is left of the collection and water it when needed, but it is still in a steady decline and must get a bottom to top renovation before it is too late.
Papaver Somniferum Apothecary's Garden

Papaver Somniferum Apothecary’s Garden

   In conversations with the city 3 years ago, it was suggested that after the Apothecary’s Garden was renovated, the city would work with the community to re-establish the Plant Lovers Garden as well.
If we can get the volunteer manpower and pitch a proposal to the city, it is likely they will support renovating the Plant Lovers Garden and supply whatever materials we need. Perhaps even contribute funds. They have been extremely responsive and supportive of all our efforts till now.
 If anyone is interested, has some ideas, time or resources to share, or would like to take part in re-establishing this beautiful courtyard garden, please let me know, we can use all the help we can get.
If we can get enough volunteers organized for this project, we can approach the city with a plan, and save this unique landmark and peaceful retreat.
    This is a general list of plants we will have available to share with the community in the spring.  We don’t know how many plants we will have, so it will be on a first come first serve basis. We do not have pots or containers at this point so “BYOP” and if you have extra we could probably put a small number to use.

  We also have a wish list of plants we hope to acquire for the garden, it is by no means complete and input from the community is welcome. So if there are any plants you would like to see in our Apothecary’s Garden, or if you have access to one of the plants on our wish list, please leave me a note.

Monarch & Tiger Lily Hamilton Ontario

Monarch & Tiger Lily Hamilton Ontario

Thanks and hope to see you in the Garden this year
Dan Riegler

Spring 2013 Plant sharing list 

Lemon balm

Skullcap, (Lateriflora)
Baikal skullcap, (Chinese)
Anise hyssop


Sweet flag
Blue flag
Hoary Mountain mint
Chocolate Mint


Perennial flax

St. John’s wort

Russian tarragon
Clary Sage

Wood Betony
Prairie sage

Ladies mantle



Plant wish list for Apothecary’s Garden Churchill Park

Arnica Montana
black cohosh
Blue cohosh
Cost Mary

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