Floral notes: June 2011.

This week has been a dreary succession of extremely wet, cold, and blustery days, and it’s impossible to muster any excitement about leaving the comfort of the livingroom couch.  It’s generous woolen blanket and hot cocoa weather – and you need that extra helping of Bailey’s when you remember that it’s the middle of June and the first day of summer is mere hours away.   My flowerbeds stand sorely neglected because of the mud and muck (the weeds don’t seem to mind, however) and the annuals I planted a couple of weeks ago seem to be shrinking back into the earth in protest.  I’m sure the rain will stop eventually; in the meantime, I’ve been doing a great deal of cruising around on the ‘net, and I’ve uncovered some gardening links and tidbits of information that I’d like to share.

An American company called Armstrong and Blackbury Horticultural Products has come up with a “Pollen Bee Nest” that they claim will provide habitat for endangered pollen bees.  The product looks like a brightly painted tin can, but apparently it’s specially designed to be completely waterproof and rodent and bird proof, and it will protect the bees in even the most severe weather.  Gardeners are encouraged to purchase these nests and strategically place them near pollen-producing plants in the garden.  Has anyone ever successfully used this product or one like it?  You can view it on the company’s website at http://pollenbeenest.com/index.html.

The old “to spray or not to spray” argument is ongoing here in the city of Calgary, as the dandelions have been left to their own devices this year.  A combination of the City’s new “less chemical” mandate, the severely wet weather (which has pretty much halted mowing), and the removal of the noxious designation in the new Alberta Weed Control Act has left us overrun.  Some citizens are mightily up in arms because their lawns lack that uninterrupted, pristine green that they’ve worked so hard for – it’s difficult to keep the weeds out when the parks and the neighbour’s back forty are completely covered.  I’m not a fan of using chemicals and I actually thought the massive fields of yellow flowers were sort of beautiful (the current white seed heads, not so much, although they have a certain charm when they’re not waterlogged and bedraggled).  On the other hand, our weather prevented mowing down the beasts before they set seed, which is unfortunate, and I can see that homeowners with lawns might be deeply offended.  It’s an issue that will persist, without resolution.  I’m rolling with the dandelions!   (What is your stand?  Does your municipality have a “no spray” policy?    Check out another blog posting on the subject at  http://bgcamroux.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/a-sea-of-yellow/ .  He’s posted some tips on how to maintain a healthy lawn, and therefore, discourage weeds).

Even if you don’t like insects, you simply must check out the photographs on Adrian D. Thysse’s blog “The Bug Whisperer.”  The macros are stunning.  http://nobonesaboutit.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/face-off-after-the-shake-off/ .  Next time I’m out in the garden or out hiking (on a warm, sunny summer day…in the nebulous future) I’m going to really LOOK at the insects around me.  There’s a whole world out there that I’ve been ignoring.  (Just don’t let anything land on me!).

Here’s to sunny days ahead!


  1. Hey there! Thanks for the link. I’m glad to see the subject of weeds, lawn care, and chemical sprays being discussed. And I’m glad to find a new blog by someone in (or at least around) Calgary. Some good writing here! Cheers 🙂

    • Much thanks! I’ve been following your blog for some time now; you’ve always got a great variety of topics and an interesting perspective. The whole debate about weed control is something I care really deeply about and I was very pleased to see your recent dandelion post.

  2. Really enjoyed your writeup on the wet weather and the buzz around Calgary. We in Edmonton are in pretty much the same boat right now, with off and on rain and grass growing like crazy. So are our beautiful plants and lettuce, though, so I am going to just try to stay positive and when the sunshine comes, enjoy it with all the enthusiasm I can muster. Great writing though, my friend! You always had and still have a wonderful way with words!! Enjoy your weekend!! ~ Kathy

    • Thanks Kathy, I really appreciate it! Did you put in a large veggie garden this year? Hope you’re all doing well, have a wonderful weekend!

  3. I’m a lover of dandelion salads, so I would harvest – not spray. Although my gardening is limited these days to the pots on my lanai, there was a time I had a lawn and could think of nothing better than digging in the dirt all day in my yard. I still enjoy reading about it, and will look for some of your suggestions.

    • Much thanks for your comments! What types of container plants do you prefer to grow? You have the luxury of climate that we don’t have here! We’re lucky if we get three decent, solid months of summer heat.

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