Month: January 2010

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Following a fiercely windy, snowy storm on January 20th, Chester residents woke the next day to a fabulous environment of pristine snow and bright blue skies. We are posting these shots to remind ourselves what beauty we can find in a winter scene and to show those snow-birds in the warmer climes what they are missing!

News for Members: The CGC board met this week to plan some of the Club’s activities for 2010, and confirmed that the first meeting of the year will take place on Monday, February 15. It will be held at St. Stephen’s Parish Community Centre in Chester. The subject will be Forcing Blooms. Details re the speaker will be circulated shortly. A provisional schedule of all the events for 2010 will soon be posted in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this blog. Click on “Program of Events”.

While surfing the net recently, two more blogs caught our attention. (not a misprint!) is a compendium of all sorts of topics that appeal to both gardeners and bloggers. It carries sections devoted to blogs in all parts of the world. The Canadian section states that 144 sites are now “planted ” and that the number continues to grow. You can click on any one of the sites for personal observations, stories and tips on things horticultural. Other menu features include News, Reviews, and Picks (registered members can vote on their favourite blogs and a list of 200 favourite blogs are identified). Another site we checked is which includes a wide range of information from planning to planting to caring for plants of all kinds.

As the end of January approaches, we may start noticing the days getting longer and we will want to begin the annual rite of bringing nature indoors once again. The February 15th meeting will focus on forcing blooms on spring-flowering shrubs. Don’t miss it.

Bloom Day North

Bloom Day North

As a follow-up to the last blog, we are observing Bloom Day in Chester by posting several shots of Kalanchoes now in bloom (indoors!) in Chester Basin. The tall slender stalk of the succulent plant shown below represents an interesting new development. For several years, this specimen was content to grow in lateral directions as the stems wound around each other, putting out air-roots as it stretched out in space beyond the table on which it sat. It never had a flower stalk. What it had was a never-ending supply of little round knobs growing along the edges of its broad leaves (and invariably found on the floor having been knocked off by passers-by). This is the very first year that flower stalks have emerged and produced blooms.

Officially named Kalanchoe daigremontiana, the plant is more commonly known as Mexican Hat because those hundreds of little round knobs growing along the borders of its leaves are similar to the pom-poms that ring the broad brims of Mexican hats. The proliferation of knobs had been the norm until this year when, perhaps because the plant has put forth flowers, the knobs (leaflets?) are absent. The photo below shows tooth-like projections along the edge of some leaves where the knobs usually appear and a cluster of leaflets emerging along the edge of another.

The next two close-ups show the cluster of delicate pink flowers (umbrels) that are now beginning to open .

Below is a more familiar Kalanchoe that reappears in many Canadian homes during the winter. This one arrived last year and, although a little leggier than it was originally, it has re-bloomed twice.

Your blogger may be out of internet contact on the next Bloom Day – February 15th – but if you check your own garden (indoors as well as outside) and send us your photos, we’ll try to get them posted. If not in February, we’ll aim for March.


Gardens Bloom on the Net

Gardens Bloom on the Net

For many gardeners, the internet provides a wealth of information on plants, landscaping and garden accessories. A recent query on Google brought up a staggering listing of 5,920,000 sites. Posted by professionals and amateurs alike, garden blogs are clearly a popular way for gardeners to exchange information and share their delight in gardening. This blog is no exception so here’s a shot of paper-whites on a window ledge overlooking a snowy deck in January. Read on for more about blogs.

One of the most informative websites is, which provides a weekly newsletter filled with a wealth of information submitted by subscribers from across North America. There are individual sections like plantfiles, birdfiles and bugfiles, and lots of other gardening-related topics, all beautifully illustrated. One frequent contributor is Todd Boland, a reserch horticulturist from Newfoundland.

Canadian garden blogs – (17,100,000) sites according to Google). Among the many we clicked on, we found some to be unabashedly commercial, a few that seem to be written by poets, and others that provide very practical tips on gardening issues. Some of the sites we looked at included (produced by the magazine of the same name), (an urban organic outlook from a west coast writer), (an Ontario gardener’s perspective) and bloomingwriter (Nova Scotia’s own Jodi deLong). Checking garden websites is similar to our penchant for perusing seed catalogues at this time of year, as a way to overcome the non-gardening days of winter.

Many bloggers in the USA now participate in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. The concept is simple: gardeners take photos in their own gardens on the 15th of every month, then post them on their blogs and also submit them to the “Bloom Day” site, with the result that viewers can see a wide variety of botanicals, as they appear across the continent, on that specific date. Of course, in the dead of winter, some gardeners resort to posting shots of their indoor plants. To see the photos and read the commentaries, go to:

In a nod to Bloom Day, we’re posting the following shots of two poinsettias. The first is a plant that was purchased during a fund-raiser for the Chester Playhouse in 2008. It was “summered over” outdoors that year and rewarded its owner by regaining its coloured bracts in the fall of 2009.

The second is a plant purchased in support of the theatre in 2009 and is, of course, much fuller and showier because it is in its first year.

This branch of a holly bush was peeping though the snow on January 3, 2010.

If you’re taking photos during the winter, why not send us your own Bloom Day photos and we’ll post them on this blog, along with some other suggested sites for your viewing.


New Year’s Seascapes

New Year’s Seascapes

Early January in Chester, the day after the year’s first blizzard, and a gardener’s desire to be out of doors takes your blogger to a nearby provincial park for a short hike. The park’s island and causeway create a sheltered bay on the lea side. The sea here is mostly free of ice but small pans (we can’t even call them bergey bits) are floating freely on the surface, pushed at times in different directions by conflicting forces of wind and tide. A hesitant sun is flirting with the clouds as we gaze out at the seaside landscape.

Then in the distance, threading its way carefully amid the ice-pans, we see a fishing boat approaching.

It nears the boat-launch ramp and gently nudges up against a trailer that has been parked in the water ready for the task of hauling the vessel ashore.

Friends are on hand to help the captain and in jig time the boat is firmly attached to the trailer, the tender lashed to the top of the truck, and the crew is on its way.

With a smile, your blogger turns again to admire the beauty of the snow-covered land and the ever-changing patterns of light on the cold grey sea around her. And then, she reminds herself that Spring is only three short months away.