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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #200 --- The cymbidium orchids enjoy the background of snow.
December 12, 2014

We had a lovely warm day this week and I was able to clean up the last of the beds and even rake those last leaves and move them to the veggie garden as mulch and compost. The bubblers were put into the ponds and I remarked to the Assistant Gardener that I felt more ready for winter then I have for some years. Even the snow-blower had been repaired and tested. It is definitely not new and I needed a gasket for the carburetor. I went off looking for one knowing that if I didn’t find the 50¢ gasket it could be a $500 snow blower. Not only did I find the gasket but it was $5.00 and the new snowblower would have been $1200. Apparently I’m both lucky and out of date. Yesterday we received a pile of snow and I cheerfully and confidently started up the blower and it ran beautifully all the way from the garage to the front steps and then died. I muttered a few words and went to the garage to get the power cord. It didn’t start immediately and I uttered a few more words, fiddled with it a bit and then it finally roared to life and finished its job without another hiccup. Let’s wax the skis and get on with the winter activities. The picture across the top was taken a few moments ago. The big yellow Cymbidium Orchids have burst open to fill the solarium with these magnificent blooms. It has 33 blooms in varying stages of opening, each one being almost 9 cm (3.5") across and they will all stay open and glorious for close to three months. These blooms more than make up for the several months of watering and fertilizing a 25 cm (10") pot of long, less than elegant, leaves. In gardening, all things come to those who have the patience.

A lovely blanket of snow is covering the yard hiding all of the past summers successes and disasters. Each gardening year brings a few of each. The Roses slowly recovered from a rough winter and put on a long and beautiful show right up to mid November. November also brought our best Rutabaga crop in years. They weren’t huge but they were the perfect size for a 2 person dinner and I learned to roast them on the barbecue to make them delicious. The Raspberries did not do very well, either the early summer or fall varieties. We did plant a few new ones and have great hopes for next year. The Radishes, most of which were planted as row markers for the Parsnips, were plump and tasty. The flat Rocks were utilized to make the new little path to nowhere in the front yard and it still looks good. I’m running out of “R” things to talk about so I have to get to our biggest problem this year, Rabbits. They arrived in unprecedented numbers and ate many things and next spring we will be putting up some little fences to thwart them. My attempts to trap them were spectacularly unsuccessful. What do you put in a trap to entice them, when that trap is surrounded by a garden full of delicious vegetables. They have not quit. The picture of the smooth, white, cover of snow is interrupted by sets of Rabbit tracks across it. Maybe I might be more successful trapping them now when food is much more scarce. Loading them into the truck and relocating them to a nice country home is not so nearly a pleasant drive so they will probably be allowed to visit the ponds for a drink for the rest of the winter.

If you are paying attention you will notice the milestone. This is edition 200 of “Dallying.” Who could have imagined that, when I started an irregular publication schedule with about three people on the mailing list, a few years ago. It seems a good spot to stop for the holidays. When the seed catalogs are all here, early in the new year, edition #201 will appear. Until then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I appeared at the local community centre last week, dressed in this red velvet finery. Watching the children’s varied reactions to Santa was a great delight.

Many of you have sent messages of hope and prayers for our granddaughter Matilda and we thank you. We will be spending Christmas in the hospital with her. She and her mother remain there and will for several more weeks to come. She is progressing reasonably well but quite slowly. I look forward to having her healthy and helping me to plant next spring’s garden.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Connie Asks? This is an indoor gardening question on behalf of my boss: We have a money tree in our office -(on life support) that is extremely tall with only a few leaves at the top. I advised cutting it back instead of tossing it but would appreciate your opinion. Thanks for the wonderful newsletters and advice!

Ken Answers! I have to admit to having no personal experience with the money Tree. Here is a web site with some information. If you are contemplating throwing it out then why not prune it significantly and wait to see if it regrows. If it doesn't you were going to throw it out anyway. Good luck.

111 Trent St. W.
Whitby ON

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