GFM Network News

Lourdes Still in her flower and dye workshop on her farm near La Broquerie in southeastern Manitoba.

Embracing endless possibilities

Faces of Ag: Manitoba flower farmer finds niche in natural dye and eco-printing

It’s difficult to believe that the vivid orange, burgundy and yellow floral print wasn’t painted or printed on the soft, crepe scarf in Lourdes Still’s hands. Instead, these scarves are dyed into the fabric straight from marigolds, coreopsis flowers, and even onion skins right there on Masagana Flower Farm near La Broquerie. Still stirred a

Mexican false heather (Cuphea hissopifolia) is covered with flowers.

Cuphea has been hybridized to be used outdoors

Once grown only as houseplants there are now more vigorous varieties that do well outside

As plant hybridizers are creating new varieties, more and more plants that were once grown solely as houseplants are making their way outdoors. One such plant family is the Cuphea genus. There are over 100 varieties of Cuphea, including a couple of species varieties that are useful outdoors as well as some hybrid varieties perfectly

Evening Scented Stocks are combined here with dark-purple petunias.

Evening Scented Stocks will provide wonderful perfume at night

The pleasant aroma will more than make up for this rather nondescript plant

Plants that provide us with sensory delights in the garden are much sought after like those that exude wonderful scent to the surrounding air. Most highly scented plants emit their perfume abundantly in the evening and overnight and the Evening Scented Stock (Matthiola longipetala) is no exception. During the day this nondescript plant, whose flowers

This colourful tall Amaranthus is positioned right at the front of a border.

Using tall annual flowers in a border

Instead of using smaller plants to edge a border try some taller ones

Flower borders were once quite formal and planting them required careful planning and precise placement. This very formalized way of planting annuals is rarely used now except in large public gardens. Nowadays, beds and borders composed solely of annuals are very rare as most gardeners have switched to using perennials with just a few annuals

Clubmoss can be used in many ways indoors.

Clubmoss is a versatile interior plant

Whether used as a soil cover, in a terrarium, or a stand-alone display, it will be a unique indoor feature

Living ground covers are more naturalistic than inorganic ones, and are useful not only in the outdoor garden but indoors as well. Many of us have large, indoor foliage floor plants like scheffleras, palms, dieffenbachias, dracaenas, and fig trees, sometimes using sphagnum moss or raffia to cover the soil surface, but there are plants that

The cyclamen
 has both attractive
 bloom and foliage.

Cyclamen makes a great gift at springtime

Vibrant-coloured blooms and attractive foliage make for the perfect potted plant

One of the prettiest gift plants is the cyclamen. Its vibrantly coloured flowers and exquisitely patterned heart-shaped leaves make it an attractive potted plant to give to a relative or friend. Florist cyclamen are hybrids developed exclusively for use as pot plants; they are not meant to be used in the outdoor garden. If you

English primulas produce vibrantly
coloured blooms.

Primulas provide pots of colour

Only suitable for indoors in our climate, they will provide a breath of spring

I recently came upon a lovely display of primulas for sale. There were red and orange ones, bright-golden ones, several shades of pink and even one with white blooms. I chose the pot with the dark-purple blooms with the buds just opening, rather than one with mature blooms. When buying any flowering plant, choose one

The main attraction of the zebra plant is its foliage.

Tired of winter? Looking for a challenging gardening project?

Try growing a zebra plant — not the easiest to care for but well worth the effort

Like many gardeners I heave a sigh of relief when February arrives, knowing that we are past the midway mark through winter. At this point we are also pretty tired of the season and looking for something to perk us up as we wait for spring. For some that may mean a warm holiday get-away,

Jasmine polyanthus is a vine that must be trained onto some kind of support.

Jasmine is a high-maintenance plant but really worth the effort

When the perfume of the scented flowers fills the room you’ll be glad you gave it all that TLC

Many flowering houseplants don’t bloom much during the winter, so finding one that does is a great discovery, even if the plant is rather high maintenance. Jasmine is one such plant. The type most commonly used as a houseplant is Jasmine polyanthus — a perennial vine. Plants that have buds are usually available in garden

The leaves of “Copper Spoons” get their colour from a covering of fine cinnamon-coloured hairs.

‘Metal’ houseplants with mettle

Here’s some tough plants that will thrive even under less-than-ideal growing conditions

Some of the most resilient and tough houseplants have a lot of mettle — they can endure inhospitable conditions and will thrive even when somewhat neglected. Is it any wonder that some of these plants have the names of metals in them? I call them “metal plants with mettle!” Aspidistra Elatior (cast iron plant) Probably