Blogging, hens-and-chicks, squirrel attacks, Toronto Parks Foundation Calendar launch

Well this is my first full week of blogging and I?m really enjoying it. Michele Landsberg one of my totally favourite writers came on board with a really good question yesterday:

What do you do about all those hens-and-chicks? I look at the ones in pots all over my garden and despair of finding room. Don?t bring them indoors, Mich, they are hardy and they will be okay outside all winter.? But do this:? make sure they are in a slightly raised bed and put a layer of gravel down (doesn?t need to be a full gravel bed just a small area) and replant them in that.

I?ve made an area in the sun (very n.b.) where these puppies love to be:? close to the warmth of stones.? To prep the bed make sure it?s got really good drainage (add a bit of horticultural sand or grit if you have to). It?s getting sodden that kills succlulents.

The squirrels continue to attack. This time it?s the fading blooms of a heptacodium (this is commonly called Seven Suns tree but I?ve never heard anyone use that?it?s Heptacodium miconoides). They leap from roof to tree and gnaw away on what should become gorgeous black berries. Not on my tree. Sorry Juliet of Cobourg but I have murderous thoughts about them.

I went to the Toronto Parks Foundation launch of their 2008 tree calendar last night.? It?s terrific:? photographs by Vincenzo Pietropaolo with text by Lorraine Johnson.? The launch was at Grano which is one of my favourite schmoozing places. Roberto Martello does more for making Toronto feel like a vibrant city than anyone else I know. Nice party. But the pols were out in force telling us how much they love our trees and what great trees we have.? Have they looked around at the number of deaths, the sorry state of the canopy?? I?m sorry this is turning into a rant but until the city council takes seriously that they have to spring money for the maintenance of our trees we?re in trouble.? We?ve got blow-downs everywhere that are terrifying. The old canopy is all dying at the same time.

The profits from the calendar got to the tree foundation and you can donate there. They need all the help they can get?

I will now calm down and go and do some work. Right now I?m working on planting plans and designs for clients. It?s the time of year when people start thinking about how they can change their gardens with a winter ahead to muse on it.? Prep is everything in gardening and more on that in days to come.