January Gardening

  • January is dreaming and planning time.  Choose a snowy day and curl up on a comfy couch with a cup of cocoa.  Spread your garden catalogues around you, dream of summer and plan your summer garden.
  • Send orders for seeds at the end of this month.
  • Watch your houseplants for signs if pests.  If spider mites or whiteflies are noted, wash your plants at least once a week.  In fact, wash your plants anyway.  Washing with a mild solution of dish soap will fend off any problems and clean house dust from leaves.  Use aluminum foil over the top of your pots so that you can wash those critters off without washing the soil out.
  • Bring branches of flowering shrubs into the house to force early spring bloom: forsythia, pussy willow, and apple are easy to force.
  • Inspect your corms and bulbs.  Discard any showing molds or rots.  Check the growth.  Some may be ready to pot soon – especially begonias.
  • Sow pelargoniums under lights this month.
  • Brush the snow off your evergreens to prevent injury from heavy loads of snow.
  • Get potting/seeding materials and equipment ready.  Check and set up your light system.
  • Make sure pots are washed. Using a bit of chlorine bleach in the wash water will kill any overwintering baddies.
  • Be sure to have seed starting medium on hand.  I like the seed starting mix to be a bit finer than normal potting medium.
  • Enjoy winter plants such as Poinsettia and Amaryllis. 
  • Buy new African violets to brighten winter days.
  • Spring is only a wish away!

Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Ghandi said that he must have been thinking about Pollinator Patches. You can make a difference in your world this year by creating a Pollinator Patch -- a habitat for native bees.

To help you build your own Pollinator Patch, see our Roadsides Guide.

Roadsides Guide to Creating Pollinator Patches

The first Pollinator Patch was planted in Barrie, Ontario, in May of 2010. Visit the Roadsides site, read the blog, and be sure to look at the gallery to see pictures of the creation of Pollinator Patch from Year 1 to the Weaning Year 5.

Roadsides web site


The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us. --- E. O. Wilson



Jottings contains some articles I wrote for the monthly newsletter of Barrie's Garden Club and other projects. I hope you enjoy them.


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams (1902-1984)


Hints & Tricks

This is a collection of neat ideas and crazy tricks that I've collected from various sources. Many are amusing, and most are useful. We gardeners just love to learn neat little ways of doing our gardening jobs more effectively. My most popular talk was just that: "Hints and Tricks."

Most of the hints I've used myself or know someone who will vouch for them. All of them are fun to read and almost as much fun to do.


We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)


Gardening Info

This is a miscellaneous section of odds and sods of information I've collected and would like to share. I've found most of the information in magazines and on the internet or in the many gardening books I can't resist buying!

You'll also find some of my favourite links on the Gardening Info page.


"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job." ~ Philip Angell, Monsanto's Director of Communications (October 1998)


The Blog

I guess the whole site is a sort of blog, isn't it?

But this new section is a more conventional blog -- a space to put my thoughts and new ideas as I learn them or think them.