GFM Network News



Calendula is a great annual for a patch garden.

Using patches of annuals in the landscape

Perfect for those hard-to-plant areas they will add colour and be inexpensive if using self-seeders


There are always spots in the landscape that are a bit troublesome when it comes time to plant them — especially large rural landscapes where the space is almost unlimited, but the budget isn’t! Even in smaller urban gardens there are usually spots where the growing conditions are less than ideal. One remedy for such


The daisy-like blooms can be orange, yellow or red.

Start some tithonia seeds for added colour in the garden

This member of the sunflower family is also very drought tolerant

A few weeks ago, I was looking through the seed display in the local hardware store. One of the flowers in the display was something I had grown a long time ago but have not grown since — tithonia. As I held the seed packet, deliberating whether to buy it, I tried to figure out

Big Betony, an AAS winner, is a hardy, dependable perennial for a Prairie garden.

Dreaming of gardens to come

Now is a good time to plan and dream about the 2019 garden

At this time of year we begin to dream about the summer gardens, and as seed catalogues arrive in the mail, we study them, looking with interest at the new varieties. Many horticultural organizations publish annual plant pick lists, the Perennial Plant Association being one of them. For 2019 it has chosen a perennial commonly

Goldenrod (Solidago) fits nicely into a mixed flower border.

Goldenrod is a true harbinger of autumn

When we see the golden blooms we know that fall is fast approaching

Goldenrod can be seen blooming in ditches along roads and highways throughout the countryside during autumn. A lovely wild perennial, it is a true harbinger, and when goldenrod first makes its appearance we know fall — and harvest season — are fast approaching. There are several varieties of native goldenrod and each has a slightly


Echinacea will form nice-size clumps in the garden, like this newer orange variety.

Echinacea — an attractive, long-blooming plant

Flowers start in early July and continue through late summer and well into September

By early July, purple coneflowers will be in full bloom and will continue to blossom right through late summer and well into September. This attractive perennial, whose proper name is Echinacea purpurea, will dependably add colour to the landscape, being one of the longest-blooming plants in the perennial border. Echinacea flowers also have a long

A Monarhc butterfly feeds on yellow perennial milkweed.

Insect habitat campaigns reaching goals

Bees and monarch butterflies depend on disappearing habitat and campaigns to plant more are getting a lot of attention

A 4-H campaign to encourage Canadians to plant bee- and butterfly-friendly flowers has already hit its 2016 goal. The program, dubbed ‘Proud to Bee a 4-H’er’ has distributed packets of flower seeds that provide pollinator habitat to 120 registered clubs across the country, in partnership with crop protection and life science company Syngenta. 4-H spokesperson

Dotted blazingstar (Liatris punctata) is a native plant species especially attractive to pollinating bumblebees.

Video: Exhibit shows pollination isn’t only done by bees

Museum curator Diana Bizecki Robson hopes it helps public deepen their understanding 
of all types of pollinators and to take actions that help these organisms thrive

If you take photos of eye-catching insects, you’ve joined the swelling ranks of amateur bug photographers. Many people take photos of curious insects they see, thanks to the proliferation of digital cameras and the smartphones most carry. Diana Bizecki Robson, curator of botany at the Manitoba Museum, hopes the same curiosity prompting this photography now


Shelterbelts the bee’s knees for pollinators

Bees and insect predators can help boost yields and cut losses, but farmers have to provide a good home

Shelterbelts don’t just keep topsoil from blowing way. They also provide homes for pollinator species, a group that includes butterflies, beetles, birds, wasps, flies – and even monkeys in some countries. But far and away the most effective of all are the bees, said Mark Wonneck, an ecologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “They are

Lady’s Slippers — Orchids In The Wild

One of our most interesting wildflowers is the lady’s slipper – a variety of the wild orchid family – which is named for its shoe-shaped blossoms. There are six distinct species of lady’s slippers in Manitoba, as well as a couple of recently discovered hybrids. They range from quite common varieties, to fairly rare ones,