27 April 2011

Poison Plants, Pollinators, Perennials: It's Time for Saltscapes Expo

One of the regular signs of spring in Nova Scotia is the annual Saltscapes East Coast Expo, a celebration of the best of Atlantic Canada. For those who have never been to this event, it's not your average trade or home show. If you know Saltscapes magazine, imagine that the magazine comes to life at Exhibition Park for three days each spring. There's awesome food, terrific entertainment from around the region, exquisite and unique retail, lots of presentations.

This year I will have my own gardening area, set up near the Honda Power Equipment Garden Booth. Look for the brilliant blue bench (painted by LSS) and the colourful plants and containers I'll have there. The great thing about having my own area for presentations is that there will be time and space in which to talk with gardeners after the presentations, without having to rush off the stage for the next presenter. There's nothing we gardeners like better than to talk about plants and planting.

I'm doing three different talks each day though I don't yet know the timing of these. One will be on "The Poisonous Plant Patch", a look at some of the plants in our gardens, homes, and nature that should be treated with a little caution and respect. Such as lantana, which is beloved of pollinators but which has toxic berries that should not be eaten.

The beautiful monkshood, also known as wolfsbane, is toxic in all its parts, particularly its roots. While most of us don't try to eat our ornamental plants, many garden plants can be harmful to pets and livestock, so it's always good to have a little information.

One of the questions garden communicators often have to answer has to do with having lots of garden colour all season long. To help gardeners with this challenge, one of my talks is called "Keeping the Bloom Going: Perfect Perennials and Great Grasses". We'll look at some longblooming perennials, such as Astrantia, or masterwort, which is one of my favourites...
And later blooming perennials, such as helenium, also known as Helen's flower. Then we'll have a quick look at perennial grasses, too!
It's been terrific to see the huge explosion of interest in pollinators by gardeners around the region. My third talk will be "Attracting Bees, Butterflies, and other Beneficials to our Gardens." There are reports of hummingbirds already in the province, though none around my garden yet. (They couldn't probably find it in the fog!)

I'm not the only person talking about gardening at the Expo, either. Bev MacPhail, who is the horticulturist for Halifax Regional Municipality, is doing a workshop on designing containers, for which she has a particular flair. Bev will also be talking about the way she and her staff look after the plantings around Halifax, including in the wonderful Public Gardens.

As of this post, the schedule hasn't been posted, but check back here, on Facebook, or on Twitter for times for my talks. I hope to see lots of you at the Saltscapes Expo this weekend! 


  1. Oh,shucks. It sounds like a fun time Jodi. I wish I lived closer. I just planted three Astrantia. I think they are such beautiful flowers. Gorgeous pictures as always.

  2. LSS did a great job on that bench. I like the way it has handles for ease of moving. Sure wish I could attend this Expo. It sounds great. I know your talk would be so interesting. I would love to talk plants with you. Best of luck.

  3. Beautiful bench, very eye catching. The Expo sounds like a lot of fun. I do quite like Saltscapes magazine. Although we won't be in NS this weekend perhaps I'll think of this next year and make the journey. Have fun.

  4. LSS has done a remarkable job on the potting table and by the look of the handles off one side, I expect wheels will soon be on the legs. I've been scrounging for metal wheels for mine the past few weeks and found two.

    I note the lobster trap in the background))). Handy man, that LSS.

  5. Beautiful images, as always. Your talks sound really interesting. They're sure to be standing-room-only! I know I'd be there if I could.

  6. I agree with everyone. The bench is really nice. The Expo sounds like fun and also very interesting. Good luck on your talks, they are all good topics.

  7. That's just too far to go for a garden show.

  8. Wonderful bench. You could dine of it. What's the rectangular hole for?


  9. Looking forward to pictures from the show.

  10. Hope the show was wonderful. Love that Lantana even if it is poisonous. :)


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