I am planning to start removing winter protection from the rose garden at the Hospice House in the last week of March.
If you have planted any of the shrub roses such as the group developed at Morden, Man., do not prune them to any extent. Remove any blossom heads, and thin out the smaller stems. I notice that the Royal Bonica variety came through the winter without any damage. This variety is an excellent choice for most gardens.
I was called recently by a fellow with a complaint about several lilies that he had planted. They bloomed quite well the first year and did not even put out leaves the second year. When he dug them out, he found that the bulb had been eaten by some intruder. I believe this was done by a rodent, possibly a mole. He now digs a trench, lines it with baby chick wire and he hasn’t lost a lily bulb since.
If you are looking for some really odd small flowering plants, look for Calcolaria, better known as slipper flower. It is unusual, and it may be better in an area that is shaded from hot afternoon sun. One of my friends grows it in planters.
One of the old standards in many gardens are the popular perennial delphinium. There are some mini-sized ones available, and they are nice but the giants are outstanding. They are available in different colours.
We will surely be urged to use less water this season and to grow some of the grass-related items that require less water. But I have to admit that I am not a great fan of dry-land gardening.
Fred Lyall is The Morning Star’s resident green thumb.He’s been writing his column for more than 10 years.