March Issue

thegardener's picture

The Scarboro Garden Scene
Ideas from the West Coast
There are challenges in every garden, including those on coastal B.C. With their huge rainfall and mild winters things grow so fast they can be hard to control, if you are into the controlling type of gardening, that is. Invasive bramble vines are everywhere, and are difficult to eradicate, but on a positive note, produce attractive small flowers and great blackberries fruits. Periwinkle (Vinca minor and Vinca major) emerges early and brightly in the spring and I’m sure I could handle that and use it to advantage: in Calgary Vinca minor can remain green in winter if it has some snow cover and is easy to monitor if it does not grow into another shrub.

One of the things I noticed on a recent visit was the use of granite cobbles and pebbles of various sizes in dry stream beds – well, wet in Vancouver – across lawns, garden borders or even on boulevards. I’m sure the rounded stones are cheaper in B.C. than here as they are more locally abundant. One thing few of us have in our gardens are bronze statues that catch the eye (see photo), in price contrast, something that we can all do is cut off blooms and place them to float in a decorative bowl outside of our house. In February I saw Christmas Rose (Hellebore) blooms in the VanDusen Garden (Vancouver) in such a bowl. In Calgary spring we can grow hellebores if we have a very, very protected corner of the garden: quite a delight to look at.

Despite the occurrence of monsoon-like rains there was lots of commercial planting taking place, and I often saw the technique used there more than here: massed plantings of the same small shrub or selection of different coloured grasses – the latter were still dormant at that time of the year, and waiting for their spring haircut, just as ours are here in Scarboro. As soon as the soil is dry we can get out and do that here. Which reminds me, it’s time to plant sweet peas outside now – don’t wait until May!

Glynn Wright

March 14th , 2015

originally from April 2015 issue.