We Remember

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With Remembrance Day being on everyone’s mind this week, I wanted to share this thought with you: A single poppy has the soul of a thousand heroes and the tears of a million loved ones.

The poppy is such an enduring perennial flower. It raises its head above other plants in the garden to show a gorgeous bloom in June. The vivid colour stands out among the more subdued flowers at that time of year. The flower fades, the petal falls and a beautiful seed head remains.

July heat causes the green foliage to turn yellow, brown and finally wither away. The poppy seems to disappear from the summer garden, but its crown and roots remain strong! All that potential is simply waiting for another season to bloom.

I have a bright orange oriental poppy in my garden. When I see its vivid blooms beside the muted purple Bearded Iris flowers, I always remember my mother. Both those perennials have been in the gardens at my place for over 30 years. When we bought our house from my parents, we were lucky enough to inherit all mom’s perennials too.

The gardens have changed and evolved over the years. They are no longer the gardens of my childhood. My mom had a very green thumb but tended to focus more on her houses plants that the perennials, but I do owe my passion for horticulture to her. She was an incredible influence on my life.

I am sure that every gardener that turns the soil, tucks plants into the ground and nurtures them can, at some point, remember a person that influence their life.

Trends in gardening are often reflective of the world around us. During times of war, those who stayed behind would have been focused on growing food for families and, if close enough to troops, for the brave men and women who fought so hard to ensure our freedom.

During the 50’s and 60’s, after World War II, growing food in our own garden became less of a focus as convenient frozen, canned and packaged food became so popular. I am very glad to see that home food production, market farms and knowing who is growing the food we eat has circled around to being very important again.

Now that November has arrived and snow sits upon the frozen garden,  the focus from physical, outdoor work shifts indoors. I evaluated how my gardens did this season, and have begun to make plans for next year.

As we order flowers, vegetable and herbs seeds, perennials, trees and shrubs for the next gardening season, I’m taking note of ones I want to try in my own gardens and containers. I can always find room for another container on my deck or patio.

If I run out of planting space in one of my perennials gardens and really want to try a new variety, I plan to remove one that is underwhelming so I can replace it with sometime new! I’ve also been known to tuck perennials into my vegetable garden. If I really like the plant, I make a point of finding it a permanent home.

This is also a good time of year for gardeners to keep their spirits up with nurturing house plants. My collect has to fend for itself during my crazy spring season when I almost live at the garden centre. Summer is spent living outdoors. The houseplants do get a bit more attention, but winter is when I really focus on them.

Starting next week, I will begin a series of article devoted to indoor plants. I’ll cover basic care, propagation, re-potting, fertilizing as well as pest and disease control.

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About Me

I began my journey in horticulture in 1982 after graduating from the Humber College Landscape Technician program. At that time, I lead a talented crew of landscapers, taught evening courses in horticulture and had my own landscape design and consulting business. Then I ventured into the garden centre world. I’m lucky enough to be leading the friendly and knowledgeable team at New North Greenhouses. 

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New North Greenhouses

719 Airport Road

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

P6A 5K6


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