Category: Autumn Colours

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.

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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.

“We’ve Got Talent”

“We’ve Got Talent”

In light of the upcoming holiday season, which seems to be quickly approaching, Chester Garden Club members and guests were invited to put on their creative hats, give each other inspiration and encouragement and create a seasonal arrangement.


In preparation for Monday evening’s workshop, on a beautiful cool crisp morning with snow flurries in the air, woodland and garden treasures were gathered. Gorgeous greenery such as Fir, Pine, Hemlock, Cedar, Juniper, Euonymus, Boxwood and Holly predominated.


Members also gathered dried garden and roadside perennials and woody stems to share. Ribbons, baubles and glitter helped complete the works of art.


Focusing on enjoying each others company, having a great time choosing materials and of course learning, ( Next you’ll start “Greening it up”) we created together using a mixture of the seasons best greenery, woodland treasures and seasonal accents.


Best of all, we all got to take home our unique designs.

Have a look “ We’ve got talent ”

It’s November and …

It’s November and …

It’s November and, although we have had two heavy frosts and it is cool now, up until a few days ago gardeners have been amazed by the warm temperatures here in the Chester and surrounding area.

The following are few pictures that were taken during the last couple of weeks, some as late as the 10th of November.

Summer pots still showing off.

The last of the fragile produce, only greens left in the vegetable garden.

Winter arrangements in the near future.

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We can now continue preparation for winter in our gardens, enjoy the birds as they make ready for winter and settle in with a good gardening resource for next springs plans. Fall temperatures have arrived.


Thanks to Kay B. and Brenda H. for the photo’s.





Putting Our Gardens to Bed

Putting Our Gardens to Bed

This is a beautiful time of year – leaves falling to the ground in colors of orange, red and yellow. Birds and other little critters running around doing their last minute preparations for winter, our greenhouse doors are closed and life begins to slow down just a little.



Herb Fraser, long time member and experienced gardener in many parts of the world reminded us that each zone and each garden is individually different and requires a plan. When we get our Zone 6a Chester Gardens gardens ready for winter they are prepared for an even more productive spring.



Herb suggested this is a good time to take advantage of sales at local nurseries. The root bound plants can be teased and trimmed, possibly divided, watered well and planted for next seasons show.

We were reminded not to fertilize after mid August or cut back perennials too early as even though plants may appear dormant as fluctuating temperatures may stimulate the below surface activity and plants will produce new growth which will not be winter hardy. It is possible to divide and transplant perennials before the first heavy frost remembering they usually require about 4 to 6 weeks to settle in.

Following a couple of hard frosts, usually late October, early November in the Chester area, ensure that plants are well watered, especially evergreens which provide not only backdrop for our summer show but seasonal distinction and wind protection for our properties.

Thinking about our own gardens, Herb encouraged us to concentrate on clearing debris, checking for pests, damage and disease. It is a good time to weed, pull annuals, to compost any plants without disease, to save seeds such as Marigold, Zinnia, Sweet Peas, Morning Glory, Scarlet runner and to cut back to three or four inches perennials such as Siberian and Bearded Iris, Sweet Peas, Crocosmia, Bee balm. If you don’t cut your plants right to the ground, their stalks will hold new spring growth straighter.

Some gardeners choose plants to add visual interest to their gardens in winter and so leave some standing. Plants, including perennial grasses,ferns and sedems have a neat look, and the seeds of Joe Pye, echinacea and rudbeckia will attract and feed birds all winter.

We were reminded not to cut hardy geraniums or Hellebore.

Plant bulbs like daffodils and garlic now according to directions. The general rule of thumb for planting spring bulbs is to plant two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall.

One thing to always keep in mind is to remember it is all about soil. After the first hard frost, make big efforts to increase soil fertility by providing a fresh layer of mulch. Feeding and amending your soil with organic matter through the use of mulch, compost and other available materials (shredded leaves or seaweed, which is full of micronutrients that enrich the soil and feed the plants. And it’s free!) to increase the availability of the minerals in the soil and create more spaces for air and water will benefit next season’s production & show. Don’t put all those leaves in bags. Instead, run the lawn mower over them and use them as mulch or in your compost and the worms will help them enrich the soil. Also, now is the time to spread lime on lawns and gardens.

What about garden ponds/pools? Herb asked Joan C. to help members understand the winter care needed for garden pools. Joan reminded us that Goldfish and Koi are very hardy and can handle winter water temperatures which means they can survive in the pond during the winter as long as the pond is three feet or more deep, it doesn’t freeze solid and they have adequate water quality and oxygen.

Herb advised us to clean and service our gardening tools so they are in good condition for storage and to begin using next season, especially if we run out of time or the weather becomes challenging.

As a final note, we were encouraged to remember winter brings opportunities to enjoy warmth in front of our wood stoves or fireplaces planning for next gardening season.

Following the presentation and before the regular meeting there was time to view the artistic fall displays, for conversation and a snack.



Time to Tidy Containers

Time to Tidy Containers

clip art flower potWell, with the frost now clipping the container plants, it’s probably time to tidy them up for winter. As many of us have observed, Sheila KM displays her award-winning containers to optimum effect. Let’s listen in as she describes her experiences dabbling in this unique gardening specialty.

“I started using pots to provide a barrier to keep people from inadvertently stepping off our patio. However, I may have also been influenced by my mother who always had pots on the doorsteps and lining the driveway, and I always enjoyed them.

“When we moved to Chester, I started planting in pots because I didn’t know anything about gardening. However, I could stick plants in pots and watch them grow. When I went to the nursery, the many beautiful plants were hard to resist.  I discovered that you don’t have to worry quite so much about bugs with pots. As well, I like putting different combinations of plants together and seeing what works colour-wise and condition-wise.   I can step onto my deck in the morning in summer and check my plants, pick off dead flowers, and just generally admire them.

“Potted plants can be fed more easily as you have to water them almost daily. I do feed with diluted fertilizer with every watering. That could be a down side, but I keep trying to devise a way to self-water for hot days or when I am not here. I am very fortunate to have kind friends to water when I am away.

“For a number of years, I’ve had between 50 and 60 containers, between hanging baskets, window boxes and pots [Can any of us beat that?]. I didn’t have quite so many this year, but, there is always next year!

“At the end of the season, I compost the container plants with their soil. When that compost is ready, I put it on my garden beds. In this way, I use fresh soil for the pots every year, and it is recycled to build up the soil in the beds, which do seem to expand just about every year.

“As for tips, I talk to fellow gardeners, read books and magazines, take pictures and just do it. I try to make notes about what works or not, but I could do better with that.”

Sheila finishes off with this comment, “As I am writing this, I realize again how much I enjoy my plants, gardening and the people I have met through it.” I know that our readers can easily reflect those sentiments as well. We continue to learn so much from each other. Yeah, garden clubs, right?

P.S. Before Sheila got down to business cleaning out her containers, she took the following pictures of her glorious late bloomers (mid-October). Enjoy.

Changing Colours Usher in New Season

Changing Colours Usher in New Season

As if on cue, the second week of October has DSCF7620brought the first real hint of fall colours to the Chester area. Among the first plants to show their “true colours” were the sumacs which, when backlit by the autumn sun,  glowed with a wide range of reds – blending subtle shades of scarlet, crimson and burgundy.

These colours were followed within days by the lemon yellows, the peach tones and the scarlets that form the autumn dress of the hardwoods that make up a large part of our boreal forest in Nova Scotia.  The colourful palette created by the stands of white birch, trembling aspen and maples that are tucked in among the deep greens of softwoods like spruce and pine, enthralls painters and photographers alike.


DSCF7671DSCF7679Below…surprise…a lovely spider’s web was spotted early one sunny morning, with the spinner resting and watching at the centre.

spider web in sunshineAs if in response to the sudden appearance of colourful leaves on the trees in the countryside, brown-eyed susans and other autumn-flowering annuals were flaunting their bold hot colours in local gardens.

DSCF7698DSCF7700DSCF7636But, in contrast to autumn’s vibrant autumnal reds and golds, a healthy cluster of white morning glories sprawled defiantly atop a trellis.

DSCF7677While, in keeping with the season, a local nursery’s display signaled “Harvest Home”.

DSCF7697Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian viewers!