Turf's Up

It’s not easy being a plantsman at this time of the year.  Instead of enjoying the colour of early-blooming bulbs, seeing the first buds unfurl on deciduous trees and shrubs or watching the daily progress of emerging perennials what do I see?  I focus on the bad pruning inflicted upon innocent trees. I wouldn’t be […]

It was officially the second-coldest February on record in Penticton and the coldest in Kelowna.  As we went through December and most of January most of us were thinking that it was going to be a pretty mild winter.  After all that’s what the weather experts told us in October.  Mild El Nino, a bit […]

Gardeners tend to have foibles.  You know the definition of a foible?  According to Webster’s Dictionary it’s “a minor flaw, weakness or failing.”  One of those foibles is our inability to throw things out.  From used pots and trays to broken tools, malfunctioning sprinklers and bent tomato towers that could be modern art…someday, many of […]

I think that we all have a tendency to take our houseplants for granted much of the time, but it’s during the Christmas season that this neglect is most pronounced.  The Christmas tree takes centre stage, furniture is moved, dinners and parties mean extra space is needed, and any houseplants that are taking up that […]

According to polls taken in the U.S. many people still believe in an enduring myth that one of the most recognizable symbols of Christmas, the poinsettia, is a toxic plant. The Bruskin/Goldring Research firm polled 1000 Americans.  Fifty percent of those polled said they believed that poinsettias were poisonous.  34 percent said they didn’t know, […]

Kids love garden projects where you don’t have to wait long for action and results, which makes growing paperwhites a perfect choice if you’re looking for an indoor adventure for children or grandchildren.  They begin to produce foliage almost immediately after planting and they’ll be blooming before Christmas, filling an entire room with their sweet, […]

Insects can be sneaky and cowardly.  Gardeners don’t mind battling enemies that they can see.  A rose bud covered with scores of aphids may not be visually appealing, but we can see plainly who the culprit is.  Tent caterpillars in trees should not be closely viewed by the squeamish but you can at least determine […]

Cotinus coggyria grows native in areas of central and southern Europe, and in China and the Himalayas. It gets its common name from the “puff of smoke” effect of the blooms on the branch ends. The leaves are initially green, but turn to brilliant shades of orange, yellow and red in the fall. The best […]

Any fruit that is ripe from your own garden is the best you ever tasted, but there is something about the flavour of fresh raspberries that make them my favourite.  When you add the benefit of ease-of-growth and the fact that you don’t even have to bend over to pick them raspberries are as close […]

By the time we are grown-up gardeners it’s likely that most of us have figured out the intricacies of reproduction.  While this my be true inside the home, I find an abundance of confusion, half-truths and myths surrounding reproduction outside in the garden, specifically concerning fruit trees, berry crops and fruit-producing shrubs. Pollination is the […]