The Columbine

Newsletter of Gardening Kingston

May 2021


President's Message

By Suzanne Maranda

I tried, I really did, I did not want to talk about the pandemic in these messages. But here we are, one year later, and still confined. Last spring my garden was in top shape so early that I remember thinking, “now what?” Do I have to watch plants grow? Well, I did not do that, I walked the streets of Kingston and admired other gardens, watching how they evolved over time. And mine too, of course. So, it looks like it will be more of the same this year!
The board met on April 1st and we had many good ideas for spring and summer activities, based on the survey results – thank you to all who answered. We knew of course that the virus could derail our plans, so we had to be flexible. The current lockdown does not bode well, even for small group activities, but these are some activities we are planning:
  • Members-only Spring Plant Sale – see details below.
  • The online Summer Bulb sale is still available – see update below.
  • Later in the summer, we will send you the information for a self-guided tour of community gardens with a scavenger hunt.
  • Another new venture is sharing photos or videos of your garden. A few members agreed to send photos (you can plan to take pics and hang on to them) or to have someone come over to take photos. We will need to plan the latter when the restrictions are relaxed. Watch the next newsletters for more information.
Unfortunately, we are going to have to wait for these other popular options: a Sunday social, a Wolfe Island tour, a walk to the alvars or to Lemoine Point, as well as a woodland tour with an arborist. Let’s hope that we can plan these next year.
Enjoy your garden, your walks, rain, or shine…

By-Law Amendment

Reminder! There will be a vote on a by-law amendment at the May 13th meeting to allow for the continued use of electronic meetings. To review that communication and the text of the by-law amendment click here

We look forward to seeing as many members as possible so that we can attend to this business matter during our regular meeting.
We also share garden related information on Facebook. So, if you aren't following us already, consider connecting with us there.
We also share garden related information on Facebook. So, if you aren't following us already, consider connecting with us there.

 Growing Medicinal Herbs - Zoom Meeting


Thursday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m.

Jane Atkinson and Kathleen Moritz are the joint owners of Redwing Herb Farm and will provide us with a presentation on growing medicinal herbs. Redwing Herb Farm is a small medicinal herb farm located on Howe Island, Ontario, on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Huron-Wendat. Redwing is entering its first growing year in 2021, and provides high quality dried herbs, herbal products, and workshops on herbal medicine.
“At Redwing, our values centre around making herbal medicine accessible, seeking reciprocity in our relationship with the land, and supporting relationships between people, plants, and land.”

Registration required by
Wednesday, May 12th

On Thursday, May 13th you will be sent an email containing the web-link.

Learn, Grow, Share

Register Now

Never Zoom'd before and don't know where to start?
Check out these resources:
  1. Zoom FAQ's
  2. Step-by-step Guide (PDF)
  3. Video and Tutorial
  4. Or send us an email and we'll try to help you out

OHA's Trillium Newsletter

Interested in seeing what other societies in the province are doing? Stay updated with the latest OHA news. Follow the link to the latest issue of the OHA’s Trillium newsletter.

Woodland Appreciation Week

During this year’s Ontario Woodlands Appreciation Week from May 8th – 15th 2021, we are encouraging all Ontarians to get out in the woods and experience them using their five senses. We have put together three fun activities each day, for five days, to help you delve into a “sense of the day.”  Click here for details

Robinson Community Garden

By Julie Anderson

We are a not-for-profit garden with access to two acres of land off of Highway 2. Last year alone, we grew over 4,000 pounds of food. All the produce goes to local food programs:
  • The Food Bank
  • Martha's Table
  • Salvation Army
  • Tipi Moza
  • Community Harvest Kingston
  • Lionheart
  • Food Sharing Program
  • Isthamus
In terms of commitment, any time donated to us is appreciated and greatly valued. In the garden, we are looking for help with watering, garden maintenance, weeding, sowing, and harvesting. Although we are switching things up this year by offering virtual volunteering as well. What that means is, we are looking for help in administration, social media, and website development. Anyone can sign up on our website:
The garden is open at least 5 days a week, but we are weather-dependent. I send regular emails to all of the volunteers that sign up and it is always posted on our social media. We have two sessions each day that we are open. In the mornings from 7 to 11 a.m. and in the afternoons from 5 to 8 p.m. We ask that volunteers let us know when they will like to come and to fill in our online covid screening form before arriving. We do practice social distancing and ask that volunteers bring their own gloves and tools if they have any.

Nursery Discount Program

Please check that you have the most up-to-date version of our Nursery Discount Program.
click here

Make sure that you review the list of participating retailers before you shop.

Summer Bulbs - We still have some left

By David Kelly

Many of the summer bulbs that we offered at the beginning of April sold out quickly, but there are 9 varieties that are still available:

Begonia 'Odorosa Red'
Calla 'Picasso'
Canna 'Apricot Frost'
Canna dwarf 'Red Futurity'
Chasmanthe 'Saturnus'
Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie'
Eucomis 'Aloha Leia'
Gladiolus Glaminin 'Eva'
Lilium 'Rio de Janeiro'

All of these varieties are suitable for container planting and can be started ahead indoors before moving to your porch, patio, or garden border when the temperatures warm up. Pictured here are varieties that we started indoors on April 8th. The flower buds are already showing on the lilies!

Watch your inbox for the updated ordering form...and think about entering our contest.

Members-only Spring Plant Sale

  • June 6, 2021
  • Watch for announcements in case we need to push it to June 13 or later.
  • 592-596 Heritage Court, Kingston
  • The front yards and driveways of 2 members who live side by side. Lots of room for distancing. Thank you Nalini and Cherrilyn.
Timing and COVID considerations:
  1. To bring plants: from 8:30-9:30 a.m.
    • Helpers will be there to unload cars and bring pots to be priced. You will then be asked to drive off to let others approach. We need time to price the plants. You can then return at the start of the sale to make purchases.
  2. To purchase: from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
    • Please wear a mask and use the provided hand sanitizer. We reserve the right to limit the number of people on site at the same time. We will need everyone to register for contact tracing purposes.
  3. To clean up: anyone who brought plants needs to return at 2 p.m. and take home anything that did not sell. Thank you for helping us return the front yards to their owners!
We obviously must follow the Ontario restrictions – make sure to watch news on our website and Facebook in case we have to change our plans. Hopefully our potted plants can wait a bit until we are ready to make this happen.
Happy gardening!

Nature's Gift

By Maureen Williams
Photo: Bryan Williams
One of the most awe-inspiring spring flowers is the trillium. And this is the time to take a walk in the woods to see them in bloom. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions have ruled out the idea of meeting as a group at Lemoine Point to do this nature walk; but singles or couples can go for the exercise. Take the main trail from the north parking lot. There is one drawback if you are wandering the trails of Lemoine Point this week. Maybe it is Mother Nature’s way of protecting her flowers…a cloud of tiny annoying midges has also arrived! Plan on bringing a hat, glasses, and a face mask, but do persevere. And remember – take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.

The Lawn: A Social History

By Katherine Romba
Here are some facts about lawns. In the United States, which is the overwhelming leader in lawns, over 40 million acres of suburban land is covered with grass. Most lawn grasses—including Kentucky bluegrass and Canada bluegrass—have been imported from Europe due to the thick, lush carpet they provide. Due to their shallow root structure, these grasses are not well suited to North America, which generally lacks the moist, temperate climate these grasses need. For these European grasses, heavy irrigation is often needed in the hot summer months, consuming on average more than eight billion gallons of water daily.

Preserve our Nut Trees

By Alita Battey-Pratt
Have you ever walked through a moist, fresh green forest on a clear summer’s day and felt euphoric and enlivened? There is good reason for feeling this way. Trees actually emit the gift of life. Oxygen is delivered from the chloroplast sacs in the mesophyll of the leaves of all plants and trees. Mesophyll is the tissue that opens up into the breathing pores, or stomata, of a leaf. Chlorophyll sacs are surrounded by air spaces that are open to the atmosphere for the exchange of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Oxygen is delivered into the atmosphere, into the oceans and into the soils of the world to benefit all the aerobic life forms within these systems. Without the forests, we couldn’t breathe and all life would end.

Gardener's Journal

Gardening Kingston Members tell their stories.
Learn along with them.

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David's Spring Woodland Garden

Have a look at what's blooming in my garden right now. The long, cool, wet weather is really helping to extend the bloom time.

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