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Consumer watch: Brightening Up Winter Gardens and Planning for Spring


January 5, 2009
By Amanda Ryder


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The winter editions of Canada’s gardening magazines are already in
consumers’ hands as they plan and plot what new and exciting varieties
to plant in their gardens and look at ways they can keeping growing
through the long, cold months ahead. 

The winter editions of Canada’s gardening magazines are already in consumers’ hands as they plan and plot what new and exciting varieties to plant in their gardens and look at ways they can keeping growing through the long, cold months ahead.  

To help carry gardeners through the winter, the Winter 2008 GardenWise recommends readers invest in a batch of cabbage. The ornamental cabbage and kale (Brassica oleracea) are the perfect complement to fall’s chrysanthemums and pansies, and the cabbage and kale will only keep growing as the weather gets colder. These plants thrive on light and moderate frosts as they help intensify the colouring, creating a range of colours from white to pink or even purples and reds.

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The colour yellow brightens up the pages of GardenWise in a feature that looks at how green thumbs can incorporate this brilliant colour into their gardens. One yellow-hued pick is Eriophyllum lanatum, a clump-forming perennial that has silvery-grey foliage and yellow daisy-like flowers during the spring and early summer. For those looking to add a showy flower to their plant, GardenWise names fremontia or flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum) because of its saucer-shaped flowers that “from a distance look like giant buttercups” and bloom from spring through until fall. Another variety that’s sure to turn heads is the ‘Bees’ Lemon’ (Kniphofia), a citrus-hued bloom that starts out lime green at the base and extends up to bright yellow. The magazine also recommends Coreopsis grandiflora and Hankonechloa as plants that can be planted in massed combination to create a stunning landscape.

The Winter 2009 edition of Canadian Gardening named hellebores as the issue’s star plant pick because of the variety’s long-lasting and attractive blooms. The easy-to-care-for flower is one of the first to appear during the winter’s final stages. The magazine also emphasizes how hellebores can now be found in a variety of trendy colours such as slate grey, deep purple, near black, as well as a range of greens, thanks to the hybridization of Helleborus orientalis with other species. Top hellebore picks include ‘Silver Lace’ Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius ‘Silver Lace’), ‘Blue Lady’ (Helleborus argutifolius X hybridus ‘Blue Lady’), ‘Kingston Cardinal’ (Helleborus argutifolius X hybridus ‘Kingston Cardinal’), ‘Mrs. Betty Ranicar’ (Helleborus argutifolius X hybridus ‘Mrs. Betty Ranicar’) and ‘Ivory Prince’ (Helleborus argutifolius ‘Walhelivor’).

The same issue also explores how readers can create a terrarium in their home – a transparent enclosure that keeps plants indoors and creates moist air that plants can thrive on. Perfect terrarium plants include creeping fig (Ficus pumila), Earth stars (Cryptanthus bivittatus), Dwarf ferns such as maidenhair (Adiantum hispidulum) and English ivy (Hedera helix).

In the Harvest 2008 edition of Ontario Gardener, the magazine highlights its favourites when it comes to reliable and easy-to-care-for perennials – the blooms your customers can plant in the garden and be confident that they will come up, year after year. First up is Gaillardia (blanket flower) because of the plant’s ability to bloom from early summer to frost and its drought resistance. Next up is the Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan), a variety that flourishes in the heat, is tolerant of poor soil and is resistant to both insects and disease. Other varieties that make the magazine pages are the Echinacea (coneflower), Physostegia (obedient plant), Aconitum (monkshood), Hemerocallis (daylily), Lysimachia clethroides (gooseneck strife), Dictamnus albus and Lilium (lily).


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