Gardener's Notebook - Achillea millefolium worth considering

Mark this date down!  The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will be holding their Fall Plant and Bulb Sale on Friday, September 20 from 9:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. (or while plants last) at the Parkland Mall, Yorkton. This is a fine time to plant new additions to your garden; they’ll get settled in nicely before winter. If you’re looking for certain plants, be there when the sale begins for best selection!

Remember, too, that the Yorkton Gardeners’ Market is on Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. till noon at Melrose Avenue and Simpson Street, Yorkton.  If you’d like more information, either as a buyer or seller, please call Glen at 783-7040 or send a note to ethelda61@hotmail.com.Stop by for fresh produce and more!

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Did you know that the first horticultural show in Yorkton was held on September 7, 1906 at City Hall? The determination of those early settlers to celebrate the bounty of their gardens, and the foresight of our city fathers to help them do so, was a testament to the appreciation of planting, growing and harvesting local gardens. And our gardens today, in whatever form they may take, still give us pride and pleasure as we enjoy our harvests of vegetables or fruit.

Just as an aside, I was reading about people in Hong Kong (population 7.4 million people) who live in “coffin houses”. In a vast and crowded city where housing is very difficult to find, these “coffin houses” are really just tiny cubicles, some so small that the residents can’t even stretch out their legs when they lay down. Reading about them was an eye-opener, and made me think how blessed we are to be able to have our homes with our gardens or containers on our patios or decks or balconies, and enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful sight of growing things when we go outside. Think of that next time you do your daily yard tour!

Are you looking for a beautiful but sturdy perennial that can stand up to heat, drought, blooms well, and even is deer resistant? You might want to consider achillea millefolium, also called achillea or yarrow. This is a wonderful perennial with lacy, feathery leaves, sturdy stems, and flower heads that form a broad, flat cluster at the top of the plant. The overall effect of the flowers is very delicate, and they come in an assortment of colors, from white to cream to pale pinks, lavenders, and burgundy.  Yarrow blooms from late spring until fall. Plant it among other plants to give depth and height to you border or flower patch. And if you are looking for a perfect xeriscaping plant, this is it!

Achillea will do well in full sun, and dry soil with good drainage.  This plant is one that likes tougher growing conditions; if the soil is too well amended or too damp, the plant won’t be as robust and upright. It grows up to three feet tall and can spread, but is not overly invasive.

The flowers do very well as cut flowers, and if you want to cut them for dried arrangements, they will work well for that project, too!

The plant has an exciting history behind it, being named after Achilles, a brave and handsome warrior in Greek mythology. The story goes that he and his soldiers used the plant for treatment of wounds in battle, although there must not have been any plants handy when Achilles himself was shot in the heel with an arrow by Paris, and perished.  

There may be some achillea at this year’s plant sale; be there on September 20!

Visit us at www.yorktonhort.ca for all the latest news from the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society.  Have a great week!

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