Lifestyle

Burnett: Warm winter so far giving local gardeners itch for early spring start

One more month and we are out of the glue when it comes to any chance of severe winter weather.

I have lived here all my life and never seen anything below -12 C in March, and those cold snaps were always early in the month.

Regardless of whatever the weather brings us, March is the month when gardeners get that old itchy feeling to get out there and play in the dirt.

Gardeners are creatures of habit, actually, due to necessity because timing is one of our most important regulators.

Seeds need to be planted on time, bedding plants set out at the optimum time, pruning done at certain times and watering done in a judicious timely manner.

But our habits can sometimes get in the way of change. I’m thinking of our habit of going into the garden centre at bedding plant time, heading straight for the dracaena palms, red geraniums and alyssum to fill the two old half oak barrels that sit on either side of the car port as they have for years.

Perhaps we should make this year a time when we think out of the “box” we have been in for all these years.

The introduction of new plant material has never been as accelerated partly because plant breeders have at their disposal more tools to create new varieties than ever before.

I encourage you to look at new introductions and award winners to help with your search for something new and exciting for the garden.

The perennial plant of the year this year for instance is Brunera ‘Jack Frost.’

This plant was a runner up in 2010 and this year it took the prize among over 431 other nominees.

All-America Rose Selections (AARS) has selected Sunshine Daydream as its 2012 winning rose. This selection, according to the organization, exemplifies the quality and beauty that is implicit in an AARS winner.

The light yellow Grandiflora-type rose, the first garden rose to win under no-spray conditions, was selected as the best of the best after participating in the rigorous two-year AARS testing cycle.

The AARS award recognizes new varieties that are not only beautiful in appearance, but also roses that will be easy to grow and require minimal care by today’s busy homeowner.

This year has been called the Year of the Geranium by the National Garden Bureau and several new varieties should be watched for. This is a good thing because geraniums do so well here in the hot dry Okanagan.

A couple of years ago, I tried for the first time Aptenia cordifolia commonly known as Heart Leafed Ice Plant.

This is an absolute winner for baskets and tubs especially those which are on the dry side.

Next week my wife Donna and I join the local contingent headed to Seattle for the annual North West Flower and Garden Show. That will surely be chock full of new ideas for the garden this year.

 

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 Saturday mornings, from 8 to 10 a.m.

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