Every year at this time I receive my annual river of seed catalogues, both through the mail and more often now by email.
I may be a bit old fashioned but there is definitely something better about holding a real catalogue while sitting in my easy chair and sipping a nice hot tea.
Either way, I get to see what new and exciting plant material is being offered, one of the things that keeps me passionate about my work.
This year, several catalogues are boasting about the new repeat blooming lilac called Boomerang.
The first time I heard about it was when Fraser Valley gardener Brian Minter mentioned it to me last year. It always amazes me how Minter seems to be the first to hear about these things.
This new lilac should be even more exciting for us in the Okanagan because we can grow this genus far better than they can at the coast.
From what I hear, Boomerang blooms normally in April with all the other lilacs, then gets its second wind in mid summer and continues blooming into fall. How cool is that!
Another new plant that is showing up in the catalogues is the Magic Star Oriental lily.
Most of you are familiar with the spectacular Star Gazer, which is seen often as a cut flower.
Magic Star is a fully double version of this.
But just remember the oriental lily is a bit more difficult to grow in the Okanagan than the more common Asiatic varieties.
Well drained soil that has been treated with sulphur to lower the pH is needed for real success, but if you are willing to do this you can have an amazing show.
The third new plant I’m seeing is the Smarty Dahlia. Now here is a plant that should really do well here in the Okanagan. This new dahlia can’t decide what colour it wants to be.
From the pictures I’ve seen, it has a daisy type single blossom with each petal a different colour ranging from reddish pink to white—quite different.
I will be conducting my Green Thumb series of classes again beginning in March. These classes are ideal for both the new gardener or the experienced gardener new to the Okanagan.
They are also great for the professional who wants to brush up on plant material they can use in their work.
The classes are as follows:
• Pruning: Saturday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,
• Trees and Shrubs (woody ornamentals): Saturday, March 12
• Plants and Flowers (herbaceous ornamentals): Saturday, March 19
• Roses: Saturday, March 26
• Home Landscape design: Saturday, April 2
For more info or to register call the folk at UBCO, 250-807-9289 or go to www.ubc.ca/okanagan/continuingstudies.
And just for fun, watch my promotional video Random Acts of Creativity on You Tube www.youtube.com/.
If you wish to join us on the trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show next month, then call today as there are only a few seats left. The number to call is 250-765-9016 or go to www.sunwesttours.com.