Month: October 2019

Due Diligence

Due Diligence

Contributed by Jocelyn Cameron 

We gardeners often pride ourselves in due diligence.  When spring arrives, we follow suit, springing into action—tilling the soil, designing a new bed, transplanting what we neglected in the fall. We judiciously decide to move those rocks we thought enhanced the garden edge.  Who knew they would attract so many weeds?  

In late spring, plant sales beckon.  “I’ll buy just a few more plants.  I can find some place to put them.”  Oh, dear, we muse weeks later, I didn’t think they would take up so much room. Time to get out the stakes and rein them in.

Due Diligence - Jocelyn C. small
50 Down – 100 to Go

Enter the heat and humidity—a true mid-summer night’s nightmare.  Why do weeds flourish in such a state? They need to be tamed, but…it’s too hot, it’s too buggy, it’s too overwhelming.  Besides, I have company coming. Ah, a happy thought emerges.  “They can help me.  After all, I’m feeding them.”  Alas, they’ve come to have fun.  You know—boating, parades, afternoon teas, garden parties etc.  It wouldn’t be fair to ask them to bend their knees to such a demeaning task. In the fall, things will settle down and I’ll have more time to weed.  Kids will be back in school and we’ll be back to normal.  Did I mention the energy it takes to get back to normal? Didn’t think so.

By this time, I can almost see winter poking its nose over the horizon. Now this could very well be an acquaintance about to be recognized as a friend. What weeds can survive its severity? All I need to do is settle down and watch their demise.  Ha, Ha!  Oh, oh, I guess that means my garden will succumb too. Oh well, all summer my heart was encouraged as I watched it grow and flourish–especially those newbies from the garden sales.  I was so pleased to hear the neighbours remarking on its beauty. The grandchildren had such fun chasing the butterflies and annoying the bees.  (No matter that they crushed a few hostas and daylilies in the process.) And what a treat it was to be on the garden-club tour this summer.  Who couldn’t take respite in all that?  Due diligence really did pay off, despite those pesky reminders to the contrary.

Rododendrons & Azaleas

Rododendrons & Azaleas

Cora Swinamer, Landscape Designer, gardener, Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society member and educator recently treated Chester Garden Club Members and guests to an informative presentation.

Click on any picture for a slide show…


Many Rhododendrons and Azaleas, illustrated by her beautiful slides have proven to be hardy in Nova Scotia.


Cora described Plants of the rhodo family as Elepidotes, which are the large-leaf plants, or Lepidotes, the small- leafed varieties; or as Azaleas – either deciduous or evergreen. Cora suggested that as a way to remember which description fits which category the beginning of Elepidote resembles the the start of the word “elephant” and Lepidote reminds gardeners of the word “leprechaun”.

We were reminded, like many of the plants we choose for our gardens, site conditions make a difference. Rhododendrons require quality soil with good drainage, thrive in acidic soil, and do well in some shade, although in Nova Scotia, full sun exposure is not an issue. Cora advised that “ the larger the leaf, the more shade the plant can tolerate” and reminded us that stiff winds can cause broad-leafed plants to suffer. Deciduous Azaleas, which drop their leaves in cold weather were suggested for windy sites .


Cora shared information on tending to the rhododendron family of plants, including planting, mulching, dead-heading.


Slides from several beautiful gardens.


Dave assisted with advice about propagating from cuttings.

Those who took cuttings home await spring results of their efforts.

Pictures thanks to Sandy and Brenda

For further information visit: Atlantic Rhododendron & Horticultural Society-