Monday, 20 October 2014

Thanks for Autumn Crocuses

Gold, red, orange, brown are are the colours of autumn.  But magical hints of purple were in Margaret's yard -- a crocus was blooming! zonatus (C.kotschyanus) is dormant in summer and blooms in the fall.  Margaret showed me its entry in Lois Hole's Favourite Bulbs as we waited. 

The tightly twisted lilac petals slowly unfurled as it soaked up the sun revealing bright orange anthers. 

And then, what luck!  A bee dove straight into the flower.  It was a little too fast for me to capture on camera, but it certainly was a nice sight. 

May you all enjoy this beautiful day and have some lovely moments like this to share.  Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Give Bad Bugs the Boot

or How I Learned to love my Fairy Ring! 

Lorraine Taylor, Horticulturalist and Conservation Coordinator with the County of La Ste.Anne, talked to us about smart approaches to dealing with pests -- how to avoid, how to combat, and how to manage expectations. The latter being: While there are many pests, they can be insufferable or tolerable. 

As she clicked through a slide presentation of photos that showed pests and pest damage, she spoke of "smart ways to figuring out the problem".  The primary problem.  Her example was moss growing in the grass.  Before piling on chemicals to try and get rid of the moss, she suggested going deeper, considering is it too shady, the wrong pH, or the soil too compact for grass to happily grow?  To "step back and look at the big picture" and to ask questions. Finally then deciding if the damage warrants control. 

She gave a special thanks to Doug Macaulay, answered our questions and shared some stories.  She reminded us the richness and perils of internet searches (the most exotic may show up in searches, your bug is likely something more common). 

As for Edmonton next year, she predicts we'll likely see more: 
- Forest Tent Caterpillars
- Aphids 
- Apple Maggots

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to see all the specimens she brought for us.  But she did leave us with some principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and a list of resources. 

Thank you, Lorraine Taylor!