Self-Watering Containers by Shirley Campbell

Thank you SO much to Shirley for both her informative presentation as well as writing up the following article for both the Sprout and the Online Blog! 

In January’s meeting I (Shirley) gave a short talk and demo on self watering containers (SWC). I was so pleased that many of you have shown an interest after the presentation so I hope the following information will help to give you even more incentive to give it a try. As I mentioned, I have had fabulous success growing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers
in SWC in the greenhouse since 2013. I started off growing 1 plant per 5 gal. bucket but have switched over to using large Rubbermaid totes, growing 2 plants per container to save space in the greenhouse. Both worked well as you can see from some of the attached photos.

Key benefits of growing in a self watering container:
– saves time as there is less need to water
– saves water as it doesn’t drain away
– provides even and consistent moisture to the plants, therefore, less stress on plants (especially tomatoes as the fruit has less of a chance to crack due to uneven watering)
– reduce runoff of nutrients

There are numerous ways to make the self watering containers, many using recycled material. The videos below will give you some more info and you will no doubt find many more ways on Youtube once you go down that rabbit hole.

Build a 5 gallon self watering container using 2 buckets:
Welcome Back – DIY Planter in 5 Gallon Buckets

Build a rubbermaid tote self watering container:
Jesse Lemieux – Wicking Bed Build

I haven’t tried this method but it will offer you another way to create a self watering container for your plants:
KSREVideos – Self-Watering Planter Saves Time

I mentioned that I don’t use tomato cages anymore, rather I use tomato clips. I found this video in 2013 and this changed my life on growing tomatoes using the lean and lowered method. You heard right. It changed my life! haha…
I ordered the clips online and they are still in good use with only a few deteriorating when left outside accidentally over the winter.

I have this book which you can probably find at the library or I’m happy to loan to you: Gardeners-Container-Bible- Containers/dp/1603429751

If you have any questions please let me know.
Happy growing!


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Great Plant Picks – Choosing the Best Plants for Coastal Gardens

What a colorful presentation by a delightful speaker!  Gwen Odermatt introduced us to a wonderful organization, “Great Plant Picks” (GPP), which is a marvelous resource for tried-and-true plants for the Pacific Northwest Coast.  Gwen herself has a wealth of knowledge which is exemplified in her own fabulous “Petals and Butterflies Nursery”.

“Great Plant Picks” is a group of dedicated people coming from many different aspects of the horticulture trade.  They are not affiliated with horticulture stores but do have a good rapport with growers.  This organization is one of the outreach programs for the Elizabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle, Washington (   Education as well as research are vital components, with a focus on the unique climate and weather of the Pacific Northwest.  There are over 1000 plants on the GPP list, despite the fact that the plants have to be available and successful in both BC and USA to get on the list. (Some of our favorites are missing due to occasional “border issues”, as well as the fact that we are wetter and Portland has long dry summers.)  A new focus for trees is to develop smaller varieties to suit our compact gardens.  Of course, the plan for fruit trees is still to have an abundance of fruit!

The members of GPP go on field trips to view plants firsthand and also grow themselves. It was very interesting to see Gwen’s photos of some of these field trips.   The City gardens of Seattle gave quite a different perspective to “gardening”.  One such example was the enterprise with 7 towers.  Specialized glass domes were filled with greenery but many issues arose.  First of all, the plants were getting fried by the unrelenting light entering the glass walls.  Then there were also water issues all along the outside edges.  The planning of the domes must have been exciting to the architects, but what a difficult time the actual horticulturists had afterwards, dealing with the subsequent micro-climates! In another example, lovely plantings down along the sides of outside stairs have to cope with rain water constantly washing soil downwards.  However, Gwen noted, the addition of many outdoor gardens in Seattle is proving to be a success. Insects and birds are starting to move in. There are even plans for adding in pollinator plants and for bee keeping in the city.  What an inspiring field trip that was!

Here are a few of the winter plants Gwen mentioned. (Please excuse spelling errors… they will be mine!)
Ace griseum – good for small gardens
Amonsonia hubrichtii – a nice annual!
Arbutus unedi ‘compacta” -shrub
Asplenium scolopendrium -bladelike
Beesia deltophylla looks good in winter too. Cut old leaves off
Callicarpa boderiniera ‘profusion ‘
Cotinus grace
Cyclamen hederifolium- good on west coast. Under evergreen trees (not cedars) and rhododendrons
Daphne x transatlantica eternal fragrance! Blooms most of year. Don’t over fertilize and it will live longer
Fuchsia magellanic- hummers still coming in fall oops the deer like to eat it
Geranium rozanne- you can clip it back for more flowers
Hellebores – be sure to feed them in August to September
Ilex aquifolium – spiny and prickly – okay as long as it doesn’t produce berries to spread. (Male plant) is okay
Mahonia ‘charity ‘ – any kind of soil except wet
Malus jewelcole – attractive crab apple
Polystichum seriferum lovely in springtime EXCELLENT
Stewartia psuedocamelia
Yucca filamentous- ‘color guard” good in containers

It was a great presentation, and Gwen brought some excellent posters to share.

Here are some links to inform and entertain you!

Great Plant Picks
Great Plant Picks is an educational program committed to building a comprehensive palette of outstanding plants for maritime Pacific Northwest gardens.”
A nicely organized search including seasonal gardens, container plants, shade and sun plants, foliage, birds and bees, deer resistant, trees, scented.
A handy little resource of common garden terms.

That Bloomin’ Garden
This is a blog, with photos, in which the author visited Gwen’s garden in Langley.

Treasures of the Shade and Pond
A video of Gwen’s presentation to the Van. Rhododendron society showing many of her beautiful perennial plants in her shade garden




Gwen Odermatt Speaker Bio (by R.D. Wilkie)
Gwen is a life-long gardener who, as a young child, was fascinated with plants and bugs. She became a discerning observer of how plants grow in harmony with other plants, insects and the diversity of the natural world. This led to a degree in science at the University of Alberta. For the last 25 years she has operated Petals and Butterflies, a farm nursery that specializes in growing plants that attract butterflies and other beneficial wildlife to gardens. The nursery offers an always interesting collection of rare and unusual ornamental plants that she sells via consignment; for example, her plants can be found in the perennial section of the VanDusen Plant Sale. She is on the Selection Committee for Great Plants Picks, teaches the Advanced Master Gardener Right Plant/Right Place course, is a member of the Vancouver Hardy Plant Group, The Alpine Garden Club, and is a long-time member of the South Surrey Garden Club. Her garden has been open for local, national, and international tours, and is open to garden clubs by request.



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European Plant Trends with Brian Minter

Brian Minter is such a charming and approachable personality to have as a speaker! Add to that an impressive list of accomplishments and experiences.  We certainly were honored as well as delighted to have him present at our Club.

Brian’s topic was “What’s New in the European Plant World” and he recently was abroad, mainly in Germany, checking out the latest trends.

Brian introduced us to the Ball Horticultural Company, started in 1905 and currently a world leader in all facets of horticulture.  This company is now active on 6 continents and in 18 countries.  Brian assured us that this global presence is a huge boon, particularly to smaller horticultural enterprises such as in Canada, because they can collect invaluable information as well as provide access to hitherto unattainable plants and plant products.  The “Gardens at Ball” are a 9 acre testing and evaluating center, located in West Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Brian stressed that it is impossible to reproduce the huge scale of the European garden market here in Canada.  Millions of customers can travel from country to country in a matter of hours in Europe, which is a tremendous incentive for the retailers. For example, one group is “Intratuin” which has 65 branches and serves over 12 million customers. Restaurants, children’s play areas, home accessories, animal supplies, and gift ideas are all part of your “garden shopping experience” when you visit one of their stores.

Brian gave us a wonderful tour of the IPM Essen, which is one of the world’s largest horticultural tradeshows.  In January 2019 it hosted about 1,600 exhibitors from 50 countries with over one million square feet of floor space!

You can read about Brian’s visit to this amazing tradeshow in his Vancouver Sun editorial.

Brian showed us exciting photos of some of the creative and unusual ideas that he saw during his visit.  An interesting perspective was appreciating the “beauty of the bulb”.  No bulbs are put under the soil!  Instead they are fully on display in glass bowls, artfully arranged planters, and even as part of flower arrangements.

The European gardeners are passionate about enriching their displays with carefully added details. There were no restrictions on “appropriate” groupings for presentations… orchids were displayed in combination with hydrangeas and bulbs. Empty spots were decorated with attractive sticks and branches. Plants were surprisingly colored with bright fluorescent dyes.

Amaryllis was a featured bulb with a modern look of colorful wax coatings or bright paint and decorative beads. The newest varieties of Amaryllis are much smaller but with many stems and flowers per bulb.  Brazil seems to be a leader in this area.

Design elements were an important part of every display, and every plant was in a beautiful container. Classy and elegant were keynotes, but fanciful and ornate decorations were also common.  Even succulents were flocked and sparkled!   We had a good laugh at Brian’s acronym “ADOS”… You’ve heard of “ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”; his take on it is “Attention Deficit… Oh! Shiny!”

There were many fabulous new plants on display at the Trade Show that are not currently available here. You can bet that Brian is working hard to bring them in!   Many of these originate in Italy, and sadly, for some reason we are not permitted to import from Italy.  (The point of origin is key, so you can’t just buy the plant in a different country and export it here.)

There were so many wonderful new advancements to be seen.  The latest trend is towards small compact plants with many flowers, berries, or leaves.  Species common here were being created in amazing colors and foliage.  Foliage planters were a popular alternative to flowers. We saw Ficus in several different colours, Skimmia with so many more berries, and even bright pink pussywillows! Trees sported colorful stems and branches and even fruit trees were pruned with an attractive element.  What a host of different shaped Bonsai olive trees we saw! BTW, they are working on winter hardy olive varieties. Ranunculus and roses with green centers have been established by introducing a specific fungus. A lovely new variety of cascading hydrangeas can drape down from the balcony.

We also learned how Robot engineering is becoming a significant contributor to horticulture.  We saw photos of a nursery that uses 12 robots to completely automate the task of propagating new plants from cuttings! The prediction is for a billion cuttings a year!

What a great presentation, and to top it off, Brian brought a truckload of different plants for members to purchase!  Naturally he gave details on most of them, explaining why he chose to bring those particular items.  By making a few switches along the front table, he quickly demonstrated how you can make attractive groupings by considering colour, texture, size, etc.  It was a delightful way to finish off our meeting!


You can connect with Brian’s store “Minter Country Garden” via their website  Sign up for his newsletter or check out his blog or facebook page.




Brian Minter Speaker Bio. (by Shelagh J.)
Note:  This is just a “segment” of Brian Minter’s extensive biography!

MINTER, Brian Earl: Horticulturist, Entrepreneur and Businessman
Graduated from the University of BC (Vancouver) in 1969 with a B.A. (Honours English).
Businesses: President and General Manager of Minter Country Garden, an innovative destination garden centre and greenhouse growing operation
– Since 1972 President/Co-Owner with wife Faye of Minter Country Garden Ltd. in Chilliwack, BC
– Syndicated columnist for local newspapers and columnist for BC, national and international garden magazines
– Radio columnist and gardening open-line host with CBC Radio
– Former guest commentator on BBC’s open line garden show in Britain
– International speaker on gardening, tourism and business trends
– Author: ‘Brian Minter’s New Gardening Guide’, June 1998, Canadian non-fiction best seller.
– Writes weekly gardening column for the Vancouver Sun, B.C.’s largest newspaper group

– Spirit of Enterprise Award, from the Rolex Society of Geneva
– Diamond Attraction Award, American Automobile Association
– ‘Kinsmen of the Year’, 1972-73
– ‘Citizen to be Recognized’, shared with wife Faye, given by the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce
– Communication Achievement Award, Toastmasters International Club of Chilliwack
– Recipient of ‘Order of Canada’, 1990
– ‘Freeman of the District of Chilliwack’
– ‘President’s Award’, 1981, presented by Southwest BC Tourism Association
– ‘Small Business Excellence Award’, 1989, presented by BC Provincial Government
– ‘Canadian Horticultural Science Award’, national meeting in Vancouver, 1998
– ‘Honorary Doctorate of Technology’, University College of the Fraser Valley, 2001
– Awarded ‘Fellow’ Designation – Garden Writers Association of America – Top Award 2002
– Awarded ‘Order of Chilliwack’ – the community’s highest honour, 2013
– Received the ‘Rotary International Vocational Leadership Service Award’, 2014
– Perennial Plant Association ‘Award of Merit’ 2014 (The association’s highest honour)
– Garden Writers Association ‘Hall of Fame Award’ 2014 (The association’s highest honour)
– Person of the Year (2015) – Canadian Garden Council
– Minter Endowment Scholarship – Awarded to Top UFV Student for Leadership
– Recipient of the Order of B.C. (2018)




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September Harvest Supper


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Low Maintenance Organic Gardening

Amanda Jarrett’s topic was a very practical one: “Learn how to reduce your maintenance with organic sustainable practices to create a beautiful and productive garden. Organic gardening works with nature to reduce off-site inputs, and eliminates the need for chemicals. You can grow delicious food and gorgeous flowers without the use of commercial fertilizers. Growing organically reduces your carbon footprint, makes your garden more sustainable, and increases its biodiversity while at the same time reducing your labour. When you learn how it’s done, you’ll never think of gardening in the same way again.”

Amanda’s first tip was to “know your garden space!” You need to choose the right plant for right place. Plant size and sun exposure are particularly important.

If you are having problems growing in an area, don’t fight with it! Instead, think of installing alternatives such as mulch, hardscaping, containers, raised beds, paths. Be sure to think about ease of access.  Will you be kneeling? Using a wheelbarrow? Edging your garden is a good idea.  It is neater, reduces run-off, and makes a barrier.

Make sure that you have adequate size beds. For example, a veggie bed should be 4 feet wide so you can reach both sides.

Group plants together according to their needs… it just makes sense!  This means, of course, that you have to know the plants’ needs!

Planters are higher maintenance as they need more fertilizer, watering, and monitoring. Moss hanging baskets need lots of watering. You can line the inside with plastic or put another pot inside. You can add polymers which hold water.

Rock mulch is not necessarily a good idea. It is too hot in summer and too cold in winter.  Things blow in. It may look nice at the start but it gets messy.

One KEY secret is putting down 3 inches of organic mulch. This keeps weeds down, adds beneficial additives, and keeps the moisture in the soil. Two inches is not enough. Do not use landscape fabric and do not use cedar, redwood, or chemically treated mulches.

Water is vital! Really soak the plants! Don’t rely on your drip or soaker hoses. Always hand water when you have just planted… don’t wait for rain! Even drought tolerant plants need extra water before they are established.

Discard those sick or weakly plants! Check Amanda’s website for tips on good rose varieties that don’t get black spot! ”Ketchup and mustard” is one of her favorites (It has 2 colors!)

Put a trellis up instead of letting vines grow up on your house!

Stay away from aggressive plants (Creeping Jenny, Chameleon plant, Lamium, Bishops weed. Don’t choose messy plants with lots of seeds or manicured plants that you will have to continually fuss with.

Tree beds are essential for tree health. Plant trees with the flared bottom above ground (that is, don’t plant them too deeply). Don’t put mulch right against tree trunk. Select dwarf varieties. Think about “limbing up” as an alternative when pruning.

A time saver is to leave debris on the garden bed! “Chop and Drop!” This provides fertilizer and keeps the soil moist. Use compost instead of miracle grow! You will only have to add this fertilizer again every 2 weeks and it’s not good for the worms! (Note: Be sure to remove any diseased leaves.) If you are using synthetic plant food, choose slow release types.  Too much nitrogen will reduce flowers! Kelp is a good additive.

Similarly, lawns should be cut often and the clippings left on the ground. Mow 3 inches long and never below 2 1/2 inches.  If your lawn isn’t growing nice, then grow something else!

Don’t use bark nuggets except for pathways. Ground covers are good. For tough weeds, just keep pulling them out! An exception is: don’t dig out horsetail, you will spread it more!

If you have “bad bugs” … then you have done something wrong! The plant is unhappy! Think about companion planting and avoid monocultures. For warding off plant diseases, watering in the morning (rather than late in the day) is key. Discourage weeds by planting close together. Do your weeding when the soil is moist and before they set seed.

Amanda answered some questions from our members.
* Sawdust is not good unless it is old or you can soak it first.
* Horticulture grade vinegar is better than household for removing weeds.
* Fatty acid is good.
* Kale is attractive!!!
* Epsom salts are great (use a handful).  They provide magnesium and speed up tomato ripening.
* Kelp is great, it has amino acids. Fish fertilizer is good. Organic fertilizers are the best.
* Iron sulphate can be used for roses but using lots of compost is the best.

Amanda has a fantastic website!  Be sure to check it out!

The Garden




Amanda Jarrett Speaker Bio. (by Shelagh J.)

Amanda Jarrett is a Certified Organic Land Care Professional, and has her Red Seal in Horticulture. She is an educator for the Residential Landscape Technician Diploma at Douglas College, and the Organic Master Gardener and Ecological Landscape Design programs at Langara College. Her garden consulting company offers advice to home gardeners and businesses regarding landscape design, low-maintenance planting, troubleshooting, and organic methods. Her website,, offers a wealth of information on gardening. Amanda is also the author of Ornamental Tropical Shrubs (2003), published by Pineapple Press.




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Hummingbirds 101

If I were a hummingbird, I would surely be a dedicated visitor to Ms. Danielle Cooper’s home. She is such a kind hearted enthusiast of this tiny species!

It was delightful hearing about Danielle’s home setups as well as seeing her lovely photos of hand-feeding her visiting hummingbirds. Her daughter looked completely delighted! What a lovely family activity!

On the Lower Mainland, we are lucky to have hummingbirds year-round. Danielle informed us that the Anna’s hummingbird gave up migrating in the 1960’s. The Rufous, on the other hand, travels from Mexico to Alaska. The Rufous has the longest bird migration for body size to distance!   Rufous generally arrive in March and leave around September.

To identify the Rufous, note that it has a very reddish body and has black and white tail feathers. The females are more friendly to each other than the Anna’s females. The male Anna’s is easily recognizable by its dark purply-pink head. The entire head is colored.

Danielle gave important information regarding feeders. If they aren’t clean, your hummingbirds may not return, so choose a feeder that is easy to clean. Pipe cleaners are handy to clean out the little flower-shaped feeding ports. Apply a flush of hot water every time you refill. Once a month use a little bit of bleach and rinse well. It is best not to use vinegar as your cleaning agent. Don’t use soap or even “green cleaners”.  Change the nectar every other day if it is in the sun. In winter you can leave the solution 7 to 10 days.

It is best not to use a feeder with yellow, as this attracts wasps. Many feeders use red “florets” instead. If you do have a problem with wasps, fill a glass jar with apple juice about 15 feet away in the sun. Wasps have a good purpose (feeding on annoying other insects!) so only try to eliminate them if they are a real nuisance. If you have a problem with ants, there are commercial ant traps to attach to your feeder. Be sure not to put oil anywhere near the feeder. Oil or Vaseline will stick to hummingbird feathers and they will die.

The appropriate dilution is 1:4 sugar water. Be sure to use plain white sugar and never use honey. The extra iron in specialty sugars is bad for them. It might be tempting to use a higher 1:3 ratio, (this is controversial!), but it is important that hummingbirds stay hydrated, so too much sugar is not of benefit. Do not use red dye, but choose a red container or attach a red bow! NEVER put sugar water in an open dish or container.  It will dry like glue on their delicate feathers!

If you want to place multiple feeders, 15 feet is ideal spacing to avoid territorial disputes. You could also try putting a barrier in between feeders. For every hummingbird you see there are probably 4 more! Hummingbirds can show preferences to different styles of feeders as well as different locations, so keep trying until you find the right spot for “your” hummers!

Did you know that Hummingbirds eat small insects as well? They eat aphids! How great is that? Another way to attract them is to have a running water source. The sound is an important attractant!

There are many plants that are attractive to hummingbirds!  Some of these are:  salvia, lantana, verbena, snapdragons, petunias, nasturtiums, fuchsias, geraniums, columbine, foxglove, impatiens, bee balm, crocosomia, butterfly bush, honeysuckle, scarlet runner beans, lilac.

Hand feeders (individual containers) are a fun activity to try. Danielle gave us an entertaining anecdote of her own experience here. It really showed her determination! (One helpful suggestion was to put out the little feeder a week ahead of time to get the hummingbirds confident with it.)

Seeing as our Anna’s Hummingbirds are here year-round, it is very beneficial to keep a winter feeder. Do not do this if you are not able to keep it going all winter! They must eat every 2 hours or they die, and so if they are expecting a source of food at your home, it must be there. They don’t have time to go searching out a new food source!

One important consideration is freezing temperatures. You may need to be resourceful here. Of course, there are commercial “feeder warmers” to be purchased (although expensive and not that readily available). Wrapping Christmas lights around the feeder is one solution. Toque and hand warmers can be used in a pinch! (Personally, I used to keep one feeder out at night and another ready to be switched out as soon as I woke up in the morning! Danielle told us she was out before 8am every morning!) With respect to the evening, Hummingbirds must feed 20 minutes before their “bedtime”, when they go into a state of torpor. Don’t bring in your feeders too early!

With regards to breeding times, Anna’s nest January to June in our area! (That certainly was a surprise to me!) Providing nesting material brings more birds not just hummers. Do not use dryer lint, human hair, or yarn. Clean organic cotton, sphagnum moss, cottonwood fluff are good.  Local bird stores carry “bird safe” nesting materials. Cedar branches and rhodos are popular places for nesting. Hummingbirds often place their nest about 5 feet off ground, but they also nest in weird places so keep your eyes open!

Danielle kindly brought beautiful, full-colour “Hummingbird 101” information brochures for us!  The 3 top tips in attracting hummingbirds is to provide feeders, favourite plants, and moving water.

Hummingbirds are such an unusual and intriguing bird. We are so lucky to have them here and Danielle gave us some lovely insights into this delightful species!

Danielle is a professional photographer (of nature and people as well!) and you can view some of her exciting work at

Danielle Cooper (speaker bio. by Shelagh J.):

Danielle is a photographer, gardener and avid backyard birder. Growing up on acreage on the Sunshine Coast gave her a front row seat to many types of wildlife, and a natural curiosity to learn more about the birds around us. She has gained valuable insight into hummingbirds and their care through dialogue with birding experts and years of observation. She is also part of multiple online hummingbird groups created to share information, research, photographs, and the love of hummingbirds. Danielle has been providing plants and feeders specifically for hummingbirds for 15 years and has picked up a lot of tips along the way. She currently provides for approximately 25 birds in her area.


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Garden Worthy Roses

You couldn’t ask for a more dedicated rose aficionado than Jason Crouch! He started off his presentation (“Ways to Preserve Garden Worthy Roses”) with a real “teaser”, by showing us four lovely rose varieties with numerous points in their favour… and then announced… that these species were no longer available! Jason’s personal mission is to protect those valuable species that are being pushed aside in the mistaken notion of “newer is always better”.

Jason notes that roses sometimes get a bad rap from sellers, who don’t seem to realize that roses aren’t necessarily just for “formal gardens”. He contends that roses are accepting of some shade, don’t need all that spraying, and are good with other flowers. The rose hips are beneficial for winter wildlife as well.

Jason gave us good information on how to propagate roses from semi-hardwood cuttings. (BTW, commercial dealers have to wait 20 years before selling named species!) June to September is best for cuttings, so that they root by winter. The goal then is to keep them cool and airy over the winter so they don’t deteriorate. He definitely made it sound “doable”, even for the “hobby gardener”!

Use clean, sharp pruners on an area about the width of pencil. This would be “semi-hardwood” in which the branch is not bendy (too soft), but not so hard that it would snap. The selection should have 3 to 4 nodes. Cut just above the bottom node and just below the top node. (You don’t actually want the very top!) BTW, it’s always a good idea to take 2 cuttings, just in case! Remove all leaves except 1 half of the top leaf…that tells the plant to grow roots.
Use rooting hormone and potting soil with little or no fertilizer. Barely push it an inch or two under soil (or it will rot). Don’t cover it with plastic or it may rot. You can use a Pop bottle as a humidity dome or spritz once a day. Do not water the soil. You can keep the cuttings on a window sill, but not in full sun. When the roots start to grow, reduce the misting.
If that short summary intrigues you… you can find the full explanation complete with photos and videos on Jason’s website!

Jason gave us some other tips on roses. A big concern for everyone seems to be Black Spot. While its presence generally means over watering, Jason assures us that its everywhere, so we just have to learn to live with it! Remove all infected leaves and rinse with baking powder or potassium bicarbonate with some dish soap. If you have Powdery Mildew then you probably didn’t water enough. Do not use Epsom Salts on roses! Do invest in a soil test kit! He uses compost, rose fertilizers, alfalfa pellets (not the kind you feed to rabbits!) and likes to top dress the soil with organic mulches. Coffee grounds are good.
Some other tips were regarding pruning. Don’t cut down your roses in August. Julia Child floribunda don’t have to be cut way down the way you cut down Tea Roses. Grafted Roses may have more problems at the graft after 10-20 years. If you cut them back low but you may lose the rose type that was on top. Modern roses bloom right away but Old Garden roses take an extra year.
Jason also recommended a website called “helpmefind”. Use it to get more information before you purchase your new rose (or clematis or peony).

Jason’s farm is in Mission, so you can find him regularly at the Mission Farmer’s Market. For a schedule of other places, check the website:
I notice that he is scheduled to be at the Coquitlam Farmer’s Market on May 26 and July 28. He also has an “on-farm” plant sale on June 29, Garden Clubs invited!
Check Jason out online!

Jason kindly brought us a few “goodies” to purchase!  That’s always a perk to a meeting!

Jason Croutch (speaker bio. by Shelagh J.):

Jason Croutch is the owner of Fraser Valley Rose Farm, a nursery specializing in those unique, hard-to-find, and historical varieties of roses that are no longer readily available on the market. Jason attended the Kwantlen Polytechnic University greenhouse production program, and then joined Valleybrook Gardens as a grower of perennials, herbs, veggies and a wide variety of other crops. Jason is also quite active on Youtube, producing videos aimed at inspiring and sharing knowledge with backyard growers, budding rosarians, and garden enthusiasts of all kinds.

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