Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 30, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Bleeding hearts dependable, undemanding
During May and June, and well into the first half of July, one of the most dependable performers in the perennial border has to be the bleeding-heart, an old favourite that has graced the flower beds of Manitoba gardens for generations.
At the end of June, my specimen of the common bleeding-heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is still in full bloom, its elegantly arching sprays of pink heart-shaped blossoms providing a unique accent in the flower border.
Common bleeding-heart is a large plant, reaching a height of 75 centimetres, and its arching branches take up a lot of space. I have mine located against the west wall of the garage where it is subject to considerable drought and receives strong afternoon sun, and yet it thrives.
I have seen bleeding-hearts located in eastern exposures and in north-facing borders, and they seem to perform
well — a truly undemanding plant.
My bleeding-heart grows rapidly, and every few years I take a large division from it to keep it in bounds. The large, fleshy roots break off easily and I have had not trouble getting the division to settle in and develop into a new specimen.
Bleeding-heart seems not to be bothered by insect or disease problems, and its only drawback is that the foliage tends to brown off in late summer — hence it is a good idea to have it at the rear of a border behind a plant that develops later and will provide a screen in front of the bleeding heart later in the season. I have yellow daisies in front of mine — I let them seed themselves and they develop in late summer, their ferny leaves hiding the bleeding-heart’s flagging foliage, and their bright yellow flowers providing a late summer focal point.
In my north-facing perennial bor-GARDENING
By Albert Parsons
der, in which I have planted hostas, astilbes, and other shade-loving plants, I have a different species of bleeding heart, Dicentra formosa, commonly called California bleeding-heart or Pacific bleeding-heart.
This form of bleeding-heart is shorter, growing only 40-50 cm in height, and its foliage is more finely cut than that of the common bleeding-heart. Dicentra Formosa is a good
addition to the shade garden, where it will bloom until early August. Its attractive foliage does not brown off as early as that of the common bleeding-heart, so it is an attractive specimen even when not in bloom.
Bleeding-hearts are undemanding plants in terms of soil. They will grow in ordinary garden soil, as long as it is not too heavy, contains lots of humus, and drains well. I am always amazed at how drought tolerant they are, although I do know that they are quite deep-rooted plants and therefore can sustain themselves easily during a dry spell.
I cannot discuss bleeding-hearts without mentioning another remarkable perennial that blooms at the same time and also has lovely arching branches with pendulous flowers, not unlike bleeding-hearts. Of course, I’m referring to Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum), which is actually a
member of the lily family.
I have these plants in the same north-facing bed as the Pacific bleeding-heart, and they perform well. Solomon’s seal grows almost a meter tall, and can be underplanted with shorter plants, such as Lady’s mantle, to hide the rather bare lower stems.
Solomon’s seal is a good plant for those people lucky enough to have a naturalized woodland garden, since that is their natural environment, growing among the wood violets and mosses beneath the trees.
Both bleeding-hearts and Solomon’s seal have long bloom periods, are easy care plants, and tolerate shade. They are good candidates for the perennial border to provide early color in the landscape.
Albert Parsons is a garden-design and landscaping consultant living in Minnedosa.
Volunteer as a Campground Host
in selected Manitoba’s provincial parks and receive free camping. Contact Manitoba Conservation toll free at 1-800-282-8069.
Ethnic Dessert Tea is on July 3 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Seniors for Seniors, 311 Park Ave. E. Cost is $5.
Seniors for Seniors bus tour to Estevan, Sask. is on July 16. Call 571-2050.
Seniors for Seniors and Tena Kilmury’s Freedom Acres is holding a garden social on July 24 from 1-4 p.m. South one mile from 17th St. E. and Richmond Ave. Cross the Eastern Access Hwy. and turn left at first road. Watch for signs. Cost is $3.
Summer old-time music is featured at Seniors for Seniors on July 25 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Come and dance to the sounds of the Rhythmaires. Cost $4 includes refreshments.
Freshly picked SASKATOONS are for sale at Seniors for Seniors. To place your order call 571-2050.
Prairie Oasis Senior Centre, 241 Eighth St., programs are as follows: Mondays — public bingo at 1:15 and 6 p.m.; Tuesdays — floor shuffleboard 1:30 p.m.; Wednesdays — bridge at 1:15 p.m.; Thursdays — Cribbage I p.m.; Fridays — Scrabble I p.m.
Prairie Oasis Senior Centre, 241 Eighth St., offers a hot meal Mondays at 11:30 a.m. and Tuesday to Friday each week at noon. Cost is $5.50.
Canada Games Sportsplex features senior/adult swim Monday and Friday 6:30-10 a.m., Tuesday and Thursday 6:30-9 a m. and Wednesday 6:30-9:30 a.m.
Brandon New Horizons meet at the South End Community Centre, 1140 Ninth St. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. for cards. Contact the Community Centre at 728-5720 after 1:30 p.m.
YMCA Senior Aquatic Fitness classes are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Cost is $3. Call 727-5456.
Strictly Seniors Morning Club meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Town Centre at 9 a.m.
Westman Shuffleboard Club offers 12 regulation sized courts located in Riverview Curling Club each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. all summer until Sept. 20. New members welcome. Call John Brownndge 728-8382 or Irene Clermont 727-7961.
Seniors for Seniors hosts Afternoon Games every Wednesday <tnu Friday at 1.30 p.iii. Call 571-2050 for more information.
Shoppers Mall Seniors Coffee Club meets the third Wednesday of each month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Coffee and refreshments served.
Seniors Pool League meets Thursdays at I p.m. at the Velvet Rail, 20 Seventh St. Call Jim 727-4310.
Bridge is played at Valleyview Leisure Club every Friday at 1: 15 p.m. Contact Gillian Harries 728-4107 or Greta Stromberg 728-9271.
Meet every Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Seniors for Seniors, 311 Park Ave. E. for tea, coffee, dessert, snooker and spinner.
Meals on Wheels provide hot, nutntious meals five days a week to seniors, persons recovering from illness, disabled clients or post operative surgical patients. Call Prairie Oasis 727-6641. Drivers are also required for this program.
Brown leaves, parched plant; yellow leaves, hungry plant
By James and Morris Carey
For The Associated Press
Nana Rose loved her carnations. She saw great beauty in all growing things, and kept an enormous garden, filled with stunning shrubs and flowers. But, her carnations were her pride and joy — those and her roses.
We brothers often would sit with her out in the back yard on a big steel swing with massively fluffy seat cushions, and she would show us how to use just the right amount of water — not too much, not too little — to keep her flowers lovely.
Our mom would break out in a rash when she stayed in the sun too long. So, she became the houseplant person. When it came to the plants outside, we learned from Nana Rose. With the houseplants, mom was the expert.
Did you know that more plants — indoors or out — die from overwatering and over-fertilization than from any other cause? Roots left to soak in a pot of muddy water eventually will rot and cause your plant to suffocate.
What we learned from mom was simple — don’t water a plant every day. The best way to find out if a plant needs water is to use your personal moisture meter — your finger. Stick your finger into the soil near the base of the plant. If the soil is moist about an inch beneath the surface, it doesn’t need water. Here’s another good tip — never use fresh tap water to give your plants a drink.
Fill your watenng can, and let it sit for a few days before you use it to water plants. Letting the tap water sit allows it to warm to room temperature and gives chlorine time to dissipate. Cold water can send some plants into hibernation and others into shock.
It is also important to water your plants thoroughly. Remember, the root ball of your plant will grow toward the water. If you water only the top of your pot, the roots will remain near the top and the root ball will not become large and strong. If you get the soil wet ail the way to
Brighten up a room with a plant
Select the right pot for your plant. The pot
should be 1" - 2" larger than the root ball.
Cover drainage holes Use pieces of broken crockery. Add 1/2" -1" of gravel, more for large pots
Add 2" - 3" compost to the bottom. Set plant in and 5 v add compost around the sides. Top of root ball should be just under top of soil. Leave 1 1/2" J&IF to 2" watering space at top
S O I L------Always use a prepared mix. Never
Bl use soil from your garden, which
almost always contains weeds and bugs.
Water over the top of compost. Place in tub or tray of 1/2" -1" standing water for 15 minutes Water thoroughly again and remove from tray to drain.
Place in indirect lighting for 3 - 4 days
Water as follows:
Spring / Fall — Twice Weekly Summer Daily
the bottom of the pot, that’s where the plant’s roots eventually will go. It is really important to pot indoor plants in containers that have a hole at the bottom. Drainage is essential to a plant’s health.
As do humans, plants need food as well as water. Once you have your watering routine down pat, you will need to be sure that your plants are properly fed. Keep in
mind that you should never fertilize a plant that is dry. Always water first, then fertilize. Chemical fertilizers can bum, so be careful about how much you use. Fish emulsion is the best. It stinks, but it is very hard to overdo it. Miracle Grow is another safe fertilizing product when used according to instructions. It is really important to not fertilize during the winter or when a plant is dormant.
Fertilizer can build up in the soil and become quite toxic. When you first bring home a plant from the nursery, be careful not to fertilize it right away. Most companies use slow-release fertilizer that will last for quite a while.
Plants — indoors or out — are attractive, but are beneficial in another important way. They give off oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. We humans do just the opposite. We breathe in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Plants provide a fresh supply of air and absorb the dangerous gasses that we expel. How much more compatible could any two elements of nature be?
Be careful. Many houseplants come from tropical climates where many poisonous plants grow. The houseplant is a good air purifier, but it could be quite poisonous. So, it is wise to treat houseplants as potentially harmful when it comes to children.
Here’s one that Mom taught us. When the leaf is brown the plant needs water. When the leaf is yellow it needs food. You can take that one to the bank.
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Teaching kids to garden may provide best harvest of all
NEW MARKET, Va.— Back off, a bit, from your usual seasonal quest for prize tomatoes, sweating over bounteous berries or training “twiners.” Turn instead toward teaching your own little sprouts how to garden.
Gardening gives children an altogether new window to the world. Youngsters learn to see life cycles in a benign sort of way — everything from collecting and drying new seeds to tossing tired old plants onto the compost heap.
“People are concerned about a disconnect by children with then environment,” says Marcia Eames-Sheavly, a horticulture educator at Cornell University.
Most educators recommend starting early and simply, perhaps by having your preschoolers work alongside you to learn how nutrient-rich dirt can
feel beneath their fingernails. Have them mould mud pies, or scoop some loose soil into windrows. Toss shoots, roots or seedlings into their mix before placing the pies into the figurative “ovens” to rise.
Select a vegetable they’ve learned to like — a fast grower — and have them plant it in their own little corner of the garden. Have them adopt a row of seedlings to weed and water. At the end of the growing season, encourage them to donate some of their vegetable wealth.
“There are lots of different lessons to learn,” says Lisa Townson, a University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension specialist.
Families can learn how to talk with one another again by virtue of shared garden projects. A new generation can pick up conservation values
working plant by plant. Youngsters with energy to burn can reap the benefits of patience and reward.
“It’s also another way to teach responsibility,” Thomson says, as well as basic math skills.
You say vegetables are a hard sell? “Have them plant a pizza garden,” Townson says.
• Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together With Children, by Sharon Lovejoy.
• Gardening Wizardry for Kids, by L. Patricia Kite.
§ Green rhumbs: A Kid’s Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening, by Laurie Carlson.
• The Children’s Kitchen Garden: A Book of Gardening, Cooking and Learning, by Georgeanne Brennan, Ethel Brennan, Marcel Barchechat and Ann Arnold.
Diabetes food guide wins top award in dietitians’ competition
ST JOHN, N.B. — A diabet-ic food guide developed by the Centretown Community in Ottawa has won a top award in a communication competition.
The Diabetes Food Guide to Healthy Eating was honoured at the annual Kraft and Dietitians of Canada Speaking of Food and Eating Award presentation.
The guide was developed in an effort to ensure that Canadians with Type 2 diabetes have access to clear, accurate and culturally appropriate nutrition information.
The Diabetes Food Guide to Healthy Eating is available for purchase at $25 for 50 copies, with cheque payable to
Centretown Community Health Centre, 420 Cooper St., Ottawa, Ont., K2P 2N6.
To obtain individual copies at no cost, call (613) 233-4443; fax (613) 233-4541; or write the above address, attention Joycelene Charette.
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