early autumn, bad storms, slugs and fungal diseases

I had been worried about slugs and fungal diseases in everyone’s garden until  the horrendous storms of Thursday evening hit.  We were lucky (but scared) to have only one huge branch of a city tree (a dying silver maple) down and no other damage. All around us there are branches and trees, most of which are a hundred years old or more, toppled over waiting for the axe. The storm was like nothing I’ve ever seen before including years of living on the prairies.

I was working away on my book, looked up and could see an enormous black cloud rising in the west. Before I could yell “Pull the plugs,” it hit with a fury both dramatic and destructive. We did get the computers and various other machines unplugged and waited it out.  Thank God for Ruth Klahsen who’d given me a big chunk of cheese (Monforte Dairy, Stratford) last weekend which we gnawed on happily. I’d made gazpacho so we had enough vegetables. Sitting in our glass dining room perhaps wasn’t too smart. But who knew we’d be so well-informed about lightning, it’s power and destruction before the end of the next day. Everyone was shaken.

Now it’s all peaceful again I can go back to being worried  about slugs and fungal diseases in the garden.  If you too are concerned about these things have a look at www.biofloris.com. They have a great list of ecologically sound products you can use. They have an excellent newsletter and you can search for info on bugs you might not be able to identify. You can also find lots of alternative recipes in Ecological Gardening. The important things is to use a method that doesn’t kill off the good bugs.

I’m starting to see butterflies on the buddleias, the Eupatoriums  for the first time this year.  And I’m loving both plants even more than ever.  Here’s a picture of a really nice little butterfly bush  I bought just this year. It’s a Proven Winners development called  B. x ‘Blue Chip’.   It was only supposed to get to 2 feet but it’s 3 feet in this garden where everything seems to get bigger than imagined.  Besides tags just give you an idea of  how big a plant will grow.

Buddleia x 'Blue Chip with Artemisia lactiflora 'Guizhou'

Buddleia x 'Blue Chip with Artemisia lactiflora 'Guizhou'

Plant growth on one of the trees has gotten so out of hand, it’s going to be chopped down on Monday.  And, sadly, the Cercis canadensis ‘Purple Pansy’ is heading out too because it’s failing so badly.  But it’s been there for about 15 years and this may be how long these plants grow well.  They will be replaced with great new trees.  Maybe something a bit smaller but the soil here is just unbelievable.

I’m working on the autumn newsletter about bulbs.  So if you sign up now,  I’ll send out the summer e-letter followed very soon by the bulb issue. Can’t believe it’s that time of year but here we are, no summer and talking autumn.

I had a a piece on Tom Hobbs’ new terrace garden in last week’s Globe and Mail. In it he dumped on sempervivums (“I’m so over them,” said our Tom).  Well most of the rest of us aren’t. they are great plants for containers and hot spots. In the current issue of The Garden (the RHS magazine) there is a great piece on these plants. Worth looking out for.