We hope you can join us at the first meeting of 2014 of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society — our special guest speaker will be Frank Woloschuk telling us all about growing succulents. These beautiful plants are very diverse in shapes and colors, and are great additions to our plant collections. Frank will tell us all we need to know to enjoy this plant family. Frank works at Skinner Garden Classics, so he will also be telling us about some of the new plants we can look forward to this spring! That meeting is on Thursday, February 20 at the Sunshine Room, SIGN on North Street. Please plan to attend!
Last week I was very fortunate to share in a very special gardening event. The students of St.Paul’s school have been studying “The Secret Garden”, and in conjunction with their studies, they wanted to visit with some gardeners. They contacted gardener extraordinaire Glen Tymiak (he and his wife Lena have an amazing garden every year) and he very kindly invited me to go with him to the school to talk about gardening. What a great morning! Friends, the school looked absolutely beautiful, all decorated with a gardening theme. And the students have their own garden growing under lights! Wonderful! I commend the teachers who are encouraging this interest in gardening, and I say “You go, gardeners!” to the great students who are tending their special garden. As I showed the students pictures from our own garden at home, I was flooded with memories of the wonderful happy times our family spent in our garden. I’ve shared that with you in the past, I know, but I can’t say enough about how I treasure those times with my parents. The gardening was a joy, and instilled a lifelong love of plants and gardening; but the time spent together as a family was a priceless gift from my parents. So I hope that all these young gardeners encourage their families to make gardening a family event, even if their “garden” is in a collection of flower pots. Well done, St. Paul’s!
Looking at the pictures of my parents’ yard reminded me of the many diverse plants that used to live there. One that I recall was “lythrum”. Probably what is springing to your mind right now is how lythrum is an invasive plant in marshy areas of the prairie provinces. I don’t know if the plant we had was a domesticated cousin, but it was a beautiful plant. I looked up lythrum in “Gardening On The Prairies” by Roger Vick, and the book describes it as “upright, resilient flowers may be grown on even the most difficult of sites as long as they have adequate moisture. ‘Morden Pink’ and ‘Morden Gleam’ are well known on the prairies, but others are likely to be just as satisfactory, even in shady areas. Flowering period is July to September, mature height 60 - 90 cm.” I’m not sure which variety we had, but it was a great accent plant because of its tall, narrow, columnar growing habit, and because of the delicate fuchsia-colored flowers. And for all the many years that the lythrum lived in the garden, it never seemed to change in size. Check with the experts at your local greenhouse to find out if there is a suitable, non-invasive variety for your garden.
I would also like to remind you about the Prairie Sun Seed Festival which will be held on February 22 from 12:30 - 4 p.m. at Dr. Brass School. This is a great festival that helps promote locally grown food and exciting new garden products and practices. Remember those wonderful bean seeds that I told you about last spring? We got them at the Prairie Sun Seed Festival. So mark that date down, Saturday, February 22. For more information, call Warren Crossman at (306) 782-3249.
The days are getting longer, gardeners! Only 100 days till the Victoria Day weekend — the big “planting” time! Have a great week!