The first meeting of 2014 of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society last week did wonders for boosting flagging winter spirits and helping us think of spring! A great presentation by Frank Woloschuk, yummy snacks, and seeing fellow-gardeners all were great remedies for winter, especially coming on the heels of yet another snowfall and yet another patch of cold weather. Then the Prairie Sun Seed Festival on Saturday was a fun and informative afternoon that continued the theme of looking ahead to this year’s garden!
So onward and upward, gardeners! It is only 82 days until the May long weekend — the traditional “planting weekend” for prairie gardeners! Only 82 more sleeps and we will be strolling through the greenhouses, flats of robust plants in hand, deciding what we are going to plant this year!
As I’m chatting with you today, I am looking at a book called “Color Guide to Bulbs and Annuals” written by Keran Barrett and Helen Moody. This lovely book, with delicious color pictures of every flower listed, has annuals and bulbs divided up by colors: warm, cool, pink, white, and pastel. Having just come in from shovelling snow, I turned immediately to the “warm” colors, hoping they will take out the chill! So make a cup of tea and sit down with me and I’ll tell you about some of the “warm” color annuals.
The authors say that warm colors are “happy, bold, beautiful, and flamboyant. These refreshing colors stimulate and energize your mood….Warm colors appear nearer, perfect for making a large garden seem more intimate. Warm colors also make an entrance welcoming.”
I can vouch for this from experience: my sweet Mom planted many annuals, but her favorites along her driveway and in pots by the door were First Lady marigolds, and Janie marigolds in either bright orange or a vibrant paprika color. She always said that even on the dullest day, these plants looked bright and cheerful!
Some of the plants listed in the “warm” category were pot marigolds “calendula officinalis”. What a versatile little plant, and so easy to care for! Plant them in pots, or as a border in your flower garden, or in drifts here and there to bring a big splash of color to your landscape. Keep them flowering by deadheading.
Another plant listed was cockscomb and celosia. The feathery plumes of celosia add great texture and color of any planting, whether in a flower pot or on the garden, but if you want to plant something unique, try the cockscomb “Cristata” which grows in the shape of, you guessed it, cockscombs rather than plumes. While not as showy as the Plumosas, if you want to have a conversation piece near to your patio, the Cristata plants will be perfect! They come in bright colors and you can dry them for flower arrangements.
Another plant that looked so striking was gazania, a daisy-like plant that calls South Africa home, but now grows happily all over the world. They flower for a long time, and will do well infull sun and drier locations.
You and I would have to make another pot of tea for me to finish telling you about all the other great plants listed! But I wanted to tell you about the next meeting of the Horticultural Society, which is on Thursday, March 20. Our special guest will be Maira Waechli from Florissima telling us about plants we can grow for dried flowers and arrangements. Another great meeting to look forward to!
Have a good week, gardeners!