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A tested recipe to cure Powdery Mildew

Published by Jollean Smith in Plants · 26/10/2019 16:12:03
Tags: PowderyMildewCureDiseasePlantsGardenSprayEcoFriendly.

This year in the squash patch I experienced an outbreak of Powdery Mildew. A mold that appears commonly on the leaves of squash plants. Powdery Mildew can actually affect all kinds of plants including:

Squash & Gourds
Apples & Pears
Wheat & Barley

Likely a few more I have missed.

Good news is that you can manage it in a cheap eco friendly way. You do not need to run out and buy a bunch of fungicides.

This is a recipe that I tested this summer from a YouTube blogger “Project Diaries”.

His video came recommended from a lovely Twitter friend @JeanO_Appleseed, so I decided to give it a try and record the results. What attracted me to the recipe is that all the items required were already in my house and it did not contain any harsh chemicals.


  • 1 Spray Bottle (Recycle a Windex bottle or buy one from the dollar store)

  • 500 ml water (Just over 2 cups)

  • 1-3 Tsp Baking Soda

  • 2 Tsp Eco Friendly  (Optional, I just used a few drops)

  • 1 Tsp Vegetable Oil

Mix together and add to a spray bottle.

The results on this spray were excellent. By the next day I saw a mass reduction in Powdery Mildew.

Here is my YouTube video on the test over two days.

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Medicinal plants for Bees

Published by Jollean Smith in Bees · 4/6/2019 14:13:30
Tags: BeesSaveMedicinalPlantsFlowers

Just like humans, bees need nutritious plants. That tropical plant from Asia may look stunning on your patio and may even be visited by a bee, but it may not be providing the bees the nutrition they need to fight off disease.

First, it’s important to understand that there are many things making life for bees very difficult.

Pesticides - Makes them weak and/or kills them.
Disease - Makes them weak and/or kills them.
Loss of native habitat - The bees need proper food and nutrition to be strong enough to fight off 1 and 2, loss of habitat means less natural plants.

For example, a honey bee colony does not usually get wiped out in one fell swoop. In fact, it is slowly killed off by a process of slow weakening.

Let's take a look at the slow weakening:
1. A healthy bee colony can become more weakened from chemicals, poor nutrition, cold snaps and parasites.
2. When a be becomes sick it will fly off away from the hive to protect the hive.
3. If a large number of bee’s are sick and fly away, natural hive maintenance behaviours cannot continue.
4. When a hive loses bees, it becomes a vicious cycle. There are less bees to complete the tasks that keep the remaining bees healthy, such as cool the hive or provide food for young bees.

Eventually, the colony will die.

This is even harder on native bees. These bese don’t always operate in large colonies. They may just have one bee or a few bees and not 50,000 bees like the honey bee. They will face all the same impacts, but with significantly less bees to sacrifice per se. There is much less of a chance for recovery which is why native bees are endangered.

How can you help?
1. Add more native plants to your garden. Let those native flowers that show up in your yard, grow! Or research native plants from a reputable source
2. For love of bees stop using pesticides. Fight against your community associations who do mass spraying of pesticides for things like mosquitoes. These are weakening your bees. Back away from the Round Up or whatever new fancy name they come up with for weed killers.
3. Plant medicinal flowers. Bees need flowers that help them fight disease. If they are weakened by a parasite research shows that bees will go to certain plants that help them fight it. See a list of a few below.
4. Be super careful with your big box store plants. Although there is increasing pressure on greenhouses and retailers to provide plants free of chemicals, it is still out there. So many of those pretty plants are grown with chemicals such as neonics which impact a bees immune system. I am still trying to get a straight answer from Proven Winners on if their seeds are neonics free. They keep skirting around a direct yes or no. Ideally, get your plants from a native plant store who specializes in chemical free flowers. You can also grow your own from chemical free seed (check your seed supplier carefully) or practice cultivating flowers that grow naturally. If the greenhouse cannot assure you that their plants did not originate from chemical free seeds, walk away.

Here are a couple of plants that offer medicinal benefits to bees:

Home: Native to North America.
Plant needs: Full sun and moist soil.
Medicinal value: Offers bees iridoid glycosides which is important in helping bumblees fight off parasites.
Buy seeds: Prairie Moon Nursery, Joyful Butterfly and Swallowtail Seeds.


Home: Native to North America.
Plant needs: Likes full sun and tolerates many different soils.
Medicinal value: Offers bumble bees help with reducing pathogens.
Buy seeds: Seed Needs, Swallowtail Seeds and Bakers Creek Seeds.

Purple Giant Hyssop
Home: Native to North America.
Plant needs: Likes full sun and tolerates many different soils. I find it drought tolerant.
Medicinal value: Relief from parasitic infections.
Buy seeds: Prairie Moon Nursery, Select Seeds and Everwilde Farms.

Common Yarrow
Home: Native to North America.
Plant needs: Likes full sun and tolerates many different soils.
Medicinal value: Relief from parasitic infections.
Buy seeds: Bakers Creek Seeds, Swallowtail Seeds and American Meadows.

For a longer list of flowers and further information please read an excellent article written by Becca Redomski-Bush. Some information in my blog today was learned from her facinating page.

Thanks for being here with us.

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Want to read more?
See how I turned all of this into a Bee Bar, keep reading!

My top 3 favourite native plants.

Published by Jollean Smith in Flowers · 19/3/2018 00:05:47
Tags: NativePlantsFlowersGarderShootingStarsColumbineYarrowBees

Native plants are both beautiful and functional.

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Native plants are designed to thrive in their natural habitat without any help from you, the gardener.

This means you don't have to water them as they will be designed to live with the moisture naturally available in your area. They won't require special soils or fertilizing and they will provide for the bugs and birds native to your region.

At the same time native plants are beautiful and unique, bringing all the same joy to your garden as exotic plants, just with a lot less fuss.

Here are my top 3 favourite native plants:

1. Yarrow - Yarrow is said to have herbal uses in the home. This plant attracts butterflies and makes a great dried flower. It can be cut back and mulched into your soil to help improve the soil quality. It is very drought tolerant.
2. Columbine (Shown above) - These are also drought tolerant. They will attract bees and hummingbirds. Their flower is very ornate, looking more like an exotic flower but it is really a hardy native. It is said you can eat the flowers but that is not tested by me. I just can't bring myself to eat my flowers! It is a great seeder. So collect the seeds and expand your collection throughout your garden.
3. Shooting Stars (Shown below) - These flowers are so unique and have a special place in my heart. When I was a young Girl Guide our leader would take us on hikes in the forests of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. On those hikes one of the first flowers I learned about was Shooting Stars. There these unique little gems were growing below the canopies of the giant trees. They do best in a moist spot within your yard. In the first year planted they will likely die back making you think you killed the plant but then pop the next year in full force. Perhaps most liked by me for the nostalgia, but their unique look is something you can enjoy as not everyone will have these in their yard.

The Shooting Stars uniqueness is what makes it stand out in any garden

When I get to the South my new mission will be to learn what new and exciting native plants exist for that region.

That is your Garden Gossip, don't forget to wet your plants!

Clovers for St.Patrick's day.

Published by Jollean Smith in Flowers · 17/3/2018 10:56:35
Tags: CloverSt.PatricksDayPlantsPlantsBlessingsHolidays

Clovers are a blessing in your yard.

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Sadly I do not have any pictures of the very valuable Clover  in my inventory however, once this snow melts and they pop up I will add it to my picture log. To the left in my St.Patty's day wish to you all, I show my favourite plant, Hyssop. We talked about it in our blog a few days ago. Today, it's all about the Clover.

I once thought Clovers were just an annoying weed and bunny food. But over the years I learned that Clovers actually do a whole lot of good in your yard.

What I love about Clovers:

  • Nitrogen fixer - People will actually buy thousands of these seeds to plant to repair the soil in their garden. That is because Clover is a Nitrogen fixer. They draw Nitrogen from the air and through their roots, return it to the soil.

  • Bee friendly - Clovers are loved by Bees and provide a major source of nectar for them.

  • Bunnies love them - Want to distract bunnies from your edible garden? Plant a clover patch just for them. They are sure to focus on that first.

A growing trend in urban yards is to replace high maitenance, water thirsty grass with Clovers. On top of the benefits I list above, Clovers as a grass replacement do not require mowing or watering. Who really like mowing right?

So, for what I once thought was a weed, these little flowers truly have a lot of value in a yard. That's your Garden Gossip this St.Patrick's day. Go hug a Clover or plant one anyway.


Why your Garden needs Pansies.

Published by Jollean Smith in Flowers · 12/3/2018 22:41:12
Tags: PansyPansiesFlowersGardenPlants

Pansies are a cheerful must for any garden.

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Well if you have been reading my blog you know I like my plants cheap and easy. A Pansy delivers on this and so much more. Their happy little flower faces are so cheerful in any container.

Growing Pansies

I have found Pansies easiest to grow when started inside. Approximetly 14 weeks before you want to get them outside. In Northern colder areas of the country you could start your seeds in February in doors and by May you can be filling pots with your home grown babies.

Maitenance of Pansies

Pansies require frequent deadheading. If allowed to go to seed the plant thinks it is done. So constantly clip the dead flowers and cut back any dying pieces of the plant.

Keep Pansies well watered. When kept too dry they will get long and scraggly.

What makes Pansies great?

  • Frost tolerant. The common problem in the Northern colder areas is frost. You can have frost well into the summer. Pansies are one of the tougher plants and can tolerate some frost and cool nights.

  • They give back.Pansy seeds can be collected and used to keep your own stock of flowers. This is another garden giver for those of us that like to collect seeds.

  • They like to surprise you. Pansies have the neatest way of just appearing randomly in your garden in some of the oddest of places. Not in anyway invasive, they just pop up in spots. I had one grow in the gravel up against my garden box. It's appearance was a pleasant reminder of how when plants are left to be, they make the world a better place.

  • Look great in a pot. There is something about the look of a pot full of Pansies on your patio. The cheerful flower heads bobbing in the breeze welcoming you as you walk by, never gets old.

Three of my favourite Pansies:
  • Simply Orange There is something about a straight orange Pansy. Mix them with some purple Pansies and you have one of my favourite looks for a planter or pot.

  • The Jokers Along the same lines as the orange ones, these ones are made orange and purple without mixing. They do look like little Jokers.

  • Elegant Ruffled What can I say I am just a girl at heart, who loves her ruffles.

So don't miss out on the beauty of this hardy flower. Whether you plant it in the fall of the Southern warmer climates or the early spring of Northern colder climates, just make sure you have some greeting you each day.

They promise to be delightful!


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