Northern Shade Gardening

Merry Christmas Everyone

Saturday, December 22, 2012 Category: General
hippeastrum (amaryllis)

hippeastrum (amaryllis)

Merry Christmas. I hope that everyone is enjoying the season. It is very cold and snowy here, so I look out the window wistfully at the parts of the garden that manage to rise above the snow, and make plans for next year. I’m looking forward to the first spring bulbs, but meanwhile I’ve got a few bulbs growing indoors.

amaryllis bulbs growing

amaryllis bulbs growing

In order to enjoy the scent of soil and the satisfaction of watching something grow, I’ve got some Hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulbs in various stages of growth. It’s such fun to watch their progress, and of course so easy since they don’t require chilling. From the first tiny point of emerging green to the splendid, showy flowers, they are fun to observe. The ones in bloom need staking, even after only one of the flowers fully opens, and the heavy pots help keep the tall, top-heavy flowers stable.

Christmas bears

Christmas bears

Here’s a warm fire to offset the frigid temperatures outdoors. The Christmas bears are warming their toes, after having fun in the snow, but I’ve warned them not to get their paws too close.

Christmas tree ornaments

Christmas tree ornaments

This collage shows some of the ornaments from my tree. I have some birds that I’ve had since I was a child, given to me by my father when I belonged to the young naturalist’s club. I got one per month, and now 40 or so of them nest in my tree. The little presents were ones that I made from homemade wrapping paper, by carving and printing them with ink onto tissue paper. There are more teddies on the tree, and various mini-wreathes and mini-baskets I’ve made and wrapped with ribbons, berries or cones. I made some little cross stitched ornaments, too.

Christmas presents

Christmas presents

I hope that Santa is good to you, and that you have a peaceful holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Northern Shade.

 

Killing Weeds with Hot Water

Saturday, July 18, 2009 Category: General

Here is an easy method for getting rid of weeds in sidewalk cracks and between patio stones. I’ve found it to be very effective, and it’s completely non-toxic. I use boiling hot water for killing weeds in the gaps, and have found it to be very successful at removing just about all of the weeds. You can see in the pictures below how well it works.

I carry the boiling water into a coffee carafe with a lid and pour spout for safety. It wouldn’t be a safe idea to be moving open pots of boiling water. I wear enclosed boots for safety. I also make sure to pour it down low and away from myself, so it doesn’t splash up, while killing the weeds.

I just pour the boiling water on the weeds in the cracks, and most look like cooked vegetables a few hours later. Most weeds are dead the next day. I’ve found a few established weeds might need a second treatment, if they haven’t died in a few days.

I usually use this method of killing weeds in early summer, but it’s a little later this summer, so some of the weeds got a little big before the boiling water treatment. Within a few days, the weeds have usually crumpled into tiny dessicated pieces that disappear. A week or so later, you hardly see anything left.

Here are some before and after shots of the weeds that were killed in my sidewalk and driveway. The old weed on the top half, and the dead weed on the bottom half. I should have set up little signs, as after a day it was much harder to recognize individual weeds.

weeds before and after boiling water

weeds before and after boiling water

Here is a before and after photo of the weed killing in action. The bottom of the picture was taken 4 hours after the boiling water was applied. You can see how quickly this one died.

weeds before and after boiling water 3

weeds before and after boiling water 3

The bottom half shows the pineapple weed the day after applying the boiling water to kill the weed. This might not be the exact same pineapple weed as I had trouble matching up the dessicated leaves. Within a day they are dried up and breaking down after the boiling water kills them.

weeds before and after boiling water 2

weeds before and after boiling water 2

This shows another weed, knotweed, before and 2 days later, now dead after the boiling water application.

I usually apply the boiling water once in early summer, and that’s all that’s needed for the season. It’s highly effective at killing weeds. I don’t know if those with a longer growing season might need to do it more than once. I’ve been using the boiling water method for 3 years and have been very pleased with the results.

What I like about this method of killing weeds is that it is completely safe for the environment, your family and animals, with no toxic lingering effects. It is perfectly safe for pedestrians and pets walking down the sidewalk in front of my house. Using boiling water is the fastest, easiest and most non-toxic method for weed killing between patio stones, driveway sections and sidewalk blocks.

Mr. Arctic Air Mass Takes a Vacation

Friday, January 16, 2009 Category: General

We wanted to have a Hottest January 15 Ever Party here in Alberta, but it was  a little hard with Mr. Arctic Air Mass hanging around all the time. He tends to bring the mood of the party down, running around knocking people’s hats off, and pinching their ears and noses. We all chipped in to send Mr. Arctic Air Mass on a winter vacation, taking a tour of the south.

Like the other snowbirds, he packed his bathing suit and shorts, and headed south of the Canadian border to have some fun. He volunteered to bring the party ice. We hope you are showing him some Southern hospitality. We understand he’s applying for a green card now.  Our border guards have strict instructions not to let him back into Alberta.

Woohoo, we made it up to 4° C (39° F), not quite the 7° C (44° F) record high that was predicted, but still a pretty good party. We’re planning to extend the party, so could you keep him busy a little longer? Excuse me while I check out the palm section of the garden catalogue.