Monday, October 31, 2016

Cuddy Weekend Duty Blog

Friday Oct 28th

We began our chilly morning with going down to the hoop houses and cutting back and cleaning up a variety of perennials. We also received the job of putting away multiple boxes containing CLT materials,  which we just took part in only a couple weeks back here at the Cuddy Garden’s. The compost pile was looking a little messy, so we decided to grab a couple pitch forks and push it all back so that it wasn’t overflowing. We then made our way to the indoor pool area where we started to clean, water, and cut back any plants that weren’t looking so well. We also ended up having to replace the odd small grass in the brand new labyrinth that was built by the students in the Horticulture program at Fanshawe College.  We finished off the day by re-potting the grasses we had replaced and making sure our work areas were left clean.

Saturday Oct 29th

Our morning began with the light task of re-staining the compost bins, but we could not find the can of stain. We later found out that the can of stain was locked up inside the Cuddy pick-up truck. Of course we didn’t let that slow our day down, we immediately headed over to the rose garden and began cutting down all the Peony’s on the Cuddy grounds. Our next job was to go down to the perennial gardens and begin to cut back plants as well as pull any weeds in sight. We were told not to use any heavy machinery over the weekend due to the wet ground, so we had to haul away everything the old fashion way, with a wheel barrel. We also had the pleasure of having Michael Pascoe visit us while we were cleaning up the perennial beds. He instructed us to cut back more perennials then originally instructed which led to finishing our day off in the perennial gardens.

Sunday Oct 30th

The final day of our weekend duty started out with walking down to the tool shed and unlocking the side door only to realize we had forgot to disarm more than just the class room. We ran back up to the class room and properly disarmed the alarm and grabbed all of our tools we would need for the morning and began to work on the perennial garden where we left off yesterday. A light rain started falling as we continued to work away, until it started getting a little too heavy and we were both soaking wet. After the rain stopped we worked on the perennial garden which took a lot longer because of how wet everything was. Once the perennial garden was finished we then did some weeding in the rock garden and removed leafs that had fallen from the neighboring tree. The next task as to rake the gravel walk was in dry garden, after the gravel was raked we than finished off the day by cleaned all the tool  that we had used and cleaned the class room. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

 Ben and Mike’s Blog

October 21, 2016


            Our weekend duty started off with a trip to Tim Hortons where Dobie purchased a steeped tea with 2 milk, 3 sugar and Ben bought a sausage biscuit.  Dobie says that he needed the 3 sugar to keep him awake.  As we entered the distinguished surroundings known as Cuddy Gardens, we were greeted by the active horticulturist Nate McKim.  Nate thoroughly explained the duties in which were going to be granted to us on the weekend which included; setting the alarm, locking the doors and taking care of the keys.  After that, he proceeded onwards to explain our jobs for the day.  We started out by moving around the picnic tables in greenhouse 3.  Although tempting to play a life size version of jenga, we got the job done and continued onto the next one.  We then pruned a Caribbean coffee plant in greenhouse 1.  After that we broke our backs some more by moving multiple metal pipes to the top of the barn with the help of Nate.  Next we went on a scavenger hunt to find all of the plant stands around the gardens and preceded onto carry them into the top of the barn as well as piping and irrigation heads.  From there we moved all of the daylily’s around the corner to make room for the skid steer for Thursday’s class.  We also pruned back and moved all of the crocosmia’s.  At lunch we wobbled on over to Burger King (insert picture 3) where Dobie purchased some gimmick deal where the burgers looked bigger in the picture than they actually were in real life.  Ben went with the classic Whopper meal where you can’t go wrong.  After we came back from lunch we transferred multiple tropical plants that were outside and moved them inside.  Our final task for the day was to tear apart the 9 hanging baskets, replant some plants and preserve the baskets and moss.


October 22, 2016


            Another day started off with a trip to Tim Hortons where we got the same things as the previous day.  It continued to rain the whole entire day which slowed down our work.  Our first job was to dig some dirt piles and make them flat, not too shabby.  We then planted new plants into the gardens, and added the plants to the list, with the help of Michael Pascoe.  As lunch time came around, we decided to go to McDonalds for some food.  Dobie ordered two big mac's and Ben ordered a few chicken wraps.  Next, we went on a trip around the garden to collect the green gator tree bags and metal stakes for winter storage in the barn. Our final project for the day was some woodworking in greenhouse 1.  We took apart the top of the irrigation chamber, cut proper plastic pieces and then continued to screw them back on top.  A day with less tasks but with time consuming tasks.


October 23, 2016


            Our final day started off with, you guessed it, a trip to Tim Hortons, where Dobie got the same thing three days in a row… and Ben didn’t get anything because he had a big breakfast at home.  We first made chicken wire fences for newly planted trees.  After that we backpack blew all hardscape surfaces.  Then we raked the woodland path and the dry garden as well as the CLT testing pits.  For lunch we went to Harveys because we are healthy kids and love to eat. The last project of the day was maintenance to the Perennial border, rock garden and the dry garden.  Overall, it was a hell of ride Cuddy Gardens, but we finally made it through our weekend duty.  Thanks, Ben & Mike. 

Weekend Blog Friday, October 14 – Sunday, October 16

Lexi Drenth and Brett Blakey


Friday, October 14th, 2016:

            Today was a big day for all the second year Horticulture students due to our first day of CLT Testing held at Cuddy Gardens. The students got separated into two different groups; morning and afternoon. Lexi and Brett were in the morning group so they could work in the gardens after they were done. Due to the testing held here and there were tests going on all day, we had to stay on one half of the house to not disturb the other students. The tests that we had to do were Tree Planting & Staking, Irrigation Repair &Adjustment, Basic Programming Control and the Plant I.D. test. We all got separated into smaller groups so we could be done with the time we had in the morning. For lunch, all students, judges and teachers attended a lunch donated by Landscape Ontario. After we had our lunch, Brett and Lexi were to meet Nate at the tool shed. Nate tried to go through all of our weekend duty and orientation stuff, but it was difficult. He usually has the classroom to show the students the alarm, but the afternoon students were in the classroom and Nate, Brett and Lexi were not allowed to intervene with the testing students. When they were done explaining, all three of them went to go to work. Lexi got assigned to clean all the dry dirt off of trays, while Brett and Nate brought the small succulents into the corner room of the house for the winter. . There was a plant stand for as many as the little ones that they could put on it. The trays that Lexi was cleaning were put under the rest of them since the floor in that room is hard wood. After that task was complete, Nate walked us through the dry garden to point out the tropical and cactus plants that we needed to bring in this weekend. Then Nate showed us the carport and patio plants that needed to be put in the pool room. Brett and Lexi had a little time to spare, so they started to cut back the annuals in the tropical planters by the carport. After they put all their tools away, they met Nate at the classroom and he went through the whole house with them to show everything that needs to be locked for setting the alarm. By the end, Brett and Lexi were confident with all the stuff that needed to be put away or locked up.

Saturday, October 15th, 2016:

            On a very cold morning, Brett and Lexi showed up at Cuddy Gardens at 7:40 A.M. Just after they got there, James showed up to work as well. He was there to cut the turf. James unlocked everything for all of them to enter the buildings. Brett and Lexi started off the day with making a game plan of what was going to happen. They both wanted to get the dry garden done as fast as possible. The dry garden had most cactus plants in it. The plants were still in the pots which were just buried into the ground with regular soil covering the pot. It was a difficult start to the day, the first plant did not have a pot around the root ball, the second plants pot was shattered when we dug into the soil around it and the third plant was just too heavy for Brett and Lexi to lift it up so they got James to come and help. None of them wanted to get any of the cactus needles poked at them, so they found an old card board box to wrap around the plants when transporting. Although, the box helped quite a bit, both Lexi and Brett got a couple puncture wounds. A cactus fell on Lexi and when we were transporting one into the cactus room, Brett backed up into one. There was one cactus that was really tall and heavy, as they brought it into the room, they were both just focusing on placing it properly and not dropping it, they forgot about the height. As they put it down, a piece of that cactus broke off. We cleaned the cactus milk from the plant. Then we decided that we did not want to waste it at all, so they decided to let it dry out, than plant it in a pot of sandy soil. That took up most of our day. We took the end of the day to clean up all our tools, and start to clean up the house.


Sunday, October 16th, 2016:

            On a cloudy morning, they both arrived early to work. With that short time, they decided how the day was going to go since they were expecting rain in the early afternoon. They started off at getting all the tools they needed out, than they went over to the greenhouses and dug out those two cactus plants. While Brett was blowing off the back patio and walk ways, Lexi started to put away the tropical plants into the pool room. After Brett was finished, both Brett and Lexi went out and raked the gravel and woodland paths (Figure 6). When they completed that, Mr. Pascoe came in on the Saturday, and asked us if we could move all the clay pots right up to the brick wall where a bench was. Mr. Pascoe asked us to put the table, chairs and bench into the fire place room with the tropical plants. After completing that, they both were putting away plants into the pool room. It started to rain as they were just starting their lunch, so after lunch they decided to stay inside and clean all the pots and floors and write their blog. They knew the rain was not going to last for more than a couple hours so it worked to their benefit to work on stuff inside while the weather was gross. After the rain quit, they had two hours to try to put away the rest of the tropical plants into the tool room.

Weekend Blog Oct 7th- 9th

Caitlin and Easton

Friday October 7th

We arrived to the gardens bright and early ready for a full day’s work. When we arrived, Nate the resident Horticulturalist gave us a grand tour of the gardens we would be working in. We began by grabbing our equipment needed for our jobs and proceeded to soils bin, we loaded the trailer with top soil and dumped piles in the beautiful  rose garden. We took a break for a hearty lunch and recouped our energy. After break we had some maintenance in the lower Hosta garden, we pulled some weeds and moved some hoses and put them in their rightful place for the winter season. After a visit from Michael Pascoe, we cleaned our tools and put them away for the next day’s work.


Saturday October 8th

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, we arrived in the morning had some coffee and got to work. We started working in the roadside garden, weeding, deadheading Day Lilies. We then cut a Spiraea bush out of the garden following Michael’s orders. Next we edged the back of the roadside garden attempting to create a straighter/deeper edge. We cleaned up our tools and went for lunch. After a meal we then began cleaning up the Prairie garden by weeding, dead heading and removing dead foliage. We then cleaned up and cutback the English Ivey that was overgrowing and surrounding the front drive way. We locked up at 5 and headed on our way.


Sunday October 9th

We arrived Sunday early, coldest of the mornings we could see our breath, WE started to right away. First we dug out a trench using the backhoe for the Hosta and Day Lilys.(figure 4) We then proceeded to remove the plants from the garden bed and transported them to the trench. These will be used for Wednesday’s greenhouse class. After that was complete, we moved on to the removal of two trees located near the house and rose garden (Mike’s Request). Then two other removals of a cotoneaster and dead evergreen tree near the roadside garden. After the main labor of the day was finished, we began to clean up the property by backpack blowing the hardscapes(Figure 6) and raking the paths(figure 7)and rock garden. We then brought all the tools and equipment back into the tool room and cleaned them to standards. All the vehicles were washed and put back to respective areas. After that was all done, there was watering that had to be done around the greenhouses and in the planters around the property(figure 8). Thankfully, we had some rain in the afternoon that helped us get the spots wet that couldn’t be reached. After all this, we began and finished our blog until 5! It was a great experience working here this weekend and would come back to do it anytime(figure 9).

Monday, October 3, 2016

Friday September 30, 2016

After a breathtaking and berry eating field trip to Hawk Ridge Cliff thanks in part to our friends at the Thames Talbot Land Trust who have recently purchased the area, we arrived to the farm at 2:00 we assembled a few carts and organized hoop house three, by clearing off and organizing many different varieties of hostas into Nate’s said pattern. We than took apart some of the metal tables to move in the wooden benches for the upcoming CLT examinations. We finished off the day by cleaning up and preparing for the work of the weekend.

Saturday October 1, 2016

We arrived to a misty overcast early morning start at 7:50. This day had one grueling task for the proud members of the Core (Horticulture Technicians), we were playing with compost mud in the rain, general’s orders. The rain held off most of the day, but the compost was already wet. We pushed Kubota technology to our limits as we dug all 4 wheels into the mud to dig our compost, making great friends with the wasps who live there. Towards the end of the day the Kubota tractor didn’t want to drive more than two feet at a time this made us finish a little bit later than anticipated. As we slowly came across the laneway we came to conclusion that the seat wasn’t completely going down - a slight adjustment to the seat, it ran excellent.  Although we didn’t fully accomplish our task today we will try to finish the last corner tomorrow weather depending we finished the long day off by hosing off the equipment and tools.

Sunday October 2, 2016

Today we arrived at 7:50 The sun wanted to peak out but then changed to rain for the most part of the day we we’re planning on finishing top dressing the hosta garden from Saturday but the wet ground made it impossible to drive across the turf without leaving some large ruts. We then chose our next important task of weeding in front of the Cuddy hatchery which was loaded with weeds, it did look 100 times better once we finished up. Next Mr. Pascoe dropped by to give us some tasks he would like to be done. Starting we began to weed the pots in the hoop houses removing any dead wilted plants that didn’t quite make it. One large batch of day lilies was then cut down to an inch in length to encourage a stronger plant.  We smoothed the pathways of the Woodland garden and Rock garden as well as some of the ruts caused by our big tires at the compost pile. We toured the premises looking for fallen limbs from the high winds and storm that blew through overnight there was quite a few down hopefully this will give James an easier time on Monday when the turf gets cut. Towards the end of the day the sun finally started to peak out but didn’t quite dry much out for us. We finished off the day by cleaning off our tools and equipment then nicely placing each piece in its place in the tool shed.


** notes for Nate** black dump trailer one of the pins sheared off we flipped the tailgate around so we could still use it for the day. Kubota RTV park brake is finicky may need some attention. We left the tags of the wilted plants on the table beside the tractor keys.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekend Duty September 23- 25

Friday, September 23- Today Julian and Scott arrived to Cuddy’s at 735 am. The day was started by Nate giving us a walkthrough around the property to explain us the tasks we would be in charge with for the weekend.  We started the day off by weeding some creeping vines beside the cedars near the hoop-house, these weeds can grow extremely deep roots and it was crucial we used weeding forks and took time to remove each weed with care. We used a whole bag of saw dust to re- establish the pathway in the woodland garden and picked up any large sticks throwing them back into the wooded area. After this we proceeded to the compost pits to take care of the squash crop that had been planted. We were in charge with cutting the squash from the plant leaving at least 1 inch of stem so the crop would not rot faster. Lastly we closed the 2nd half of the day by signing out the RTV and heading to the iris garden for weeding and cultivating of the extremely dry and dense clay- heavy soil. The weeds in this garden were somewhat difficult at first because of the dryness of the soil, however using weeding forks for the bigger weeds and then coming through with a Dutch hoe made the task much more doo-able. To end the day we disposed of our compost and headed to the class to record the blog. Cheers

Saturday, September 24- Today Julian and I arrived to a rather chili Cuddy Gardens at around a quarter to 8. We started the day off by heading back to finish off the edging and remaining weeds in the Iris garden and bucketing up these piles to transport them to the compost. As we were making our way around the other side of the garden to complete that side we ran into Mike Pascoe, he asked us to walk him around the garden and show him our duty’s completed and still to come for the weekend. Mike showed us some coffee trees that needed to be tagged with red sold tags. We only had about 8 tags left so we used what we could to label them so come spring time when they have no leaves; people know not to remove them. Mike then showed us dead wood on several trees that needed pruning, this took some extra effort because we were unable to locate a pole saw (pole but no saw), requiring us to climb the tree by hand to get the job done. Just beside the road there was a tree (Serbian Spruce) that Mike asked us to remove because of its deathly looking condition (probably due to root-rot). Mike also pointed out the cotoneaster near the frog which needed cutting back, and also the corner stone wall which holds those plants beside the driveway. By day’s end we were able to start on the garden bed in front of Cuddys main building, we trimmed back the ornamental thistle and saved some of the seeds in an envelope for later plantings. Very productive day. Cheers     


Sunday, September 25- On our last day here at Cuddys we were in charge of weeding the front beds in front of the Cuddys building. Many weeds were removed from these beds and we were required to remove grass build up also (from the grass-mower shooting grass into the beds), we did so using Dutch hoes and garden forks, and were required to separate a clump of grass growing within plants it should not be. Once this was said and done we began cleaning debris off of the hardscape in front of the building, this was mostly a combination of keys off of the Acer Griseum and dirt from our weeding efforts. Mike Pascoe showed up showed up around this time to check up on us and walk him around the property to share the work we did. He walked us to the back of the property towards the greenhouses. Here he showed us the compost piles that he was in the process of flipping using the Skid steer and asked us to rake out the front of them once he was complete to tidy it up, as well as blow away large debris. Once this was completed we headed to the side of the large Cuddy building (between the front building and the back tool shed). Here we spent time removing annuals (as requested by Mike), weeds  (vine weeds, thistles, dandy lions etc.) From here we worked on blowing away all debris off of the hardscapes and patios, one of the leaf blowers was missing a boot for the spark plug ( Stihl blower) so while I was blowing debris Julian headed back to the greenhouse to complete watering that Mike pointed out during his walkthrough with us. Julian also took a pruning saw to the Serbian Spruce that was taken to the back of the property the day before, here he used the saw to cut down the limbs and transport it to the wood chipping pile (just past the Hosta garden). To finish the day we took after pictures of our work areas and finished up the final touches on the blog. Overall not a convenient weekend to work  when our first unit tests are this Monday… but at least we will have more opportunity to study for the future ones. Cheers.



Monday, September 19, 2016

Friday, September 16th : We started our Friday morning receiving a tour of the areas we would be working this weekend. Each of us then went to work on our own. One of us aerated all of the green turf around Cuddy Gardens while the other harvested some squash to be sold at Fanshawe. Some general weeding was completed along a gravel path to our greenhouse. The fence for our compost material was in great need of a new coat of paint, so we all worked together to paint it a fresh new black. The plants within and around our greenhouses needed a watering before we completed our day.





Saturday, September 17th: Saturday was quite a rainy one. The rain has worked to our advantage though. A couple of gardens had to be weeded, Shaped and smoothed. The moist soil made it easier for us to remove all the sneaky weeds such as Convolvulus (bindweed), Taraxacum (dandelions) and clover. And the rain helped to shape the soil in the gardens better. We stared cleaning out the rose garden. Each of us had two beds of roses in our care. In the end we completed the edging and now the rose garden is looking fabulous again. The perennial garden has also been weeded. We did find one lily beetle insect though. We hope to deal with them soon.





Sunday, September 18th : Today, our final day, we cleaned the rock garden out and the dry garden. Again we needed to remove all or as many of the weeds as we could. We raked some of falls first dropped leaves off of the rock garden and pebble paths. We finished our final day by recycling a huge plastic sheet, cleaning returning all of the tools and returning them to their rightful spot. We have noticed some reversion in some of our plants. Our ‘Curly Tops’ cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) has started to revert but we have removed the problematic part. Reversion happens when the traits of the parent plant start to show on the specimen, resulting in part of the plant appearing different. The reversion must be removed or else it will continue to get larger and out compete the rest of the plant! One group of plants notorious for reverting are the variegated euonymus, which will revert back to a green foliage nearly constantly. Since we took out the reverted segment, our cypress will continue to be curly!


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