September’s Mystery Plant

Maclura pomifera or Osage Orange

This unusual plant was spotted in New Toronto and a fruit and twig brought into the September meeting for identification.

The Osage Orange is a small native tree with an interesting history. It was used for bow making, survey markings, and was a staple of F.D.R.’s Shelterbelt Project of the 1930’s.

The fruit are sometimes called horse apples as this animal is known to enjoy them. But don’t eat it yourself – it’s toxic to humans!


God and Grass


Thought you gardeners would enjoy this conversation between God and St. Francis passed on by Mara. It is hilarious because it is so true.

Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds  and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.
It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started
calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and
replace them with grass.
Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast.
That must make the Suburbanites happy.
Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.
They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow.
And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
Yes, Sir.
These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on
the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves
them a lot of work.
You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so
fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can
continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.
You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As
soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have
them hauled away.
No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter
to keep the soil moist and loose?

After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they
call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
And where do they get this mulch?
They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re
in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about….

Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

World’s Tallest Flower About to Bloom!

The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) announce that it has two of the tallest flowers in the world growing on site in the Floral Showhouse, which are expected to bloom within the next week.

The Titan Arum plant has grown an additional 10” over the last two days and is now 80”tall (as of April 26)!

Looking for a Day Trip – Try Richter’s

I want to tell you about my visit to Richter’s in December 2011. Richter’s are located in Goodwood, about an hour from Toronto by car. Goodwood is on Highway 47 just before Uxbridge. I don’t have a car anymore so I went by Go Bus. As a senior I paid $ 10.90 return fare. The Go Bus stops in front of Richters between Goodwood and Uxbridge. However on the way back you need to catch the bus in Goodwood or Uxbridge. The people at Richters were nice
enough to drive me back to Goodwood where I had lunch in this amazing restaurant. The restaurant also sells all kinds of frozen pies and lovingly preserved jams, jellies and pickles in jars.Amazing variety but expensive and without a cooler or car frozen unbaked pies are not good to transport.

Anyway, back to Richter’s. They have a very large greenhouse and sell mostly herb plants, but also herb seeds,
dried medicinal herbs and teas. I spent a lot of money on seeds even though I don’t have a garden anymore
I am a volunteer at the Daily Bread Foodbank garden and starting this spring I will be sharing a backyard with a
couple of friends. I liked the endless selection of seeds as well as the suggested combinations such as:
Culinary Herb Garden
Lemon Balm, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Marjoram, Oregano,
Sage, Savory , Sorrel, Sweet Basil and Thyme.
Tea Time Herb Garden
Anise-Hyssop, Lemon Balm , Chamomile, Mint, and Bergamot
There are more combinations for Herbs de Provence,
Butterfly Garden, Asian Herb Garden etc.

Of interest free seminars:
Urban Sprawl – Feb. 12, Free
Herbal Infusions Apr 22 1.p.m. Free
Lotions, Potions and Creams Apr. 29, 1.p.m
Boreal Herbal, May 5, free****this sounds really

Hope this info was useful