SUBMITTED BY CANDY VENNING
Dahlias have been one of my favourite cut flowers, they’re stunning in a garden, easy to grow and last a long time in a vase. Last year I was late off the mark and completely missed out on purchasing Dahlias from my fave suppliers; flowerbulbsrus.com & creeksidegrowers.ca
PRO TIP: to help the bees while also skipping the staking and tying up huge floppy plants, choose ‘singles’. (‘Bishop of Llandaff’ & ‘Wishes and Dreams’ for example) The big fat double ‘dinnerplate’ & ‘pompom’ varieties have no discernable center for bees and butterflies to reach the pollen.
In fact pollinators don’t benefit from any type of double flowers, whether dahlias, roses, peonies or poppies. Basically, If you can’t find the pollen then neither can they.
SEEDS: I did start more seeds last year than in previous years & as a result I was prepared & fully stocked up this year by trading packets with other gardeners via giant envelopes left in the mailbox. Unfortunately, we won’t have our fabulous Seedy Saturday this year for seeds but there will be online classes & speakers – check out greenventure.ca for more event info.
May I suggest the following suppliers to provide all you could desire in the seed category – some things are much easier than others to grow, follow instructions and learn about Winter sowing (more info coming the February article)
Damseeds.com William Dam, for everything, from veggies & herbs to natives & flowers, organic & untreated
Matchboxgarden.ca for organic veggie seeds and unusual heritage varieties
Wildflowerfarm.com for native, perennial plant seeds
Hawthornfarm.ca for organic & heirloom veg, flower, herb seeds
If you remembered to dig up Canna lillies & store the dahlias, January is a good time to check on them. An ounce of prevention can stave off disappointment in March, make sure they aren’t rotting or drying out.
Hopefully you left your native plants untrimmed and may have been lucky enough to see chickadees, goldfinches or Juncos feeding on the seed heads. Soon enough we’ll have birds migrating back in early spring and they’ll need all the fuel they can get – worth considering now, what kind of tree you’d like the city to plant in your front yard. (hint, native trees host native insects which feed those baby birds that can’t eat seed)
Check on your houseplants – they may need a soak or treatment for mealybugs or mites – tremendous info and videos online. If you received plants as gifts – poinsettias or Cactus etc make sure they have adequate drainage, I once drowned an orchid that had no drainage holes in the pot. If you received a plant in terra cotta or clay, consider elevating the plant onto a glass plate or serving platter, combined with the application of some felted ‘feet’, it should protect any furniture surfaces
And finally, if you had a real tree and it’s time for collection, check in with the RBG. They’ve taken Christmas trees in the past for creating habitat, and we hope they’ll continue to do so – remember to remove all tinsel or any tiny decorations as these could prove to be a real hazard to wildlife.