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A Gardener's Christmas Wish List

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I got this out of this week's paper and thought I would share:

We may be forced into hibernation, but we gardeners, optimists all, never cease to dream of the spring that’s just a mere season away. So with Christmas gift-giving time just around the corner, I’ve put together a list of a few things to help us think spring in the winter

1. Anything green and blooming. Maybe an amaryllis, azalea, Christmas cactus or poinsettia.

2. Bulbs for forcing later on.

3. A good gardening book or two or three. Maybe something by Des Kennedy, who always makes me laugh out loud.

4. A seed starter kit and seeds to keep those hands in the dirt.

5. An exotic orchid that will bloom for months and make you happy just by looking at it.

6. Potted herbs for the windowsill to bring fragrance to the kitchen and flavour to your cooking.

7. Tools of the trade such as good quality garden gloves, pruners or cultivators.

8. A basket filled with homemade preserves, jellies and relishes.

9. A photo album or notebook to record all those great garden moments and bits of wisdom gleaned over the last year.

10. Gifts that keep on giving such as a membership to the Royal Botanical Garden and local horticultural society or a subscription to a gardening magazine.

11. Tickets to an outing at the Niagara Parks greenhouses and butterfly conservatory.

12. A gift certificate for a local garden centre that becomes an excuse for a wonderful outing on some dull, dreary mid-winter day.

Growing Green is prepared by Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society and appears biweekly. This week’s column was written by Helen MacPherson, one of the society's directors. She also serves as their Outreach Chair.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYROYALTY 11/22/2009 11:12AM

    wonderful gift idea for my loved ones (with maybe a few there for myself!) thanks!

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JESSIE_130 11/22/2009 11:10AM

    All wonderful ideas! Thanks.

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THERESEMB1 11/22/2009 10:56AM

    How ALIVE and FULL OF LOVE I truly enjoyed this blog. thank you for sharing. namaste

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MOLLIEMAC 11/22/2009 10:46AM

    Yes- great ideas! I would add a chance to curl up with both a good seed catalogue and the Lee Valley gardening catalogue...MJ

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Folic Acid - How Much is Too Much

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I saw this article in today's paper and thought it would be worthwhile sharing for those of us who take folic acid to help prevent nauseousness from our meds.

by Carly Weeks
The Canadian Press

(Nov 19, 2009)
More questions are being raised about the safety of folic acid supplementation after new research has found links between the B vitamin and increased cancer risk.

Researchers in Norway found that heart-disease patients treated with a combination of folic acid and vitamin B12 had an increased risk of cancer and death compared to patients who didn't receive the vitamins as treatment.

Unlike Canada and the United States, Norway doesn't require folic acid to be added to food.

The market for vitamin supplements also is relatively small and study participants were discouraged from taking them -- giving researchers a unique ability to assess the effect folic acid could have in high doses.

The study, appearing yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, fuels fears that mandatory fortification of the food supply with folic acid could yield unintended consequences.

"Folic acid fortification and supplementation may not necessarily be as safe as previously assumed," said Marta Ebbing, the study's lead author and a physician at Haukeland University Hospital.

The issue has come under debate as a growing number of studies have suggested high amounts of folic acid can potentially speed up the progression of cancer in genetically predisposed individuals.

The debate is complicated by the fact that folic acid, when taken by expectant mothers, significantly reduces the risk of children being born with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Researchers caution that much more work needs to be done to understand the potential risks and whether any changes in public health policy are needed.

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a vitamin found in greens and other fruits and vegetables.

After more than six years of follow-up, researchers found that 10 per cent of those who received folic acid had been diagnosed with cancer, compared to 8.4 per cent of the group that didn't take any B vitamin.

Most of the increased cancer risk was attributed to higher rates of lung cancer. Researchers found that 56 people who took folic acid were diagnosed with lung cancer, compared to 36 people in the group that didn't receive that vitamin.

Although the amounts of folic acid added to food aren't high, some researchers worry Canadians who take multivitamins or supplements containing folic acid may be getting too much.

"We are concerned about folic acid supplementation actually promoting existing cancer," said Young-In Kim, professor of medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. "(But) we need to be careful because fortification did wonderful things."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JHADZHIA 11/19/2009 1:26PM

    I just read something about that in health news. My doctor is always pushing me to take folic acid by itself in a supplement form, but I refuse because its already in my multivitamin. I don't have to worry about the kid thing, never want or will have any.
Thanks for sharing this article!

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gravity loves the body

Friday, November 06, 2009

My sister wrote this book of poems this year and yesterday, she read the following reviews about her book:

University of York journal: "in her powerful new book, Monika Lee reminds us that poems, like bodies, speak a language that is visceral, evocative, sensuous and real".

In "Canadian Literature," "her humour, wit, and unflinching view make us trust her, and want to live in the richness of this book as long as possible".

Good reviews, eh?

Here's a link about the book, if anyone is interested:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 11/6/2009 10:36PM

    Great pic...lol!

Hope she sells BOATLOADS of copies! :-)


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MOLLIEMAC 11/6/2009 2:56PM

    I love the image! Congrats to her...MJ emoticon

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This One's for you, Don (DDOORN)!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

BIKING IN THE WINTER - emoticon - I was going to post this on your SparkPage but it seemed too long so since I'm behind on my blogs, I thought I would post it here and then everyone can have this information!

It’s getting close to winter now and it’s time to think about packing up your bike, or is it….? While some of you might be thinking “Uh yeah right, like I don’t live in Maui”, there are ways to enjoy biking in the winter comfortably and safely. After all, the benefits of bike riding are immense including:

- Improved cardio vascular endurance
- Better Balance
- Stronger legs
- Easy on the joints
- Stress release from work and personal matters

Below is a list of things to keep in mind in order to stay warm:

- Wear a ski helmet, or a bike helmet with a hood, balaclava, toque, or helmet liner inside. Look for ski helmets meeting the Snell RS-98 standard. The CEN 1077 and ASTM standards are not quite as good.

- Ski goggles will keep your eyes warm. Double wall goggles prevent fogging. Wear sunglasses on very bright days, clear goggles of “shooting glasses” when it’s dim. Cover your lower face with a neoprene ski mask, balaclava, or long muffler.

- Use a scarf or neck warmer to keep your neck covered and warm.

- Wear silky underwear, not cotton.

- Your windproof jacket should cover your bum, even when hunched over on your bike. Zip fronts can let some air in when you get warm. Sweaters and fleece or down shirts inside should have sleeves to keep your thinner parts warm. Layering is good, but de-layer by undoing the front zips of your garments rather than stopping to undress.

- Warm hands are important. Wear warm ski mitts – they are warmer than gloves. The outside should be windproof. You may need to wear two pairs on colder days. Carry hand-warmer packets in case you need them.

- Fleece pants, leggings, windproof pants and silky long johns will keep your legs and feet warmer.

- Use wicking sports socks (not cotton) under thick wool or fleece socks inside warm boots. Bicycle gaiters will keep your feet and calves dry and warm. They fit over your toe and around your heel and extend almost up to your knee.

- Woven or neoprene material keeps the wind out better than knitted fabric. Avoid cotton – use wool or polyester fleece. Cotton will get wet and cold with sweat. Clean your clothing regularly to get sweat and spray out, keeping their insulation at maximum.

- Drink some hot cocoa – you can bring some along in a small thermos. Fill a water bottle with boiling water or Gatorade and keep it in an inner parka pocket to keep you warm (Too hot? Put a clean sock on it!) Drink it when it cools down a little.

Happy Biking, Don (and everyone else)!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/5/2009 7:59AM

    LOL. Before even scrolling down to Don's answer I just knew he would say something about being bundled up like an Astronaut, or something! hehehe

Me? I'll HAPPILY bundle up like an Astronaut if it allows me to continue kayaking. 'Cuz I'm JUST THAT CRAZY. lol

...but I AM thinking about getting a pair of XC skis...

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1888MICHELLE 11/5/2009 7:58AM

    I'm trying to picture someone riding in the snow in Toronto. It's bad enough to do it during the nice weather, but with the potholes filled with slush, and the storm drains sunk into the roads, I'd have to wear a wet suit as well as everything else!!

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DDOORN 11/5/2009 6:23AM

    Yep, I'm sure ALL those steps would help...but you know me...all bound up as I'd be after taking all these steps...how could I *enjoy* my biking...?

My strategy? Too cold? Let's go hiking or cross country skiing...! :-)


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Better than the RBG (Royal Botanical Gardens)...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

When I went to the RBG this summer, I was kind of disappointed and then I was at my Dad's house and thought that his garden was better than what I'd seen at the RBG so I took some photos.

Then, I tried to post this blog in August but for some reason or another, SP wouldn't let me post my photos so I'm going to try again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Very beautiful!

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MARILYNIM 10/24/2009 6:36PM

    beautiful flowers. I really like the pictures.

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