Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What have you got to lose?

Kolkwitzia amabilis (Beauty Bush)
Aquilegia vulgaris (Columbine)
Working in a retail environment, as well as for the City of Toronto, I am constantly learning about new plants and being exposed to new concepts and ideas.  The path of horticulture is just that... a path.  With a plethora of new plants available to us, the hobby of horticulture only gets more and more exciting.

I am very lucky to work at a garden centre filled with knowledgeable staff, and inquisitive customers.  One thing that most people need to realize is that plants, (as a rule)  want to survive... if you provide the necessities for them, they will flourish and surprise both old and new gardeners alike.

The long weekend has come and gone, its great to see the trees, shrubs, vines and, flowers all over the city... something new to discover every day.

At this time of year garden centres are full of annuals and perennials ready to be planted.

Annuals are a great way to add beauty to your patio / balcony / terrace, or to fill an empty spot in your garden where a splash of colour is needed.  When creating planters for your outdoor living space, annuals are the best choice, as they offer beauty and blooms from the time you plant them right through till frost.  I also like to use a couple of perennials for unique accent foliage or to add texture to my planters.. Try some Heuchera,  ornamental grasses, or ferns in your planters to bring them to the next level.

Cosmos atrosanguineus  (Chocolate Cosmo)
One annual I was recently introduced to (although not a new variety) is the Cosmos atrosanguineus (Chocolate Cosmo) pictured to the right.  Not only is this flower a striking rich dark colour, it also smells like chocolate!     Although it may be slightly difficult to get your hands on, its well worth it if you happen upon it at a garden centre.  Requiring partial sun, or full sun, this 4-6" plant is sure to win you over.  It is not frost hardy, and does not produce viable seeds, therefor if you do find a plant... you will have to store the tubers in a dry cool place over the winter...so you can enjoy this plant again next year.

If you haven't already got your annuals and vegetables planted... get out this weekend and pick up some unusual plants and give them a try... after all... what have you got to lose?

Imperata cylindrica (Japanese Blood Grass)
All photographs on this blog by Paul Gellatly