Thursday, January 29, 2009

Native Plant Society Speakers' Series

While this may not seem like the time to be thinking about plants and gardens, the North American Native Plant Society is sponsoring a number of speakers over the next couple of months. All talks will be held at Toronto Botanical Gardens 777 Lawrence Ave., Toronto beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Feb 17, 2009
Gardening Trends
by Dennis Flannigan & Charles Kinsley

Mar 17, 2009
GREEN Gardening - A Joint Venture with Nature
by Ken Parker

April 7, 2009
Native Trees of Southern Ontario
by Todd Irvine


And if you're in the mood to brighten up your place as we head into February, here's a winter blossom idea from Elaine at Vintage Gardener in Toronto's Distillery District.
Forcing Branches
It’s a stretch to believe that what seems like dead sticks in the middle of winter, will actually sprout not only lovely tender green leaves, but actually flower!

Choose a sunny day when the temperature is going up at least 5 degrees – better if it is 10. It can be very, very cold – well below zero – it just has to be going up. We are tricking the plant into thinking it’s Spring!

Cut the branches of any early spring blooming shrub or tree slightly longer than you intend for your arrangement, because you will need to give them another clean cut (about 3 inches) when you bring them inside. The stem will have already formed a scab at the cut as a natural protection to lock in whatever moisture or nutrition it has to sustain itself.

To get water up those stems – fast - there are two recommendations.
1.) Hammer the ends of the stems to soften the wood or
2.) give the branch a cut vertically up the stem, splitting it in half, exposing the inner stem to the water.

Place the branches in cool to tepid water – NOT hot – afterall in spring the plant would receive very cold water (we do not want to shock the poor things). Place the vase near sunshine – (but not in the direct sun or you will fry it)!

Wait anywhere from a few days to a week or so, changing the water weekly to avoid bacteria in the water – and amazing! Blossoms!!!

Favs: Forsythia, Magnolia, Apple & Quince.

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