It’s Bedding Plant Season!

One minute we’re shivering and then BAM, its spring!  Where has the month gone?  All of a sudden its bedding plant time and product is moving out as fast as it’s coming in.  We always joke at the garden centre that we know its spring when there is a line up of trucks waiting at the back gate in the morning to unload pallets of soil, racks of annuals and all the other stuff that goes along with the busy season.

This brings me to my topic this week, bedding plants.  Yes, it is warm enough to put them out now although I suspect there were a few that got snuck out earlier when the nights and soil temperatures were chilly.  I planted out a tomato on the weekend although we recommend waiting until the end of the month for the warm temperature vegetables such as cukes, squash, peppers and the like.  Plant at your own risk and check the forecast.

Always the question of the day is “what will the deer leave alone?”  These days, not much, I’m afraid but usually a good bet is Osteospermum.  Daisy-like flowers in purples, yellow, pink and white (although nothing but silk, metal or concrete flowers is deer proof).  Another daisy-like good ‘un are marguerites or now known as Argyranthemums.  Just when you think you’ve got all the names down pat they go and change them on you.  Both of these plants like full sun to flower prolifically.  Snip off the faded blooms to encourage more.

Anyone like sticky fingers?  Unless you’re Pooh Bear I would guess not.  So don’t keep planting the old fashioned petunias in your baskets and containers where you have to pinch off the dead flowers to keep it blooming!  Every year we convert more and more customers to make the switch to the new and improved petunias such as Supertunias, Surfinias and Wave Petunias.  Even though these strains have been around years now some people still don’t know about them.  MAKE THE SWITCH!  You’ll be glad you did.  No more sticky fingers because these ones don’t need to be deadheaded.  They bloom forever…ok, so until frost anyway…and they are packed full of blooms.

The cousins to the Supertunias and the like are the mini versions called Calibrachoa or Callie’s for short.  Smaller flowers, smaller leaves and great trailing habit.  Again, no deadheading required!

That little white trailing flower you see in baskets everywhere is called Bacopa and yes, we have lots of it.  It’s a great basket stuffer and is always so popular yet no one ever remembers its name.  Poor thing.  Just sing Barry Manilo’s song, Copa Copacabana with a ‘ba’ in front of the Copa next time you’re in my greenhouse choosing some bacopa and you’ll remember it for next year.  Out loud, of course.  We want to hear you.  In fact, if I hear you singing I’ll give you a bacopa for free.

Euphorbia Breathless Beauty and Breathless Blush are not what you’re picturing if you’re familiar with garden euphorbias.  This one has tiny leaves and small, delicate white flowers.  Great for containers where you want a softening cloud of white to temper down the in-your-face magenta, hot pink, bright orange colours of the geraniums or begonias.

Go bold and different this year; think outside the box when you’re considering a dracaena for a centerpiece in your planter.   I LOVE Cyperus papyrus in planters.  Normally considered a pond or bog plant this dwarf umbrella palm does great in an annual container for the summer.  Tufts of airy foliage atop stalks of green make for an interesting centerpiece surrounded by colourful annuals.  Or how about a banana plant?  Bigger containers are great for bananas, either the hardy Musa basjoo or the non-hardy red bananas.  Bring on the tropics!

The greenhouse is packed with colour, trucks are arriving daily with fresh stock, in May we’re open 9am until 6pm Monday through Saturday and Sundays until 5pm, we have new little red wagons to haul your stuff around in and we’re ready with a smile and helpful advice should you need it.  Come on down!

Shirley Eppler

May 2012