New varieties stem from hardy native flowers

Many farm families lead busy lives and have little time to garden and no patience with plants that need to be coddled. They want hardy, dependable plants that can survive without an onerous maintenance regimen. Take a walk in a meadow or along roadside ditches and make a list of the native plants that are […] Read more

Barberry’s rose coloured foliage adds focal point to garden

The barberry is a vividly coloured shrub that has become popular with gardeners during the last few years because restrictions have been lifted on its import and sale. Wheat varieties have been developed that are resistant to rust and barberry is one of the hosts of this pathogen. Barberry is a low maintenance shrub that […] Read more

Ornamental grasses add texture, depth to containers, garden

Ornamental grasses have grown in popularity, and whether hardy perennial grasses, tender tropical grasses or both are used, they will create interesting features. Grasses are great in containers because they combine well with other plants but can stand on their own. Purple fountain grass will give height and texture to a mixed container, while fibre […] Read more

This mature orchid cactus is a large plant with spectacular blooms, but it must be root bound for that to happen.  |  Albert Parsons photo

Orchid cactus delivers long-lasting colour

Gardeners often keep plants around that put on fleeting but spectacular displays of bloom only once a year. That means caring for the plants all year long and waiting for the beautiful first blooms to open. Some bloom at the end of the long winter seasons and offer a dose of spring tonic. One example […] Read more

Drying decorative corn for fall arrangement

Mini pumpkins, decorative gourds, dry grasses, corn stalks, tansy and goldenrod create great autumn displays. Decorative corn cobs dress up porch arrangements and seasonal baskets. The kernels can be a myriad of colours, including red, orange, burgundy and purple. I like the variety called Painted Mountain because many of the cobs are multi-coloured. It is […] Read more

Devices, products deter deer from shelter belts

Damage to trees caused by deer rubbing or marking frequently occurs in shelter belts but is less likely near housing where human activity is more frequent. Male deer perform this ritual in the fall for various reasons. They rub to leave scents from their forehead scent glands to attract mates and strengthen neck muscles for […] Read more

Anchors add points of interest to gardens

Foundation plantings around buildings are important to create a transition to their surroundings and anchor them to the landscape. Shrubs and trees soften the lines of the house, allowing the residence to merge with the natural surroundings. This transition zone occupies enough space so that the trees and shrubs extend out from the house in […] Read more

The rust colour of a metal tractor seat echoes the leaf colour of nearby oxalis.  |  Albert Parsons photo

Raid sheds and barns to adorn the landscape

After the hustle and bustle of the planting season subside, gardeners have time to stand back, take a deep breath and survey the results of their labours. This is the time to undertake adding interesting art to the farm landscape. There is a multitude of garden art objects, such as water fountains, birdbaths, statues and […] Read more

Gardening with bales

Tired of tilling, weeding, watering, delayed spring planting and a short growing season? Gardening with hay bales might offer some options. Joel Karsten, author of Straw Bale Gardens, said preparation is required for the square straw bales, which must be conditioned ahead of time. Begin about two weeks before you plant seeds or transplants. Choose […] Read more