Tuesday, June 5th, 2018
The single most popular flowering shrub in our region has to be the head-turning hydrangea, with its gorgeous large blooms. Its popularity is no surprise, since there are so many reasons to love this stunning shrub. Reasons like:
- Colourful, vibrant blossoms all season long
- Perfect for cut flower arrangements indoors
- Thrives in our climate, and overwinters extremely well
Chances are good that you already have a hydrangea or two in your garden, but with so many lovely varieties to choose from, there’s every reason to try something new! The hardest part will be deciding which option to add to your yard, so to get you inspired, we’ve asked John, our Nursery Manager, to share his five favourite hydrangea varieties for 2018. Here are John’s top picks:
“This is a new dwarf variety that tops out at 2-3 feet in height and diameter, and features enormous lime green flower heads in mid-summer.”
“One of my favourites, this dwarf hydrangea shows off deep pink-mauve flower heads in summer.”
“This dwarf, rounded selection tops off at 2-3 feet in size, and features pretty white flower heads in summer.”
“The Invincibelle Ruby features enormous ruby-red and silver-pink flower heads in mid-summer, which last for a very long time.”
“This variety produces huge flower clusters on sturdy stems, and blooms from mid- to late-summer.”
Come by our nursery to snap up your favourite, and while you’re here, don’t hesitate to ask John or any of our helpful staff for tips and recommendations about whatever you’re growing this summer. And if you’re still stuck on which hydrangea variety to choose, check out some fun facts about colour when it comes to the power of flowers.
Always in bloom… we’ll see you soon!
Sunday, May 6th, 2018
When colour giant Pantone declares its annual Color of the Year, everyone from fashion leaders to interior designers take notice, and before long we start to see the colour all around us. We were overjoyed and very much on board when Ultra Violet got top honours for 2018, because purple just happens to be one of our favourite colours in the garden!
It’s no secret that colours have serious power – take a look at how the beautiful blooms you choose can affect things like mood and energy here – but our love for purple goes beyond the aesthetic. Fruits and vegetables of this hue have been linked to many health benefits that prevent disease and enhance our wellness.
Studies indicate that antioxidants produced by purple power foods can:
- reduce the risk of high blood pressure
- lower cholesterol
- help prevent obesity and diabetes
- assist in lowering the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological diseases
- reduce inflammation and therefore chronic disease
- aid cognitive functions
- help prevent urinary tract infections, fight ulcers, and reduce liver damage and diseases which affect cell development
So with all of that in mind, here are a few of our favourite ways to put some purple on our plates!
Purple Ruffles Basil
Why we love it: The large purple leaves of this basil plant have both a strong fragrance and flavour.
How to serve: We recommend using this basil to create colourful and flavourful herb vinegars.
Cosmic Purple Carrots
Why we love it: Who says you can’t mess with an old favourite? These beautiful carrots will not only make your side dishes more lovely, the flesh is also particularly sweet.
How to serve: Try it cooked in a side dish, or add some colour and variety to snack time and enjoy raw.
Red Ball Brussel Sprouts
Why we love it: These little beauties are sweeter than your average brussel sprout, and pack an even heavier nutritional punch.
How to serve: Pull the leaves apart for a lovely salad, serve whole drizzled with a creamy hollandaise sauce, or go with a classic roasted method to get these on your table.
Pomegranate Crunch Romaine Lettuce
Why we love it: Is the name enough reason? Think of this lettuce as a cross between romaine and butterhead varieties.
How to serve: The salad possibilities are endless!
Honeyberry or Haskap
Why we love it: The first reason to love this berry is its sheer hardiness; this plant was made for the Canadian prairies, just like us. The second reason is that nutritional studies show the haskap to have antioxidant levels similar to or perhaps even greater than blueberries! The plant attracts butterflies to your yard, and the berries are delicious.
How to serve: Eat fresh, or make preserves.
Ruby Mizuna Mustard
Why we love it: It looks pretty and tastes great, but a major reason to love this plant is how easy and versatile it is to grow. Expect great results in cooler soil and winter harvests, in outdoor containers, or right in your kitchen.
How to serve: This plant makes for tasty microgreens or delicious and nutritious salads.
Why we love it: This grape is perfect for making wine… need we say more? Aside from its edible properties, it also makes a great landscaping component for hedges and screening.
How to serve: Try your hand at making juice or wine!
Long Purple Eggplant
Why we love it: The eggplant is such a beautiful purple that “eggplant” has become a colour in its own right. This particular variety is productive and hardy.
How to serve: Try in a stir-fry, or roasted in the oven.
Purple Peacock Pole Beans
Why we love it: These beans are a triple threat! They flower and produce quickly, provide an extremely prolific yield – as long as you pick them, they’ll keep coming in – and they retain flavour extremely well after being picked. Basically there are no reasons NOT to love them.
How to serve: Any way you enjoy green beans will translate – we like these lightly steamed!
Why we love it: Ah, the saskatoon, that uniquely prairie berry. Like its cousin the haskap, this plant is hardy and versatile, and the berries are lovely but also delicious.
How to serve: If you’ve never had saskatoon pie, you’re not really living. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it really is a must-try!
Why we love it: This beautiful plant produces clusters of lovely little blueberries that are sweet and juicy. So long as you get the soil and drainage formula right, you can expect a bumper crop from this plant.
How to serve: Really, you can enjoy these in almost any way. Sprinkle them fresh on cereal, salads, or ice cream, mix up blueberry pancakes, bake in pies or crisps, make jellies, jams, and preserves… the list is endless!
Some cultures consider purple to be the colour of royalty, and it’s not hard to see why! Add this shade to your garden and your table, and you’ll feel like you’re eating like a king.
Long live purple!
Sunday, February 22nd, 2015
Orchids are a true wonder of nature.
With an estimated 30,000 varieties occurring naturally, and over 150,000 hybrids, orchids make up one of the largest and oldest flowering plant families. Orchids are one of the most popular flowering plants; its simplicity and beauty are hard to resist. When sourcing orchids, our greenhouse buyer Deanne Cram, works with a few selected orchid suppliers, taking into account ease of care, color, height, number of buds, and stage of budding.
Orchids can be surprisingly low-maintenance. Unlike most plants, some orchid varieties are epiphytic, meaning they grow in air. Their roots attach to trees or rocks, where they capture moisture and nutrients. Others are terrestrials, growing in loamy, detritus soil. Most varieties require little water, plenty of direct or indirect sunlight, and healthy doses of orchid fertilizer. For more specific care guidance, our greenhouse staff (some are orchid fanatics) would love to share their knowledge of orchids with you.
We’re excited to be taking part in the MB Orchid Society Annual Show and Sale coming up on March 20, 21 and 22 at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. We’ll be featuring a selection of affordable mini orchids, as well as growing medium, pots, fertilizer, and supplies. A breath-taking display of hundreds of orchids will be available for admiration or for purchase.
1: Dendrobium Species (Classic White ‘Memoria Yukie Nakano’); 2: Dendrobium Phalaenopsis / Oncidium Species (Dancing Lady Orchid); 3: Oncidium Species (Miltassia Charles M. Fitch ‘Izumi’)