Don Burnett

Burnett: On planters, baskets and hardening off

Kelowna garden columnist Don Burnett explores topics for gardeners in his weekly column

By Don Burnett

There are lots of fine hanging baskets and tubs showing up all over town. Some grown locally at The Greenery and Bylands Nurseries and others. Some are imported from elsewhere and some have been put together by individual home-owners.

The plant material available in today’s market is so varied in comparison to what we saw and produced in the 1950s and ‘60s.

I think back to two major influences which changed the look of what we see in planters. One driving force to recognize is Tell Segler from the Greenery who blew the roof off the market when he introduced the European Miny ivy geranium into the Kelowna market.

That huge ball of colour is still a winner especially when some blue hanging Lobelia is mixed in. Since then and right up to today the Segler family has introduced so many interesting plants. You have to check out the Greenery’s fabulous selection of heritage tomatoes as well.

Another huge influence to the Kelowna market was my good friend Vic Good who while he was working with the City of Kelowna, introduced his fabulous moss basket creations. The system he developed and much of the plant material he introduced are still in play today as is evidenced by the one of a kind show the city continues to provide each year decorating hundreds of lamp posts throughout the town.

A word of caution however when it comes to keeping these beautiful baskets and tubs in good condition. It only takes a couple of dry events to bring them down to a deplorable level. I was recently in one of the large box establishments of which there are many and realized by the looks of some of the Fuchsia baskets someone was not doing their job. I almost grabbed a hose and started to water I felt so sorry for them.

The Greenery puts out a very useful information sheet on how to manage your new basket and I think it is spot on. In a nut-shell it reads your basket needs a good drink every two days in cool wet weather and up to twice or even three times a day during real hot weather. Feed with a half rate of 20-20-20 once a week. When you water, you must soak the planter until it begins to come out of the bottom drain holes.

A word regarding hardening off. At this point now that our nights are quite warm it is not the cold we concern ourselves with, it is the hot sun. When purchasing plants just remember for the most part they have not been exposed to the direct hot sun even though they can withstand these conditions quite nicely eventually. The indication the plants have suffered a sun burn is the foliage turns quite white.

It’s not the end of the world and most will recover but it can be avoided by gradually over a few days introducing them to the full sun. Now get out in the garden and enjoy this beautiful Okanagan growing weather.

Listen to Don Burnett and Ken Salvail every Saturday Morning from 8am to 10am presenting the Garden Show on AM 1150 now in its 34th year