Book Review – GROUND RULES

Ground Rules by Kate Frey, Sustainable Gardener
Hamilton Public Library: 635 FRE

So many gardening books seem to follow a formula, giving similar instructions, in similar formats.  Ground Rules by Kate Frey feels different.  This book doesn’t read like a collection of rules, but more a collection of wisdom.  As the book’s cover states, the lessons within are easy steps to growing gloriously.  The numbered “rules” don’t feel limiting, more like intimate notes left by a garden guru mentor just for you, and the book is laid out in such a way that the most important info is conveyed in bold headings, not buried in dense paragraphs or multi-part instructions.

The book is divided into chapters, yes… but the broad categories cover a huge range of topics in an unconventional order.  Wandering from traditional (Planning Your Paradise) to esoteric (The Joy of Plants) with blunt honesty (The Real Dirt), wisdom (Be Wise With Water) and practical advice (How to Be A Good Garden Parent), Kate Frey encourages us to support our wild garden friends (Birds, Bees, and Butterflies) and our inner selves (A Garden of Earthly Delights) all within one tidy, charming book.

As someone working in the horticulture and garden industry, I can tell you the tips in this book are really really good.  This is the sort of wisdom that is circulated between professionals, passed from teacher to student, and gifted to homeowners by their gardeners.

Rule 15: Don’t buy rootbound plants.

Rule 41: Not all mulches are equal.

Rule 58: For a (relatively) weed-free garden, don’t let a single weed go to seed.

Rule 70: Cardboard to the rescue.

Rule 96: Learn how to create emotion in the garden.

Admittedly, none of this information is rocket-science, nor is it new… but too often I see these important gems buried in pages of useless or superfluous text.  Ground Rules distills years of garden wisdom into the most important seeds you need to get planting.

Cool Season Edible Gardens – INTRO

Garddwest is currently booking garden consultations for Cool Season Edible Gardens.  

What is cool season gardening?

There is a whole category of vegetables and edibles happiest in cooler temperatures, including many that can handle a light frost or even dusting of snow!  Here in Southern Ontario, that means seeding and planting in August, for harvest beginning September and usually lasting into November.  Cold frames, cloches, mulches and row covers with insulating fleece frost blankets can also extend this cool season right up until winter sets in.

Cool season gardening is defined more by temperature than date.  In our climate zone, cool season crops grow best when the air temperatures average around 20°C, and soil is 10°C – 20°C in the root zone, 12-15 cm beneath the surface of the soil.  Below 10°C, nutrient absorption slows and mycorrhizal fungi are less active.  Using a soil probe to monitor the temperature in a few areas of your garden can be beneficial as different pockets of soil will warm and cool at varying rates.  Finding a location in your garden that stays fairly consistent can be as important as finding the right soil temperature.

GARDDWEST’s Recommended Cool Season Crops:

  • BEETS
  • BROAD BEANS
  • BROCCOLI
  • CABBAGE
  • CAULIFLOWER
  • KALE (CURLY)
  • KALE (RUSSIAN)
  • KALE (LACINATO)
  • KOHLRABI
  • LEAFY GREENS (MIXED)
  • LEEKS
  • ONIONS
  • PAK CHOI
  • PEAS
  • RADISHES
  • SWISS CHARD (WHITE)
  • SWISS CHARD (RAINBOW)
REFERENCES:
HTTPS://DIRTCHEAP.CA/MULCH-TOPSOIL-GRASS-SEED-DELIVERY/WHEN-TO-PLANT-IN-ONTARIO/
HTTPS://GROWVEG.COM/GUIDES/WHEN-TO-START-SOWING-YOUR-COOL-SEASON-CROPS/
HTTPS://GROWVEG.COM/GUIDES/FILLING-OUT-YOUR-FALL-GARDEN/
HTTPS://WESTCOASTSEEDS.COM/BLOGS/GARDEN-WISDOM/WORKING-FROST-DATES/
HTTPS://PREPAREDNESSMAMA.COM/COOL-WEATHER-CROPS/

Butterfly Gardens – 5 PLANT RECIPE

This “recipe” for a Butterfly Banquet comes to us from an excellent book I recently checked out of the Hamilton Library: Five-Plant Gardens (635.932 OND) by Nancy J Ondra, garden writer and editor as well as the former owner and operator of a small rare-plant nursery.  Artfully arranged with a wide variety of vibrant planting layouts there is sure to be a Five-Plant Garden for any taste.  The beautiful Butterfly Banquet below, is only one of 52 captivating gardens in this book, suitable for sun or shade and a range of soils.  Check it out from your local library or independent bookstore for simple to follow perennial garden “recipes” with easy planting tips, as well as a detailed “shopping list” and design for the Butterfly Banquet below!

Butterfly Banquet
(full sun to partial shade)

Five-Plant Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

  • SWAMP MILKWEED – Asclepias incarnata 
    OR:  BEE BALM – Monarda ‘Marshall’s Delight’
    OR:  JOE PYE WEED – Eupatorium dubium ‘Little Joe’
  • CONEFLOWER – Echinacea purpurea ‘Little Swan’ 
    OR: PHLOX – Phlox paniculata ‘David’ 
    OR: TURTLEHEAD – Chelone glabra ‘Black Ace’ 
  • RUSSIAN SAGE – Perovskia x ‘Little Spire’
    OR: GLOBE THISTLE – Echinops ritro ‘Longwood Blue’ 
    OR: BLUEBEARD – Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blue Mist’ 
  • YARROW – Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’
    OR: GLORIOSA DAISY – Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’ 
    OR: SHASTA DAISY – Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Sonnenschein’ 
  • PINCUSHION FLOWER – Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ 
    OR: CATMINT – Nepeta faassenii ‘Kit Kat’ 
    OR: ENGLISH LAVENDER – Lavandula angustifolia 

Butterfly Gardens – LOCATION

finding the best LOCATION
for your Butterfly Garden

The ideal spot for a Butterfly Garden is in warm, direct afternoon sunlight.  Keep in mind, as the sun changes seasonal positions along the horizon, the light and shade patterns in your garden will change.  Select a section of your garden that is sunlight between 3pm and 7pm during the butterflies’ most active season – July to September, here in Southern Ontario.  Dappled morning shade gives relief to caterpillars while bright afternoon sunlight encourages flowers and provides warmth for cold-blooded butterflies sunning themselves.  Most butterfly garden plants listed by Garddwest would do best in sunny, mixed soils but tolerant of a wide range of conditions.

tracking the SUN’S PATH
through your potential garden space

Collect marking flags, sticks, any kind of indicator / Find the area of your garden that gets most afternoon sun / Mark the edge of the sun’s shadow every 15 minutes as it moves through your yard by inserting a flag in the ground

Butterfly Gardens – PLANT LIST

PLANT YOUR OWN BUTTERFLY GARDEN
(in sunny, drier soils)

Orange + Pink

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED
– Asclepias tuberosa (info)

YARROW
– Achillea millefolium ‘Summer Pastels’ (info)

BUTTERFLY BUSH
– Buddleia x weyeriana ‘Bicolor’ (pictures)

PERENNIAL SAGE
– Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Deep Rose’ (info)

THREADLEAF TICKSEED
– Coreopsis verticillata ‘Sweet Marmalade’ (info)

Blue + Yellow

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED
– Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yello’ (info)

YARROW
– Achillea millefolium ‘Sunny Seduction’ (info)

BUTTERFLY BUSH
– Buddleia ‘Flutterby Petite Blue Heaven’ (info)

PERENNIAL SAGE
– Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Sky Blue’ (info)

THREADLEAF TICKSEED
– Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (info)

BUTTERFLIES

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED

Attracts: Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Least Skipper, Tawny-edged Skipper, Milkweed Tussock Moth, Snowberry Clearwing Moth
*Host plant for: MONARCH!

YARROW

Attracts: American Painter Lady, Gray Hairstreak

PERENNIAL SAGE

Attracts: Cabbage White, Fiery Skipper, Sachem, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Zabulon Skipper

* information on which butterflies are attracted to specific plants provided by Advice From The Herb Lady and The Natural Web.