01 April 2014

Exciting breakthroughs in blue flower varieties



Blue is the rarest of colours in the flower world, which is probably why true-blue flowers like gentians cause people like me to gasp and lose my mind, and collect them wherever I can find them. The spring gentian, Gentiana acaulis, shows off each May with breathtaking, gentian-blue flowers, and will cause me to stop what I'm doing, sit down, stare and the flowers and just smile. 



I don't grow a lot of morning glories, but I always, always have to have the perfectly named 'Heavenly Blue', with its huge blue flowers. I especially love the brilliant yellow eye and the hint of lavender in the star radiating out from the centre of each petal. 


 There have been some colour breakthroughs this year, introducing shades of blue to annuals, perennials and an exciting rose announcement. First up is Lantana "Bandana WannaBlue", where as with other cultivars, the florets start out one shade and change to lighter hues as they mature. I believe they introduced Neon Blue lungwort into the genes for this one.

 When the Itoh peonies became widely available and more affordable, we were all excited because it meant we could have long-blooming yellow peonies instead of just the short flourish of Paeonia mlokosewitschii (aka Molly the Witch). Recently, Professor Itoh announced the launch of "Bartzella Blushing Blue", and we are sure this will be in high demand.
 Of course everyone knows that plant breeders have been working very hard on developing floriferous new colours and forms of coneflowers, so I'm sure you're as excited as I am to see the delightful echinacea 'BlueSky Black n Blue'!
 And last but never least, finally a blue rose we can enjoy: Bred right here in Nova Scotia by subjecting a delicate hybrid tea to frigid temperatures then crossing it with a more robust rugosa, we have the well named Rosa "BlueNose".  Blooms early, starting on April 1st every year!

22 March 2014

Nursery Open Dates in Nova Scotia, & other events

With spring slowly starting to makes its tentative arrival in Atlantic Canada, there are signs of life at many local nurseries. So what I'm going to do here is post the opening dates for as many as I can, and will add others once I have them. These are all nurseries I love and support, and you should too. 

Baldwin Nurseries: We posted Rob's catalogue last week on bloominganswers (under downloads) and on his blog; it's not yet up on his website, but you can find out about a lot of great new plants on his Facebook site.
Although his open hours begin in early April, call or email early in the month. With the winter we've had, everyone is running a bit behind. Rob will also be at Saltscapes Expo, at the Native Plant Sale at Acadia in May, and at the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale in Annapolis Royal, also in May. 

Blomidon Nurseries: Open all winter thanks to their expanded retail shop and their wonderful Stems Cafe.   The main site gives a lot of information about events, provides a reference guide for your plant needs, and is staffed by knowledgeable folks. 

Bloom Nurseries: The parking area and drive were a sheet of ice when I was there last week, but new plants are arriving and getting planted up in baskets, so the staff are on track to open April 1. Check their Facebook page for more information. 

Briar Patch in Berwick: They're getting ready to open on April 1, too. But you can follow along on Facebook for up to the minute action. 

Bunchberry Nurseries: Opening early in April, but the boss is away bringing home new plants so we'll have to wait to see what she has. She's been tempting us on Facebook.

Glad Gardens: The Budde family has been busy freshening their main website, and their Facebook page is always pretty informative. 

Hillendale Perennials in Truro at the Farmer's Market but also at the nursery itself. 

Lowland Gardens in Masstown is opening April 26. 

Neily's Gardens & Greenhouse are opening in early May

Oceanview Garden opened on Thursday of this week. I plan to get there this weekend for a visit. 

Ouest-ville Perennials is opening April 1, too! There's a great group of planting enthusiasts on the group page on Fb, too. 

Scotian Gold Country Garden reopens for business on March 28, just a week from now. Hurray!
That  ought to get everyone's juices wetted...meanwhile, there are plant events to attend. 


Seedy Saturday at Wolfville Farmers Market happens on Saturday, April 12, during market hours. 

 Plan to attend the highlight of the gardening season, in Annapolis Royal. We'll keep you posted on the vendors.

Last but not least, the NSAC Gardens Plant sale happens Saturday, July 7 at the NSAC (aka Dal Agriculture Campus in Truro.

As we get more dates I'll update and repost. Spring is going to find us after all!

14 March 2014

Windowbox Contest at Saltscapes Expo!

 One of the many hats I wear (and my favourite one) is being part of the Saltscapes magazine family. Saltscapes is all about life in Atlantic Canada, and every year for the past 10 years, we have put on an amazing weekend show, Saltscapes Expo, at Exhibition Park in Halifax. I like to tell people it's as if the magazine comes to life; there's entertainment, seminars and demonstrations, food to sample, great unique shopping opportunities from some of the finest of artisans and producers in Atlantic Canada, and much more! It is always a busy, busy time, but a fun time.

Because this is our tenth year of doing the Expo, we decided to do a window box competition, which is open to garden clubs and societies from Nova Scotia. (Other provinces would be welcome to enter but we figure the logistics would be more complicated for those outside of NS). There is no charge to enter the contest, and we have some great prizes lined up, including gift certificates to local nurseries, garden books, and more!
 We have a few very basic rules, which you can get a copy of by contacting me at jdelong at saltscapes.com (remove space and add @ sign, of course), or by checking out the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs Facebook Group. You can also like Saltscapes on Facebook and follow on Twitter to get more news about the contest, about the Expo, and about all things Atlantic Canada.
Oh, and if you're in our neck of the woods, you ought to enter our Ultimate Expo Weekend contest, too. You could win a prize package worth over $1000, including two nights accommodation, 3-day pass to the show, a 3-year subscription to the magazine, and spending money to indulge yourself at the show! As always, no purchase necessary, just like the Page and enter to win! See you at the Expo? 

Great Gardens and More

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