A couple of weeks ago, Connie, my neighbour, asked me to take a look at her beloved Japanese lilac. She was worried about its gradual decline. I could see why Connie was concerned. Half the tree had lost all its leaves. Something was obviously wrong, but what could it be?
In my last blog, I covered slope stabilizing native plants used by Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But there are other ways to tame a slope. Some gardeners in Pittsburgh have tapped in to a 2,000 year old idea: terracing. Of course, the most attractive way to deal with a slope happens to be the most expensive.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania surprised me. The city has a whooping 42 percent tree canopy! In comparison, Washington DC has 36% and Portland, Oregon in the wet Pacific Northwest has mere 30% tree cover. Even Canadian cities known for their leafy nature have less tree cover– Toronto 33%, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal all at 20% tree cover. But enough about trees!
Another visual surprise is Pittsburgh’s topography. Hilly. Steep slopes. It’s a great place to see how gardeners tame their slopes. Since there’s too much information to cover in one blog, I’ve divided it this entertaining topic into three blogs.
Clay soil and no-till seem incompatible to many gardeners. But no-till farmers in the last five years have discovered a secret biological tillage weapon: forage radishes! Read on, clay soil gardeners, this could be the magic tool we need to loosen our heavy clay soil…
What is good soil? Many gardeners would jump in and say loam, that elusive perfect mix of clay, silt and sand. In the real world, however, our urban soil is less than perfect. What can we do to make our soil sing?
During the 2014 Master Gardener Technical Update, Keynote speaker, Lorraine Johnson, advised us to avoid buying root vegetables if we thought the soil that they grew in was contaminated. But are root vegetables the only suspects?
What is it about human nature that always wants what they don’t have? Last weekend my friend, Mary, was complaining about her sandy soil garden. None of her favourite flamboyant colourful flowers could grow in her small sunny front garden. If only she had rich loamy soil, her gardening problems would be over.