Wildflower and Native Plants: Are they the same?
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Wildflower and Native Plants: Are they the same?

Author: Nancy McDonald, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission It’s not only new gardeners who assume that wildflowers and native plants are the same. And that when we purchase a wildflower packet of seeds to plant, it will mean many years of bloom with very little gardening maintenance. We may be envisioning a meadow…

Gardening for Birds: Gardening for American Goldfinches
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Gardening for Birds: Gardening for American Goldfinches

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission One pleasure every summer is watching American goldfinches forage for seeds among the flowers and grasses of my front-yard pollinator garden. These beautiful little birds, only about 10 cm in length, are attracted to many of the same plants as butterflies. According to The Cornell…

Hardening Off: Last Stop Before Planting Out
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Hardening Off: Last Stop Before Planting Out

Author: Rebecca Last, Gardening at Last, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission To the uninitiated, “hardening off” might sound like the name of a heavy metal band. In fact, it’s the final stage of preparation before you can plant your tender seedlings outside. I have fair skin and sunburn easily, so I always take…

Grow Your Own Blueberries
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Grow Your Own Blueberries

Author: Claire Leduc, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission There are not many treats better than fresh berries. Ripe blueberries are no exception. Growing your own blueberry plants is not too difficult once you understand their particular needs. Soil Preparation Fall is a great time to start preparing for spring planting. Blueberries grow best…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission Twenty-three different kinds of hummingbirds have been identified in North America, but the rubythroated hummingbird is the only one that visits our Ottawa and Ontario regions. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are not only beautiful but truly remarkable. Weighing less than a nickel, these tiny birds migrate north…

Rose Pests: European Rose Sawfly and Rose Plume Moth
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Rose Pests: European Rose Sawfly and Rose Plume Moth

Author: Amanda Carrigan, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission I like roses but grow only two hardy kinds – cinnamon rose (Rosa majalis) and rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa). Neither is affected by disease, yet every year my roses get attacked by caterpillars. Two different types turn up in May and June and wreak havoc…

Ten Common Gardening Mistakes
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Ten Common Gardening Mistakes

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission As any gardener knows, gardening mistakes are as common as dandelions. Heaven knows, I’ve made a fair share of them myself during nearly four decades of gardening. As the old saying goes, everyone makes mistakes, but wise people learn from them. Here are a few…

Homemade Vinegars From the Garden
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Homemade Vinegars From the Garden

Author: Rebecca Last, Gardening at Last, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission I really enjoy finding culinary uses for my plants. So, I was thrilled to learn that those lovely pinky-purple chive flowers make bottles of deliciously flavoured vinegar. It’s so easy that even a non-cook like me can make it. Making Vinegar from Chives Garden…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Blue Jays
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Blue Jays

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission The blue jay is notably recognizable by its shrieking, sharp calls and its beautiful blue, white, grey and black plumage. Considered to be an intelligent bird, it has a complex social system and tight family bonds. Where you can find Blue Jays These birds are…

Nasturtiums, An Incredible Edible
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Nasturtiums, An Incredible Edible

Author: Nancy McDonald, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are wonderful flowers for both our gardens and kitchens. This vibrant annual comes from South America, was brought to Europe in the 1550s and was found in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Virginia, garden in the late 1700s. Some nasturtiums grow as climbers (3…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for White-Breasted Nuthatches
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for White-Breasted Nuthatches

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission White-breasted nuthatches are sometimes called ‘upside down’ birds because of their unusual ability to perch and move upside down on trees. In any position, they can probe into bark furrows, cling to a tree, and move up and down to forage or hide food. It…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Black-capped Chickadees
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Black-capped Chickadees

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission Frequent visitors to my backyard garden are the curious little black-capped chickadees. They are easily recognizable with their black cap and bib, white cheeks, and warm buff-tone flanks and sides. Usually they visit my garden in small flocks for safety. Sometimes they arrive with other…

Gardening for Birds: Planting for Sparrows
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Gardening for Birds: Planting for Sparrows

Author: Julianne Labreche, Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton; published with permission Many different species of sparrows visit my backyard garden, no matter the season. Sparrow sightings in the Ottawa area include song sparrows, chipping sparrows, swamp sparrows, house sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, and white-throated sparrows, among others. Even the dark-eyed Junco is part of the North American…

Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter, Washing Your Plants
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Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter, Washing Your Plants

Greetings fellow gardeners,  It is time to decide what to bring inside and what to take to the compost. Even though my space is limited, I decided to bring a few of my annuals inside. As my fellow Master Gardener Mary Reid mentioned at her talk the other day, many of these annuals are perennials,…

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