Ladybugs and Daffodils

IMG_4048
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)
Elderberry
Anise hyssop
Lavender
Hyssop

Bergamot

Marshmallow
Comfrey
Sweet flag
Blue flag
Hoary Mountain mint
Chocolate Mint
Spearmint
Chives

Bugle
Iris
Yarrow

Tansy
Hops
Perennial flax
Echinacea
Valerian
Poppy
Oregano
Thyme
Pennyroyal

St. John’s wort

Calendula
Russian tarragon
Angelica
Germander
Sweetgrass
Lovage
Clary Sage
Sage

Wood Betony
Prairie sage
Wormwood

Ladies mantle

 

 

Plant wish list for Apothecary’s Garden Churchill Park

Arnica Montana
Bearberry
black cohosh
Blue cohosh
Cost Mary
Cowslip
Elecampane
Lobelia
Madder
Wintergreen

3 Comments

  1. I’m so impressed with the work you do here Dan. It looks like a wonderful Teaching Garden and I love the Plant Lover’s Garden as well. They both look like marvelous places to hang out in and learn so much. You may have a difficult climate but you certainly make the most of it with your work with such a diversity of plants. I always love to see plant lists from different areas and see what is similar and different. I wish I lived closer to you, for many reasons…, and could participate in the renovations. Looks like a lot of fun, and hard, hard work…! 😉 Stay warm, spring will be here before you know it! It’s Feb 2, Imbolc, by the old Celtic calendar – not so far away now… We’ll be going into it before long and even you will see some signs of it I’m sure…
    peace and thanks for a great post,
    Steve

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  2. We poor spoilt Brits don’t know NUFFINK yet about herbs and spices. We are still carting the ground around in wheelbarrows and wondering where to put it. Warm summer we feel too hot, and damp winter we are too damn cold. And as for the gulfstream – Arctic blasts from the sagging jetstream upset everything.

    Just now it is not quite summer nor winter, so we complain a bit less about the weather. We are EAGER TO LEARN from your awesome teaching garden and its bugs and butterflies! and hopefully plant some alchemical seeds here if you can puff them across the pond. Love the photos & flowers and your List. We wish you all a very exciting New Season, and patience. Snow & ice is very good for deepdown sprouting and summer colour.

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    1. Haha. You’re funny!!! And yes. Suppose I shouldn’t complain. There is benefit in suffering through a cold long winter, makes you appreciative and aware of those secret alchemical processes that are going on under your feet while you are freezing your butt off.
      And we get the most spectacular fall colours for those same reasons. Trust Nature to strike a balance always I guess.

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