Saturday November 29, 2014

Fall happenings


Hard to believe that we are into September!  Let’s get our calendars out and review some things that are coming up! The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be holding the first meeting of the new season on Thursday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Sunshine Room at SIGN on North Street. Special guest speaker will be Margaret MacDonald, a wonderful gardener and a lovely, sparkling lady who will be telling us about the long and varied history of the horticultural society. I know she will have many interesting things to share!

Now that you have circled September 18, be sure to circle Friday, September 26: that is the date of the Fall Plant and Bulb Sale (weren’t we just talking about the Spring Plant and Bulb Sale? How times flies!)  Yes, the Fall Sale is on Friday, September 26 from 9:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. at the Parkland Mall. There is still lots of time for new plants to get established in your garden, so take a tour of your yard and if certain spots need replenishing, maybe you’ll find the perfect thing at the sale! And as we always say, come early for the best selection!

And this week, if you are downtown, be sure to stop in at City Hall and see the Horticultural Society display in the lobby. Way back in 1906, the city’s horticultural society had their first display at City Hall on September 7. The City very kindly lets us set up a display to mark this event, and the long and interesting life of the horticultural society in the city. We thank them for their gracious and continual support of our group!

I have always loved ornamental grasses in the garden, and in recent years they seem to have taken off in popularity.  Not only are they beautiful, but they are easy care (most of them!) and fit nicely into the xeriscape way of gardening. I found an interesting article by Sara Williams  in “The Saskatchewan Gardener” from Fall 1997 and it lists “The Best of the Test” at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Station at Morden, Manitoba. By now there are many new ornamental grasses on the market to add to this list, but some of these are like pearls with a little black dress: they are classic and will always be suitable and beautiful in our gardens. We can keep them in mind as we plan our gardens for next year!

“The Best” list includes feather reed grass “Stricta”, one of the earliest flowering grasses that also keeps its structure in the winter garden landscape; feather grass “Karl Foerster”, a non-invasive beauty that is tall, keeps in a clump form, and grows in full sun or partial shade. Also listed was “Blue Sedge”, rating high for vigor and garden beauty; tall switchgrass “Strictum” for vigorous, upright clumps hat grow to about five feet in height and is non-invasive; and “blue oat grass”, a sun-loving plant with blue-grey foliage, just right for the middle of a border.

Also mentioned in the article under “tried and true” were blue fescue, a favorite that works so well in a rock garden or as an edging plant, and ribbon grass, which is invasive but very beautiful if you have a contained area, or contain the plants yourself by sinking a large plastic planter with the bottom cut out and planting the enthusiastic ribbon grass inside. Or, if you are willing to keep at the rhizomes which spread underground like quackgrass, you can plant this lovely but lively specimen anywhere to enjoy!

This year, we planted Japanese Forest Grass in two planters on our patio. This is a beautiful golden- yellow and lime- green grass that gives a great pop of color in a shady spot. Originally we were going to treat this planting as an annual and not try to overwinter it, but the grasses are so lovely that we will either bring it in or plant in the garden with good winter protection.

I’ll keep you posted!  Have a great week!



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