Month: October 2009

Cove Garden Plaque

Cove Garden Plaque

A photo submitted recently by a member of the Garden Club shows Syd Dumaresq using a special drill to fasten the Club’s bronze memorial plaque to its perch on the large boulder located near the western edge of the garden. His dog “Bandit” appears to be camera shy. This picture was taken just before the Municipality began digging up the area in order to repair the drainage system (mentioned in an earlier blog).

The photo below is a close-up of the newly installed plaque. The boulder, which used to be set in a grassy area and was surrounded by daylilies, now dissects a newly constructed path that crosses the “lawn”.

Today, most of what had been the lawn looks to be only freshly turned earth but workers are preparing the ground for the laying of sod that will restore the area to some semblance of normalcy before the cold weather sets in.

In response to queries about the large new pipe that provides an outlet for the water run-off that has caused subsidence problems in the past, we are posting the shot above. Taken at about half-tide, the photo shows the pipe (lower right-hand side of the image) tucked under the stone sea-wall that forms the southern boundary of the garden. The plants in the bed lining the edge are rugosa roses and cotoneasters.

Garden Pests – everything you always wanted to know…

Garden Pests – everything you always wanted to know…

Among the challenges facing every gardener is the presence of those pesky critters that hide in the soil and under the foliage, defeating our efforts to develop the perfect plant. But are they always out to cause havoc in our gardens?

At a recent meeting of the Chester Garden Club, members enjoyed an enlightening talk by Andrew Hebda entitled Garden Pests: Friends or Foes? Illustrating his points with colourful slides, Andrew, who is Curator of Zoology in the Collections Unit of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, spoke about the life cycles and habits of many of the insects that enjoy life in Chester gardens.

Andrew Hebda and CGC president, Brenda Garland, compare notes about his presentation.

In his talk he stressed that the “bad” bugs usually stay on their own plants. For example, potato bugs and cucumber bugs are specialists. If you see damage on those plants, look for the perpetrators, and remember to check the underside of leaves to spot the eggs or larvae. You can pick off these nuisances and even toss them in the compost because they are species-specific and won’t thrive on other plant material in the pile.

Andrew is a big believer in soapy water to get rid of bugs. He demonstrated how bugs “breathe” air through their bodies, and he showed a photo of the ‘airway’ opening, which is surrounded by an oval ring with a coating of oil on it. Spraying the bug destroys the oil protection and thus allows water to get into the “air ways”.

One surprising piece of information that Andrew delivered is that male mosquitoes might be called “good bugs.” They actually do have a positive role in the ecosystem. In addition to their role in the procreation of those “pests to man and beast”, it is the males that are the main pollinators of grasses and therefore important for the growth of good pastures and lawns.

The photo on the right is of the infamous brown spruce long-horned beetle that has been a cause of concern for several years in the province.
Andrew’s talk was replete with information on so many garden pests that it is impossible to cover them all in this blog, but it was interesting to note that he believes that bugs only damage trees that are already under stress due to age, poor nourishment or water stress.
This blog is based on notes taken by a member of the Garden Club who attended the meeting in the absence of your blogger. The captions added to Andrew’s photographs were prepared by the replacement reporter.
Cove Garden Restoration Update

Cove Garden Restoration Update

Those who follow this blog will know that earlier photos showed the Cove Garden as it underwent “surgery” in early October. The digging was part of the work required to repair a subsidence problem in an area of the garden that was used by the public as a shortcut across the grass. Once the old underground drain was removed, and a new drainage system installed, the land needed to be re-landscaped.

Work on restoring a level surface continued for several days, despite rainy weather. The original lawn became a sea of mud.

The new water-collecting crock has now been covered with earth and a gravel path has been laid along the diagonal from the northeast corner to the southwest side of the plot.

The path has been designed to bring focus to the stone that bears the plaque that identifies the garden as belonging to the Chester Garden Club. The inscription includes a note that this garden space is “Dedicated to gardeners everywhere.”

The photo above, taken on a sunny day during the Thanksgiving weekend, shows how the rough earth had been smoothed over. The plot is now ready for the next step – growing a new lawn – and Club volunteers will be out in force next spring to add the final decorative touches.


A Treasured Evening

A Treasured Evening

In keeping with a recent increased interest in family heirlooms, the Garden Club’s program committee invited noted antique dealer Wayne Cameron to attend a meeting of the club for the purpose of taking a look at some of the treasures members might bring in.
The evening was a great success, with over 40 people in attendance and a wide variety of items displayed for evaluation. The treasures included fine china, pressed glass, vases, paintings, wooden boxes, marine instruments, furniture and assorted decorative items. The long-handled spoon that Wayne is holding was used for heating rum over a flame in making hot toddies.

As with most Garden Club meetings, there was lots of lively chatting and visiting among friends before the session began. The art and antiques were ranged along a series of tables at the front of the audience, and tables off to one side were laden with sandwiches, snacks and coffee. Wine was available at a cash bar.

At one point, it appeared that half the room was attentive to the evaluating process while the other was intent on ordering refreshments.

Once Wayne had captured their attention, however, every eye was riveted on the object under discussion, and some members were busy taking notes on everything from the defining characteristics of certain design periods to particular methods of cleaning precious items.

With the bust of an angel looking over his shoulder, Wayne nears the end of the last table on which members’ treasures had been set out for his inspection. Having calmly and charmingly evaluated about 60 disparate items during the evening, he finished his task at 9:30 pm. In thanking him on behalf of the members, Brenda Garland, president, expressed her appreciation for his good-humored and informative commentary throughout the process.

NEXT: The Program Committee has announced that the club’s next event will be held on Monday, October 19th, with a new starting time of 7:30 pm. The guest speaker will be Andrew Hebda of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. His presentation is titled “Garden Pests: Friend or Foe“. The meeting will be held at the usual location, St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre. New members are welcome.

Cove Garden Repairs

Cove Garden Repairs

The Cove Garden, owned and maintained by Chester Garden Club, is a source of pride to members of the Club but it is not looking its best these days. After much discussion between the club’s trustees and the municipality’s Public Works Department, work has finally begun on remedying the subsidence problem at the site.

The site consists of an open plot of grass bordered by rugosa roses, shrubs and trees. During the excavation and creation of a new drainage system, however, heavy equipment tore up the grass and damaged part of the rose-bed along the rock-wall. To deal with the underground water problem, a large cement “crock” has now been set in the ground on the upper side of the park to act as a temporary reservoir for run-off water, and a trench (with a drainage pipe leading from the crock) has been dug to allow the water to drain toward the sea-wall.

A view of the muddy tracks left after installation of the crock and drainpipe.

The drainage pipe should be able to handle even a heavy run-off.

With construction of the drainage work underway, the Club arranged for removal of three old spruce trees along the eastern boundary of the garden. The Club plans to replace them with several small ornamental fruit-trees as part of a long-range plan to renew the garden.

Another change concerns the magnolia, which had been moved from a private property (in a rescue mission) to the Cove Garden site in mid-winter two years ago. It never did fully adjust to its new location with the result that the Club was obliged to cut it down this fall. Because of the damage to the grass and the rose-beds this past week, the entire garden looks in bad shape now but all will be restored eventually, and a proper path across the grass will be part of the new landscaping, which is expected to be completed next spring.

Looking east across the site, at the edge of the shore, with the stump of the magnolia in the foreground.