April 6th edition

“Never, Never, Never, Never Give up” –  Winston Churchill, 1950

Since we are spending so much time indoors (when not out in the garden), this article by Ruth on growing these delightful indoor flowers might be just what is needed to cheer us up!

GLOXINIA (Sinningia speciosa)

Flowering pot plant usually bought in flower during spring or summer and will continue to bloom for 2 months or more. Place in bright light, away from direct sunlight, keep compost moist at all times using tepid water. Allow to dry out when leaves turn yellow. Store pot at about 50’ F. Repot tuber in fresh compost in spring.

On April 14th of last year I was at the Toronto African Violet and Gesneriad Society’s Show at the Toronto Botanical Garden, marvelling at the myriad of colours and variations. Gloxinias, belonging to the Gesneriad family, were in the show. I hadn’t had a Gloxinia since I was a kid, remembering lush foliage and large velvety blooms. And so I splurged on a single $4.50 leaf sitting in a tiny pot. The label read “Ruby Splashes”, with a photo of the flower, showing layers of petals resembling lace. Home I went with “Ruby Splashes” and set her on the light stand expecting to eventually see new little leaves emerging at the base of the single leaf. Days went by, and weeks, Summer turned into Fall, and still the single leaf sat alone in its pot, and in the late Fall when it wilted and drooped and died, I gave up the dream of beautiful “Ruby Splashes” and we headed for the compost heap… except, that when I tipped the pot to dump it, I found to my amazement, a lump about one inch in diameter. Sure enough that leaf had been working for the past 6 months producing a little tuber. So down in the cool of the cellar she went, to spend this past winter with the dahlia tubers and the Canna rhizomes. On the last day of February I rinsed off the little tuber, which resembled a tiny potato, potted her up, and placed her once again on the light stand, wondering if I was wasting my time. The weeks in March ticked by, I gave her bottom heat, I kept the potting mix moist with tepid water, but not too wet, Coronavirus took over our lives, and on a particularly depressing Friday evening, on March 27th, I peeked in the pot – and to my absolute delight a tiny velvety leaf had emerged, and since then, another and another- and so the dream of “Ruby Splashes” has started all over again.

Since it is impossible to tour garden shows or botanical gardens at this time, one might want to spend 20 minutes with a cup of coffee or tea and perhaps a treat and watch the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show in the link below (thanks to Sharleen for the tip):


~!Not Springing Into Garden Centres!~

It will be a different spring ritual of visiting local nurseries and garden centres.  As of yet, it is unknown how retail stores like Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Walmart and the Superstore etc. will handle their garden centres – if they will even open.

Here is some current information on some of the local nurseries.  As more information and updates become available, that information will be posted in subsequent e-newsletters.

Horling’s is taking phone orders. 705 652-7979

You can search by specific plants or browse through the categories in this link below. Prices are not listed.


Johnson Greenhousesno special directions/instructions yet.

Griffins’ GreenhouseMarch 30th alert posted on their Facebook page. It appears the plants they will have to offer will be posted on Instagram and Facebook.

Sunnier days are ahead! Our main phone line is back in function, our website is getting a make-over to better accommodate a full online store with online payment options, the furnaces are all running smoothly (and not needed so much now that warmer weather is here). We are selling lots of seeds, dahlia bulbs and DIY Planting Kits to keep your hands busy and your spirits up during your time isolating at home. Until the website is finished, we do not have a “store” to buy from other than the posts we make on FACEBOOK and Instagram. We anticipate having the new website with basic buying options (soil, bulbs, some decor) up by this Friday and a wider selection next week, adding in pansy pans and Easter arrangements.   Take care, Vikki and the Griffin’s Gang
What does Contactless Pick Up and Contactless Delivery Look Like?   Contactless Pick Up– Right now: Upon arrival in our parking lot you will see one side of the gate is open. On warm days we set out your pre-paid order on a cart, name clearly visible, for you to pick it up, with no contact from us. We will plan a more sophisticated system in the coming days when orders are more plentiful.   Contactless Delivery: We will deliver, wearing gloves or having used hand sanitizer, to your front door or porch. We will ring the bell or knock and step away from the area.

Peterborough Landscape Supplies – March 29th post:

“We are now delivering all Landscape Supplies, give us a call to book your delivery. 705-749-1428”

Anna’s Perennials is closed at the moment and no information yet about ordering or visiting her nursery.

No special information/directions posted yet for Burley’s Gardens or Blossom Hill Nurseries or Keene on Gardens.

The Greenhouse on the River had planned to open on March 19, 2020 but is now closed. Their website does not contain a plant list;  it seems one should check their Facebook page for lists of available plants.

The health and wellness of our community are very important to us and thus we have decided to close our doors to the public starting immediately.
While we’ll miss seeing you in the greenhouse, we are still planting and will continue to take orders by phone 705-652-8154 or by email thegreenhouseontheriver@gmail.com

We appreciate your understanding in this difficult and confusing time and are trying to be cautious and supportive regarding the ongoing situation. Remember…as Canadians we are strong and united and we will come through this stronger together.

Peter & Elyn Green

Gardens Plus

For local pick up we will set up no-contact pick up if needed on those orders placed on the web site only.  You can reserve today.


Omemee Heights Greenhousesposting on Facebook:

We have been receiving a lot of inquiries about our plans for the greenhouse this spring, and with things changing daily over the last while, we had been wondering the same thing? Being a family-run business and living where we work, it has allowed us to continue what we had started growing here back in January. So we have decided that we will take orders by phone, and online, with scheduled pickup times allowing a ‘contactless’ sale. We will have a website store available with our inventory and a link to that will be posted on facebook soon (Orders to be picked up within two days of ordering).
We want to do it right to protect you and ourselves so we will be taking all precautions.
*So, starting April 16th, we will begin taking orders by phone and on our upcoming website store with scheduled pickups that will begin on April 18th.*

Thank-you. Stay safe everyone.

Baltimore Valley Gardensdetailed ordering and pick-up instructions on their website:

Rockford Forest Nurseries

Effective immediately, you can place orders by phone or email and schedule them for delivery or pick up at an assigned time. 

Call us to place your order at:
1-888-833-0473 or 1-705-374-4710 Or via email at: Infor@rockwoodforest.com

There are several catalogues  with available trees and perennials posted on their websitehttp://www.rockwoodforest.com/catalogues

Blue Frog Water Gardens  Closed during the month of April and working on a plan to assist customers in May.

Peterborough Ecology Garden  – the park and nursery is closed. Their annual plant sale was to be held on May 16th – but right now it seems unlikely it will go ahead.

Note: Lee Valley Tools is having a garden tool clearance sale right now with free shipping …. https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/clearance

A sad notice – but a list of contacts for vendors can be found by clicking on this link – many are working to provide alternative services: http://millbrookfarmersmarket.weebly.com/

Image may contain: possible text that says 'Message from the Millbrook Farmers Market In the interests of the safety of all of our vendors, shoppers and community, we have cancelled our first market of the season on April 26. The good is that local food still accessed. Many online, email and farm gate sales. They have all put in place necessary physical distancing and other safety procedures as required by our health unit. Visit our website to see who's selling what and how. htp://.amrmewey.om'

Tomatoes, Tomatoes Tomatoes!


Unless one is allergic to, or they are one’s least favourite food item, tomatoes are a must have in any garden whether grown in a vegetable plot, sharing space in the flower garden, or in a pots on the patio or deck.  Because it might be a difficult, dangerous or an onerous process to obtain tomato plants this year, this is the perfect time to start tomato plants indoors.   “Essential service” hardware and grocery stores do carry seeds.  Locally, Millbrook Farm and Pet Supplies carries seeds but one needs to call first (705 932-2888) to place an order.  The Millbrook Home Hardware store is expected to re-open today and also carries seeds, but one must also pre-order by calling (705 932-2761). There are also many online seed catalogues that do offer seeds.

The plus in starting your own tomatoes from seeds…..there are hundreds of tomato varieties that are available as seed but rarely sold as plants!

Since there are hundreds of tomato varieties available as seed, choosing a few for your home garden can be a daunting task. Here are a few things to consider:

• Decide on the type of tomatoes you want; for example, cherry tomatoes, slicers or tomatoes for making sauce or paste.

Some suggestions:

Cherry tomatoes:  Sun Gold, Napa Grape and Pear Drops,  Supersweet 100, Sweet Million. One might want to try Italian Ice with its white cherry tomatoes as a novelty. Most cherry tomatoes are “indeterminate”and are the first tomatoes to mature.

Beefsteak tomatoes:  Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, Glamour, Brandywine,  Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter, Lucky Cross, Big Rainbow  have big fruit and great ranges of flavor and form. They are commonly sliced for sandwiches and are delicious eaten fresh in the garden like an apple.

Sauce tomatoes:  Roma, Amish Paste, Big Mama,  Opalka, have a rich flavour and lower water content so they are the best ones for spaghetti sauce. Most varieties of paste tomatoes are “determinate”.

• Consider the size of the mature plants. Determinate tomatoes grow to about 3 feet tall and are the best choice for containers and small garden beds. Indeterminate tomatoes get very large –  6  to 10 feet tall is not unusual. Seed packets will have this information. However, all tomatoes benefit from supports such as cages or ladders.

NOTE:  Tomato plants have large hungry root systems so if planning to plant them in pots, make sure you have a large pot and choose determinate (bush) varieties, which are more compact. Consider varieties that have “patio,” “dwarf” or “mini” in the name, which means the plant is probably compact.  Some recommended varieties for pots include: Bushsteak, Marglobe, Sweet Baby Girl, Gardener’s Delight, Balcony, and Stupice.  There is an exception – cherry tomatoes , which are indeterminate, also seem to do well in large pots.

Heirloom, Open-Pollinated or Hybrid?

• If you want to save your own seeds from one year to the next, you should plant heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. Seeds collected from these plants will “come true”. This means they will grow into an identical plant the following year. Heirloom tomatoes, such as Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter and Arkansas Traveler, are open-pollinated varieties that have been passed on from one generation to the next.

• Hybrids are a cross between two genetically different varieties that have been selected for certain traits. Hybrid varieties often offer better disease resistance and sometimes higher yields. If you save the seeds from hybrids you will not get the same traits in the new plants – and can end up with something straight out of a horror flick! Seed packets will list whether the seeds come from open pollinated or hybrid plants.  

Hybrids are bred to resist disease and you might see abbreviations on these seed packets which indicate what diseases the plant is resistant to. Some heirloom tomatoes also are resistant to certain diseases.

Tomato Disease Resistance Codes

V Verticillium Wilt
F Fusarium Wilt
FF Fusarium, races 1 and 2
FFF Fusarium, races 1, 2, and 3
N Nematodes
A Alternaria
T Tobacco Mosaic Virus
St Stemphylium (Gray Leaf Spot)
TSWV Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

This is a guide to diseases of tomatoes in Ontario posted by OMAFRA. One can click on each image for more information.


Seed packets will also carry an expiry date. Research has shown that seeds often germinate well up to about four years after their expiry date.

Seed Starting

‘Soilless’ potting mix is the medium of choice for sowing tomato seeds, though you can opt for the more expensive ‘seeding mix’ if you want. As for the container, cell packs (the tiny plastic pots grouped together in packs often used for flower and veggie seedlings) are okay for starting tomato seeds, but a better idea is to use a small pot or container at least 3 or 4 inches tall and wide so the seedlings can grow to a healthy size without their roots being constricted.  If using makeshift pots like yogurt containers, make sure to punch some drainage holes in the bottoms.  If you can do this outside on a lovely sunny spring day, it can be more efficient to dampen the potting mix before you pack it in the containers. Add some water and work it through the soil. Keep adding water until the mix stays compressed in your hand but is not dripping wet. It should break apart when you poke it with your finger.

Then, fill  containers with potting soil. Gently firm the soil, so it’s about an inch from the top. Sprinkle two to three seeds into the furrow, and cover them with a half inch of leftover potting mix. Gently pat down the mix, so the seeds make good contact with the soil. Good seed-to-soil contact is important for germination. Spray the surface with water if it doesn’t feel moist.

Place your containers or pots somewhere warm. Tomato seedlings need to be kept warm and moist. The warmer it is, the faster tomato seeds will germinate.  Check them daily to make sure the soil is moist—but not wet or the seeds could rot —and watch for germination. Tomato seed germination typically occurs in about five to 10 days.

Once the seeds have germinated provide the seedlings with light— grow lights if possible, but sunny windows can work well too. They need about 4 hours (or even more) of direct sunlight each day.  Some use plastic covers to imitate the greenhouse effect, but sometimes this can lead to the dreaded damping off disease, a fungal infection that proliferates in still, moist air. This appears as brown and grey spots on the leaves and stem followed soon after by the death of the seedling.  As indicated in the first newsletter there are some remedies  but providing good air circulation during their infancy period with a tiny fan or heat vent nearby is the best preventative tool.

Rotate the plants if they seem to be leaning in one direction. Once the tomato seedlings have the first true leaves, this is the time to start feeding them with any  good liquid fertilizer once a week, but dilute it to half the label’s recommended dose.

Tomato stems grow sturdier if they are tossed about by the wind. By putting a fan on your plants for an hour a day or by gently running your hand through them each time you pass can help achieve this.

If more than one seed germinated in the same container, then one  needs to thin the seedlings. Simply snip off unwanted seedlings at soil level. This ensures that you won’t damage the seedling you want to keep.

If the plants get too big and leggy,  find some larger pots or containers and planting each tomato seedling in its new pot a little deeper than it was in its original container. If it is tall and leggy, you can plant it right up to its top-most leaves. Then, firm the soil gently around the seedling.

When finally ready to plant your tomatoes in the garden (when there is no danger of frost) , choose a cool or overcast day. Once again, plant them deeper than they were in their pots, so new roots will form along the buried stem. Plant them all the way up to the top couple sets of leaves. This is ideal if plants have gotten too tall indoors, and you want them to become stockier and stronger. If you can’t dig deep enough to accommodate the stem, you can always plant them sideways in a furrow. The top of the plant will find the sun and grow upright in a few days.

Often in our exuberance,  too many tomatoes are grown out – hopefully there might be a way to share excess seedlings, seeds and even perennials in a safe way – something to ponder.

If tomatoes don’t turn your spring crank – then perhaps starting some summer cheer might.  Since it may prove to be difficult to access garden centres – how about starting some  ZINNIAS!  

Zinnia flowers grow easily from seed and are available in a colorful array of shapes and sizes. Vibrant blossoms are also highly attractive to songbirds, butterflies and pollinators.  Zinnias are members of the aster family, making them closely related to daisies, cosmos, marigolds and sunflowers.

Larger zinnia varieties can be used to brighten up annual or mixed borders and are a favorite in cut flower displays. Smaller varieties are well suited for containers and window boxes or planted at the front of a garden bed. They can also be tucked into veggie gardens and any bright sunny spot.   They are so bright and cheerful – a great antidote to the constant flow of daily grim news. Start some now and share with a neighbour!


Until next week – stay safe in your gardens. If you have any questions, observations, information or news you wish to share – please send an email to the Millbrook Garden Club Communications Co-ordinator Ruth Benns:  ruthbenns@outlook.com

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nybg virtual tour

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gardening & our quality of life

by Sharleen Pratt, Master Gardener

There are many different reasons to garden. Some garden to enhance the look of their homes, some love to grow their own vegetables, and many of us garden for colour after a long hard winter. There is another more powerful reason to garden. It can be a medicine and a natural source of therapy. Gardening can relax and invigorate us. The medical profession now recognizes gardening as a means to help heal people.

Being in the outdoors, whether gardening or walking in a wooded area can relax us, rejuvenate us and enliven our senses to what is around us. We can connect with the natural world and be creative and forget for a moment all the everyday worries that we carry with us.

My meditation comes when I’m out digging or planting in the garden and yes, sometimes I will be caught talking to myself. It is my time to be ‘in the moment’ and like many other gardeners the hours will slip away peacefully.

I have a fond memory in Grade 5 of a teacher during a really hot spell in June taking us outside and reading a book to us while we sat on the grass under a mature tree. Why do I remember this? I can’t remember the book but it has something to do with the coolness of the tree, the peaceful surroundings and maybe just the feel of the grass.

Science is now supporting what we have intuitively known for many years. By deepening our relationship with nature, we can reduce stress levels, increase creativity and improve our mood.


Kawartha Conservation offers Forest Therapy walks that are used to help support healing and wellness. Forest Therapy is inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin yoku which translates to “forest bathing”. For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods. Florence Williams set out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain in her book, The Nature Fix. She has travelled extensively and investigates cutting-edge research to demonstrate that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. Through her research, Williams shows how time in nature is not a luxury but is, in fact, essential to our humanity.

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of the biodynamic approach to agriculture, was a highly trained scientist and respected philosopher in his time who later in his life came to prominence for his spiritual-scientific approach to knowledge called “anthroposophy.” Anthroposophy is a formal educational, therapeutic, and creative system which he established by seeking to use mainly natural means to optimize physical and mental health and well-being.


In Kent, England there is a unique facility, Blackthorn Trust, which offers specialist therapies and rehabilitation and their work is based on the belief that more than medication is required to effect positive change in people. The work of Rudolf Steiner underpins all their work, and the belief that people should pay more attention to feelings, to the imagination, to the emotions, to the body and space it occupies and to nature and all its rhythms.

Community Gardens can play a large role in helping people feel more connected with the natural world, supply good physical exercise, allow creative juices to flow, supply opportunities for those in small urban settings to participate in an outdoor activity, escape the stresses of everyday life, and improve well-being by creating a reduction in neighbourhood-based fear. Community Gardens have been popular in England for many years and one of the more interesting ones in Oxfordshire is for people with Parkinson’s disease. To learn more about the community gardens in the Peterborough area, visit Nourish.

The Royal Botanical Gardens have realized the benefits of using plants and gardening to enhance emotional, physical and mental well-being. They offer a number of programs from yoga and tai chi, afternoon teas, making mead, kids and family programs as well as lectures and workshops. (Editor’s note – unfortunately due to a recent announcement from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding COVID-19, the RBG will be closed until April 6, 2020)


In summary, if you are finding this to be a long winter and you are feeling overwhelmed with everyday stresses, I encourage you to go for a walk in a nearby wooded area, be observant of your surroundings, take a deep breath and enjoy. I guarantee you will return home feeling calmer and rejuvenated!

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Gossip and glee: first blooms!

Many of you will know that I write a monthly column called “Get Out!” for the Millbrook Times. However for my first contribution to Gossip and Glee I’m going to write about what’s in bloom in my garden. I decided that instead of writing about the joys of nature, I would focus on early spring colour in the garden because during this dark time of Coronavirus we all need some colour, and the Times publishes this week and I didn’t think you’d want a double dose of wildlife. 

The first bloom in my garden is almost always snowdrops. I’m a sucker for all kinds of galanthus! On the heels of the first patches of snowdrops I spotted a single crocus brightening my garden. Sadly chipmunks love my patches of crocus and so the patches disappear. This single crocus in bloom may have been moved by a chipmunk or I may have inadvertently dug some up and moved the soil. Oh how I’d love drifts! This crocus is probably one of the species, Crocus tommasinianus, I think. 

I hope you all have at least a few of the early bulbous iris, Iris reticulata. In a south-facing garden I have a clump of ‘Eye Catcher’ in full bloom. Most of this type of iris are fragrant on top of being colourful. ‘Eye Catcher’ and a good number of other named hybrids are the work of a Canadian plant breeder, Alan McMurtrie. He has been hybridizing Iris reticulata or reticulate iris for more than 30 years. One of the real pluses of his hybrids is that they multiply well. This was a problem with the older varieties. A yellow species in particular, Iris danfordiae, was notorious for disappearing after a couple of years. We all know that disappointment; but it’s nice to know now that it wasn’t our fault.

Iris reticulata Eye Catcher

My neighbour has a Helleborus niger, Christmas Rose, in full bloom. Mine are in bud, except for the largest plant that is still covered by a snowdrift. Obviously I wasn’t thinking when I sited this plant. True it’s right by a path where it can be easily seen; but it’s also where I put a lot of snow when I’m shovelling and build up quite a pile. The common name, Christmas Rose, and the related purple species, Helleborus x hybridus, the Lenten Rose, were obviously named by Brits because their names don’t correspond to our blooming seasons.

I’ve crowed about my Daphne mezereum before. This early blooming, fragrant small shrub is optimistically called “February Daphne”. I love it and like any parent I am proud that my plants come from seed I collected myself in north-east Italy. It has just begun to come into bloom. For some reason the early blooms this year are washed out in colour. But fragrance at this time of year is much appreciated, so I’m not too devastated by the wishy-washy colour.

Daphne mezereum

One other woody plant should be in bloom soon. Cornus mas or Cornelian Cherry is a non-native early blooming shrub or small tree. The blooms are yellow balls of small blossoms. I much prefer it to forsythia. Interestingly in late November when I could finally clean my eavestroughing of leaves I realized I needed to hack branches off my shrubs in order to position the ladder. I decided to try forcing some branches into blooming indoors. I thought it wouldn’t work because I supposed they would need a longer chilling period. Surprise! They bloomed beautifully!

For those interested in alpine/rock garden plants, one of my drabas is just coming into bloom. This is a genus of cushion or bun-shaped plants generally sporting small heads of yellow bloom early in the spring.

The next colour in my garden should be Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow, followed soon after by the earliest daffodils or narcissus. But in the meantime I often meet my need for colour by looking at the following Internet site. The Scottish Rock Garden Society is world famous. One of its members (and yes, indeed, a Scot) has been keeping a weekly photo record of his garden for over a decade. It will please you and at the same time make you wildly jealous. Check out Ian Young’s Bulb Log Diary

For those gardeners relatively new to this masochistic hobby, don’t be surprised if you experience this: some of your treasures appear from under the snow looking fresh and very much alive yet soon they wilt, brown and simply rot away. This sadly is something most of us have gone through. Many plants seem fine protected by snow, but then the winds, sun and the spring cycle of freeze/thaw seem too much for them. Interestingly it seems very young plants and very old plants are particularly susceptible.

Best wishes to everyone. Stay well. Enjoy the spring.

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March newsletter

Almost everyone is at home, spending much time in isolation. There is much worry, sadness and frustration since there is no end in sight at this time to this imposed isolation. It is unknown when the Millbrook & Area Garden Club will be able to reconvene. So, instead, the executive of the Millbrook & Area Garden Club thought it might be a welcome distraction to send out occasional posts with gardening information and a platform to entertain questions and answers and observations from local gardeners.

An Example of a Q & A:

Q. What would you suggest to prevent damping off of seedlings in place of “No Damp” which is no longer available?


One: In a 32 ounce  spray bottle, mix 1 TBSP (or 1/2 ounce) of 3% hydrogen peroxide with water.

Two: In a 32 ounce spray bottle, mix 2-4 TBSPs of strong brewed chamomile tea or tea made of cloves and mist seedlings to cure damping off.

Three: Sprinkle your seedlings with ground cinnamon.

Four: from a local veteran seed germinator:  As for damping off, I haven’t used any product for years. What I do is set up a small fan on a timer—during the day I have it on most of the time and during the night I have it come on for say ½ hour ever other hour. Damping off is airborne and the fan doesn’t allow it to settle on the soil/seedlings. As an added benefit it also mimics the wind and causes the small plants to grow stronger.

A Garden Observation – Gypsy Moth

During this period of isolation, people are being encouraged to connect or re-connect with the natural world.  As many know, our garden club president, Glen Spurrell provides a monthly column on the wonders to be found along the Medd’s’ Mountain Trail as well as at the Millpond for The Millbrook Times.  He will share some of these wonders and wonders in his own garden in future e-blasts.

Here is an outdoor project adults and children alike can take part in on their own property or out in natural areas.

Some might remember back in the late 1980s when there was a serious infestation of gypsy moths in Millbrook and area and it was thought the  trees would never recover. Fortunately they did thanks to a brutally cold winter that killed off many of the overwintering egg masses. However, we no longer experience these kind of very frigid temperatures and the overwintering egg masses of gypsy moths can survive some level of freezing temperatures. 

This is the perfect time to go after the egg masses of this destructive imported pest.  The gypsy moth,  a native of Europe, was introduced in 1868 into the United States by Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, a French scientist living in Medford, Massachusetts who imported the species in order to try and breed a more robust caterpillar to be used in the silk industry. His plan failed and as it always seems with these invasive threats, some of the moths escaped, found suitable habitat, and began breeding and faced no significant dangers from predators. The caterpillars have voracious appetites for more than 500 species of trees and shrubs. The caterpillars defoliate trees, leaving trees vulnerable to diseases and other pests and can eventually kill them. Millions of acres of trees have been impacted since it first showed up in Ontario in 1969. 

Fortunately the egg masses are really easy to spot as indicated in the photos below.  So you might want to engage in a scavenger hunt to see how many you can find. Check not only trees but lawn furniture, under decks etc. At one time it was thought just scraping the masses onto the ground was enough kill the eggs, but apparently this is no longer thought to be true.  The best control is to scrape off the egg masses into a pail and then soak the masses in  soapy water, bleach or ammonia or into a bag that is then burned.  Dormant oil combined with lime sulphur applied to an affected  tree or trees now  will smother the eggs before they hatch. The female egg laying moth is very distinctive because it is large and very white. The pupae are dark brown. Note:  Each egg cluster contains from 100 to 1000 eggs!!!!


So…  spread the word and take up the challenge  – perhaps send in a count of how many egg masses you destroyed.  In one short trip to my woodland I scraped off over 50 egg masses. 

How dear the woods are! You beautiful trees! I love every one of you as a friend. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea, 1909

Your Millbrook & Area Garden Club Executive: Glen Spurrell, President, Wendy Olsen, Past President Jane Zednik, Liz Avery, Carol Alexander, Elizabeth Fischer, Ruth Benns, Edith Steinbeck

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