List of Greenhouses, Garden Centres, and Nurseries in Alberta.

I’ve created this resource to hopefully help connect the eager gardeners in the province with local growers and businesses that rely on our support….

If you garden in Alberta, please feel free to share this far and wide!

person holding a green plant
Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

List of Greenhouse, Garden Centres, and Nurseries in Alberta

North

Dunvegan Gardens – Grande Prairie – 780-532-8280
Willow Valley Greenhouse – Grande Prairie – 780-831-4508
Braeheid Gardens – Sexsmith – 780-933-5159 – shopbraeheid.com
Sunkissed Acres Greenhouse – Wembley – 587-298-5477
Riverside Greenhouses – Beaverlodge – 780-831-4508
Christie’s Gardens and Greenhouses – High Prairie – (780) 536-0204 –https://learnplantgrow.com/
Flower Frenzy Greenhouse – High Prairie – 780-536-0099
Fern’s Greenhouse – Girouxville – 780-323-4420
Trees and Lillies Gardens – Peace River – 780-624-1148 – https://www.treesandlillies.com/page/page/7927224.htm
Grow North Gardens – Fairview – 587-989-6672 – https://www.grownorthgardens.com/
Westway Gardens Greenhouse – Bittern Lake – 780-672-6029 –http://www.westwaygardens.com/
Amicis Gardens – Manning – 780-836-5940
Birch Meadow Greenhouses – Athabasca – 780-675-4187 – https://www.birchmeadowgreenhouses.com/
Bellis Garden and Greenhouses – Bellis – 780-636-2669
High Q Greenhouses – Sturgeon County – 780-939-7490 – https://highqgreenhouses.com/
Pots ‘n’ Pansies Greenhouse and Garden Centre – Barrhead – 780-305-6310
De Herdt Gardens – Barrhead – 780-674-2844 – https://www.deherdtgardens.com/
Green House The Little Farm – Sangudo – 780-785-2829
Granola Garden Centre – Gunn – 587-859-1633
Honey’s Greenhouse – Onoway – 780-913-0641
Bison Grow and Greenhouses – Bilby – 780-499-4829
Arch Greenhouses – Edmonton – 780-438-4349 – https://archgreenhouses.com/
Ellerslie Gift and Garden – Edmonton – 780-988-6622 – ellersliegift.com
Apache Seeds – Edmonton – 780-489-4245 – gardening@apacheseeds.ca
Kuhlmann’s Greenhouse – Edmonton – 780-475-7500 – https://kuhlmanns.com/index.php/contact
Millcreek Nursery – Edmonton – 780-469-8733 – http://www.millcreeknursery.ca/
Bonnie Doon Flowers Garden Centre – Edmonton – 780-440-3053 – https://www.bonniedoonflowersgardencentre.com/
Greenland Garden Centre – Edmonton – 780-467-7557 – http://www.greenlandgarden.com/
Sunstar Nurseries – Edmonton – 780-472-6103 – http://www.sunstarnurseries.com/
Brenneis Greenhouses – Edmonton – (780) 473-7736
Arrowhead Nurseries – Edmonton – 780-472-6260 – https://www.arrowheadnurseries.com/
All Seasons Garden Centre – Edmonton – (780) 448-2385
Dor’s Garden Shop – Edmonton – 780-909-7881
BMR Greenhouses and Water Gardens – Edmonton – 780-986-0787 https://www.bmrgreenhouses.com/
Visser Farms and Greenhouses – Edmonton – (780) 473-4759 – http://www.visserfarms.com/about.html
Kiwi Nurseries Ltd. – Acheson – 780-962-9297 – https://kiwinurseries.com/
Cheyenne Tree Farm – Beaumont – 780-929-8102 – http://cheyennetree.ca/
New Beginnings Greenhouse – Beaumont – 780-929-1235 – https://newbeginningsgreenhouse.com/
Salisbury Greenhouse – Sherwood Park – 780-467-5743 – https://www.salisburygreenhouse.com/
Wallish Greenhouses – Sherwood Park – (780) 467-3091 –https://www.wallishgreenhouses.ca/
Aspen Ridge Greenhouses – Sherwood Park – (780) 464-5527 – http://www.aspenridgegreenhouses.com/
Estate Gardens – Sherwood Park – 780-922-6329 – https://www.estategardens.ca/
Sherwood Nurseries – Sherwood Park – 587-409-4442 – https://sherwoodnurseries.ca/
South Cooking Lake Greenhouses – Sherwood Park – (780) 922-6765 – http://www.southcookinglakegreenhouses.ca/
Greenland Garden Centre – Sherwood Park – 780-467-7557 – https://kiwinurseries.com/
Creekside Home and Garden – Spruce Grove – 780-470-0527 – http://www.creeksidehomeandgarden.ca/
The Big Greenhouse – Spruce Grove – (780) 960-4769 – https://www.thebiggreenhouse.ca/
Golden Greenhouses – Spruce Grove – (780) 987-3675 – http://goldengreenhouses.com/
Local Nursery – Spruce Grove – (780) 987-9133 – https://www.localnursery.ca/
Aspen Grove Nurseries – Spruce Grove – 780-962-3148 – https://aspengrovenurseries.com/
Hole’s at the Enjoy Centre – St. Albert – 780-438-4349 – https://www.holesatenjoy.com/
St. Albert Greenhouse – St. Albert – 780-939-3110
Alpine Greenhouse – Parkland County – 780-470-0007
Gardiner’s Greenhouse – Parkland County – https://gardinersgreenhouse.com/
Baraka Gardens – Smithfield – 780-221-5023 – https://barakagardens.com/wp/
Dina’s Greenhouse – Gibbons – 780-983-5364
Char-Mar Growers – Millet – 780-387-4285
Deb’s Greenhouse – Morinville – 780-939-9690 – https://www.debsgreenhouse.com/
Jones Family Greenhouse – Lamont – 780-896-2402
Bloom ‘n Bucket – Calmar -780-994-0944 – https://thebloomnbucket.com/
Templeton’s Greenhouses – Edson – 780-723-4540
Castle Garden Greenhouse – Kitscoty – 780-846-2694
F’laura ‘n Company Greenhouse – Vermilion and Kitscoty – 780-808-9672
Dutchak’s Greenhouse – Vermilion – contact info TBD
Kathy’s Greenhouse – Marwayne – 780-847-2586
LCJ Greenhouses and Gifts – Bon Accord – 780-921-2192
Prairie Gardens – Bon Accord – 780-921-2272 – https://prairiegardens.org/
Moe’s Gardens and Greenhouse – Bonnyville – 780-826-4500
Gardener’s Junction Greenhouse – Cold Lake – 780-594-1312
Rod’s Greenhouse – Vegreville – 780-603-0531
Fjellstrom Greenhouses – Vegreville – 780-657-2015
Thiel’s Greenhouses – Bruderheim – (780) 796-3501 – https://www.thielsgreenhouse.ca/
Willow Valley Greenhouse – Warburg – 780-848-2634
Glamery Greenhouse – Westlock – 780-349-2931
Westlock Garden Centre – Westlock – 780-349-5348

Central

Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre – Red Deer – 403-346-5613 – http://www.parklandgarden.ca/
Bluegrass Sod, Nursery, and Garden Centre – Red Deer – 403- 347-7211 – https://bluegrassnursery.com/garden_centre/red-deer/
Landover Nursery and Greenhouse – Red Deer – 403-350-1293
Ever-Green Greenhouses – Red Deer – 403-347-6484
Coal Trail Greenhouses – Blackfalds – 403-347-4425 – https://www.coaltrailgreenhouse.ca/
West Haven Nursery and Farms – Spruce View – 403-728-2100
On Earth Greenhouses – Lousana – 403-506-5853 – https://www.onearthgreenhouses.com/
DnA Gardens – Elnora – 403-773-2489
Westerose Greenhouse – Wetaskiwin – 780-887-8385
Arber Greenhouses – Westaskiwin County – (780) 352-7520 – http://www.arbergreenhouses.com/
Aspen Greenhouses – Lacombe – 403-885-4516 – https://www.aspengreenhouses.com/
Wolf Botanicals – Lacombe – 403-782-5729
Market on Twelve – Lacombe – 402-782-4783
Patio Gardens – Lacombe – 403-782-0888
Tranquillity Greenhouses – Clive – 403-348-6579
Green Acres Greenhouse – Leslieville – 403-729-2585
Arbutus Nursery – Ponoka – 403-783-6208
Bobtail Nursery – Ponoka – 403-704-4008 – http://www.bobtailnursery.ca/
Country Gardens and Greenhouse – Ponoka – 403-704-4145 – http://www.countrygardensandgreenhouse.ca/
Forster’s Greenhouses – Forestburg – 780-582-2460
PJ’s Plantation – Tees – 403-348-9803
Spade to Spoon Market and Greenhouse – Irma – 587-281-4884
Off the Beaten Path Greenhouse – Irma – 780-842-8411
Battle River Landscape Supply and Design – Camrose – 780-672-9718
Green Valley Gardens – Camrose – 780-781-6728
Echoglen Gardens – Donalda – 403-883-2849 – https://www.echoglengardens.com/
Silver Creek Greenhouses – New Norway – 780-855-3988
Howe’s Greenhouse – Castor – 403-884-2651
Wickham Nurseryland – Lloydminster – 780-875-7568/306-825-3262
The Planted Earth Greenhouses – Sylvan Lake – http://www.theplantedearth.ca/
Holly’s Greenhouse – Rimbey – 403-843-2892
Tail Creek Greenhouse – Stettler – 403-742-0909
West Country Greenhouse – Rocky Mountain House – 403-844-7617
Country Garden Greenhouse – Rocky Mountain House – 403-729-2029
The Plant Ranch -Rocky Mountain House- Facebook: plantranchgreenhouses – 403-845-5807
Friedt Flowers and Veggies – Sundre – 403-850-8137
The Garlic Ranch – Sundre – contact info TBD
Bearberry Creek Greenhouses, Nursery, and Water Gardens – Sundre – 403-638-4231 – http://www.bbcreek.ca/
Dragonfly Greenhouse – Caroline – 403-846-4476

South

greengate Garden Centres – Calgary – 403-256-1212 – https://www.greengate.ca/
Spruce It Up – Calgary – 403-201-7525 – https://spruceitupgardencentre.com/
Garden Retreat – Calgary – 403-255-7097
Plantation Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 277-4769 – https://plantationgardencentre.ca/
Plant – Calgary- (403) 585-4226 – https://plantshop.ca/
Star Burn Horticultural – Calgary – 403-478-7040
Country Gardens and Nursery – Calgary – 403-246-0611
Golden Acre Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 274-4286 – https://www.goldenacre.ca/
Cobblestone Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 273-4760 – http://www.cobblestonegarden.ca/
IncrediGrow Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 255-0740 – https://www.incredigrow.ca/
Quickgrow Indoor Garden Centre- Calgary – 403-276-5156- https://www.quickgrow.com
Bluegrass Nursery, Sod, and Garden Centre – Calgary – (403) 226-0468 – https://bluegrassnursery.com/
Garden Scents Garden Centre – Calgary – https://www.gardenscents.ca/
Bloomfield Garden Centre – Calgary – 403-466-7978
Country Gardens and Nursery – Calgary -(403) 246-0611 – https://www.countrygardensyyc.com/
Blooming Baskets – Airdrie – 403-616-1720
Jim Bob’s Nursery and Garden Centre – Carstairs – 403-246-0611
La Greenhouse – Carstairs – 403-337-0036
Lohr-a-Lee Greenhouse – Olds – 403-438-0030 – https://www.lohralee.com/
Countryside Landscapes and Garden Centre – DeWinton – (403) 938-1835 – https://www.csgcl.com/
Saskatoon Farm – DeWinton – (403) 938-6245 – http://www.saskatoonfarm.com/
Beaver Dam Nursery – Okotoks – 403-938-4394
Brassard Greenhouse – Cluny – 403-734-2114 – https://www.brassardgreenhouses.com/
Moore’s Greenhouse – Strathmore – (403) 934-4885 – http://www.mooresgreenhouse.net/
Eagle Lake Nurseries – Strathmore – 403-934-3670 – https://www.eaglelakenurseries.com/
Countryside Greenhouse – Rosedale – 403-823-8733 – https://www.countrysidegreenhouses.com/greenhouse-garden-ce…
Long Coulee Growers – Champion – 403-485-8216
AVB Greenhouses – Standard – 403-814-0710 – https://www.avbgreenhouses.com/
Bloomin’ Acres – Brooks – 403-363-9416
Water Valley Forest Nursery – Cremona – 403-637-3912 – http://www.watervalleyforestnursery.com/
Eastern Slopes Rangeland Seeds – Cremona – 403-637-2473 – http://www.esrseeds.ca/ (by appointment only)
Anything Grows – Cochrane – (403) 932-9922 – https://www.anythinggrowsalberta.com/
Branched Out Nursery – Cochrane – 403-851-1323
Aspen Crossing – Mossleigh – https://www.aspencrossing.com/garden-centre – 403-534-2129
Vales Greenhouses – Black Diamond – 403) 933-4814 – http://valesgreenhouse.com/
Bow Valley Garden Centre – Canmore – (403) 675-0701 – https://bowvalleygardencentre.ca/
Spring Break Flower Farm – Hillcrest – 403-563-3302
Bailey Hill Greenhouse – Cowley – 403-628-3491
The Blue Mouse Greenhouse – Pincher Creek – 403-627-4087
Grumpy’s Greenhouse – Pincher Creek – 403-627-4589 – https://www.grumpys.ca/
Dan’s Greenhouse – Lethbridge – (403) 327-3271
Green Haven Garden Centre – Lethbridge – (403) 327-6172 – http://www.greenhavengarden.ca/
Country Blooms Garden Centre – Lethbridge – (403) 331-5660 – http://countryblooms.ca/
Blondie’s Gift and Garden Centre – Dunmore – 403-504-0040
Windmill Garden Centre – Medicine Hat – 403-526-3447
Hilltop Greenhouse – Monarch – (403) 553-3175 – http://www.hilltopgreenhouses.ca/
Sunnyside Nursery – Taber – https://www.sunnysidenurserytaber.com/
Coaldale Nurseries – Coaldale – (403) 345-4633 – http://www.coaldalenurseries.ca/

If I have missed any or any of the contact info needs corrections, please let me know in the comments.  This is, of course, a work in progress….

Snow mold. What is it and how can I get it off my lawn?

I was actually going to title this post Snow Mold: Something to Sneeze At!  Or maybe Snow Mold: Gack!  What’s that Unsightly Stuff on My Lawn?  Way more dramatic and punchy, LOL.

I’ve been hearing over and over again how snow mold isn’t a “thing” outside of Canada (or even western Canada; I saw a comment on social media from someone in Ontario who had never heard of the stuff and I know they get snow there).  It’s quite possible that we’re more inclined to get it on the Prairies, as our winter conditions tend to support it more than elsewhere.  It’s not unusual to see the arrival of the white stuff before the ground is completely frozen, and then to have large accumulations linger throughout the entire winter.  This year, in Calgary (and it sounds like, in the rest of the province as well), we are having one big crazy snow mold party…it is everywhere!  Yay!  Achoo!

There are two main types of fungi that cause snow mold – gray mold is attributed to Typula spp. while Microdochium nivalis is responsible for pink mold.  You’ll instantly recognize snow mold because it flattens the grass and leaves a sort of pasty grey-white or pink-white webbing on top.  (You can see some good photos of it in this article). And you’ll also recognize that “snow” mold is a bit of a silly name, because the snow itself doesn’t actually mold.  It just acts as a cover for the fungal activity.

In the summer the fungi loll around and do absolutely nothing.  Although the heat doesn’t faze them, they are cold-lovers and when winter arrives, they get happy and start to grow.  After the big melt in spring, you’ll notice them clumping all your turfgrass together and looking mighty pleased with themselves.  And if you have seasonal allergies, boy, are you in for it.  Next to pollen, snow mold has got to be one of the worst triggers (just ask me, I know all about it).

So, will this icky grossness do permanent damage to my lawn?  Not usually. Severe infestations will cause patchiness, which can be easily remedied by overseeding.  To deal with snow mold, you can rake it really gently when the ground is dry enough to do so.  (If you have allergies, get someone else to do this job for you).  “Gently” is the operative word, here, as you’ll yank up your grass if you rake too hard this early in the season.  Bag up the clippings. Don’t thatch until later on, after the ground is completely thawed – this initial period right after melt isn’t the time to get aggressive with your lawn, as you’ll only do damage.  You can also choose to do nothing: as the grass dries out and the temperatures increase, the mold will become inactive again, and greening will happen on schedule.  A good soaking rain will also help wash away the problem. Don’t fertilize immediately after thaw, and don’t mow the lawn right away, either – wait until things dry up a bit.

Yes, snow mold will come back, and no, you can’t really do a lot to prevent it.  Rake up your leaves in the fall, and don’t use a high nitrogen fertilizer late in the season.  Give your lawn that final mow before the snow flies (if the precipitation doesn’t take you by surprise) – a shorter cut will also help deter voles, as well.

 

Further Reading:

Burke, Kelly. “Identifying and Controlling Snow Mold in Your Lawn.” The Spruce. February 2, 2020. https://www.thespruce.com/snow-mold-2153094

 

 

Spring is springing.

Catkins ˈkat-kəns

Noun, plural.  The fuzzy little huggable bits that emerge from the tips of branches of some tree species in very early spring.  A sight for really sore eyes after twenty months of winter (I exaggerate, but only slightly).  More snow is supposedly on its way tomorrow, but for now, we’ll go with this. *purrs contentedly*

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The e-books have been released!

Just bursting in really quickly to let everyone know that the e-book versions of The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases are out today on Kobo and Kindle!  (The print version will be out on May 12 and I’ll keep everyone posted on where copies are being sold).  It’s an exciting day!♥

You can order at these links and have the books on your reader in just a few minutes:

The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables – Kobo (Kobo.com) 

The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables – Kindle (Amazon.ca)

The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases – Kobo (Kobo.com) 

The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases – Kindle (Amazon.ca)

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Book review: Soil Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis.

Print

Soil Science for Gardeners: Working with Nature to Build Soil Health by Robert Pavlis (2020, New Society Publishers)

The importance of soil – and particularly, soil that is full of life – to the success of a garden cannot be understated in any way.  When our soil deteriorates – becomes compacted, perhaps, or crusty or covered in chemicals – we can’t help but take notice. Otherwise, most of us tend to hum along, grateful that it’s doing well and giving our plants a place to thrive, but we don’t really stop to think about what soil is, how it is composed, and how we can keep it healthy and supportive to our beloved green babies.

Soil Science for Gardeners to the rescue!  (And I do mean to the rescue…there is actually a section at the end that you can use to play doctor with your own garden soil, figure out what is working and what isn’t, and set yourself some “soil” goals for future improvements.  If that isn’t useful, I don’t know what is).

Pavlis starts us out by discussing the components of soil, addressing particles and structure and pH, as well as nutrients and how plants take them up from the soil.  Yes, there is some chemistry involved – there has to be! – but he succeeds in making it all a little less daunting for those of us who are a little fuzzy about formulas….

One of my favourite sections in the book is about soil life.  When was the last time you thought about all the bacteria and fungi and algae and nematodes and earthworms and other organisms that are rumbling around beneath the roots of your kale and broccoli?  Pavlis talks about how they’re all part of the big picture.  He delves deeply into the importance of organic matter and compost (and busts some myths along the way!), as well as gives us a crash course on the rhizosphere, which you’ll then consider and appreciate every time you plant.

Of course, you can’t have a book about soil science for gardeners without talking about all the potential problems with our soils.  The detailed discussion on identifying soil issues and how to resolve them is extremely useful for readers to refer to time and time again.  The focus on how the gardener’s inputs – mulching, tilling, using cover crops and so on – will affect soil health is particularly appealing, and may cause some of us to rethink a few of our practices or make amendments (pun intended).

I cannot recommend this book more highly! Soil science has been an integral part of my horticultural studies over the years and I’ve read a good number of books on the subject.  What sets this book apart is how accessible and practical it is to new and experienced gardeners alike.  It is comprehensive and thorough and yet written in such a way that anyone can grasp the concepts without needing a science degree. Plus, you might actually find that you find the topic rather enjoyable! That takes the kind of skill, knowledge, and expertise that Pavlis consistently reveals on his website Garden Fundamentals.

 

*I was given a copy for review by New Society Publishers, but all the thoughts and views expressed are my own.

Botany word of the month.

It appears that my intentions and reality do not mesh, yet again…a Botany Word of the Week is just simply too much for me to maintain on top of all my other projects.  But I love creating these posts and I hope you enjoy reading them – so I’ll switch to a monthly format which should be far easier for me to complete. We’ll see…intentions, you know….

Dehiscent

If you have a medical background, you’ll already know what this term means…except I’m going to use it in relationship to fruits.

When they are mature and dry enough, dry dehiscent fruit split open to release their seeds. Dehiscence is this act of breaking open at a seam. The part that splits is the pericarp (comprised of ovule-bearing structures of the flower called carpels).

The dry dehiscent fruit you are probably most familiar with belong to legumes.  Peas, beans, and lentils fall into this category.  They all have one carpel and if you’ve ever shelled garden peas, you’ll recognize the way that carpel splits open (except that you’re facilitating the split before it’s “supposed” to happen. When you allow peas to dry for harvesting, and they split open, then you’re letting them do their thing).

Do you remember this post I did a couple of years ago about the ‘Le Puy’ lentils I grew?  What I’m describing there is the explosive way the dehiscent fruit burst open when they’re ready.  And I’ll never forget the way that the seed pods of the Caragana shrubs that lined the driveway to my childhood home audibly crackled and violently burst on hot, late summer days, showering the seeds everywhere.

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‘Le Puy’ lentils…not yet dry enough to split open.

Peanuts are one dehiscent legume that don’t – thankfully – burst open when dry.   You have to help them along by breaking them open yourself.

There are always exceptions. Some legumes have indehiscent fruit, and their carpel does not split open when dry.  If you have a honey locust growing in your yard, that’s a good example.

Legumes aren’t the only dry dehiscent fruit.  There are capsules, which have more than one ovule.  Lilies and poppies have capsules.  There are also follicles, of which plants such as columbines have more than one.  Siliques are another.  These are a type of elongated fruit that kind of resemble legumes.  If you’ve ever allowed your radishes to set seed, that pod you’re looking at is a silique.  Just for fun, there are also silicles, which are not as long as siliques.  Honestly, I’m not making this up, even if it sounds a bit giggle-inducing.

What is your favourite dry dehiscent fruit to grow?  

 

Some links for further reading:

https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstrong/termfr1.htm

http://science.jburroughs.org/resources/flower/fruit2.html

 

The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter – April 2020.

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You are reading the first issue of the Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter!  With the first two books in our series Guides for the Prairie Gardener scheduled for release very soon, my co-author Janet Melrose and I have decided we’re going to publish a monthly newsletter here on my blog Flowery Prose!  We’ll be keeping you up-to-date on everything related to our books, letting you know about what other Prairie gardening-related projects we’re working on, and throwing in some gardening trivia and newsy tidbits, just for fun!  If you like what you see, please follow us on our social media and hit the subscribe button here on Flowery Prose.

Book News and Events

The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases were originally scheduled for release by our publisher TouchWood Editions in April, but due to the current global health crisis, we are looking at a May 12 release instead. At this very moment, you can preorder our books from Amazon and Chapters-Indigo and they will be shipped to you as soon as they are out!

To preorder The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables, click here. 

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To preorder The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases, click here. 

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Back on February 2, Janet was a guest on the “Let’s Talk Gardening” programme on Calgary radio station 770 CHQR.  If you want to hear her talk about our forthcoming books, click over to the 18:00 mark on the audio recording and enjoy!  (You’ll have to make sure you’ve selected the February 2 tab in the drop-down menu).

Our publisher, TouchWood Editions, is currently running a blog feature called “Authors at Home,” where their authors write about what they are doing while in self-isolation.  Take a look at our entry here, and especially note our list of Prairie Gardening Stuff You Can Do Now! 

Out and About

Well, not really “out and about” this month; we’re more like “indoors and room-to-room.”  But that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting stuff done.  I have some new gardening articles published in various magazines, out on newsstands now (or, as we can’t really get out to shop, available for order online directly from the publishers). Look for “The Lovely Lady’s Slipper” in Mother Earth Gardener (Spring 2020); “Choosing the Right Irrigation System” in The Gardener for Canadian Climates (Spring 2020); and “Refresh Your Wardrobe with Herbs” in Herb Quarterly (Spring 2020).

Photos by Sheryl Normandeau

Janet has been writing, as well: her article “Balloon Flower: A.K.A. Japanese Bellflower” is in the same issue of The Gardener.   As for other going-ons in the world of Calgary’s Cottage Gardener, Janet says: “Unfortunately, all the workshops planned for April have been cancelled or postponed at this time. Yet the interest in gardening has never been stronger, especially edible gardening. Do stay tuned as I am getting set up with a mini-studio for webinars from my home to your yours. We get going with a hands-on workshop or two where I make up kits of supplies and plants and after a mini-talk and demo we all plant up together.  All talks will be posted on my Facebook page.”

In Our Gardens

Space limitations and a cat who pretty much chews on anything (and I do mean anything – I caught her gnawing on the plastic paper feed guide of the printer the other day) add up to not a lot of seed starting going on in my place, BUT I do have a handful of ‘Candyland Red’ and ‘Black Krim’ tomatoes happening under lights.  And I’m growing sprouts for eating…I was digging in my seed stash and came across a bunch of kale seeds that I’m not planning to use this year, so they’re designated sandwich fixings for the next few weeks.

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Photo by Sheryl Normandeau

Janet: “Spring is stirring, every so slowly! At home the snow is melting, but the ground is still oh so frozen. It will be some time before we can get into the soil. But above ground is another matter. By the second week of April, I plan on having containers full of arugula, spinach, endive and lettuce sown. Peas and sweet peas will follow. I am still wintersowing with kohlrabi, cabbage, broccolini, and kale going in. Later on I will use the milk jugs to sow squash of all kinds.  Indoors there is a full array of seedlings on the go from tomatoes and cucumbers, to green garlic, Swiss chard, kale and herbs. I am having fun with lots of different funky containers from eggshell trays, to big tin cans with holes punched through the bottom, and my TP roll trays. It has been fun to try out all sorts of techniques as I usually don’t have that much time to do so! Soon I’ll be out in the garden searching for the first crocus popping up and spring will truly be well underway!”

Photos by Janet Melrose

Floral Miscellany

While working on an article about colour theory in the garden, I came across a reference to the fact that early man was unable to see the same full colour spectrum that we can. Apparently, it involves quite a substantial evolutionary shift – you can read more about it here.  Something to think about as you admire the flowers growing in your garden!

Janet: “I am always amused at the traditional lore for the best date to plant potatoes being Good Friday! The idea is the soil will be ready to cultivate but temperatures still cool. While my grandfather in England might have followed the rule, we can only gaze out on still frozen fields and gardens! But it is time to get your order in for seed potatoes or check on the ones you have stored away to plant this year. Potatoes do know that it is time as they will want to get sprouting, so get them started by chitting (pre-sprouting) them on Good Friday. They will be ready to plant when our soil really is warm enough to plant in early May!”

chitting potatoes

Chitting potatoes.  Photo by Janet Melrose

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Sheryl: 

Facebook: @FloweryProse

Twitter: @Flowery_Prose

Instagram: @flowery_prose

Janet:

Facebook: calgaryscottagegardener

Twitter: @calcottagegdnr

Instagram: calgaryscottagegardener

‘Til next month!  ♥Sheryl and Janet

Snapshots: Monday miscellany.

Or maybe “Mundane miscellany,” but I’ll leave that distinction up to you, LOL….

Tomato plants are happening under lights in the kitchen.  Since I took this pic, one set of true leaves has emerged on each plant.  I planted ‘Black Krim’ heirlooms (my first time trying them; my niece gave me seeds last year and I forgot about them until it was too late for me to do anything so I’m rectifying that situation this year) and ‘Candyland Red’ currant tomatoes.  This will be my third year planting the currant tomatoes, but I’ve never started them indoors.  Frost reduced potential yields previously so we’ll try it this way instead.

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Smudge is super happy that I am at home to dispense chicken treats and deliver a cushiony lap whenever required.  I am trying to teach her how to read but so far she’s only demonstrated exemplary skills as a bookmark.

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I’ve used the last shallot in the house…it’s an indicator to plant more this year and it’s also a nod to the fact that properly curing Allium crops can really extend their storage and diminish the risk of rot. Shameless plug alert: Janet Melrose and I write about how to properly cure onions and garlic in our upcoming book, The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables.  (Which you can preorder from Chapters-Indigo and Amazon via this link on our publisher’s website.  I may as well go whole hog on the plug, right?  Why do things halfway?).

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Oh, and I’ve been eating pancakes for lunch.  Pretty much every day.  I don’t have a photo of this (neither the eating, nor the pancakes.  You’re probably grateful for the former, at least).  I use my Mum’s pretty much perfect pancake recipe (say that three times really quickly) but if you want to share yours in the comments, I would love to try it, as well! Tell me about your favourite pancake toppings, too!

Sheryl’s Mum’s Pretty Much Perfect Pancake Recipe (Mum, is it okay that I share this?) 😉 

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt*

1 egg, beaten

1 3/4 cups milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted shortening

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the liquid ones and combine.  Fry on a hot griddle. Yield: 8 sizeable pancakes, or several much smaller ones. (And in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not eating 8 sizeable pancakes at lunch – these guys keep over really nicely in the fridge for a few days and you can just reheat.  As well, the batch may be successfully halved, if that works better for you).

*Salt is optional.

 

Botany word of the week.

Aggregate fruit (as well as some bonus chatter about accessory and multiple fruits, pseudocarps, drupes, achenes, carpels, and…um…monkey bread?)

Occasionally (or possibly frequently, given the weird world we live in), things turn out to be different than advertised. Sort of like that purse I ordered off of the Internet. But I digress….

Case in point: raspberries and strawberries.  Are they actually berries?  You already know where I’m going with this!

What does it mean to be a berry?  Quite a few things, really, but one of them is that the fruit must develop from a flower possessing one ovary.  Strawberries and raspberries don’t fit the bill.  If you take a look at the fruit of a raspberry, you’ll notice that it is made up of a bunch of little nubs. You could pull each one apart, kind of like a loaf of monkey bread.  (Mmmm…how can you tell I haven’t eaten breakfast yet?).  Each one of these is called a drupe (drupelets), and they are produced from the multiple ovaries of a flower.  Each drupe contains a seed.  In the case of a strawberry, those little seed-like things on the outside are not actually seeds, although they do contain seeds. Those small bumps are called achenes.  Because these fruitlets were all joined together, they are called aggregrate fruits.  (Just to be confusing, not all multiple fruits – those with more than one ovary per flower – are aggregate.  Some don’t join together to form a single entity).

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And, to add to the fun, strawberries are categorized as an accessory fruit (aka pseudocarp) in addition to an aggregate fruit. Some of that yummy fleshy stuff we eat is made up of tissue that originates near the carpel (modified leaves that surround the ovules) of the flower.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way…I’m off to enjoy an aggregate fruit smoothie!  (Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?).  Do you grow raspberries and/or strawberries in your garden?  What ways do you use them in cooking and baking?  

Sources:
Geggel, Laura, “Why are Bananas Berries, but Strawberries Aren’t?”, LiveScience, January 12, 2017, https://www.livescience.com/57477-why-are-bananas-considered-berries.html.
UCMP Berkeley , “Anthophyta: More on Morphology,” accessed March 3, 2020, https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/anthophyta/anthophytamm.html.  (This is a really good resource if you need a refresher on how fruits are formed).

 

Botany word of the week.

Pappose

A plant that bears a pappus (or more likely, pappi) is said to be pappose. With purpose.  And no porpoises.  (Please stop me before I go any further).

What’s a pappus, you say?

See this dandelion flower (actually a cluster of florets) that has gone to seed?  If you’ve ever held one in your hand and pulled a single seed away from the head, and then eyeballed it really closely…you’ll see that the fine, fuzzy white stuff on top (actually a modified calyx) sits above the thin brown seed like a skeletonized parachute.  The parachute calyx is a pappus, and although you can’t see all of them really well without a microscope, if you could count, you’d find that there are around 100 bristle-like filaments comprising each one. As dandelion seed is dispersed via wind, this pappus structure proves very useful, able to carry the seeds up to 100 kilometres (62 miles).

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Dandelions aren’t the only plants that are pappose – you’ll find that most members of the daisy (Asteraceae) family are as well – but I’ve got one more fascinating dandelion pappus story to share before I sign off on this post. Get this: In 2018, researchers at the University of Edinburgh (using some cool gadgets such as a wind tunnel, lasers, high speed cameras, and x-ray microtomography) discovered the precise number of and the specific way the filaments in each pappus are arrayed makes even more of a difference to the efficiency of wind dispersal of the seeds than previously thought. It was an accepted theory that the resistance (drag) of individual filaments to wind makes dandelion seed so good at flying. It turns out that the way that moving air flows around each individual filament – and the filaments around it – creates a sort of stabilized vortex ring, allowing the seeds to stay buoyant for an impressive time and over long distances. You can read all about the physics of this amazing adaptation here.

Sources:
Martina Ribar Hestericova. “Dandelion seeds create vortexes to remain aloft.” Physics World. October 22, 2018. https://physicsworld.com/a/dandelion-seeds-create-vortexes-to-remain-aloft/.
Nature. “Revealed: The extraordinary flight of the dandelion.” October 17, 2018. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07032-6.