Flowery blurbs, volume one.

It’s a very warm day for November in Calgary (twelve degrees Celsius) and massive Chinook winds are sweeping off the mountains, so I’m thinking…poinsettias.

What???!

No, really, it’s almost that time, isn’t it?  I potted up my paperwhite bulbs for forcing yesterday, and in another week or two, I’ll go select a poinsettia – and my choice this year has got to be the cultivar ‘Ice Punch’.  With bracts the perfect shade of brilliant lipstick red and frosted with a bold splash of pink and white, this one stands out in a crowd and will make a dramatic statement as a holiday centerpiece.  (See here for a great photo of this beauty).

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The Perennial Plant Association has chosen its 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year…and it’s one that can grow here in zone 3a!  (Well, if you have a shady location for it, that is). Siberian bugloss cultivar ‘Jack Frost” (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’)  is the winning selection (what is it with these “icy” plants?).  Its silver foliage will positively glow in the shade, and I’m thinking it would be a great complement to a collection of multi-coloured hostas.  Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention those gorgeous little airy blue flowers that pop up in spring!   If you’re already growing ‘Jack Frost,’ why not try ‘King’s Ransom,’ with silver-edged leaves?  (Northern Shade Gardening has some great photos of ‘Jack Frost’ and a couple of other noteworthy cultivars).

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I came across an altogether astonishing article about honeybees yesterday – apparently a group of researchers in New Zealand suspect that honeybees can sniff out tuberculosis in the human body, and could be employed to diagnose the disease.  (See the full text of the article here).  Honeybees never cease to amaze me – if you didn’t already know about this, I urge you to do some reading about their ability to uncover the locations of landmines (check out Bloomberg Businessweek’s article Finding Landmines by Following a Bee).

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How’s this for sustainability?  Developers in Randstad, Holland are proposing the building of a 4,000 acre “Park Supermarket,” in which all of the food that will be offered in the store will be grown on site, in the heart of the city.  Everything – from hundreds of varieties of food plants to fresh farmed fish – will be cultivated in specific artificial microclimates.   That certainly takes “eating locally” to a whole new level!   (See CNN’s Farm in the City Could be Supermarket of the Future).  It’s an interesting concept, but will it work?  Is this truly the farm of the future?  What is your opinion on this?

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