Flowery blurbs, volume 13.

Well, it’s the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and I’m looking forward to some heat and great gardening!  Why do we have a summer solstice (besides being a great excuse to break out the flipflops and sunscreen)?   Check out this article about the reason for seasons.

Although it doesn’t seem as nasty as in previous years, we’re in full “cotton fluff” mode right now:  that messy time of year when the windborne seeds of poplar trees float about and stick to every outdoor surface.  Consult this article from the City of Edmonton for information about how to prevent the seedy problem on your own property.

Poplar cotton in still water (photo taken June 2007)

I spent a good chunk of the past week doing more research about dye plants, and in my reading, I came across this utterly fascinating article about the history of indigo.  It’s really interesting to trace the economic value of certain plants over time, especially as trends and fashions ebb and flow.

This report out of New Brunswick addresses the problem of tent caterpillar infestations, and comes with a warning not to “protect” trees from the eating machines by spreading petroleum jelly on the bark or covering the trunks with aluminum foil.  Find out why letting the caterpillars do their thing is actually healthier for the trees than these homemade preventative measures.

If you’re thinking of brewing up compost teas, or maybe tweaking the recipe you’re already using, check out this article and video from Verge Permaculture – it’s a fantastic how-to clinic!

Although most of the time we tend to be on the more arid side of things here in Calgary and we’re usually looking for xeriscaping tips, this hugely informative article about rain gardens might be just the ticket, considering the copious amount of rain we’ve had this month.  After all, we all should be thinking about how best to trap rainwater and conserve it for future use.   Check out this post at Soulsby Farm!

During another recent stint of research, I came across this website from the world-famous Kew Gardens – it’s a fantastic compilation of information about plants from south Asia, integrated with facts about their uses as food, medicine, and in arts and crafts, religious rituals, politics and trade.  It’s well-worth a gander!

Apparently auto maker Ford is taking kenaf fibre (from the extremely useful annual plant Hibiscus cannabinus) very seriously and using it as filler material in the doors of their 2013 Escape vehicles.  (Read more about it here).  What do you think of this?  Is this something we’ll be seeing more of in the future? 

Commercial product made from kenaf fibres

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  1. Interesting that Ford is using natural fibers in their filters. Maybe the Hemp market will begin to create more opportunities for farmer , or local growers to keep ahead of the bills.

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