Category: Gardening

Spring Reminders …

Spring Reminders …


Touch any picture for slide show


At home the cardinals, tree swallows, song sparrows and many others, have been waking us around 5am with a beautiful chorus. It is a wonderful way to greet each day. Many are nesting close by, some in the rough areas left for them, others in trees and shrubs and some in recently cleaned nest boxes.





On Mothers Day I, along with my son and husband hiked along Snake Lake trail in Kejimkujic National Park. This trail cuts through a wide range of forest, some old growth with varied and interesting undergrowth. During our approximately 2 1/2 hour hike we observed many native plant species under the beautiful canopy. Soon, the Friends of Keji will begin to monitor the endangered species, in some instances helping with habitat restoration and protection.





Friends, in spite of the recent extended cold and rainy weather are finding their gardens have encouraging spring blossoms.





Faithful Chester Garden Club volunteers have begun the annual pruning and tidying at the Cove Garden. Throughout the summer members help maintain this garden, which is owned by the club.


Members, who are tending their own gardens, are also busy getting ready for the annual Gardeners Sale scheduled for next Saturday at what is known as The Old Chester Train Station on Highway #3 – 9am to 12 noon. This is an annual event looked forward to by both the participants and community.

Many of the same members are also getting ready for and looking forward to other garden club summer commitments: Garden Maintenance, Garden Tours, The Annual Flower Show and tea, and the annual member Summer Pot Luck.

Am I making you tired? Step outside as it gets dark this evening. Listen.. The spring chorus of Peepers has begun and is hard to ignore. These thumbnail-sized tree frogs have left their woodland hibernation sites and are now perched on grasses and sedges at the edge of ponds or roadside ditches where the males call mates with a shrill “peep peep peep”.

Spring Peeper


You will likely hear hundreds before you will ever see one.

Read More Read More

Time to plant…

Time to plant…


Sweet Peas – Lathyrus Odoratus

Sweetpeas Brenda Frranklin's sweetpeas

Sweet Peas are native of Sicily, where they prosper in cool thin woods, along riverbanks, foothills and along beaches. There they grow as perennial climbers bearing small, strongly scented flowers. Breeders began in 1718 to produce variations of the wild plant, and by 1900 there were more than 250 different varieties grown.

Named for Father Cupani, the Italian monk who first sent seeds to England , ‘Cupani’s Original’ closely resembles the original cultivated sweet pea. It’s highly fragrant bi-coloured flowers are a striking combination of deep maroon purple and soft violet. One of the hybrids are Spencer’s, which were developed where Lady Diana was born, seems to be the most popular type of sweet pea. They are bred for large flowers and ruffled petals over a range of colours from red to blue, pink and white, including all imaginable shades between. In North America we have two main varieties which were developed here, the Royals and Cuthbertson. Both have multi blooms. Cuthbertson bloom earlier but Royals can have 7 to 8 blooms to a spike. Today, there are many choices: “Henry Eckford” -a fragrant, bright orange heirloom Grandiflora variety. “Lipstick” -with long stems and huge cherry-red frilly flowers”. “ Saltwater Taffy Swirls” -a heavy bloomer that boasts uniquely coloured blooms of chocolate, maroon, purple, crimson and blue that have rippled veins of bright colour streaked across.”Old Spice” -a collection of dwarf growing, extremely fragrant heirloom varieties found in a range of pastel shades as well as some striped and bi-coloured types.

In our area, sweet pea should be planted in rich soil as soon as the ground is workable in the spring [March to May]. The soil will certainly be cold, snow may even fall, but the seed must begin the ground, waiting for spring warmth.

Most professionals advise to dig a trench 18 inches deep and at least one foot wide. Four to six inches of aged manure and compost should be put in the bottom of the trench and the trench filled with rich earth. The top of the bed should be mounded so the soil that receives the seed will be looser, warmer and drier than the ground beneath.

Seeds are slow to germinate in chilly soil. To speed up germination, gardeners should soak their seed 24 hours. To plant, dig a six-inch trench in the prepared bed, add the seeds and cover with about 1/2 inch of fluffy soil. When the peas sprout and come up through this soil and are about an inch above the soil line, fill the trench in another half inch. As the peas grow, fill in until the soil in mounded up a bit.

When the vines are about six inches tall, they should be trimmed to stand six inches apart. Provide support netting.

During the growing season, sweet peas should be kept cool and moist. They appreciate generous watering. A three inch layer of compost, grass clippings or shredded leaves will help conserve moisture. If the ground is well prepared and rich in nutrients, little fertilizer is necessary. Should they need a boost, manure tea, seaweed extract or similar matter may be applied.

Once the plants begin to flower – and they will if you are faithful in following these growing tips – the more you pick them, the more flowers they will offer. Gathering flowers is the best possible encouragement for the plants.



Fragrant or frilly, short or tall, there’s a sweet pea for everyone.



Botanica’s Pocket Annuals and Perennials

Articles & Materials from :

Julia Avery – Past President Chester Garden Club

Margery Dykeman -former gardening columnist

Niki Jabour –

Spring Thoughts

Spring Thoughts

I am a lot of things including a wife, a parent/grandparent, a retired nurse, a volunteer, a knitter, a bridge player, and an outdoor gal. But I self – identify most as a wildlife gardener.



Like many of the pollinators that I take pleasure having around me during the warmer seasons, they and I am fortunate to spend a short time away during the winter avoiding some of the cold icy days.

Now, as I prepare for spring, and their return, I am reminded that pollinators play a crucial role for our survival. 



During the winter when the backyard feeders were filled daily and the trees were bare, I noted the many places where the critters around me will find or build their future homes.



I am reminded, there are many insects and other small critters in Canada, especially in the warm summer months and they might not get the warmest of welcomes. Many are allies I need in my garden so my choice is for “no pesticides” that harm not just the unwanted insects but have a lethal effect on those insects that are beneficial, butterflies and birds and other critters.



Spring plans: I will –

Plant or nurture flowering plants, including those that produce berries, preferably native and neonics – free that are rich in nectar.

Plant some herbs such as Coriander, Fennel, Dill. Lavender, Thyme, Mint and Parsley to attract all the good guys. I will have the added benefits of having fresh herbs on hand.

Mix things up by placing plants that attract the good insects near plants that need protection, like my vegetable garden for example.

Check the areas created to provide places for shelter by adding to or building a brush pile/ dead wood pile where small critters can grow and reproduce or find shelter and raise their young. Ground nesting birds are attracted to even the smallest area of grasses/weeds left to grow and produce flowers and seeds.

Provide a source of water for the birds and also for the good insects, butterflies and bees by leaving a shallow dish of water with stones in it for a place to land.

With a little effort the result will keep our yard a welcome haven for all the beneficial pollinators bees, butterflies and songbirds.

Musings Behind the Curtain

Musings Behind the Curtain

by Jocelyn Cameron

When May gives way to summer-time heat, I never fail to make my entrance. Everyone seems to notice, but no one is clapping. Actually, I’m getting used to it. Sitting in the wings, I watch as others take centre stage. First out, the crocuses and daffodils always turn heads. And how could an audience fail to applaud hyacinths as their unique fragrance adds to their vibrant indigo hues?

I can only dream of looking like them.

Daylilies follow. They surely do melt hearts into fond appreciation, knowing how easily their multiple varieties produce blooms with only a minimum of maintenance. Their breezy countenances bring waves of intrigue into any play’s plot. Thus, these character actors enjoy long careers and steady incomes. Oh, I wish.

Now enter the divas—oriental lilies and tea roses. They require kid-glove treatment for sure, but, oh, the beauty.

These super stars typically steal the show from lesser lights like anemones, sea holly and even Shasta daisies.

And what sets must be on the scene to show off these stars to best advantage? Greens, of course. They include a swelling chorus that introduces each act for maximum impact. Ever notice how junipers and even veronica provide base notes that enhance the floral rhythms? Taller specimens like evergreens and shrubs can belt out a melody heard far above their peers. Herbs, from mint to oregano, lend their fragrance to the proceedings–all in good taste, for sure.

We must not forget, however, those who play roles like me. We provide ground support behind the scenes. You know, those unknowns who provide nourishment to the whole crew. You will seldom notice us because we are mostly invisible—nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, but also mulch and fertilizers.

I must say, though, I do get my fair share of recognition.

16 Taraxacum, Dandelion IMGP3519

As a dandelion, I can qualify as a walk-on. That works for me. Yes, summer always proves to be a major production, directed, of course by the Creator’s loving hand. Who with the right pH would want to pass up any part in an extravagant, blockbuster play like this?

Happy New Year

Happy New Year


Chester Garden Club has been one of the gems of community involvement for over 75 years. We are always welcoming new members, both women and men, to participate in a variety of interesting activities during the season, which runs from March to December. A review of most of last years monthly educational topics and activities are here on our blog.

In addition to this educational component, our club supports numerous community beautification projects in our area. These events are a time for all hands on deck and also a time for great camaraderie.

Joining our garden club is simple and inexpensive and membership opens the doors to explore a wide range of common interests with other gardeners; having access to educational programs, growing food and flowers for personal use and sharing, participating in service projects to help beautify our community, promoting environmental stewardship, practising artistic design in floral arranging and simply having fun.

A great reward at a modest price! Why not join us at a meeting in the spring. Remember, gardeners rest in the knowledge that all will awaken in time…

Check out the site pages at the top of the of blog posts

… and visit our new Facebook page:

Happy New Year and all the best plantings for 2019 from all of us at Chester Garden Club.



Sylvia & Duncan

As I hung our wreaths this year, I wondered about family and friends also creating, bringing out family heirlooms or purchasing wreaths to decorate and hang both inside and out. Why this is so important to all at this time of year ? Is it a family tradition we continue? Is it connected to our spiritual beliefs ? Perhaps, for many, it is both.


The beautiful Christmas Wreaths in our community hold personal meaning for those who take special care to display them. Many are simply done of greenery like pine and fir, adorned with a bow. Others have individual artistic qualities, and are made of materials like grapevine, berries and simply or lavishly created and decorated.



Common to them all is the circular shape , an emblem not only of perfection and unity but also symbolizes connection, joy and love.


Whether lovingly handmade from natural materials, passed down or store-bought and cherished through the years, our wreaths communicate a sense of joy and a desire for family & community support and peace.




Sylvia,   Sheila,   Janye,   Jeanne,   Jane,   Myra,   Betty Lou,   Linda,  Dorothy,  Sandy,  &  Brenda

Christmas Potluck

Christmas Potluck


Continuing the tradition, Chester Garden Club wrapped up it’s 2018 season with the annual Christmas potluck dinner party hosted by member residents of Chandler’s Cove. The weather cooperated allowing for members, spouses and friends, numbering more than 30 to share the festivities.



Members brought a favourite appetizer, main dish, or dessert to share. It was an evening of beautiful decorations, festive outfits, overflowing tables of food and friendly conversation.



AND … Happy Birthday wishes were energetically sung to Duncan, Ted and Walter.



Click on pictures (thanks to Myra and Brenda) which tell their own story.

The club now takes a break and just like members gardens, will be dormant until March. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


“Hanging of the Green”

“Hanging of the Green”

The Chester Garden Club’s traditional “hanging of the green” took place on a cold and windy November 24th when about 15 garden club friends gathered at the village bandstand.

New members were welcomed to the decoration crew who weathered the sudden drop in temperatures and enjoyed this years holiday decorating. With guidance from those more experienced, volunteers fastened evergreen boughs and strands of coloured lights to its railings, accomplishing the annual bandstand seasonal greening in record time.


Within an hour, tools were put away and the whole crowd retreated to Heather’s to warm up with mulled wine, homemade soup and goodies.

The following pictures show our collective achievement and enjoyment. 


All done…

20181124 Myra's

The Warm Up…

“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 ”



Robins having a meal in the Pyracantha ( Firethorne)


I have been distracted as I have been gardening this fall. Many of the familiar birds are heading to warmer places and stopping for nourishment along the way and the regular fall and winter residents are gathering in old familiar places.


As I ready the gardens for winter I am leaving the perennial seed heads standing, giving the birds the food they are searching for and me the pleasure of their company.

I am reminded that I can help our plants along by giving them a bit more of what they need to survive; water, nourished soil and the optimum placement .

Watering when it is dry, adding high nutrient compost when they are actively growing and pruning all but spring flowering shrubs during the winter when they are defoliated and dormant are good gardening practices.

Mulch, which can be spread at any time, is particularly timely for fall. The garden expects organic material, just like the forest expects fallen leaves. Leaves and debris settle as mulch during the fall rains and winter snowfalls, helping to retain moisture and inhibit weeds.

Our gardens can then do “What Comes Naturally”


Now, I just need to get back to fall gardening chores and stop being so distracted by the birds.