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Garden Ramblings, Issue #030
February 22, 2007
February 2007


Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

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If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos. ***********************************************************

In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Valley of Flowers
- Companion Planting
- The Enduring, Alluring Gazebo
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece

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Hi

Welcome to the February issue of Garden Ramblings. I must apologise for its late arrival this month due to my absense on vacation for the last two weeks. As a result the issue is shorter than usual and uses articles by two guest authors.

Gwen Nyhus Stewart writes on Companion Planting, a subject that has been covered in a previous issue, but it is useful to be reminded of this topic in the light of greener gardening practices.

Our other guest author is Kathy Moran who writes on The Enduring, Alluring Gazebo.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find.

But to begin there is a video called "Valley of Flowers". Sit back and enjoy this Himalayan valley in the Uttaranchai region of India which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and carpeted with over 500 species of flowers.

Enjoy the issue.

Hugh

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Valley of Flowers



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Companion Planting by Gwen Nyhus Stewart

Companion plantings of some kind have been practiced throughout agricultural history. Some of the earliest written documents on gardening discuss these relationships. Early settlers discovered American First Nations people were using an interplanting scheme of corn-bean-squash that balanced the requirements of each crop for light, water, and nutrients. In the 1800's, hemp (cannabis) was often planted around a cabbage field to keep away the white cabbage butterflies in Holland. In many parts of the world today, subsistence farmers and organic gardeners grow two or more crops simultaneously in a given area to achieve a certain benefit.

Companion planting is the practice of locating particular plants near one another because they enhance plant growth, discourage pests and diseases, or have some other beneficial effect. When selecting your companion plants consider more than which pests are deterred. Think about what each plant adds or takes away from the soil and what effect the proximity of strong herbs may have on the flavour of your vegetables. Avoid placing two heavy feeders or two shallow rooted plant types near each other.

Many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests, without losing the beneficial allies, when they use companion planting as an important part of an integrated pest management system. For example, chives or garlic planted between rows of peas or lettuce help control aphids. Marigolds planted throughout the garden discourage many insects. Rosemary, thyme, sage, catmint, hyssop, or mixtures of all three between rows of cabbage helps deter the white cabbage moth. Horseradish planted at the corners of potato patches deters the potato beetle. Garlic planted near roses repels aphids and Nasturtium planted around the garden also deters aphids.

As the limitations and ill effects of pesticides, chemical fertilisers, and other modern practices become more apparent, scientists and researchers have begun to look at the 'old-fashioned' method of gardening and farming. Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose to give you an enjoyable, healthy environment. In essence, companion planting allows us to help bring a balanced eco-system to our landscapes, allowing Nature to do its' job.

About the Author Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace. To find out more about the book and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit www.gwenshealinggarden.ca Gwen Nyhus Stewart © 2004 - 2007. All rights reserved.

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The Enduring, Alluring Gazebo by Kathy Moran

From their origins as rooftop structures, used mainly for observation, to their present status, gazebos have taken many forms. Throughout their colorful history, they have been known as summerhouses, screen houses, kiosks, pavilions, pergolas, arbors, grottos, and pagodas.

Prized by members of Egyptian royalty, gazebos were essential parts of their gardens, and have been found, depicted in murals, in tombs dating to 1400 b.c. They were also popular with the aristocracy of ancient Rome and Pompeii, and were built as summerhouses along the Mediterranean.

Today, gazebos have grown so popular in this country, that they are almost as common as garages. Although some are still used as quiet places to enjoy the beauty of a garden, others have been elevated to loftier positions, as summerhouses, or lavish entertainment centers, with doors, windows, screens, decks, electricity, and plumbing. Many have special lighting, hot tubs, fire pits, and brick barbecues. Arbors, ornamental fountains, bird feeders, birdbaths, wishing wells, koi ponds, and bridges, are also popular landscaping accessories for gazebos.

From wood to synthetics, there are several types of material from which gazebos may be constructed. Radiant, durable Western Red Cedar, for example, has natural oils that protect it from decay, while its dimensional stability helps to keep it from warping. Cedar may be sealed and stained to maintain its reddish hue, or allowed to weather to a rich gray.

Pressure-treated pine also makes a sturdy, long-lasting gazebo because it is highly resistant to decay and insect damage. A kiln-drying process, before and after pressure treatment, minimizes warping, checking, and twisting. As with all wood gazebos, a stain/sealer should be applied to the entire structure, including the floor and the roof, once a year, to protect it from the elements.

Vinyl gazebos are made with treated pine that has been covered with an attractive vinyl coating, which results in an exceptionally durable, maintenance-free finish.

When choosing a material, don't forget to factor in your region's weather. If your area is subject to heavy rain or snow, high winds, or severe storms, you may want to consider one of the new Category 4 Hurricane Gazebos from GazeboCreations.com. With heavy-duty metal, high wind load brackets and hangers, and reinforced posts, braces, floor joists, rafters, and other components, these gazebos can withstand 150 mph sustained winds.

GazeboCreations.com boasts a wide selection of pre-designed gazebos in all of the popular shapes, sizes and materials, or you can follow a few simple steps to design your own custom gazebo. All gazebos are delivered in easy-to-build, partially assembled kits. For more information, visit Gazebo Creations, call 888-293-2339, or e-mail [email protected] Gazebo Creations is a division of Cedar Store, specialists in Outdoor Furniture.

 

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Special Offers

Dutch Gardens are featuring "Japanese Jack in the Pulpit" on their home page, but inside you can find $25 in free plants when you spend $25 or more. This offer runs till March 6th.

 

Dutch Gardens, Inc.

The main sale season may be over but there are still some good reductions to be found at Gardener's Supply Company. Look for the "Outlet" section towards the bottom of the left hand menu.

 

I'm mentioning Nature Hills Nursery again this month since their wide selection of plants with everything from trees to packets of seeds as well as tools and equipment, make them well worth a look. Just click the banner to see what they have to offer.

 

 

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Tailpiece

Still Life with Flowers

 

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Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to: [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

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