These huge, furry, pollen-laden willow catkins stopped me in my tracks (pun intended) while walking near a crowded train station here in Calgary last week. I sort of wanted to hug them, but made do with a photograph instead.
What signs of spring (or autumn!) are you celebrating in your part of the world?
I’m super late with Flowery Friday (actually, I’m even late for Saturday; in some places it’s close to Sunday by now), but we’ll roll with it because it’s really all about the flowers, anyway. Or, at least that’s what I’ll claim so that no one notices just how disorganized I am….
This darling little heap of Hepaticas* isn’t late. These plants are right on time, as one of the earliest spring blooms you’re going to see in my neck of the woods. (See what I did there?). Sadly, these beauties are not from my garden – I visited them at the William Reader Rock Garden here in Calgary early last week. (Three days later, we received 15 centimetres of snow. Ah, Spring! Your vagaries delight!).
*Hmmmm…what would be the collective noun for Hepaticas? “Herd of Hepaticas“? Nah, that makes me think of a marauding band of them blanketing the countryside (which, on second thought, might not be such a bad thing). What about “hillock of Hepaticas“? You know…because I found them in a tumulose, rangy rock garden. Ba dum tsss! Okay, I’ll go now.
One of my favourite times of the year is when the new issue of The Prairie Garden arrives in my mailbox! This themed, annual digest has been in publication for a whopping 63 years and I am delighted to have been a contributing writer since 2011 (although I missed 2015 and 2017). This year, the theme is Growing Food and it includes my article “Integrated Pest Management.” Check out The Prairie Garden‘s website for more information about the book and the other featured writers, as well as for details on how to order both the new book and available back issues. (The book is also available for purchase in select bookstores, garden centres, and nurseries in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta).
Just look at those pollen grains! To my delight, my zygocactus is blooming for the second time since Christmas. I recently heard someone describe the blooms as resembling graceful ballet dancers – I love that fanciful comparison!
Flashback to mid-summer last year and a public planting found in a playground in the Beltline area of Calgary. That mix of foliage textures and the pop of lime green, yellow, and pink-purple (possibly combined with the fact that it was crazy late in the evening and I hadn’t eaten supper yet) made me drool.
Pretty much any colour is making me drool right now….the absolutely bananas weather has given me a serious case of cabin fever!
I’m a bit gaga over this book – as far as I’m concerned, for new gardeners, it is the best book on the subject of seed starting and saving that I have seen so far. Beautifully written in accessible language that you don’t need a botany degree to understand, Thompson-Adolf’s Starting and Saving Seeds covers all the important stuff: germination, grow lights, heat mats, seed tape (DIY!), propagation and growing media, containers, winter sowing, and wet/dry processing of harvested seeds. Most of the book is taken up with plant profiles and specific seed starting/saving tips for each one, delving into veggies, herbs, and flowers. I was pleased to see crops such as asparagus included – not one that we here in zone 4 often grow from seed (we usually use crowns), so the tips are especially valuable. The expanded section on tomato seeds – apparently a subject near and dear to the author’s heart – will be bookmarked by many readers, I’m certain. This fantastic reference guide is a must-have!
*Quarto Publishing Group generously provided me with a copy of Starting and Saving Seeds; as always, my opinions about the book are my own.