In This Issue:
More To Do
As many of my Facebook followers know, I visited Juno Beach this past June 6th with Hugh Beaty, a 94 year old Canadian veteran of the D Day landing. The experience is one that I wish to share with you, dear newsletter reader, even though July is hardly a month during which we traditionally honour our war dead. It is, however, the anniversary of the birth of Canada - this coming Monday to be precise.
So perhaps there is merit in taking a moment to hear the voice of a guy 'who was there'. Hugh has a remarkably clear memory of the D Day landing and of his four and a half years of soldiering in Europe during the Second World War. It seems to me that we need to listen carefully to his stories and those of others who have recollections of this past.
Quite frankly the French are doing a pretty good job of remembering the sacrifice of more than 20,000 Canadians on that day and the many more that followed during the days and weeks during the Normandy invasion. I say this based solely on the number of French men who came up to Hugh directly and shook his hand; "Thank you for my freedom!" was a common refrain. And women who threw their arms around the old soldier and used similar words, with sincere meaning.
School kids in France are required to study Operation Overlord [the Allied invasion of Normandy] and as a result they know what the Canadians did to liberate their country. Ditto Belgium and the Netherlands, according to Hugh.
On June 6th, when a ceremony took place in front of the Juno Centre on the beach there were over 1,000 people in attendance. About half of them were French people - there to pay their respects. Most of the other half was Canadian, there for the same reason. Many young families brought their kids for the experience. More than a few parents brought their youngsters directly to Hugh and other Canadian Vets to have a conversation about the war and to reflect on its meaning.
And what was the meaning of the war from the point of view of Hugh Beaty? That it causes waste in the extreme. He witnessed first hand the waste of humanity, materials, resources, brain power and creativity. The effect that this had on him was profound. At 58 years old he retired from dairy farming in Milton Ontario to go to Brazil with his wife Melba where they shared their knowledge of agriculture with subsistence farmers. 36 years later his life work continues to revolve around giving back through S.H.A.R.E Agricultural Foundation in an effort to make this world a better place.
Don't get me wrong. Hugh is not a pacifist. But he is a believer in preventing the destruction that comes with war where the grounds of mutual understanding can be cultivated. We are, he reminds us, all people.
All of this is to say that as I swing in my hammock this July, enjoying the fruits of spring labour, I will be reflecting on the very special country that I call home. And what it took to make it that way, with a new perspective.
Speaking of July in the garden, while I provide my monthly 'to do' list below, I do not want to mislead you into thinking that all you should do this summer is work. Remember the seeds that you sowed, the plants that you planted, the lawn that you fertilized and the trees that you nurtured in April, May and June? Well, you did all of those things so that you could sit under their shade or lounge bare foot on the grass and gaze at the wonder of colourful flowers in the heat of summer.
It is summer time in Canada: take time in July to contemplate the 'wonder' in wonderful.
- Only water your lawn once a week, but for 2 hours. If at all. If we enter a heat wave, forget watering altogether until August. More next month.
- Deadhead recently spent flowering perennials: peonies, lilacs, roses and others that have delivered good looking blossoms earlier on, perform better and often re-flower when they are 'deadheaded'.
- Fertilize roses, tomatoes and other heavy feeders.
- Cut down all of the spring bulb foliage. It is getting ugly now and serves no purpose at this point.
- Mulch. July is a great month to spread 6 to 8 cm of finely ground up cedar or pine mulch to reduce weeding by up to 90% and watering by up to 70%.
- Plant. Yes, you can still plant perennials and some of the large format annuals that are greenhouse grown in large pots. Consider adding some colour to your patio, deck or front door. Note that the hot summer weather demands that your container plants need more frequent watering. I only use rain water from my rain barrels for this purpose and I get terrific results.
More To Do:
- Sow a late vegetable crop: carrots, radishes, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, arugula and beets for September/October harvest.
- Stake your tomatoes: use a spiral Mark's Choice stake [item# 5010-410] and double your crop by getting it off the ground.
- Apply Bordo mixture to all tomatoes every 2 weeks all summer to prevent early and late blight.
- Support tall growing perennials and hydrangeas, before a heavy rain fall pulls them down. Check out Mark's Choice plant supports. Don't leave this job too late!
- Harvest raspberries and other fruit bearing plants as the fruit becomes ripe to encourage more fruit production and to avoid rot.
- Spray apples, peaches, pears, plums and other fruit bearing crops. I use Green Earth Insecticidal Soap combined with Garden Sulphur.
And finally, have fun. Last July was the warmest month of the year and for Central Canada, the driest also. Take it easy! Relax! Enjoy what you have created in partnership with Mother Nature. And keep an eye out for the returning hummingbirds! They will begin flying south any time now!
Keep your knees dirty,
Merchant of Beauty
p.s.: The Mark's Choice Clear Flow Hose.
A special word about the nationally advertised Mark's Choice 'Clear Flow Hose' that has been featured on TV for a few weeks now. There were a limited number of hoses that were made defective in manufacturing when the hose material was overheated and it fused together, forming a seal through which water could not flow sufficiently. The result was a few burst hoses!
I want you to know that we have taken care of this issue and every hose is now tested as it comes off the line to make sure that it functions completely trouble free.
If you happened to purchase one of the few Clear Flow hoses that has this problem please return it to your Home Hardware dealer for a new hose. Hang on to your receipt and let me know personally if you bought one of these hoses. I will send you a signed copy of one of my gardening books, with thanks for your business and for your confidence in Mark's Choice products.
Clear Flow is an amazing product: created by a Canadian inventor, made here in Canada [Barrie, Ontario] using medical grade materials. I am proud to have my name on this product and apologize if you happened to purchase one of the defective hoses.