The physical conditions

The garden is in southern Ontario, near Lake Ontario, so has ‘Lake effect’ conditions: cold, late springs; long, warm falls; ‘cooler by the Lake’ summer temperatures;  winters that are cold, with less snow than might be expected as ‘Lake effect’  snow falls on the southern shore of the lake, not the northern one.

The garden has been a work-in-progress since early 2000.  We started with not much other than a mature white ash, maturing white pines, and a juvenile red oak in the backyard.  The front yard had an unattractive aging white spruce (long gone now and not in the least lamented!) and an attractive mature white cedar clump (one trunk; 6 tops). The property is ~75×155′ (~1/4 acre).  The mature ash is likely to succumb to Emerald Ash Borer in the not-too-distant future – we have had it treated twice and so far; so good although we also had deadwood removed in late fall 2017.   The next door neighbour to the south tree died from EAB a couple of years ago and was finally removed.  The neighbour to the north still has one ash but it’s not very healthy.  When our ash eventually comes down due either to old age or EAB, that will be a major change in conditions in the backyard, which might set the garden off down a new path.  Time will tell…

The soil is fairly heavy clay.  In ancient times this property was at the bottom of the lake that was here before Lake Ontario.  While we have not had the soil tested, it appears likely that the soil is neutral–to-alkaline in pH.


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