Floral notes: June 2016.


Whew!  Nine days in, and I can tell this is going to be one busy month…I think I’ve already spent 184.5673 hours of it watering my gardens.  We broke a heat record on Monday and the plants have been practically scratching at my window, begging for a drink.  This, when many parts of the world are suffering from flooding. I hope everyone affected is safe.

I have a bunch of fascinating links to pass along this month – hope you enjoy these!

National Geographic posted their winning images from their 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year contest – these are spectacular!

This slideshow profiling wild tulips from all over the world is truly incredible – move through the link and click the arrow on the right hand side of the first page to get started on the flower photos.  Even if you don’t have time to click on any of the other links I’ve given you today, take a couple of minutes to check this one out – you’ll understand why when you see it.

Considering espaliering your fruit trees?  Think BIGGER.  Trees meet architecture in this photo compilation.  

Canada has been gifted with a gorgeous new tulip in advance of the 150 anniversary of Confederation, to be celebrated next year.  ‘Canada 150’ is red and white, just like our flag.

English artist Rebecca Louise Law exhibited another of her deconstructed flower arrangements in Berlin – what a way to celebrate spring!

Here is a fascinating article about the origin of Canada’s most famous apple, the McIntosh. 

This is a candy terrarium.  Yep, it’s edible.  You won’t believe it, either.

And, finally, some stuff I posted elsewhere over the past few weeks:

I’ve put up a recipe for a flourless Rhubarb Oatmeal Cake on Grit.com – you can use either fresh or frozen rhubarb for this one.  And then top it off with a big mound of vanilla ice cream.

Vanilla ice cream…the only way to deal with a heat record.  Plus, if you get it served in a cone, you can water the garden while you eat.  Win-win.

(Clipart credit.)

Tuesday tulip tiptoe.

Tulip - 8 April 2014

Just a grocery-store tulip, but it makes me smile all the same.  I don’t grow tulips anymore – my soil runs on the heavy clay side and the bulbs were simply rotting underground.  I keep amending, though, so maybe in a few years’ time, I’ll be able to try again….

I was out for a walk near my workplace a few days ago and in the yard of a nearby elementary school, the students had planted hundreds of tulips, which were all peeking up out of the soil.  What a great project to get the kids involved in!

Do you grow tulips?  Which ones are your favourites?

Flowery blurbs, volume 9.

Life-glowing season ! odour-breathing Spring !

Deck’d in cerulean splendours !vivid,warm,

Shedding soft lustre on the rosy hours, And calling forth their beauties !

balmy Spring ! To thee the vegetating world begins

To pay fresh homage.

-“Ode to Spring” by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)  Read the whole poem here.

I know, I know, I’m a bit early – spring is officially eight days away – but I figure it never hurts to be organized.  (Yeah, that’s it).  The truth is, even though we’ve had an unusually mild winter here in Calgary, I’m just that anxious for the change of season, excitedly counting down the days until the first bulbs poke up out of the earth:  crocuses, scilla, anemones, and glories-of-the-snow.

The zen of tulip maintenance.  (Sort of).

I don’t plant tulips anymore – while I’m honoured to provide a banquet for the local squirrels and hares, my pocketbook simply can’t take the hit.  Instead, I buy fresh cut tulips whenever I can find them and put them on display in my rodent-free livingroom.  If you’re like me (that is, tormented by insatiable tulip-munching adorable furry critters) and you buy your tulips from a florist or at the supermarket, try these tips for keeping them fresh and beautiful for as long as possible.

Thumb’s up for this northern Alberta biomass conversion project.

In the small city of Whitecourt, Alberta, fast-growing poplars and willow trees are being grown in waste water and sludge cast off of the water treatment plant.  The idea is to harvest these trees as fuel for the city’s wood-burning power plant.  Four other municipalities in northern Alberta are working on similar projects, and involvement and interest is increasing.  While this isn’t a new concept, nothing of this scale has yet been undertaken in the province.  Read about this interesting venture here.

What’s in a biofumigant? 

Glucosinalates, to be exact.  These chemical compounds are naturally produced by members of the genus Brassica (broccoli, kale, mustard, etc.) and, if grown as part of a cover crop and rotation strategy, are capable of destroying certain soil-borne diseases that may affect other food crops, such as potatoes.  Read about how they work here.

Vertical farming ideas abound. 

Ground-breaking has been undertaken on an – ahem! – groundbreaking vertical farming project in Linköping, Sweden.  Do you think we’ll be seeing a lot of these domes in the future, or is this just a one-off thing?  (Presumably, if Plantagon has anything to say about it, these greenhouses will eventually be sprinkled all over the world).  Read all about it here.

Peel appeal.

Whether you grow your own fruits or veggies, or purchase them at a farmers market or grocer, consider saving the peels and rinds and using them for everything from natural fabric dyes to natural cosmetic treatments, flavoured sugars, and tasty, oven-roasted chips.  Make sure everything you use is organic and scrubbed really well, and use this handy guide as a source of inspiration.