Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Grow: Purple is the perfect colour, from garden to table!

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.  

Frontenac Grape

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!

Saskatoon

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!

Northcountry blueberry

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!

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

GROW: 6 HARD-TO-KILL HOUSEPLANTS

The popularity of indoor plants is on the rise!  A connection to nature is an essential way to enrich our daily lives and to enjoy a healthy and happy lifestyle.  So this year, we’re keeping things simple with low-maintenance indoor plants.  With that in mind, we asked our greenhouse team for their top hard-to-kill houseplants that can thrive – without a green thumb. They share their thoughts on six favorites, below, to make it easy for you to make the green connection!

1. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica): Very easy to care for, this ornamental specimen is low-light and low-maintenance. Rubber plants should only be watered when the top layer of soil is dry to the touch; be sure you don’t over-water. Keep your rubber plant in a warm location, and avoid exposing it to any sudden temperature changes, which can cause leaf drop. Not only are rubber plants beautiful, they’re also excellent air purifiers. They emit high levels of oxygen, and remove toxins like formaldehyde and airborne mold from a room.

2. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata): East, west, north windowsills with filtered light, or in office spaces with flourescent light. Wait until the pot is quite dry before watering. Water if you notice the leaves are drooping and the pot feels dry.

3. Z Z Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia): This is a nice, compact, neat and tidy looking plant. Almost impossible to kill, the ZZ can accommodate a broad spectrum of light conditions, except for bright, south facing light.  It can also withstand drought, so it’s the perfect plant for someone who forgets to water.  Expect it to do very little; it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t die, it just kind of sits there.

4. Succulents/Cactus All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. There are thousands of varieties of succulents and cactus to choose from! Succulents and cacti are defined by their moisture-storing capacity allowing them to survive in arid climates by retaining water in their stems and leaves. They require very little water (read: maybe once a month waterings) and love bright, sunny windowsills to grow on.

5. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): A great choice for novices, this vining plant can be trained to climb around windowsills, or to hang down from tall ledges.  They also look great in hanging baskets or in wall planters. I love the different shades it comes in, from lime green to variegated to deep green. It can thrive even in very low light such as offices that only have flourescent lights, and won’t suffer if it goes a bit too long without water.

6. Bromeliad (Vriesea, Neoregelia, or Aechmea): There are more than 3,000 known species of bromeliads, but the three varieties listed are some of my favorites. They offer an interesting, architectural shape and bright, beautiful flower stalks. Bromeliads can withstand drought, but aren’t tolerant of excess watering. They can thrive in a variety of light situations, but most prefer brighter environments with some protection from direct sun.

Our greenhouse is filled to the brim with hundreds of these hard-to-kill plants!  Be sure to stroll through our collection of stylish pots and planters while you’re here, to design the perfect plant and pot duo for your decor. Our greenhouse team will pot your new houseplant up for you (free of charge) when you select both a plant and pot.

Here’s to the green life!

Words + Photos by Nicole Bent

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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

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