A collection of ideas at Gardeners' Notes
Here's a grab bag of items that didn't fit elsewhere in our website.
The fall of 2019 has been very strange.
The warm weather kept us busy in the gardens and the trees showed no inclination to drop their leaves in the usual time frame.
Eventually most of the leaves ended up under the early falls of snow. A few days of warm weather got rid of that snow.
It was time to send out a call to the Green Thumbers.
Out with the wheelbarrows and the many rakes!
The volunteers started raking in the early afternoon. It wasn’t long before it was easy to see where they had been at work.
There was soon a trail of jackets and sweaters abandoned as the work crew moved through the gardens.
Previously, in the Surprise Garden we had wrapped the potted cedars in bird netting to discourage the deer from nibbling. Not sure if it is really doing its job or not…
With twelve enthusiastic people raking it was possible to have all the leaves raked up and taken off to various sheet composting sites and still have enough light left to plan another activity in the garden.
The crew was somewhat mystified but moved over to where the latest addition to the garden, a large rock, was sitting.
Bill had a length of rope and lots of instructions!
Bill announced that the new rock wasn’t in quite the right spot and he wanted it moved, just a little to the west.
A willing team took on the task!
It’s truly amazing what positive energy and team work can accomplish.
This summer Bill designed and prefabricated another outhouse with the help of several Green Thumbers.
The floor and each of the walls were built in the gardens. The interior walls were painted blue. The outhouse was assembled on site at Painter’s Point.
Each wall was taken up the Nature Trail to the location on the trailer of the garden tractor. Linoleum was laid on the floor before the walls were erected.
Trevor and Bill put on the rafters and strapping. There's now a steel roof covering their handiwork.
At Painter’s Point there is a picnic table.
There is also a viewing shelter complete with a roof and benches where the view over the bay can be enjoyed in super sunny weather or during summer showers.
Bill designed the corner brackets to look like the nearby living branches.
Now with the addition of our new outhouse tucked away, but near the trail, Painter’s Point offers all the comforts of home!
The view through the outhouse door keyhole window is well worth the time spent there!
A squirrel proof container for the loo paper has been already been found.
The outside of the loo will be left to weather naturally. Bill hopes to add battens to the sides if there is a break in this early winter weather.
A New Loo with a View
Garden visitors who follow the Nature Trail to Painter’s Point discover a great view of the farm fields, the lake, and the cliffs and islands.
Aunt Agnes' Violets
When Bill’s Uncle Cecil came back to Canada after the war, he brought his English war bride, Agnes. She didn’t bring a lot of stuff but she did bring a wee pot of white violets from her garden in England. The violets flourished in her Russell, Manitoba garden.
Over fifty years ago Bill visited his aunt and uncle, and brought a clump of violets to his dad’s garden near Wiarton. When we bought our farm at Big Bay the violets moved again. Now we have them in many places in the gardens. I always think of Aunt Ness when I see the pure white blossoms standing out so strongly from the dense green foliage. Lovely to look at, no perfume at all, but the story always warms my immigrant heart.
Collecting Native Pollinators
Photo: Mary Prawecki
Photo: Mary Prawecki
Professor Nigel Raine from Guelph University is conducting a project which is focused on monitoring native pollinators, especially wild bees, in Ontario. We didn't realize that Ontario is “a national hotspot for wild bee diversity in Ontario with around 420 of the 850 species found in Canada.”
We make a collection of insects every second Wednesday from May through October. If you come on that day you will see the coloured dishes set out in a pattern on the grass. Take a peek and see what insects are found here at Big Bay.
Our gardens are full of busy bees of various kinds. We are very fortunate in that we have two close neighbours, both with their own bee yards, so our plants are very well served.