Fall into the Garden: Plant Sales & Other Delights
By Kathryn Pankowski
How do you think about fall? Are you one of the doom-and-gloom brigade, who dwells on dying leaves, darker days, and the increasing odds of finding a giant spider under your pillow?
If you are a gardener, this is entirely the wrong attitude. Fall here is like a second spring, with the grass turning green, summer-dormant plants reappearing, and the soil softening enough for easy weed-pulling. That’s why this year we’re adding a fall James Bay plant swap and sale to complement the spring one.
Join us outside the James Bay Community School, south end, on Saturday, September 9, 10-12. Bring any surplus plants, starts, tools in good working order, or anything else of use to gardeners to either trade or sell. Or drop by to browse and chat.
If you can’t be there, but have plants or gardening gear in need of a new home, you can always donate them to the JBNA Gardening Committee, which will sell them to help fund neighbourhood gardening projects. Either bring them directly to the sale, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an earlier drop-off or pick-up.
What will you find at the fall sale?
Perennials. Fall is the perfect time to plant most perennials, as the rains let them get settled in and establish good root systems to support growth next spring. We’ve already received pots of pale yellow and rosy pink daylilies, some very late-blooming coppery chrysanthemums, and unusual violet-grey butterfly gladiolus.
House plants. Pick up a plant to add greenery and bloom to your apartment over the winter. We already know we’ll have a Christmas cactus or two, an Orchidaceous cactus (like a Christmas cactus on steroids), and amaryllis.
Herbs. We’ll have sturdy perennial herbs, including some that can live happily in pots on shady balconies, such as mint and horseradish.
Starts for the fall veg garden: mid-September is an excellent time to plant out starts of kale, mustards, and chard to grow on over winter.
Tools, pots, and paraphernalia. We’ve already received some new gardening gloves, a rather handsome glass wasp trap, and some ceramic cachepots to hold houseplants.
Hot drinks and a few treats are available for those who need a second (or first) breakfast while plant shopping.
And who knows what else will appear on the day? We certainly don’t, which is part of the fun.
If you’re still a bit sceptical about this whole growing-in-winter thing, we’ll also be holding a round-table learning session at the sale, with advice about what you can grow in James Bay in the winter, even in pots, and how to do it. Remember, that same ‘Juan de Fuca’ effect that makes us the coldest part of Victoria in the summer makes us the warmest in the winter. Drop by and learn how to make use of our geographic advantage.
Neighbourhood garden news
Also on September 9, you can take a city-wide Urban Food Garden Tour with at least one stop in James Bay (after you go to the James Bay plant swap & sale, of course). The self-guided tour runs from 10-4, includes 14 gardens, and requires a $15 ticket. More info at http://vicurbanfoodgardens.wixsite.com/tour.
The gardeners at the Montreal Street Allotments have planted a beautiful border outside their fence for passers-by to enjoy. If you haven’t seen it yet, go have a look.
The volunteer gardeners at the Discovery Coffee box, with the support and permission of Discovery Coffee and the plaza owners, will be expanding their gardening efforts onto the Michigan Street boulevard. Watch for developments this fall and flowers next spring.
Kathryn Pankowski is the James Bay Neighbourhood Association Neighbourhood Gardening Advocate: she can be reached at email@example.com. The JBNA would like to acknowledge the financial support of the City of Victoria for this initiative.