Trumpets of Yellow Cover Niagara Parks!

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Trumpets of yellow are abound in Niagara Parks now that the daffodils are in bloom. There is no missing the wonderful, vibrant colour – daffodils are everywhere (about a million of them, but who’s counting!) This sign that Spring has arrived can be seen all along the Niagara Parkway – northward from the Falls to picturesque Niagara-on-the Lake or southward to the historic Fort Erie. And for some great up close photo opportunities of these returning blasts of yellow, white or orange, drop by the Falls, stroll through Queen Victoria Park, or visit Oakes Garden Theatre at the base of Clifton Hill.

Adding to the floral show at Niagara Parks are forsythia – the first shrubs in the spring – and they are a wonderful sight for winter-weary eyes. Dramatic and showy, forsythia have golden yellow blooms from the soil to the tip of the stem – before any leaves emerge. This shrub is named in honour of William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist, royal head gardener, and founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society.

One of the biggest signs that Spring has really arrived is the planting of the Floral Clock. The first of this year’s two floral designs for the clock face has been completed. The Niagara Parks horticulture staff have planted the face with about 10,000 colourful violas – yellow, orange, pink, red, blue and purple. The planting took three days to cover the 12 m (40 feet) diameter clock – one of the largest floral clocks in the world. Built in 1950, the Floral Clock continues to amaze and delight. The viola clock face will bloom until late May, when the second “floral face” will be planted using traditional carpet bedding plants.

large clock made of flowers

Bloom Alert: The recent, wonderfully warm and sunny weather in Niagara has sped up the arrival of our showy saucer magnolia flowers. These are always a visitor favourite with their large pinkish white goblet blooms. Not to be missed is the glorious row of magnolia trees in bloom at the Floral Showhouse, just north of the Falls.

Garden tip: Plant daffodil bulbs next Fall instead of tulips if deer are a challenge back home. This Spring-blooming bulb is rarely nibbled by deer.

Garden tip: Still waiting for your forsythia to bloom in your garden? Speed up the arrival of your Spring by cutting some branches and bringing them indoors. Place them in water, and in about seven days the blooms will open.

Garden tip: Forsythia blooms occur on stems from last year’s growth, so don’t prune them until after they flower. If you want a natural shape for your forsythia pruned them by thinning out up to one third of the older branches at the base of the plant each year.

Whirlpool Golf Course to Open in Excellent Condition

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April 16th, 2016 will mark the official opening of the 65th Anniversary year of the famed Whirlpool Golf Course designed by Stanley Thompson aka “The Toronto Terror”. Owned and operated by the Niagara Parks Commission, and located along the Niagara River Parkway in a striking setting against the backdrop of the Niagara River whirlpool, and gorge the challenge of the green awaits.

The Whirlpool’s Turf & Environmental Department is pleased to report that the golf course overwintered exceptionally well. They would like to thank their neighbours for adhering to the signage advising them the golf course was off limits to any pedestrian traffic engaged in any winter activities or otherwise. The crew has begun spring clean-up throughout the property, and has commenced rolling and mowing operations on all greens to firm and true up the putting surfaces. Initial mowing procedures of all tees and fairways have been completed, and the crew has shifted some of its focus onto cleaning, and raking the bunkers. This process will continue pending any large rain events that would delay that process. Another task undertaken over the course of the winter months was the removal of quite a few Ash trees due to the infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle (EAB) which has been a destructive insect of Ash trees in Ontario for a number of years.

Throughout the golf course property there are 3 varieties of Ash trees; White, Green and European. White and Green ash are native species to the area while the European ash is not. A positive to the removal of these trees is that it will increase light, and air circulation to the surrounding turf grass which will encourage a healthier growing environment that will maximize shoot density, root volume and depth to prepare the grass for summer heat and drought. A replanting program of native tree species such as: Red Maples, White Oak, Common Hackberry, etc. is in place to ensure these environmental assets aren’t lost and forgotten.

We hope each of you finds much success in your game, and that a few eagles are seen, and the birdies are abundant! We look forward to seeing all the familiar faces, and meeting new individuals that share in our passion for this great game! Everyone at Niagara Parks Golf is extremely enthusiastic about the 2016 season and excited to welcome back players for another exciting season of golf in Niagara!

Tickets to the Masters

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Tickets to the Masters Tournament which gets underway April 7 are among the most coveted and probably the toughest tickets to get in all sports with the Super Bowl running a close second. But there are opportunities to get Masters tickets if you’re patient, lucky, and ready to pay.

Tickets for practice days are much easier to come by than tournament badges. While they’re readily available for a hefty price through brokers and on eBay, the good news is that practice round tickets are available for purchase directly from The Masters itself. Augusta National also has tickets available for tournament rounds, but rest assured the number is small and your odds of getting them are very long. Both are sold in advance of the tournament by on-line application.

To register for tickets directly from Augusta National go to the tickets page on Masters.com and follow the on-line registration process. The deadline for Daily Tournament tickets for 2017 is May 31, 2016. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-June. The application deadline for 2017 Practice Round tickets, which cost $65 each, is June 25, 2016. If you’re lucky, you’ll be notified in mid-July.