By Terri Mason
True story — this all started a few years ago. I’d never planted a real garden before, so you can just imagine the result when I decided to just wing it. When my vegetables started to come up, an old friend commented that “it looked like you planted your seeds with a shotgun.” Weeds were rampant, the yield was low and it looked like a mess — hardly the plot of abundance I had envisioned.
Fortunately, I had made a new friend, herself an experienced gardener. She and her husband had retired off the farm and lived in a condo with no garden. During her visits, in that particular Saskatchewan way, she never told me what to do but would gladly offer help and advice if asked.
My raised garden bed slowly took shape. I decided to add another raised bed and to thank her for her help, I invited her to plant her own garden. As her garden thrived, mine kept improving. Mainly, I learned by watching and copying her techniques, especially ‘what to plant where and why.’ My friend Colleen Fryer passed away last year, but her extensive plant knowledge will continue to bloom in my garden.
YEAR OF THE GARDEN What Grows In Your Garden?
Yes, this is an official declaration by Gardens Canada, 2022 is the Year of the Garden, and among other things, it is commemorating Canada’s rich garden heritage.
Plans are rolling out to help Canadians celebrate. You can sign up your plot as a Celebration Garden, learn from experts, and learn about garden traditions such as First Nations’ knowledge, European-style gardens and old-world garden traditions.
Folks are also being encouraged to plant a garden in every school, join a garden organization, lend a hand to transform where you live and encourage your municipality to Proclaim 2022 as the Year of the Garden.
All of this is aimed to excite and support gardeners across Canada. Whether you want a simple patch of cherry tomatoes, a yard strewn with wildflowers or a windbreak-to-rival-all-windbreaks, this will be your year to learn how. For more on this, visit GardensCanada.ca.
Monarch butterflies migrating back to North America from their winter habitat in Mexico follow a well-marked trail. These striking orange-and-black butterflies are looking for one thing: milkweed (asclepias), and when you plant milkweed in your garden, it’s like rolling out a welcome mat for monarchs.
Spring is the beginning of the monarch’s breeding season, and milkweed is crucial to the survival of the species. Many flowers, especially native plants, are terrific sources of nectar for monarch butterflies, but milkweed leaves are the only food monarch caterpillars eat. Monarchs butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants so the tiny caterpillars will have access to food the moment they hatch.
WEBSITES THAT TEACH
As well as apps for your phone, here are a few gardening and landscape sites that offer real help.
Plant Something BC started as a BC Buy Local initiative that promotes the benefits of buying locally grown plants to aspiring and experienced gardeners of all ages.
Kristen, from her gorgeous home and yard in Saskatoon, helps new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. She also offers recipes and a free digital garden planner.
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan offers workshops, tours, conferences and other learning events, plus offer information on restoration, rare plants, native seed and plants, invasive plants and natural habitats and ecosystems.
Gardens Manitoba is a non-profit charitable organization focusing on events to raise funds for community gardening projects and programs to provide resources, information and outreach for horticultural promotion, education and enjoyment