Peek into local gardens

The weather has been great for the last week or so. The gardens are blooming and even with all the rain we had a while ago, everything gets dry very fast in the sun. The columbines are just beautiful this year. I have so many different colours in my garden. As they reseed themselves so easily, I will have to make sure I cut the blooms before they set seeds.

It must have been the grey days of May that caused my irises to have such long stems. I have to stake some of them or they fall down in the wind but they make a nice cut flower and some have lovely scents.

With June approaching, it means garden tour season. The People Place will have their 13th Annual Garden Tour on June 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, and they are available at Art Knapp Plantland, Blue Mountain Nursery (Armstrong), Briteland, Swan Lake Nursery and The People Place. For more information you can call 250-558-6585. Seven gardens will be readily awaiting your visit on that day. I am proud to be making the list and so is another member from our garden club, Bill Hickey from East Hill. As our club didn’t have a plant sale this year, both of us will be offering some plants for sale at the time of the tour. For some of you that mentioned me on the phone that you would like to see my garden, this will be the occasion for a good cause.

“People Place operates a centralized facility that provides affordable office and program space to non-profit agencies. Currently, there are 14 social service agencies housed in People Place. The tenants work together to provide clients with services in an atmosphere of cooperation, respect and access for all.”

On another subject, I have the bad habit of leaving my tools in the garden and often I lose them. In my 1,001 Gardening Secrets book, I found some tips that work really well. I tried this one on a screwdriver set which was very rusty, and was surprised with the result.

Give rusty tools a vinegar bath: before you decide to throw away that rusty trowel or other gardening tool, try soaking it overnight in cider vinegar. Wipe away the residue with a cloth, and you may find it’s as good as new.

Scour tools with homemade paste. Rusty gardening tools? Get them back in tiptop shape with a little salt and lemon juice. Mix enough salt into a tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon juice to make a paste, apply to rusted areas with a dry cloth, and rub.

Create a sandbox for your tools: mix 20 lbs (45 kg) of sand with 500 ml of motor oil. After using your tools, push them through this gritty, oily mixture a few times to clean and lubricate them for storage. Its an easy way to prolong the life of your tools and keep them rust-free.

Dispense oil the easy way: oiling your tools doesn’t have to be a messy job. Put some mineral oil in an old bottle of lotion or hand soap and simply squirt it on your tools. Wipe them down with fine steel wool, and they are good as new.

Turn away rust: help your wheelbarrow stand up to rust. Turn it on its side when you’re not using it. That way, water won’t collect in it and cause rust. If this one comes too late, rusty wheelbarrows make very nice planters.

For more information: 250-558-4556.

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast and member of the Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.

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