GFM Network News


Some slips finally rooted and produced new plants.

Propagating a polka-dot plant

They do have a short lifespan but it is possible to get new plants from cuttings

Last spring I bought a lovely pink polka-dot plant, big and bushy and about 20 cm tall. The single plant filled a six-inch pot, and I think it had either been kept over for the winter or else grown from seed planted months earlier. I was fascinated by the speckled leaves and the plant’s tidy

Plants compete for space in front of a sunny window.

Don’t forget to check those plants that were brought indoors

Now’s a good time to examine each one and make sure there are no problems developing

It has been a couple of months since we brought all those plants indoors for the winter. We took slips and cuttings, dug up and repotted some, and simply moved some potted plants inside without doing anything to them. We were also (hopefully) diligent about avoiding bringing unwanted visitors indoors with the plants. We cleaned


The shell-pink blooms are small compared to those of recent geranium hybrids.

A geranium with sentimental value

My mother-in-law had given me a slip of this plant almost 50 years ago

Many of the plants in my collection have sentimental value, often coming from someone who is important to me and sometimes those people are no longer with us. Such is the case with one of my geraniums which I fondly call “Elsie.” Elsie was my late mother-in-law’s name and she gave me a slip of

A dark-pink David Austin rose bloom.

Getting David Austin rose plants ready for the cold

Now comes the real challenge of growing these plants — preparing them for a Manitoba winter

Gardeners sometimes take on the challenge of growing a plant that is way outside their climate zone rating. We want to see if we can grow the plant and winter it successfully, or because the plant is so spectacular it is worth the extra effort required to care for it and protect it. Such plants

The large, quilted, scalloped leaves of Big Betony provide a contrast in texture to the smooth grassy leaves of a nearby daylily. 

Creating texture in your garden landscape

This can be done through touch or visual texture

You may have heard the phrase, “Use texture to create interest in the garden,” but what exactly does that mean? Many relate to texture by the sense of touch — is the surface rough or smooth? If you run your hand over a leaf of lamb’s ears you get the sensation of a fuzzy warm


A favourite Oriental lily growing in my garden.

Growing Oriental lilies in Manitoba

These are quite hardy in the province when given a bit of winter protection

Nothing compares to the huge, fragrant blooms of the Oriental lily. Growing a metre to a metre and a half tall and producing stout stems on which a multitude of heavy blooms appear, they are nothing short of spectacular. Orientals are not as hardy as the Asiatic and martagon lilies, so I treat them a

“Arnold Red” is covered with bloom 
in early June. 

A tried-and-true old favourite

Honeysuckle has been grown for decades and copes with whatever Mother Nature gives it

Sometimes in our quest to create beautiful gardens we focus on new varieties of plants that are popular at the moment. This is particularly true of the shrubs and the plant hybridizers have recognized this and are churning out new varieties by the dozens. Although using new shrub varieties can lead to great results (some

Malabar spinach is an edible plant and the leaves can be cooked or used raw.

Growing Malabar spinach

Quite different from the regular spinach variety but packed with nutrition

One of the joys of gardening is to try growing and using new plants. Sometimes we stumble upon a new plant quite by accident, as my wife and I did this past June. We were camping near Sydney, Manitoba and took a drive through nearby Austin where we came upon a greenhouse operation. It was


Conical blue junipers and vertical Karl Forrester feather reed grass serve as anchors, adding variety in this mixed border.

Using ‘anchors’ in the garden

These features will hold the look of a landscape together and provide substance

In landscaping, the term anchor means a feature in the landscape that holds it down, holds it together, and provides form and substance. Anchors provide a framework for the other elements of the garden. If all the plants are about the same size, the landscape becomes boring; there is a lack of structure; and there

Chinese lanterns can be used to make attractive arrangements.

Is the reward of growing Chinese lanterns worth the risk?

This is a very invasive plant but if contained you will enjoy the colourful pods in the fall

Some plants that we grow can reap big rewards but come with some risk. The risk might involve substantial cost when success is doubtful, or the plant might be a beauty but it usually succumbs to insect or disease attacks. Other plants are so invasive that although beautiful, the effort needed to keep them contained