It was the 1990s when kale began its meteoric rise from merely a decorative annual used in fall containers to a nurient-rich superfood with recipes for kale chips, smoothies, salads and stir-fries everywhere. Kale continues to be popular, and fortunately it’s an easy crop.
Small early bulbs — crocus, species tulips, puschkinia and others — in bloom are an encouraging sight for they are the opening hinting at for the bigger bulb show to come. They’re also the easiest of the fall-planted bulbs to incorporate into a garden because of their small size; they can be tucked in almost anywhere there’s a square inch of bare soil.
Starting a new garden from scratch can be intimidating. First piece of advice: go slow. Here are tips on how to prioritize your decision making when creating your dream garden from scratch.
Whether you’re starting a new garden or renovating an overgrown mix of plants, some advance planning and soil preparation as well as careful plant selection will help you create a cohesive picture with well-chosen and sited perennials, trees and shrubs.
If you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by purchasing a shamrock plant (Oxalis regnelli), here’s suggestions how to keep it thriving, as well as describing several varieties to look for to grow outdoors, either as a pretty edging in the garden or as a container plant.
Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) and their cultivars are exceedingly popular perennials. They’re easy to grow, relatively hardy, pest-free, drought-tolerant and provide a source of nectar and pollen for insects.
I’m a sucker for variegated foliage, so much so that I need to stop myself from adding more fancy patterned leaves to the garden to avoid creating a muddled mess. One of my current favourites is a rex begonia (Begonia rex).
Rex begonia (Rex begonia) foliage comes in all sorts of whirly patterns and shapes; some leaves are variegated, highly textured or wavy. They make wonderful container plants in the shade and can be wintered over indoors in front of a sunny window.
Having a few small pots of flowering plants in the house is a mood brightener. Cheerful primroses (Primula vulgaris), readily available at most grocery stores and florists at this time of year, are an inexpensive treat. They may not bloom as long as other flowering plants indoors, but they can be saved and planted out in the garden later in spring.
As winter drags on, older gardening books can be inspirational and offer a valuable link to our gardening past, such as one of Canada’s early gardening books, Canadian Wild Flowers, written by Catharine Parr Traill and illustrated by her niece Agnes Dunbar FitzGibbon.
Richly fragrant winter daphne (Daphne mezereum) are native to China and Japan with clusters of small lilac or white flowers. They make a wonderful specimen plant (meaning just one will make an impact) next to a path or near the front door where their scent can be appreciated.
Evergreen and coniferous trees and shrubs are the most noticeable in the winter garden, especially if snow has fallen. Those solid silhouettes contrast with the open forms of the maples, oaks, dogwoods, hydrangeas and other woody plants in the garden.
Spending a few hours browsing online seed and plant catalogues while it snows outside has got to be one of the most pleasant ways to pass a January afternoon.
Poinsettias are ubiquitous at this time of year. Poinsettias are easy to care for and come in a variety of colours from vivid scarlet to creamy ivory and every shade in between.
Our local florist is displaying pots of luscious cyclamen in all kinds of rosy shades, along with a few specimens of Christmas cactus.
Take care when hacking branches off your trees and shrubs for holiday projects
It’s time to bid farewell to our displays of mums and ornamental cabbages and think about designing winter containers. Whether you cut boughs and branches from your own garden or buy them at the local nursery, here are a few design ideas and practical considerations to keep in mind.
It’s a melancholy time in the garden. As we stand admiring the glowing amber and russet leaves while congratulating ourselves for planting new bulbs for next spring, we know winter weather is merely weeks away. Here are a few tasks to keep you outdoors in these last few golden days, most of which focus on putting those beautiful autumn leaves to good use.
As October ends, if you also grow roses, you might want to check out the recommendations in “Putting Roses to Bed.” Judith Adam describes a rose’s journey to dormancy and ways to help them survey a cold winter.
Just when you think there’s nothing else left to bloom, the dramatic rich blue spires of monkshood fill your view. That is, if you had the foresight to plant this reliable Zone 3 perennial in your garden.