Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Cleanup, Pruning, Early Blooming Plants at Brueckner

Unusually mild and early Spring weather means the garden cleanup and pruning is off to an earlier than usual start at Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens in Port Credit.  Some early bloomers are showing their finery sooner this year as well, including Japanese Andromeda, Viburnum, Silver Maple trees and crocuses.

Early Spring in the Rose Garden at Brueckner 
 Warm weather starts everything growing, including the weeds in the Rose Garden. Last week, David (volunteer coordinator) and I made a start with the Captain Samuel rose bed, shown in the picture above. Once the roses get growing and blooming in May and into June, it's difficult to get into the beds to weed. The pile of debris is from the pruned roses, with assorted weeds. The now weed-free bed is tilled and ready for fertilizing. The beds look so lovely when they are tended to, and give the tenders a feeling of accomplishment, however short-lived over the season.

Iceberg Rose Bed before pruning and weeding: Spring in Mississauga!
 Here is a photo to show the weeds still to be pulled and cultivating still to be done. Iceberg roses are a smaller plant than the robust Canadian Captain Samuels in the top photo. Even so, by pruning them first, it will be easier (and less painful) to get weeding and cultivating now while they are just beginning to show signs of growth. It's hard to tell adjoining lawn from weedy rose bed at this time. Any volunteer weeders will be heartily welcomed!

Chuckles Roses Before Pruning in Spring
 The Chuckles rose bed is nothing to laugh about, and a good weeding effort now will be a great step up on weed control over the summer, when prolific bloomer Chuckles will make it near impossible to get at the weeds. As you can see from the arching, tangled canes, Chuckles needs to be pruned first.

Mixed Rose Bed at Brueckner Gardens
 Here is a top-down view picture of the Mixed Rose Bed showing the weeds that need pulling now. The mild fall last year, coupled with the early warm spring have been very favorable to weed growth, yet cold enough to preclude any removal. Head gardener Para is pruning as weather permits, and ideally, weeding should be done immediately after. But there are so many weeds to pull! It's a daunting but not impossible task.

Peony Garden Early Spring Mississauga 
The Rose beds aren't the only beds in the garden that could benefit from an early-season weeding. The  new grass in the Peony Garden (just east of the Rose Garden), revamped and rebuilt last fall, needs to  removed before the tender peonies start to grow and are therefore susceptible to inadvertent damage when walking within the bed.

Peonies in Spring buds Emerging from Soil
 The bright red peony buds were already sprouting last week, and illustrate the fairly short window for easy weeding and spring cleanup.  The photo above shows the peonies in what's known as 'Daphnes Bed', the large perennial garden near the parking lot on Lakeshore Road West. As well as weeding, the beds need a good cleanup of winter debris (leaves, litter, etc.).

Interim Place Memorial Place and Garden
The Interim Place memorial garden is one of the first gardens visitors see when they enter the BRG from the parking lot. And since this is a very special garden, commemorating as it does the site of the first location of Interim Place women's shelter, it is only fitting it was the first garden bed to be given a good spring cleaning. Ideally, a volunteer group would 'adopt' this garden and maintain this very special place throughout the year.

Silver Maple Tree in Bloom ~ March in Mississauga Ontario
This large old growth Silver Maple tree in full bloom brightened the East Garden at Lakeshore Road West. The maples' buds were a pop of brilliant red against the deep blue sky. Under the spreading maple tree, look for blooming crocuses.

Red Flowers on Silve Maple Sign of Spring
Here's a closer look of these brilliant red flowers on the Silver Maple. These blooms don't last long, and indeed many maples are already dropping their flowers onto the ground below, creating large carpets of red that are gone with the first  spring storms. Gorgeous while they last, though!

Early Blooming Viburnum at Brueckner Gardens 
In the midst of the winter-worn shrub and perennial plantings along the garden side of the Lakeshore Road sidewalk at the parking lot entrance, this early blooming viburnum welcomes visitors. The snow fencing is still up and visible as brown stakes in the background.

Early Blooming Shrub Japanese Andromeda
Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica karenoma), an early blooming shrub, is already in full bloom at various locations at the BRG. (Here is the same shrub photographed last year. Note the date - May!)

Crocuses Gone Wild in BRG East Garden
Look for a carpet of crocuses blooming near the BRG sign at Godfreys Lane at Lakeshore Road West, near the base of the large Silver Maple. Each year the crocuses spread their range, with some now sprouting into areas where no crocus was ever planted. Tulips and daffodils around the gardens in beds and in woodland areas are well sprouted and thinking of blooming very soon.

Spring Cleanup Help Wanted (and appreciated!)

Spring and Summer are crunch times for garden cleanup, weeding and cultivating. The season moves so fast, with so much to be done, it seems a daunting task to get all the garden chores done.

Easter (April 6-9, 2012) brings a lot of visitors to Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens, and it would be lovely to put its best foot forward to welcome them. City crews are also busy at this time, doing all the 'heavy lifting' of snow fence removal, pruning and fertilizing, etc. and are stretched pretty thin as well.

If you have any time to spare to help clean up the Garden this spring, get in touch:

  • Call David Culham at 905-608-2886; Email at davidculham AT
  • Call the City of Mississauga:  311 
  • Drop by the BRG weekdays to talk to staff

The Gardens would love to see you!

The early blooming azaleas and rhododendrons will soon be clamouring for attention, too, and need to be readied for the annual Garden Tour May 27, 2012.

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